Archive for the ‘time’ Category

pearl harbor

for a while

i imagine

the memories were sharp with the smell of gunpowder

and blood

freighted with

screams or shouts and billowing black smoke

startled leap from paradise to hell

the anger



every year they were silent on that day

wearing black

or flags

or little yellow ribbons

anyone alive then remembers

the day that will live in infamy


twelve years later

after peace was struck

the planes and ships all came home

with their soldiers and sailors and pilots

all safe

my mom was born

and she doesn’t remember it

in that visceral way

sure there was a moment of silence in school

and they all learned about it in their history books


it was one of those facts

to remember for the


no sense of horror

no infamy-provoking reactions


so then there was me

born in the bountiful and coddled 80’s

that crazy decade

so rich

so safe

we were king of the world

and even the Iron Curtain fell

so everything was great

till 9/11 crashed in

(seventy years after — a lifetime)

another day to live in infamy

smoke and shouts

screams and the startled leap

down into death

breaking glass and crumbling steel

the smell of fear

as we were once again





but twelve years are passing

and the schoolkids were babies on that day

no visceral reaction

no memories of pain and panic

only a question on a test

something the teacher goes on about

and those politicians give for a reason to keep the war going

for years and


until we all forget why

and time heals all wounds

until next time


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Year after year after year
I have come to love slowly

how old houses hold themselves—

before November’s drizzled rain
or the refreshing light of June—

as if they have all come to agree
that, in time, the days are no longer
a matter of suffering or rejoicing.

I have come to love
how they take on the color of rain or sun
as they go on keeping their vigil

without need of a sign, awaiting nothing

more than the birds that sing from the eaves,
the seizing cold that sounds the rafters.

“Old Houses” by Robert Cording, from Walking with Ruskin. © CavanKerry Press, 2010. Reprinted with permission.


I love the character of historic houses – sometimes I think I would like to live in one.  It seems wonderful — the memories in the walls, the things people have seen and done, the years that have happened and been lived in it.  The character of the woodwork and the craftmanship of old architecture.  I know that floors squeak, water pipes might not be up to it, outlets might be scarce, but someday I would love to live in a beautiful old house.

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My father’s farm is an apple blossomer.
He keeps his hills in dandelion carpet
and weaves a lane of lilacs between the rose
and the jack-in-the-pulpits.
His sleek cows ripple in the pastures.
The dog and purple iris
keep watch at the garden’s end.

His farm is rolling thunder,
a lightning bolt on the horizon.
His crops suck rain from the sky
and swallow the smoldering sun.
His fields are oceans of heat,
where waves of gold
beat the burning shore.

A red fox
pauses under the birch trees,
a shadow is in the river’s bend.
When the hawk circles the land,
my father’s grainfields whirl beneath it.
Owls gather together to sing in his woods,
and the deer run his golden meadow.

My father’s farm is an icicle,
a hillside of white powder.
He parts the snowy sea,
and smooths away the valleys.
He cultivates his rows of starlight
and drags the crescent moon
through dark unfurrowed fields.

“The Farm” by Joyce Sutphen, from Straight Out of View. © Beacon Press, 1995. Reprinted with permission.


I want to write like this when I grow up…I love poems about the country and the seasons, and this is lovely and evocative.  It reminds me a little bit about what I like about the book Treasure at the Heart of the Tanglewood — the beauty of the changing seasons and the poignancy of passing time.

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A Boat

by Margaret Atwood

Evening comes on and the hills thicken;

red and yellow bleaching out of the leaves.
The chill pines grow their shadows.

Below them the water stills itself,
a sunset shivering in it.
One more going down to join the others.

Now the lake expands
and closes in, both.

The blackness that keeps itself
under the surface in daytime
emerges from it like mist
or as mist.

Distance vanishes, the absence
of distance pushes against the eyes.

There is no seeing the lake,
only the outlines of the hills
which are almost identical,

familiar to me as sleep,
shores unfolding upon shores
in their contours of slowed breathing.

It is touch I go by,
the boat like a hand feeling
through shoals and among
dead trees, over the boulders
lifting unseen, layer
on layer of drowned time falling away.

This is how I learned to steer
through darkness by no stars.

To be lost is only a failure of memory.

“A Boat” by Margaret Atwood, from Selected Poems II: 1976-1986. © Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1987. Reprinted with permission.


No great comments, just like the mental picture and the idea of the darkening lake.

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Another lovely gem from Writers’ Almanac.  This one reminded me of all the different times I see something small, stark, or swift — unexpected, nearly unseen beauty — and would have missed it except for…you name the circumstance.

I hope I remember to look at the world around me and not push by in a daze, so busy to get to my destination that I miss the journey.  To live my days conscious of life’s goodness and not to “disappear” into the end of my life with only a narrow vision.

River (click to listen)

by Pat Schneider

A delicate fuzz of fog
like mold, or moss,
all across the river
in this early light.
Another day, I might
have still been sleeping.

What a pity. How the stars
and seas and rivers
in their fragile lace of fog
go on without us
morning after morning,
year after year.
And we disappear.

“River” by Pat Schneider, from Another River: New and Selected Poems. © Amherst Writers & Artists Press, 2005. Reprinted with permission.

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