Entomology Etymology


Sure mariposa is a lovely word,
and psyche packs provocative surprise,
but I declare the language is absurd
that calls fantastic insects butterflies.

Why do we from the dairy designate
a creature so refined it sips the bloom
and flits on air in faerie featherweight?
What message from that name should we assume?

It’s made of wings like petals in the air.
It flutters down and up again above
the vernal earth, with no apparent care
except for sipping nectar, making love,
imprinting every flower with its kiss,
and propagating metamorphosis.


House of Clouds


It’s tough to find the balance to rely
upon, but never hard to feel its beauty,
so I’ll endeavor to identify
the equilibrium of fun and duty.
For then I’ll know how much to give to me,
how much to children, parents, friendship, debts,
and with that counterweight of certainty
I won’t feel guilt. I’ll harbor no regrets.

I seek the settled wisdom of an age
beyond my own, to put this war away.
Then confidence could help me hold my rage
in check, and let my better passion stay.
The challenge is the balance isn’t still,
or I could find the golden mean at will.



“Severe advanced disease.” She heard the phrase
with dumb surprise – she didn’t understand
how dire was her case. Just sixty days
ago she learned the first of it: two grand
she spent on planing then that made her ache
persistently. Three times that sum and weeks
of pain she’s now been told the work will take,
to give perhaps the remedy she seeks.

Impatiently she learns a new routine:
a time-absorbing regimen with tools
of blood and pain. She thought her brush would clean
her mouth but didn’t comprehend the rules,
until he touched her cheek and with a squeeze
consoling spoke the words “severe disease.”

Doubt and Drought


I love the rain. I’m always happy when
I hear it hit above me, see it pock
in puddles, watch it wash the streets again.
While others talk about their inner clock,
I think I’ve a barometer in me.
You figure that’s a metaphor – you doubt
I really long for such humidity –
but I’m in mourning with this season’s drought.

I know I can’t change climate but I wince
at too much February warmth, at spills
of excess light. I note the flowering quince,
and all around are spearing daffodils.
Resenting dry, I guess I’d better focus
my meditations on the thrust of crocus.

(February 2013)



Until our telescopes were strong enough
to see the shape of Pluto, minds inferred
its path by how it wobbled other stuff,
yet no one finds such subtlety absurd.

Although our eyes can’t straightaway inspect
encounters in the dark – we have to peer
peripherally with vision indirect –
nobody claims all night sights are unclear.

Enlightenment is not obtained by force
and wisdom isn’t often where we seek.
Sometimes the cart belongs before the horse –
the territory’s vast, the paths oblique.
I say you’re immature like it’s a fact,
when all I have to go on’s how you act.

Danny’s Walk


My son proposed a walk the other day,
sufficiently important that he chose
it over all his games. He knew the way
without the map he made, for I suppose
a place this special isn’t soon forgot.
We took a path unknown to me before,
on quiet trails, and we encountered not
another person, as we noted more
bay laurel leaves and rounded stones and trees
than we could count. We found his waterfall
and watched a valley fan to width, a frieze
of foliage upon its eastern wall.
I can’t compress what Danny made me see,
and I will keep it for eternity.