Photo by Boston Public Library on Unsplash

I could hear crickets once
and the chirps of city sparrows.
I was awash in sound
before the years spilled away.

A block of ice dragged along the gravel.
Mama slapping dough on the table top.
Water bubbling in the pasta pot.
Papa’s shoes squeaking up the stairs.

The scratch of metal jacks.
The slap of a rubber ball.
Friends laughing and calling
in the gathering dark.

Gone now —
except for a place within my skull
untouched by age or loss
where childhood memories overflow
when once I could hear crickets.

Some years ago, my elderly father asked me…


The beguilement of repose

Photo by Annelie Turner on Unsplash

An afternoon nap
As late summer insects churr —
Nature’s lullaby.

One of the great things about being retired is the pleasure of an afternoon’s nap. It took me a while to allow myself this comfort; but once I did, I realized what a treasure I had found.

A nap in the middle of the day is more a meditation beneath closed eyes than a deep sleep. Images drift through my mind like something seen through a kaleidoscope. Slightly out of focus, but drenched in pleasing colors.

Being home in the middle of the day also makes me more aware…


They are the worst of role models

Photo by Aldana Fernandez on Unsplash

I would love to be

confident
agile
elegant
alert
impeccably groomed
as a cat.

I would hate to be

haughty
judgmental
demanding
destructive
entitled
as a cat.

Like a cat, I would love to be loved,
yet knowing there are few things worse
then being forced to cuddle on demand.

Like a cat, I would hate to be snubbed
before getting the chance
to snub the snubber first!

Perhaps the reason I love cats
and why they take to me
is that we understand each other,

and have shared the best of times,
the worst of times, and all the…


What I have learned as a poet and a gardener

Photo by Sandie Clarke on Unsplash

Nothing can grow in compacted soil.
Seeds cannot germinate.
Roots cannot spread.

The same is true for words on the page.
Strive for a loose, more granular soil.
Leave some trickle space between your words.

Our words are both the soil and the seed.
We water both with our free-flowing tears,
whether of joy or discovery or sorrow.

Every poem needs space to wander
over ground uncluttered with too many weeds.
Choose instead sturdy plants and seeds

that need no anxious pampering.
Only a little space to stretch and breathe.
Only the rain to quench their roots.

Leave some space…


But we know who did this

Photo by Henrique Malaguti on Unsplash

Plastic and garbage, clogging the sea.
The fish don’t know who did this.

But we know who did this.

Thick sludge of oil, coating the waves.
The sea birds don’t know who did this.

But we know who did this.

Acres of trees, clear-cut and hauled away.
The forest doesn’t know who did this.

But we know who did this.

Icebergs melting with unprecedented speed.
The polar bear and her calf don’t know who did this.

But we know who did this.

Meadows and fields, destroyed every day.
The bees don’t know who did this.

But we know who did…


With gratitude for my teacher

Photo by Daniel Joshua on Unsplash

Our teacher guides us step by step
towards the balance and strength
she knows we can find.

Stambha.
The stability of a pillar.
The stillness of inaction.

And I feel at that moment
such a rush of recognition
for something I did not know I needed.

In that moment of bliss
a joyous thought sparks forth:
I will write a poem about this someday.

When the fruit is ripe I will write of this sweetness
and feel that surge of pure joy again,
not from being busy or productive,

but in a flash of brief awareness,
as when a child tugging…


But not in a biblical sense

Photo by Alicia Petresc on Unsplash

I call it the Fall, rather than Autumn
not in a biblical sense
like a fall from grace, driven from Eden

but accepting change with dignity,
understanding that all things die
yet many will survive
to live once more, spring-rebirthed.

When Fall arrives for plants there comes a pause
a relinquishment of labor, a needed rest
when letting go brings welcome relief.

Yet in one of nature’s paradoxes
the Fall also brings fresher, vibrant air
sparking a sense of joy and vitality,
flowing not through the roots of flowers and trees

but through the veins of those blessed with mobility,
not…


There is something magical

Photo by Kristina Yadykina on Unsplash

In the company of cats
there is something magical.
They walk into a room and they own it
with the power of a secret incantation.

In the company of cats
there is something comical.
Their bright eyes flash and their tails flick
to sights and sounds we cannot see or hear.

In the company of cats
there is something sensual.
The sweet smell of their newly-groomed fur,
the tickle of their whiskers, the velvet of their ears.

In the company of cats
there is something restful. …

Deborah Barchi

Deborah Barchi has recently retired from her career as a librarian and now has time to read, explore nature, and write poetry and essays.

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