As through some distorting lens my eye cannot see what is there but only what sits heavy in my chest--dark pluton of ancient choices, thoughts formed in the furnace and through time warped and bent and changed and turned and now looking new--but so so old--the ore of the idol that called Moses down from Sinai to cast the new law to the ground. If only I could open up to devour this excess--like earth consumed Aaron's handiwork. That this core of mine would vanish, resolve, change itself-- the crooked lines made
straight and my darkness light.

William Howard Taft

He spreads 
his hands to any
who will take him 
and his face is 
wreathed in smiles
at the slightest

Slight paraphase of a description by Louise (Taft's mother)of WHT as a baby-- quoted in Doris Kearns Goodwin, The Bully Pulpit)

Rein de Rein

Not the days, not the nights,
not the ocean, not the waves
not the sky, not the clouds in it

New Poem (Old)

You haunt me--you fill
my head with snapshots of you I
should not see--they boil and seethe
within the limitless confused 
molten furnace. You
say things that cannot be unheard
and like obscene petroglyphs
they litter the landscape
on either side of the molten
frenzy that is the core of who
I am--its banks and curves
unknown and too dangerous
to explore on my own--
and there you stand,
naked and grinning
and poised for the dive
into oblivion I am powerless
to stop--you haunt me.

Haiku sort of

Good Wace tells us that
Constantine to Totnes came
and thereby hangs the tale.

What would the world be
if not for the Duke
of Tintagel's wife?

Response to Ted Kooser's "Selecting a Reader"

Sorry bud
but what you got
is a dude
older than he thought
he'd ever live to be
who doesn't wear
a raincoat because
in Florida's tropical
downpour raincoat
paper bag about
the same thing,
and if he did
would never consider
cleaning it because hell
didn't the rainwater
just do that who
walks into a bookstore
sees your name on
the cover and plunks
down an obscene amount
of cash to be able
to open the book
with his morning coffee. Sorry man,
better luck next time. My writingPoetryDrafts

Quaker Reflecttions

If simplicity of living is a valid principle, there is one important precaution and condition of its application. I can explain it best by something which Mahatma Gandhi said to me. We were talking about simple living, and I said that it was easy for me to give up most things but that I had a greedy mind and wanted to keep my many books. He said, 'Then don't give them up. As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, you should keep it. If you were to give it up in a mood of self-sacrifice or out of a stern sense of duty, you would continue to want it back, and that unsatisfied want would make trouble for you. Only give up a thing when you want some other condition so much that the thing no longer has any attraction for you, or when it seems to interfere with that which is more greatly desired.

Richard Gregg, 1936

Eugene Onegin

I saw a five star Met Opera cast and staging presenting what seemed to be little more than a two star opera. Some of the music was wonderful, but most of the characters were nitwits, hotheads, or amoral monsters.
Reading through "Agamemnon," which I'm certain I read in college and I'm a little surprised by my reaction. I have a lasting impression of Clytemnestra as the villain of the piece along with her lover Aegisthus. This reading I understand much more clearly Clytemnestra and can even summon up a little bit of sympathy for Aegisthus--at least so far as their crime against Agamemnon. The sacrifice of Iphigenia tore out a mother's heart--destroyed her completely. And what happened to Thyestes (Aegisthus father)--being fed his own children by Atreus (Agamemnon's father), certainly explains some things, even if I am not into the generational vengeance thing.  I used to think them the villains of the piece but this speech by Clytemnestra pretty much sums it up:

So now you sentence me to banishment,
allot me hatred, rumbling civic curses.
Back then you offered him no opposition
when he, as casual as at one death
among the crowding and luxuriant flocks,
sacrificed his o…


You treat
love like a
rare earth element
infinitely precious,
Incredibly valuable,
in so many ways powerful,
and rare,
to be dolloped out
in micro- and nanograms,
to be used only here
and there to coordinate
functions and link
however temporarily
things that are apart. What will it take to convince
you that love is
like the atmosphere–
infinitely precious
and in the universe–rare
enough. But oh my it’s everywhere–in and on
and around all living things
It is our home and our life
and without it–a barren
rock is all there’d be. Just try to hoard the atmosphere,
stuff it in a bag,
dollop it out in nanograms it goes where it goes
and it stays there despite
all you can do to drive it out.
If your house is on fire, the most urgent thing to do is to go back and try to put out the fire, not to run after the person you believe to be the arsonist. If you run after the person you suspect has burned your house, your house will burn down while you are chasing him or her. That is not wise. You must go back and put out the fire. So when you are angry, if you continue to interact with or argue with the other person, if you try to punish her, you are acting exactly like someone who runs after the arsonist while everything goes up in flames.

Thich Nhat Hanh