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Chaucer’s Divine Seriousness

Chaucer:  A European Life marion turner princeton, 624 pages, $39.95 Chaucer has not lacked for biographies, but Marion Turner’s is of a rare ambition and competence. Its method is geographical, even topographical, approaching the poet’s life by way of the extraordinarily disparate places . . . . Continue Reading »


It is warmth which floods you,the plane tree, peeling, new, the bud, the tingled lips,bark smooth to fingertips your own trunk pulsing throughwith love. With coffee, too. —Alison . . . . Continue Reading »


after reading Richard Wilbur’s “Hamlen Brook”      Gliding upon cascades of sound,     the crumpled leaves that ride the rushmake visible a crystal underhush               that gives the movement ground.     With . . . . Continue Reading »

Fashioning a Walking Stick

I cut a hawthorn, stripped the outer barkwhich left five shades of red to contemplate.The first, as dark as blood, the Savior’s markleft by those thorns that ripped his brow, pressed hatedown deep and sprouted. Next, a lighter shadecontrasted, dried like dye cast on a robeof royalty, a third with . . . . Continue Reading »


Your gown falls fold on fold, Mary, fullof shadows softening your odd proportions.You sit all wrong, holding Jesus’ body,his large frame draped across your too-wide lap.Your over-sized right hand supports his shoulder.You turn your left hand upward, open, empty.On the rocks of Golgotha you . . . . Continue Reading »

Skipping Stones

Because I’m tired of being angryat the world, I take my son to the riverwhere we pick up rocks at the water’s edge—both of us wrapped tight in Christmasgifts, chest and arms warmin this year’s already bitter weather.We step in shallowswhere cold water’s still clear, searchingthrough . . . . Continue Reading »

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