Anthropocene Labyrinth

Anthropocene Labyrinth

Which way to turn, and what to do
What steps to take to puzzle through
The ills inflicted on this Earth
Each one diminishing its worth

Resources stripped until they’re gone
With waning hope each breaking dawn
Rain forests stripped of all that’s green
Incorporated greed, obscene

Pollutants pumped into the skies
We choke the seas, yet still they rise
Vile toxins dumped into our streams
Descending darkness in our dreams

When each new dawn reveals new blight
There seems no end to this long night
The darkness here within this maze
Increases with each passing day


This poem is my response to earthweal weekly challenge: ANTHROPOCENE LABYRINTH, where Ingrid says, “For this week’s challenge, let’s examine the possibility of rhyming, or perhaps even dancing our way out of the Anthropocene labyrinth.” I actually wrote this in iambic tetrameter, and we all know I’m not all that fond of rhyme or meter.

Shared with Open Link Night #300 September Live

Image source: Denver Museum of Nature and Science

The path that once was ~ American Sentence

The path that once was is no longer, yet it was always meant to be.

Thanks go to my friend, Bruce Anderson, whose photos inspired this American sentence.
The location is in the Northern Sonoran Desert near the base of the Catalina Mountains,
near Tucson Arizona. (Click images for larger view in new tab)

~ The American sentence is a form created by Allen Ginsberg.  Read about it here. ~

Cazadero Beauty

Cazadero Beauty

Gently touching a madrone,
marvel at the beauty of its skin.

Follow trails through meadow and wood
to find works of art at every turn,
flowers that mirror the beauty of this place,
living in harmony with nature.

Follow the line of tracks left by wheels
that lumbered through here decades ago
and find a yurt sheltered beneath
the grand canopy of its surroundings.

Sit within a natural amphitheater of stone
that has heard lines of poetry
and seen the smiles of children.

Lie in the forgiving moss
that carpets a stone outcropping.

Witness a massive oak
embracing a giant granite boulder,
a marriage for the ages.

Kneeling before mighty redwoods,
shed tears of joy at their majesty.

Look down into a valley of green
and know that a river rushes
through its depths to the sea.

Feel the warmth of candlelight,
the late evening sun filtered through the forest.

Experience all of this on the land,
Cazadero’s gift as envisioned by a true artist.


This poem is my second response to The Sunday Whirl – Wordle #518.


Cazadero Nature and Art Conservancy – owned by Margaret Fabrizio and known as The Land – is a 40 acre property in Sonoma County dedicated to the preservation and respectful honoring of natural habitat with non-invasive art works. Pictures of the art installations can be seen here, and the buildings here.

My other Cazadero poems can be found here.

On a Wing and a Prayer ~ flash fiction

On a Wing and a Prayer

Touching down at the end of the runway in a maneuver too late to provide a safe landing, the wheels of the airplane chirp and skid before continuing on a line that tears a path through a carpet of tall grass and wild flowers, leaving a scar on the land. One after another, the members of a missionary contingent slide down the emergency exit and gather in a small circle where they drop to the ground, kneeling.  They produce votives, each from a breast pocket, and pray by candlelight, thankful that they are among the living.


This foolish bit of flash fiction is my response to The Sunday Whirl – Wordle #518.


Click images for larger view in new tab.

Desolation ~ with audio



Rock and snow my prison cell
Stranded in the midst of beauty
Blue waves and sky no consolation
Thoughts of rescue from this desolation

Now as distant as a passing ship,
With its snapping sails
A faint syncopation
Against the murmur of swans

Taunting me from afar
The freedom of their aerial maneuvers
Bringing only profound sadness
Each passing day

The spark of hope dimmer
Until frozen
Splintering, shattering
Finally gone

“Desolation” has it’s roots in a poem I wrote for a prompt from Jane Dougherty and subsequently edited for The Ekphrastic Review, where it was published in October 2018.  It was inspired by In the Blue Expanse, by Arkady Rylov, and can be found here.

