These days,
there are all kinds of whisperers.
Horse, dog, cat. You name it,
someone is whispering to it.
American idols, who are they?
There are politicians whispering
behind closed doors, on cell phones,
to large piles of money. Who
are these faces and what lips
can whisper such secrets
designed to hurt so many?

As for me, I am whispering
to the trees. For so long,
they have whispered to me
and now I beg them, please,
teach us to be more like you,
steadfast, but flexible.

Don’t just hug a tree.
Be a tree: root, stretch
shade, blossom. Then,
when the wind blows,
whisper, thank you.

from This Particular Heaven


In the Infancy of My Old Age

I am a newbie at this old age thing—
the aches, the pains, the lost keys.
I left a twenty in the money machine
the other morning. Is this how it starts?

Not as old as some, mind you,
not stooped over, I can still
climb a hill, still run a mile. I am
the textbook example of “active senior.”

Nearly all the people I work with
could be my children. I throw away
my AARP membership offers, because
I am far too young to retire. But,

slowly, my ankles are giving out
and I greet each new day
with a stiff back, a headache.
Is it my mattress or is it me?

Then, there was that recent scare—severe
chest pain. But it was nothing. I am still
young at heart, though last time I checked,
there were wrinkles in my cleavage.

–from The Aging Poems


We Come from the Furnace of the Stars
                    I and everything I love have come from the furnace of the stars…
                                                                                          — Barbara Brown Taylor

We come from the furnace of the stars
and in their blazing light we beam.
Together, all this world is ours.

Our lives rain down as showers
and all the waters in all the streams
flow from the furnace of the stars.

And all this love that ever flowers,
tied each to each on threaded seam.
Together, all this world is ours.

In every color, every hour,
every place where dreamers dream—
we come from the furnace of the stars.

Rise up in truth to power
and do not fear its grimy gleam.
Together, all this world is ours.

With voices raised, we tower!
We care, we share, we are, we seem.
Together, all this world is ours.
We come from the furnace of the stars.

from the anthology Love Affairs at the Villa Nelle
coming in 2019 from Kelsay Press