Sunday, November 08, 2015


Photo by S. Auberle


Annie turns 99 today -- soon she'll be just another star, looking down and wondering what on earth all the fuss was about.  Her house is filled with paper lanterns, her black and white photos, rocks and bones and birdwings.   For her birthday I think I'll take her a bowl of sweet cherries, though she never believed that about life.  Just like she never believed she'd live to be 99.  Survived cancer twice, heart attacks, yet whenever you left, instead of goodbye, Annie always said cheers!  As if it was enough to wish it, she didn't have to believe.  On the day Pavarotti died, she called to tell me that once, upon hearing him in person, she nearly fainted.  These days small Annie grows smaller by the moment, and rarely speaks.  Perhaps, after all this time, there is nothing left to say.   Annie has fierce masks hanging on her walls and owls watch her, she once said, from the forest outside her windows.  I don't know for sure if she speaks their language, but it wouldn't surprise me.  Or dragonfly, perhaps.  I asked Annie one day if she believed in a god.  I don't remember her answer, but I doubt that she does.  Maybe as her time draws near, she's reconsidering that.  Or perhaps she's just enjoying this cool west wind today that sets the lanterns to dancing and the birdwings preparing to take flight…

(I wrote this piece a few months back, Annie died yesterday)

RIP Annie R.  1916-2015

Thursday, October 01, 2015


Photo art by S. Auberle


fine as any
ever seen
you step out
your door
breathe    smile
at your good fortune
to be alive

and then
in the orchard
you see her
a doe    limping pitifully
among the trees
her delicate foreleg
bent and broken…

no graceful leap
away into sunrise
no flag of white tail
only her neck 
bowed    weary

you want so badly
to do something…
enfold her in your arms
feed and heal her

you try to grasp
how such a thing
can be on a day
as fine as this
but the best you can do
is understand…

we will all break
and for now
let the good fortune
of your day
begin ...

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Photo by S. Auberle

I imagine you, Vincent,
on a summer morning
in your village in Provence,
whispering to yourself,
arranging sunflowers
in a cracked, blue vase.

I see you painting them,
over and over—your symbols of hope
that you will awaken one day
into a sunny world,
leaving behind your darkness
of potato eaters and crows.

But o, Vincent,
how brief the dance…
how quickly blossoms fade,
leaving only hope behind
and a trail of yellow petals
to follow into the sun.

Saturday, August 01, 2015


Photo by S. Auberle

How to Photograph the Moon 

first, of course, you must be naked
even on a cold night      yes
you may wear a long coat
but naked is the good way

then you must laugh
and pray      maybe both at once
singing is good too     and drumming
to the beat of your heart

all this must happen before
you get out the camera…
next     whisper to Her
say you understand

her longing     her loneliness
her wistful gaze at Jupiter
high above    who seems
in ignorance of her charm

she will reward you
with her brightest light
knowing you understand
this fragile territory of love

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Photo by S. Auberle

I would like to have Makepeace
for my middle name
like William Thackeray
and I would like to think he did ...

I would like the sky
to always be that shade
of golden peach
shining at 5:00 this morning

I should like for everyone
to have a lemon tree
in their backyard because
lemon juice is good for everything

and a wild garden to turn
cocoons into butterflies ...
lastly I would like soft shawls for all
to wrap up little dogs

who tremble terribly when it storms
and need you to soothe them

whisper over and over
everything's gonna be alright ... 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Photo by S. Auberle


 Mother Earth, we pray today
to join with our brothers and sisters
in the company of whom we share this web of life.
We will not take from you lightly, nor do harm.

We will respect those creatures with whom we live.
Wolf, Hawk, Turtle and Bear, we honor you
and all our four-legged brothers and sisters.
Bless us, please, you Flying People,
Crawling People, the Swimmers,
Plant and Tree People.

Father Sun, we beseech you
to shine down your light upon us.

Sister Rain and Brother Wind, walk softly here,
for we are small beneath your power.

Sister Moon, shine gently
 as you guide us into dreamtime,
and when you journey across the world,
send your stars to light our way home.

