Who writes this stuff? This is our second visit to this park. We stayed here three years ago and this sign has weighed on me ever since. I think it’s a faucet – not a jug filler!

Seen at Sterling State Park in Monroe, Michigan. In the shadow of the power plant!

Take a Closer Look

Just an old tree trunk in a cemetery? Nope. On closer inspection…

There are faces carved into the wood!

Seen at Greenville Recreation area, just north of Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

Another Sad Poem

The Little Book of Cheerful Thoughts

by Jeffrey Harrison

Small enough to fit  
in your shirt pocket 
so you could take it out 
in a moment of distress 
to ingest a happy  
maxim or just stare 
a while at its orange 
and yellow cover 
(so cheerful in itself 
you need go no further), 
this little booklet 
wouldn’t stop a bullet  
aimed at your heart 

and seems a flimsy  
shield against despair, 
whatever its contents. 
But there it is 
by the cash register, 
so I pick it up 
as I wait in line and 
come to a sentence 
saying there are few 
things that can’t be  
cured by a hot bath 
above the name  
Sylvia Plath. 

I rest my case, 
placing the booklet 
back by its petite 
companions Sweet Nothings
and Simple Wisdom… 
but not The Book of Sorrows
a multivolume set 
like the old Britannica 
that each of us receives 
in installments 
of unpredictable 
heft and frequency 
over a lifetime. 

The Peace of Lilies

Before Quiet

Hazel Hall

I will think of water-lilies
Growing in a darkened pool,
And my breath shall move like water,
And my hands be limp and cool.

It shall be as though I waited
In a wooden place alone;
I will learn the peace of lilies
And will take it for my own.

If a twinge of thought, if yearning
Come like wind into this place,
I will bear it like the shadow
Of a leaf across my face.




The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,   
which knew it would inherit the earth   
before anybody said so.   

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds   
watching him from the birdhouse.   

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.   

The idea you carry close to your bosom   
is famous to your bosom.   

The boot is famous to the earth,   
more famous than the dress shoe,   
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it   
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.   

I want to be famous to shuffling men   
who smile while crossing streets,   
sticky children in grocery lines,   
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,   
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,   
but because it never forgot what it could do.



Wild Things

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~ Poem by Wendell Berry

A Floral Poem

Red Peonies by Wang Wei

Such radiance of green,
so casual and composed;
The tint of her dress
Blends crimson with pink.
The heart of a flower
is nearly torn with grief:
Will spring’s brilliance
ever know her heart?

translated by Irving Y. Lo

(I have no idea if that photo is peonies. And they certainly aren’t red. Poetic license!)