Of a Sudden

As we stood looking through

The glass

Of the sliding patio


Into the night


There she was

A perfect roundness

Of white light

The Moon

Risen above the distant


And it seemed

She lay resting from her


Against a smooth blanket

Of blackness

And as we stood


Into her full-faced


Of a sudden

Out of her stillness

We heard the hoot

A soft mournful


From an owl

It had to have


An owl

On a high branch

Of a Sycamore tree

An owl

How can this be

There are no owls


And yet a


Only an owl would



It excited us

Delighted us

And although we looked


Into the darkened


We could not find

The owl

Although again the


Again     again

Then      silence


For the next two nights

Moon retained her


For the next two nights

Owl hooted softly

From the Sycamore



On the third night

Moon had begun her


On the third night

No hoot from the


On a high branch

Of the Sycamore


It was gone

Flown away

Only a silent night


Image Credit


I will not mention names

What good would that do


What is done     is done


So many

If I could write down

Their names

In memoriam

Their names would fill

The pages

Of a giant encyclopedia

The one country so brutally


Has the right to defend



When does defense become


Desist     desist

Allow those who are


On either side

Live in peace

Yes     yes

Let those left

Live in peace

Thanksgiving by Ourselves

It is the week before


Already Crepe Myrtle

Has released

Most every small leaf

Attached to her

Ever so skinny branches

To become a coverlet

For the dirt ladened




Has a long way


To finish letting go

Her large leaves

Needing to dry into

Burnished gold

Before they slowly


In graceful descent

To cover the grass

That surrounds her

Many managing to


The garden

Where Hibiscus and


Try to bloom

This late in



We will eat at home

By ourselves

This Thanksgiving


With joyful memories of

Thanksgivings past

Here we will be

Together     together

What more can we


What more could we


(written November 2021)

Museum Hill

Do you remember

The night

We drove up Museum


To gaze into the night


Crowded with stars

An overwhelmed feeling

Of absolute awe

In our hearts

Starlight still so much


Than light from the city


City lights that would


In years still to come

Dimming starry brilliance

From the night sky


Museum Hill

The Museum of Indian Arts

And Culture

The Lab of Anthropology

The Folk Art Museum

As tho asleep

Their doors locked

The silence of night

Wrapped around them

We know them well

Each with its own

Unique reason for



How many hours

Over twenty-seven years

Did we spend in one

Or the other


I don’t remember     now

How long we stayed

Looking up into that

Infinite world of stars

Maybe until our necks

Began to ache

I only remember

It was hard to leave

Ignorant astronomers

Were we

Excited to spot

Numerous shooting stars

The Big and Little Dippers

Then red Mars

And a satellite

Streaming across the sky

Amazed with the stars

Slow move of their


As the night




We left as we came

Driving down and around

The winding road

That led us around

And up

Museum Hill

Do you remember

Do you remember

I do

*starry night photo credit: Cliford Mervil

Clouds …

… My ever moving art gallery

My daily weather report

It matters not where I am

In the comfort of home

A car on the freeway

Among other drivers

The slow     the speeders     motorcycles

That startle as they roar


My attention is out the


My eyes on the sky


Clouds are like people

Like everything in the natural


Different shapes


Different purposes of existence

Exuding an aura of diversity

Like everything alive on earth

Diversity is life


As a child

I imagined myself lying down

On big white puffy comforter


But never on those forecasting


Darkly ominous blankets of solid gray

Over my head

Then rushing across the sky

Pushed by erratic winds

Still drawing my eyes upwards

Always upwards


Nothing has changed

Clouds     my ever moving art gallery

My daily weather report

Awake each morning

I open the shutters

Look through branches

Of the Sycamore     Crepe Myrtle tress

To find the clouds

Only to discover     now and then

The sun has risen on this day

Into a cloudless blue sky




The first day of spring

Already Sycamore births her

Small green leaves

That will evolve into larger leaves

Adorning her branches

Until far into fall

Then drop     one by one

Slowly to the ground

I cannot remember the song

From the very first robin

Singing its arrival

Early in an Illinois spring

Its song brought me joy

After a long cold snowy


California springs brought


Their songs ringing out

Through the Myoporum

Over the canyons

Then eerily at midnight

Into the early hours

Of the new day

I’d hear their trills

I miss that first robin

I miss the mockingbirds

Heralding spring for me

The air around me feels silent

Save the lone mourning dove

Who calls     calls     calls

No one answers


Mating season for crows


Their squawking voices

A different harbinger

That spring is here

I tell myself

They too

Are of the natural world

For I am given

Love everyone everything


Even noisy crows

A Silent Encounter


The day is overcast


Not unusual for Arcata

A town in Northern California

Blessed with Redwood Trees

Twenty miles south

Of the Oregon border

Where we walk the path

Around the lagoon

Of the Arcata Marsh

Looking for herons

Ducks     egrets

And other birds

That come and go

With seasons of the



Tall reeds wave in the breeze

From the water

Bushes     small trees

Grow everywhere we walk

Framing the gravel path

That now leads us

Almost full circle to where

We began

And there     in the middle

Of the path

Stands a giant white egret

Like a spotlight

Its brilliant white

Shines in our eyes

Still as a statue

It signals

Come no closer

We wait

Still as the egret

But take our fill of observation

Never before so close to



The egret turns around

The giant wings reach out

Fold in again

Then making an obvious decision

It walks regally into the waiting



We remain motionless

In wonder

With gratitude

Then walk the rest of the way

To our car

Drive home in the gray light

With the memory of a brilliant

White blessing

“Arcata Marsh” by Brian McQueen www.McQueenArt.com




Thus It Is So

Beethoven composes his majestic Ninth Symphony

Mozart the sacred Requiem

Handel his powerful Messiah

Poverty is alive all around them

And children go hungry


Every age     every millennium

Carries suffering

Gives birth to those who live

Impelled to help

Gives birth to those who choose

To turn away

Leaving their powers for change


Like a blade of sea grass

Pulled with the tide

Into the deepest depth

Of the ocean

Thus it is so



Voices II

Many Voices

Many octaves     many chords

Many songs

Float in and through

My awareness

The ocean’s voice sings a different song

As each tide comes into shore

Rolling out to sea again     a different verse

A different melody


Wind hums softly     gently

Wind shouts     wind howls

Demands my recognition

I search the sky for reasonings


Crows have gatherings

Fly in circles     land on a distant pine

Take off again     circle the pine

Voices raucous     harsh

Their dialogue     their language

Fills the air around me


Crickets sing in summer

As the sun goes down behind a

Sandstone cliff

Their rhythm in unison

Voices on key

They soothe my mind

Calm the beat of my heart

Welcome the night     soon to arrive


And your voice     my own Love

For me the voice of

All That Is

My guide     my protection

My Life

I hear your voice

I listen to its timbre

Am at peace

–January 2018

If Only I Could

Do you not see   truly see
Faces of children
Caught in the middle of war
As they witness     as they experience
Cruelty exploding around them
Their eyes wide with fear
Faces expressing bewilderment
Frozen in terror

Do you not feel   truly feel
A silent war like an infection
Coursing through the blood stream
Of our country
For me    guns are the virus
Gunshots into a crowded concert
At innocents in a store
A school yard   a movie theater
To claim a religion   an ideological
It is war   wherever guns are used
To kill   to maim   to terrify
I abhor them
Would outlaw guns
If only I could