Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Saturday, September 28, 2013

In Nora's Garden

In Nora's Garden

Non semper erit aestas.  - Erasmus

In Noras's garden, nothing's overgrown;
the phlox and freesias keep their proper place
no goldenrod, no florid overblown
rugosas spoil the cultivated grace.
In Nora's garden, hummingbirds and bees
find ample sustenance all summer long;
her suet feeders swing from maple trees
whose visitors repay her gift in song.

It wasn't always so. I can remember
when dandelions ruled. My mirthful neighbor
could not have cared less, April through September,
about the weather or the fruits of labor.
In Nora's garden, everything is plum;
her hedge against whatever else may come.

© Catherine Chandler

Monday, September 16, 2013

First Things

The three Moirai. Relief, grave of Alexander von der Mark (de)
by Johann Gottfried Schadow. Old National Gallery, Berlin

For those of you who receive the journal First Things, I have a poem in the current issue.

Other poets in this issue are:

Claudia Gary, Brian Doyle, Amit Majmudar, Stephen Scaer, Kevin McCabe, Carol A. Taylor, Catharine Savage Brosman, Dana Gioia, and Bryce Christensen.

Here's the poem!


For man also knoweth not his time.  (Ecclesiastes)

the silver cord

the broken lamp
the overboard
the firedamp

the golden bowl
the unbeknown
the grassy knoll
the chicken bone

the shivered wheel
the shattered jar
the broken keel
the cattle car

the poor, the rich
the swift, the slack
the cur, the bitch
the heart attack

the weak, the strong
the sisters grim
the toll, the gong
the seraphim

remember Him

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Beach at Piriápolis, Uruguay


He lifts me from the wheelchair to the water,
my arms entwined around his neck. A wave
breaks on us, aged father, aging daughter.
He is too caballero, much too brave
to show the strain, the effort it must take;
but the charade is obvious to me.
Like every summer, then, I smile and fake
indifference to the fast-encroaching sea.

We're laughing, floating, buoyant in the swell
of Rio de la Plata's tidal flow;
like other tossed things—seaweed, sand and shell
we hold our own against the undertow.
And when at last the shore recedes from view,
the ballast of our hearts will bear us true.

— Piriápolis, Uruguay, January 2004

© Catherine Chandler. First published in 14 by 14.

Saturday, September 14, 2013



I pause to rest beside the Temple of
Antoninus and Faustina. Stone
and sunlight, mingled with the leaden drone
of tour guides, the oppressive push-and-shove
of camera-wielding pilgrims, makes me search
for sanctuary; and an olive tree
September 12, 2001 A.D.
provides the hushed asylum of a church.

This peaceful corner that the tour left out
might tempt another traveler, by and by,
to view the Forum with a quiet eye
and think it something to write home about;
as I am doing now, except I scrawl
Wish I were there on postcards that portray
an artist's sketch of Rome before the fall,
its columns shining in the brilliant day.

( © Catherine Chandler. Originally published in Lines of Flight, Able Muse Press, 2011)