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The Nose That Interposes


from THE TWAIN, Poems of Earth and Ethe(Kindle)



RIP Jack (#ElSpringador) July 10, 2004 - January 6, 2018


The nose that interposes
Between your plate and you
Is a nose that never dozes
Till suppertime is through,
A nose that's always curious
When scenting tasty treats,
A nose that's quite censorious
If they're eaten out of reach.

The nose that sniffs the roses
By the summerhouse at dawn
Is a nose whose paws will process
The soil before it's done,
A bit of exhumation
Aerates a flowerbed
And hoarded bones are waiting
To be rescued from the dead.

The nose that teases hoses
Sprinkling water on the lawn
Is a nose whose tail proposes
That this element is fun,
It's fine in ponds and rivers
And fills a drinking bowl
But sudsy baths cause shivers
And merely make one howl.

The nose that tracks the postie
In luminescent gear
Is a nose whose bark's not ghostly
But suggests a force of ire,
It's game for space invaders,
Will recycle all the mail,
By habit, eco-friendly,
The bin's its Holy Grail.

The nose that interposes
When the door is left ajar
Is a nose whose roving chooses
To corner cats beneath the car,
But then the dust will settle
And evening stills the paws,
The nose that's on its mettle
Sinks gently into snores.




from The Twain, Poems of Earth and Ether





This is how it is for them
the horizon shrinking
They seek a place to 'be'
but do not fit
The nesting instinct
frustrates at every turn
They sense a new horizon
their eye cannot behold
They feel for footholds
their heart no longer wants
The unreality of Now
is claiming them
Half of them is There
not Here
their treaty with the earth
Think not 'one foot in the grave'
for they are looking forward
They will view all
in multiple dimension
and encompass us anew
They're not subsumed in sorrow
The death, our grief, is ours
The grass is greener There
and we are Here.

This is natural
and how it is for them
Thank them, love them still
They are blazing a trail
They are making Way.





Dog Star


from THE TWAIN, Poems of Earth and Ether (Kindle)


Image:  Nigel Hemming


(After Robert Browning)

That's my last canine pictured on the wall
looking as if he were alive. I call
that piece no blunder, now.
A Canon Powershot and sleight of hand
captured his mischief and there he stands.
Do sit awhile and be amused.
I said this camera by design, for none
saw Maximilian - Max for short - composed
and would have missed him altogether,
his rump fast disappearing in the rearguard
of a hundred miles an hour tornado,
had it not been for A1 technology
and the patience of a saintly spouse.
Perhaps Di chanced to pat a seat and say
Come, sit with me on your part of the sofa
and harken while I spin tall tales of your begetting

His tail would wag; he loved a tale,
the rhythm lulling silky, pendent ears,
adjusting the helter-skelter of his heart
to gentler pace, his dark eyes bright
with immemorial knowledge
of spells woven by camp fires at twilight,
the day's work ably done, aroma of rabbit
run to earth, now sweating in a stockpot,
pheasant plucked of feathers, fit for hanging.
(His, sadly, didn't work, so why should theirs?)
Max was of noble Spanish pedigree, she'd say,
his sire and dam a coupling from the gods,
embellishing her yarn with arcane words
like 'perambulation' and 'peregrination'
that rang vague bells, and words like 'stroll'
he knew had to do with new-mown grass.
He'd listen, rapt to be the epicentre of Creation
There now, she'd croon. Keep still. Good boy! Click!
The flash would spark spontaneous momentum
and anguished squeals at apperception vanished,
nowhere the source of light found and rounded up.
But Good boy meant rusks and rawhide treats
and that magic word which, once articulated,
bound the speaker on pain of mayhem: Walkies!



San Francisco's Reply


to Katie Burke who wrote a Valentine letter to her native city


My heart's forever
yours, Miss Burke, let me count the
ways you bridge that fault,

deep-riv'n below your
feet, with golden eulogy,
Narcissus himself

had no greater joy
in his reflection than mine
in your limpid eye

you exculpate my
treachery with a soulful
blink denied frail man

must I then believe
you'll not yield to the human
dance and play me false?




The Twain


from THE TWAIN, Poems of Earth and Ether (Kindle)



On the east coast facing east -

On a west coast facing west -


It is not ocean that separates

where nothing can happen but

closure, transition in flight

or afloat, the bridging of gaps

by the famished and fugitive

from blighted crops and die-hard dogma,

with continents, long deluged,

forging a link in the chain

while billows from the opposite shore

recoil from teasing display,

arc high, gathering momentum

and, in a blue-green crescendo

that flares with diamond spume,

crash on the jagged Celtic

littoral of the British Isles

in unbridled exultation.


It is not ocean that cleaves...


But the seething earth which parts coast

from coast, a landlocked tempest.

Gold-seekers congregate to plot

exploitation of its wealth

and mark out territory, asserting

the right to proliferate

and consume with wanton pride,

inventing exclusive customs,

speaking in cabbalistic tongues

with a multiplicity

of idioms, cadences, inflections,

arranging an estrangement,

occasioning all manner of obstacles

which demand rites of passage

in a bid to conquer tribe and canyon

as they push 'from sea to shining sea'.


It is not ocean that cleaves...


I hear the echoes in your voice,

as in a seashell singing of its element,

of King Arthur and Tintagel,

of Patrick, Fingal and Columba

and, yes, oh yes, of Camelot!

You breathe the mellow iambs

of my ancestral past, the snapshot phrases

and close-fashioned tones of our Mendips,

Quantocks, Exmoor and Dartmoor,

where cream tastes of the world to come

and the blossom is of cider apples

rather than the cherry tree. The wooden presses

creak and leak and flow with the memorial elixir

of the Old Country,

allowing one thousand leagues of sea

to be forded in a single heartbeat.


It is not ocean that cleaves...


On the east coast facing east -

On a west coast facing west -





Single Character


fromTHE TWAIN, Poems of Earth and Ethe(Kindle)



A letter

can change

the meaning

no, not that kind

of letter





or emailed;

a single


from a



to a single


no, not that kind

of You,


For instance,

to make


out of


one must


U for I,

though, here,

You for I

is good, too;

and when


is stretched to


that's neat.


a tell-tale


can bridge continents




Vermeer's Muse


from THE TWAIN, Poems of Earth and Ether (Kindle)

New print edition coming soon!


I am passing through

a sequence of spun still frames

shedding, showering

rhythmically recycled

ephemeral dust


This too solid flesh

belongs to time's illusion

I am a whisper

in your head, a quickening

of the soul's marrow


I am mere cipher

reflection of perception

I, a backward glance

down the halls of memory

glimpse of future past


Yet am I present

in the consummate design

unpolished carbon

scintillating in the beam

of a loving eye


I am passing through

one, two, three, four dimensions

God exquisitely

aligns the daguerreotype

eternal lustre




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