Mother Earth, accept our prayer,
bless us with your energy and healing.
Help us remember that we are connected
to all who share your sacred web of life—past,
present, and future—that in divinity
we may exist as one…

                                                            Sharon Auberle

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Digital collage by S. Auberle       ~"Masquerade"
multi-media, hand colored pastel & watercolor


She believed long ago
that every one except her knew
something she didn’t…
Important people knew,
successful people knew,
nuns and priests,
in their stern pulpits knew…
how to go through this world
purely, with wisdom the girl felt
she would never possess.
It seemed to her that she was broken
or missing something and, somehow,
needed to be fixed.

The masks were available
as she grew, and like other women
in that time and place,
she chose several…good girl,
good wife, good mother.
They never quite fit.
She couldn’t see well in them,
but it didn’t matter--this way
no one would know her true self.
With her vision askew,
the woman didn’t realize
that other people wore masks—
crooked ones, shabby ones, 
masks that had fallen,
been trampled on the ground.

But this is no new story
and I wish I could tell you a happy ending…
I can’t.  Except that
even the finest masks wear out.
Feathers and jewels drop, one by one.
The edges tatter and tear, till
one day, the masquerade ends.
The woman sees her face,
naked, scarred, criss-crossed
with living.  She touches herself,
tenderly, to be sure….and finds herself
whole and beautiful.  
She was never  broken. 

Friday, March 13, 2015


Photo by S. Auberle


in response to the painting "Winter Carousel"
by Robert William Addison

In the deep of winter it may come to you,
as though sent by wizards who know
the human heart can grow cold,
in need of small magicks…

say on a February day, perhaps,
when the season begins to hurt,
out of the blue you will catch a melody,
hear the prancing of riderless horses

and the bitter wind will soften,
frosty edges of your heart begin to melt.
Suddenly it is summer, and you are ready
to begin the whirling dance once more…

Saturday, January 31, 2015


Photo by S. Auberle


It is the color of ambiguous depth,
of the heavens and of the abyss at once…
               ~  Alexander Theroux

do you remember that night
I said I would have to leave?

under a blue moon
in Clem & Ursie's Bar

you asked would I walk toward
something      or away
            and I said a horizon

is what I need 
a road rising to meet me...    

Dante's 9th Circle of Hell isn't fire
but ice     
            yet blue light

has the energy to escape ice
and remain visible

too often invisible to you 
I became     

is a fugitive color  
fades quicker than any other

Monday, January 19, 2015


Photo from the Internet

Okay, so any of you who know me know that until I moved to Wisconsin I couldn't have cared less about football...but then I fell into caring...about the Packers (especially #12) and after Sunday's game I wish I was back to not caring.  But o well, que sera sera, as they say, and then this poem seemed to want to be written...


doesn't matter if you don't know
who Bostick is    
this isn't about him
it's about screwing up
we've all done it
badly      admit it     you have
I have       even Mother Theresa
I suspect

Bostick       we feel for you
more than you know
sure you coulda' done better
coulda'     shoulda'      woulda'
if only     so what

we do the damn best we can
nobody can do more
not even the pope
not even Mother Theresa  
and she'd be the first
to tell you    about that guy
in the gutter she missed one day
          so Bostick   it's okay
          nobody died


Saturday, December 27, 2014


Photo by S. Auberle

Though you may have seen this poem before, by my good poet friend and partner, Ralph Murre, it's worth re-posting on a dark and dreary day...

In Dark December

Whatever you believe,
whatever you do not,
there are sacred rites
you must perform
in dark December.
Do this for me:
Pull together
the kitchen table,
the folding table,
and that odd half-oval
usually covered
with bills and broken pencils
and red ink.
Pull together family and friends,
cool cats and stray dogs alike.
Turn off everything
except colored lights,
the roaster,
the toaster, the stove.
Cook.  Bake.  Eat.
Yes, even the fruitcake.
Eat, crowded around
those assembled tables
with mismatched chairs.
Reach so far
in your sharing
that you hold the sun
in one hand,
the stars in the other,
and no one between is hungry.
Now walk together,
talk together,
be together
on these darkest nights.
Give and forgive.
Light candles and ring bells.
Sing the old songs.
Tell the old stories
one more time,
leaving nothing out,
leaving no one out
in the long night,
leaving nothing wrong
that you can make right.

