books for a better world








The Continents Rise and Clash

The continents rise and clash and split apart, yet love remains.

Trees, flowers, grass, the very soil beneath our feet is caught up by the wind, yet love remains.

The flood of mail, magazines, and messages crests, machines ring out one last time, yet love remains.

I look at you, you look at me, our eyes meeting melt into a single golden crystal through all eternity, and love remains.

June 17, 1996



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Love Poems: 1978-2013


Over a long lifetime I have explored many roles—scientist, author, but also factory worker, farm hand, oil field worker, bell hop, waiter, newsman, magazine editor, cartoonist, story teller, folk song singer, harmonica player, playwright, and husband, father, and grandfather.

Out of all this, my poems have gained the most reliably warm response.

Here’s a sampling out of somewhere nearing 200 of them in 100 Days of Love and 1001 Days of Love, now available through online book sellers worldwide or on order through book stores.


From 100 Days of Love


Once upon a time
our stalwart hero
met a fair maid.
Love grabbed them
like a vacuum cleaner
but then the cruelest fate
parted them; for years
he fought the gorgon in
the swamp, the woods wendigo,
the centaur hordes upon
the bleak plain, while
in her tower she languished,
knitting, sighing toward
the meadow, rejecting
all suitors. Then lo
and behold it was
here and now,
you and me—
and we had been apart
a day.



We're settling in.
Yes mam, we knew
we liked the place when
we first saw it,
but you never know.
Things can happen, things
can get out of joint
and so on. You know.
Well, I hope to tell you
this is some place,
yessiree. Why, you
can sit right here
and see one hell of
a stretch of mountains.
And let me tell you
when it rains she's
tight as a drum.
It hasn't snowed yet,
but I can tell you
those double-pane windows
will hold in one hell
of a lot of heat.
And the fireplace—
isn't that something now?
You know what, that
flue was put in
by a master builder.
No smoke back-tracks
into the room here.
You put in your log
and whooey in no
time, let me tell
you, mister, you got
heat like nobody's business.
Yes mam, and when the
wind blows gentle of an
evening, why this house
plain hums like a
fiddle box, like it
was musical. Yes sir,
we got everything we
want here. I can tell
you for sure, we're
settled in for life.



You love me
I cannot believe
you love me
I cannot believe
you love me
I cannot believe
you love me
I cannot believe


I have your number, your
fabled foible, yes I
know the worst now, you
are Miss Persnickety, the
picky judge of small things
that are in any way lumpy,
gooey, warped, lagging
or polluted. That is,
this is your guise when
life's little imperfections
happen to call her forth,
my beloved fuss-budget.
At other times, oh
unpredictable one, you are
her exact opposite—
Lazy Lil, who smiles like
a Sphinx of cornpone
and dreamily trails her
hand in muddy water.


There is a country
beyond imagining where
we go in love's
bright rocket.
Beyond castles, beyond
towers, beyond clouds,
beyond the sky,
beyond the cool
loving hands of
the Southern night.
It is a country
where all life is
vibration, where man
and maid are gone,
where all is music
and we are the two
half-notes of a
whole in a song
sung by a choir
lasting forever.

Once when I was a boy
hiking in the Osage Hills
I came out of the high
up scrub oak upon a bluff
overlooking a long valley
much like I see spreading
below me here to the sea.
The sky had that comfortable
clear blue endlessness that
always amazes me every
time I return to Oklahoma.
In a gnarled old cypress
nearby three black crows
were cawing and there below
me, the dust rising in
a tiny golden rope over
the road that disappeared
into its distance, lay this
long valley stretching out
like all the future before
the fine boy I was then.
Oh how I felt the sense
then of the high adventure,
of all I'd dare to do—
the seas I'd sail, hills
I'd climb, battles I'd
win, goodness I'd advance,
all the wonders that would
be mine, and the great mystery
of beautiful women that I
would come to understand.
I sailed those seas, climbed
those hills, fought and won
battles, advanced some goodness,
have known many wonders, and the
greatest wonder of good women.
Now I stand again on that
bluff, greying, bearded, my
eyes filling with these
damned floaters, a little
short of breath, my youth
long gone—but through
me ranges as great a thrilling
as ever all those years
ago that fine boy knew.
For I stand here not
alone but with you.
Through me course the
winds of freedom from so
much that bound that boy,
that binds all men;
and through you I, mortal
no longer, in flight even
as I stand here, clasp
the fire of the gods.



