Flying against the wind

The poem, “Flying Against the Wind” is the final poem in my chapbook, Erasing the Doubt, (c) 2015,  Finishing Line Press. (The book is available for purchase from Finishing Line Press.)



Flying Against the Wind


Your thoughts drifted out to sea—riding on the wind

like wisps of breath lost on a freezing day.

With only the lighthouse for company and water all around,

your steady feet were planted firmly on the point.

You looked as if you were an island isolated from the world,

but you were not.


The chill March air made even you feel cold.

You pulled the flapping wings of your jacket closed,

zipped it, and slid your hands deep inside the pockets.

Except for this, you never moved.


You stood there looking at the sea that went on forever,

searching the horizon for clues where it might end.

The wind stung your eyes as waves conjured up whitecaps,

then swept them away like mermaids lost and turned to foam

while currents pulled together and then apart.


A fierce gust blew through your bones, trying to topple you,

but you stood fast. Even sea birds hid behind steep cliffs,

not daring to fly against the wind.



“Arai: Whitecaps on the Ocean (Arai—Enkai hato),” c. 1848-1849, by Utagawa Hiroshige I

Moral Monday (a tanka)


This tanka was published in Skylark, a Tanka Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, Winter 2017:


The following tanka is dedicated to the courageous people who participated in the “Moral Mondays” in my home state of North Carolina. They risked arrest for gathering at the State Legislature to protest unfair and discriminatory legislation being passed. These protests were non-violent and led by the Reverend William J. Barber.


Moral Monday –
arm and arm linked
you choose to step
into the darkness
to find the light






The Eagles Have Landed…



The eagles landed some time ago and have carefully rebuilt and replenished their nest. I am referring to the now famous Deborah Eagles out in Iowa. For several years now, I’ve been one of their fans watching the live camera feed. The first egg has been laid, and the camera is showing mom sitting on it as the wild winds blow past here high up in a cottonwood tree.


The first egg was laid a day ago. It will hatch in 35-39 days if all goes well.

eagles together close up of egg

Watch it, if you dare. You just might get hooked on this fascinating bit of eavesdropping.

Raptor Resource Project Decorah Eagle Cam, Decorah, IA


[All citations from:]

I first watched them in 2011 and was fascinated by the eagles but also by the avid eagle watchers. I learned more about eagles and raptors than I thought I would. For instance, this first egg that was just laid will hatch in 35-39 days. These particular nesting eagles have been very successful, very attentive parents. If you have children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews or if you teach, I can’t recommend this more highly. Technology gives us a beautiful glimpse into the world of these powerful, beautiful birds.
And, since this is my poetry blog, here’s my poem that I wrote for the first eagles I watched learning to fly. Hard to imagine that they need to “learn” but they do indeed. My poem is dedicated to the eagles.
out of the nest

And Then It Flew

Older by only days, the first-born eagle
Was the first to branch, the first to fly~

Young eyes studying the world beyond the tree,
It now stood on a limb, lifting its wings over

And over, learning how to battle erratic gusts,
Learning how to channel the waiting wind,

Understanding now what it would be like to fly.
Again and again, those powerful wings fluttered,

Starting and stopping, gaining strength and nerve,
Gathering courage for that first awkward jump

Until one morning it lifted off the branch and flew,
Joining its parents in capturing the wind, trusting

That once it had made that leap, it too would fly.

His first flight.

His first flight.