Friday, September 15, 2017

What Magic is

What Magic is

We thought it was a rabbit from the hat,
we thought it was reading our minds,
we thought it was predicting an eclipse.
But no, those things we learned to do.

A day lily flowering on July first,
a clear moon reflecting from new snow,
fog burning off in the morning sun.
The magic of creation, we learned why,
but still it's magic.

"fog burning off in the morning sun"

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Teacher's Reward

Teacher's Reward

At Wagner High School I taught World History.
Each December, homerooms competed
for the honor of the best holiday decorations.
The class worked hard, I gave advice,
but left all the work to them.
I would be away at a teachers' meeting
during the critical last days and during
the judging by art teachers from several schools.

Back from the meeting I was happy to find
that the class had won first place.
As it happened, in January I would stop
teaching the class. I was assigned
to be Assistant Principal at another school.

My last day with the class arrived.
My fantastic twenty nine scholars
were bubbling with excitement.
They had a surprise. When the class
had all come in, one of the kids
stood up, the class had something to say.

I was presented with a silver mug, engraved
with “Homeroom 1968 to Mr. D.”. They had received
ten dollars as the prize winner of the room decorating
contest. They bought the mug, and explained
ten dollars wasn't enough to inscribe my whole name.

I have the mug still after all these years.
It is among my most valued possession.

"a silver mug"

Tuesday, August 15, 2017



Today seed packets arrived.
Nothing special, just some herbs
and one of miniature tomatoes.
My mind wanders as I plant
in my big black pots,
I think back seventy years.

I think of the Victory Garden
in our back yard. The family
worked together in the small patch,
which seemed big to me. Spading,
hoeing, weeding, watering
and then weeks later we picked
carrots, sweet corn - dad's favorite,
tomatoes, squash and pole beans.
In those days horse drawn wagons
were still common. When a horse left
dung in the street, children with their
spades rushed to collect it for the gardens.

Today seed packets arrived. I set
my container garden on the deck.
My mind roams as I plant.
I think ahead thirty days.
How I'll savor what comes
from these seeds.

This year's container garden

tomatoes to be

parsley and basil

tomatoes waiting to turn red

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Then and -- Now

Then and

I had to have that madras shirt,
   I want a shirt with most of its buttons.

I had to have a crease in my pants,
   I want trousers with no obvious stains.

I had to read a book while still on the best seller list,
   I want a book with not too small print.

I had to visit places no one else had seen,
   I want a place with a decent hotel.

I had to eat the best part of the lobster,
   I want a peanut butter sandwich.

I had to stay up to watch SNL,
   I want to go to bed by ten.

I had to have a hair cut weekly,
   I want the hair not in my eyes.

Do I care less
   or care more
      about other things.

(Madras shirts were the in thing 60 plus years ago. A characteristic of Madras cotton is that it fades a bit with each washing. This was a considered a good thing. It is akin to the current fad of young people wearing distressed and damaged dungarees.)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Color Seasons

Color Seasons

Green Season
The trees are various shades
of green. Budding flowers
wear verdant veils before bursting
into their multi color blooms.
Fragrant perfumes of a refreshing
breeze, alluring blossoms and
new growth, all intoxicate.
Sipping icy lemonade
under an emerald canopy
is a pleasure of the season.

Red Season
The greens fade, leaves
of warm hues, reds and yellows
and their variations now clothe
the domain. Dawn and
dusk display ruby brilliance.
Folks wear crimson sweaters.
An aroma of cinnamon wafts
from kitchen windows. The sweet bitter
taste of hot chocolate delights the season.

White Season
Colors fade, flurries start.
A light coating covers the ground.
Gray skies and morning fog
soften the vista. Sweet, thick
eggnog dusted with nutmeg
brings friends together. As days
move on, north winds bring snow.
Pure white is frosting on our narrow world.

Brown Season
Snow melt, mud appears.
Last year's ground plants now
are beige. As the wet ground
dries it's the color of cocoa.
The scent of the south is on the breeze
while I sip jasmine tea.
Branch tips are ready to burst
into life, but not just yet.
Soon we'll be in the green season.

