Holocaust Remembrance Day

She was a young woman, holding her child’s hand.

I saw the numbers, tattooed on her arm. But she was far too young, and so I asked her.

“I did it for my grandma”, she told me.

“Excuse, me, but why would your grandma want you to have this tattoo?”

“She was tattooed in a concentration camp. She was ashamed. So I got one, to share it with her.” she told me.

I looked over at her husband, who now had the child. “Lucky man.” I thought. “She is so much!”

Tree Heliotrope

   i heard it said
tree heliotrope
   is throughout
much of oceana.

   so many places
   i have not been!

      toxic, they say,
in large amounts.
   nobody would
      eat that much.

crooked branches.
   who could build
with such tangled 
      wood as that?

but trees like this
   are fine, so fine,
for creating shade
beneath a south
      pacific sun.

African Tulip Tree

African Tulip Tree

once they borrowed
   this invasive tree,
   brought from afar
      to hawai'i.

     it was imported
from a world away,
once transplanted
   it just got away.

spread like disease, 
      among a flock,
   we heard it so.

   so many things
we do will fail us.

   time will bring
   surprises that
      we cannot

our great works 
   impress us so.

      new evils
      seem to
surprise us;

but we may 
      still endure.

Coral Sand, Black Lava

white coral sand, 
      wet black lava,
   tropical seas, 
the summery sky!

      every day seems
a wonderful dream.

we eat shave ice
   but not much
      ice cream.

      a secret beach
seems such an idea!
down a private road,
(we asked the young
      guard for access, 
      quickly granted)
we were on our way.

   a narrow road on 
      white coral sand,
a gift from the bowels
   of many parrotfish,
   and we are grateful.

      a wonderful
uncrowded beach.
      we carried on,

to welcome shade 
      beneath hot
      sunny skies.

   in black and white,
feeling, no surprise.

Dried Thistle

Dried Thistle

sharp and prickly
to protect herself,

her tender heart,
   broken so many 
      times before.

and so proctected,
   we might also be,

except that there 
      is such a price
to pay for nearly
perfect protection.

      today it snows.
we hunker down,

protected from cold
by extra insulation,
   so we can nap on
a winter afternoon.

   a thistle flower is
a beautiful thing,
clearly something
   to be protected..

Skeletal Tree

   Skeletal Tree

   ten thousand feet 
above everything,
ideas come slowly, 
oxygen so scarce!

   i see tree-bones
death has visited
   this chilly place
   before my time.

at this altitude
   trees are an 
      expense or 
luxury, perhaps.

nothing much
   lives forever.
not such trees,
   so beautiful
even in death.

good things end.
      time conceals
   many surprises.
so many, so often.

   evil too ceases.
   we live for that.
as long as it lasts,
   it seems so long.

   and we are left,
   for good, or ill,
with bare-limbed


Downstream View

from high above,
      i look at
rushing waters,

   spilling over
      wet and 
rounded rocks.

our lives too
rush, spilling
   over rocky

   where we
might smash,

breaking ribs
   and more,

   struggling in
   wild torrents,
gasping for air.

from cliffside

   it all looks
and peaceful.

but sometimes
   in rushing
      we learn

      beaten by
wild currents,
we sometimes