Some keep the Sabbath going to Church

but you spend this Sunday      with me,
on the spring garden bench      reading poems
from your small hand-sewn fascicles,      never published,
but for here and now,      where God
preaches     –    and the sermon is never long.

reading garden

This poem recalls – and borrows lines – from Emily Dickinson, whose poems I was reading this morning.

Emily Dickinson,
poet of the interior life,
poems were written quietly in a room of her own,
often hand-stitched in small volumes,
then hidden in a drawer.
She died without fame,
only a few poems were published in her lifetime, and those anonymously.
All of the poems were later published
at first altered by editors or publishers according to the fashion of the day,
rather than in the unique style that Emily intended for them.

The volume I was reading is The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition which has 1,789 poems with Dickinson’s spelling, punctuation, and capitalization intact.

The Effect of a Butterfly


The butterfly flapping here in my garden
might be somehow changing something in China.
Perhaps, this is not chaos but synchronicity.
Far away, a child watches another butterfly
and is thinking about me writing this.


In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.

The term, “butterfly effect,” is associated with the work of Edward Lorenz. His metaphorical, not literal, example was that a tornado’s exact time of formation and the exact path it takes could be influenced by minor perturbations such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly several weeks earlier.

A very small change in initial conditions can create a significantly different outcome. It’s a theory I consider valid for much more than the weather.

Ode for Stanley in His Garden

van Gogh irises
some of Vincent van Gogh’s irises

Ode for Stanley in His Garden

It’s early for irises, Stanley. But today

daffodils are shouting yellow and white calls

to me from my garden, “Come outside!

Leave that poem for tonight! Touch blooms!”

Maybe it was you, Stanley, calling me.

still life

Poet Stanley Kunitz was also known for his Provincetown, Cape Cod garden which I was able to visit when I spent a week in Ptown at a poetry-writing workshop.