Bob Carlson

Here’s two new ones:

For the Taking

We first met at the old country store, you behind the counter

making the National cash register sing, here from a college in the East, staying with your auntie

in the Hiawatha Valley for that summer so long ago.


Now I have come back here, the old store still standing, you remarried in New York,

never to return to farm fields

and wood smoke

and small towns fading away.


And yet the store remains open, like me a nostalgic relic

of romantic and simpler times, when all that we needed and all that we wanted was right in front of us,

bc  June 2016


Pacific Beaches

We walked hand in hand on the Oregon beach,

surf exhaling the ocean’s life, haystacks split midway

by layered mist,

and seagulls hunting in the waves.


We must have walked miles in silence, enchanted simply

by the endless roar and power and truth of the Pacific :

all life is but a chance- made, taken, or given-

only a chance.


We reached our tent in evening twilight and sat near the fire at sunset.

And the smoke rose gently up from our camp

and flowed to the horizon and the Orient –

to the millions waking, to lovers loving,

to couples walking

their own Pacific beaches,

with our revolutions and  wars of the heart finally long over.





River Morning

That time in September

When summer’s almost gone;

A butterfly drifts

To the ground,

More beautiful in its decline.


The river carries

The moment.

It cannot hold the sun.


Like a firefly in a jar,

Can we hold it close

So our heart

Beat sustains it,

Even as our days

Wind down?


September, 2018 (rev. 9/6/18)

The Canteloupe has no Taste

By Caroline Donnola

“The cantaloupe has no taste!”
Such a disappointment
after a summer
Of voluptuous tomatoes
Sweet nectarines
Tart raspberries
And milky corn.

We made lusty salads
Silky Peach Melbas
And tangy gazpachos
And ate to our hearts’ content.

We feasted on the land’s wares
And noted how the weather
Did it’s peculiar thing
With crazy hot, humid days
And sultry nights
Mixed with thunder, lightning,
Tropical rains.

We sat around the table
Happy, full,
enjoying each other’s company
On a late summer’s day.

And so
The cantaloupe that had no taste
Seemed a bit of a shame.

No matter.

We filled up on more raspberries
And shared our bounty
As only longtime friends can do
While the darkness settled in
And the wild creatures danced
In the nearby woods
As we told each other stories
Of how best to dodge a bear
Make three-bean salad
Paint a picture
Or write a refrain.