Life in the city and fear of death

Fear by Grace Paley I am afraid of nature because of nature      I am mortal – my children and my grandchildren are also mortal – I lived in the city for forty years in this way I escaped fear   Like a character in an old TV sitcom who’s got an engagement ring in his […]

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Great gifts, part 2

Spotlight on another gift today, one that my mother gave me a few months ago, a gift that was unconnected to any celebration.  How wonderful is that! To my list of what kind of gifts are best, add the following:  a gift given for no reason other than the giver thought the recipient would really […]

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A couple of gifts

A dear friend gave me this elf for my birthday.  Nothing better than a gift you didn’t know you wanted, a gift that makes you feel that someone has studied you, understood you and desired to please you. I’m delighted with this felted fellow!  I see hours of amusement ahead with his pose-able body and […]

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Walt Whitman goes to the polls

  As a rule, Poem Elf works in secret, but today I made an exception.  In broad daylight I handed the Walt Whitman election poem to campaigners outside my local precinct. I was nervous, but there was no need to be.   I had expected more crowds and more last-minute campaigning, but outside the high […]

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3 cheers for the swordless confict

Expressing gratitude we risk platitudes and cliché, but I can’t help myself on this election day.  Voting is a marvelous and wondrous event!  Divisions and partisanship have filled our airwaves, mailboxes, answering machines and possibly our thoughts for months now and I’m wondering, couldn’t we all just hold hands for one minute and sing a […]

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Grave issues

Poem Elf posts seem to be a tad morbid lately.  Perhaps I’m adjusting to the seasonal change or reacting to Halloween decorations or, most likely, working out just-under-the-surface sadness from the passing of two fathers in one year. Whatever the reason, now that I’m aware of the death thread, I can snip it.  But one […]

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Good grief

Spring and Fall to a young child by Gerald Manley Hopkins MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving Over Goldengrove unleaving? Leáves, líke the things of man, you With your fresh thoughts care for, can you? Áh! ás the heart grows older 5 It will come to such sights colder By and by, nor spare a sigh Though worlds […]

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Caroline on the brain

The week before Halloween seems the right time to share an image that’s haunted me since I first saw it a few years ago.  “Caroline” is a mixed media photograph created by my old friend Trish Rawlings, an artist and writer living in Baltimore. The photograph is taken from a series called Revenant, meaning “one […]

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