Time goes by. We go places together, see things together, feel things together, love things

together, rage at things and mourn things together, and again and again and again marvel

at the wonder of it all.

What a life to be thankful for!


From 1001 Days of Love


The roses in our yard are sturdy
fellows, stolid, planted deep.
You would never think they could be
the least bit visionary and
then suddenly they are wearing
these astonishing velvet caps
like mind's ultimate image of
who we are and what we could be
in deepest orange, and pink, and red.
The gladiolas burst up before me as
I write—I like these tall, slim
folk with spray on spray of purple,
yellow, rose-red and salmon-red
ascending, ever ascending.
The marguerites are everywhere,
their splendid little heads of white
and yellow clustered together,
nodding to each other, all atwitter
with the gossip of the morning.
In hopeful puffs of blue the lone
bachelor button says, "Here I am,"
and all over the wet earth the
nasturtium are laughing gaily,
going up, down, around—like orange
dolphins at play in a sea of green.
Walking among them, you are the
presence they've been waiting for.
Their voices still, now the garden
is calm, expectant, all aglow.
To think that such wonder is here!
Proclaim it to the universe, stop
time, somewhere fix it forever!
To see this wonder, how it's mirrored,
you in them and they in you.

July 22, 1991



All those years without you!
I was a child and there was
this emptiness in the air
beside me for companion.
There was this small black hole
in space the size of another
child but within it nothing but
the sound of endless emptiness,
nothing but the well into
which I dropped a rock
and never heard it land.

I was a young man and
there were these girls
I loved with desperation
only to find the person I
sought was not in them but
beyond them—and yet beyond
them lay only once again
the tunnel going nowhere,
a dropping of the rock into
the well again and again
over the years raising
neither voice nor echo.

I am an old man still young
but now the air all about me
is crackling with wonder, the
black hole has been turned
inside out, and the rock,
oh that rock now rings with
the clamor of a thousand
bells and sings with the
glory of a thousand choirs.
For out of and into eternity
you are here beside me.

July 22, 1992


I had a terrible dream she said.
He groped his way toward consciousness.
You're safe, he murmured, reaching to her.
No, it was terrible, she said, I cannot sleep.
I still see that glorious garden, the birds,
the fruits, the clear streams with pebbles of
agate and the trancelike wandering of green
fish, and you were there, and for a time it
was good, but then this terrifying old man
came and told me I must not think for myself.
And soon a snake came and said— He laughed.
A talking snake! Don't laugh, please don't laugh!
She shuddered. This was so real, more real than
now, much more. The snake offered me a brain
and mind and when I took them the old man came
rushing in, his eyes exploding, his mouth aghast,
and cursing with hurricane force he threw us
from the garden. And you blamed me, she cried,
and in a world of misery we fought for five
thousand years.

The sun touched the window sill, touched
her hair: he touched the gold along her neck
and back and sighing she rolled over and for
a long time they held each other, then she rose.
Come see, she called, joyous beside the
window. In poured the full glory of the
morning, the copper-gold of sky, the far-off
crowing, the clear, muted laughter along
the river, the light, cool fragrance in from
the fields. It will be a good day, he said,
smiling. And night, she said. For years,
they both thought. For years and years.

Published in Sacred Pleasure,
page 398, 1995



There is this force field healers say
they are attuned to, some say it comes
from God, others say they do not know, it
is just there. Through them it seems to
pour into, or surround, or bathe those they
heal with an unseen but tangible light.
It is love, they say, the force of love.
Others report suddenly being transported
to a great height from which they can
see the world, indeed the universe, in
glory beyond describing. There is again
involved this force of love, they say.
Or it comes upon us as an enormous
expansion of one's self, of one's
consciousness expanding to embrace all
life, everywhere, in caring intimacy.
Or it is what so softly, quietly explodes
within us looking into the heart of a flower
of a certain color on those mornings when
everything about us, weightless, air born,
ascending, dances in a different light.
It comes to us looking at our child asleep.
It comes to us when hearing an old song.
It comes to us seeing nobility walk among us.
There it is again when, weary beyond
endurance, we give up and give ourselves
over to whatever remains, down beneath it
all, eternally there, when all else is gone.

