Entries by webmaster


The whole thing mystified me at age fifteen. Knocking on eighty’s door, I’m a lot less mystified. I’m less troubled too, though I must allow that the event still leaves me strangely uneasy. I’d been walking back from the school ball field. We couldn’t get enough boys together for an actual game, so we just […]

Via Negativa

He beholds a ragged windrow of snow, dull remnant, and wonders if drink or dope might not kiss him and make him better. The writer knows they wouldn’t, couldn’t, or hopes he knows it, hopes he’ll recall the gloom and sometimes utter madness he left in his wake, for him and all. The windrow is […]

I Arrive at the Scene

All of a sudden, a crowd, most of us pretty much strangers, which seems to me– well, strange: our village and others here in this stretch of valley are tiny. But John, who’s been the chief of the volunteer fire department for years, shows up exactly as the ambulance crew appears. I do know John. […]

Spring Poem in the Season of Corona

Last night, our pond reclaimed a foot from its ice. New water winks blue-green, and blackbirds shriek From wire and weed. It’s good to be out. Two boys Hike by me at social distance. Each breeze-tossed leaf Looks as crisp and twitchy as a chipmunk’s ear. The mud road grasps at boot-soles as I walk […]


I can’t explain, but it’s true. At ten years old, I beheld the lemon and slate of the slender fish, flashing below the surface. My father told me to settle back: my gawking over the gunwale rocked our canoe, E.M. White Guide’s Model with feathered hull-planks, the one he called a work of art. It […]

For My Wife at 64

Autumn’s at hand, and I recollect how you combed every wisp of weed from your garden in a pair of separate Septembers, each one for a different child’s wedding here. Though the mess came back too soon– pigweed, purslane, vetch– I’ll never forget how you knelt in the scrabbled dirt; how you smiled; how the […]

Mere Humans

Tink shouted, “Did you hear my bad news?” I turned from bucking up firewood and killed the engine. How different he looked, our tough old bantam neighbor– a rascal, but stolid as stone. Here stood a suddenly tinier version. No one in town would believe he’d cry. Things had to be bad. He told me […]


… strength in what remains … –Intimations of Immortality By the pond, a maple reddens already, in middle August. Impossible: it still should be summer. Fall’s upon us, most of the grandchildren back at their schools, moved up a year. And the nation… that great gloom blends with less epical fears– four falls gone, my […]

Open Questions

On becoming my state’s poet laureate, I made it my mission to visit as many of its community libraries as I could. I paid many, many such visits, and savored each and all. Certain colleagues at the “prestige” colleges where I taught for over forty years seem always to have surmised that intelligence faded the […]


(an excerpt from my selected newspaper columns as poet laureate, to be published in autumn 2020 as Seen from All Angles: Lyric Everyday Life) I have tried—with what I consider good reason—not to talk much about my own poetry in these columns I make an exception this month only because I also try to consider the […]