A friend and former teaching colleague of mine, Patti Hardee Donnelly, is a superb photographer whose work I’ve long admired. A small offshoot of her photography has been her finding small HEARTS in many forms in nature and in life. I am often surprised, frequently amused, and always delighted by what Patti comes across in her daily life. This summer she posted this beautiful picture of an old tree stump she came across very early one morning on her daily run. I was mesmerized by the beauty of it, the color and texture and most of all by the image I saw within the heart. I know that if I had been walking that path that morning, I would have totally missed this beautiful creation of nature.

Thank you, Patti, for your amazing photo and talent. It immediately inspired me to write this poem, which is dedicated to you.

I’ve recorded an audio of me reading this poem. To hear it, simply click on the link below. It will take a few seconds before it begins.


Heartwood (photo by Patti Hardee Donnelly © 2014)


                        ~for Patti Hardee Donnelly


This heartwood is no more
Than a bit of grey crackling,
More a silvered wood fungus

Than what was once the lifeline
Of a tree, an umbilical hotline
From the sun to the leaves

Down to roots fastened in earth.
Now this aging heart of wood
Reveals elegant scalloped wings,

An angel dancing, a floor
Made of rough pine straw
Softening her delicate steps.

In the silence of morning,
I glimpsed an angel,
But you found her heart.


Back to Edinburgh

Back to Edinburgh
 Here is my reading of the poem, Back to Edinburgh:


 Back to Edinburgh

We walk through the hidden streets of this city,
The second day of spring and the wind gusts hard.
People stop and wince, cupping their ears for warmth.
The news said blustery winds up to 25 mph,
it feels as if we might tumble down the street.

Looking for simple woolen hats to pull down
Over our frigid heads, we stop at a Royal Mile shop. 

I select gray, and you opt for black. I am grateful
That your good felt hat is safe back at the hotel.

The street is so rich in history that it feels as if
It could reach out and grab us by the arms,
Pulling us down a small wynd or narrow close
That has
 a story to share,

And in the late afternoon gloaming,
We might be wind swept and turned around
Into some other time.

It could happen you know.