– simple thoughts & writings &c. by Elizabeth Heimbaugh –

Tag: poetry

A poem about becoming

A petal is no lighter than a tree
The difference is merely
How simple can each one be?


Nothing troubles you, so why do you ail?
You talk as though you’d lost the moon.

But I have, I have lost the moon.
For when I look at the world, it merely looks back,
like a mirror with no color
or a pond without life.

Paper Cup

I spilled my soul
into a paper cup.
It overflowed a little,
dribbled down the side;
but otherwise it was
clear and clean and still.
Any old Joe
might have taken it for a drink
and laid a nickel on the counter
for a tip.


What does a housebound soul feel when she steps outside?

Does she tremble with fear, like the last leaf on my autumn tree, sensible of a new season that will blow everything into forgetting?

Does she bow under the weight of strange possibilities, like the limb where the birds have made their nest, overcome with so many thoughts of birth and flight?

Or does she burst into splendor, like the sparkling blossoms in springtime, too full of hope and life to close upon herself any longer, breaking into beauty at every turn?

Tiny Revelation

Hail to the merry lights
all blinking in the deep:
through waking and sleeping
what vigil they’re keeping!
Not tiring a whit
not even a breath:
not tiring a bit
not even in death.


Oh my great and glorious
King of all the merry Kings the
Earth has ever seen!
The just are songsters in the choir:
The pretty faces, straight and dire,
Singing nary a discordant note.
The world, she stands alive and—quote—
Alert in waiting all the while.

Pocket Poems

Small poems to get back into the habit, with a melancholy bent. Read the rest of this entry »

The Entertaining Adventures

… of MR. CAP and mr. low: Part One.

Along with a miscellany of other stories and songs to round out your listening hour. Read the rest of this entry »

How Many Roads

… must a man walk down?

Phrases for the moment:

  1. … and don’t fall so madly in love with the night that you lose your way! (Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice)
  2. I always play Russian Roulette in my head; it’s seventeen black and twenty-nine red (“A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” Tom Waits)
  3. For the man who is beautiful is beautiful to see / but the good man will at once also beautiful be. (Fragment 50, Sappho)
  4. La lune était sereine et jourait sur les flots. (“Clair de lune,” Victor Hugo)
  5. Le Bonheur a marché côte à côte avec moi. (“Nevermore,” Paul Verlaine)
  6. You’d never know it, but buddy, I’m a kind of poet, and I got a lot of things to say (Johnny Mercer/Frank Sinatra)


There was a boy once – his name I have forgotten by now, but it was a good Christian name, I do recall – and this is his story, or some shadow of it. I never did meet him in the flesh, for his story came to me through the whisperings of an acquaintance, but I feel him as strongly set down in my consciousness as any one of my lost loves or childhood friends. If I can do him some small justice in the telling of his story, my heart will be fulfilled, though I must confess that my doubts are severe, for I do not know how any hand, let alone one as weak as my own, can ever be quite lovely enough.


Scat! scat! the people flee
a robber at the corner store!
he pulls a gun and waves a sack
(the flighted ones: alack! alack!)
the counter-boy whose nerves are frayed
strikes the tin, a scare parade :
NO SALE NO SALE oh sell the lot!
a robber come to swipe the pot
of copper coins and bottletops :
the radio is buzzing bops
out static FM waves :
sing the blues boy sing the blues . . .
the world broke in dancing shoes :
the churchyard bells are ringing four
the robber walking out the door.


The sound of the nighttime alleyway cat is giving her pause, the woman so fat and so gray in the heat of the narrow gray place, beneath the sky, the black-bat sky.

Oh, what if I perish, I’ll die! thinks the woman, I’ll die and I’ll sigh – oh, dying and sighing are scarcely a fate to live or lie by tonight.

The cat moves as a shadow, quick and light, and the woman so gray is crying for fright – above, the stars are rocks in the sky: they might fall upon me! they might, oh, they might!


You have not remembered to remember me all this time,
but in your forgetting, my recollection grows all the clearer.


I was glad to hear your name in passing on the busy street;
while I walked, the leaves blew to the melodious sound!


Bells in the field
Ringing out the yield
Heigh-ho fi-fo
Fum fum fum

O hear the bells bells bells
Fear the bells bells bells
Heigh-ho fi-fo
Fum fum fum


Little one, you’ll soon be fine
I’m gonna give this heart of mine
To cure your fears, now wipe your tears
I say, you’ll soon be fine


“How was your evening yesterday?”
“Very lousy, as usual.”


