Existential

the tired cry

of an infant

crawls its way

through the rubble.

 

the grown child of five,

hears it, between her

own sobs and tears,

her fingers cut and bruised,

her cheek smudged wet and skinned.

 

she hurts holding the baby

across her chest

and bloodies its cloth.

 

with a mother’s eye, this woman

squints to survey

the new landscape.

 

a man of eight runs

to her side, takes the infant,

and they scramble across

the war-torn town

of their birth.

 

 

 

Published in Poet Lore, Vol. 74, No. 1, Spring 1979

A Worldly Lament

where are our brothers, our husbands, our sons?
tell us where the deeds were done.
piles and piles and piles of bones
tell us where our fathers have gone.
where do mass graves lie under the moon?
where women have cried,
where children have grown up too soon.

1991

A Winter Tangent

here is a point of dirt

with rocks sprouting out

and trees digging in.

here wet leaves cling

along the ridge to moss

and mud crackled grass, and

the twitter of birds blows

by in the wind. from

here the globe falls

away. bark climbs

into the sky.

Published in The Lyricist, Vol. XIV, Spring 1980

Early Morning Moon

Into Immortality

like the general who loves peace, content to be unknown,

and the teacher who sees her future in students’ faces,

and the coach who revels unnoticed in team’s success,

joy is sustained in personal stillness and universal care.

 

that in me that moves into Immortality is that which is universal

at the beginning, not the temporary assignments of flesh and temperament

that line my life day in and out, the particularities of my mask

or the gushing of my thought, the hopes or dreams of personal.