Monthly Archives: August 2014


The penguin, being black on white
(or white on black, as you prefer)
elicits our naive delight
in feathered formal dress (as fur
on skunks: New England white-on-black,
contrariwise on Erie’s shore)
while quaintly bobbing front to back
and side to side, at two foot four.

By contrast, Jeeves at six foot plus
(as smoothly played by Stephen Fry)
seems scarcely risible to us
save as he saves, by ruses sly,
young Wooster, who’s supremely dim
(burlesquing England’s upper class)
from floundering: Penguins deftly swim;
not so Wodehouse’s urban ass.

Had I a valet, I might wish
for Jeeves, urbane in suave attire
(unlike those birds, who smell of fish,
and live on ice), to stoke my fire,
see to my garments, brew my tea,
bring me my mail, and make my bed –
for want of whom, I’m off to sea
to seek the penguins out instead.



My friend says she can’t understand why Midwesterners hate trees,
cutting down the twenty-year spruce, the century oak
or, failing that, to unlimb them, like the Melos Aphrodite.

My wife is likewise vehement on the subject.
Our municipal electric company hacks away branches
anywhere close to their wires, with all the abandon
of reckless hormone-inflamed teenagers at drive-ins.
Bugs infest open scars, hastening the process:
First leaves wither, then woodpeckers riddle, then deadfalls.

Is it our trans-Alleghenian cultural memory,
our forebears fearful of Red Men resentfully watching
hidden by pampas grass and that forest primeval?
Or is our haunted sleep tormented by nightmares
peopled by fur-bearing predators—feral dusk-stalkers,
bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, sharp-toothed, merciless of claw?

Here in our tracts suburban, our lawns blare daytime
fanfares to civilized sightlines. But over the back fence,
trickster Coyote still howls by night in the dark woods.