Wednesday, November 16, 2016




Do not dismiss November as a throw-away month, 

a collection of weeks that precedes and follows holidays

or you may miss the revelation that November is, in fact,

nature’s scrapbook filled with remembrance and recollection 

of this year nearly past.

Sunny summer days can come in November, days so warm  

we turn our faces, eyes shut, to the sky and bare our arms,

We cluck with surprise at lavender crocuses blooming again

amid thick blankets of russet leaves, we cock our heads to listen

to the beat of wings overhead as birds seek home (and often

think “but didn’t we just hear them arriving this spring?”)

We notice wintery black branches outlined against white clouds

hurrying across the sky with the urgency of a mother late for pickup.

Even the air is stunning, how can something invisible

be defined by qualities like strong or crisp or crystalline.

Frosty November mornings become balmy days,

then clear, cold, cobalt nights crowded with stars

and a restless moon that glides among them

with the solitary grace of a lone swan searching for its mate.

At day’s end black and coral skies sprawl unrestrained and joyous

as the work of a child left alone in an art room.

November dares us to name its rich, complex colors

and duplicate its elegant patterns effortlessly made

by weeds, vines, corners, shadows, and spiders.

The only adequate response to November’s

unrelenting beauty and art is this: shout praise

praise for streams and puddles and marshes

praise for maples and oaks and pines and cedars

praise for crunchy brown leaf piles

praise for shiny red wild rose hips

shout praise for gold everywhere.

Praise to you, little leaf spiraling confidently through the air,

lingering long moments between tree and ground,

obviously searching for the perfect landing place, well done!! 

And praise to you, November,

for your promises made

and honored each year:

Change is coming soon.

This glory will return.

And the world will be different

by then.


Note:   "November Too" is an elaboration on an earlier poem titled “This November” which was based on an earlier poem titled “November.” Apparently November resonates with me.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016



The Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve's Fourth Annual Coastal Conference will be held Dec. 6 - 7 at the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center.  Writers and artists have been invited to submit work to be displayed, and the following is a short piece I contributed. I post it this particular week as a gentle contrast to the turmoil and vitriol of these days, as a reminder to stay focused on what is good and real in our lives.


 It’s a short walk from my house to a saltwater beach, and I consider daily access to the sight, sound, smell, and feel of the sea a privilege and a luxury. About a month ago I was out for a walk with a friend at Town Neck Beach in Sandwich, Massachusetts. We stopped and stood looking out across the cold, glittering, blue-green December waters of Cape Cod Bay. A powder-blue sky sprawled above me and a few gulls hovered hopefully overhead.

A winter beach is the right time and place to watch the sea here, for you have no distracting thoughts of swimming or snorkeling or sailing or sunbathing when the air and water temperatures are both fairly near freezing. When you stand on a winter beach, the ocean’s majesty and immensity, its pure beauty, are unmarred. Without nearby parents fussing over towels and coolers or jet skis roaring past just offshore, you sense its innate power whether the waters are wind-whipped or placid.

I spotted something on the horizon, a dot that grew larger by the minute. We could see it was a container ship, probably out of Boston, heading for the Cape Cod Canal to our left. By the time we were able to see a red tugboat pulling the mammoth vessel, they both passed into the canal and out of sight.

Standing on this coastal shore on a winter day in the 21st century, imagination provides what progress has destroyed. In my mind’s eye the bay becomes crowded, as it once was, with wooden-hulled vessels and white sails, not metal, computer-run ships. This is the same historic bay that Pilgrims entered nearly five centuries ago, rejoicing with songs of praise to God for the very sight of land after their harrowing voyage across the Atlantic.

I rejoice in my nearness to the sea they braved, and count myself supremely wealthy for it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016