October 13, 2016


‘I am very good at puzzles. I am the best,’ said Little Daphnis.

The gatekeeper looked doubtful and smiled crookedly. ‘A scrap of a thing like you? Tell me another. Go off and leave the labyrinth to fools a good deal older than you.’

‘I have a baling hook. It’s iron. The smith made it for me. I gave him one of my gold nuggets. Here’s the other for you if you’ll allow me to enter the labyrinth,’ said Daphnis, taking the baling hook and the nugget from the sack she carried.

‘Ah, that’s altogether different then, isn’t it?’ said the gatekeeper, and his eyes widened, sparkling with greed. ‘Give me that nugget, and I’ll let you through. Keep the hook for all the help it won’t be. You will be number 1,852 to enter. If you succeed, you will be number 1 to return with the key.’

The gatekeeper swung wide the gate, and Little Daphnis entered the labyrinth. The gateway disappeared, and she found herself on a narrow path between high smooth walls running off to the left and to the right out of sight. Daphnis considered for a moment, and then tentatively touched the wall. The walls rotated. The path now went forward or back out of sight. Oh. She touched the wall again. The path spun madly. She took her hand away. The spinning stopped. The path stays ever straight, but where it goes depends on the spin of the walls, thought Little Daphnis. I’ll walk a while before I touch the wall again. She walked along the ever straight unchanging path. High overhead she could see the sky. Why don’t I dig footholds in the wall with my hook and climb up to have a look around? she asked herself. She scratched and scraped at the wall with the baling hook, but when she freed the hook to make a second step, the first gash healed. So much for that idea, she thought. She sat down. She made the path spin and stop, spin and stop by tapping at one wall, then the other. This is getting me nowhere, thought Daphnis, and she idly scratched her baling hook beside her along the path. The path fell away beneath her. Glowing green stairs appeared. This is better,she thought.

Down the stairs she hurried, and when she had descended the last step, she faced a great metal door. She pushed at it. It didn’t budge. She stepped back to think. She stepped forward and swung her baling hook with every ounce of her strength at the door. CLANG. The door swung open.

‘Huh?’ said the gatekeeper, jumping up and grabbing at his chest.

‘I am very good at puzzles. I am the best,’ said Little Daphnis.



October 10, 2016

My name is not something you buy in a store, Oh, Johnny Oatcake,

My name is not something you find on the floor, Oh, Johnny Oatcake,

Instead my name’s something found high in the sky, Oh, Johnny Oatcake,

Weather Satellite Remington Bligh, Oh,Johnny Oatcake.



September 28, 2016


‘Villages disappeared. Where they had thrived were empty fields of waving grasses and moaning winds,’ the storyteller began, rubbing his chin and looking around to engage in turn each of his young listeners. Then he whispered, ‘Hear me well if you would save this village from … the minstrel.’

The children shrank down, wide-eyed. The storyteller nodded and pulled his lute by its strap around from behind his back. He sang. The village disappeared.

Days later, mist formed on a lake at dawn and drifted toward a nearby village. It paused and took shape. One black boot, one white. Satin tights, one leg scarlet, one leg gold. A checkerboard tunic of green and black. A jingle bell cap of driftwood grey. A fine lute strapped to his back. He strolled into the village and headed for the marketplace. At noon, the village disappeared.

Beware the minstrel. Beware the mist.



September 3, 2016



Med of the North opened wide the dark green velvet cloak behind her and thrust her pale green membraned wings, first left, then right, through the pair of carefully measured cuts in the fabric. She drew the cloak about her and snapped shut the clasp at her neck. She turned her gaze to the star.


Through the night directly toward the bright bold light flew Med of the North, bobbing in slow rhythm on the whuff whuff whuff of her membraned wings. She drew nearer and nearer.


Over vast canyons of ice she flew searching. Aha! A red glow. Down she glided to land. The ice door glistened, opened. The red glow beckoned.


‘Meadow Jane Harper, it’s time to get up. Do you want to be late on the first day of school?’

Med opened her eyes. She smiled.



August 7, 2016

rag doll

In a secret hollow deep in the great mound of trash on the edge of town, Maisie, the rag doll, called a meeting of all the abandoned toys. The toys worked their way through shoals of bent wire hangers and around innumerable tires and over crusty crumpled scattered newspapers to heed her call.

When all the toys had assembled and settled, a bent music box called out, ‘Well, what is it, Maisie?’

‘We ought to leave this pile of garbage and live somewhere else,’ announced Maisie.

Toys with eyes rolled them. The most vocal toys said, ‘Duh.’ A stuffed serpent said, ‘Well, obviously. But where can we go and how can we get there?’

‘I have a plan,’ said Maisie.

Silence. The abandoned toys listened, motionless.

‘Let’s make a wish,’ Maisie continued.

Hubbub. Moaning. ‘Oh, great.’ ‘Sure.’ ‘Fine. Excuse me while I go back under my broken chair.’

‘I WISH WE COULD LIVE IN A CARPETED PALACE WHERE WE COULD SING AND DANCE AND SLEEP OR NOT AND TALK AND PLAY GAMES OR NOT FOREVER!’ Maisie shouted to be heard over the noisy retreat of the disappointed toys.

Three magic sprites flitting above the trash mound on their way to a brook party heard Maisie’s cry and shrugged why not? one at the other and the other. Fast as fast and twice as quick, the abandoned toys found themselves in a carpeted dream palace of their own where they happily ever aftered ever and after.



July 13, 2016

2016-06-22 06.17.59

Once far away and long ago a dutiful young servant girl, scarcely 9 years of age, polished the silver candelabra in the music room. Molly, for that was the servant girl’s name, couldn’t help but hear the story being told by the governess to the young master and young mistress of the manor. For there they were, the three of them, seated near the music room’s fireplace. They noticed Molly not at all. To them she was an invisible cleaning service. But the invisible cleaning service had ears. And what’s more, she had dreams.

