The Arts section of Orient Lodge

Bent Light

The light rays bend
off the thin layer
of hot air
resting on the summer pavement.

I remember seeing these magical puddles
appear and disappear
when looked at from just the right angle
riding in the family car
on the way to the lake.

After the inevitable thunderstorm
other light rays,
sunlight through the end of a shower,
would bend into beauty.

What other illusions
bringing beauty to this world
am I taking for granted
or perhaps not even seeing?

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Sweet Briar

“The only thing wrong with privilege,”
I remember a college professor once saying,
attributing the quote to Virginia Woolf.
“was that not everyone has it.”

I was sitting in an English class
at a small private
liberal arts college
in Ohio.

I had grown up in a college town
not much different than Wooster
so I didn’t even notice
my own privilege.

Instead, I only saw those
with greater privilege than I.

In the news today,
I read about a small private college
in Virginia
that is shutting down.

The plantation,
turned finishing school,
turned liberal arts college,
couldn’t survive
in the twenty-first century.

I imagine the students reading
Virginia Woolf,
longing for five hundred pounds
and a room of their own,
nodding their heads in agreement
with Woolf’s words about privilege.

I imagine the students reading
“Gone with the Wind”
comparing Sweet Briar to Tara
vowing they will never go hungry again.

I imagine the students reading
the Gospel lesson
about the Anointing of Jesus
and nodding in agreement
that it was a very beautiful thing.

I imagine the students reading
John Donne
and knowing that the bell tolls
not just for the closing of Sweet Briar,
but for all of us.

Mackerel Sky

A mackerel sky with contrails floated over a late winter field
as if Jackson Pollock had dripped white lines across the clouds.
The view out the windshield on the long commute to work
looked like a Neo Hudson School painting
with pink and light blue around the edges
the shades you might see on a baby blanket.

It was almost as if '
the sky
was giving birth
to a new morning
and a new season.

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Writer's Angst

Searching for inspiration at the end of a long day
as the pets sleep sprawled out in various parts of the room.

Today’s news brought no inspiration.
Today’s work brought no inspiration.
Toady’s commute brought no inspiration.

I look around the house
The drift wood and sea pictures hung on one wall
a painting by my daughter hung on another.

A spray bottle sits on the piano
next to a metronome, barometer
and a wicker basket of old tin cookie cutters;
there’s a story in there somewhere.

But I’ve seen all this time and time again.
Still I search for inspiration
lest this evening’s poem
sound too much like a writing exercise.

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Background Music

In a crowded café
a struggling young musician
tries to be heard
above the din;
the clink of plates and dishes
and the excited talk of the patrons.

It’s a fundraiser
for a local charity
which seeks to care
for the downtrodden.

Even the dress she is wearing,
hand made by a talented aunt
will be auctioned off.

The attendees
are so busy doing good
that they don’t even notice
the beautiful poignancy of her song,

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