                        ~  Ralph Murre  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Photo painting by S. Auberle

I have made it a tradition to post this beautiful letter by Fra Giovanni every year, for I can think of no better way to wish you all a gentle and peaceful holiday, whatever your beliefs are...

I salute you. I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got. But there is much, very much, that while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instance. Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy! Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty...that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it, that is all! And so I greet you, with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.

                                    ~ Fra Giovanni, Christmas Eve, 1513

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Photo by S. Auberle


twelve degrees this sunshine on the red guitar or the reeds in the basket…but Ashokan Farewell drifts through the room in its quiet way…there is fresh coffee with homemade blueberry jam on good thick bread…a candle burns beside the window…looking out I can see once again…through the neighbor's newly undone trees…the bay's white-collared purple gown...there are poems to write…music to learn…loving food to prepare and eat with friends…life is good…yet…Thomas Merton seems right for this November morning…what on earth am I doing here?  I have answered it a million times…I belong here…and this is no answer…in the end there is no answer…

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Photo from the Internet

The people of Nazaz St. in Gaza City returned home during
the 12 hr. ceasefire in hostilities not to resume their lives
but to bury their dead and pick over the remains of their possessions.
                                                            ~The Telegraph

if you live on Nazaz  St.
            you have 12 hours to look for
            and bury your dead
You have 12 hours to see
            if your home  still stands
            if the portrait of your grandparents
still exists        if the treasured blue bowl
            that your mother made
            remains unshattered
you have 12 hours to learn
            if you can still pray    
            still hold hope
                        still put the broken pieces of you 
                        back together again...


Sunday, July 20, 2014


Photo by S. Auberle
Monarch butterflies must have milkweed to nourish their offspring and the plant is being decimated by pesticides.  Plant it if you have a spot...what a disaster it would be to lose these beautiful creatures...


But most of all I shall remember the Monarchs, that
unhurried westward drift of one small winged form
after another, each drawn by some invisible force…
                                             ~  Rachel Carson

the Monarchs have crashed they say
as if a great plane had carried them
on their mighty journey south
and the hand of a jealous god

smote them down
certainly not our fault we say
and so we mourn them and orate
and pontificate about what to do

how to save the few     who remain
who remind us of what once was
and the number who understand
is as small as those fragile creatures left

to grace our emptying skies
who soon may join the passenger pigeon
the ivory-billed woodpecker
all the scorned-as-unimportant…

o let there be somewhere a place
where whatever passes for hearts
and arms welcome these--open wide
awestruck       immeasurably grateful for each

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Photo by S. Auberle

Those of you who know me know how I love resale boutiques, garage sales, flea markets etc.  Not only do they provide me with cool clothes and stuff, but also now and then a poem.  Such as my most recent purchase for one little dollar--a Japanese happy coat.  Mind you, it's not a true "happi" coat, but a faux one, or not even that.  But when I went to pay for my purchase, the cashier volunteer said oh, I have a happy coat…  So I asked him if he were happy when he wore it, and he said yes.  That got me to thinking about how wonderful it would be if this were truly a happy coat…one that I or anyone could don, and no matter how rough things were at the moment, slipping on this bright red robe would be magic.  Why not?  Troubles would fly away like the embroidered yellow bird on the back.  No matter how frigid the weather, there would be flowers and sun, which are also sewn on the material.  All this for $1!  So here I am--eating sun-warmed cherries out on my porch and watching my happy coat dancing in the wind.  Sappy, you say?  Yes, but happy…  Already I'm happier than before and I'm not even wearing it.  The idea makes me smile inside and how much we all need more of that…

Monday, June 30, 2014


Photo by S. Auberle

morning light
a bowl of peaches
the eastern sky 
morning light
pine branch trembles
butterfly takes wing 
morning light
hawk shadow crosses the sun
rabbit runs

Saturday, June 07, 2014


Photo by S. Auberle

Three good quotes for this summer morning, the first from Anais Nin; second from Oscar Wilde; and the last from Goethe:

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."
"To look at a thing is very different from seeing it."
"Each one sees what he carries in his heart."

