The Gilded Cage


The little bird watches
from a gilded cage.
songs of sunny days,
falling leaves,
pouring rain.
A cold wind blows the treetops,
and the little bird watches.
Her wings open,
but never does the wind lift her up.
And she sings on.
The gilded cage hangs in the window.
I listen
to the little bird’s song,
and my heart hurts.
Through the window
I watch,
in my mind
an endless summer.
The cold wind blows the treetops.
I raise my hands
to the windowglass,
though never does the wind lift me up.
And storm clouds gather.
No longer does the little bird sing.
And my summer sun
gives way
to an autumn of regret.



When the world begins again
I remember
dreams of springtimes past
blossoming in every petal,
bright and shiny
in the morning of forgotten past regret.
I cry
as the rain begins to fall.
Gentle though the spring rain glistens,
I remember.
I turn away
as the last flower rears its head,
and to it give the memory
to hold as I walk
and let it fade
into a bygone day.
I let that gentle rain
wash my tears away,
and never look back until the other side
where is revealed
a waiting summer sun.

On Spring and the Passage of Time

Im wunderschönen Monat Mai,
Als alle Knospen sprangen,
Da ist in meinem Herzen
Die Liebe aufgegangen.

Im wunderschönen Monat Mai,
Als alle Vögel sangen,
Da hab ich ihr gestanden
Mein Sehnen und Verlangen.

[In the lovely month of May,
When all the buds were blooming,
That is when in my heart
Love welled up.

In the lovely month of May,
When all the birds were singing,
That is when I confessed to her
My yearning and desire.]
– Im wunderschönen Monat Mai
, Heinrich Heine (trans. R.C. Ahlstrom)

May will soon be behind us, and the spring will soon make way for the summer. As the season draws to a close, I am reminded that there are so few true constancies in life. One is the passage of time. Every passing moment is gone, never to be felt, seen, touched again, reduced to the memory of those who experienced it. And though we remember, we can never go back.

Though spring is a time of rebirth and renewal, it is also a reminder that as we move forward into a new season, new year, new life, we also leave behind something that can never be felt in exactly the same way ever again. Though we experience the cycle of the changing of the seasons every year of our lives, never will we see the exact blossoming flower or spring rain again. Live every moment and cherish the memory, for with every new beginning comes an end.

In the Moonlight


In the moonlight
a shadow
growing as a pool of blackest night
spilling over.
A cry echoed
and then one more.
But silence reigned supreme.
I watched,
as the moon fell to the earth.
I reached out
one hand.
I did not catch it.
Through my fingers
slipped the light as water falling,
memory flowing
over the jagged rocks
of one mind’s Eternity.
No longer did I stand
in the moonlight.
My hand
but for the shadow that remained,
and ever always.

Psycho Therapy

“Oh, he’s in there, all right,” Harry whispered to his best friend, Jimmy, as they huddled in the bushes, peering out between spiky twigs at the building across the street. “He’s in there, and he’s got another one.”

Jimmy shifted impatiently, his knees aching from kneeling on the ground for so long. “No way it’s for real,” he scoffed. “It’s gotta be a joke or something.”

“No, I’m telling you, there’s a sign on the door.” Harry gestured wildly as he spoke, eager to recount the tale again. “I saw it with my own two eyes. And when I walked past the door-“

“-I know, you told me a million times,” Jimmy interrupted, rolling his eyes.

“When I walked past,” Harry went on, ignoring the interjection, “I heard a woman crying.” He lowered his voice ominously.

Jimmy squinted at his friend. “Well… even so…”

“I’m telling you, I’m right! I was the one who was in there, for Chrissake!”

The two friends fell silent, their eyes glued to the door at the top of the stone steps.

Jimmy was the first to break the silence. “This is dumb. There’s nothing to see from here, let’s just go.” He started to stand, brushing off the knees of his jeans.

“Wait!” Harry exclaimed, almost shouting in excitement. He grabbed at the sleeve of Jimmy’s T-shirt without turning around. “Look!”

Directing his attention back to the building, Jimmy saw the door swing open. A woman in a dark blue skirt and white blouse stepped out, her long, blonde hair glowing ethereally as she walked into the sunlight. Her high heels clacked pleasantly on the cement as she made her way down the steps, rummaging in her pocketbook as she walked. She fished out a crumpled fistful of Kleenex and began to dab at the corners of her eyes.

“See! That proves it!” Harry reached up and seized Jimmy’s arm, pulling him down so hard he sent up a cloud of dust as his knees hit the ground.

“Hey!” Jimmy protested, yanking his arm free. “Quit it!”

“Sorry, sorry. Just look at her, will you? She’s been crying, too. And look how she’s all wrinkled and her hair’s all mussed. See?” Harry’s eyes gleamed as he pointed at the woman through a hole in the prickly bushes.

Jimmy stared at the strange woman while she jammed the Kleenex back into her pocketbook and took out a compact. She stood in the middle of the sidewalk, rubbing at the dark circles under her eyes and smoothing the flyaway hairs around her face.

“Well… I guess she is kind of messy,” Jimmy conceded. “But how do you know she’s coming from there anyway?”

“Because she’s crying,” Harry replied impatiently.

Jimmy furrowed his brow, considering his friend’s logic.

The two boys watched in silence as the woman put the compact away. She tucked the pocketbook under one arm, and walked briskly down the street, quickly disappearing from the boys’ view.

Jimmy turned away from the building. “It’s weird, I’ll give you that,” he said. “But why would people keep going in there?”

Harry sat back on his heels. “I don’t know, but I think he’s a doctor. Maybe he’s drugging them or something.”

“Oh, come on,” Jimmy replied incredulously.

