Late snow on branches, cold bright sun,
saying names aloud of those not seen
for too many years, so loudly that
some snow slides off the evergreen needles,
melting into the Earth and into memory

The photo I use here reminds me of the first two lines of Emily Dickinson’s poem.

There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons —

That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes

The Winter of My Content

this mild winter, equinox a line away
on the wall calendar, hurrying snow flurries
that will not stay, friends and family
home safe and healthy on this day,
content in this moment, hopeful future moments

Photo: Julia Volk

My poem’s title alludes to the line from Shakespeare’s Richard III, “Now is the winter of our discontent…” and I also think of how John Steinbeck used the line for the title of his The Winter of Our Discontent

Blue Jays

The jays, protectors of forests, today protect
the St. Francis statue. These blue messengers
of the gods and to loved ones,
afterlife helpers who mate for life, busily
screaming at shared enemies in my dream.

Photo by Dave Menke, USFWS on Pixnio

If you are interested in learning more about blue jay symbolism
and spiritual meanings, see

Afternoon In A Minor Key

Photo: Brent Keane

Afternoon of moments in a minor key.
Songs I would have sung with guitar
on a day like this while you
sat in bed, the covers pulled up,
bare shoulders, tea steaming in your hand,

jasmine air, the hours have a different
sound, emotional feel, and time passes harmonically.
This chord is solemn, sad, maybe mysterious,
ominous if we let our light fade.
Each minor key shares a key signature

with a major key and I need
to find that again while you move
to piano to play that D minor.
So melancholy, a lamentation, dirge or requiem.

Photo: Marcela Alessandra

Saving Lives

I walk across the snow and sand
to the lifeguard stand and climb up.
It’s a place I certainly never belonged
in my youth. Never a strong swimmer,
never an athletic body, no secret desire

to save lives. Well, maybe to save
a few girls I knew who then
would be indebted to me, in love
with their hero. I would rescue them
from the riptides of their undeserving boyfriends.