We knew we were in a cave

transported, real-not-real
when we heard the birdsong coming down
through the forest just the way, they say
it once had been—except the glass museum
plunk in the former woods—
but you forget, don’t you, tracing brushstrokes
the bull’s eye, prehistory of color painstaking
recreation, pixel by pixel
and thank god we can breathe and crowd
more people than ever walked these woods
or learned to paint ritual creatures
(or dreams or hunt or we don’t really know)
without destroying the dawn of art—
only what’s left of the forest—
and isn’t it glorious, how dark
and atmospheric light and shade play
in this cave?


Ruminating on this article about France’s latest replication of the Lascaux cave paintings…

On a painting by Franz Marc

nature’s own masterwork
shading thoughts



i counted horses, dreamed
distant hill



taking fields for granted



A new form for me–this is a series of three. Learn about the tilus, see the painting, and join the fun at Jane’s Poetry Challenge #42.

Two Found Poems

(1) Songs of the Self

Self-preoccupation as art’s raw material:
allegory, ambiguity, blindness
obsession theories. Monophony. Bleak house.

(2) Bookish

When one has lived a long time alone
the world, the flesh, and angels—no
more than leaves of grass
joyful noise:


First, an index poem for NaPoWriMo Day 12. (Index and other phrases from The Creators by Daniel J. Boorstin.) Second, a book spine poem, a bit behind for NaPoWriMo Day 10.


Wide prairie with a single tree

(add in your paint-blue sky
or cloud-dotted
or billowed with stormy gray
to the west
purple slashed from noon to night)

Wide prairie with a single tree

(make it a cottonwood, leaf shimmer
with a lonely farm—how small!
beside the lake
and give the lake a sunset glint
or a midday dazzle
and a few ducks or geese
or raucous scores of them among the reeds
cranes and herons, blackbirds
a finch?)

Wild prairie with a single tree

(strokes of swaying grasses
more than pronghorn-high
or covering the wheels of the covered wagon
the weary horses’ flanks
sweep it with flowers
purple, golden, red
or make it flattened, winter-scoured
with snow or sleet or death in the wind)

Wide prairie with a single tree

(have you found it yet
under the black, star-streamed sky
or why are you still here)

Michelangelo in Hiding

in the Medici Chapels

A small room to the left of the altar
a trap door and down. You hide
and wait for world’s forces to forgive
to find art is more important
than power’s shifting tides. You sketch.
With charcoal, with your finger.
The corners full of shadows, footsteps
on stone above. A tiny window for light
and it is not always light.

day one day five day twenty
day six twelve nineteen

The food is cold the cell is damp how long
will you huddle here? Haunted by what
you have yet to do, by all those stone hearts
waiting to breathe

Inspired by this article about Michelangelo and by PAD Chapbook Challenge Day 16, a “haunted poem.”

The Irish Basket-Maker

Rain all week, and we bent
to it, the storied views all blurred
green-blue, gray beyond the steady swipe
of windscreen wipers from Dublin
to Cork, Kerry to Clare, Galway to Spiddal
and from one more sweeping sea-drenched
cliff-drive we came to his shop–dry
earth-fragrant, stacks of tall willows
in surprising colors, nature-grown, stacks
of finished baskets, bowls. With sun-glint
smile he walked us through the shaping–
how these things are made deftly, steady
with patience.

PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 2; the prompt is “surrender.”

Young Woman Seated at the Virginals

Daily I dress and sit, touch these keys,
nimble fingers bent to practice a song,
pray music could come from this desire

to sing out strong. What more could I desire
than to sit corseted, cosseted, pressing keys,
waiting for the world to praise my song?

Beneath silken shell a heart beats in song
while I grow old in daily habit, desire
mounting—to shatter this case and its keys.

(Why do I sit at these keys, bursting with song of desire?)