In search of story


April 30.22: Coping, but barely

Where are the toes

with which we hold

when we reach, teetering,

for the tender goaled?

When life twangs

our bearings like rubber band

and we, poor spitballs,

clawless in foot and hand,

hover on the verge of shot

yet, refusing to be denied,

become the squirrel,

wind and gravity defied,

and clutch that feeble twig,

how do we dare?

Does the soul have claws

that hold us there?



It seems appropriate, dear reader, to end Poetry Month with a question since I always start it with a question: what is poetry? Still scratching my head on that one.


Connections: February 6.18

Balustrade in the woods

wants authenticity

neither built by squirrels

nor grown spontaneously.

Its lines and neat-hewed angles

perhaps herein discordant

but for those of certain age

orthopedically accordant.


More thanks to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives.





Connections: September 7.17

What delicacies, what midnight snacks

are snugly hid away

to be brought out like popcorn

some barren winter day?


What culinary splendor

brined since last July

will extol in mid-December

the art of putting-by?


I recall our cellar of yore

almost as dark and dank

and I think I don’t want to know more

of what’s in their food bank.



More thanks to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives.




Postcard from the doldrums

It is mid-July and there is no cloud of lavender-blue over the lavender. It struggles to grow, let alone bloom. The geranium, though bravely deep ruby, teeters on rickety stem. The bright white vinca remains modestly single-bloomed and close to the earth. They want sun.

There is only rain.

Leaves and flowers sag under waterweight, stoop-shouldered, hollow-backed. People bowed now too, eyes listlessly downward with no horizon to look toward, neither sunset nor sunrise.

There is only rain.

Gardening feeds my spirit, and, just as surely as the squirrels, I store acorns of sunlit troweled moments to sustain me in the winter ahead. But not this year. How is a gardener to make sense of life without a gardening season? Gardeners need sun.

There is only rain.

Fields turned to swamps, the corn, beggarlike, stands suppliant in murk and muck, helpless, roots melting into slime. It wants light.

There is only rain.

We know Indiana weather is imperfect. We know tornadoes dwell in our skies. We know that the writer of Genesis was describing certain months in Indiana when he wrote “darkness covered the earth.” We don’t expect much here, but this sunless summer would send even Job into a grumbly opprobrium.

Ponds of clay soup, downspout gushers, rushing curbside streams, pooling in tire prints, rot in our fences, knots in our lungs,

there is only rain.


Noon, 13 July

Noon, 13 July