                                                                 green season

                                                                    red season  

white season

                                                                     brown season

Friday, June 30, 2017



Outside the window a hardy yew shrub thrives.
From a branch hangs a “koi no bori,” that is
a carp banner, with its head pointing up.
They are seen in profusion in Japan
during the May Children's Day holiday.
The flag is meant to inspire the young to achieve.

Why a carp, a common food item?
Why not a lion, why not an eagle?
A carp, an animal of courage and tenacity,
with all its strength and resolve swims
up rivers and waterfalls to reach its goal.
The same is hoped for the child.

When I sit composing a poem,
when I am blocked and don't know
what to put on paper,
I glance out the window, I see the carp
and I write.

Monday, May 29, 2017

End of Spring

End of Spring

A week before Memorial Day
Falmouth is a quiet town.
Next week everything will change.

Before Memorial Day
folks gather at Betsy's Diner
or lunch at the Asian Buffet.
The Dollar Store and the Job Lot
supply most needs. Town folks socialize
at charity bazaars on weekends.

After Memorial Day
pricey restaurants on Main Street
with French names need reservations
yet still have waiting lines.
Coffee shops carry strange brews
which need to be explained to townies.
A theater company moves into town
competing with the amateur companies,
and there is enough audiences for all.
The libraries, the Historic Society,
the sea study institutes and
art venues are among those
augmenting their public offerings.
Our guests travel to here and to there
to see and to do.

Visitor from around the country
and around the world are here.
The insular, provincial town
becomes a cosmopolitan place.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Myth of my Life

A Myth of my Life

The chickadees and finches
and cardinals visit
the feeder hanging from
the bare branch.

They come to
sing to me
show me their colors
and do their air dances.
Beauty disguises the
blue jay's villainous intents.
Satanic squirrels try to raid
the plastic store.

I see valiant creatures
I see devious creatures,
And fit them all
into my storyline.

Monday, May 1, 2017



Boston, small Boston,
confined by rivers and the sea,
peopled with a mix,
Brahmans, who lived on the Hill,
Blacks, who lived on the back of the Hill,
Irish, who live in the south of the City,
Italians, who lived in the North End,
a myriad of others throughout,
Boston, peopled by a medley of peoples.

Boston united with its peculiar vocabulary
and curious accent, with its strange
diet of Saturday supper of beans
and brown bread, of Sunday with
a corn beef dinner, of Durgin Park's
Indian pudding. A city united by its history,
a city of pride, of accomplishments,
a city of strife. A city of
classes and of overcoming class.
A city of Boston Strong.

Boston, with its tradition of healing,
of schooling, of the arts,
of books, with its museums
and sports, with its financiers and
teamsters, sees itself as one.

Old Dame Boston plugs on.
Sometimes, a fine Lady,
other time tarted up,
trying to endure. Boston has seen
bad, has seen good and plods on.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I See Clearly

I See Clearly

An overcast fall Saturday
on the train, I ride to Tokyo,
and alight at Ochanomisu station. This
area, famed for its book shops, is a heart
of old Edo. Students, scholars and casual
readers crowd the streets, stores and stalls.
Shops of glass and chrome sit beside those
of traditional wood with open fronts.
Coffee shops and noodle stands,
with enticing aromas, offer
respite for the fatigued.
I see it as if yesterday.

A dusty spring evening in the mountain
city of Sanaa, I walk from my flat in the
Old Town to the street of shops.
Eateries with foul, a cheap, nourishing bean stew,
others with pricey chicken and other delicacies
and street stalls with murtabak, a savory omelet,
line the streets.
I stop for a cup of bitter coffee Yemeni
at the plain open-air tea garden that
sits across from the plush European hotel
with its first class restaurant and café.
I see it as if yesterday.

A mild summer morning on my bike,
I pedal to the Sound. The raging surf
crashes on the rocks near Menauhant Road.
The placid Bourne Pond, ten meters away,
counterpoints the loud, wild, white waves
coming in from a storm out to sea.
Along the wayside grows luscious wild fruit.
I covertly munch the sweet blackberries.
I see it as if yesterday.


murtabak - with street vendor