Transition ~ with audio



Wait for the brink of the falls to touch the roiling waters at its base,

or the maple to bend its branches to kiss the leaves lying at its feet.

One drop will follow another, and the precipice remain.

New buds will open, and the tree stand tall.

But autumn leaves will crest those falls,

kiss the waters waiting below.

I will breathe the mist hanging motionless.

The moment will end.

My life will continue,

each moment on the cusp.

“Transition” originally appeared at Vita Brevis in October 2018.

Image: The American Falls at Niagara Falls ~ 13 August 2009, 10:26pm

Forbidden Fruit ~ with audio

Forbidden Fruit

Nothing like the birch, its slender height
bowing with the wind, its white skin peeling,
even floating delicately, your mother stands firm,
sometimes stout, spreading her arms in a canopy
that bears you, offers your delicacy to the world.

And what a delicious fruit you are. Sweet
or tart as any temptress could be, you cling
to the branch offering you, retaining a stem
that measures the promise you hold
with each twist. Each turn brings a luster
to your skin that seduces even as you blush
at the mere touch, inviting that first kiss.
Whether soft or firm, the flavor of your flesh
does not disappoint, is relished to the very end.

Ah, but then your connection to birch sets in
as you tickle my throat, and then my ears,
until I feel an itch even stronger than that
which tempted me to know your taste,
my tongue and throat swelling, begging
for relief. I resign myself to knowing
my sensitivity means you must feel
a fire inside of you, but isn’t it fitting
that it satisfies my passion for you,
your sweetness even richer as cobbler or pie?

Oral allergy syndrome is a reaction to the proteins in certain foods that mimic those in a pollen that causes allergies. My reaction to certain raw fruits and nuts (walnuts, almonds, apples, cherries, peaches, etc.) indicates that I am allergic to birch pollen.

The prompt for Day 24 of National/Global Poetry Writing Month
at is to write a descriptive poem about a fruit.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

River Distancing ~ with audio

River Distancing

My kayak glides on the surface, the paddle
caressing the water in a smooth, easy rhythm,
while the sun glints off each ripple leaving the bow.

An oriole crosses the stream, is soon gone in the brush.
Woodpeckers and cardinals call out as crows
take flight. Turkey vultures circle lazily overhead.

Sunbathing turtles ignore my presence,
until my waves reach them, their plop into the water
one small part of the harmony surrounding me.

Closer to nature is my kind of social distancing.

Here’s my poem for the day, once more off prompt on Day 8
of National/Global Poetry Writing Month.
Shared at

Guiding Lights ~ with audio


Guiding Lights

Awake in this moment
our concerns far behind us,
we make our way,
reflecting on direction.

Beneath the gaze
of a thousand million souls,
guided by their light,
our path is chosen.

Our course made clear,
we embrace the calm
that descends upon us
going forward, together.

“Guiding Lights” was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone
and originally appeared
at The Ekphrastic Review in September 2018.

Image source: Starry Night Over the Rhone/Vincent van Gogh (Wikipedia)

shared emotion ~ with audio


shared emotion

thought, emotion
in a relay race
through body and mind
each lap igniting sparks
firing across synapses
spoken, unspoken

thought, emotion
facing a tsunami of
slowly seeping away
leaving behind
sodden ash

thought, emotion
in a dull glow
re-firing to
bridge a gap
commune with
the outside world

“shared emotion” originally appeared at bonnie mcclellan’s weblog
during International Poetry Month 2017, where the theme was
“Neural Networks: The Creative Power of Language.”

Morning in the Market ~ with audio

Morning in the Market

Children race across the square
hair flowing, skirts blowing.
Shopkeepers lower their awnings
and bring out their wares.

An apple falls from a cart,
bumping along the cobblestones,
evading the children as it tumbles
between a vendor’s legs.

Old women file into the square,
some with aprons, some without.
Kitchens await their return
with breads and meats for the day.

The air buzzes with conversation,
prices questioned, gossip shared.
Mid-morning finds the carts half-empty,
breads arrayed to fill the spaces.

