Friday, July 31, 2020

New Normal

New Normal

The wise and enlightened

say we will have a new normal.

The foolish and uninformed

say soon we'll be back to normal.

Scientists see feasible outcomes,

safe, effective vaccines may be found, or not,

a vaccine may give long protection, or not,

the recovered may be immune, or not,

there may be no after effects, or not,

the virus may mutate, or not,

there may be herd immunity, or not,

the pestilence may end soon, or not,

family pets may be vectors or not,

there may be other questions or not.

The wise know the plague needs study,

not quick glib answers.

The foolish give quick ignorant

answers, usually wrong.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Then and Now

Then and Now

I watch the protesters march

I see the crowds express outrage

at the treatment of some Americans

because of the hue of their skin.

I see the crowds of Americans,

crowds of all hues from pale to dark.

I watched the protesters march

fifty years ago express outrage

at the treatment of some Americans.

The crowd was of mostly a dark hue

with few of a pale hue.

I see a peaceful crowd

focused on attainable goals.

I saw mobs showing rage

filled with righteous anger.

I see little vandalism.

I saw swaths of burned out buildings.

A change has happened

maybe the change will make

a change of treatment.



Sunday, June 28, 2020

What Could You Do?

What Could You Do?

Eight minutes and forty six seconds,

is time enough for a cup of coffee,

to smoke a cigarette,

is time enough to chat, tell jokes,

and wonder if they should step in.

is time enough to be curious about

the near bystander with his cellphone,

is time enough to ask whether what's

happening is wrong.

In eight minutes and forty six seconds

a man can say I can't breathe

as he's being strangled

he can say it over and over

he can go silent

and he can die.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

A Different Kind of Summer - 2020

A Different Kind of Summer - 2020

The trees are leafed with shades of green.

The sea, with its special blue, releases

a familiar comforting salt air aroma

which permeate the town. Radiant orange

day lilies can be seen everywhere.

A normal summer it seems.

This year signs on the doors of shops read

'face covering required'. Bright arrows

direct shoppers up and down aisles.

Restaurants offer take-out and delivery,

but not sit-down meals. Some stores

are closed with notices saying

'we will open again soon'.

This year St. Barnabas Church won't have

its Strawberry Festival with tasty treats.

There will be no Main Street Fair with exquisite

and tacky sit side by side. The dozens of sea,

land, and historic activities won't be offered.

The semi-pro Commodores baseball team,

the Road Race, the fireworks, parade,

library lawn book sale and so many other events

won't happen. It will be quiet and dull.

Family backyard picnics will go on, but

without guests, lifeguards will monitor

social distancing of sun bathers at the beach,

there will be no visits to the closed aquarium,

art center and other popular attractions.

Some things remain the same,

many have changed.

Saturday, May 30, 2020



The duality has been cast,
return to normal of the past,
or have the limitations last.

Restrictions now in place,
save lives at a faster pace
and reduce the virus's base.

The old normal will open jobs,
that the new standard robs,
and stop the out-of-work sobs.

You and I know who's right,
but it's not all black or white,
give and take can shed light.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Back Home

Back Home

From the hospitals I'm back home,
now again I can write a poem.
With what emotion should I write,
should it be heavy or maybe light.
Nurses come to see me every week,
clues to my general health they seek.
Physical therapists regularly I see,
strengthen muscles will help me.
Daily Elder Services brings a meal,
it's well balanced and helps me heal.
Now and then I drive my car,
shop or get take-out, but not far.
I'm on the computer, read a book,
or turn on the TV to take a look.
Neighbor Lois, with chores gives aid,
and some errand trips are made.

To raise a child, a village it takes,
an oldster needs the very same breaks.

                                                          or  "read a book"

Friday, May 1, 2020

Gifford Brewster

Gifford Brewster

From the hospital by ambulance to
Royal Megansett Nursing Home,
I go. For two weeks I'm in quarantine.
Then a roommate comes.

Skinny, long scraggly, unkempt beard,
with a black patch over left eye,
wearing a red watch-cap and mismatched
clothes, the eighty year old is assigned the next bed.

Gifford Brewster's surname and given name
indicate a lineage from the early days
of Europeans on Cape Cod. He shows
traits of those old Yankees. I ask if he's
from Falmouth and get just one word – Nope.
He's crotchety, taciturn, and stingy with word.

Gifford is from one of the islands, was a plumber
and has a house mate to help him. What brought
him to the hospital and what his many health
problems are, I don't know.

His ancestors created the character of the area.
They were frugal, hard working people,
and they gave money to fund schools,
libraries, museums and hospitals.
These institutions, some with the names
of the benefactors, continue to serve us.

The infirm man in the next bed has
this as his heritage whether he knows
it or not. All New England today
shares in the patrimony.

View from window at sunset at Royal Megansett.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

With in a Whisper of Angels

Within a Whisper of Angels

Sunday morning, one o'clock, extreme pain,
upper left arm, I remember reading such pain
might be related to the heart. I call
emergency services. They come.
An EKG shows no heart problem.

After a fitful night without real sleep
I get up with a woozy head. In slow motion
I do the thing I usually do, even showering.
Then it happens, I fall. Rarely falling and
always able to recover, this is new.
Again a nine one one call.

Skipping lunch, I rest. Late afternoon,
I fall again, I crawl to the phone
and again call the EMTs. They insist
I must now go to the hospital,
no time to put shoes on, siren blaring,
red lights shining and ambulance
speeding, I sense seriousness.

In emergency room a cadre of nurses
and other health workers prod, poke
and take vials of blood. Then to a fifth
floor room with two walls of picture
windows over looking Vineyard Sound.
For five days the medical professionals work
making magic, bottom line: a massive
chemical imbalance related to my medicines.
I was not far from the end when I came in.
My medicines are changed and the body
is put back to it's proper default setting.

I'm told the room was that of
the multi-millionaire who gave millions
to build the wing. I wonder if, gods forbid,
they thought my last days should be with
this beautiful vista.

I leave the hospital for a rehabilitation center.

I circled in red the room I was in. 

Sunday, March 29, 2020



Pandemics happen about every
hundred years or so, multitudes die.
Like cheetahs, plagues hide and wait to strike.

In Medieval times pestilence came,
ravishing the population.
Through history diseases came
again and again. In the seventeenth
century quarantine both the word
and deed was created.
In 1918 my would be aunt died.
A massive pandemic hit,
she was one of its victims.
Grandma, I'm told, never really

Now again, it's the same whether called
pandemic or plague. Unreasoned
thinking hits, panic buying sets in.
Is Canada going to embargo toilet paper.?
Will Campbell stop canning chicken soup?
Some flock to buy, even foods not liked.
But irrational conduct isn't new
as we are reminded of past calamity
in Decameron and in Canterbury Tales.

The pandemic isn't the first the world has seen,
and won't be the last.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Wearing out Dungarees

Wearing out Dungarees

My dungarees, pale blue
and soft, are made of denim.
There don't have a designer
label, they are old and have
been worn for years.

I've worn them walking in the woods,
at art gallery receptions,
and at dinner parties.
They are like an old friend.

Trousers like these sell
for high prices at upmarket
clothes shops as distressed jeans.
I bought mine almost new
at a church bazaar.

Mine have earned
their pale color and supple
texture. Some day they'll
be too washed out and too spent
to wear. Until then
they'll keep serving me.