American Spring

(By friend Caroline Donnola. Thank you)

Winter bears down on me—

I search for light.

It peeks through clouds

in soft streams

then drifts away

in broken time.


In the newspapers and on TV

the trial of the century rages on,

each side claiming the moral right

while freezing persons

search for warmth on subway cars,

while hunger of all kinds blazes on.


Nothing about this backdrop makes sense—

Dualism is a killing field

with no clear end in sight.

We search for crevices, cracks, fissures

in which to organize, rewrite and redesign.

It has been winter for humanity

for such a long time.


A few sparrows speak up

as the daylight creeps in

while indoors the dry heat

cracks our skin.

We can barely stand to be here

yet this is where we are.

Meanwhile, I keep a lookout for spring—

For the daffodils and pansies

that will sprout in urban gardens,

for the pink blossoms that radiate

on trees up and down my Brooklyn street,

and for the fruits of our activist labors

to grow and ripen and bloom

into a much-needed American Spring.

Will we even be alive if that day ever comes?

We don’t know.

We’re not in control—

I can’t even tell if this poem is done.


Letting Go

On the Battenkill

The river’s flow,

Steady and still.

Breathes let it go.


Feelings of loss

give way to peace.

In the river’s course

troubles may cease.


Pay heed to its story.

With help from its friends,

The river restored, 

We share in its glory.


From a polluted

Run off for 

Factories and mills.

A beautiful ribbon

Now winds through the hills.

January, 2020