Monthly Archives: May 2017

Praying Mantis and Peony, Late May


Praying Mantis and Peony, Late May

After the peony scrolls have been read
And the leaves of the peonies are clustered

Armor, I stand for a while to hear what comes
After the words on the scrolls have washed away

After the rain on the cascading layered leaves
Stills I see one poised on one leaf then grasping

It fully stepping with little effort to its underside then
Another smaller within inches and more

On either side praying mantis and praying mantis
So rare in my childhood I saw only one and now

For the second year they are here roaming
These leaves among the scraps of longing

And the sturdy sky boats of green even
On the porch we have seen them last summer

One the size of my hand climbed
On my daughter’s head and would not come down

The cicada they say is so pure it can live on dew
But the praying mantis who catches the cicada

Is emblematic of courage and perseverance
Here at peace after the rain when everything

That can be read has been read and the mind
Is perfectly balanced on the leaves of days

We stand silently knowing something purer will come
We will have to grasp before it changes yet again



At fifty-two

As many years in my life 

Now as weeks in the year
From my heart came the sound

Of the late May blue jay grown large
Through your fingers feel the handless night

Passing it will not obscure my palm’s river
Where you swam with your children

I know the shape of my death’s shadow 
Like a stick in the water it bends across

The invisible insistence halfway 
Submerged or like a stone caressed

So long it has no shape you know only
How it feels in your palm you know

Only the shadow it casts when it is gone

Song Sung to The Mothers


Song Sung to The Mothers

You are the gate and the path leading away.
Not the nest but the many things

The nest was made from. Built of mud
And moonlight. Without you nothing

Can bond or find its way through darkness.
The mistakes of recognition were all ours:

That you are immortal and unchanging.
The nest by our feet on the path

Is the one we built of such dead twigs.
At night when I sleep it is to the song

My mother sang in the trees before
I was born as the moon pulled

My empty soul across the water

5/6 Reading at Richmond Public Library / Pick a Poem for me to read Saturday!


Following on the heels of the Staunton launch of my new book Wind Intervals, I was fortunate to be invited to read at the Richmond Public Library this coming Saturday. The reading is at 11am, and I’ll be sharing the stage, or veranda (weather permitting, it’s an outdoor reading), with Leona Sevick. I have heard her read a few poems from her new book Lion Brothers, and it’s great stuff.

Thanks to everyone who came out and enjoyed poetry, free coffee, a little violin and trumpet music from my daughters Sophia and Aurora, and some homemade cookies. The special edition of the book (35 numbered and signed copies) is almost sold out! I’m carrying the last three with me to the reading Saturday, along with a handful of copies of the regular edition.

As I often do before public readings, I’m here to ask if there’s a poem you’d like me to read. Anything on this site is fair game! I’m hoping to at least get audio of the reading to post here later in the weekend.

Write your suggestions in the comments field, or email me directly at