Friday, July 23, 2021

The Mature Poet Takes a Walk in the Woods

 “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.” (T.S. Eliot)

Whose woods these are
I think I know

but I’m not altogether certain
and will therefore
try to be discreet.

It’s getting harder to see the path
with all this fog coming in on little cat feet,
but, after all, we learn by going
where we have to go.

And, it has to be said,
these woods are lovely,
dark and deep
and I do so love hiking.
I’m sure I’ll come out of them
in due time and go gently
home into that good night.

[Quiz: Can you identify the four poets I stole from, one twice?]

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Old Regrets

I never went steady in high school,
even though I prayed and asked God
to let some boy like me that much.
I never wore a ring around my neck.
Seventeen magazine showed me
which clothes to buy, which shade
of lipstick would be the most alluring
with my skin tones,
told me how to fix my hair
and gave me tips to make the boys notice me.
Either I didn’t do it right
or the advice was sub-par.
In the movies Sandra Dee
and Annette Funicello went to proms,
wore bikinis at the beach
and always sported a ring around their neck.
I never did any of that.
Last week I decided to make up
for my loss. I took off my wedding ring,
put it on a long silver chain,
and slipped it over my head.
Hal looked at me, asked, “What
are you doing that for?” And laughed.
I laughed, too, put the ring back
where it belonged and marveled
that somehow my life had turned out good

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Confessions of an Ex-Elder


In the early days
before the great divorce,
we used the dreadful language
of compliance. We, the elders, met
in our councils and carefully
considered doctrinal crimes
and excesses of inclusion.
It was a grim endeavor.
I shuddered under the weight
of words. Faith and Practice
seemed a stern Quaker bible,
precise and unforgiving.
But we did our job, pinned
our specimens to the board,
examined under magnification.
When deemed appropriate,
we issued judgment—
out of compliance—
and excommunicated whole
Since those days
I find myself in isolation,
not wanting to enter a church.
Secretly—or not—
I am out of compliance
with all of it.