Guest Book

full-fox-print-color-corrected-reducedWelcome!  Please read some of my poetry while you’re here. Even if a post is two years old, they’re being read every day. They’re all current. Feel free to join the conversation. Lastly, treat this post as a Guest Book. Offer suggestions, improvements, requests or just say Hello! If you have a question concerning poetry or a poem, click read more at the end of this sentence and fill out the form. Continue reading

April 29th 2017

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late
····evening sunning the rooftops—the café-lit
········streets
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This one could really be a summer’s haiku (perhaps if one is being particular about seasons & haiku). It’s a long week-end in Berlin, May Day, and the streets are packed. Everywhere you look there are families and teens pulling luggage behind them. The wheels rattle over the cobblestones.
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The photo at bottom comes from the Savigny Platz, S-Bahn Platform. These intaglios have been part of the brick wall (the side of an apartment building) since I was a child.
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The picture at right is of the crow I promised yesterday. Not a close-up but if you care to identify the kind of crow she is, then you click on the image, I think.
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Much colder today. Though the leaves are out, everyone dresses as though it’s February. I returned to Schönhauser and had another pastry from the Baeckerei on the corner of Stargarder Straβe—all of it freshly baked every day and every day something different. I don’t know if it’s the best in Berlin, but if you think you’d like to visit the area, I recommend it (and could give better directions).
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When Germans ask me what part of the states I’m from, I tell them I’m from Vermont and am greeted like a best friend. To a person, they’ve told me they love Bernie.
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It’s evening in Berlin, I’m sitting outside at a café and my fingers are icy. There are bicyclists everywhere and children running up and down the sidewalk. Evenings in Berlin can be beautiful, even on a cold night. Everyone’s looking for a place to sit, to enjoy a beer, glass of wine or company.
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119 April 29th 2017 | bottlecap
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April 28th 2017

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pastry
····crumbs between the cobblestones—April
········in Berlin
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I traveled north to another part of former East Berlin, Schönhauser, and it was beautiful as any neighborhood in former West Berlin. I’m told (and remember seeing) that the buildings were severely neglected by the time East Germany collapsed. Buildings were near the point of condemnation. The fall of wall couldn’t have happened any sooner.
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In the meantime though, the neighborhoods of Schönhauser have been beautifully restored. If it’s not possible for me to get a better connection, I may have to wait until I’m back to post the best of the many pictures I’ve taken. The picture below is the view from the flat at which I’m staying.
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As with my own corner of Berlin, close to Savignyplatz, the streets were full of parents and children, side by side and on bicycles. Bicycles are everywhere. The city feels youthful. I saw a mother and her  girl eating pastries outside a Bäckerei and took that as a good sign. Had one of the best pastries I’ve had since leaving Berlin some twenty years ago.
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A took a good picture of that crow sitting on a street sign yesterday. Very friendly and unafraid. Soon as I can, I’ll introduce this crow to the world.
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118 April 28th 2017 | bottlecap
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April 27th 2017

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atop
····the no parking sign—the crow waits for me
········to move
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Crows here too, but I think they’re hooded crows, having gray bodies and black wings and head and feet.
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The picture below is around the street corner. I took other pictures today, having walked the length of Tiergarten and into former East Berlin. Unter den Linden was packed with tourists. There are now colorful storefronts, greenery and exuberance, but the oppressively bureaucratic buildings remain. They’ve been renovated, but not their brute indifference. I’m not sure if that part of East Berlin will ever feel as welcoming to me.
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I’m told that other parts of East Berlin are nothing like this, more like West Berlin, and I plan to visit them.
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The days continue to grow warmer though the nights remain chilly. I strolled along the Ku’damm tonight. There were many couples, old and young. Younger women gathered in groups of four and five as the cafés closed for the evening—black jackets and black tights, and the young men wearing black leather and jeans. Their phones lit the dark between them.
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117 April 27th 2017 | bottlecap
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April 26th 2017

