In search of story


March 29.23: Coping, but barely

If emptiness,

then what?

No footprints

for the waves to play with,

no castles to scoop.

What dies

with the people?

What is left?

Who will walk in the rain,

run from the thunder,

who will there be

to ask,

to answer,

to learn,

to teach,

to wonder at the horizon,

dreaming other castles

on a blue swing?


More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg.

I think, dear reader, we turn to our blogs for gentleness and respite. We want something to smile about and hope about. Sometimes, however, we have to write about what is. To this writer, in this country, it’s grief and a near-despair.


March 26.23: Coping, but barely

If you want to have your way,

you have to learn to plead,

set forth your clearest logic,

your very urgent need.

What will make your case?

The dewy eye of doe?

Jumping up and down?

A flapping to and fro?

It’s incumbent on the pleader

to practice saying “please,”

to master skill of asking,

to manipulate with ease.

Whining has its place,

the dab at moistened eye,

the drooping of the shoulders,

the Perils-of-Pauline sigh,

but something’s to be said

for the frown of dispensed guilt,

the heavy-lidded snark,

you-can’t-be-serious tilt.

Wordless language speaks —

give it megaphone;

learn to turn your back,

or shrug or stomp or groan.

I’d add one more idea

for pleader’s technique docket:

to emphasize your point,

a cookie in your pocket.


Many thanks to Susan Rushton for the lively photo!

I don’t know who the artist was, but thanks to him/her also for such eloquent gestures; however, the gestures go only so far to persuade — it’s the cookie that wins the day. I’m almost sure that all of these silent orators have cookies in pockets somewhere.



March 25.23: Coping, but barely

I do not make this up;

I couldn’t even think it:

the label on this cleaner

tells me not to drink it.

How stupid do I look?

What nonsense, base and utter.

Like warning there are peanuts

in a thing called peanut butter.

I shake my head and ponder

how the planet can be greener

if we leave it to be governed

by those who might drink cleaner.

Really, dear reader, I try not to beat that poor dead horse and say “when I was a kid,” but sometimes I can’t help it. My generation has to bear some of the responsibility for this, but I staunchly maintain that we didn’t have to be told not to drink cleaners or that there were peanuts in peanut butter. Could it be that ours was the superior intellect? (Honestly, I am not a Trekkie, but some of those lines are eternally quotable!)

With thanks to the cult of Khan

and his wrath, of course.



March 18.23: Coping, but barely

Bold like Ozymandias

declaiming to all nations,

my species speaks in Latin

and names the constellations!

Poecile atricapillus

regarded me with disdain

atop Syringa vulgaris,

twittering this refrain:

Pfui, pfui, pfui!

(the fire was in his eye)

I can balance on a bud —

I’d like to see you try!



March 14.23: Coping, but barely

In robinspeak: Look at me!

I call from minaret of tree!

Look up! I cannot wait all day

to sing my song and say my say!

Raise your eyes and tilt your head!

You’ve met your feet — look up instead!

The sky is grey and winter lingers;

wrap up tight and mitten your fingers,

or be like me and weather the weathers

by bellowing full your winter feathers.

Rise above! Stretch out your wings!

You humans are such starchy things!

I grant there’s good stuff in the dirt,

but too much looking down can hurt.

Look up and see the endless skies —

your spirit needs the exercise!

What risk to you, oh, you clay-bound,

when both your feet stay on the ground?

Dare to snub the daily strife

and defy the gravity of life!


Yes, dear reader, that’s what the robin said. I heard it myself.



March 8.23: Coping, but barely

Eight years ago, on this date, I published this post, which I find timely still. If by some chance, dear reader, you should have a small drum convenient, I invite you to read this out loud while accompanying yourself with a good beat. (Timbrel and sackbut optional.) You will need to count 2-3-4 in between stanzas to get it right. (An empty Quaker oatmeal box is an acceptable accompaniment. Hard to tune, though.)


March Roundelay

‘Tis wondrous fair
how I swerve and swear
in a seamless arc
as I weave and snark
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
around the potholes.

I amaze myself
with my grace and stealth
with jaws clenched tight
as I curse their blight
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
oh, the potholes.

It’s a lurch and a sway
and a moan and a bray
a zag and a zig
an impossible jig
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
amid the potholes.

A screech and a gasp
a white-knuckled grasp
a brake-slam dance
a murderous glance
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
it’s dodgems
edging on the potholes.

Of patience bereft
mine axles cleft,
with a bang and a twist
imprecation and a fist
a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
I rage in vain
against the potholes.

The snow is black
there’s a wrench in my back
it’s cold and bleak
as I jolt and squeak
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
and an inch to spare
beside the potholes.

Ah, misery me,
It’s a dreary dance
around the potholes.
My car doesn’t fly
and neither do I
so we take our chance
around the potholes
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
we take our chance
and dance
around the potholes.


With a bow and hey-nonny to Gilbert & Sullivan.


March 5.23: Coping, but barely

Life’s almosts —

seismic shifts —

herald of looming

inscrutable rifts,

tearing the fabric

of the everyday,

stripping the known

and the snug away,

emerging newness

from this to that,

change aborning,

verdant fiat.

From depth of cyclic


its swelling vow:

What wasn’t will be.