Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Summer Sunday Morning

Linda and I often walk in our neighborhood by Lake Michigan early on Sunday mornings. It's a wonderful way to have some quiet time and experience all the seasons.

Single notes
from a piano
being slowly

Each note drifting
on the already
warm air currents
upwards towards the trees,
a humid hymn
for a still sleeping

Eventually, I recognize it
as Bach
at a very slow

The notes are correct
but played as if
is practicing,
learning the piece
in the summer's
early morning

The music lingers
as we stroll,
the sun
at our backs
projects our
long shadows,
giants in
a Sunday morning

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Jade Pagoda

During our first trip to Viet Nam in July of 2014, we visited the Jade Pagoda which is a very serene place engulfed in activity. The afternoon was very hot and humid and yet I was deeply moved and inspired.

The Jade Pagoda

Crowded on the sidewalk
nearly spilling into the street,
a weathered woman of indeterminate age
begging us to buy
turtles or
goldfish or
caged sparrows
to set free
on the grounds of the pagoda.

Incense hangs heavy in
the dank afternoon air
as carved sentinels
swords in scabbards
loom over us and
stare into centuries past
where ancestors walk
down silent corridors and move
in the rustling of leaves and
the weeping of rain.

A white and tabby spotted cat
pads noiselessly across
blood-stained colored roof tiles
a still twitching mouse
seized solidly in its jaws
not yet ready to join
his grandfather.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

First Dog

This poem is about the English Springer Spaniel our family had when I was young.  She was the best companion and a terrific bird dog.

First Dog

We had a dog when I was young
who lived 
to hunt birds in the fall.
The rest of the year
she lived
to chase sparks from 
leaf-fueled backyard bonfires 
her brown and white body 
silhouetting smoky twilight.

She was our make-believe St. Bernard
who carried 
a canteen of hot chocolate
on snowy sledding days.

She carried 
first aid supplies as
we fought 
the Germans in Belleau Wood.

When we had been in trouble at school
she would greet
us  at the back door as if 
we were conquering heroes and 
after we been scolded and 
sent to our room
she would snuggle with 
us on the bed 
a warm hairy bandage 
for our wounds.

On bright mornings 
with no school

she ran with us
chasing our bicycles 
through the maze of our youth.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Visiting Viet Nam

In July of 2014, my wife Linda and I visited our son who lives in Ho Chi Mihn City, Viet Nam.  Among the many new experiences and surprises was the heavy traffic of motor scooters which is the main way people travel.  Cars are scarce as are traffic lights and the people on the scooters drive pretty much as they wish.  Traffic laws and sign are mere suggestions for most.  So, this poem describes what happens when the daily downpour appears. 

Ho Chi Mihn City Rain

Flocks of motor scooters
Piloted by
Many colored helmeted drivers
Dance a buzz saw sounding ballet
Weaving through the streets
Around people and taxies
And trucks and buses

A fire hose of rain
Which had been held distantly
In dark clouds
By hot humid afternoon air
Soaks the riders
Who now scurry to the shelter
Of trees and buildings' eaves
From under scooter seats
A rainbow of ponchos fly and
Billow in the sideways moving rain

The riders remount and
Wiping water from their eyes
Set forth slowly into
The flooded streets
Their speed is now
Swan like paddling
Their swallow darting movements
Are paralyzed

They will be late
Picking up sons and daughters 

From school
Signing final papers
For a first home
Learning from the doctor
If the spot on the X-Ray is cancer
Meeting a lover for
An afternoon's betrayal

Thursday, June 9, 2016

For Dennis

As  I mentioned in my first post, I wrote a poem for my friend Dennis after he died unexpectedly in May of 2014.  His death reminded me of life's unpredictable events and sudden surprises.

For Dennis -

The Walk Not Taken

You called and invited me
Let’s walk by the Lake.
What time did you have in mind?
Whatever time your business allows.
Let’s go in the morning while
The air is still young and the sky is bright
I thought we would talk
About books and dreams and
The waning years of our lives
I never imagined our time would be so brief
Like dancers who embrace
At the center of the dance
Twirl, pirouette and flutter
To the edge of the stage
Where darkness beckons
Before seducing us from the light
On the beach where we would walk
The waves break

Without you

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Reason for This Blog

Atelier means a workshop or studio, especially one used by an artist or designer. The term originated in the late 17th century from the French, from Old French astelle ‘splinter of wood,’ from Latin astula. I have chosen the name Atelier Poetry because I view writing poetry as a craft that arranges words in new and unique ways to reflect my world experience.  Occasionally, there will undoubtedly be a “splinter of wood” or two and so I ask for your understanding and patience.

I was inspired to create this blog and begin sharing my poetry by my close friend Judy Newton.  When Judy’s husband Dennis died unexpectedly two years ago, I wrote a poem about him and shared it with her.  She wanted to know if Dennis knew that I wrote poetry.  I had not shared that part of myself with him.  Judy told me he would have been angry at me for this.  I thank Judy for her candor and push to do this.  I am a writer who is a private person but has slowly realized that I should share my poetry with more people.  So my blog will be my medium for doing this.  I welcome dialogue with you and will try to respond to your comments and questions as best I can.

My first posted poem is “Writing” and I hope it will provide some insight about me as a poet.


So someone asked,
“What do you write about?”
The sounds of a dog napping
My wife’s footsteps on the stairs
My son starting his car
Snow falling against a street light at night
The silent epiphanies and pains

Everyday things.