Poetry Sketchbook

Smuggler of Dreams

The New Moon can’t be trusted. Rather than float her darker face as a shadow dotting the brilliance of the sky, she hides behind a blue mask. Still the glassy surface of my inner pool grows agitated,

Who was the first poet?

I wonder, because reading so inevitably pushes me to write. I wonder, and I even worry. What if I’d never seen a poem? Might I burst apart one day from the pressure of too much held in too long? Could I have learned, even as slowly as I do, how to forge words into a • Read More »

It just got old

old thoughts sometimes wear grooves so deep they bury themselves before new ones can rise the buried old ones make good fertilizer Copyright © 2007 Barbara W. Klaser


Poetry turns an unshuttered eye on beauty, on ugliness, and everything between. It translates the profound through focus on the loved, the reviled, and everything between. Not the driest news, nor the most turgid melodrama have anything on this passion expressed in objectivity, objectivity in passion. Copyright © 2007 Barbara W. Klaser

Early morning in the country

Slick roads. A thousand tires stir the water in a broken rhythm echoing off concrete. Brakes squeal, a helicopter passes overhead, not the first or last today. All around me people start another work day that begins, and will end, in traffic. People say this is the country, but in the rain I hear city. • Read More »

Compass rose

When you’ve lived near the sea you notice its scent each time you return from far away. Fifty miles from home I’ve caught wind of it. Once, driving west across the desert from Arizona, still a hundred miles inland and separated by mountains, we hit a bank of salty air thick as fog. The sky • Read More »

To a fish on her birthday

Can I still believe in love, in spite of you? Was it a Pisces thing, you loving so much? For nineteen years I’ve swum slow circles around your death. I rarely speak or write of it. People tend to turn away, afraid to touch my pain, fearing a touch will make it theirs. Even I • Read More »

Blogging for the future

With a few clicks I hang words here faster than ink could dry. Quick speech cast on the winds may evaporate to half-forgotten recollection, but this is more permanent. Poured in careless streams with little edit, boldly the slant and kilter of unfiltered thought sinks deep into real time. Collective thoughts carve a virtual Grand • Read More »

Morning flight

I watched a mourning dove fly up with such slow beat of wings, it seemed barely enough to make it fly. My heart, a free thing, loose and at odds with itself, longed to fly with it, to be its mate, to nest—to raise young— to free young things in flight in time, to stand • Read More »


A poem is violin song. It asks only that you let it play, even as it sings your life back to you, and rends your heart to hear it and do nothing but listen. Copyright © 2007 Barbara W. Klaser


There’s a quality of light just after a rain, when the sun first shines through gray and turns every green thing several shades brighter. The birds are subdued, but sound hopeful. The light sparkles in drops of water suspended on pine needles. It dims, then grows, in a pulsing kind of dance, from gray to • Read More »


A crow wakens me from a dream that you found words I wrote in private. Some groundhog far away didn’t see his shadow, so now crows pair off, dancing, cawing, impressing mates for spring. I sleep and dream you found my journals. I wonder if you read my stream of consciousness, saw the flying buttresses • Read More »

Life’s palette

Souls come in splashes of color, intermingling, from pale spring pastel to chartreuse, opening a gaudy bloom in a hot summer garden, or tossing a pigment-saturated leaf in autumn. One fades, a soft breeze that waved flower tops departs in murmurs of leaves, a whisper lost. Another dies. All the flowers droop, leaves fall as • Read More »

Sometimes a flood

Grief lays stones in my heart, one for each loss, gemstones all, but it’s harder to pump blood around stones. Sometimes a family of beavers moves in, fells trees, sets up house. Minding their business, they don’t know they stop the flow. The pressure builds, wet, heavy, nudging rocks, until the dam bursts, catching me • Read More »

Past perfect, present imperfect

On the perfect yellow rose rested a dewdrop as perfect as the rose in every way. It slid down the petal with a most perfect grace, then fell to the rich soil below, content to find its place. I will never be as perfect as the dewdrop, yet in my awkward way, I have my • Read More »