Water, Earth and Sky
p r o l o g u e

For the more than 45 years that I have been writing poetry, many poems have been written about nature and the environment and some of them have already appeared in my other books. This book is a compilation of all of those poems.

Teapots & Mittens

Forests Are Not For Machines

Silk Screen Symbols

I Came Upon a Snow-Filled Field

Marquis de Lafayette

On This Land, As Far As I Can See

Sanibel Revisited

High Tide Buffet

Drill Baby Drill

Frack U

Categorical Denial

Poets Live in Caves

Teapots & Mittens

Here we sit
on top of a hill,
hands spread apart
patty-cake into the air,
cross each other’s hearts.

Infinitesimal sprinkle of a stream
buds from deep brown moist mud.
Rusted barbed wire fence
tying together pieces of rotted wood
no longer functions in it’s inhumane capacity;
division of people from dreams.
Coke bottles scattered about,
torn, shattered baby car seat,
tree bark painted rooster red,
prove that mortals camped.

Strands of multi-laminated spider webs,
like melted taffy,
dangle from tree to tree.
Cobwebs and banjo bugs stick in my eye.
Butterflies suck honeysuckle.
Two red birds, that everyone sees fly,
I see kiss and hug.
Baby squirrel seems to not notice the difference yet.
She is still not afraid of my presence.

I’ve learned to
not look into the sun and tan.
I’ve learned to
look into the sky and wonder.
I’ve learned that
the only animal who can really harm me,
come swooping out of hell and destroy me,
is MAN.

The earth is finally beginning
to transform into a better world
to live, love, laugh in.
The sky contains fewer microbes,
more air to breathe.
The man in the moon is a night-light
for a playground where lovers rendezvous
and the only shooting is baskets.
The man in the moon is a bright light
for lovers to gaze at,
not a mat to wipe our dirty feet upon.

It’s the time for
teapots and mittens,
frankincense and myrrh,
juniper berries and lazy September buds,
to burst from the embers.

Washington, DC

Forests Are Not For Machines

Forests are not for machines.

They’re for bicycle track, puppy dog paw and
lonely long distance runner sneaker prints.

They’re for green, brown and yellow moist smells.
that can’t be put into spray cans.

They’re for startling shrills, the shriek of crows,
comforting sounds, the rustle of leaves.

They’re for dancing on fallen logs and
making friends with a stream.

A motorcycle was stuck in the mud, putt-putting enough fumes
to pollute an ant hill.

Instead of asking if I could help, I said pensively,
“ Forests are not for machines.”

I think they’re not for humans either.

Washington D.C.
June 11, 1970

Silk Screen Symbols

Five-sense reality or silk-screen illusion,
symbols of boyhood to manhood confusion.
White picket fence of self-built seclusion,
solitude of the sleeping village delusion.

At the feet of a sprouting mountain spring,
showered by the mist of a geyser,
I linger upon finger painted meadows,
astonished by pallet knife brush strokes.

The canyon’s canvas explodes with sudsing streams,
bursting with stain-glass bubbles.
The sunset squeaks at the top of the stairs,
then slides backwards down the bannister .

Where is nature’s prism
upon this Morse code of buckled turnpike tar?
The summer sky is oiled by clouds that are
fumed gray by the exhaust of civilization.

Beyond a twilight haze, I strain to see one star.
Behind a black frozen shawl of grease and steel,
beneath graveyards of junk and stench,
lays nature’s hidden pinwheel of color.

Quickway fallen rock zones are now in cages.
Catskill hotels have no guests.
Abandoned bungalow colonies are condemned.
Kaplans is boarded and closed forever.

Middletown, NY
September 1992

I Came Upon a Snow-Filled Field

There is no path within this forest,
that human feet have not soiled.

At the end of a road,
I came upon a snow-filled field
adjacent to a frozen forest.
The snow was knee-deep, pearl-white and squeaky-clean.

Not a trace of soot, salt or sand,
not even a deer hoof print
or a rabbit foot track,
pierced the earth’s white envelope.

At the edge of the forest,
I came upon a newly fallen tree
stretched across the icy stream.
I crossed onto a path that led me to a clearing.

There stood a buck,
gaping wound oozing life,
dripping blood into the white snow,
brown hide stained bright red.

Turning his head toward me,
weary eyes staring into mine,
he stumbled, tumbled and fell.
I edged close to his side.

The deer seemed to talk to me with his eyes.
“I cannot understand why,” he said,
I have a wife and children.”
Then, he breathed out the last vapor of his breath.

Woodstock, New York
December 29, 2002

Marquis de Lafayette

I sit in room 302 of the Marquis de Lafayette,
watch the ocean waves unwavering crawl to the shore,
clawing channels through the starving sand.
Relentless, restless sea swallows the beach
piece by inevitable piece,
spits bits of shells and glass to mark the return journey.

Sea gulls banter in ancient tongue,
soar across sky,
float on air,
hop through mist,
as if suspended by invisible strings
manipulated by a marionette.

Two cracks of sun sift through foreboding dark clouds.
In patches of prism, epilates of color vibrate like
two eyes staring from the womb to the light.
A slice of red and yellow horizon
lifts the early morning darkness.
I am certain that this is Heaven.

I want to wrap my arms around this moment,
recall the warmth I feel.
the love in my heart for the woman
that sleeps in the next room.
the twittering that captures imagination,
the absolute knowledge that there is God,
Cause the world cannot spin by itself.

Now the sky opens wide,
singes the clouds into vapor.
The palette is crystal and gold,
glitters like an escaped diamond.

