Monday, July 4, 2022

The Fourteenth Poem


 Kostroma Librarians at a celebration of our Sister Cities anniversary in Durham, Judy in red.    1999


The Fourteenth Poem                                      July 3, 2022


Sun caught in leaves across the street.

I overslept, for which I’m grateful.

I’ll make bread today, my own

healthy bread, wash dishes, put the tea

in jars, read a new book, but first a

new poem.. People do read them,

here and around the world. I’m quiet

in the world right now. I’s hard to

remember all the groceries we

need. I did my best. I finished

another book last night. At two a.m.

I was haunted by one of the scenes.

I wonder if my poems haunt anyone 

in the wide-flung world.  I hope

they comfort in Canada, Japan,

China, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Spain,

the U.S.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Thirteenth Poem


 Aleksei Belich and his daughter Vera getting water at the country

 house

The Thirteenth Poem June 26, 2022


And those who care for me?

One goes the extra mile.

Another has no interest

after awhile. Most have

liked working for me. If one

hates me, no point being

humiliated. Skin color fails

to bother me, but I can tell

when I’m barely tolerated.

I’ve been lucky with my

doctors. The good ones

get me laughing, make me

love them. Once I didn’t

need so many helpers.

Now I do. My son works

longer hours, and for some

things I need more help.

I’ve also been one who

cares for the sick, for

the very young or the

very old. Some people

don’t want help ever, but

wisdom suggests to take

what you need and

be grateful.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

The Twelfth Poem

 '
Lyuba Belikh Being Honored at her exhibit in Kostroma, Russia. 

She's in the middle behind the speaker.

The Twelfth Poem June 19, 2022


My sleep pattern varies. I eat when I

can’t sleep. Yet when I read, I fall

asleep. My body has its own rhythm.

I try to keep up. It’s not painful, but

it remains unexpected. Once I’ve eaten,

I enjoy being awake, and sometimes I

stay awake on purpose. Why not? I

told that to the lady who interviewed me.

She couldn’t believe her ears.. I repeated:

I eat when I can’t sleep. Let her wonder.

I don’t weigh much. Maybe it helps keep

my weight steady. It’s a curious phase

of my life: Hardly any pain, but less

control. Still I think, I write. I make

meals, even quiche. and my own organic

bread,, yoghurt, and my lemon ginger

tea. Small pains, but nothing major.

I could live more years like this.

Who knows?

Sunday, June 12, 2022

The Eleventh Poem

Lisa, a Russian child, in Kostroma in winter


The Eleventh Poem June 12, 2022


The days go by quietly.

I eat the end of one loaf,

the beginning of another.

The words form before

I ask for them. Am I losing

my memory? A little, but

not significantly. I plan

to teach again in September.

Four women writing their

books count on me. I’ll

tell them, “If I make a

mistake, let me know.”

My memory is sometimes

slow, but it’s still alive.

I see those scenes again.

Myself in a room with

Russian journalists and

a frightened interpreter.

She doesn’t know my

English words. We manage.

They understand me. The

tape-recorder breaks. They

laugh. A familiar problem

in Russia. But unlikely in

the U.S.  I sip my tea, finish

my toast. Another Sunday

morning poem flows from 

my pen.


The days go by quietly.

I eat the end of one loaf,

the beginning of another.

The words form before

I ask for them. Am I losing

my memory? A little, but

not significantly. I plan

to teach again in September.

Four women writing their

books count on me. I’ll

tell them, “If I make a

mistake, let me know.”

My memory is sometimes

slow, but it’s still alive.

I see those scenes again.

Myself in a room with

Russian journalists and

a frightened interpreter.

She doesn’t know my

English words. We manage.

They understand me. The

tape-recorder breaks. They

laugh. A familiar problem

in Russia. But unlikely in

the U.S.  I sip my tea, finish

my toast. Another Sunday

morning poem flows from 

my pen.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

The Tenth Poem


 Katya and Larissa in Gorka village Russia, after picking raspberries


The Tenth Poem June 5, 2022


Sun outlines everything. We wait

for the first line to tell us what

we’re thinking, comment on who

we are, where we are on life’s

journey, and what comes next.

That’s the secret: we don’t know

the future. We can but wait for it

to show its face, reveal its pain

and joy. I think mine will be

more happiness than hardship.

People now help me more than

I expected. I get more than 

I deserved. Two helpers 

plant tomatoes in my garden. 

Another cleans the crowded

refrigerator. I read favorite

authors. When I can’t sleep, 

I have an early breakfast.

Later I sleep soundly and well.

I’m grateful.


Sunday, May 29, 2022

The Ninth Poem


 Mikhail, president of the Kostroma Writers Organization at an Art Exhibit opening some years ago


The Ninth Poem May 29, 2022


Can it be true? Peace at last?

I think so. Let them work it out.

Why should I suffer because of

their fight? I see no reason for

their anger. Let it go. Look at

the bright light announcing

another day. Hear the rooster

celebrating. He has the right

idea. Enjoy your peacefulness.

Right now. Right here on a 

Sunday morning with no traffic, 

no loud noises. Inside or out.

You can be as peaceful, too.

Find your courage. Hear your

steady heart beat. You’re awake

while the house sleeps. Someone

pulled up onions and left them

on the table. They’re at peace.

The rooster sings peace. My

heart sings peace. No need

to worry. I’m alive, I’m one

year older. If I’m quiet and

relaxed, my peace will 

ascend. I can let go.


Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Eighth Poem


     Dasha, the granddaughter of my co-worker Mikhail


The Eighth Poem May 22, 2022


I have my helpers. One grew a garden.

I bought the seeds. She fertilized, weeded,

planted. We did flowers the first year.

Then vegetables: okra, peas, onions,

tomatoes. She and her husband built

a shed for earthworms and fed them

weeds. Another helper sorted my books.

I chose the ones I wanted to keep. 

She boxed and labeled: keep or give

away. She loved books. Now I’m to

have a new one. A nurse to help me

walk better and go outside more and

do more sorting. It’s a small house

and my clothes are in a big heap.

Time to sort them. I’m pretty good

with people. The chances are we’ll

like each other, and my living space

will be neater. She can help me

bring down some cobwebs and walk

better. We all have our strengths

and weaknesses. I’ll meet her on

Tuesday. I hope she likes me and

we can laugh together.