Thursday, February 2, 2017


Oh death—departure of the life that was,
that only now exists in memory—
how bitter is your taste—and yet how sweet—
how dreadful is the blow that sets us free.

What use, regret?  How now to pay the dues?
How much, that’s precious, snatched and swept away!
No court, that takes or rules on our appeal.
Our only recompense is that of tears.

And yet, can death extinguish love—that lasts
when all the rest is seen as transient?
We yield the body and the mind to death,
but not the things that stay within our hearts.
2017 February 2nd, Thu., 9 pm,
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York.
In memory of our beloved 
daughter, sister, mother, friend
Anita (T’ukul) Sen (born Bose),
who passed away earlier today, in Kolkata.

(Last stanza added 2017 Feb. 7th) 



For secure, encrypted connections, change addresses from http to https. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

What Chance

What Chance

You were waiting, by a doorway,
for the bus—and smiled at me.
And I, at first, ignored this—
till I recollected you,
confirming this, by asking—
as your eyes were smiling still.
You dropped by, for a visit,
for half an hour or so.
Our hands had touched, so briefly,
but a current had passed through.

For a quarter of a century,
I’ve seen you come and go—
so near and yet so distant—
and always in my mind.

There’s a bond that long has linked us,
in the strangest kind of way.
It keeps us tethered.  Yet it
keeps us far away.

I’ve seen your bloom, your fading.
I have memorized your face—
the curving of your eyelids—
your planes and shapes and shades.
At times, I’ve dreamed of holding
you within my arms.
And then, I have dismissed these
as idle thoughts that passed.
I dreamed that we had kissed, once,
but smiled—and said, “What chance!”

2017 January 27th, Fri.
Brooklyn, New York

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Not Made for Me and You

Not Made for Me and You  
Did King Philip's Class Order Five Giant Spiders?
Taxonomy of Ursus americanus

We have left the wells of wisdom.
We have thirsted long instead.
Let us quench the fires of madness—
be free of greed and dread.
There are places in the forests
where we humans haven't been,
who are caught in nets so tangled
or are spiders spinning webs.
There are places in the mountains
that have kept their beauty still—
where the mists caress the cedars
and the peaks are kissed by dawn.

There are places on the planet
that are not in Mammon's realm,
though he hungers to possess them—
so his serfs can till and reap.

There are places sans an “owner”
that are sacred to the few
who remember that this planet
wasn't made for me and you.

There are humans, in those places,
who are free of Mammon's yoke.
But their songs are near their endings—
as their bondage now is due.


Arise and hear their singing;
relearn the gentler dance.
Let us rid ourselves of Mammon—
be free of him—at last!

The grain he craves is silver—
its value gauged in sweat.
He kills the things of beauty
and steels our hearts to dread.

The beings of this planet
have made this wondrous world.
Together, we can make it
so beauty has a chance.

There's a beauty that's around us;
there's a beauty in the heart.
Let us turn towards that beauty—
let ugliness depart.

How much of woe and sorrow
has Mammon wrought on Earth,
with the “word of God” proclaiming
that this world was made for us?


There's a wisdom that's around us;
there's a wisdom in the heart.
Let us drink again of wisdom—
let greed and fear depart.

2017 January 24th, Tue.
Brooklyn, New York  

Note: Two sets, of eight images each, follow below.

Stream in a tropical forest
Morning fog in dense tropical forest

Kanchenjuga at dawn, eastern Himalaya

Boreal forest, Alberta, Canada.

Named for Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind, the boreal forest is a critically important breeding ground for North American birds. The Albany River (shown here) divides the partially protected northern boreal from the imperiled south. Photo: Per Breiehagen

San Bushman father hugging his children

The Bushmen Tribe of Tsumkwe
San woman holding her beautiful baby boy

Halifax Mill Chimneys

Factories, in what was once woods and farmland

Horst Faas: Images of Vietnam War

A child clings to his bound father who was rounded up as suspected Viet Cong guerilla

The Death of an Iraqi soldier, Highway of Death, 1991
In the 1991 Gulf War, American pilots bombed a retreating Iraqi convoy. Most US media declined to publish this photo, taken by Ken Jarecke.  His quote: “If I don’t photograph this, people like my mom will think war is what they see on TV.” 

ISIS Hanging & Burning Alive Four Iraqi Men

Tibetan mother and child

Amerindian mother and child, 1905, Oregon

Mother and child, Namibia

Thursday, December 29, 2016

With All Your Heart

With All Your Heart

We walk the roads of duty and desire.
We’re driven from our homes by fears and needs.
We’re scattered to the winds like autumn’s leaves.
Like windblown seeds, we seek to sprout and thrive.

We build our fortunes out of sand and snow
And then we see them flow and disappear.
What hurts us most is when our loves depart,
And all we then can do is wait our turn.

