In search of story


September 5.22: Coping, but barely

The gardener’s profound satisfaction,

last word in delayed gratification:

a corner that booms

with tumultuous blooms,

and a duck for gentrification.


On Labor Day we who garden ask ourselves if gardening is labor or therapy or fun. The answer is yes. I think the same applies to wood-working, cookie-baking, quilting, and maybe half a hundred other ways in which we invest ourselves. When we were thirty, it was different, and today I thank all those younger people whose labor keeps me going.


Thanks to my son the gardener for photo op.


September 3.22: Coping, but barely

Harvest looms,

maple tips blush,

September’s percussion

comes in a rush.

Wachoo, snuffle, snort!

rings out through the land;

kleenex is crammed

in pocket and hand.

With sinuses gurgling,

persistent nose splash,

“Have a nice day”

is abject balderdash.

That hackneyed nice day

is pie in the sky

when the red of hot peppers

emblazons the eye.

Itching and wheezing

and scratchy of throat,

sufferers glare

when others emote

how lovely the day,

how pure the sky’s bluing;

they’d rail and berate,

but they’re busy wachooing.




August 18.22: Coping, but barely

The almosts of the garden — I know them and yet I disbelieve. Almost ripe. Almost ready. The bud on the vine, swaddling life snugly within itself, almost a melon, almost a squash, almost a morning glory. I know what it will be and yet I disbelieve. The wonder of it is as new as the almost itself.

To watch is to disbelieve. It cannot be that Puritan-plain dirt conjures such richness of tapestry and ornament, emerald and amethyst, filigree of leaf and tendril. From the muslin of February to the brocade of August there is nothing believable. In a slow burst, the almosts bloom to opulence in velvety defiance of winter’s naysayers.

In the almost is the breath-stop, the cannot-be, that gossamer moment that hovers like the hummingbird I cannot hold.



Practicing prose poetry

with thanks to my son’s tomato forest.


July 14.22: Coping, but barely

Does a garden laugh?

Yes. That’s what I think.

What could else explain

this impertinence of pink?

No sooner had I written of

snapdragons’ ruffled white

than this haughty pale bubblegum

erupted into sight.

Did I plant this nonconformist,

this blushing heliophile?

No. It planted its own self,

chuckling all the while.

Its merriment unbridled

in my gardener’s flabbergast,

it reveled in its message:

it’s the garden that laughs last.




July 2.22: Coping, but barely

A puddle in a path

divides the population

in two distinctive camps

of opposite persuasion.

One must forge ahead

to know where this path goes;

the other shrinks from earth

that gushes ‘twixt the toes.

That second would be me,

uncurious when it comes

to mud or bugs or slithering;

my adventurousness succumbs.

I prefer the no-itch life,

sufficient just a look;

I’ll follow muddy paths

in air-conditioned book.


I may not be the outdoorsy type,

but I know beauty when I see it.

A salute to those who care for our green spaces.

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve,

Fishers, IN.


September 17.21: Coping

September stands tall

between spring’s childhood

and winter’s dotage,

a bit round perhaps

with pumpkin paunch,

its brow gold-speckled,

but vital still.

One leaf, two leaves,

abacus of mortality,


in quiet obedience

to the authority of time.

A cicada sings of ennui,

its sleepy notes sticking to

wet morning air

where August lingers.