those people

you see, it’s this way:

all those so strange people
and all their equally strange beliefs
and odd traditions and clothes
and gods and sexual preferences

all their countries and cultures
and bizarrely performed rituals
and incomprehensible sayings
and very imperfect ideas

all of which frighten you
and leave you befuddled
and most agitated to imagine
that perhaps they might, oh,

just might move in next door
and tempt your children away
from the perfect truth
you most zealously embrace—

all those dangerous people
are just like each blade of grass
each gentle sunning dandelion
wishing for nothing more sinister

than that you do not step on them,
that you leave them in peace

The view in my garden today.


We Scots Abroad

There be stanes an’ tones
frae this braw land
that compose honest hope
in our aging hearts.

Frae distant hills an’ glens
we longing sing
the echoing sangs o’ auld
that nane may forget

how crews o’ shattered ghaists
sailed lonely caravels
ower the cauld an’ angry main
seeking warmth an’ chance.

Yet frae aneath the weight
o’ solemn centuries
still we maste emphatic cry
that this is our hame.

Alba gu bràth!

Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands of Scotland

[Perhaps I should explain a bit, just in case the language seems unclear:
stanes = stones
frae = from
braw = fine
sangs = songs
auld = old
nane = none
ghaists = ghosts
ower = over
cauld = cold
main = the open sea
aneath = beneath, under
maste = most
hame = home
Alba gu bràth. = Scotland forever. [literally, Scotland until the Judgement.]

thank you



a moment more

now, breathe and…

once more to speak
but more humbly
than before if only
because they deserve
this moment to themselves.

Poe and Cummings,
Yeats and Wordsworth,
Shakespeare and Shelley,
Whitman and Williams,
and on and on and yet…

this one is not for them
but for you here now
for all of you who have
so unknowingly inspired
my thoughts, my writing…

I thank you all

for giving new life

to my


[to all of you wonderful poets here on WP]


winter wraps its quiet calm
ruthlessly around my heart
dragging me out of the night

desiccated blossoms droop
dripping hopeless tears
in the harsh morning light

why awaken at all I ask
when the fools around me
still to these insanities cling

why step forth at all, my friends
when these furious voices
praising a pathetic tyrant do sing

my soul from birth dreamily
drawing on hope and light
to the seas longed to embark

but in the midst of this shameful
display of ignorance and hatred
I find I now prefer the dark

the view from my window this morning


It beggars belief
and buggers my soul
how foolishly feebly
I still plead wi’ me
despite the utter conviction
I constantly proclaim—
tae myself, anyway—
that it cannae hurt me
any mair, that I am free
and calm, and that nature
is my god, and time
is nae foe of mine,
only to cringing curl
into this whinging ball
of badly drawn ideals,
whimpering at how
unfair life has been
tae poor pathetic me.

So I stan’ up,
rub me eyes,
and pour myself
a lovely dram,
harshly appending
in quiet yet angry tones
“Haud yer weesht
an’ get oan wae it,
ye gormless feckin’

An’ that usually
does the trick.

Dancing Coyote

I don’t believe I have taken the time to publicly promote John Coyote’s writing. His style is so wonderfully personal, anecdotes that convey such a strong, yet gentle feeling for the time and place and memories he shares. True, part of my delight in reading John’s works is how well he evokes in me memories of my time in Salinas, California, just inland from Monterey Bay–all the years I spent in Monterey and Carmel and Seaside, strolling along the beach, playing in Santa Cruz. But even if you’ve never been there, I urge you to read John’s writings. Here is just one beautiful piece from Dancing Coyote:

in fallacy born

In fallacy born is mankind unfettered
falsely purveying delusions of love
Addicted to hate, a mind so unlettered
naively awaiting a light from above

How strives he for glory, impertinent fool
couldn’t be buggered by this or by that
Gladly surrenders himself as a tool
to a soldier, a merchant, an infantile prat

Unbalanced, unhinged, he cries in his cups
laments his unbearably impotent wrath
He gorges himself, unrestrainedly sups
while drowning his shame in a semeny bath

How dare you imbibe such absurdities still
promoting your grandiose scheme of the me
Refusing to exercise aught of your will
to strive for a truth that any could see

Lay down in this bed then your greed has thus made
caressing the lucre, the filth, the decay
Wallow in blood, in the death that was paid
by the willful inanities proudly you bray

And yet, dare I say, it is still not too late
to escape the dark fate you nearly have sealed
Step back from this precipice, lock up the gate
that leads to a doom your own wit has revealed

Surrender the bombs you too fondly ignite
embark on a journey of peaceful entente
Open your mind, imagination take flight
let kindness and balance and truth be your want

Impart to this world a grace that is new
while holding yourself to a higher resolve
Open your heart to much more than the few
their unwanted deeds do you firmly absolve


patterned prayers titter over waves
of solemn parishioners rueful reciting
echoes of eager unearned blessings

voiceless vague I bend bow kneel
knowing nothing of your stern truths
needing more than harsh your verses

stones alone coldly welcome my steps
over tearful trodden paths of marble
enshrouded seamless by morbid time

glance askance as disturbed you prefer
at solitary wanderers smelling of lilac
but boldly bedecked I taunt your malice

take from me naught but what I will,
demand of me nothing you would not
willingly of yourself to paupers proffer

cease your pointless eviscerating prattle
cradling more of deliberate arrogance
than humility in your sickly embrace

how dare you honest hearts condemn
while confessing lies to salve your souls
wrapped in pretentious self-adoration

there is more truth in sorrowed silence
greater precision in the wail of a child
than in all the boastful prayers you utter

this madness

lies, lies, blatant lies!
raising his fists to the skies
indignant he cries

while out on the streets
he and she and we blether
outraged repugnance

incited by they
with incessantly whinging:
see what was stolen!

in callous caprice
lofty winds self-righteous rage
rending flesh from hope

the clock is ticking
step down from your pedestal
before we all die

Her Words

The sweetly tickling nuances of her words
never cease to amaze me,
nor how swiftly sullen me unfolds
to the touch of her voice.

This most prolific creator who populates
realms of finest fiction
with lives much more richly crafted
than I could ever imagine.

The fresh intimate tones of the tales
she composes seduce me,
tantalizing this reader to more than believe—
but to be in that space.

I long to race wildly through her LA streets,
to gently rise with her wisps.
If only I could pass through the portals of Qaf
or strive against ghosts in France.

Instead, I harangue the too arduous day
awaiting the silence of night,
when I might grasp once more at the chance
to turn to the next page.

My favorite author, Laya V. Smith, before Eilean Donan castle in the Highlands of Scotland (2015).