Monday, November 11, 2019

"We are the lucky ones"


I know someone who kisses the way
a flower opens, but more rapidly.
Flowers are sweet. They have
short, beatific lives. They offer
much pleasure. There is
nothing in the world that can be said
against them.
Sad, isn't it, that all they can kiss
is the air.

Yes, yes! We are the lucky ones.

— Mary Oliver, from Devotions

Saturday, April 6, 2019

fay edwards, 1931-2019

To Mom. To Fay. To Nana.
Mom, Friend, Grandmother, Teacher.
Photographer, Grammar geek, Adventurer. 
Lover of life, Lover of nature.

Today we took a walk around the pond
and watched the mallards breakfast.
Your son said, "Look at those little yellow flowers. 
Mom would have loved those."

Sunday, March 10, 2019

mary oliver, on life and death and everything in between

The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac

Why should I have been surprised?
Hunters walk the forest
without a sound.
The hunter, strapped to his rifle,
the fox on his feet of silk,
the serpent on his empire of muscles—
all move in a stillness,
hungry, careful, intent.
Just as the cancer
entered the forest of my body,
without a sound.
The question is,
what will it be like
after the last day?
Will I float
into the sky
or will I fray
within the earth or a river—
remembering nothing?
How desperate I would be
if I couldn’t remember
the sun rising, if I couldn’t
remember trees, rivers; if I couldn’t
even remember, beloved,
your beloved name.
I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you’re in it all the same.
so why not get started immediately.
I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.
And to write music or poems about.
Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
Bless touching.
You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
Or not.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be urgent as a knife, then,
and remind you of Keats,
so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
he had a lifetime.
Late yesterday afternoon, in the heat,
all the fragile blue flowers in bloom
in the shrubs in the yard next door had
tumbled from the shrubs and lay
wrinkled and fading in the grass. But
this morning the shrubs were full of
the blue flowers again. There wasn’t
a single one on the grass. How, I
wondered, did they roll back up to
the branches, that fiercely wanting,
as we all do, just a little more of

Monday, March 4, 2019

no fear

bright, bold, brave,
from birth to old age,

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

christmas 2016

on soft days,

when the wind wraps itself around me,

bringing with it the echo

of Christmases past—

the sound of children laughing, or

a breath of new puppy smell,

or maybe even a hint

of ginger cookies baking

in my mother's oven—

on especially soft days,

i remember to believe

—Leslie Young, 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


there is rust
in the garden.
i can see it clearly
from my kitchen window.
the iron angel still flies,
but her wings
are oxidizing badly.
and the links
in the chain that holds up
the world—
that fragile blue sphere
of glass breathed
from the heart and lungs
of some unsung
the links in the chain
that holds up the world
are threatened by
the blight.
they persevere.
i am a witness to their
valiant fight against
the power of the elements.

i am a witness.

—Leslie Young, 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

drinking tea in the garden (1933/2016)

Did the German people do
what I'm doing, today?
Did they sit in their gardens,
drinking tea and
surrounded by light?

Did they watch the cat
sleeping in the sun as
the honeybees plundered
the pink lantana?

Did they listen to the white ducks
chuckling and the chimes singing and
the happy morning chatter
of the sparrows in the pines?
Were their hearts breaking, too?

What did they do?

When did they say to themselves—
It's time to act!

Was it when the first boxcars showed up?
Was it that late in the game?
Were they drinking tea in the garden
all that time?

"There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said—no. But somehow we missed it." —Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Saturday, November 12, 2016


On most days,
Wind is master of the garden chimes,
a tender or tyrannical
conductor, depending on
his mood.
But today, Wind
is making music elsewhere—
leaving Sun to his own devices.

Now the glass is molten
once again. 
Sun, feeling artisanal
and requiring neither
blowpipe nor fireproof gloves—
simply trained his gaze 
and remade the chimes
in his image.