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tulips—
····flowering as if the garden were solely
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Today I strolled and strolled. And I remember how deeply I love Berlin. I love that every building is a little different. One is never quite sure what sort of architectural opinion will be expressed around the corner. On Bleibtreu Strasse there is a kindergarten whose building is playful and inviting. Tomorrow I will attach a picture of it when my connection is better. There are buildings that are orderly and made with squares and rectangles. Next to them are flippant disagreements with rounded balconies, curves and disheveled windows. I’ve been to Paris and Paris is beautiful, but there’s something about Berlin’s endless novelties that pleases me more and that always makes me smile.
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The apartment buildings in Berlin are normally only five or six stories and in the middle of most are courtyards. Some are merely cobblestone with bicycles, but others have beautiful gardens and there is a place that is famous for having something like a little village hidden away. Walk through a tiled street level hallway, sometimes wide enough for a car, and you might forget that you’re in a city. You stand in a garden courtyard with trees, flowers, and playground surrounded by windows and balconies on all four sides—beautiful little islands with chirping wrens and visiting ravens. I used to play in them as a child. The toy stores are just as a I remember them, filled with little armies of medieval soldiers, hung with colorful lanterns, animal faces and paper stars. The women are beautiful, coming and going with children, with sleek black coats and fine linen scarves.
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Nothing though, is so vein as a Tulip. There is a row of them in the courtyard garden below my bedroom window. They must think this garden is a world and they are the most beautiful apparitions within it.
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116 April 26th 2017 | bottlecap in Berlin
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April 25th 2017

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house
····wrens—chattering as noisily as skate–
········boards
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Flying over Newfoundland at sunset stuck with me. The earth seemed very small. We flew over glaciers, breaking ice flows, snow laden mountains and a landscape that was still gray, dark and cold with snow and a smattering of lights. The distance between Vermont and that landscape seemed suddenly small.
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I had hoped to have pictures of Berlin, but my tablet can’t seem to connect reliably. The trees are surprisingly greener and leafier than the trees of Boston or Vermont. Look down some streets and you might think it’s mid summer rather than early spring. What I especially enjoy are all the children coming and going, riding bicycles, scooters and skateboards—which Berliners don’t seem to mind on sidewalks or before their storefronts. The children include Turkish, Russian, Spanish children all happy and too busy being children to be anything but playful and alive. I find Germany’s compassionate acceptance of immigrants, even at the risk of terrorism, a contrast to the fear and intolerance typifying America’s political discourse.
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115 April 25th 2017 | bottlecap
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April 24th 2017

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flying
····between skyscrapers—the seagull hardly
········notices
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I’ve just landed at the Dublin airport. Still dark, though during the descent the first yellows, blues and reds were breaking at the horizon. I’ve never been to Dublin, let alone Ireland, and am loving the Irish accent. I’ve looked for my beloved airplane—the 747—both here and at Logan. Not one. The airbus A330 is a lovely plane, but I’ll always love the spiral staircase in the Boeing. Behind me is as close as I’ll come to an Irish Pub, at least on this trip—a little pub in the terminal called the “The Gate Clock”. Sadly, as much an imitation as any Irish pub at any other airport, but at least can lay claim to being in Ireland. That must count for something.
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114 April 24th 2017 | bottlecap
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April 23rd 2017

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sun-
····rise—the crow stretching in the white
········mists
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Tomorrow I fly to Berlin, Germany—my childhood home. I haven’t seen the city in some 25 years. I plan to keep writing my haiku—me, the Vermont recluse, writing haiku at 36.000 feet. Not quite Basho’s narrow road to the north, but maybe I can make a little travel journal out of it?
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113 April 23rd 2017 | bottlecap
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April 22nd 2017

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cold
····as the snowmelt beside them—April’s
········daffodils
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With two of my daughters deeply interested in science and climate science, one studying marine biology on the coast of Maine, and being cognizant of the tremendous damage being done and ignorance being perpetuated by our current administration and the political party he leads, I donated to the NRDC today—the best I can do as others demonstrate in support of science and scientists.
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112 April 22nd 2017 | bottlecap
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