Autumn’s arrival


The mood changes so fast here. Summer’s over, time to move on. There’s a melancholy (but not a bad melancholy, if that makes any sense at all). I welcome the fall air and these storms that roll across the lake, whipping the waves into a frenzy and sending me running up to the house as the huge droplets let loose from the clouds, almost a surprise.

I wrote a poem yesterday. Funny that for years I wrote poems and never showed a soul–now I’ve read two to an audience, shared them here, written more , and here is another one. There is a freedom that comes with my age and I will simply embrace it.

What have I got to lose? You will read or not read, like or not like, remember or forget. And we’ll all move on.

Autumn’s Arrival

Bring down the flags,
tuck up the beach chairs and the boats.
Shutter the windows and bolt the doors;
September has come.

She sends the summer people scurrying from lake cottages
back to big cities and dull suburbs,
where the sound of gentle lapping waves is replaced by
shrill alarms and maddening traffic.

We stay on the beach, undeservedly,
and wonder how we will fare here when the winds blow cold,
the days grow shorter and the nights clearer,
longer: more silent.

The weekenders will come before then; the color-seekers and apple-pickers
bringing city reminders and driving too fast.
We’re not like them anymore, and
we’ll say we can’t wait for them to leave.

The lake will chill by October, but I’ll still
walk the beach barefoot: either I won’t like to be confined by shoes
or the feel of the bone-cold sand will keep me grounded,
I won’t know which.

We’ll retreat when the wind finally overtakes our voices
and leaves us mute; when winter in earnest comes and the sky
is indistinguishable from the lake, the sand, the woods,
and all is a sullen and frosty gray.

I’ll keep sand in pockets and pebbles on night tables
in the city, in wait for the spring thaw and a fresh beach
scrubbed clean of last summer’s footprints.
It won’t be long.

A good crowd

I write a little poetry sometimes. Not because I want to, or because I know how to, but just because things bubble into my head and come out of me in a certain way, and I call it a poem, even if it might not be, because that’s just what feels right and well, let the poetry police come and argue otherwise.

I’ve never published any of it, nor have I ever read my own stuff aloud to anyone (unless you count my dog, who has been a patient, if not interested, listener). Just over a week ago I stood in front of a lively and supportive audience of some friends and some strangers who were just liquored up enough to seem somewhat less daunting (to me, anyway), and I put my lips up to a microphone and without apology or explanation read, aloud, comfortably even, two poems I wrote.

And it felt kind of awesome.

And I kind of want to do it again.


The Piano

In the thick of things it came,
was wheeled up onto the porch on an old, battered ramp
dragged into the living room where it stood
no worse for the wear or the years
waiting, like an old and somewhat awkward guest,
to be told its place

A fragment of my mother’s life, this piano
the one she played in her youth
rich, deep chestnut, years etched in those wooden waves
red stains, streaks on white keys
from her clicking nails, you could hear them
through her South Pacific and Schubert’s Serenade

She disappeared into those songs
and others
in her place fingers,
keys, clicks, voice, movement
I could never look away
when she played

But she is gone
the piano now a reminder
in a too-small house, crowded dining room,
where a cat makes middle of the night attempts at Mendelssohn
and where children offer serious concerts
during dinner and phone calls

where it waits still, ever patiently, for its player


A Love Letter to Manhattan

Oh, Manhattan
you are captivating!
At once both old and new
enveloping, yet aloof

I dreamed of you long before we met
of your towering buildings poking holes in the clouds
your grit, your attitude, your people
you felt like home and I fell hard

You remained perennially beyond my grasp
save for the brief moments I pretend that we are a couple
howling at a crazy moon together
from a drunken rooftop

Better to leave you in my dreams, though
like a pined-for lover
skip the fumbling, awkwardness
and the eventual demise

I’ll visit
we’ll flirt
you’ll stay shiny and elusive
and I, still captivated