contemplation 5: so that you can

it is not that kind of exchange—
skill for skill, love for thanks

or even one small word of appreciation.
if we were all the little teapots

of the world—handle, spout,
bowl—we’d know

we were made to be held,
receive, pour

Inspired by Hafiz, “Energy in Sounds,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky


For poetry makes nothing happen

Don’t say you have never asked yourself
if the world needs beauty as much as it needs
food. May I toil not as a lily of the field,
starscattered while you trudge upright
acknowledged paths, useful.

Like train tracks we need not touch
to hum; with practical passion, quiet
prayer, you swim south as I arrow north
shivering, surviving, a drop-in-this-ocean
way of happening


Title and last line borrowed from W. H. Auden’s “In Memory of W. B. Yeats.”

You seek flowers

Here, see: cupped in my hands

the last of them—spice-scented,

thousand-petaled, gold—

believe me


Friend, the world has gone

dust-dry, apostate

but I have a spring,

winter-heart hidden


These are the bloom

of all our life’s fruit,

watered, deep-rooted:

have them


Heidelberg with Children: Q.E.D.

Erste und immer: whining.

Cogs on the tourist trail tracking

up Schlangenweg’s steep cobbles—

90 degrees, sun, blackberried

dry-wall view over the Neckar

to the Schloss, medieval-gated

university town.

Parents these many years; ergo,

we take it with a grain of philosophy.


Today we drove to Heidelberg to hike the famous Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Walk) via the Schlangenweg (Serpentine Walk). erste =first, immer = always, Schloss = castle