Two Fairy Tales Retold for Our Times


Illustrated by Tuck and Sons, circa 1870

We said no.

Wolfie said not so.

No, no, no. No

Why then I’ll blow.

So stand we now,

each, a sad homeless cerdo

each, a Trump-made refugee

spitted as an effigy.



Illustration by Thomas Bewick (1753-1828)

I felt the nearing wolves and cried.

They’re not moving very fast.

I heard the snarling wolves and cried.

They’re faint echoes from the past.

I smelt the scatting wolves and cried.

They’re decaying rats at last.

I saw the greying wolves and cried.

They’re evil spirits to be cast.

Then I tasted spattered blood and cried.

O! Their hungry hordes are vast.


Haiku Sequence


Chill blackness of sky

envelops trees, bush and porch.

I sit alone, I.


Faceless voices talk

faintly as a soft snowfall;

their words are winter.


They say we will kill.

They say we will kill, we will.

They say we will kill.


I sit alone, I—

dark trees darken, the night seems



Chill blackness of sky

descends airily towards

horizon’s soft light.


Poems for Two Granddaughters

 To Auden, My Granddaughter

born 4 November 2015

O Auden,

your little toes

are kernels of corn,

your small legs

are perfect stalks of barley.


That belly, so soft and concave,

is a basket twined into a whirlpool

made of many waters—

the lordly Hudson and other rivers:

the Potomac and Ireland’s Shannon.

The Chesapeake Bay is there,

and Lake Michigan and smaller pools,

the springs and ponds and puddles

brought forth by happy rains.


O Auden,

there are hills in your chest,

mountains in your shoulders,

and your arms are soft boulders

at the end of which spring

fine foxglove flowers.


Your face, oh!  We have awaited

that smile, which warms like

the fiery smile of the sun!

Your nose divides your cheeks

to make twin rows of roses.


And those eyes, Auden,

Those eyes! which,

when they open,

are like gallant stars,

prophecies of joy.

Blessed are those who inherit your gaze.

Your forehead is like the sky;

endless and fortress-like,

it harbors comfort and peace.

Blessed are we who know you.


Auden, thou art the earth of your parents’ love.

Auden child, thou art the air that they breathe.

Auden, thou art the water that washes them and slakes their thirsts.

Auden child, thou art the flame that enkindles hope.


The following poem was first published on in 2011 _____________________________________________________________

Four Dances For Danby Rose McGuire

born 6 July 2011


O Danby!

Child of  mountains and of valleys,

child of  islands and  of seas,

child of  cities and of farms,

we greet you as an awaited one.


A river, made of many streams,

joined a river of many streams.

And they became one forceful river,

mixing tides like two hands interlacing.

A third river, made of many streams,

joined a fourth river of many streams,

and they too became a forceful river,

with the inexplicable interlacings of love .

Two forceful rivers joined

in you, Danby, and you are

the cup made of two hands joined,

fingers interlaced.

And in that cup,

in you, Danby,

is the sea, the ocean, this watery planet.


Your little shoulders

your little  eyes–open and awake, and closed and dreaming

of impressions without words,

those lips that smile in sleep

and cry in hunger and irritation

are like the Moon:

each is like the Moon

moving tides.


O Danby,

child of cities and farms,

child of  islands and seas,

child of valley and mountain–

you  make whole again

our fractured world.