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April 19, 2014 * * My new poems here to date: 1,140 * *

riverwriterThe new look  includes an illustration of our island from a postcard dated 1914

Here is a plug for a Forum that I run: Zeugma, an internationally subscribed Forum for poets, and related to the renowned Zeugma lists.

Doing NaPoWriMo this April, and posting my “30 poems in 30 days” here, of course. Posting a poem a day should not be a stretch, but who knows what will happen? I just hope I don’t end up posting dreck just to show something each day.

“Popular Posts” (June 19 ) I am amazed to discover that some of my posts have been viewed almost 10,000 times in the past two years.

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Stone on Stone

Far below the surface
at depths that rock
could metaphor clouds
and their village
a remembered sky home
they moiled for gold.

The daily fall to work
of one hundred and eighty
men in the double-decker car
down the mile-deep shaft
took minutes rapid
openings to upper drifts
seventy-five metres
every three seconds
for too many minutes
until the hoist operator
up top
saw the marker
and the hoist slowed
and knees took three Gs
and the cable stretched
and the car rose
to pass then settle down to
to the forty-five hundred foot
level where they crossed to the
next hoist down
to eighty-three hundred

Then they left the lighted
landing and headed into the
drift to the stope.

Far along the drift
without the lamps
on their hard hats
dark was so absolute
eyes would be unnecessary.

On the day in question
the rookie was to scale
his first stope
Sven showed him
how to grasp the long scaling bar
and use it to jab into
the freshly blasted stope
and chip loose rock
from wall and overhang
so they could muck safely.

He chipped and scaled
for a half hour
dropping several tons
of rubble to the floor
finally he turned to
old Sven, who was watching
and said “It’s ready.”

Sven stood
reached for the bar, and tapped
the overhang a few paces
from where they stood.

a rock the size of a small
appeared before them
with a slam
that shook the rookie
for fifty years.

“Not quite,” said Sven,
and the rookie scaled
for another hour
on the day in question.


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That’s me at twelve, missing a tooth: such a naive young girl.
It was taken in calmer times, before my father put up the fence;
You can see all the way to the dacha on the hill behind me.
Here’s a picture of my boys. No, that’s Vladimir;
he was so small as a child. But he’s bigger than Arseniy now.
And he takes advantage of it. Would you care for some borscht?

Pardon, what? An explosion? Goodness gracious, no.
It’s just the boys playing upstairs. They’re so rough!
You’d almost think they were killing each other.
Excuse me; I’ll just be a moment.

Vlad, are you standing on your brother’s face again?
Well, I warned you: you’ll have to go outside and play.
Inside the palings, not on them. No. I told you before:
it’s too dangerous; they are too sharp and he could —
Vladimir, you remember what happened to the dog.

Such silly boys! So full of life. They must try everything.
But your tea is getting cold; can I warm it up?
Oh, he experimented with the dog and a pointed stick
and learned a lesson the hard way. Really?
Well he impaled — one moment, please.

Will you behave? Your new tutor is just —
If you do not behave, I’ll tell your father:
and he`ll cut off your allowance; then you`ll be sorry.

Where were we? Oh, yes: so you can start on Monday?
You know, brothers can play nicely if
you are firm; otherwise, they try to get away
with murder. See? Already they have quieted down.
Have some borscht; it will put colour in your cheeks.


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That moment in the night
when Luna wakes you
and sings to
your heartbeat against
soft breathing nearby.

Sings so bright it hurts
but opens you to
the moon-wakened watchers
like you, hear what happens
in the silence
like you, see the hand
of what you believe
right there in the sky
singing truth at you
until you go fall back
and forget.


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Leaves in Sunlight

The thick green moss submerges fallen old wood
muffles thought, swallows light and sound
and softens rounds and smooths all but
the hard old verticals of trunk
pungent pine and raunchy chocolate-scented basswood
black walnut and oaks and sugar maple

Does the walnut spring from the mouth of a corpse
Is the basswood destined to be a basket
Will fire eat all but the elder trees

Life is green here
sun and rain are sustenance
a scattered ray of sunlight breaks
through the leaves overhead and spots
down on a single purple anemone


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Drowning in a drop of water

Swaying is his natural state
sea legs he calls it
as he returns the little
tumbler of booze
to its spot in the kitchen
cupboard, complete with
oversize jam jar lid

I don’t want to
interrupt him
I would move heaven
to keep his nest silent
and earth
to still the tremors
that rumble our floors
and stairs and
the hall outside our bedrooms

The tumbler is a
magic act kept private
always partly full
no mystery:
the daily bottle of Dewars
hidden somewhere safe
will testify to that

He does not ascribe
to humour
the discrete nips
a gentleman sneaks
in his own home
another of the perks
of being a veteran
and having a house

The same goes for
his barely repressed
temper simmering
like steel cut porridge
simmering overnight
on low heat
in a lidded pot

We are all drowning
in this house
in a lidded tumbler
containing heavily
processed water
in his case
one drop is all
it takes



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Episode the First

Episode the Second

Episode the Third

Episode the Fourth

Episode the Fourth

Episode the Fifth

Episode the Sixth

The scent of her body drifts into him, pushes aside thoughts of coffee


He swirls into her aura and moults into winged music



He knows her body will meld onto his as he melts into hers



She knows his flashes of brilliance, murmurs of thunder



He sees her gleaming in the sky before him,

piloting his moon




The scent of her body drifts into him carving its aura into his heart




Her eyes widen, drawing him down into her dream



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Bitsa #1
1 small tub leftover tuna casserole
2 slices sourdough bread
1 glass tomato juice
mayonnaise, salt, fresh ground pepper, 1 large dill pickle, cold butter

Butter the bread with cold, hard butter
so the chunks stay thick
spread tuna casserole on bread
garnish with condiments
slice dill pickle into long slices
and lay over the top
add final slice of buttered sourdough
cut in half
enjoy with tomato juice, Friday

Bitsa #2:
1 tin brisling sardines, 22-27 count
sliced warm 3 year old cheddar cheese
English Muffin
Dijon mustard, salt, fresh ground pepper, butter
hot tea to taste

Using a fork , pierce the edges of the English Muffin
and separate the halves, then toast it
butter the hot English Muffin
load on the sardines, eating excess as you go
baste liberally with Dijon mustard
salt, pepper to taste
Top with the other buttered half of the English muffin
enjoy with tea, Friday

Bitsa #ultimate
Gather all the bits of flotsam
that roll rich onto the beach
of the day
Like Crusoe and Friday
salvaging hogsheads of cheese
and chipped beef
floating in after the storm
these are the muscles
that lift us
over the falling dark
and carry us up to light
little bitsa this and that as you go


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