Oh actor—see, how you arrive and leave.
So play your part with zest and graciousness.
Though all your actions will be blown away,
You still can live and love, with all your heart.
2016 December 29th, Thu.
Brooklyn, New York  

Monday, December 5, 2016

Our Wisp of Verse

Our Wisp of Verse

The present moment—that is all we have.
And yet we have it not—it comes and goes,
As water, streaming, rises, ebbs and flows.
Can men possess the wind, contain the tide
Or claim, where those, whose lives have ended, hide?
From vastness, we are gathered for a while,
And back into the vast we each will go.
Oh friend of mine, that I have come to know,
How brief our tryst, before the winds disperse
Both you and I and this—our wisp of verse!

If there's a reason for existence, then
It can't be figured by our mortal wits.
We each are formed—and scattered back to bits
That merge with water, earth and endless sky,
Not ever knowing whence or whither, why.

I saw, upon the trackless ocean, this—
A leaf of autumn, bobbing on the seas
That troughed and crested, driven by the breeze.
Who knew, from where that withered leaf had blown—
Or where, its siblings that it once had known?

We build our villages and towns and roads
And so find comfort in our time on Earth.
But what's the road that sent us to our birth
And where's the village that awaits us when
We each are sent upon our way again?

Annihilation marks the end of life.
The spirit leaves the body, so it seems.
No magic words and no fantastic schemes
Can bring it back, for even just a while
To shed that tear or look and gently smile.

If only we could speak with those we loved
And hold them in our arms and cry and smile—
If only we were given just a while
To make amends, in speech and attitude,
And then let go, in peace and gratitude...

What vanity—those ends that we pursue
Beyond what's needed so we each survive.
And yet, what seeming comfort we derive
In hoping that our work was not in vain,
Although we lived and worked and died in pain.

So come, my friend, and walk with me a while.
Before we part, we each should laugh and cry
At this absurdity, so when we die
We might remember, as our souls disperse,
Our time together and our rhyming verse.

2016 December 4th, Mon. 1:11 am
Northwest Berkeley, California 

Monday, November 28, 2016

As Mammon Smiles

As Mammon Smiles

I have walked on city sidewalks
to my jobs and back to “home”.
I have watched the others walking.
I have seen the cars go by.

I have watched the people rushing
from place to place to place.
I have seen the cars that speeded
and I've often wondered why.
I think I know the reason—
at least for some of this:
we've learned that time is money—
on jobs—and errands too.
And who am I to question
the ones who race to work—
and back again for children
or things they have to do?

And yet I've walked and wondered—
for I have also raced
and been in stress and tension
from demons in the mind.
We each have been conditioned
to run when we could walk.
To things that we should notice,
our times have made us blind.
The aged are often lonely—
and scared, as savings ebb.
The moms and dads who're working—
they work and work and work.
So what becomes of children—
who troop, for years, to schools?
They take their turns as hirelings—
and labors, dare not shirk.
The workers spend their earnings
on things that drive the wheels,
the gears, the thrusting pistons—
and now, the pulsing bits.
I've glimpsed, at times, the village
where people too would work
and yet would sense the seasons—
with bodies, hearts and wits.
There are dances that are graceful;
there are rises, ebbs and flows.
There is work that has its rhythm;
there are things that take their time.
There is hurry, worry, scurry;
there are slipshod ways of work—
with our facts and logic faulty,
with our lines that do not rhyme.

There are many who are driven
by the few with inner drives
that need the work of others
so shares and profits rise.
And who am I to question
the workings of our world?
And yet, I've walked and wondered
if racing so is wise.
But speed is now a virtue—
and slowness is a vice.
So artisans are banished,
and the masses slave in mills.
It's “more and more and faster”
that drives the GDP.
The stocks and rents are climbing,
as Mammon smiles and wills.

2016 November 28th, Mon.
Berkeley, California

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Maya’s Mist

Maya’s Mist

It’s claimed that humans have advanced and those
who dare to question this are filled with gloom
for reasons other than reality—
that they have conjured, out of progress, doom.

Are there directions, foreordained by gods,
or chosen as the “forward” ones by those
among us who are wisest? Or are we
conditioned by what those, who gain, propose?
For we’ve been told and told and told
so many lies, and lies on top of lies,
that we confuse the true and false, and so
we rarely bother still with asking whys.
The empires rose and fell and yet the lives
of plants and beasts and humans still went on.
It’s only now that works of men devour
this planet’s life and threaten humankind.

We live in cities, filled with strangers, yet
we see the remnant tribes as backward, lost.
For much that’s primal and is gentle, sweet
we’ve now discarded—and we pay the cost.
Which emperor could gain the peace that is?
Which painter could replace the changing sky?
We sense that we have lost the art of bliss.
But who can tell us when and how and why?

Will we awake from this, our troubled dream,
and rub away the sleep, so we can see
that we’ve been racing on the way to hell,
while heaven waits for us to pause and be?

In truth, there is no bliss that lasts for long,
and neither do our heavens, hells exist,
except that we create them, through our thoughts
and words and deeds—while lost in maya’s mist.

2016 November 9th, Wed. 6:36 pm
Brooklyn, New York