Oh look to the sky, the trees, the finger of
cloud just touching the moon! Look up and
see the high touch and the working wings of
that tiny bird for which I have no name!
All this is love, all these are its voices,
all this as in a mighty swirl of energies
seen and unseen is this force that has its
tides, its waves, winds, storms, calm days,
quiet nights, the call and deep sounding of
earth's choir, and all the times of eye, heart,
mind and soul widening magic like the sea.

Oh yes, I know and you know all this so well!
It is what caught the two of us up as leaves
in the playful arms of the wind that from long
ages ago knew us, was looking for us; that knew
the time had come that day, and the night
thereafter, that our lives began.

This day is as clear as a
glass of the finest crystal.
You hold it up and marvel
at how it catches the light.
You look into it and through
the cool bell curve and the
pedestal grounding it you
can see into eternity.
You strike it with your
fingernail and its voice
speaks to all that is
joyful, delightful, haunting,
enchanting, and delicious.
I give it to you.

The continents rise and clash and
split apart, yet love remains.

Trees, flowers, grass, the very
soil beneath our feet is caught up
by the wind, yet love remains.

The flood of mail, magazines, and
messages crests, machines ring out
one last time, yet love remains.

I look at you, you look at me, our
eyes meeting melt into a single
golden crystal through all eternity,
and love remains.

June 17, 1996


The Egrets

The New Year neared,
walking by the ocean on
the most glorious evening of the year,
you ahead, me lagging behind as usual,
I stopped seeing a patch of white
among the rocks.

Could it be? With a little shudder
or a shaking, it slightly unfolded
its wings, and then the white neck
unfolded—yes, it was!

It was the white of the egret, the little
newcomer to these rocks, among the gulls
with the flight of pelicans overhead.

The white of this messenger of what
from elsewhere? This gentle venturing

of the little stranger into this new territory,
this purest of white against the black rocks.

Where was the other? For the thrill had
been to first find this egret on our walks
by the sea. And then, one evening, out of the
dying sun, across the eye-blinding bright
path on the water, to see its mate come
winging in to dip into the rocks, and to see
the glorious white wings adjusting to the
landing, to settle in beside “my” egret.
Where was the other now? I stopped, as
you went on, on ahead—so wanting the
epiphany of its appearance. So wanting
the excitement and the affirmation of
the other’s return. Could I be granted this?
I watched the egret, so white there,
so small against the black rocks.

I looked to the sky and saw the pelicans
in the grandeur of their flight, these
stately shapes across the flame
of the sun’s flamboyant farewell as it
sunk into the sea.

I saw the waves now a rippling path of
gold toward where the sun was going down.
I saw the houses on the far shore, and
the people, tiny as dots on a page in the
distance, walking the beach as all this
glory neared its climax.

And then out of the air, as if suddenly
materialized rather than come from
anywhere elsewhere, here he or she was!
The mate!

Down out of the air the mate all in
white against the red gold of the sky
came to land gently with again that
settling flutter of wings beside
the other.

I sensed more than saw or in any other
way could have known of the touch of
happiness, the quiet delight in the reassurance
of this reappearance that passed between them—
not that there was any reason to fear that
anything had happened. They were parted
likely only a few minutes, an hour at most.
But still there was this touch of relief to find
that once again by one’s side was one’s mate.

And then, as if sensing my desire, they rose
together into the air—and side by side they
swung from one side of the sky before me to
the other. Ah, how can I write of it! It was
as if this was their ballet—as graceful and
mighty as two of the greatest dancers in
breath-taking, white airborne wonder had
crossed the stage from side to side.

It was as if they knew this was their
performance for an audience of one
who among our species knew how rare
and wonderful what they were, and
what they did, really was.

It was as if this was their thanks to me for
loving them, and out of my heart went thanks
to them for this signal, this message, this
reassurance or harbinger, whatever it was.

