the cricket’s song is surely a prayer



the cricket’s song is surely a prayer

the drought-deprived truckee
slows to a trickle,
slogs along toward city center.
gladiolas begin to droop,
daisy’s wilt.
on the vine, clusters of grapes

we sit in the dark in silence.
count stars and sip chilled pinot gris.
the quiet fills with cricket cries,
an urgency to mate
before the chill of a first freeze—
a prayer for continuance.

Toni, for dVerse Poetics, is asking us to share those lazy, hazy days of summer known as the Dog Days. She gives us a good overview of what exactly this means in astronomical terms. Stop by to read her informative post and drop off a poem of your own. The pub doors open at 3:00 EDT on Tuesday.

The title of this poem is borrowed from Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Cricket and the Rose.” She seems to be my major go-to for inspiration these days. If you get stuck, I suggest scanning the work of a favorite author/poet, looking for a line to jump-start your own poem.

like a flower of the field we bloom

like a flower of the field we bloom
(adapted from Ps. 103, 15)

i found its feathers ‘neath the birch
beside a rose blood-red.
i’d watched her nest above our porch,
we waited for her brood.

such emptiness that fell that morn,
a weight that crushed my heart—
this life is such a fleeting thing—
a breath, a flame, then dark.

but such is nature’s flawless plan—
we live—too soon we die.
a hawk or owl feeds her young
down by the river’s edge.

Today, I’m hosting Meeting the Bar at dVerse Poets’ Pub. This poem is written using common meter, a form that is easy to write poorly, but which Emily Dickinson used with great success. In the prompt, I’ve listed some of the techniques she used to make it work. I hope you’ll stop by to learn her secrets, then give them a try with a poem of your own. The doors open at 12:00 EDT.

a long, deep draught of silence

Photo: V. Slotto Palm Desert, CA

Photo: V. Slotto
Palm Desert, CA

a long, deep draught of silence

i rest in the arms of nature
and listen to robin’s song, dove’s longing.
i taste the joy of spring’s first bud,
or touch the loneliness of summer’s last bloom.

i recline ‘neath the limbs of our maple,
inhale the first breath of dawn
or delight in the touch of ocean’s caress
then lie still in sand’s warm embrace.

alone, i hear whispers of windsong,
sing with rain chanting softly at night
and keep watch with my silent companion—
nature’s presence, offering healing within.

Much of my life, I’ve been blessed to live where nature’s gifts abound–the desert, the ocean, the foothills. When life becomes chaotic, all I need to do is go outside, alone, and listen to the beauty around me and discover the healing that nature offers. Today, a special guest host at dVerse Poetics invites us to join her in revisiting those places that have done the same for us. I couldn’t focus on just one. Please join us with a poem, and spend some time finding peace in nature.

Stay for Awhile




A train, at a standstill across
the river, gasps for breath, hisses
its need to move along toward
destiny. Slow start, a wheeze.
It inches forward, heading East.

But I, I don’t want to go.


I live across the river from the train track that threads through the Sierra Nevada from California to points East. I love its plaintive sound (except when some middle-of-the-night engineer really lays on the whistle). It seems to call us to distant places.

This week, at dVerse Poetics, we’re writing about trains. Why don’t you hop on board?!

My Philosophy of the Artist’s Life



You live the life of a poet or artist.
A dog marks his place on earth.
Someday, someone will discover that
you were there before him.

An old one, revamped. For those of us who have no children to carry on our presence on earth, this has to be, in part, an underlying factor in our choices.

So happy to have Brian Miller hosting again at dVerse where he’s asking us to rethink WHY we do what we do…in other words, our personal philosophies.

My babies:


Non Fiction Beating the Odds, Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia


Novel Winter is Past

  I’m planning a free Kindle give-away for Mid-August–will keep you posted.






Poetry Jacaranda Rain

Jacaranda Rain

Novel The Sin of His Father

The Sin of His Father

july wonder–dVerse Poetics

july wonder

as gentle rain slacks the thirst
of our faltering ash tree,
so does your touch bring joy to my heart.

this morning I watch from the kitchen window
as you nurture your garden.
wind chimes laugh. life abounds.

Posted for dVerse Poetics where we are celebrating our 4th Anniversary. My words: gentle, tree, joy, nurture, laugh, life. Please join us! The doors open at 12:00 PM EDT.

Photo: V. Slotto The gardener with last years tomatoes and Sparky.

Photo: V. Slotto
The gardener with last years tomatoes and Sparky.

if i but had wings–the Sunday Whirl

As I return from a too-long hiatus, I thought I’d join in Brenda’s Sunday Whirl with this poem that uses words she offers for our enjoyment.



if i but had wings

i would escape to the skies with hawks and crows,
thrill to cracks of thunder, ride splintered lightning
through open spaces, drink rain from white billows,
taste flaming orange sunsets…to finally collapse
into earth’s embrace and listen to creation’s heartbeat,
touch the grainy clay of her skin before, bone-weary,
i would crawl into the realm of darkness to enfold my body
in swaths of rainbow quilts and bright-colored dreams.


Here are the words should you want to give it a Whirl:

Image: Sunday Whirl

Image: Sunday Whirl