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!)

April is Poetry Month

The Darker Sooner


Then came the darker sooner,
came the later lower.
We were no longer a sweeter-here
happily-ever-after. We were after ever.
We were farther and further.
More was the word we used for harder.
Lost was our standard-bearer.
Our gods were fallen faster,
and fallen larger.
The day was duller, duller
was disaster. Our charge was error.
Instead of leader we had louder,
instead of lover, never. And over this river
broke the winter’s black weather.

Time to Change the Clocks

Daylight Savings

There was the hour 
when raging with fever 
they thrashed. The hour 
when they called out in fright. 
The hour when they fell asleep 
against our bodies, the hour 
when without us they might die. 
The hour before school 
and the hour after. 
The hour when we buttered their toast 
and made them meals 
from the four important food groups—
what else could we do to insure they’d get strong and grow? 
There was the hour where we were the spectators 
at a recital, baseball game, 
when they debuted in the school play. 
There was the silent hour in the car 
when they were angry. The hour 
when they broke curfew. The hour 
when we waited for the turn of the lock 
knowing they were safe and we could finally 
close our eyes and sleep. The hour 
when they were hurt 
or betrayed and there was nothing we could do 
to ease the pain. 
There was the hour 
when we stood by their bedsides with ginger-ale 
or juice until the fever broke. The hour 
when we lost our temper and the hour 
we were filled with regret. The hour 
when we slapped their cheeks and held 
our hand in wonder. 
The hour when we wished for more. 
The hour when their tall and strong bodies, 
their newly formed curves and angles in their faces 
and Adam’s apple surprised us—
who had they become? 
Hours when we waited and waited. 
When we rushed home from the office 
or sat in their teacher’s classroom 
awaiting the report of where they stumbled 
and where they excelled, the hours 
when they were without us, the precious hour 
we did not want to lose each year 
even if it meant another hour of daylight. 

~ Poem by Jill Bialosky