And as they settled back into the rocks
you came back—gone for only a few
minutes but your face bright as the sun
now gone with that eternal gladness
to see me again.

And I caught my breath, and wiped my
eyes, and gasped with love.

December 26, 2001

Dedicated to the memory of
Ashley Montagu,
lover of life and love

The flame does not die, nor ever will.
Let the winds blow, the rains
come, the very earth crack
under our feet—it merely
sidesteps fate and goes on

It is, I would say, what you and
you alone lit up in me.
It rises from the nestled coals
deep within time of an
eternal caring.

February 14, 2002

Old age is not so bad.
Childhood is the sunrise
in all its scarlet wonder.
Middle age is the high noon
peak of the sun at its most
intense, which fortunately—
but also unfortunately—reveals
the reality of oneself and our
perilous time on this planet.
Old age is the sunset, yes—but
this above all, a sunset that somehow
miraculously goes on and on, some days
glum and cloudy, some days with the
wind crashing trees and the sea
whipped into line on line of giant
snarling mouths crashing shore.
But gloriously many, and many,
and many many more, to see that
trumpet and kettle drum level by
level ascending blaze of yellow, red,
rose and purple wonder.
And all of us, old, middle, young transfixed,
as still as sentinels here on shore, to stare
with one’s heart surging, to stare with the
transcending ecstasy of maybe knowing at last
what it’s all about, upon the westward signal
of its passing and yet eternal glory.

Valentine’s Day, 2006





david and riane


All now available with online book sellers worldwide!


New Poems


Requiem For Bill

Whenever the wind catches up a leaf
    into a merry dance,
Whenever the sun breaks overhead
    into a wide smile,
Whenever the trees tell stories of
    adventure in far lands,
Whenever the day begins in the old
    favorite places in Carmel, and
    old friends meet and clasp one
    another as if come home from a
    long journey,
Whenever the newspaper arrives to
    brighten a grey day, and with rare
    intelligence a cartoon breaks through
    the confusion to not so gently impale
    stupidity and the pen points swift
    as a arrow to right versus wrong.
Whenever the coffee is steaming, and
    the mellow old boys and girls gather
    to share erotic observations and
    antic tales, and the cup that would
    have been yours is unfilled.
Whenever the rain brings tears in
Whenever the sea rolls out and in
    and out and in at sunset, and the
    pelicans rise in one last, long,
    majestic parting line across the sky,
Whenever laughter soars on and on
    to cleanse heart, mind, and soul
    of all but joy in the glory and the
    wonder of life,
We shall remember.
We will never forget you.

June 21, 2009 and January 10, 2013

In memory of Bill Bates, great artist, great cartoonist, great friend of all in Carmel, in Fiji, and wherever caring intelligence lives worldwide.



Requiem for Nan

Last night before you left us I saw
five white egrets as white as writing
paper against the black rocks, and high
against the scarlet explosion of the setting
sun a great blue heron flew overhead.

Never before had I seen five egrets
here on our shore. Sometimes one,
sometimes two, only one time I can
recall ever three, never before five at
one time stilt-walking white as snow
among the shore’s black rocks.
In the

thirty years we’ve nightly walked this

beach at sunset, only once before has a

great blue heron soared out of nowhere

to pass overhead as stately as the passage

of a ship into night.

To herald the passing of the great from
this earth again and again recorded in our
history is the gathering of portents—of
sudden flocks of birds never before seen
in a particular place, unseasonal turbulence,
owl calls, a configuration in the clouds.
Unknown to the world at large, I feel
sure now the same must be recorded in
family annals, old letters—the dusty
collection of countless attics, to mark for a day,

a year, who knows how long, the sight of

portents and the tug at the soul and tears for

all of us as one by one our generation goes. Supposedly their lives, and we ourselves, leave

no mark on history, no shove one way or the

other to our evolution, and all else that matters here.

Five white egrets, and here within the evening
wonder of the sky, and over the great restless,
beckoning and glistening breast of the sea the
flight of a great blue heron overhead say otherwise.
They tell of the witness of our tears for the also great, who lived here close with us, and among us, and added to the joy of life, and now are gone.


