Archive for the ‘Ron Padgett’ Category


I don’t know what this flower is, but it’s got a hearts-and-ashes coloration befitting today’s unusual dual-celebration (Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day, in case you didn’t know).


One note before I get to my annual Valentine’s Day Poem Blitz: I usually include a range of poems for all different kinds of Valentines, but not this year. These are all romantic if not downright erotic. No poems for Galentines and Palentines, no poems for lovers of nature and animals, no Christina Rossetti I’m-going-to-jump-in-the-river-and-drown poems. In a few weeks I’ll put up a separate Love Hurts post, and if I dig up enough poems about platonic love, I’ll do a Friendship Poem Blitz as well.


On with the show.


At a construction site in downtown Hanalei, Kauai, I left “Song” by W.H. Auden on a handicapped parking sign.


I don’t think I’d have a place in this lighthearted litany of what a person will do to “keep his date with Love” . . . I’m more of a wait-till-I-finish-drying-the-dishes gal . . . but I salute the fevered ones who can leave a task undone to get to the fun business.



A grocery store Valentine display was a good spot to put “The Revelation” by Coventry Patmore. The poem is balanced on top of a bottle of wine called Cupcake.


Here, the essence of all romantic fantasies:

Love wakes men, once a lifetime each;

           They lift their heavy lids, and look 



As a counterpoint to Patmore’s idea of “once a lifetime each,”  I placed Susanna Styve’s  “Mother in Love at Sixty” outside the same grocery store in a cart.


Methinks she doth protest too much . . .



Here’s Hanalei’s bookstore. I set “The Love Cook” by Ron Padgett on top of a Chinese cookbook. An hour later when I came back it was gone.


The most romantic words in the world?

Let me cook you some dinner.



I stuck “To Helen About Her Hair” by Robinson Jeffers in the bristles of a brush in the personal care aisle of the Hanalei grocery store. The gentleman to the right is inexplicably studying women’s hygiene products, but at least he didn’t bat an eye at my elf-ing.


If hair care bores you, think about this the next time you drag a brush through your locks:

I bid you comb it carefully,

For my soul is caught there,

Wound in the web of it.



“Are You Tired of Me, My Darling?” is poised on top of a trashcan.


This poem could fit in the Love Hurts post just as well as it does here, depending on the beloved’s answer to the question posed.



“Toast” by Leonard Nathan is nestled in a big piece of driftwood on Hanalei Bay.


I love this toast to a stranger never seen:

Love, whoever you are,

your courage was my companion



And finally, I put Kenneth Rexroth’s “A Dialogue of Watching” at the base of this traditional statue outside a surf shop.


Today of all days, let every lover say to the beloved

I have never known any

One more beautiful than you.


Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Celebrate love and spread it around.



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my progenitor and my progeny

my progenitor and my progeny

I always have a lot to celebrate on Mother’s Day. My mother, 88 and still funny and sharp, is a woman I’d consider myself lucky to even know, much less to claim as mother. I’ve got four older sisters who mothered me each in their own way, a wonderful mother-in-law, and an aunt-in-law I love as my own.


That’s a lot of mothers. I’ve collected even more poems about mothers. I posted a few around town to celebrate and to give tribute to everyone who’s opened their heart to mother another human.


I started at a florist, where I left Julia Kasdorf’s poem, “What I Learned From My Mother.”


poem is leaning against green vase

poem is leaning against green vase


Because the beautiful last lines are a little blurred in the photograph, I’ll highlight them here.

Like a doctor, I learned to create

from another’s suffering my own usefulness, and once

you know how to do this, you can never refuse.

To every house you enter, you must offer

healing, a chocolate cake you baked yourself,

the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.

Image 1



A cemetery (a favorite poem-elfing spot) seemed like a good spot for Ron Padgett’s “The Best Thing I Did.”

poem is on tree in foreground

poem is on tree in foreground


Truer words were never written:

The best thing I did

for my mother

was to outlive her




In the tiny dressing room of Nordstrom Rack, I left two poems with a similar theme, Walter de la Mare’s “Full Circle,” and Anna Kamienska’s “Mother and Me.”



I find de la Mare’s poem terrifying and sweet at once.




Kamienska’s poem is simple and beautiful:

true understanding

is always silence.





For mothering that never gets acknowledged, I left Maggie Anderson’s “Sonnet for Her Labor” in a discounted Mother’s Day card bin:

poem is in 50% off bin

poem is in 50% off bin


Laurel Mountain must not have had a Hallmark store.




Another mother who’s lived a hard life is given a voice in Langston Hughes’ “Mother to Son.” I left the poem in the football stands of a local high school, to offer a little encouragement to any youngster overwhelmed by difficulties.




I’ve loved this poem for so long. I hope it finds its way to someone who needs it.






Happy Mother’s Day!  Go forth and mother.




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