gravel road girl

Archive for the category “Poetry”

Boots By the Side of the Road

Boots by the side of the road,

why are you here?

Here at the severe curve

where every driver must slow

nearly to not-moving.

Did they pause to set you out

for smell of foul feet?

Or bad behavior,

if that is possible for such

durable, salt of the earth

work wear.

Are you the last straw

of a bad day?

The finality of a job

never returned to?

I must think, though,

that you wait here,

doggedly loyal,

sure of your master’s return.

I applaud and admire you.

Good boots!

We Have Bees

We Have Bees

We have bees–

or rather the bees have us.

Thrumming, humming,

like a pulse drumming

inside the skeletal walls

of this decaying crib.

Unlike Herculean Samson,

I will not

reach in to steal away

their golden lifeblood.

I will not

selfish seek to sweeten my life.

For they, by choosing us,

move life

from flower to flower.

(Not) A Poem a Day: The Clematis


The poor thing,

she needed to be moved.

In my absence

she was transplanted–

efficiently enough–

to a wind-buffeted southwest corner.

Staked and sturdied and twined,

barely blossomed,

tiny tendrils grasped for anything.

And so I found her

and loosened what held her upright.

She fell forward–

so oddly yet almost instinctively

like a child upon my shoulder.

My response,

“Oh, sweet plant!

I’m here to help you.”

And she rested there

and I thought I heard

a sigh.

(Not) A Poem a Day: A Pleasant Surprise

Photo credit: Greg Rosenke

A Pleasant Surprise

It is always a pleasant surprise–

like finding money in your pocket


nabbing the last popsicle

in the box–

that you uncover a nest

of ladybugs

red, polka dotted and

tumbling out into the

spring garden.

They are as surprised

as I.

(Not) A Poem a Day: Thoughts

Photo: Cerqueira, Unsplash


I snatch at my thoughts

like a child with a net

chasing butterflies.

Though I capture one,

pinning it down

to gently wrestle with it,



four others

flit about just out of reach

more provoking

more distracting

than the one I now


(Unrevised) Poem of the Day: Marmalade



my old, faithful cat

lies at my feet

curled around herself.

Like a rug

washed too many times,

she is patchy

and frayed

and thinning.

She no longer gives service

for catching mice

or for kittenly entertainment,

but like any good dog,

she is a cat of


and presence

and enduring love.

(Not) A Poem a Day: Swans

photo: Drazen Neske, Unsplash

Because writing time has been at a premium lately, I’m posting a recently written poem. As we here in the Midwest impatiently wait for spring, the gathering of eagles near open water and the flight of swans makes things bearable and gives us hope.


written Friday, March 4, 2022

Two pair of swans,


flying swiftly

to the northeast

as if sprung from a bow

arrow straight.


below them

limited by where the asphalt

could take me

wished to reach up

to fly away with them

free of roads

free of fences

free of my own


(Not) A poem a day: Waiting Rooms

photo credit: Greg Rosenke, Unsplash

Waiting Rooms

–written Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2022

The waiting rooms I’ve sat in–

hours upon hours

upon vinyl

upon cloth

upon pins and needles

to hear words of truth

according to

the bible of medicine

from the disciples of healing.

My future placed

under a cold

metal disc–



for tomorrow.

Poem for today: Snapshots

photo credit: Denise Jans, Unsplash


–written Monday, Feb. 28, 2022

Like a small child,

weaving together a story

simply by looking at the pictures,

I, too, create my life

in pictures.

Full scenes,

simple snapshots,

dim black and whites

roll through my mind

like a shuddering movie projector.

All reminding me

of the pieces

that are me.

(Not) A Poem a Day

Inspired by Jane Yolen's a-poem-a-day writing discipline and butt-in-chair mantra, I'm loosely attempting my own a-few-poems-a-week regimen. These are lightly edited or perhaps not edited at all with the date included to keep me honest. By the way, if you don't know who Jane Yolen is you should. Her writing is delightful. Go find her. Read her stuff. 

February Walk

–Written Monday, February 21, 2022

Yesterday, I timidly stepped

into the end of February

and out of doors.

Tugged by gentle winds

that lifted the cornhusks

like large moths,

I layered on my own warmth

only to find

it was too much.

I tied my sweatshirt around my waist and

waded into the sunshine.

The black asphalt trail,

a snow-melt river,

where cyclists dodged about

liked wheeled water bugs.

–Written Monday, February 21, 202

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