Mirabel buttoned the top button of her woolen coat and stepped lightly out the door into the falling snow. It was the coldest day of the year and not many people would be about, but the solitude of the occasion was precisely the thing that stirred Mirabel’s heart. She wended down the white road and when a bird flew overhead against the thin grey sky, she would stop, wave a mitten at him, and then continue on her way. The road had a narrow path for walking, for the snow had not fallen too thick through the night, and the narrowness of the path contrasted with the wideness of the sky, but yet they ran parallel, the road and the sky, one always looking at the other and continuing on, on, on.

Mirabel was not aware of the passing of time, only of the heaviness or lightness of her feet, and so long as her boots could carry her one step after another with no pang to the heel, she would proceed with her walking. She did not think any thoughts in particular, but when she passed by a flagpole, she sang a song of her country; and when she passed by a nest in a tree, she sang of a bluebird; and when she passed by a mailbox, she sang of a faraway friend; and so on and so forth in this way. She had a pretty little soprano voice, clear and straight in the winter air. If she did not know the words, she hummed, and her humming was even prettier than her singing, for the sound came from deeper down, and it buzzed with the joy of saying something without ever parting the lips.


After giving his heart,
He wanders by the pond
And throws a stone:
Look how it sinks to the depths –
If I stepped, I would fall still faster!


Gentle night
Empty swallow’s nest
I gaze long and sigh


On the small bank
A girl is smelling flowers
One by one

Poems from the Japanese

Influenced by the writing of Japanese tanka.

Noble man,
will you move kindly
to the right?
You have been standing
over top of my heart


Nighttime wind
coming to this house –
I questioned
however did it
grow so cold inside?


Oh no!
The neighbor cat
is running
and they haven’t the breath
to catch him again


At evening-time
the blossoms smelling sweet
you bow down
then do a dance for joy –
some people whisper as you pass


To my friend –
the days of speaking past,
we hold our tongues
but in my sleeping
I dream we talk for hours


Fearful that
love would be fading,
you took a brush
and painted all the rooms
yellow, so yellow!


I thought to
pray for your mother
who ails
because you have not
written home a word.


For you
I lighted many
pretty lamps,
I hoped the glow
would halt the need for talk.


Little one,
for you I will move
the mountains
so that you will sleep
peacefully in bed.


Our own private worries loom large, but getting lost in them is a dangerous thing. We suffer, then know pain; but oughtn’t we to keep this knowledge and use it for compassion’s sake?

I salute the farsighted folks!


The girl who was a narcissist

hello little sunshine
dab in mirror   take a bow
what are the birdies doing today?

a fine little ditty
curled-up hair   smile now
ask all the lovelies what do you wear

on a day like today?
lightning bulbs   flashing how
they’re making stars in the room tonight

so bright they burst
so bright they boom

they’re making tea-shapes in your gloom

I see the light
I see the light
is blinding you!


In the Hall of the Mountain King

In the hall of the mountain king
A lad walks dazed and idling
Woebegone, he twists his ring
He’s lost his true-love girl

Without the rain is pouring down
The streets are flooded straight to town
The jester’s shoes are turning brown
He’s lost his true-love girl

The lad can wander scarcely more
The winds are rapping at the door
A heart is broken evermore
He’s lost his true-love girl

A beggar-woman steps inside
She shakes the rain from hair and hide
Asks a penny, canst thou bide?
He’s lost his true-love girl

The lad, distrait, spares not a cent
His mind upon his sorrows bent
His heart by self-despairing rent
He’s lost his true-love girl

The beggar-woman pleads again
Divert the lad from selfish pain!
But still she supplicates in vain
He’s lost his true-love girl

At this she sheds her beggar’s cloak
Beyond the door an ancient oak
Bends from wind and look! the bloke
He’s found his true-love girl

But, soft, the maid is looking low
“I rather thought that thou wouldst know
To aid a girl in sorry show”
Thus speaks his true-love girl

“Thou lost thyself in inward life
Cared not a whit for others’ strife
The selfish pangs are like a knife”
Plunged in his true-love girl

His true-love girl turns on the spot
Fast as a finger pokes a pot
That’s spilling liquid, boiling hot
The lad, I think he knows his lot
He’s lost his true-love girl