“Well? Why else would anyone go in there?”

“I don’t know…” Jimmy ran a hand through his dark, shaggy hair as he always did when he was thinking hard about something. “But wait, it’s illegal. How can he just keep doing something illegal, and put a sign on the door and everything?” he asked. “And maybe drug them,” he added with a laugh.

“I don’t know!” Harry looked annoyed as he stood up and took a step away from their hiding place in the bushes. “I know you don’t believe it,” he said. “So see for yourself.” Harry motioned for Jimmy to follow him with a swift nod of his head. He turned and started across the street without waiting to see if his friend was following.

Jimmy only hesitated for a moment. He trotted after Harry, catching up with him as he reached the opposite side of the street. Together they walked up the steps and Harry pulled open the heavy door with the dark tinted glass.

The building was cool inside and surprisingly well lit. Harry gestured to Jimmy to keep quiet as he led him into a little alcove to the right of an old elevator.

“I don’t think there’ll be too many people around, but just in case,” Harry whispered as he sidled along the wall to a door labelled Stairs.

“Why? Aren’t we allowed in here?” Jimmy asked, hugging the wall behind his friend like a spy on a covert mission.

“I don’t really know actually,” Harry admitted as he led the way up a narrow flight of stairs to the second floor. “But I don’t want him to see us anyway. Who knows what he’d do?”

“Yeah, I guess…”

The two boys walked along the second floor, flooded with natural light streaming in from a large picture window at the end of the hall. The carpet under their feet was an ugly mustard yellow, but thick and new, dampening the sound of their footsteps as they creeped along past doors shut fast, some with small name plates and carefully stenciled letters on the front.

The corridor opened into a waiting area set up with red cushioned chairs.

“Oh, good. Last time, there was someone sitting there,” Harry gestured vaguely at the seats. “Okay, there, see? Look at the door.”

Jimmy glanced warily around as though he were committing some indefinable crime that had not yet been given a name. He examined the neat, black letters on the door before him.


Jimmy’s eyes grew wide. “No way…”

Harry came up beside him. “What’d I tell you?” he asked triumphantly.

Jimmy nodded as he sounded out the word on the door.

“Psycho the rapist.”

Silent, At the River


Silent, at the river
stands a man,
eyes cast down to the rushing water.
Hours pass,
and he waits
hands clasped in lonely supplication.
As the sun sets
he turns his gaze slowly upward
and the sky darkens.
The breeze settles
and the treetops bow
almost imperceptibly.
One leaf falls
as a teardrop in the night.
The man falls to his knees,
hands raised to the heavens,
one tear
never allowed to fall,
though the first star of night never rises
and the river runs
ever onward.

The Knight On the Hill


In a kingdom in the north there stands a solitary knight.
He sits atop his horse high on a hill.
He keeps one hand on his blade, always prepared to fight.
For his king, a foe he’d swiftly kill.

His free hand gently strokes the long mane of his brindle steed.
A teardrop forms so slowly in his eye.
His mind turns back to long ago, his last heroic deed.
He shakes his head and breathes a weary sigh.

Behind the knight a castle stands, once home of his dear king,
tall as the trees and black as starry night.
On his finger still he wears the royal signet ring,
but no squire has he by his side.

The castle turrets crumble and the moat remains dry.
No tapers burn in sconces, clear and bright.
Ivy clambers up the walls, bats through the towers fly.
Weeds choke out the early morning light.

In the great hall thrones sit empty, no court jester plays.
The kitchen sits cold with no oven fire.
No servants run on the long stairs all through the night and day.
In the chapel sits no jolly friar.

No longer does the brittle stone keep out the summer rain.
Bedrooms fill with winter ice and snow.
No horses nicker, eager, in the stable down the lane.
But the knight has nowhere else to go.

The knight will stand there waiting till his very last day.
In his heart, the kingdom always new.
“We won’t look behind us, dear one,” to his mount he says,
“but to our duty always remain true.”

A Gentleman Entered An Establishment

A gentleman entered an establishment. He reviewed the situation and hunkered down at the sideboard.

“Taverner, kindly provide me with a flagon of lager,” he expressed to the mixologist.

“Assuredly, master,” the mixologist announced.

The gentleman received the flagon from the mixologist and imbibed a hearty gulp. Forthwith, he heeded an intonation.

“I appreciate your jersey.”

The gentleman surveilled the interior of the establishment but could not observe any character who might have articulated. He consumed another generous swallow.

The incognito utterance repeated. “Your stature is enjoyable.”

Perturbed, the gentleman scrupulously scrutinized his environs.

“Your comportment is congenial.”

This concluding proclamation was adequate for the gentleman. His inquisitiveness kindled, the gentleman hailed the mixologist.

“Pray, inform me, taverner,” the gentleman asserted. “What is the significance of the verbalizations that I persistently apprehend?”

The mixologist meticulously minded the gentleman. Conclusively, he cachinnated prior to disclosing the elucidation of the unavowed vociferation.

“It was the legumes, master. They are encomiastic.”

After the Rain

After the rain of evening the oceans cry.
Subtly does the water stir the sand,
the air fresh, cold,
but ripe with the smell of tears.
Drowning sailors cannot see beyond the maiden’s eye.
When every bluish wave retreats back to its bed,
whispers in the deep
rise to greet the air.
except for one who knows when and how to listen.

Until Time Stops


Time goes this way and that
and always with a springy step.
Forward is one way now
and another the next,
thoughts unfurling,
turning backward without warning.

Waves break and rise and break again
until at last all voices are silent in the chilly death of one last winter,
the sand washed away to reveal that which is the only truth:

There is no one left to tend the field
and the last ray of summer sun
has died for the final time.