An apple rolls from beneath a cart,
cool from lying in the shade.
Sunlight glints on red,
and the children spy their quarry.

The bustle lessens, somewhat,
the shoppers finding fewer choices.
A reminder of the mid-day meal,
the sun shines high overhead.

The day’s fare nearly gone, now,
the last remaining vendors close up.
Plans already set in motion
hint at tomorrow’s activity.

An apple lies, half-eaten,
the game long over.
The taste of nearby orchards plays
on the tongue of a laughing child.

This is my response to the prompt To market, to market!, from Sarah at dVerse.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons – Market Scene, by Pieter Aertsen

Ken G.

Too Many Variables ~ with audio

Too Many Variables

We had a theory, but we took it
for fact. What is a formula,
when there are no constants?

Not you.

Nor I.

There is no resolution
in a constant state of flux,
going forward like standing still,

a clean slate the only solution.

The prompt for Poetics: Theories of Everything and Anything,
from Merril at dVerse, is to write a poem about a specific theory,
or to write a poem that uses the word “theory.”
I chose the latter.

Acceptance ~ with audio


All of life is change. To deny so
is a mistake too often made.
We recognize growth in our children.

Why not so in ourselves?
Opportunities arise. Tragedy strikes.
Each has the potential to affect our attitudes,

our outlook on life, those effects
trickling down so that we are not
as we once were, who we once were.

I have not embraced my change, and stumbled,
recovery coming only after acknowledging
that the product of that change is who I have become.

The prompt for Day 29 is to write “a poem that meditates on an emotion you have felt powerfully.” As suggested, I’ve opened with a declarative statement.

Letter(s) to Self ~ abecedarian poem

The prompt for Day 19 is to write an abecedarian poem, with 26 words in alphabetical order or one having each line following the order of the alphabet. I chose the latter.

Who knew the prompt would lead to a rant?
(So much for following poet Ada Limón’s advice about outrage.)

Letter(s) to Self

After further reflection,
Buoyed by false confidence
Concocted through a desire to be a team player
Despite my own objections,
Engagement in this gimmicky form,
Formed of alphabetical lines,
Gives this verse as evidence of failure,
(Having reached this conclusion:
Inspiration be damned)
Just as expected from previous experience.
(Knowledge woefully obtained
Last time around.)
More to the point,
Nothing about this exercise
Offers any incentive,
Particularly given a desire for sanity,
(Quietly muttering to self)
Regarding poetic worth.
Such is the agony acquired here
That a session of therapy may be in order,
Unless I can convince myself that this experience,
Virtual or otherwise,
Will lead to a better understanding of these
XXVI alleged reasons to participate in this exercise.

You must understand, by now, my agreement with this:


Image source: Astronomy Picture of the Day & Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration


Wandering Kingfisher Wondering ~ with audio


Wandering Kingfisher Wondering

How long have I been sitting on this branch?
Did I just get here, or am I about to leave?
You know, I don’t particularly mind the flight across the river.
Of course, I’m no starling. I know I can look languid,
rising and falling in flight as I dart along.
After all, there is a view to be admired.
And fish to spy out. There’s one now!

No problem, I’ll get the next one,
but that water sure was refreshing.

Wait, what’s that noise? There, upriver.
It’s that guy in the boat, again.
The one who splashes water on both sides.
What’s with him? Can’t he afford a motor?
It takes him forever to get anywhere.
He’s not just slow. He’s always stopping
to hold that think up to his eye.
But wait, he sees me. Time to dart to the other side.
Oh man, now he’s splashing again.
He’s coming over here now, isn’t he?
You know, he moves a lot faster when that thing is in his lap.
At least he can see where he’s going.
Well, I’m not going to hang around and wait for him.
It’s time to dart downstream. I’ve got fish to catch.

He’s still following me! This is going to be one long morning.

The prompt for NaPoWriMo.netDay 17 is to write a poem
that presents a scene from an unusual point of view.”

Images from Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Male Belted Kingfisher (top) – © S. K. Jones/Macaulay Library
Female Belted Kingfisher (with fish) – © William Higgins/Macaulay Library
Kingfisher audio from Cornell Lab of Ornithology