Thursday, April 30, 2015


Ft. Bragg, CA
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Stacie Sherman, Orangevale, CA



You revisit your life
as a poet in April
keeping up the pace
with newfound courage
when time will not stop
for us to pass us over
our aging past history
on the way to Cambridge
to hear a lecture
at a reunion of friends,
my eyelids lower
at a roseate universe
by the Charles riverbank
filled with wildflowers
watching a rowboat pass by
filled with students
astonished by foliage
now filled with a mighty green
in a diffusion of sun
only to find my photos
of Bishop and Berryman
on my person
once in an album at home
I remembered to bring with me
now in this old denim suit jacket
of the Sixties
knowing exposure
will last only for so long
yet our imagination will hear us
like birdsong
going higher in an azure
waking sky
by the waters we are waving
to our companions
on the other shore,
we are aching for
something marvelous
to happen in the harbor
as we spy a whale
thinking of Melville's Pacific tale
which reveals
our ingenuous arboreal nature
we live in a miraculous way
where the loving are
as we toss a stone
in the waters as a prayer
from an outstretched hand
like Moses at the Red Sea
hoping for an untroubled day
full of images of mercy.


Whenever a bird song shades
the elm tree in the backyard
found in burnished groves
I'm no longer red-faced
or gloved in iced hands
by the cranberry fields
over a lost sunshine
keeping a vigil for this poet
until his voice responds
to another singular speech
of a younger soul
heard along the green hills
smudging my running shoes
near my footloose landscapes
I've colorfully drawn by the river
welcoming an unexpected guest
with a focused image
of me emerging up
from my hurting knees
in my rock garden
of blue phlox and a purple crocus
at noon's randomness
awakening my infinite nature
shadowing a visible comprehension
of a new companion
near a white cat by the fence
suddenly this student
with a baseball cap
worn backwards
shouts my name
circles my house
on his roller blades
and asks for my autograph
with my collection of verse
held close to him
on my hideout of a porch
and after a chat about
his thesis
on the late Mark Strand
tells me of his struggles
with writer's block
his runaway brother,
of romantic break-ups
in his family's burn-outs
as we greet one another
he sips a glass of bourbon
offered to him
as a neon butterfly
interests him
and we walk along
the chestnuts and leafy paths
on pine cone grounds
covering the sweet-scented roads
of birches and pine
overgrown with last year's vines
ensuring me
of his earth-wise expression
of his teeming memory
at being thirty
and already weighed down
by the world's climate changes
when spring's first footprint
is spurred by the sun
the wind picks up on us
by the first wildflowers
and he transfers my picture
he routinely takes
to his own diary
writing Thursday on a page.


To always have at least
one suit of Sunday clothes
inside the shutters
of my Turkish towel closet
near my own Wordsworth library
bound with verse selections,
to own at least one night light
for my alembic sanctuary
with the loving spiritual strength
like Thomas Merton
where we may praise the day
pressed by a row of flowers
handed to us
kneeling under canopies
of altars in ancient churches
from crystal Syriac synagogues
as children speak
in Aramaic tongues
at their first communion,
wishing for a Sabbath meal
or reserve a miracle wine
in purple bottles
at an Bethlehem restaurant
of our choice
to arrive on time
in a reunion among
Jerusalem neon or gold butterflies
and once lost snow birds
shine up royally from the sky
as white shadows of nature
visit us unannounced angels
in the Eden home harbor
at the first light house
along the open beach front
by the bluest Mediterranean Sea
expecting blueberry pancakes
after a jazz performance
when the pantry curtain opens
at 4 A.M.
as the trees laugh
at mourning doves
ascending by the aspens
to enfold their attentive wings,
to be a look-out as a young captain
along the sand castle
having discovered
the treasure of Marian dreams
by Candlemas all night,
to cuddle by the sea urchins
small-toothed whales or dolphins
under the deepest ocean floor,
to write the new poem
which heals the wounds
of a lost runaway,
to slide by the statue
of our revolutionary ancestors
over the Boston Common,
to travel incognito
in a swan boat
with my lone Spanish guitar
on James Dean's motorcycle
within the disco heartbeat
of San Francisco,
to wait blindly by my window
for a remembered friend
sharing a secret language
of love from adolescence,
to write my initials
with your ruby lipstick
on newly discovered mirrors
in a tiny dark room
before our performance
to play Hamlet in Denmark
where you will be Cordelia
and you will forgive me
after the last act is over
as the applause continues
hearing the anguish
of gamblers
from the casino next door
whose chips are cashed
for those without a ticket
at the arcade,
to expect to live forever
as a medusa jelly fish
on the ocean floor
in the next life story
of the poor ice fishermen
who speak to me in Portuguese
docked in my village shore
who will inherit a cache
of ten-pounder silver Ladyfish,
lobsters and red salmon
at St. Peter's pier.


