But Wishes Breed Not

Fallow time, moon-dark: no power

of words nor healing much less

smiles tears or beauty-making

(feeble light flickers in clouded lantern)


You know the black river under

starless skies ever cold and silent

No remedy but surrender

touch bottom (source-love)

and resurface


Title borrowed from “We Lying by Seasand,” by Dylan Thomas.

Abyssus Abyssum Invocat

There is a chasm between two souls

deeper than the deepest ocean rift

and more full of watered mystery


To have given birth is not enough

To have carried and nursed is not enough

To love with this whole fractured being is not enough


We have a deeper communion, perhaps

with Other than with each other

That knowledge is not enough


I’ve often dreamt of your drowning

torn from my arms and lost in black water

It is the deep calling to the depths in us


Shall we take the plunge? Shall we sink ourselves

to the very floor of the abyss—abandon all

claim to one another and therein find our kinship?


*9 May 2015…A year since I wrote this, I’m realizing it’s a Mother’s Day poem of sorts…

Inspired by We Drink Because We’re Poets Prompt #9: Write a poem inspired by a Latin proverb. I was interested to find that there are at least two interpretations of this one, “deep calls to deep” (taken straight from the Latin Vulgate translation of Psalm 42) and “hell calls to hell” (meaning, loosely, that one bad thing leads to another). I’ll have to prefer the first sense.

Low Tide

First, pick your way across pool-wet rocks

or slip down the slick-seaweeded ramp


Find the sand ridged with last night’s high tide

and walk toward the distant soft surf


Toes in the cold runnels—still wearing shoes?

Take them off, leave them here


a waypost

a beacon


Watch your feet as you walk

It shrinks the distance


Count the swirled sandworms

piles of sodden glow-green


(You will be there before you know it)


Here a high-dry sandbar—

an island it was


now one with endless wet-brown sameness

under cloud-weep blue-gray sky


You are tired my heart but don’t sit

don’t pause


No need to look up or back

You are plenty far from home


(The water slides toward you)

To Albrecht Dürer, at the Städel Museum

I am in awe of your talent. Moreover

I am astonished by your output. The detail alone—

curly hair, drapery, skin and bones, grimness

softness, colored flesh and glowing clothes


Were you distracted by the weight of your own oeuvre?

The ponderous scholarship that defined your genius?


But the question I have is did you squint

over those cross-hatchings did you rub your eyes

or curse new commissions? Did your wife suffer

your fits of melancholy or did you put on a brave

face or simply close the workshop door?


There is relief in busyness. Or did you truly

believe every pencil line paint stroke wood cut

important and a great legacy to the world?

Believe in your art because you were praised

or because you had no dark pit waiting

whenever the eye or hand took a rest?