Maple Canyon Bridge


Building Bridges                                                       IMG_0002

Words are a bridge

between you and me,

my age, like strong posts reaching down

deep into the canyon,

anchored  strong,

Your youth is the span,

risking a reach across

the chasm of time,

going to a time I will not follow.

Our words are a bridge

Reaching from my heart

to yours, your dreams  to mine,

your hopes, young loves,

Despair, the bridge

like a jumping off point to end sadness.

For me, in the middle of the long span

of life, I see your future,

limitless, paths tracing

the ground up and down,

around curves we cannot see beyond,

always aiming toward beauty,

your young lives a wonder,

Our words, a bridge.


Paper Snow Ball Fight


Grown ups gather on one side of the room

Youth on the other, small and large,

Glad and gleeful, preschool

to  highschool, waist high

to sky high, all helping

Each other.

Each of us gathers to our chest

a clutch of paper snowballs, two years

of recycling smashed into

tough, round balls, like eggs

we tend and nurture,

And toss with force and abandon,

Wild and true.


Kurt unleashes the first volley,

Moving in on the kids with a twinkle

Behind his glasses,  his belly

A shield bouncing balls back

Like a secret weapon.

Evan dashes out to the front,

Five-year-old eyes shining like a warrior,

his hands scooping and tossing, scooping

and aiming, rocketing forward like a launch pad,

sending balls soaring with true finesse.

I hide behind the barricade

of an overturned  table, unsure

Of how I feel about children

Acting out their aggression against elders,

Until I see our faces reflected

In the window, old, happy,

Lighted by delight,

Released to recess,

Kids again

Each year, for the annual

paper snow ball fight.


1000 Ways to Write a Poem


In ancient China, speaking of ten thousands of anything was slang for what we would now call a gazillion — an unimaginably large, but finite, number. The Chinese speak of the 10,000-Li Wall — parts of the Great Wall of China — and Chinese Buddhist prayers speak of the Ten Thousand Things that make up the world as we experience it. I have heard it said that it takes 10,000 hours to learn to do anything well, that there are 1000 ways to cross a room, fifty ways to lose a lover, 31 flavors of ice cream, and more than one way to skin a cat.

This is a forum for writing poetry — good, bad, indifferent — just to write.

In the game 1000 ways to cross a room, writers write a way to cross a room on a slip of paper, and then put all the slips into a hat. Then each person draws one one of the hat and has to act it out.

I will draw on exercises from writing books such as Steve Kowitt’s In the Palm of Your Hand, and Myra Cohn Livingston’s Poem Making, to fill this blog with 1000 ways to make a poem.

Hand Knitting


Her left hand sits sideways

Like a ladder, climbing to the sky

Each finger a rung held together

by ropes of yarn.

Her right hand climbs,

Unreeling the skein and winding it

around each finger, looping over and under

And over, until every finger is bound

To the next, unable to move.

Then the right hand

climbs to the top of the fingers,

perches precariously and begins to work,

lifting the loop of yarn and tossing it

over the top of the finger, like Peter

Lowering the rope over the Wolf’s head,

Catching him fast

In a net.

As she knits, the back of her hand

Flips over to show the growing rope,

Not  a net, but a ladder of lovely links,

Each rung helping her

Climb to the stars.