In memory of Nancy Loye Price, great sister, mother, and grandmother, great friend of all in Bartlesville, and the lucky in Arkansas and California.


Requiem for Billy

She said it didn’t happen that way.
But I will always think of her as
the spunky teen who jumped on
a feisty horse and rode off to the
astonishment and yells of her
furious father and bewildered mother.
Fed up with them. Fed up with that
father turned against himself,
his own mind turned against himself
and anyone else who mattered to him,
always poking, poking, poking at her.
Fed up with their petty feuds and
narrow minds. Riding off to make her
own way free of them in Oklahoma City.
Free to find a job as a car hop at a fast food place.
Free to gain admittance to a nurse training program.
Free to hell with them pay her own way now.
Free to find a crazy boy friend who somehow

hauled a motor cycle to the top of the State Capital,

and with her riding on it with him zapped around

the edge of the roof with death staring at them

with one slip of the wheel.

She says it didn’t happen that way, but then why

do I think I remember her telling me this? Free to

find another gambler boy friend, who delighted in

driving non stop fast through stop signs daring fate to
hit him (and her!) with just one car timed to wind up
same place same time with their names on it.

Lucky she found cautious me before she killed herself!
Lucky me that I found her to ground my yearning in love. And then grounding that yearning in a family, one by one, four in all. Lucky for all six of us for the good years, and all the adventures for the good years, and all the adventures that for all of us still go on and on.

Life has its shadows, for that is the way of it,
oh if it could just be otherwise! Oh if the shadows
could just be passing and not ending! But the shadows merge into the ongoing adventure—suddenly
they’re gone! For light fills the sky! Like the golden curtain of an immense theater rolls back to fill the

stage, from shore to horizon light fills the sky! And hearing the call of the gulls, feeling the spray’s

friendly sting on one’s face, again setting out to sea,

the ship plunges and then once again climbs into

the eternal adventure of all the beginnings and

the ends that really are not ends. Wide eyed,

breathing deeply, it’s another adventure!

Another beginning for the horseback girl who left
that farm long ago to find and share the adventure,
here in memory living on and on.

In memory of Billy Rene Hensley Loye, great first wife, mother, and grandmother, great friend of all in Oklahoma City, Princeton, and the lucky in California.




Old Poems


An Ode to Mango Chutney
(dedicated to the eternal
evangelist in all fields)

The oddest ultimate
is mango chutney.
We gather here, brothers
and sisters, to probe
the meaning of the spheres.
Can it be that mango
chutney is the answer?
“No! No!” Every atom
within us must cry!
For it is not the mango
alone, nor the chutney
that cometh after; it
is in fact the thing
itself; der dein ischt
schvein; der wasser
nosser, which endureth
beyond all understanding.
Mango chutney. Mango chutney.
I call upon you to join me
in first quietly uttering it!
The ultimate mantra—mango
chutney, mango chutney!
Mango chutney, upon which
this mad earth revolves as
does the merrygoround upon
its pole, mango chutney.
Close your eyes and see it.
Reach out your hands and feel it.
Open your mouth and taste it.
Raise your nostrils and sniff of
the divine aroma, repeating
always after me, Mango
Chutney, Mango Chutney!
Is it not the seat of wisdom?
Is it not the site of
sorrow, the center of joy,
the harbinger of yesteryear
and beacon of tomorrow!
I see Mango Chutney rising
from the dawn of time.
Mango Chutney marching through
the pages of history undefiled.
I see Mango Chutney at the last
before the throne of God!
Stop! It is too magnificent
to express, the ultimate
confrontation of Mango
Chutney and Maker!!!

Hand to his brow he flung
his impassioned gaze downward,
too moved to continue, while
about him the chamber rang
and rang with roar on roar of
the word more delicious than any:
Mango Chutney, Mango, Mango,
Mango Chutney,
Mango, Mango, Mango Chutney,
Mango, Mango,
Chutney, Chutney,
Mango, Mango, Chutney, Chutney!

And at the last, while celestial
crowds of angels soared and all
the world’s organs tolled in
ensemble—and Earth itself
dissolved! There floated out
into virgin space the word of
words renewing life here
and hereafter.