The Poetry Orchard

Why narrative poetry matters . . . Another name for a narrative poem is a story poem. It’s as old as fruit in the garden, or for purposes of this discussion, as old as apples in the poetry orchard. To my way of thinking, narrative poetry is at the genesis of all literature. In ancient times when most of the world was illiterate, oral tradition thrived as the popular and compelling mode of communication. It … Read more

Something Ancient

Sometimes life delivers surprises. Think of Abraham who for much of his adult life longed to have an heir. In the Christian, Judaic, and Islamic traditions, elderly Abraham finally becomes a biological father and the patriarch of a long ancestral lineage of future generations. God gives him not only an heir, but a nation and a land. Whew! What a dynasty. And imagine the surprise of a Bedouin teenage shepherd boy in 1947 when instead of redirecting a wayward goat from … Read more

Words on a Page

Oh, great beauty abounds in language and in the written word! Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed it so well: “When I read a good book . . . I wish that life were three thousand years long.” What is it about a story or poem that has the power to stir our souls? What propels writers throughout history to orchestrate their ideas into pure music on the page, a literary symphony of words? Imagery, symbolism, metaphor; great literature lays it out for the … Read more

Bright Ball of Light

Remembering the child in our hearts pointing to the sky . . . Do you remember as a child looking up in wonder to the luminescent ball floating in the sky? Did it take your breath away then? Does it take your breath away now? Christopher Robin and I walked along Under branches lit up by the moon —”Return to Pooh Corner” (a song by Kenny Loggins) The Swedish-American poet and triple recipient of the … Read more

But in this Darkness

But in this Darkness . . . The solstice of winter lingers in diminished light longer than any day of the year. And then the light increases daily in the rhythm of nature, the progression towards the spring equinox and summer solstice, until the daylight slowly lessens again towards the fall equinox and back to the winter solstice. Creation bestows a marvelous order that astounds and mystifies. A few days ago, I flew back to Colorado after spending … Read more

Reaching for Light

Now that the gorgeous shimmer of autumn leaves has been whisked away by the late November wind, the stripped branches appear as bare wooden hangers or bone-sparse skeletons. As I headed west out of my neighborhood one late afternoon, I noticed the incredible sky. Those spindly naked trees became the dark silhouetted contrast that enhanced the profound glory of an autumn sunset. Indeed, the trees looked to be reaching to the sky for the colors … Read more

Portrait of a Pumpkin Patch

Most psychiatrists agree that sitting in a pumpkin patch is excellent therapy for a troubled mind. —Linus Who doesn’t love Linus? Blanket carrying, thumb-sucking, closest-friend-of-Charlie Brown, Linus often utters the most profound statements. And so I set out for a pumpkin patch of my own. After all, I pondered, my thoughts could use a little sprucing up. On the way to the patch, I noticed all the leaves skittering and crackling at my feet and an … Read more

Where is the Hope?

UPROOTED! My ninety-year-old friend is as old as this tree and has lost a sense of hope during the disasters of late. People uprooted. Lives upended. Hurricane—Flood—Quake—Wildfire The destruction reminds her of the bombing in her land of origin when she was a young girl. She wonders if mankind is doomed, asks if there is any good left in the world. Her moist eyes are clear and questioning and laden with sorrow. In all parts … Read more

You may even Hum a Bit

Oh, what a walk can do for the weary soul! Taking a walk for a lot of people is a luxury that doesn’t fit into busy schedules. Amidst the clutter of media overload, PowerPoint malaise, traffic, bills, groceries, laundry, and appointments . . . a walk may well be the best gift you can give yourself. Solvitur Ambulando! This Latin term means: It is solved by walking. The expression is often attributed to Saint Augustine of Hippo and to Diogenes … Read more

Path Back to Love

Recently I had the joy of hiking a section of the Ute Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. In the vast recesses of ancient times estimated at 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, early native people sojourned this trail between the high peaks of the Continental Divide and the lower hunting areas in the valleys and plains. In the more recent past, Ute, Arapaho, and Cheyenne bands traveled these original animal trails back and forth in … Read more