Shared with OpenLinkNight #299 at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Mighty Big Boy ~ video poem


Mighty Big Boy

Comin’ down the tracks,
ground beneath me shakes.
Rollin’ right along,
steam left in its wake.

Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.
Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.

Wheels keep on turnin’,
giant pistons pound.
Six thousand horses
pawin’ at the ground.

Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.
Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.

Massive behemoth,
here for all to see,
rollin’ cross-country.
Piece of history.

Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.
Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.

Put out to pasture,
glory days long gone.
Still a stirring sight
worthy of a song.

Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.
Take it ’round one more time,
one more time, one more time.

This poem is my response to Poetics: Oral Poetry, the prompt from Ingrid at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which asks us to begin without putting pen to paper – “say the words in your head, or repeat them out loud, trying “to complete the poem as far as possible without writing it down. Think about the devices discussed above: regular rhythms, repeated phrases or ‘motifs’, alliteration and rhyme schemes – anything to aid the memory and help the words to flow.”

I went out on Tuesday to see a steam locomotive, “Big Boy 4014.” Union Pacific purchased 25 “Big Boy “ locomotives in the 1940s. Eight still exist, and this engine is the only one that is operational and not in a museum. 4014 was retired in 1959 and was converted from coal to oil when its restoration was completed in 2019. The engine produces 6200 horsepower at 41 mph. With its tender, it is 132 feet in length and is the largest operating locomotive in the world. It came through my town, yesterday and today, and it will complete its tour by returning to its home in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

I started composing this as I edited the photos I took this morning, pausing to type each stanza as I progressed.

If you have the time, check out my poem A Giraffe Lullaby, posted 25 Sept 2019. I think it actually fits this prompt.

Unfurling ~ haiku

I submitted the two poems here to Pure Haiku
for Freya’s latest theme, Unfurling, haiku inspired by artwork by Elisa Ang.
The second haiku was featured at Pure Haiku on June 8th


many paths open
when in search of direction

open to new heights
coiled response in readiness
reaching for spring’s light

As always, thank you to Freya Pickard for this feature, and for offering these prompts.

True Direction ~ soliloquy

True Direction

Where is it that I’m headed
paddling these waters?
Is there any direction?
Do I merely wander?

Although no simple answer,
it is a simple choice.
When I’m upon these waters
I hear my inner voice.

The quiet I encounter,
in spite of gay songbirds,
allows my thoughts to wander,
I have, by this time, learned.

Each time I raise my paddle
upon this placid stream,
I find my true direction
is closer than it seems.

This poem is my response to Meeting the Bar: Soliloquy, the prompt from Victoria at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a soliloquy, giving a glimpse of inner thoughts and feelings, such as emotions, plans, and desires. I’ve tried to include some examples of poetic device as requested, by using rhyme or near-rhyme and loose meter.

Image: Ellicott Creek, Amherst New York
(click image for larger view in new tab)

Butterfly Kisses ~ acrostic plus

Butterfly Kisses

Beauty on the wing
under a hot August sun
takes the mind on flights of fancy.
Twists and turns, taken
easily on the lightest breeze,
round and round in loops and swoops,
free of restraint, free of complaint,
leaving wispy traces of airborne color,
yellow, orange, and blue.

Who could it be, you might ask.
Certainly not you, nor I.
Colorful antics such as this,
that bring us thoughts of carefree bliss
on these hot days of summertime,
belong to lovely butterflies.

This poem, is my response to Poetics: For the love of puzzles…, the prompt from Lillian at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. Similar to an acrostic poem, in which the first letter of each line, when read from top to bottom, spells out a name, a word, or a message, in the Acrostic Plus, created by Lillian Hallberg, the first letter of each line in the first stanza, when read from top to bottom, spells out a message or word(s) and in the second stanza, the last letter of each line when read from top to bottom, spells out the rest of the message or additional word(s).

Image source: Wikimedia Commons