In my teens and 20s I traveled a fair amount. It was all on the cheap, which I still think is the best way to see the world.  You just see more and have more encounters when you are walking, biking, or on public transportation; or camping, lodging with people, or using hostels; and when you seek out the local, often less expensive spots.  I never thought I could draw well enough to capture what I saw or experienced, so I wrote poems and poetic prose.  It became a life time habit, and led to boxes of writing pads and files.

On this page are a few samples of poems from a collection I am putting together for publication.  I hope you enjoy them.


I walked down the slope of the mountain in early morning, where moistness covered the forest floor, stone, and trees, and gentleness dripped from green leaves. The air was still, not a breath of wind through the trees, and peace lay easy over the land, silent, and soft

in the misty, foggy, moistness.

Only the chirping of birds, and far off a gentle sound of rolling water in the creek, was heard in the deepening stillness.  In the foggy dew there was little to guide one’s way.  No sense of place or time, just drawing deeper into an expanding, enveloping peace, this leannan-sìthe, in the sorcery of early morning. Under that cloak the world was tender and filling with love, a fairy cloth covering my eyes

in the misty, foggy, moistness.

No horizon to be seen.  The land itself faded behind the mist, and quietness covered all. A thin smoke rose from distant glens and groves enfolded in the gentle, drizzly peace of morning until the trees faded and all were in slumber,

 beneath the misty, foggy, moistness.

No color, no sound, no light, no passing hours, no clear sight of the slopes of hills, when the soft, rainey, mist crept over hill and glen, meadow and creek, and the sìthean was in the quiet

in the misty, foggy, moistness

The soft, dewy mist caressed the land, voiceless, whispering, song without melody, floating fragrant over the valleys, trees, and hollows, while gentleness and the soft caress of love drifted down on the soft blanket of misty, foggy, moistness, when the world was filled with kindness

in the misty, foggy, moistness


Seeds are taken from the house out to the newly ploughed fields.
The fields are taken into the house in baskets.
The scythe lifted from a hook in the barn
brings the field into the barn.
Wheat becomes bread,
grapes become wine,
in a seamless interplay
between nature and human labor.
In the light of candles
this interplay is lifted to the lips
on waves of praise.

How beautiful the kiss
from your warm lips.

Through the Falling Snow

As this soft snow is falling, covering the hillside,
climbing slowly up the windows, piling against
the well house, walls, and trees, and against
barns across the glen, in curving drifts, slow,
lovely, dances veiled in snow mist,
the winter rushing down from the heights
while my daughter watches from the window
with the awe and joy of childhood,
I see in her eyes the elation
that every winter brought to every child
and to all my people over the generations;
In the snow reflected in her eyes, I see
the reflection of snow in my parents’ eyes
and my father as a boy on horseback,
my grandmother at her apartment window
watching the snow fall on Union Square,
and myself in a different time riding a horse
through another snow, on another brae,
cold wind whistling through the trees.

I see, through the frosty window
and light making the snow glisten
and over the mountain gap
as it cuts misty and blue
through the generations,
and far off the broad sea
all separating me on this brae
from my ancestors farming Carolina
or out by the bothy herding
or in the gloomy weavers house
or on docks and ships hauling fish.

I see their houses between the falling
snow and light that strokes the cold hill,
all out of range of sound now, except
perhaps in the soughing of the wind
distant voices one sometimes hear
in the drowsy moments before sleep.

When their childhood ended they
tilled the land and ploughed the sea
and heated the iron and spun the wool
by the strength of their backs and shoulders.
I expend their strength and heritage
ploughing snowdrifts that would melt anyway
and dancing spirals in the sand
and searching in the snows with my daughter,
plunging my hand in the snow as I did as a child
to bring out whatever I may find
with tears and gratitude, and, hopefully, courage.

The Grove in Spring

A gentle breeze down the brae
evokes music in the crest of trees,
the wind playing the strung crown
forest harp rising from the boughs.

A dew-sparkled sun-dipped fairy grove
with song in its fresh green tresses,
charming the birds from every airt,
swooping down the glen with cheer.

Sweet is the melodious chorus
in concert across the hillside,
when the birds of spring alight
on the branches with life in their beaks.

Sweeter yet to me the sight of yourself
gently swaying beneath the hillock,
limber and fresh, sparkling in the sun
with droplets of dew on every limb.

The Air Too Silent

Where did the bees go?
The bees whose rapid wings
buzzed in the heavy summer,
when air was thick with honeysuckle.

Where did the bees go?
The bees who drank from the
blossoms that surrounded us
in that seemingly endless summer.

Where did the bees go?
The air is so quiet
so still, and I lay by you,
cupping your resting face in my palm,
heavy with the weight of twenty years.

Home. Home, they went home,
full with the nectar of Echinacea.


In the night, the carefully
constructed self we have
breaks down, sometimes
suddenly, but usually in

Still, if we can crawl up out of the night,
in the freshness of morning,
amidst sunlight filtering through
trees, and around houses,
reflected in water,
and spread on the sidewalks
filling with people,
if the claws we felt in the night
can be dislodged,
we are new,
and stand before time
as before a lover,
patiently awaiting their kiss.


Days pass, and at the time, it seems with little haste.
Stones drenched with rain and light and memory border the days
that only in retrospect seem to have swept away.
A girl sits on a stone reading, gazing out at the glen.
A couple lay upon a stone while foaming water rushed by.
Stones placed in circles in a wood, on a beach.
Stones lifted from the surf, rubbed smooth by sand and water, with smooth holes through which one can blow.  Stones set as boundaries, raised in cemeteries, placed by walkways.

Late in the day, when you have returned home
the stones gathered in house or memory
become as statues lining gardens or entrances to homes,
or great hewn markers of human and heavenly tides,
and the stone upon which a young girl rested herself
by a wide river
is a goddess of love, her gaze cast to the side.

Un-required Words

The light had faded to a deep blue,
then slowly to a profound darkness.
The light in the room softened
and street light slipped in,
replacing the sun.
In the end, afraid of the paper, afraid of the poem,
afraid of the pots of tea and single cups,
and the
many glasses of wine,
he went out at midnight to the rows of houses – a simple, quiet
walk past closed grocery stores,
past darkened hardware stores and bicycle shops,
past houses with front doors firmly shut, among
good, sturdy things with their true, honest, vague proportions.

He lingered there before the briny scent of harbor water,
before the boats tied to the pier,
before invisible carts idle with their loads of vegetables,
before padlocked warehouses. Simple and real, like this, he sighed,
among things that demand nothing of you,
that do not require your words in order to be.
A small parlor empty of people and dimly lit,
still amidst the night wind that shook the branches,
a small sign shifting in the breeze,
with a lone chair angled against the far wall near the hearth.
On the chair a violin has been left carelessly resting,
waiting for dead hands to pluck its strings,
the street light resting on its auburn wood.
It is sparks from embers such as these that
prevent the world from simply dying.