Sunny days, by noon Promethean –
summer stretches before us
from clocks.

are a faint memory, their pages
rippled by the breeze.

Turn them slowly, Zephyr.
Leave us this time to count the stars,
to taste the fruit, luscious
                    in its fleshy sweetness.

Let us linger in the wonder
of extravagant bloom
                    and resonant wing.

Butterflies, dragonflies,
a hummingbird
at 1200 heartbeats a minute.

                    Intoxicating memories…
guitars and bonfires, the wild rhythms
of resilient Earth,
                    the continuum of generations.

We savor these hours.

The Children’s Choir

Sun splashes through stained glass,
makes patterns on upturned faces
that  history has not yet scarred.

How proud
this gathering of smiles singing,
this innocence of silver notes ascending.

We glimpse hints of tomorrow in their eyes,
a flash and then a quick laugh. We are not ready
for whatever will be.

They sing unaware of life’s stages;
God bless their unquestioning faith.
Middle C has never sounded sweeter.

Summer Storm

Rain silvers the window,
Indigo and moonlight
swim on the pane.

We need the rain, but
hope the storm
will be a short one.

Clouds gather, frown,
then wistful
slip from the horizon…

The air is fresh and clearing
but memory of the thunder
leaves us fragile.

For Maryland

I am sitting at my ancient desk
gathering wild strawberries into tin buckets.
The memories
are bigger than my thumbs
but the poems
always seem to come out smaller.
I wish you could have tasted the pine trees
whisked about by summer winds.

Past the curtains at my window
I see them sway and bob,
those trees
five hundred miles away; 
I marvel that they’re even sweeter
than they were yesterday.

West Virginia Day

grimes goldenjpga A loyal Marylander by birth, I transplanted to West Virginia some forty years ago and now proudly claim ‘dual citizenship’.  Today, June 20th, 2017, West Virginia celebrates its 154th year as a state. The state flower is the rhododendron, the state bird is the cardinal, the state tree is the sugar maple, the state animal is the black bear and the state fruit is the apple.


Transplanted here with roots that have taken hold,
it wasn’t the apple that tempted me
nor fear of the asp that kept me from it earlier.

It seems like destiny that I should be a West Virginian
at home in the smallest county of the 35th state,
attuned to the harmony of early bird song
and a rising sun
that is sometimes slow to climb over the mountains.

Proud the history and strong the spirit
that forged pathways around and through obstacles
that would have stopped a lesser kind.

I celebrate those native West Virginians
who endured the back break and the heartache
it took to stake a claim to their spot of land
and their way of life.

There is limited space
but they open their arms to all
who understand it is almost heaven here,
especially now when the air is warm

and sweet with orchards
that wear the golden touch of God’s own hand.



West Virginia is not a subsidiary of Virginia,
and Hancock County is not a suburb of Pittsburgh.