Tag: poetry

A Man’s Job



April mornings, and revisiting old poems

Something there is about cold, rainy April mornings that brings me back (and back again) to poetry. I have shared poetry on various iterations of this blog for years now, mostly to a fledgling audience and rarely to any comment; yet on mornings like these, when I feel some inward tug to leaf through the digital pages of this and other publications, somehow the world keeps nudging me toward verse.

I wrote this poem, I think, in July 2006. In my folder of poems, it’s tagged No. 55. I took a second pass at it when I shared it on my former blog in April 2012, and I’ve taken another pass at it here today.

Here’s what I wrote six years ago:

For the Moment



This December marked five years since the shooting nightmare at Newtown, the one that marked a candid realization that–regardless of where one stands politically on the issue of gun control–our society has been rendered helpless to respond and react to absurdly common emergencies involving access to high-powered weapons and mental illness.

Regardless of where one stands politically it ought to hurt your soul, burn your heart, wrench your guts to stare into the wonderfully innocent lights extinguished that day, when a disturbed 20 year-old murdered his mother and went on that rampage and invoked carnage so disturbing it reduced the President of the United States to tears.

Regardless of where one stands politically, we have to admit we’ve accomplished virtually nothing to prevent such an act from occurring once more, abandoning our American, Can-Do spirit and retreating to the defeated post of nothing can stop things like this. Only God, perhaps. 

Kathryn Stripling Byer

In Memoriam: Kathryn Stripling Byer



A poet who sang, who shared, but above all, who inspired.


I have a clear memory from the end of a British Lit course in college: we were packing up our things, and the professor called me to the podium to hand back a poem I’d given him the week before. “It’s good,” he said. “And the poet of the house likes it, too.”

The professor was easily among my favorites, and as anyone knows by now a young writer handing his verse to an inspiring teacher needs only “good” to make his day. But the second part–the part about the poet of the house–meant even more.

That poet, Kathryn Stripling Byer, would later become the first female Poet Laureate of North Carolina and a member of our state’s Literary Hall of Fame. She passed away today after a brief illness.

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