A Sonnet-Ode to Ovid on Departing from Exile

A Sonnet-Ode to Ovid on Departing from Exile

It is known that you were captive on your way,
Some say, a captive, strayed to your exile.
And held you were, by the seaside sway
Of other fates all the while.

Did you chance to see, recalled from your wilting while
There, above the swirling cape, a placid hill
That did not refuse a timely archaic style?
And whither these fruits of a retiring will?

Glancing back at bygone thoughts of home abroad
May yet inspire a prayer to some littoral muse,
Risen whence scuttled hands have clawed,
Hidden from less troubled views.

Yet what have they now who dine on figs in Rome,
Who find themselves yet in search of home?


To Brigit, Between Winter and Spring

The granite mountain was silent,

The wind sounded on the plain,

Birds flew their bent,

Fine horses snorted and strained.

How lofty the mountain,

How low the plain,

How dear the heart’s fountain,

Surging again.

Would it wither in the heights?

Or be scattered upon the plain?

Did they escape the ashes of desire, by

Burning in its flame?

Being divine, is it not a sacred thing,

There, in the heart of spring?

Sonnet on a Tree in Fall on a Busy Street

A tall and slender tree beside the street

Reaches up to the sky with branches bright

And brightening where they the sun do meet,

Encouraged by warmth and light to greater height.

And up they reach, though the chill of fall arrives,

And winter, at times, does whisper down from on high,

From a perfect blue that fills the sky

Beneath a bright though distant looking light,

And nature’s patient plan of procession

And recession in accordance with time,

Determined down by the far direction

Of a moving series of turning signs.

Yet here a spring past its season seems to strive,

And does, to a purer light, in time, arrive.

Sonnet on a Hot Day in Late Summer

“La Grande Jatte”, by Georges Seurat

The not yet fallen sun evokes a scene

Fit for an impressionist’s painting hand:

A scene too bright to be a dream,

Of textured strokes loosely planned,

Of a lakeside view on glinting waves,

And of children with sandwiches and gazing men

-Bass and slow-developing octaves-

Not exactly wise, but with much in their ken.

Forgotten is the hotly contested prize:

No cat to excite the drowsy dog,

And no scene but sinking waves before their eyes,

While a pipe (or cigar?) wafts a fog.

Yet here, unseen, are forgotten dreams reborn,

Lying in the naked grass, awakened and forlorn.

Approaching Los Angeles on a Rainy Day



Photo via bergiesplace.wordpress.com     

Approaching Los Angeles on a rainy day

[To Federico Fellini]

Lost streetlights line electric heels, red and white,

Gritting glamour in the glittering night,

While wild palms overlook fuchsia designs,

Flowing with teal in oceanic lines,

And, here and there, solitary neon beams

Make splashes of watercolor, mixing dreams

And memories in the ocean air

With the desire of an unreal city’s care.

Then you were there in the swirling, spraying, surf,

Where ancient elements meet fervent rebirth,

And in the glittering flow of the natural night,

You seemed to shine with a brightening light,

Entering April in the morning hour,

Stirring new roots amid bitter showers.

Sonnet on a Scarf (Re-Imagined After G. Klimt)

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A colorful scarf, like a tree in bloom,

Ripples in the air-a gesture to the moon-

And seems somehow to shine with a secret light:

A gift of radiance in reflective night,

That here conceals, there reveals, curving lines,

That flow like waves, and flood as each unwinds.

And as each its darkness does unfold,

A florid spring of blooming light  embolds:

But let it fall into memory’s sea,

Where it rises and falls, and rests with thee.

Sonnet on a Day at the End of Summer



On a sunny day, Dandelions basked

In a planter box, drenched in pure sunlight,

As if woven in ever-bright damask,

With silken blooms placed here left, there right.


But then, a cool breeze played upon them,

With a chill reminiscent of autumn,

Whispering soft in petal, leaf, and stem

All declines under an earthly heaven.


But this bloom is no less bright for all that,

And any thing of silk, perhaps, nothing,

untouched by this sharp, that flat,

Pricking the sense a blossom may bring:


For though the ideal may rest in eternity

Its sense would fade within that certainty.

Sonnet on Apples in Late Fall

Along with summer oranges and berries

New warmth brings blossoms from the apple tree,

And from the depths, the season soon carries

An inner sweetness to an airy sea,

Until, in autumn, a distant sun looks down

Which, with pure, pale light observes the bee,

Moving with sure intent from tree to tree,

Now seldom seen, but drinking greedily.

And now its fruit comes full in the chilly air

Ripening in its time of late repair

That for so long seemed now here, now there,

Now grown beyond the embrace of sun-kissed care:

But while one season’s sun begins again,

The fall, forsooth, bears her cool perfection.

Sonnet on a Napkin with a Floral Design

Embossed with flowers, from a factory,

Comes this white, mass-produced piece of tissue.

Its original is past memory,

Unknown the drawing hand of its issue.

[Make transition to “original” smoother]

And yet, one might venture a conjecture

By the copy yet dully pressed thereon.

For it seems, itself, a pattern of nature:

Maternal, toward breathing life ever drawn.

It is, then, with irony, a product

Of nature, a static reproduction,

Of an image whose issue may conduct

To reverie or to further consumption

And as this artifice evokes a memory,

We want life, we use a commodity.

Green Tea

A touch of bitter along with the bright,

A green undertone becomes overtone

When that certain bitter comes to light,

Drawing green images below the foam.

But for one who attends it is also sweet,

Emerging, as it were, from the yellow bright,

So that youth and age seem to meet

As if one were day, the other night.

And so, one might imagine a sunset,

Or a scene, not of “youth beneath the trees”,

Eternally present, beyond time’s net,

But of an ever-bright, darkening sea:

Sounding, indeed, for the “sensual ear”,

Yet tuning the spirit better to hear.