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Because Winter is Finally Over

Photo by S. Auberle

Because winter is finally over and because we came upon these marsh marigolds and just because we all miss you:  

"Joy in the work completed.  Another expression in the termination of a winter's obsession with words and stories.  To say, to speak to the new green life in fields, the tiniest of leaves upon the earth, the hawks wheeling, kettling overhead in this ending of a story, in this way too am I new as the marsh marigold, as certain as its place and time, as real/unreal as its color on the water."  ~Norbert Blei

Monday, May 12, 2014


Photo by S. Auberle

I don't know what sweeping has to do with grieving--maybe because dirt is something we can control--rather than this black-winged death-angel who has visited today.  And so this morning  I sweep and sweep again.  Sand and hair and the faded shells of ladybug bodies gather obediently beneath my broom, to be put in their proper place--the trash-- instead of in my life where they are gritty beneath my feet and sad. 

Making soup is good too, for the upcoming rainy days.  I gather onions and peppers, corn, black beans, some broth and herbs, throw it in the pot as clouds gather, then pass.  The good smell says comfort, says home, say's everything's gonna be allright. 

I don't believe it.

While the soup simmers, I sit in brief sunshine, among orioles and rose-breasted birds, dazzling in their fancy nuptial plumage.  For a while the clouds are parting, rain is holding off another hour or day.  The world is bright, shining with spring.  How could anyone leave on such a day as this?  How could anyone make us leave?  Why why must we too soon?

A flock of pelicans wheels above, ahead of a thick bank of clouds.  The birds' wings glow with an unearthly light and the shadows of them fall on one daffodil blooming at the edge of the pines. 

From my porch chair I spot old winter dirt and, as rain begins, pick up my broom once more…

RIP:  Michael Marshall ~1941-2014

Tuesday, May 06, 2014


photo by S. Auberle

There's a blaze of light in every word
it doesn't matter which you heard
the holy or the broken Hallelujah…
                 ~  Leonard Cohen

on this still leafless
May morning
boy on a bike
riding down the road
no hands     Hallelujah
blazing forth

his voice fracturing
like first brave
blossom shattering
it's heart seed
to break through
toward morning light

Thursday, May 01, 2014


Digitalized photo by S. Auberle

"It is necessary for me to see the first point of light that begins to be dawn.  It is necessary to be present alone at the resurrection of Day in solemn silence at which the sun appears, for at this moment all the affairs of cities, of governments, of war departments, are seen to be the bickering of mice.  I receive from the eastern woods, the tall oaks, the one word DAY.  It is never the same.  It is always in a totally new language.   
 ~  Thomas Merton

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Photo and poem by S. Auberle

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Photo by R. Murre

after Jenny Joseph

I shall wear red
cowboy boots
and green silk
not together
of course
but maybe
when I am old
I'll be able
to do anything
I freakin' want
but wait
I AM old
how the hell
did that happen?

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Painting by Marc Chagall - "Fiddler on the Roof"

in memory of the six million Holocaust victims...

MARCH 11, 1942

Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, asocials, criminals 
and prisoners of war were gathered, stuffed into
 cattle cars on trains and sent to Auschwitz.
                                              ~  Google
Paris--first deportation
of those to be murdered
are herded into train cars
this day,  bound for Auschwitz--
the first of over one million to die there
and across the ocean in America
I am born the day before.

            Here stops my poem…

Will it change anything
for me to remember
a Jewish child born in Paris,
City of Love, the same day as me
or the small Gypsy girl,
the father who stole bread to feed her?
And should I say I'm sorry
and by the grace of some god
might they, somewhere, hear? 
Will those two words change anything    
in this world of instant everything?
            Maybe the one word left to say
            is the one word never to forget--

Seventy years later I want to say something
that hasn't already been said,  
but it is as though I am newly born again--
possessing  the same number of words today
as I had that first hour, lying there safe--
by the luck of some heavenly lottery
a long straw waving in my tiny fist.