Feeling the boat

Turn and woo

Small corrections were all it took

To keep the sails tufted

The tassels swinging

Sails lifting

And the wind pulling us further and further

From shore.



A Spell to Fall Asleep


A Spell to Fall Asleep

I step on a dream –

The poof of genies,

Sparkles and powder,

Midnight turns India

Turret colors as dizzying as a carousel.


Magic carpet, wind in the face,

Fun like bouncing in blow-up castles,

Riding horseback over Ireland,

Long-flowing chestnut hair falls in billows.


Mushroom steps sound hollow,

The elves play a tapping tune,

Someone in the shade slides a lullaby guitar

Lightly like a harp winding down.


The eyes close and bring one to foreign memories,

Candy cane swirls, the trumpet sounds,

And morning has all-of-a-sudden awoken.


Poetry Travel

A Second Life – Green Mountain Coffee


A Second Life – Green Mountain Coffee

Off their main streets

Woven through the state

Vermont basks in astute minds.


All that goes, all that moves,

Lily flower thoughts are allowed here.


Here, on a painted porch

Heavy brackets lifting an ancient roof

Painted cedar shingles

At the brow of the green mountains

Mansard roofs, cupola peaks are

Standing guard over

Everything that will be accepted.

Try the Green Mountain Coffee yourself and enjoy the tour through Waterbury’s historic train station!
Poetry Travel

Woodstock Rests


Woodstock Rests

Woodstock rests

In the hollows of Lincoln.

The inn and brewery serves the thru-hiker double rye

Greeting the kids

Walking from Georgia to Maine

When there are only four hundred miles to go.


We recommend Woodstock Inn and Brewery!

Woodstock, New Hampshire


Woodstock, New Hampshire

Behind our inn there are cascades

For shallow swimming and sliding.

The smooth bottom races

below your swimming feet

green algae slippery teenagers

and adults are racing back

through a pine-needled forest

–a soft carpet landing.

As the rock-slide river

delivers to shallow waters

the stream without you

we race to slide, swim again.


New Hampshire’s Streams


New Hampshire’s Streams

Sliding in the pools

Feet gripping a slimy bottom

Just to upright yourself

Before the crashing waves

Of a tumbling stream

Slow down into a swirling pool of peace.


The Lost River


The Lost River

Drip drop druid forest,

Thick white batons lay on the floor,

Knick knock in the rock,

Let’s find a face.


We crawled on our bellies,

Knelt before the sea alter,

Shimmied along rock crags,

–Muddy and melting between the glacier ice

That carved smooth pot-holes.


Lemon squeezing grandpas,

The echos filled with children’s laughter,

Climbs against boulders at your back,

Angled ladders,


Small streams and colorful rocks crossed our pathway.

Around beaver brook’s base,

The water’s girth, a loud noise,

An incredible orchestra,

An entire journey upward,

Rock, jaded, studded waterfall,

A mountain high of meandering,

On a large rock face, over which trees had grown

Their roots had branched

And patrons had worn

Places for us to step and fall.


Wheeling and Ohio


Wheeling and Ohio

In these western foothills

Appalachia trembles,

Tiny bombs detonated,

Shaking the river for oil.


Small orange bags filled with

Radio signals, computer equipment

Driven down by communication cords

Hang loose from helicopters wings above to the gas

Miles below our surface-land.


Tearing through the mountains,

Toppling the ancient rock,

Shaking the pockets below to the

Pockets walking the street

–Gold coins are spilling.

Into the cracked waters,


To pay off the liquid we’re pulling

To provide everyone on earth above

Good living.


Why don’t we just crawl down into the caves

To drink the liquid directly?

Community Poetry

Great Main Street Gallery Event


One month ago there was a great art event in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Musicians, painters, photographers, professional, and amateur poets got together and shared the evening. The turn out was overwhelming. Our community that night was flourishing.

The gallery decided to open the doors a little wider and invited 15 people to participate in a poetry and photography show. It was titled ‘Journeys: an exploration through photography and poetry,’ and was defined by each individual in their own creative way. There was a photo of a bright horizon in Aruba, one taken at a silence retreat in front of a fire, and another of a stairway strewn with over-growing vines. Our work looked lovely, floating in the low-lit room before everyone arrived. Our collaborative was successful in many ways.  The participants were filled with anticipation and pride. There is an entire new perspective of what you feel you can do when your work hangs up on a wall.

The positive response came from the excitement in the artists that had never had the chance to ‘show’ in a gallery, and their many friends who came to support them. Many people there that night had never attended a Main Street Gallery function, but were eager to come back again. The discussions lasted until 11 in the evening, but the memories made a lasting impact on me.

GalleryByJosie JosieThanks Josie, for the wonderful panoramic and collage photos above!


.IMG_3628Our floating work and conversations as the gallery filled with people.



