New Leaves on a Willow

blossoming tree


Where yesterday were bare gold stems,

March’s windy stratagems

Have today miraculously

Wrought new leaves on a willow tree.

New leaves so mistily winged and small

They seem to spray from a waterfall;

Water cascading headlong to stop

Midway down on its breathless drop.

New leaves so sudden-green they scorch

The somber sky with a fiery torch;

New willow leaves….new dreams again;

New high resolves in the hearts of men.

–Ethel Romig Fuller, Kitchen Sonnets


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Ours was More a Sudden Notice

“It was winter when I first saw Call Lucas, though I’d seen him, sure, before.  Ours was more a sudden notice, like a secret thought grown big, then bigger, till you blurt it out and nearly jump inside your skin to hear it said.  He was milking Boss, his flat man-rump on a T-bar stool, knees higher, spraddle-legged, shouldered into Boss’s flank, arm hoist round her leg to hobble her, neck craned sideways, looking up at nothing, at the pigeons in the rafters, then at me; at me, at Mackie Spoon, eighteen, come in to gather eggs….

What we did was wrong, though there can be a way of turning something, seeing how what happens after can add up to make it right.  It was milking time, five-thirty, warm inside from cattle, from the little things that live in hay to make it give its own green breathing heat.  The sun was tabby-orange through the slats, dust and motes around me like I’d walked into a spangled halo, bars of orange slid across me smooth and light as water.  I smelled the warm grass smell of hay not cured and dust and cattle, linseed oil and harness leather, swallows’ nests of mud and straw and feathers, mice, the foam of milk from Call’s pail when he set it down and milk lapped into the dirt as he came towards me, unwashed work when he got closer, myself in my wool coat with wet snow melting on the shoulders where it fell upon me from the eaves.”

-Janet Peery, What the Thunder Said,  Best American Short Stories 1993

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A Face She Could Have Fallen in Love With

-an excerpt from a story I am working on.


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We Launch From Porlock!

crashing sea

“James drove us to Porlock Weir, a snug harbor with tearoom and seaside hotel, about ten miles from Lynmouth.  A few tour buses stop next to the Old Ship Inn, for Porlock is a local attraction.  A famous sea rescue took place here in 1899 during a terrible storm.  When the Lynmouth lifeboat could not be launched in heavy waves to save a ship wallowing in Porlock Bay, the coxswain declared, in words now legendary, “We launch from Porlock!”  Through torrential rain and darkness, his men dragged the twelve-oar heavy boat up hills with a 1:3 gradient and across fifteen miles of difficult terrain–and saved the stricken crew.  Now, when something looks quite impossible to either James or me, one of us is apt to whisper encouragingly to the other:  “Never mind!  We launch from Porlock!”

Susan Allen Toth, My Love Affair with England

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Listen Closely Because It Will Answer Back

house at Shore Acres

“She loved that house very much.  Whenever we returned to it, from far or near, she grew excited, filled with high spirits.  “Soon we’ll be home!” she would say, and once arrived she would add, “Here we are, we’re home!” and sometimes she would even ceremoniously recite the lines of a poem that repeated itself as well: “Home is the sailor, home from the sea / And the hunter home from the hill.”

The keyhole of our apartment door was the height of a person’s head.  You would lift me in your arms and say ‘You open it.”

I would thrust the key in and turn it.  You would press on the handle and open the door and say, “Hello, house….” to the cool dimness. “You two, say hello to the house too,” she would instruct us.  “And listen closely, because it will answer back.”

Benjamin said, “But it’s a house.  How can a house answer?” And I said, “Hello, House” and I fell silent and listened like you asked me to.

“Be quiet, Benjamin,” you said.  “And both of you, listen closely.”

The house was happy, too, at our return, and it breathed and it answered just as you promised.  We crossed the threshold and you said, “Let’s have a bite to eat,” which meant a few slices of bread topped with soft cheese “spread oh so thin” and a hard-boiled egg–PLAFF!–and anchovy substitute in a yellow tube and chopped parsley and tomato sliced so thin it was nearly transparent.  Because that is what one did at home.  One returned home, and said hello, and heard the answer, and entered.  And then one had a bite to eat and was overcome with joy: we are home.  Home from the hill, from the sea, from far away.  That is what we love and that is what we know how to do.”

-Meir Shalev, A Pigeon and a Boy

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It’s Such an Interesting World

interesting world

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There are Days that Sparkle

Unique Cafe

Yesterday was a most marvelous day.

Lunch beneath a grand old chandelier at a diner that’s half antique shop, with black and white checkered floors.

Driving along the curves of a gleaming river.

Hours of conversation with a philosopher friend.

Walking across a low tide beach, the wet sand speckled with clam dimples, amused by the little puffs of air, now here now there now over there.

Dinner at a new discovery, the food so delicious we couldn’t help but moan with pleasure throughout the meal.

Falling asleep to the sound of the ocean.

There are days that sparkle and this was one of them.

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