in muse and beat
allowed my music
to write out
of my mother's lungs
into fathomless petals
falling at my feet
embracing love
out of the wildflowers' chaos
in notes and fragments
of jazz's edginess
from a thousand tongues
in entertainment,
looking for foreign bodies
stars and planets
when romance
spreads its light
out of a pool of sky
and captures us on an island
as an acrobatic bird
in an eyelid of God's night
reveals all to us love
from our out-of-sight verse
in a chirping chorus
covering a translucent universe
splitting blinding atoms
to offer a metamorphosis
for the gypsy moth's kiss
in our garden's leitmotifs,
as we sing out lines
by the sea reefs
from a lover's austerities,
planting the rose and lily
in the small grounds
by a memorial
of a brave experience
as a weary runaway hides
from himself in an eagle's cave
in a shy renewal of spring
next to my collection of shells
by the luminous lighthouse
early in the day
hearing the echo
of my alto sax
with snow dove
leaflets for peace
suddenly glide over the earth
from jet planes
skywriting to us
sending down greetings
in every language
asking us to unite,
as a child on the shore
drinks his alphabet soup,
my mother reads to him
from Dante's Paradise
to Milton's express
where we are all one
speaking words
as Whitman knew
a city poet collects sunbeams
in Malibu,
meets a country drifter
whistling a fiddler's tune
under the street lamps
of the last full moon,
who is no idler
though he sits
under a juniper tree
though the world may not agree,
as an orphaned jogger
from the Redwoods
he is set free,
now an artist of sorts
desperate to find
his ideal in drawing a beggar
now asks for coins
for his oil paintings
still with injured loins
when he was a logger
meets a nurse under a bridge
some distance from home
who puts on his bandages
and they marry in May
under the blanket verse
in the unreality of love.

(born April 6, 1921)

You loved being spontaneous
in your rocking chair
a birdwatcher
who became famous
for her marvelous words,
a feminist and religious
and pacifist
in the Church she was raised
adored John Donne,
knew the soul, mind and body
were in a poet one to be praised.



You sought truth
in an absurd universe
time marked you out
in your strength of verse
writing of the Messiah
in the new world
as a letter from sunshine
just to leave us wisdom
is the depth of our nostalgia
in anthologies to divine.


We saw you through
the window of the yard
one April morning
standing by the lectern
amid high columns
by rows of crocus
in the spring air
by fading shadow of trees
along Harvard Square
giving us pleasure to learn
of your wish to be
in a canvas painting
of a wandering sandpiper
along boats of churning seas,
taking off my shades
to see you in the sun
as the winter is fainting
in the forgiveness of the breeze
our minds are in suspension
and you love embracing
Sappho and Dickinson quotes
of our cross-examined notes
with burnished thoughts
in careful intervention
of past poets' lives
as if you are more than a seer
from Canada's far country
of Nova Scotia
or conduit who survives
a wondrous invention of words,
so carefully telling us
how to enhance your dreams
you eat Roquefort cheese
before going to a fearful sleep
under posthumous cover,
what a bountiful life you keep
as we court your signature
from your whistle stops
in travel, nature, love of birds
we are about to discover
Elizabeth Bishop
in these seminar lectures.


Today's LittleNip:

Each poem we write or read is an image, event and expression which becomes a creative part of our body of work and soul.

—B.Z. Niditch


—Medusa, with many thanks to today's fine contributors! Don't forget the Ted Finn tribute at Luna's tonight, 8pm. Plus, today is National Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day, a fitting end for National Poetry Month. For details, see