I’m getting Down in the Dirt again.

I got some great news tonight — I’ll get to see my poetry featured in Scars Publications’ Down in the Dirt magazine for a third time.  My poem “The Writer” will appear in the May 2020 issue.

The poem will also appear this week at the Scars website.  (The publisher produces both Down in the Dirt and cc&d magazines.)  Finally, “The Writer” might also be featured in future Down in the Dirt collections; the magazine regularly reprints selected poems in anthology format.  (I was lucky enough last March to see my poem “hens staring upward” reprinted in The Flickering Light anthology following its initial publication.)

Thank you, Editor Janet Kuypers, for allowing me to join the range of talented voices that are regularly showcased by Down in the Dirt!




“The poison of the Snake & Newt/ Is the sweat of Envy’s Foot.”

The poison of the Snake & Newt
Is the sweat of Envy’s Foot.
The poison of the Honey Bee
Is the Artist’s Jealousy.
The Prince’s Robes & Beggars Rags
Are Toadstools on the Misers Bags.
A Truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent.

It is right it should be so —
Man was made for Joy & Woe.
And when this we rightly know
Thro the World we safely go.
Joy & Woe are woven fine —
A Clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.

— excerpt from William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence”


L0040023 Woodcut of a branch from the common yew tree (taxus baccata).

“The Crossroads,” by W. H. Auden

Part III of “The Quest”

Two friends who met here and embraced are gone,
Each to his own mistake; one flashes on
To fame and ruin in a rowdy lie,
A village torpor holds the other one,
Some local wrong where it takes time to die:
This empty junction glitters in the sun.

So at all quays and crossroads: who can tell
These places of decision and farewell
To what dishonour all adventure leads,
What parting gift could give that friend protection,
So orientated his vocation needs
The Bad Lands and the sinister direction?

All landscapes and all weathers freeze with fear,
But none have ever thought, the legends say,
The time allowed made it impossible;
For even the most pessimistic set
The limit of their errors at a year.
What friends could there be left then to betray,
What joy take longer to atone for; yet
Who could complete without the extra day
The journey that should take no time at all?