Hour 4 – The 498,311

The 498,311 (as of June 27, 2020)

Dear Friends,

I did not know you
but I can guess your lives
Filled with sorrows and joys
Loved Ones and strangers
work and rest
and good times, I hope
Until those last weeks
in pain, alone, fighting to breathe

How will we honor you
now that you are gone?
Lower the flags?
Erect a statue?
Put up a plaque?
Perhaps, in distant days

But mostly, we will fight
Seek a cure
Invent a vaccine
Learn new treatments
Slow the spread
Keep others safe
Working towards an end
Of this horrible pandemic

Rest now
We will take care
of those you left behind
Keeping your memory alive

The World

Hour 3 – This Pandemic Just Ain’t No Fun

This Pandemic Just Ain’t No Fun

at first I thought,
with all the extra time,
I’d work on projects
clean this mess
do all those things I’ve been saving
for when there’s time

this pandemic just ain’t no fun

but school didn’t cease or pause
got shifted into my private space
bringing with it stress – unease – disquiet
as I, in compliance, hunkered down
with my pals The Black Dog and The Yellow Cat
quarantining with my own worst critic
the loneliness a greater enemy than the germ
that sent us all into our private holes

this pandemic just ain’t no fun

tablet games have eaten all my time
as I wander, room to room, and back
quick video calls replace the contact that I lack
brief smiles between periods of gloom
and yet the virus refuses to die back
how long, how long will my isolation last?

this pandemic just ain’t no fun

Hour 2 – unprecedented


there is no recipe for this
no steps to follow one upon the next
but feel your way in the dark
reaching out along the dim passage
uncertain if the floor itself will hold
or what creature will appear next
to torment you

if I had words to give you
instructive, enlightening
words to lift your spirit
doubtless, I would share them

but no
in this
you are alone

just, keep going

Hour 1 – Mary Anning

Mary Anning

Gentle waves washed the English coast
Where once Mesozoic oceans played
Creatures odd and massive it did boast
Now walks this fatherless, solitary maid

Her intent, to find curiosities to sell
Remains of shellfish long gone from the sea
“Snake-stones” for which the tourist paid well
To aid her low class and hungry family

This day her discovery is something new
Sixteen meters long, a jaw with teeth,
Flippers propelled it through the briny blue
A gift to Mary the sand did now bequeath

The ichthyosaur was Mary Anning’s find
When she was but a young girl of twelve
A life-long passion Mary then refined
And into the past she eagerly did delve

No women could join the Geological Society
No low-class person was credited with their finds
Yet Mary was recognized for her authority
And worked with scientists, a meeting of the minds

Anning changed the view we have of the past
Exploring creatures no one had ever seen
An ichthyosaur was named for her at last
Reminder of this explorer of the marine

Hour 24 – Four and Twenty Blackbirds

Four and Twenty Blackbirds

A chef of great talent and skill was he
To construct this dish of pastry and bird
Presented to the king with pomp and glee
Only for it to take wing without a word

The king, cared he not for pies and such,
Spending his time in totaling his books
The queen, her lips no birdy pie would touch,
Bread and honey, she ordered from the cooks

The blackbirds, released from doughy prison cell,
With all the world to wander in free flight
Chose now to persecute one lonely belle
Giving her tender nose a vicious bite

We, who tormented in the past, may be
As cruel to others when we are set free

Hour 23 – Shoot the Moon

Shoot the Moon

I was four years old the summer
when astronauts landed on the moon.
My brothers and I
knelt close to our black and white screen
for hours.
I was excited because they were excited.

But the actual moon walk took place
after midnight local time.
I couldn’t stay awake.
and was so pissed that no one woke me up to see it.

Later my family was discussing a trip
we had taken to the zoo.
My little brain mixed up the words
“zoo” and “moon.”
Soon I was picturing tunnels under
the surface of the moon
filled with cages of tigers and zebras.

For a long time, I was convinced,
inside my own head,
that I, a four-year-old child,
had been aboard a mission to moon.

In school
the teachers would roll out
the big television sets on carts
whenever something big was happening
on one of the missions to the moon.

One time we got to watch a splashdown.
“Splashdowns are my favorite part,”
I assured my first-grade teacher.

As a teacher now
I realize
the TVs were not for us
or for any educational value.
The teachers just wanted to watch it themselves.

My brothers were into model rockets.
They built them from kits, inserted engines,
and shot them off.
I was always part
of the ground recovery crew.

One year we took a trip out west
in our old station wagon
pulling a camper trailer.
We saw a sign for the Estes Factory,
the very kits my brothers made.

My dad pulled into the lot,
and they gave a tour
just for our family.

At the end, we got to shoot off a rocket.
This time,
I got to press the button.

At least, that is how I remember it.

Hour 22 – Technolotree


The trees have Wi-Fi,
but do not give the password out.
The flowers have Bluetooth
which connects them only to the sprouts.
The squirrels keep their iPads
hidden in clefts in hallow trees.
The ducks’ Facebook accounts
are locked with hidden keys.
You knew the forest was peaceful
and seems a gentle lot.
The forest, though, is conspiring,
for they do not wish to be caught.

Hour 21 – Firefly Reflections

Firefly Reflections


A faulty screen allowed the firefly

to make his way, one night, into my room.

After a bit of daze, and questions why,

about the chamber he began to zoom


Soon enough he found the glass mirror’s shine

and gamely studied his reflection there.

Did he see someone equally as fine?

Or only a rival’s repugnant stare?


We know ourselves when our image we see

and grasp, a bit, how the science works.

But do we like our twin, this devotee?

Or see only our blemishes and marks?


Hour 20 – Mermaids


From the line by T. S. Elliot in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

I do not think that they will sing to me,
these creatures of desire and love.
Songs of the deep are meant for other ears
in other lands, or in times gone by.
Though, and here’s the vexation,
I still wish to hear the melody, old as I am.
And so, I walk the beaches
at the turning of the day
when misty spray makes distant rocks unclear.
I fancy I see the flip of a tail,
the long hair shining on fish’s scales,
the outline of an upturned breast.
And, listening hard, I seek to tease out notes
from the washing of the waves on shore.
But, no. There is no song there.
Just a silly old man in rolled trousers,
alone, always alone, on the sand.