Tuesday, July 31, 2012


by Marilyn Kallet

In the dry summer field at nightfall,

fireflies rise like sparks.

Imagine the presence of ghosts

flickering, the ghosts of young friends,

your father nearest in the distance.

This time they carry no sorrow,

no remorse, their presence is so light.

Childhood comes to you,

memories of your street in lamplight,

holding those last moments before bed,

capturing lightning-bugs,

with a blossom of the hand

letting them go. Lightness returns,

an airy motion over the ground

you remember from Ring Around the Rosie.

If you stay, the fireflies become fireflies

again, not part of your stories,

as unaware of you as sleep, being

beautiful and quiet all around you.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Running on the Shore

by May Swenson

The sun is hot, the ocean cool. The waves

throw down their snowy heads. I run

under their hiss and boom, mine their wild

breath. Running the ledge where pipers

prod their awls into sand-crab holes,

my barefoot tracks their little prints cross

on wet slate. Circles of romping water swipe

and drag away our evidence. Running and

gone, running and gone, the casts of our feet.

My twin, my sprinting shadow on yellow shag,

wand of summer over my head, it seems

that we could run forever while the strong

waves crash. But sun takes its belly under.

Flashing above magnetic peaks of the ocean's

purple heave, the gannet climbs,

and turning, turns

to a black sword that drops,

hilt-down, to the deep.

please note: photo from Chariots of Fire with a wink and a nod to Mr. Bean

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday in CinCity. After the Rains Edition.

Let The Day Go

by Grace Paley

who needs it

I had another day in mind

something like this one

sunny green the earth

just right having suffered

the assault of what is called

torrential rain the pepper

the basil sitting upright

in their little boxes waiting

I suppose for me also the

cosmos the zinnias nearly

blooming a year too late

forget it let the day go

the sweet green day let it

take care of itself

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Porcupine at Dusk

by Ingrid Wendt

Out of the bunch grass

out of the cheat grass

a bunch of grass waddles

my way.

Quill-tips bleached by winter four

inches down: crown of glory dark

at the roots: a halo

catching the sun's

final song:

No way could such steady

oblivion possibly live

up to legend, whatever

fear I might have had

is gone, but still I stop

Short on my after-dinner walk, no

collision course if I

can help it, thinking

at first it's the wind,

nudging a path out of the field

Or one of a covey of tumbleweed

lost like those today on the freeway,

racing ahead of my car that whole long drive

here to the banks of the Snake, to friends

so close they know

when to leave me alone.

As though I were nowhere around, the porcupine

shuffles the edge of the road,

in five minutes crosses

a distance I could have covered

in less than one

And disappears at last into cattails

and rushes, sunset, a vespers

of waterbirds, leaving me

still unwilling to move.

I am a sucker for scenes like this.

The slowest beauty can rush me.

And here I am,

all of my defenses down.

please note: photo by Sheila Skogen

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tornado Warning

by Joyce Sutphen

That is not the country for poetry.

It has no mountains, its flowers

are plain and never poisonous,

its gardens are packed into blue mason jars.

There are no hedges bordering the roads, the sky

flies up from the ditches, loose in every


Yet I knew it to be passionate,

even in its low rolling hills, where a red

tractor pushed through the oat field, cutting

down gold straw and beating a stream

of grain into the wagon trailing behind

in the stubble,

I knew it to be melodious

in its birch woods, leaves shadowing

a stone-strewn river, the path along the bank

softened with pine needles, sunlight

woven in and out of branches, the many

colors of green, solid as a pipe organ's

opening chord,

I knew it would haunt

the memory with its single elm,

where a herd of cows found shade

in the July heat, their bony tails

swinging the tufted bristle left and right

over the high ledge of a hip bone,

while at the horizon, a black fist

of storm came on, something not

to be averted, something singular

in its fury,

as any blind heart knows.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Bean House

by John Koethe

. . . humming in the summer haze.

Diane christened it the Bean House,

Since everything in it came straight from an

L.L. Bean Home catalog. It looks out upon two

Meadows separated by a stand of trees, and at night,

When the heat begins to dissipate and the stars

Become visible in the uncontaminated sky,

I like to sit here on the deck, listening to the music

Wafting from the inside through the sliding patio doors,

Listening to the music in my head. It's what I do:

The days go by, the days remain the same, dwindling

Down to a precious few as I try to write my name

In the book of passing days, the book of water. Some

Days I go fishing, usually unsuccessfully, casting

Gently across a small stream that flows along beneath

Some overhanging trees or through a field of cows.

Call it late bucolic: this morning I awoke to rain

And a late spring chill, with water dripping from the

Eaves, the apple trees, the pergola down the hill.

No fishing today, as I await the summation

Of my interrupted eclogue, waiting on the rain

And rhythms of the world for the music to resume,

As indeed it does: all things end eventually,

No matter how permanent they seem, no matter how

Desperately you want them to remain. And now the sun

Comes out once more, and life becomes sweet again,

Sweet and familiar, on the verge of summer.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday in CinCity. The Hubby is Finally Home Edition.

Tree Marriage

by William Meredith

In Chota Nagpur and Bengal

the betrothed are tied with threads to

mango trees, they marry the trees

as well as one another, and

the two trees marry each other.

