French Lesson


French Lesson

French Lesson.

French Lesson



French is not the easiest class to miss.

I missed almost two weeks straight

after Mom died

and a lot of other days before that

and now I am really behind.

Mom wanted me to take French

because she thought it would help

in ballet class.

Dad lost a couple of bids.

He says people are losing

their jobs,

the economy is bad.

The TV keeps warning

unemployment is up,

gas prices are up,

and people are fed up,

according to Dad.

I don’t know why he

has to watch,

it only makes him

yell at the TV.

Dad says we need to conserve

more than we have been.

Now the house feels cooler

and when I complain

Dad says

to go outside and come back in,

then I’ll feel warmer.

Harriet and I spend our time bundled in

an extra layer of clothes

dragging around our afghans mom made

like giant moths in cocoons.

We are out of butter again.

Dad says

to try using peanut butter.

Well isn’t the word


in it?

Harriett won’t eat her toast

and it just sits on the plate

getting cold

like the floors

in this house

and suddenly one phrase comes to me.

Il fait froid.

Il fait froid dans la maison!



Bishop’s Poem, One Art, Is One I Cherish

One Art

/The art of losing isn’t hard to master/

Click to read the rest of the poem –


So, You Want to Write?

So, You Want to Write?.

April Song on the Vineyard

A robin sings in the thicket on the edge.

Ter-eet! Ter-eet!

The wind whisks through the twisted oaks.

Somewhere off in the distance

someone steps on the gas

and the exhaust ripples the morning air

and the Atlantic yawns beneath the front.

A new day.

The Swing

The measured sawn board, sanded seat

parallel to the rise where the sappy roots dive

two ropes, worked through the holes,

knotted and plum.

My father pulls the swing, leans back over the edge of the world,

grasps the ropes with hands as scored as the inside of our wheelbarrow

the toes of his boots dig into the stubbled grass

behind the dirt patch launch.

Legs tucked, elbows bent,

a rocket ride promised to aim straight for the smiling sun,

the giddy countdown

and then

the push, as we move forward together

the rush of the under duck, my legs unfold

reach to the robin’s egg sky above the pine bough

back to the bursting forsythias

back to him.


Black-tipped Lynx Rufus

bobcat sandwich, nh

It catches my eye as I walk across the room
tawny spots, gray tinged slink across the snowmelt
right, left, right, left – like pendulums to her clock
clawless tracks of a wildcat, a string of calling cards
for the squirrel, the vole, the quick snowshoe hare
and here I stand at the slider, aware, my desk a cache

my camera zooms, focuses, clicks, hunts her down
she licks and preens, lithe and lynx-like in the copse
a crowned queen on her throne of stone, she’s alone
paws retract now, tuck in against the cold, eyes half-close
under gray sky, undercover in her coated mantle of instinct




At first they look at me as a teacher

from behind a podium.

I look at them as my teachers

as I sit cross-legged on the table

in front of open journals

and raised hands.

We are all learning and

we are all trying to express

just what that means.

Good Dads Have Sex Appeal

A good Dad.
Who is he?
Sometimes it’s hard to put it into words,
sometimes all you need is a good idea
and some action
a warm smile
lots of love
some patience thrown in
a lesson or two
a kid at heart to follow
one little book with a tree swing in it
some elbow grease
pliers and a good hammer
a little helper
heavy duty bright yellow rope

Papa and Robert put up a tree swing after reading about one in a story.

Papa and Robert put up a tree swing after reading about one in a story.

connecting steel chain
a special swing
a ladder and a sturdy branch.
That’s a good Dad
that’s a dream come true.







Shared on Poetry Pantry #153 at Poets United.