Cabin Fever

I have never been afraid of snow,
Not the first of the season nor the last.

Not even the storm.

Maybe our preoccupation with weather,
as Allison suggests, is really a diversionary tactic.

Maybe it’s a hug that holds off,
keeps the wolf from the door,

the secrets safe.

Maybe our winter fear is really cabin fever,
A claustrophobia

born of memories that crowd us.


written after reading Allison Adair’s “What We Should Really Be Afraid Of”

The Proof Is in the Proverb

“A lucky person is someone who plants pebbles and harvests potatoes” Greek Proverb

A lucky person is someone who plants pebbles
and harvests potatoes,  Call it luck or call it
thievery,  one must be considered innocent
until proven guilty,  but,

I saw him plant the pebbles in a row
on fallow soil that grew just other rocks,
and when he did the harvest, don’t you know,
he stepped his feet into his neighbor’s plot.

There he plucked the fruit of neighbor’s labor
and took it home and put it in his pot,
and still I think he’s lucky,  yes indeed!
Lucky that his butt’s not filled with shot.

As it Was in the Beginning

Up before even the gulls,
I unfold my webbed chair and this morning’s Times;
a thermos of coffee and a couple of Walker shortbreads
to spend this hour with a new day being born.

A strip of bare sand is my castle, I will leave it
as I find it, laced with rising surf and prickly pear
along with driftwood artifacts scattered about
with great aesthetic effect.

I could happily stay here until winter is done
to watch the new day diamond the river
with promises and prayers, a vista created
for poets and painters and all

who find peace in the smiling faces of dolphins
as they splash in primordial play.


This was written a couple of years ago, shortly after dolphins were spotted
in Maryland’s Nanticoke River.

An Ancient Tale

An ancient story
I tell you now in bits and pieces,

At midnight in the month of June,
by the rude bridge that arched the flood,
that eternal spirit of the chainless mind
caused great things to happen
when man and mountain met.

What I am, no one knows or cares,
I arose from dreams, less than a leaf of grass,
restless, trailing the garments of night,
until I awakened to the essence of the sea.
Then all the world and love were young
and to this day they are the same.

His heart, to me, is a place of palaces and pinnacles;
hot sun, cool fire, tempered with sweet air.
How like the winter all the world has seemed in his absence.
How sweet the moonlight that sleeps upon this bank
where I stand captive of the alchemy.

Time shall not boast its power to change
for the soul selects her own society,
Not marble nor the gilded monuments hold sway,
and the wind, no more a stranger,
bears his voice
whispering ‘today’.


This tale was begun many years ago and is constructed of bits and pieces with much of it pilfered from the Index of First Lines in Louis Untermeyer’s Treasury of Great Poems, copyright 1955.

An ancient story I’ll tell you…King John and the Abbot of Canterbury…unknown
At midnight in the month of June…The Sleeper…Edgar Allen Poe
By the rude bridge that arched the flood…Concord Hymn…Ralph Waldo Emerson
Eternal spirit of the chainless mind…Sonnet of Chillon…Lord Byron
Great things are done when men and mountains meet..Gnomic Verses…William Blake What I am, no one knows or cares…I am…John Clare
I arise from dreams…I Arise from Dreams…Shelley
leaf of grass…Leaves of Grass…Walt Whitman
Trailing the garments of night…Hymn to the Night…Longfellow
All the world and love were young…The Nymph’s Reply…Walter Raleigh
His heart, to me, is a place of palaces and pinnacles…I Have Been through the Gates …Charlotte Mew
Hot sun, cool fire tempered with sweet air…Bethsabe Bathing…George Peele
How like the winter…Sonnet 97… Shakespeare
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank…The Merchant of Venice…Shakespeare The soul selects her own society…The Soul Selects…Emily Dickinson
Not marble nor the gilded monuments…Sonnet 55…Shakespeare