‘And the Golden Ribbon brought them wealth and happiness beyond their wildest desires,’ said the governess, concluding the story.

Later that night in her tiny attic room, Molly, instead of sleeping, gathered all her belongings and placed them in the tiny pocket of her apron. I’ll find that Golden Ribbon, she thought. And without a moment’s delay, she crept down the steep narrow winding back stairway and flashed out and away under the light of a fat pale moon.

By the time she was 12, Molly had known forests, villages, lakes, fields, valleys, and mountains. She lived by her wits and cleaning skills, but whenever she inquired of a jester or a miller or a blacksmith or a baker or a seamstress about the Golden Ribbon, shrugs and ‘Never heard of it, dearie’ and ‘That be a true stumper to me, missy’ were all she received in reply.

One day it so happened, fair and true, that she came to the edge of a great wide river. The sun was sinking, and Molly’s jaw dropped when she saw a golden ribbon fall sparkling across the water. She sat down heavily.

‘The Golden Ribbon,’ she murmured.

‘That it is, to be sure,’ said a soft musical voice.

Molly turned, and there was the smiling Magic River Queen in all of her sparkling splendor.

‘Come with me,’ said the Queen with a reach of her delicate pale green hand, ‘and I will bring you wealth and happiness beyond your wildest desires.’

For Molly in her long happy life, it turned out to be a promise well kept.



June 26, 2016

2016-06-17 14.16.06

Once upon a time the four daughters of Hemus, the woodsman, gathered in secret beside the well in the clearing at the far end of the forest.

‘Be ye all resolved and with me?’ asked Hermia, the eldest.

Hera, Herilda, and Herippa all nodded in silent agreement.

‘So be it then. Here I have them,’ said Hermia, holding out in her hand four silver beads.

The other three sisters crowded around to get a closer look.

‘Ye really and truly for sure saw the witch?’ asked Hera, the youngest sister.

‘How know ye they’ll really and truly for sure work? Just because ye brought her firewood doesn’t mean she hasn’t tricked ye, ye know,’ said Herilda, the doubting sister.

‘Really and truly for sure I will have a golden door and mirrors circled with diamonds and rubies,’ said Herippa, the vainest sister.

Hermia handed out the beads and said, ‘Place the bead on your tongue and close your eyes and count to three.’

The four daughters of Hemus did as Hermia instructed, and floof! in a poof! four geese flew high and true toward a magnificent palace surrounded by green gardens and gentle falls tumbling into pools of the purest healing water. The four geese sailed in serene beauty for days, and all the while Herippa, the vainest sister, grew more and more worried. She was about to complain about being a goose and not a gloriously gowned princess when floof! in a poof! the four sisters were gowned in glory and ruling the castle. This they did happily for a long time, and they might be doing it yet.



May 23, 2016

this is a poem not about owls

it’s also not about goats

it’s mostly about the way cheese is made

with a small offhand mention of boats

oh milk

oh rennin




May 6, 2016


‘I’m bored,’ said Wisp, the little shapeshifter.

‘Why don’t you be a horse? You had fun being a horse this morning,’ said Wisp’s mother, Vaporilla.

‘I’m bored with being a horse,’ said Wisp.

‘Well, what about a butterfly or a stork?’ suggested Wisp’s mother.

‘Or a liquid paste,’ added Wisp’s brother, Smokey.

‘Shut up, Smokey’ said Wisp.

While Smokey and Wisp argued, Vaporilla drifted outside and transformed, becoming a tranquil pool in a peaceful glade.

Smokey and Wisp soon grew bored with arguing and sailed off in opposite directions. Smokey became a canoe and flung himself down a nearby river’s rapids. Wisp wavered undecided above a field of grain.

‘I’m bored,’ she said.



April 18, 2016


One day a long time ago Simple Septimus, the stable boy, asked his master, ‘What is the sun?’

‘A great ball of fire,’ replied the master.

‘Where does it go at night?’ said Septimus.

‘Underneath to its golden palace where it rests and takes refreshment. Now get back to work,’ said the master.

I would like to see that palace, thought Septimus. The door to Underneath must be over the mountain there where the sun goes down.

Without another thought, for more than a single thought was rarely entertained by Septimus, he marched from the stables to the manor gate and out across the valley toward the mountain. When the sun dove behind the peak, Septimus had merely reached the foothills. He dug a trench and slept in it. He sat up puzzled in the morning, for there was the sun climbing up the sky way over there on the other side of the world from the mountain.

Ah, he thought, the sun leaves its palace to start the day over there, but enters the palace over here at the end of the day. I’ll get to the door over the peak before the sun does. I’ve got a good head start.

Pleased, he rushed up the mountain, resting only occasionally when he fell exhausted. At the top of the mountain, he paused and rubbed his chin.

I’ll need a boat, he thought, watching the sun sink at the far edge of a vast ocean he had never dreamed possible.

By the time 60 years had passed, Simple Septimus had become Septimus, the Sun Chaser. His long tangled white beard he wore in a braid thrown over his shoulder. His clothes were tattered, his feet bare. His eyes glittered strangely. Wolves brought him food, as did bears and villagers. Sometimes villagers asked him questions or made requests, for they believed him to be touched with magic.

Made bold by curiosity, one day a young girl seated on a gate by a meadow as Septimus passed by asked, ‘Sun Chaser, have you really visited the sun’s golden palace Underneath?’

Septimus paused, leaned on his staff, regarded the young girl with his glittering eyes. He smiled a strange smile, a smile of bliss, and said, ‘I have been there. It is wonderful. Wonderful.’

Then he walked on.