Sunday, February 14, 2021

Two Small Winter Poems

Waking In a Snow Globe

The wild wind tipped the world
upside down while I was sleeping.
Now, snow catches in tree-caught gusts of air
that blows small birds off course
and sets the wind chimes swinging.
High above the spinning white,
the sun is prying the clouds apart,
loosing snowy feathers from the downy puffs,
until the air itself is made of silver and gold.

Winter Day

Snow is falling all around,
it swirls and eddies to the ground,
it makes a kind of whispery sound,
as is comes tumbling down.

Sunday, February 07, 2021


With all the Bernie mitten memes circulating the internet, I found myself thinking about mittens and remembered this poem from my years in the classroom teaching poetry. It was winter term and one second grader said, "It's cold out. Make up a poem about mittens." So I did.


I found a mitten in the snow,
just one, just thumb and hand,
and stripes of red and green and white
around the mitten band.

I don't know how it came to be
alone and in the snow,
or where the other one might be
and how was I to know?

perhaps it from a pocket fell,
perhaps a child lost it,
perhaps it kept a snowman's hand
from getting cold and frosted.

I hung it from a bushy branch
that grew there on the lawn,
and next day when I went to look
the mitten? It was gone.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Friday, January 29, 2021



In early 2000, I returned to school to earn a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, VT. My roommate was a sturdy woman from Michigan. Both of us were used to the cold and often during that first winter semester we rose at 6 a.m. and booted, hatted, and mittened, we walked for 45 minutes before breakfast.
One chilly day we decided to walk into the town to fetch a couple of gallons of drinking water. We bundled up as usual and walked the half mile down the hill to the store. There were very few cars on the road and still fewer people. In fact, we hadn’t seen a single soul until we entered the store. At the clang of the bell over the door, the young clerk looked up in surprise. We grabbed two gallon jugs of water each and approached her, smiling. She rang us up and then asked, “Are you guys from the college?” We said we were and she shook her head. “Did you drive down?” she asked. We said, no, we’d walked. Why?
“I’ve heard there’s some strange folks up there,” she told us. “Who else would walk down the hill for water when it’s 40 below zero?”
Roomie and I looked at each other. 40 below? Really? A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. The hike back uphill seemed much colder than the walk down and by the time we reached our dormitory, half the water in each jug was frozen.
My outdoor thermometer this morning read 3° and the wind chill is bringing the temperature down to a balmy -13°. But, I’m running low on milk – anyone up for a walk today?

Friday, July 10, 2020


These are the long nights
The middle of July nights
The pink and blue and cream nights
The best time of the year

They’re firefly and moth nights
Fiddle cricket tune nights
Stay out late to play nights
Until the moon appears

These are the hot nights
The no pajama, sheet nights
The window open, fan nights
The nights of frog and loon

The bicycle and stroll nights
The freezy ice cream treat nights
The skinny-dipping pond nights
That always end too soon

Sunday, July 05, 2020

It's NOT Boring!

I don't know why some people claim that country living is quiet and boring. Take, for example, the other night. My friend and neighbor, J, and I were taking our regular evening walk that passes the dam at the north end of the pond. Water crashes over and pools in the rocks below before hurrying on its way downstream. We often stop to lean on the bridge railing to watch the great blue heron fish for its evening meal. It's noisy there so we stop on the edge of the one way bridge and check both ways for oncoming traffic before crossing, which is why we saw a large van approach the bridge and stop. The driver leaned out and pointed to the neighbor's lawn across the street where a large black mama bear was galloping, a wobbly black cub doing its best to keep up. They weren't more than 50 or so feet from where we stood.

"You know, they were right behind you," said the driver, "until I sort of nudged them off the road onto the lawn there."

Insert bug-eyed emoji here. J and I waited until the bears had disappeared into the woods before continuing on. Home again, we sat at my patio table to discuss the day when J looked out across the lawn and remarked, "Brian (her son) must have put his chickens in early."

"No," I corrected her. "He never let them out this morning. The door to the outside pen is gone."

"Gone?" she said. "Where is it?"

"I don't know," I remarked carelessly. "It's not my door."

She gave me a funny look, wondering why I was not as curious as she about where the door actually was, and when she left for home, went out past the chicken pen to see what had become of it. I heard her hoot. She came back a moment later, almost doubled over, gasping out that the door was not gone, as I had assumed, but merely pushed back against the wire fencing. The fact that I had not seen it nor been curious as to its whereabouts was the cause of great hilarity. I had to laugh with her, wondering out loud what else in my life I missed when it was right there in front of me had I bothered to be curious.

Not ten minutes later, while I was weeding the beets in the waning light, I heard my name being called across the yard. I looked about but could not see J anywhere. Finally she shouted, "I'm locked in the hen house! I need rescuing!"

It was my turn for hysterics. I chuckled and chortled as I hot-stepped it across her backyard to the hen house. Sure enough, the door with its simple hook and loop mechanism, was firmly latched.

"How did you do that?" I queried, as I lifted the latch and set her free. She looked chagrined.

"Well," she admitted, "I forgot to turn the hook aside as I usually do and when the door slammed behind me, I heard it fall." She was looking at the ground as she said this. She looked up and confessed, "It happened a couple of weeks ago, too, but I managed to get out the door at the other end of the house. But I've since locked that one."

"From the outside," she added.

On our way back to her house we wondered aloud how long she might have had to stay in the hen house had I not been outside and heard her hollering. We agreed it would be a good idea to check on each other daily. "And now," she said, "I'm going to bed before anything else can happen."

I haven't heard form her yet this morning. Excuse me while I go check.