Sunday, February 24, 2013


On my old TV sets, ghosta walk.
In pantomime the Kaiser shakes a hand
in double time, with silent talk.
He greets a royal visitor; they stand
in sunshine of a day long past
then, bobbing, jerk across my haunted screen
quick-step, as though to end at last
An infinitely re-enacted scene.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


SABBATICAL - a memory

Predawn gray creeps in the empty room.
Book shelves lie bare, waiting for renters' books;
gone are the family photographs, mementos,
locked away in the crowded basement room.
Our personalities obliterated,
familiar windows, corners grow strange.
Suitcase forms emerge in growing light

next to the travelling clothes hung on a chair.
Even the mattress lacks its sheets and spread;
we sleep like displaced persons, refugees,
ready to roll our sleeping bags and go.
 Only a scent remains (our aura?) to hint
that we use garlic, lavender and wax.

And am I sad to leave?  No, I am ready,
my mind outdistancing the throbbing plane,
my skin anticipating balmy air,
my nose - dark coffee, pungent herbs, ripe fruits.

Last night I dreamed in Portuguese. 

My husband, Dr. Otto. J. M. Smith was professor at 
U. C. Berkeley, and our sabbatical leaves took us to
many countries, but Brazil was one that we returned to
again and again, and whose language I had studied
and knew well.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013


                 FERRIS WHEEL

On the rim of the golden coin we spun
fiefly lit for our soaring flight.
For a frozen tick of time we hung
at the crest of the turning disk of light,
upturned faces lost below,
above us space and stars and night

By day we see that cables snake
through trampled grass to girdered wheel,
its motor black with furry grease,
its garish paint begun to peel
Popsicle wrappers and popcorn bags
blow fitfully through bolted steel.

We should see truth by sunlight. Still
     the night
     and space
     and stars
          were real.   

Sunday, February 3, 2013

IMMUNITY for Sunday Scribblings

I am not immune to the sudden stab of grief that won't go away when I think of Otto. And yet there is an added grief to which I am not immune. I wrote it best in an old poem written years ago for someone for someone else.

Here is the poem:
                     NOW I GRIEVE
Now I grieve for the passing of my grief.
Intending to be constant in my sorrow
I fed my eyes on hollow air where you were not,
I fed my ears on silence of your voice
and winter joined to celebrate your absence;
hills misted with remoteness and no green thing intruded.
I willed my sorrowing to last forever.

But now my foolish heart forgets to mourn.
Warm air says wild plum is blossoming,
bricks press their sun-warmed bricks against my palm,
pale green leaf buds bead the lacy branches,
and frail new insects try transparent wings.
I grieve that these small things can ease my sorrow
for when it goes we will be doubly parted.