looking into his glass
wet with condensation on the outside
he sees the ice sparkling
reflecting the colors of the neon beer signs
the liquid’s amber color
in the dim light of the pub
only visible in his mind’s eye
soft sweet melodies from a trio
traditional irish mostly
a little mellow modern now and again
provides the doorway to his memories
the whiskey and melting ice
reflecting colors in the amber liquid
forming images in his mind’s eye
tears condensing on the outside

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little bird

little bird lying
at the base of the tree
did you have a good life?
did you have many children?
did you soar high above the emerald green canopy
and see a world of captivating beauty?
or did you have to do too much to survive
to notice the symphony of the seasons?
was your life filled with songs at dawn
waking the rest of us to a new day?
did you find shelter in the storms?
did you find your way to a southern home
when winter’s bitter cold
stole the sunshine from the day?
little bird
did you find happiness
in flying every day?

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an opening

an opening in the shoreline
not visible from outside the small bay
the canoe guided into the narrow stream
no larger vessel could navigate
the rushing water shallow
with sounds more subdued
in deference to the chirping
of a territorial red squirrel
and a cardinal boasting of its beauty
here the scenery more intimate
reveals small flowers that
bees and butterflies dance between
glimpses of fish swimming below
the surface where water bugs scurry
subtle scents of birch and day lilies can be detected
off to the side
wet marshy backwaters
harboring a bullfrog choral group
singing for their ladies
goes suddenly silent
there is an intruder
someone who doesn’t belong
sitting silent in the strange looking log
patiently waiting
trying to prove presence with no malice
the outsider
hoping to become a part of the tapestry

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a north woods moment

in the evening
many shades adorning a sunset
the whole of the orange spectrum
blending into the reds and indigos
reflecting in the mirror of a wave-less lake
the stage adorned with the evergreens
and summer greens that have yielded to fall
accompanied by the soliloquy of a loon
smoke from birch logs burning in the fire
weaving with the fragrance of the pines
the north woods
will enchant even the coldest of souls
fresh caught fish fried on the birch fire
and fresh baked biscuits
accented with a glass of white wine
a feast with
sweet cream butter the only condiment
a moment when all the senses are sated
a moment when slow down can happen
a moment when peace seems possible

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one candle

one candle
its light slightly orange-yellow
against the blackness
burns on the table in the old kitchen
many joyous meals
feasts to all that were present
have been served on its worn wooden surface
tonight though
one candle reveals little of those events
burning alone
over a small pot of tea
the ambiance neither happy nor sad
mellow perhaps
two cups steaming a little
two hands one on each cup
another two hands fingers gently entwined
many feasts crafted by these
as this pot of tea can attest

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october and rain

in this small puddle
the grey clouds are reflected
visible occasionally amidst the rippling rings
from the light rain
fogging this cool october day
more than one autumn painted leaf sticks
to the sidewalk and floats on the water
colorful splotches on cold grey canvases
the beauty lamenting the abandoned summer
even in the abstract images of a walkway
on a day shortened by a waning sun
little time is left
to speak of essentials
things too important to leave unsaid
requiring a louder voice
the demise of another year
uncomfortably close
brilliant color a way to shout politely
that conversations are now urgently needed
life itself reaching new levels joy and pain
a crescendo that must be heard
as too soon winter’s blanket will silence the voices
that sing the anthems and hymns and odes of the harvest
giving rest to the throats
that have evoked the chaotic chorus
heavy white silence in the cycling landscape
leaving only echoes
and a vague hope of spring

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a moment of clarity in the pub

i’ll have another
how are you getting home?
he had had a few already
i had to make sure
you know the word whiskey
comes from the gaelic word meaning
water of life
yes i know
why the water of life do you suppose?
why when it’s known to have brought pain
to so many?
i think i know, if i may
i wouldn’t interrupt him now
even if he wasn’t our non-resident regular pundit
before drunkenness takes over
on the edge of inebriation
there is clarity
an almost omniscient quality
to the thoughts available to us
when we see in ourselves
and all of those around us
the humanity we share
a moment of clarity
would it be that we all
could see each other in that moment
here’s your whiskey
this one’s on the house

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