Could we do that some time with oaks

or beeches? This gossamer we

hold each other with, this web

of love and habit is not enough.

In mistrust of heavier ties,

I would like tree-siblings for us,

standing together somewhere, two

trees married with us, lightly, their

fingers barely touching in sleep,

our threads invisible but holding.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday in CinCity. Dog Days Edition.

Just to give a brief summary, I did go to New Orleans to see my baby girl and had a great time. It's truly a beautiful city, the food is so unbelievable and there's music on just about every street corner.Trying to coordinate all our days off around September/October and find cheap flights so Hubby can go with next time.

The WWII Museum is there. Bestowed upon the lovely city due to the importance of the Higgin boats--the landing crafts at Normandy--designed and built by Andrew Higgins of New Orleans and originally conceived to traverse the waterways and bayous for the oil companies. Truth be told, MissNewOrleans and I were searching in the corners for crumbs of food got a little hungry around the D-Day invasion and saw the rest of the war fairly quickly. Could certainly go through the museum a time or two more.

Came home for a day and left for the lake. Better planning than I realized since my luggage had lingered in North Carolina. Hot and humid even on the Great Lakes. The yards and trees dry and dusty like everywhere else in the Midwest. We meandered around, read and slept. Found all the new shops and bakeries to be found and listened to bluegrass and jazz at the airport of all places. There's a brand spankin' new multi-million dollar Homeland Security office across from Bergman's fruit and vegetable market that's created some buzz. Three hundred new jobs, none local, but they gotta eat and live somewhere... 

Since we've been home and back to work we've spent most of our days off in our own downtown seeing Porgy and Bess at the opera and attending some of the World Choir Games.

Downtown CinCity was in her glory with hometown people reveling in the music and dozens of cultures and world citizens hanging out with us. Our pigs even got a makeover and some new additions.

Washington Park, across the street from Music Hall, had devolved into a campground for the homeless and a significant breeding ground for criminal activity. It's now been reborn into a jewel of landscaping and planned events for the city. A bluegrass concert tonight.

I've got one more day off work and HoneyHaired and I wanted to check out a consignment shop in Northside or we'll skip out of the heat and see Woody Allen's newest. Though, if we're not home who will let the dog in and out every 5 minutes of the one air-conditioned room we have?

The Poet Visits the Museum of Fine Arts

by Mary Oliver

For a long time

I was not even

in this world, yet

every summer

every rose

opened in perfect sweetness

and lived

in gracious repose,

in its own exotic fragrance,

in its huge willingness to give

something, from its small self,

to the entirety of the world.

I think of them, thousands upon thousands,

in many lands,

whenever summer came to them,


out of the patience of patience,

to leaf and bud and look up

into the blue sky

or, with thanks,

into the rain

that would feed

their thirsty roots

latched into the earth—

sandy or hard, Vermont or Arabia,

what did it matter,

the answer was simply to rise

in joyfulness, all their days.

Have I found any better teaching?

Not ever, not yet.

Last week I saw my first Botticelli

and almost fainted,

and if I could I would paint like that

but am shelved somewhere below, with a few songs

about roses: teachers, also, of the ways

toward thanks, and praise.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday in CinCity. After the Storm Edition.

We saw wreckage all along I-75 South on our way back home and stopped at a rest area particularly devastated. Should probably have thoughts of something profound about the power of nature and its randomness, but all I could think of was how much work it would take to clear this bit of land and how hot it would be. Since many out there still don't have electricity this might seem like a small matter; what to do with all the food in the refridgerator and freezer and how to find a hint of coolness becomes much more mind consuming. We're thankful that for once we're the ones with power though in this heat we're still going up to the neighborhood movie theater for 2 hrs of cooling relief. Moonlight Kingdom Saturday afternoon, The Intouchables on Sunday. Monday back to work.

Heard this gentleman on WWOZ while we were driving through miles of farmland by Lake Erie. WWOZ is a New Orleans radio station and has an app so you can listen on your phone miles away. MissNewOrleans does not listen to it, but still gives me a bit of connection to her. Seems the perfect background for a heatwave kind of day.

After the Heat Wave

by Maxine Kumin

Rain falls down on the newly shorn sheep.

Deerflies lie doggo, black flies are absent.

Not one emerges from the great storehouse.

The barn cats are sleeping, birds are force-feeding

three clutches of phoebes, two of robins

and I am shelling the first of the season's

peas as a merciful summer rain

falls down all morning around me in strings.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday in CinCity. Vacation's End Edition.

The Bedroom

by Paula Bohince

Sheets boiled with lavender, the hard bed.

Handmade eye pillow filled with Great Northerns.

Cactus to the ceiling, orange corsages.

No embarrassment, a calm

that is the opposite of ambition, I think.

Mind like a diary unlocked on the dresser, pages lifting in breeze.

Like those vivid flowers.

Amethyst on a chain: external heart.

Heirlooms in a shallow basket I can look at

without regret, or regard and weep, kneeling, beside.

A water glass, my eyeglasses, arms open

in a waiting embrace. Sleeping on my husband's chest,

his undershirt dryer-warm, arresting as a cloud

in a black-and-white photograph.