Watching Plovers Stand on One Leg

Years ago a writer friend asked how I kept my balance in a life with so many demands. She was worried and upset because her life felt off balance, and she felt overburdened, and torn in multiple directions and like so many of us, she had less time left to write than she liked—which was, like so many of us, her great love. She

Pandemic Poems for Us All #6

Super moon. Today, wifi went down a dozen times, a file wouldn't load, and I burned the cookies. This poem addresses all that. Full Moon PoemThe moon, full; Internet, down,some glitch with, some glitch with the century too—coronas in cahoots, and panic attacksand then we’re crawling out of cubicles,free of monitors and Zoom,and all those uploaded articles,and while the servers spin their rainbow

Pandemic Poem for Us All, #5: Something Rising

Now, even ordinary walks seem heightened, and what is a simple experience watching cranes becomes metaphorical for what must happen as we go through this. Anyway, that's what I hope. Pandemic: Something RisingWalking the old road again,I heard them, chortling high as they flew, that chuckle that sounds like family gossip though of course it’s not. They appeared below rain-stained clouds, a dozen

Pandemic Poems for Us All #1

Here's a poem that comes out of this new experience. Just trying to reflect here the things we are feeling in this new time. Quarantine’s Touch I walked the empty road to a neighbor’s house. I hesitated to knock—I’d have to touch the door, but then I did. She came, her hair mussed, smiled, and put her palm against the glass and I put mine against the cool on my

Pandemic Poems for Us All #4

This goes back a month. I thought this poem-thing was sortof depressing but now, with everything that's happened since, I'm not so sure. Week One: Pandemic Since the first day, I’ve walked the road devoid of snow, past the open meadow, grim with dun grasses, and there, near an open stretch by the pines, a flock of robins, twelve or so, looking thin, foraging for grubs in fallow sod.  Next day,

Pandemic Poems for Us All #3

Poems written in the moment, spurred by the immediacy of pandemic, and not much revised. Is it literature? Not yet! Well, maybe a couple of lines, but still, meant to be shared because what else can we do to compete with isolation? Vaccine Once decided, and without any idea of cost, we figured out first how we’d break the sod, to dig that dead orchard’s turf. We figured it would

Pandemic Poems for Us All #2: Proximity

As promised, another poem-thing. That's what poet William Stafford called his drafts. Again--not deeply revised, no great intent, but springing from the moment. I have the hope, perhaps false, that these poems will all have a short life, that we'll get past this threat, so not need them, and therefore they should not rest long--as I prefer for poems. So here,

50th Anniversary of The Lottery (the draft, not the short story!)

Fifty years ago this evening, December 1, 1969, I sat in a student lounge at Grand Valley State University and was witness to the draft lottery for young men who would be sent to fight in the Vietnam war. It was a harrowing experience and I'll never forget it--I understood many would not return.

Staring at Trees: Best Rest Practice

My writer friend Katey Schultz, sent me a postcard. Snail mail post card. Nice.  On it, a question: “What if our culture valued rest and relaxation?”   Thanks Katey, what if?  IF: the operative word. Ahem. I was busy. I was tired. I didn’t have time. To paraphrase, the world was too much with me…. But you know how it is when favorite people ask a real

A Flag and a Drum: Free Press, Free People Rally

Saturday, March 7 The first person I see as I walk down Front Street in Traverse City, Michigan to stand in front of our regional newspaper office, Record-Eagle, is old friend and organizer Ashlea Walters with her two children.  How lovely, the children here in the bright March sun, demonstrating with us. They jump up and down (hop really—like small rabbit people) with child-sized signs in