The deep fluid sound of trombone and keyboard held together the mood that night.


A few artists took a moment to explain their ‘Journeys.’ It was an impromptu and informal presentation that the entire gallery paused to be apart of. Marc Harshman shared poetry from his newly published collection ‘All That Feeds Us‘ and unraveled his poem ‘Why Not Wish’ with animation, that was printed for the evening’s event. Local painter, Melanie Steffl-Thompson encouraged everyone with her words of soothing advice. Creative things are happening here, positive things are happening here, here where we live in Ohio. She encouraged the young and old people listening; people listening and playing their own part in the evening where we all came together to share art.

Book Review Poetry

Poetry for Dummies


I’m currently reading Poetry for Dummies published in 2001 and have given myself Saturday afternoon homework.

poetry for dummies

In the middle of chapter 9, a chapter describing Open-Form poetry, there is a great open verse tutorial. I’ve found it online as well at the Dummies website too and have copied it below.

Think of open-form poetry as a way of thinking — an especially intense awareness of every single aspect of the poem, from subject and tone to music and rhythm, from the physical shape of the poem to the length (in space and in time) of the lines, from the grammar you use to the parts of speech.

When you write an open-form poem, try to be very conscious. Everything in the poem, every feature, every aspect, must have a reason for being there. Be conscious of the following:

  • Economy. Cram as much energy as possible into each word. Cut everything that doesn’t absolutely need to be there.
  • Grammar and syntax. Are you always using complete sentences? Well, that’s fine — but you could also do it another way. Decide whether you have a reason to write in complete sentences for this poem. If you can come up with a reason, fine. If not, consider alternatives — bursts of words, single words, word fragments. And who says you have to use “proper” grammar? Or punctuation? Try breaking a few rules, if that improves the poem.
  • Parts of speech. Some teachers say you shouldn’t use adjectives or adverbs; they prefer nouns and verbs instead. That’s an excellent starting point: Use only the words you need. If all you’re doing is prettifying something, forget it. Use adjectives only when they’re surprising (“your green voice”), contradictory (“aggressive modesty”), or give information the reader simply can’t get elsewhere (“It was a Welsh ferret” — how else would we know a ferret was Welsh?).
  • Rhythms. Look at the rhythms in your lines. Does the rhythm of the line contribute to its meaning? Anything sing-songy? If so, is it good that it’s sing-songy?Often, open-form verse falls into iambs (a group of syllables consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable, as in “alas!”) and dactyls (one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed, as in “penetrate”). Don’t let this happen unless there is a reason for it.
  • The physical lengths (the number syllables and the actual length) of the lines you use. Avoid falling into exactly the same lengths. Every length should have a reason behind it.
  • The length (in time) it takes to read each line aloud. If each line takes about the same number of seconds, figure out whether there’s a reason for it. If there isn’t, consider other shapes and lengths.
  • Line endings. Poets realize that line endings carry a certain emphasis or pressure. Your lines should end where they end for some reason. The way a line ends — where, and after what word or punctuation mark — should be the best way to end. Do you want a pause there? What’s going to happen when your readers go to the next line? Something unexpected? Some surprise?Read a lot of open-form verse, and you’ll notice that poets use a great deal of enjambment, winding the words around the ends of lines in gorgeous and meaningful ways.

I have so many half-formed poems that need to be worked on. I brought one of them to the table with me and tried to think of its’ form and consider it in the light of each of the bullet points above.

My poem went from this:

The Rush of Wings


Each day that passed she fell in order with living

The resonance of time, individual

The light of the sun

Counted on


The rush of wings

Shook loose the snow

Buried on top of the earth


Dreams of her mother

Visited at night

Awaking other thoughts that had been lost


taking care of yourself,

cleaning the closets,

using glasses from the cupboard,

time alone


When quietness had come.

To this:

The Rush of Wings


Death is a gaping hole

A limp lived with

In the wake of a loss

Someone is left alone


Each day passed

Living fell in order

Time, individual


The movement of the sun

Counted on

My grandmother smiled.


The rush of wings

Shook loose the snow

Buried in the earth


Dreams of her mother

Visited at night

Awakening lost thoughts


Taking care of yourself

Cleaning the closets

Using glasses from the cupboard

Time alone


When quietness had come.


Other quotes I’ve picked up in my reading are below:

More meaning, fewer words. pg 10

Use vowels, consonants, sounds as a rhythm to the music of your poetry. pg 69

An intricate braid of poems. pg 103

Let the natural poem breath make the line break. pg 163

One thing I don’t do very often with my poetry is to speak it aloud. Joining a writers group allows this verbalization, which in turn informs my poetry by the way I hear myself and the way others describe understanding my poems.

(I liked the grassy swirls on the first image above. I took this at Phipps Conservatory.)