Because reason is inadequate.



Lucille Clifton

the times
it is hard to remain human on a day
when birds perch weeping
in the trees and the squirrel eyes
do not look away but the dog ones do
in pity.
another child has killed a child
and i catch myself relieved that they are
white and i might understand except
that i am tired of understanding.
if these
alphabets could speak their own tongue
it would be all symbol surely;
the cat would hunch across the long table
and that would mean time is catching up,
and the spindle fish would run to ground
and that would mean the end is coming
and the grains of dust would gather themselves
along the streets and spell out
these too are your children   this too is your child.  


Matthew Buckley Smith

"By ‘voice’ I don’t mean the sound breath makes when passing through the organ of the larynx. I mean the sound language makes when passing through the organ of the memory."

An extraordinary essay exploring the subtleties of voice:

Smartish Pace


The difficulty is not to write, but to write what you mean.   -  RLS


Ode to the Elders

On definitions

define, from the French, de finis', to set limitations


A new poem of mine appears in this month's New Criterion:

New Criterion



We must have reasons for speech, but we need none for silence.

This newly released anthology contains one of my sonnets.  It is edited by Mary Meriam, and is available from Amazon:


One needn't be loud to be true to one's recalcitrance.


Three thousand
haiku examined.
Two persimmons. 

- Asoka Shika


It is not possible to possess a love language without also loving silence.   


From Cold Front:

Laura Riding Jackson

From The New York Review:

The Secret Auden


When the music changes, so does the dance.


From BAP:

Poetry and the Occult

Virginia Quarterly has dropped its paywall for the month, so its contents are free and available on the net.   I have a couple of poems in the current issue:

Table of Contents, VQR

Thanks to Allan Curtis of the AIC for his invitation to feature my visual work this month:

Artist of the Month

I'm reminded several of my poems are featured on Poetry International:

Poetry International


Wonderful insights from Nina Martyris:  

The Art of the Elegy


The Snowshoe Kitten

Curiosity is the purest form of insubordination.   - Nabakov


Raising a teeny tiny helpless snowshoe kitten has rendered me a drooling, cooing, mindless thing this winter.

 Forgive me. I am under the influence of Cuteness.

We are utterly surrounded by it.  We sleep with Cuteness, dream in Cuteness, speak of Cuteness.

Any poor unsuspecting person who walks through the front door is taken in and reduced to Cuteness mush.

In addition, I notice I can't read much these days.   The creature of Cute finds page-turning an activity which requires immediate attack.

I notice I don't eat much either.

And when I leave the house, I indulge in ridiculously long, mewing, purring goodbyes.

Beauty, yes, Beauty, sure.  Beauty and Truth, yes, yes, yes.  Keats, Goethe, O'Keefe, Michelangelo, Kandinski, Mozart !  Beauty is the stuff of poetry, art,  mystery.  Beauty is the stuff of the strange, the stuff of dream.  Beauty is the language the poets and the prophets have longed for centuries to comprehend. Beauty, Camus tells us, is unbearable; it drives us to despair, offering us the mere glimpse of eternity. 

Yes, I've spent a life time seeking, exploring, questioning, avoiding, surrendering to, and occasionally even reproducing Beauty.

But Cuteness ?

Even my children, when they were soft, sweet little infants, always struck me far more beautiful and mysterious than... Cute.

Naturally I have undertaken a Cuteness Research Project.

The word itself is quite new, and derives from the word, acute:

The Word Detective


The Birth of Cuteness

We often recoil at the very mention of the word:

The C Word

It seems the Japanese have been studying the physiology of Cute for some time, and have made a bundle doing so:

Kawaii Culture 

And of course Wiki reminds us that Cuteness, as a general rule, pushes all our cellular nurturing buttons:


At evening when the lamp is lit,
The tired Human People sit
And doze, or turn with solemn looks
The speckled pages of their books.

Then I, the Dangerous Kitten, prowl
And in the Shadows softly growl,
And roam about the farthest floor
Where Kitten never trod before.

And, crouching in the jungle damp,
I watch the Human Hunter’s camp,
Ready to spring with fearful roar
As soon as I shall hear them snore.

And then with stealthy tread I crawl
Into the dark and trackless hall,
Where 'neath the Hat-tree's shadows deep
Umbrellas fold their wings and sleep.

A cuckoo calls — and to their dens
The People climb like frightened hens,
And I'm alone — and no one cares
In Darkest Africa — downstairs.

 Oliver Herford


In Praise of Idioms:

Idioms and Words that Remain


Learn to Paint with Alcohol Inks

For information on ordering instructional DVDs, please contact Wendy at


Dear Friends,

Here lie the dreams we put to rest.
And there, the things we meant to say.
Further on, those bits of faith.

Mindless things, they bore no pain
and easily went to their graves.
It's we who are not quite the same.

(With thanks to the editors at The Hudson Review, who not only nominated this poem for a Pushcart, but also  have selected it for their New Year's card this year). 


A new poem recently published:


It's official.  (Always a finalist):

Rattle Announcement

A Few Things Buzzing Among the Literati:

Everything You Need to Know About Smarm 

Gioia, Longing 

That Franco guy


It was a hard thing to undo this knot. 
The rainbow shines, but only in the thought 
Of him that looks. Yet not in that alone, 
For who makes rainbows by invention? 
And many standing round a waterfall 
See one bow each, yet not the same to all, 
But each a hand's breadth further than the next. 
The sun on falling waters writes the text 
Which yet is in the eye or in the thought. 
It was a hard thing to undo this knot. 

- Hopkins