The ball I threw while playing in  the park / Has not yet reached the ground.  – Dylan Thomas

In courtesy I’d have her chiefly learned;

Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned

By those that are not entirely beautiful;

Yet many, that have played the fool

For beauty’s very self, has charm made wise.

And many a poor man that has roved,

Loved and thought himself beloved,

From a glad kindness cannot take his eyes.

from A PRAYER FOR MY DAUGHTER  – William Butler Yeats


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[July 1997]

A man who loved the wind on a spring afternoon

Wandered alone through a high meadow

Oak-fringed and newly green

And tasted a thousand days of softening clouds,

A millennium of long grass and silver stones.

They called up to him “Come down, we are leaving now.”

But he wanted nothing but to stay

And waved a hand, “Go without me.”

Then, beside the flattened places where deer had lain,

He stood, and looked long at the watery heights of surrounding hills

And knew that he could never be at home

Between these grassy drifts

And the pleasant places of stony childhood.


[July 2000]


A hidden place on an open hillside

Where a boy can huddle down

Watching tall trees lean and sway

And be alone, out of the wind.

When the sky is dark with storms

And the air is heavy with rain

“Come, crawl in here and be still

And look out at the rain and the wind.”

A few gray and weathered boards

A piece of blanket for a door

Half hidden within the tall grass

A lean-to against the wind.

Away from wheels and cupboards

Faces and afternoon windows

A refuge from stairs and questions

A hillside – quiet, but for the wind.


A small town in the Midwest

Where a man might seek solace

Watching blue clouds along the river

Dark days hiding from the wind.

And as summers come and stay

And stillness keeps the world at bay

The huddling one in time grows old

Forgotten by even the wind.



[August 2009]

Hard, scrubby grass and curled leaves of dark green

Hardly the lush softness of boyhood lawn and meadow

But now and again a precious glimpse of the play of light

Through a break in the branches overhead

On a patch of open field or pond’s grassy verge

Opens a deep longing for some half-imagined mystery.

All That Time by May Swenson

I saw two trees embracing.

One leaned on the other

as if to throw her down.

But she was the upright one.

Since their twin youth, maybe she

had been pulling him toward her

all that time,

and finally almost uprooted him.

He was the thin, dry, insecure one,

the most wind-warped, you could see.

And where their tops tangled

it looked like he was crying

on her shoulder.

On the other hand, maybe he

had been trying to weaken her,

break her, or at least

make her bend

over backwards for him

just a little bit.

And all that time

she was standing up to him

the best she could.

She was the most stubborn,

the straightest one, that’s a fact.

But he had been willing

to change himself—

even if it was for the worse—

all that time.

At the top they looked like one

tree, where they were embracing.

It was plain they’d be

always together.

Too late now to part.

When the wind blew, you could hear

them rubbing on each other.


—May Swenson (1919-1989)