The poems of my newest collection, Noble Blue Liberty, include some of my earliest published literary work, along with some of my most recent. They range across the continent of my mind and heart to find home.

They revive the wonder of entering the wide cloudless skies of the Great Plains or youthful opportunity.

What opens with a dance tune here deflects into the reaction to a blow or injury, to a fly fisherman’s reel, the canisters of a movie, or even a soaring eagle. These poems span experiences of touch and coupling, however chaste at times, and of flight and emerging lightness. To be light on one’s feet, then, and lighthearted in the end, if not a little dizzy.

They could even be what poet John Haines has called “horses in the night.”


For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.


Beethoven’s chamber pot beside the piano revealed a man truly engrossed in his work when there was nothing else to touch. Not even another Zelda Fitzgerald, seeking a Daddy-Daddy-Daddy who never was what she’s expected nor was I. It was all downhill from the heart. She rather melted away, like the music, at the end […]


I’ve come to believe that our faith should enhance life, rather than deny it, but what I see too often in the lives of many religious people is the reverse. In other words, true religion should bring us freedom, not bondage.

Well, it’s obvious that our brother has slipped back into bondage, under the deception of seeing it as freedom. For whatever reasons, I’ve felt that his one lifeline has been the route to Quail Lane, and that the Lord was calling him to follow. If he set out on it and then turned away, it would be ten times harder for him to make the effort again – both his stubborn pride and a sense of unworthiness, guilt, or whatever, arising from having failed to be faithful to the calling, block his yielding. Whatever demons torment him, there’s one that makes him fear some aspect of Jack, especially; my guess is that he needs to be confronted with something in a very loving and yet powerful way, and he has known for some time that the labor will entail pain, even if the effort will in the long run be well worth it. Whatever Jack has to offer, he appears to be the one Friend who can stand up to our brother and the demons. (So much for Jnana’s pop psychology/exorcism.)

His present lacking a motorcycle is encouraging news. My major concern at the moment comes from a fear that he has returned to his old drug habits and culture. The recent job history seems to point in that direction.


For more Seasons of the Spirit, click here.


The mind dances here and there, rarely in a linear fashion. So what’s on my mind these days? How about counting on these fingers?


  1. A hummingbird flits from the bee balm into the asparagus fronds and then off before my wife can get to the window to see it. That’s the way our bird-watching goes. You really can’t reply, “Just a minute.”
  2. How quickly the summer’s passing! Largely uneventfully. As fleeting as last year? Maybe I finally need to find Big Eddy, aka Frog Rock, in Swift River in Lincoln, where one daughter delighted a few years ago. Jump right in for the hey of it.
  3. Bumper sticker: Stamp Out Lighthouse Art. Anyone want to add gulls to the list?
  4. Finding a cleft of 60 anemone while tide-pooling leads later to Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son, a most remarkable book. Illustrations and text, ultimately.
  5. There are some nasty horseflies, too. Enough to drive you from the water.
  6. In the dining hall for our annual sessions in Vermont, the milk dispenser has a lovely illustration of cows in their shed, dining hereabouts. Happy and healthy, right? One detail strikes a sour note for me, though. These are beef cattle, not dairy. So much for the milk touch? Now I’m wondering if they’re steers.
  7. Caught between a fear of chaos, on one side, and numbness, on the other, I’m overwhelmed and paralyzed. All fall down!
  8. One thing I’ve learned about the big Perseid meteor showers each year: in this part of the world, you can bet the heavens will cloud over by midnight.
  9. Suppose I shouldn’t be surprised anymore by those times when the temperature a few miles away can be 15 degrees cooler or warmer. Especially when at the beach, when home’s been blazing.
  10. Do I really fit in anywhere? Have I EVER? (No, the likely answer.)


Maps of the London Underground (commonly called the Tube) cover these boxes. I think of them as Tubular Thames.
Maps of the London Underground (commonly called the Tube) cover these boxes. I think of them as Tubular Thames. For now, all 15 are stacked in our third-floor guest room.

She bought one box at a yard sale, came home and discovered it was full of ever-smaller boxes with the same design. As author of a novel called Subway Hitchhikers, how can I not be delighted?


not by intent, exactly, when repairing rotten sill and ripping away needless wires strung overhead, but under the floor at times, a two-man job, with banter still, keep an eye open for the unanticipated byproduct in this case, a jest envisioning a beer and wine cellar under the kitchen nothing fancy, but acknowledging the homebrew […]


Only one person in a thousand aspires to become a Subway Hitchhiker. Nobody knows why, either. Of those aspirants, only one in a thousand is chosen. That aspect’s equally mysterious.

Question: With 2,371 cars operating in Tokyo, how many Hitchhikers?

DL pondered Soviet subway systems in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Tbilisi, Baku, Kharkov, Tashkent, Minsk, Yerevan, Gorky, Novosibirsk, Kuybishev, Sverdlovsk, Riga, and Dnepropetrovsk. To say nothing of related Warsaw Pact, Eastern Bloc operations.

At least they didn’t suffer graffiti. Not with spellings like theirs. No, both Hitchhikers and vandals in those realms have different problems to confront.

Not a single ballot had been cast, either.


For more from my THIRD RAIL collection, click here.