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.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Photo by S. Auberle


…and everything is mother-of-pearl and
jasper, but the light's source is a secret.
                ~  Anna Akhmatova

all night long
wind keened
over the frozen lake
where Winter still
gripped fiercely
icy fingers trying
to hold on tight 
but now in morning sun
a goddess tiptoes
over the land
basket of seeds
over her arm
clear orange light
trailing in her wake
beneath a bed
of old snow   
first dandelion stirs
combs her yellow hair
birds begin their
courting songs
flaunting fancy
nuptial finery
and you and I
awake at dawn
our hearts breaking
open with happiness
to be here
yet another

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Photo by S. Auberle


for Lucha

says she wants birds and water
and green grass
because it's been a long winter

she wants warm dirt and stars
because it's been cold and dark
and coyotes just because

and marsh marigolds
for sure says my friend
who is not a poet

the one whose lines I steal
because she never uses them twice
just casually tosses them out there

and goes on her way
words falling like blossoms
into my outstretched hands

no this is not my backyard this year...but soon I hope

Friday, March 21, 2014


Photo by S. Auberle


after it has been winter for half a year
benign and dozy from our gluttonies

your pastel maps lie open on the counter
i am sitting in the blue chair listening to stillness

this    we say    is our life—watched over
allowed to go where we want

it hardly matters, what time of year
nothing can stop our tenderness
                         ~  Mimi
for those of you who are unfamiliar with a cento, it is simply a collection of lines--only one from each poet, and then combined in a new way.  Yes, this is an actual form, not just plagiarism!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Soul Talk

"Cathedral" by S. Auberle"


So as my birth day approaches, I am thinking about Soul.  I am a Pisces.  Supposedly, we Pisceans are the old souls of the Zodiac.  I could not possibly feel less like an old soul.  Rather a baby soul, or toddler at best.  And the older I get, the less wise I feel.  Not that I ever did feel wise, but in some youthful time I felt a small understanding, or so it seemed, about who we are, why we're here, where we're going.  No more.   

For some time I've been curious as to whether this mystical part of us ages as we do.  Does it get tattered, rusty, torn and stained?  Does it start out tiny and then grow as we do, put on weight, grow tall, encompass canyons, as Edward Abbey believed?  I find it a great mystery that as a child, when I supposedly knew nothing of the soul, I would only fall asleep at night if I lay on my side and covered the above eye with my hand, because somehow I believed an important part of me would escape, through my eye, as I slept, and wing its way out into vast darkness.  Where did I get that idea?  And I pictured this part, oddly enough, as a sort of crest or coat-of-arms.  Now I have two thoughts about the image of my soul--as that of a very tall and light filled young replica of me, in a long flowing white dress, or a beautiful white mare.  These images come from two different dreams I once had.  In the first, I saw the tall woman at the end of a hall, walking toward me, with great love and acceptance in her eyes.  We met in the darkness and began to dance, and I have never felt so loved.  The other dream I remember vividly as well-- I am standing on the narrow ledge of a mountain, holding the bridle of a white horse.  The odd part of this dream is that the horse and I seem to be floating through space on this ledge, for out beyond is only darkness and stars and planets.  Yet I am not afraid in the least. 

I don't know what the soul is for sure, and certainly don't expect to know in this lifetime.  And that's okay.  What I am certain of is that we all have one.  And I suspect that we are not alone, that the crooked old apple tree out in my yard and the small brown rabbit under it have one too.  And the ancient sequoia and clear winding rivers and muddy ones too and a salty gray and yellow rock I picked up on the ocean's edge might have one as well.  In the end, of course, it doesn't matter.   I may not see my soul, but she lets me know now and then that she is there…and I am grateful.

there is a small postscript to this entry.  In typing the above words, I of course did it all in one font, size, color, etc.  I saved it, and went into another room to print a different piece, which I opened on top of this one.  When I had finished with the printing, I closed that piece and re-opened this one, only to find that the last paragraph had changed color, font, size, changed to BOLD and was centered--the paragraph which ends with "I may not see my soul, but she lets me know now and then that she is there...and I am grateful."  I had NOT touched the keyboard, and it was in a font I never use, and in blue...

Tuesday, February 04, 2014


Photo/Collage by S. Auberle

an old poem from Crow Ink...says it all this time of year...


Five degrees
this fourth day
of February
and about this time
winter begins to hurt
but the black brush
of crow wings still
inks this white sky

a Chinese painting
in flowing progress
cracked voices singing
all is joy…

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Photo by S. Auberle
finally, first poem of 2014 has arrived...

make something    learn something
see beauty    love someone…
                ~Robert Genn
doves in the snow on
this morning ten below
zero hums the furnace song

a red-capped woodpecker
zig-zags up the tree and cardinals
flash by in natty crimson shirts

today I will compose poems
absorb the warm language of sun
admire the humility of doves --  

their wobbly  plumpness 
delicate aprons of feathers --
how they remind me

of the old grandmothers I loved
in their brown shawls
and modest everyday-dresses

always making tidy and fresh
the seed-scattered snow
the messy world around them

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Photo by S. Auberle

Though I've made it a tradition the last few years to post the beautiful letter of Fra Giovanni on Christmas Eve, this year I want to share a part of the piece "Christmas Eve in Door" by my mentor and friend--Norbert Blei, who died this year...

"I think of my family in other places.  I think of friends spread out in so many directions.  I think of my own journey in place this Christmas Eve in Door.  

I think . . .of Christmas as spirit, alive in all men, in all seasons, in all places, and how it flickers in the darkest recesses imaginable.  I think of my gift, my work:  to find the people, the place, the time, the words and forms to say these things for all, yet make them mine.

Call it Christmas.  Call it spirit.  Call it love.  Call it light.

In the midnight hours I read a Hopi incantation, and turn to sleep:

The day has risen.
Go I to behold the dawn.
Go behold the dawn!
The white-rising!
The yellow rising!
It has become light.

And on Christmas morning, on the road, a clarity of sky, a gift of sun."

excerpted from the book "Door Steps" by Norbert Blei, The Ellis Press, Peoria, IL
the words "Find Me In My Writing" on his tombstone...

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Book Illustration by Vlidislav Erko
We are reminded sometimes of important things in unexpected places.  Once upon a winter's eve, at a school holiday pageant, this happened.  In a small village on a small peninsula, reaching out into a mighty lake, a theater curtain rose on a production of Christmas Around the World.  The spotlights shone on a kindergarten class--four rows of children in their bright costumes.  Wiggling, bouncing, dancing, laughing, they stood on stage risers--all except one little boy.  In the front row, he alone sat, his face a study in woebegone misery.  He was brave, not crying--yet.  But clearly, tears seemed only seconds away.  The pageant director, resplendent in her Snow Queen silver and blue, knelt down to talk with him.  All was still in the auditorium as they whispered for a moment, and then the Queen stood, walked back to the front of the stage and lifted her baton.  The boy rubbed his eyes, and sadly looked out at the vast sea of faces.  But he did not move.  For the three happy songs of the class performance, he sat, still as a tiny Buddha.  When the music ended, he rose and marched out with the rest.  As the child's ordeal ended,  I wondered who among us did not want to wrap this little guy in a bear hug, wrap the child we ourselves once were, hug every child in this scary world today, and whisper it's okay, everything's gonna be alright.  Was there anyone in this audience who did not feel compassion this night?   Did not remember, in some distant corner of their mind, a moment of their own--of being different, of being alone in a crowd, everyone brave and happy but us?  Even kings and splendid Snow Queens, I suspect, did not always shine so bright…