in the Age of Coronavirus

When it comes to grief,
you have no choice.
Sadness falls from the sky,
like gray mist
that creeps into every shelter you
erect and hide beneath.

Some losses–you remember them–
required little grieving or none at all:
the job you hated,
the lover it was time to leave,
the car you wrecked (oh, well!).

That mist cleared.

But today you have no choice–
many ways of living are over,
and nothing shelters you.

For now.

May 2020

Absorbing All

“Absorbing all to myself for this song.”
–Walt Whitman

In each of us
there is one
who caresses life and holds it dear
in the midst of everyday work.

In each of us
another rises
to cast doubt or blame
on life’s judgments,
decisions that carried
into the pathways of many years.

I call up equally
the caresser of life
and the caster of doubt.

I blame or praise neither.

I settle for the day’s work,
the strain on body and mind,
and the always awaited rest.

Then at night–

–March 2020



I hear the wordless song
on the river’s surface,
in a high branch
of a maple tree,
along the muddy bank.

I listen to this river bank,
the surface of flowing water,
the floating melody.

I hear voices
of beings who have no
human words
to celebrate their existence.
I hear them,
I listen,
I pay attention.

What they say
changes my life.

–July 2013