Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dust Falls Down Again


We haven’t any rights, you know. 
It’s icing, all of it, that the inanimate
behaves itself and that my daughter
makes a life of love and difference
for she was born to be magnificent,
defying entropy, whereas the dust,
not being sentient, does what it
does swept up by wind and with no
reason to do otherwise falls
down again

December 11, 2010—Voters in the Omaha Public School District recently elected my daughter (pictured above) to the school board. If anything was ever deserved, Marian deserved to win this election. She is prepared by education, knowledge, wisdom, experience, compassion, leadership, and a genuine commitment to OPS. She campaigned hard and smart for at least a year. Plus she's funny and nice to look at and I love her a lot.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

mary had another little iamb

iamb (n.): a metrical foot consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable 
followed by one long (or stressed) syllable.


Do the English-speaking population of the planet 
and descendants of the guys who colonized
the archipelago of Curious, the Cat Star—couched
among the first and least-dense embers cooled,
the early incubators of fertility, where growing
things analogous to trees still thrive in colors
never seen on Molokai—require another
metaphor of mine, a fresh pathetic fallacy,
with sonnets scattered here and there
for garnish? Are my anapests and little iambs,
rhymed or un-, necessities in galaxies
where volumes equaling in heft the OED
are written, polished, proofed, and posted

If something harmless is to be produced,
however, on my watch—and all the world
has been assured I don’t darn socks, do auto-glass
replacement, oversee production crews
for artificial kneecaps, or approve (nor do I vilify)
financial backing for an enterprise
that has invented still another way to package
nonprescription drugs in plastic bubbles—
then perhaps I satisfy my mission,
raison d’être, and my strategy for staying
out of trouble, as a poetry creator and purveyor,
pointing out, with artistry not yet achieved
by chance by chimpanzees by banging frantically
on Smith-Corona typewriting machines,
that truth is poetry and poems are so many
mangoes hanging from not quite so many
mango trees.

I have to write, you see. It is my contribution,
my amusement, and my destiny, which God and I
agreed upon prenatally and not a word exchanged
about utility. With inactivity the brain begins
to hum Stravinsky or Saint-Saëns off-key 

and thumbs do calisthenics so as not to stiffen up 
mid-simile. And thus I keep on doing as I ought, 
conjecturing delightedly, Has anybody ever had 
that thought? Why not? So what?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

If I Could Make You Laugh

Irises, by Bud Cassiday

If I could make you laugh, I would ask
little more of life today. Spontaneous delight—
oh, what a gift! I’d take a snicker or a giggle—
they’d suffice, but I’d keep trying for a show of
joy arising from your toes, alighting on your face
like butterflies and brightening your eyes.
What more of grace do I require; what else
is on the list that I present the planet with,
most of the time, but oxygen
and locomotion,
and a poached egg, buttered toast,
a cup of minestrone, coffee, and some
water from the tap, no ice—just that.

If I could make you laugh,
no diamonds, rubies, semiprecious stones;
exotic travels or expensive clothes
(which I confess a weakness for);
no shoes beyond the necessary two
(one foot apiece);
no country cottage on an acre with a
modest space for growing lettuce,
pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes, and
a few perennials—a show of crocuses in March
and daffodils in April, irises in May, with
buds of roses spilling through the fence and
promising lush flowers and sweet scents in June,
and daisies, bachelor’s buttons, and
chrysanthemums I could look forward to;
no chauffeur,
no masseuse;
for none of this would I exchange
a single second’s levity with you. If I were
Leno, then perhaps I’d have
a better chance, but as it is, a modicum of
silliness and whimsicality
must do, if I'm to
make you laugh.

Somewhere there are twenty angels
dancing on a blade of grass. I’ll seek them
out and ask them to come with me when I
tap upon your window in the evening. Inasmuch
as angels understand the secrets
of the universe, I needn’t say,
nor will they ask me why,
my highest happiness
would be
to laugh with you today.

--Mary Campbell
May 7, 2016

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Think On This

Fly Ranch Geyser, Washoe County, Nevada

I am a river churning seaward underground,
surrounded by a cavern, solid granite but for 
fissures I insinuate my presence into, yearning for 
the surface, called by light and dandelions and 
loveliness... for I am more than ordinary water.
In my memory are joy and sorrow, thoughts of
katydids reminding me what time it is—and I recall
contentment. In another life I celebrated
when the wind was fragrant and the wheat was
prideful in its deep green summer garment. Inch 
by inch, wherever I detect the merest acquiescence
or irregularity in this, my prison, I press on with 
certainty that even if I wished I could not stay 
invisible and unappreciated. More than mission, 
more than destiny, my purpose is necessity—to 
manifest as stream or cataract in consonance with 
elemental earth and wind. I never tire; my work 
needs neither effort nor resilience, for it is of the 
universe and thus of love. I cannot go amiss. Long 
since I tamed my only enemies, impatience and its 
sister, striving. Now I wait, when waiting is required,
remaining vigilant, until the rock gives way to air 
and freedom and the open sky.

by Mary Campbell, May 3, 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016


I have been a stranger in a strange land,
where my compass failed and every step was
labored and directionless. I prayed; I listened;
you said, Come out of the shadows. Barely
visible above a silhouetted slope, a gold-red
sliver broke the firmament, restored my
equilibrium, and gave me hope. Because I
asked, you spoke. Because you showed me
heaven’s glorious awakening, I promised, I will
follow you. Before the sun went down, I had
forgotten all of it, and even now, beset by
doubts, I wander off, disoriented, lost. Again
you take my hand and lead me from a
treacherous and twisted path onto a high,
straight, sunlit road. Friends wait, you say,
hospitably at this day’s journey’s end. And so it
is that to my left are shade at noontime and a
place to rest, and to my right, a dozen steps
beyond, fresh water gushes from a spring
between two ancient moss-clad stones. In you
I lack for nothing; I have all I need. With you
beside me, I am not alone. I lean upon your
strength; it never stumbles. Night holds neither
mystery nor terror, though the moon is dark,
the stars dim. At the cusp of morning, redbirds
interrupt the silence with their song, and
poplars and acacias whisper, Carry on—
anticipating dawn.