Woodstock, New York
May 8, 2004

On This Land, As Far As I Can See

Cornfields spread across the green earth
cut like flat-top hairdos.
Silos stand tall against a blue-gray sky
march like silvery castle towers.

Daybreak crackles.
The moisture of last night’s rainstorm,
sizzled by the morning sun,
melts into mounds of hiss n’mist.

The cows return to the barn to be milked.
The haystacks are full with spring’s first cut.
The cats are filled with milk n’ mice.
The eagles disappear deep into the forest.

The Amish are already out on horse n’ buggy
with intention not complication as their credo.
Life is much too complicated to be cluttered
with anything but intention.

It should always be as simple as these birds
nesting in a pine tree outside this window,
mother and father busy providing food and shelter,
chicks safely venturing forth into the unknown.

Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania
June 28, 2006

Sanibel Revisited

Sun splits, splays, sprays onto water in
finger-like projections of God’s Eyes.

Unrelenting, this sea of ours,
folding back upon itself,
filling my ears with sound.

Beneath impetuous, perpetual ballet of birds,
I walk the beach looking down
not ahead, not behind.

I am in the now.
Seashells, urchins, crabs, seaweed wash ashore.
Immeasurable treasures, like some ancient hand,
long before man’s 5 toes left tracks in the sand

I return to Sanibel Island.
This time we stay in a cottage on the beach.
My wife sits for hours in a lounge chair
waves breaking at her feet,
picking shells as if treasures from the deep.

Up and down the beach,
men fish, drink beer, sing songs.
I have yet to see one fish caught.
The seagulls seem to have no problem, nor do nets.
Boats glide.
Father walks his little girl to the water’s edge,
introduces her to eternity.

Sanibel Island, Florida
March 9, 2008

High Tide Buffet

There are moments I wish I were a painter,
comprehend tint combinations to reproduce beauty.
My pen without pigment
cannot do justice to this visage.

The sunset spreads like wild fire
red, yellow and orange fiery bursts of color
vibrate across a seemingly endless sky.

Darkened clouds in coiffure pompadours
whirl and swirl in concentric circles
through which God’s light illuminates,
pry open my eyes to truth.

The balmy, swaying gulf waters spread,
relentlessly roll to the swelling shore,
curling up and over and under itself
in spinning white foamy splashes.

The stately Ibis with stretched crooked legs,
elongated loping neck, extended pointed beak
appears unsteady until it widens its wings
and elevates into the air.

Sandpipers’ beaks nervously stab into shore sand
scratch for tiny burrowing clams,
scamper from the crashing surf
like loping, laughing children.

Sea gulls chatter to one another
scamper across the beach
Lift, soar, dive-bomb,
catch 1 baitfish at a time.
Pelicans calmly perch on poles,
spread feathers lifting into the horizon’s stream
pound into waves head first,
scoop their prey in billowy bills.

Sea Oats swing in billowy breeze
Sea salt swells my nostrils
I swim in warm seas,
connect to ancient mariners.

Englewood, Florida
August 21-22, 2009

Drill Baby Drill

We watch dumbfounded while the earth explodes and bleeds.
Black blood worth its weight in gold
blankets the ocean with the angel of death,
stains once pristine white sand beaches,
coats and chokes innocent wildlife.

We are impatient with the culprits
who caused this violation of our mother earth.
We are helpless to halt
this out of control oozing of the earth’s core,
unable to grasp the catastrophic nature of man’s blunder.

We don’t need terrorists
to fly planes into our buildings.
We don’t need suicide bombers
to blowup our cities.
We don’t need insane dictators
to deploy atomic and biological weapons.
We don’t need our enemies
to dance on our graves.

We have our friends
to slowly drill us into extinction.

Woodstock, New York
July 26, 2010

Frack U

In this three credit course at Life University,
we are taught another underhanded sneaky method
our beloved oil and gas companies’ explorations
can potentially destroy our planet,
bleed mother earth in the name of
our voracious appetite for energy.

Just inject under intense pressure
millions of gallons of precious water
laced with toxic chemicals
to crack and fracture shale rock
to release natural gas buried deep within.

The result can light water faucets on fire.
contaminate drinking water
into non-drinkable gaseous liquid.
slowly poisoning our bodies
while we sit in the comfort of our heated homes.

Woodstock, NY
August 5, 2010

Categorical Denial

Battering rains fell heavy as iron pellets
soaking the already fully saturated soil.
Winds shrieked like a villainous vulture
screeching a deafening explosive roar.

Trees were ripped by the roots.
Branches tumbled like torn autumn leaves.
Bridge pilings were cleaved, sliced at the feet.
The river rushed like a muddy, frightened deer.
The swells snatched, carried worldly possessions
downstream on its humped back.

In humankind’s futile efforts
to dictate the course of events,
control the outcome of situations,
predict the future with certainty,
prevent the catastrophic calamity,
it is nature that once again
proves its ancient superiority
over its’ designation as a Category 1.

In man’s ongoing struggle to
hold back the tumbling tide,
put out the ferocious fire,
keep cool in the simmering summer,
warm a baby hands in the winter,
damn levees always break,
futile forests are always leveled,
horrific heat always swelters,
barbaric cold always kills,
fear becomes contagious,
multiplies into palpable, acrid acid.

Woodstock, New York
September 5, 2011

Poets Live in Caves

Musicians buy mansions
on tops of mountains,
poets live in caves.

Painters are hung
in halls of museums,
poets scrawl on walls in caves.

Filmmakers throw parties
in penthouse apartments,
poets party in caves.

Even potters and sculptors
don’t work without pay,
poets read for free coffee in caves.

But, when humans search for answers,
they pay the $4 cover at the doors of
poets who live in caves.