Sunday, February 07, 2016


This has been a fairly snow-less winter so far. One Sunday morning writing prompt, however, dealt with the white stuff. Here's the result.

Write 12 ways of looking at snow.

One
an arbitrator between autumn and spring
keeping storm scores and stats on plummeting temperatures

Two
a cat burglar sneaking in on a passing cold front,
stealing color, hiding the tricycle and the dog’s dish,
disguising the starkness of trees with fluff,
covering its tracks as it leaves

Three
a bully, sweeping in on a fierce wind,
a white fury casting cold spells,
spinning and dancing like a colorless gypsy
tapping its tambourine fingers against the window panes

Four
A blanket of silence covering sky and earth,
flung out and floating down silently
in heaps and wrinkles

Five
an ice challenge, wicked, cold, and inhospitable,
hard as rock, unyielding even to the distant sun

Six
a nightmare like a thief in the night
stealing the familiar, leaving an expanse of
nothingness where light was

Seven
a gossamer dream, a fairy tale, a story of
eternal cold dressed in ermine, of diamond faceted jewels
that glitter under a pale moon

Eight
a blustery uncle, all noise and fake promises
who rushes in, pulls out his watch, and says, “I must hurry,”
as he dashes off

Nine
a lingering guest, one who arrives unexpectedly, expects a
room and food, languishes on the sofa with a hand to her head,
her scarf trailing across the roads and fields and tangling
in the branches of the trees

Ten
an artist with a monochromatic palette, painting with broad strokes

Eleven
an eraser, an impenetrable veil, a swirl of opaque white, a myriad of genies
escaped and coalesced, their arms and bodies so entwined that no light
pierces their white shadows

Twelve
a silence so profound one can hear only his own heartbeat counting the seconds,
his own blood swishing to the same tempo of snowflakes falling on his sleeve




Monday, December 07, 2015

Morning Report From My Western Window


There is a window in my bedroom wall that faces west through which, when I am inside looking out, I can see the rise of a mountain, its flanks like bits of blue paint splashed between the trees that grow close to the house. At this time of year, late autumn, the ground is papered brown with fallen leaves and every branch and twig is gilded by the early morning sunlight. Through bare branches I can even glimpse the pond across the road where geese are gathering by the hundreds to plan their journey south. A gray squirrel scampers in the leaves, a cardinal flaunts its jeweled feathers, a chickadee pipes a morning tune. All that I see is natural – birds, water, trees, mountain, sky. I’ve made none of these, own none of them. They frame my day, I move among them. They are what’s outside that window. They don’t come in.


Ah, but I can go out. I can gaze into my house from the other side of that window and see what the trees, the squirrel, the birds might see if they cared to look in. Should it be a surprise that the first thing I notice in that window is me, looking back at me? There I stand, reflected, surrounded by sunlit trunks, gazing into my own eyes. Only when I change my focus can I see the room I’ve left, the walls beyond reflection, the window in the east wall, my computer where I’ll record all this, the wall of book-crowded shelves, the ceramic turkey I’ve forgotten to replace with something more Christmasy. I notice that from the outside my window looks dark, the result of all that’s reflected in the glass while from the inside, the window looks quite clear and bright. I can see out far better than I can see in, but when I step close to the window and shade my eyes with my hands there is my room, my things, what I’ve made and what I own, what I am, really, reflected in things.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

When the Geese Go








Written on a blue paper sky,
late autumn sentences are spelled out with twigs,
punctuated by small, black birds.

A sketch of leafless trees,
colored-pencil straight,
line up in shades of gray and brown.

Tales of a winter hillside,
an ice-skimmed pond,
geese listening for their cue

to close the book,
leaving silence and snow
behind.




Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Pond at Dawn

Sunday morning prompt: Wake up some part of your participation in nature – what will please you when you go out there, what will delight you, what is offered – use all senses.




At first I was aware
only of the outer me,
face in the cold, damp air,
hands stuffed in warm pockets,
feet planted in the bedraggled grass at pond’s edge.

Wavelets moved in stately fashion
in response to a breeze I barely felt.
A single white swan floated.
A single gray heron flapped.
A single black crow called.

In that moment I felt myself let go.
My heart beat—measured, stately—
matched the waves
that bore the swan,
that lured the heron,
that listened to the crow.

I was the wave, the birds, the minimum breeze.
My breath was theirs,
their heartbeats mine,
in that consciousness that holds us all at once

in the palm of its hand.