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I make no pretense of being a poet, or of having aspirations in that direction. But it is a beautiful and ancient art form which can move us into spheres and lives far from that which is reality. Or is it reality?

Rob Holland, who is skilled in the art has been kind enough to share some of his work with us. Rob can be reached by e-mail at

Two other lovely works have been provided by Beth Dees, another master of the form.

That they would share their talent on this web site is greatly appreciated by me and, I hope, by you as well.

Other serious contributions will be considered for posting, too. No limericks or doggerel, please, even though that's all I can write.

On the Gulf

The unsure breakers stumble across the sand-bar,
Blade to shoulder, subside before they crest,
Finally trip, collapse and spill like milk.
Coquinas lap it up and burrow back.
It's August, the off-season.
The sea goes on and on, beyond reason.

Sea-oats toss their heads, unruly horses.
The beach is anchored by the old hotel.
Pinkwashed, Hispanic, rescued from the war,
It stands like an air-conditioned mission
Against sun, squall.
The storm hasn't been named will take it all.

Stingrays cruise in gangs along the shallows,
Startling the bathers. Out of a dead float
They drag children ashore like puffed vinyl.
Stand and watch. A dolphin shows a fin.
The wind dies.
They queue, regroup, sparsely venture in.

The water's nearly body temperature.
Seaweed sticks to the skin. Sand and salt
Foul the hair. Hot, fetid,
Passing like an eye, no motion.
Enter anywhere:
Light-sump, black hole, ocean.

Rob Holland

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A Poem For Leigh

Be lazy as a boat,
adrift for days,
that no one misses.
Oars folded in its breast,
it rests in the current
and calm pools.
So deep in dreams
unaware of clouds
or the sun's glare.
Days of direction
full of care
always pull and push.
Be lazy as a boat,
adrift for days,
that no one misses.

B. Dees/ October 1997

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The grackle's
Individual song:
Like static.
In the great
Migratory chorus,
On the lawn,
It makes
A dissonant
Varied din,
A harmonious,
You can't hear it
Until it's gone.

Rob Holland

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You speak in silk
from the ocean's other side.
My heart a hungry swan,
lifts from the lake,
circling, listening, forgetting
summer's willow shade.

Fog, at first companion, then demonic
disguises moon and map of sun
whispers sleep is death
masking everything at once.

Wings grow heavy,
dream after burning dream.
still i follow, even memory forgotten,
something else perpetuates this flight.


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To a Child Doing Arithmetic

Kneeling on the linoleum
At the Y,
Awaiting, apparently,
A parent,
The boy puzzles
Over it.
There is a #
A little hard knot
Between his brows,
A scatter
Of books and dog-
Eared papers half
In, half out
Of the doorway traffic.
By his age I'd say
It's long division.
How long does it take
To divide a heart?

I've never had
Much use for math,
To make change is all,
Count syllables.
I haven't needed
To scale the hypotenuse
Of a right triangle,
Or a wrong one,
And log and tan can,
As far as I'm concerned,
Stay lost in their tables.
Oh, I know
Without it we'd
Be lost.
The engineers
Would have nothing to do
(And we'd have to
Entertain them),
We wouldn't have machines
Cars, VCRs,
Word processors.
There'd be no flight.
I grant all that.
I'd be the last to
Sentimentalize the candle
Or the horse-drawn cart.
Even those, God knows,
Were born of numbers.

They say it can
Model anything,
Create in formula
Next Spring's flood
On the Mississippi,
The Russian economy,
The 2007
World Series.
(Is this what they meant
By imaginary numbers?)
It is, in its
Upper reaches,

But to this boy
Here, on the floor,
Waiting for Dad,
It's a problem,
A dozen problems.
He chews the pink
Pencil eraser,
scribbles, erases,
scribbles again.
Someday he may shape
These figures into
Concrete and steel
A highway, a dam,
A graceful bridge.
Will it span
The gap between what we know
And what we feel?

Rob Holland

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Desolate and lone
All night long on the lake
Where fog trails and mist creeps.
The whistle of a boat
Calls and cries unendingly,
Like some lost child
In tears and trouble
Hunting the harbor's breast
And the harbor's eyes.

Carl Sandburg

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John Penman Jones
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