Mondays Were My Mother’s


Mondays Were My Mother’s

Mondays were my mother’s;

sun washed days by the sea

that stretched in a lazy line

horizon of cornflower blue.

We walked along antique trails

in ancient spruce tree forests;

The leaves sang to us songs

they’d been breathing

for lifetimes;

pine needle lullabies,

red maple lyrics,

dappled sunshine dreams.

She told me stories and names

from long ago days

when time was of a different slant,

when it was colored by the wrinkled faces

and calloused palms

and whimsical whims of our idols.

Mondays were my mother’s;

flip-flops walks through

the hustle and bustle of downtown;

through the ice cream dripping,

vanilla latte slow slurping

of endless July afternoons.

We wore stripes and Breton red

and our matching metallic Sperry’s

were like warm winks received from friends.

We laughed at ourselves,

as if under the spell of a never again summer.

Monday’s were my mother’s;

hummingbird zinnia morning coffee

and cricket afternoon iced coffee,

our arms and ankles brown from the sky.

I’ll never forget that day at the sea gravel beach:

the last minute lawn chairs,

the ham and cheese and tomato picnic,

the folded linen napkins –

“because nothing wipes better than linen” –

the merry strawberry and lemon lime beach towels,

the hot breath of the day beating down on our

curled toes and closed eyes

and happy hearts like warmed lavender honey.

Mondays were my mother’s and mine.


Twilight Catharsis

I wish catharsis was a prettier word,

as pretty as its meaning.


the Greek child of Aristotle;

there is no word for it

in the English language.

We try to define a rush of emotion,

a relief from pain and fear

and horror and sublime ecstasy.

Purgation, we say;

to purge our souls of anguish,

to feel good from pain.

Is catharsis why I listen to Richard Tucker

sing operas that sound like springtime

in my ears;

why I listen to my grandmother’s old records –

John Denver and The Platters and Patsy Cline –

just to imagine the once upon stirring of her soul

when she listened to them?

Catharsis is why I invite tears

to play hopscotch on my cheeks,

why I walk through the woods

to see my girlhood sea

that is mine no longer.

Catharsis is why I imagine my father’s death,

why I try to imagine a world without

any of the people I love in it;

why I try to remember

the feeling of climbing into fresh sheets

in my childhood bedroom:

The window that looked out into

the gray and green moss forest,

the murmur and melody of voices below,

the entire scope of time and life and the round world

perched on the branch of an evergreen tree

that stood five feet from my sleeping head,

ever the sentinel like an owl or the moon.

Twilight catharsis at my window,

won’t you please rock me to dreams.


What happens next?

Poised in some forever doorway,

one foot in a room that is blue

and the other in a room of tangled forest ferns.


The threshold is like a mountain brook,

tumbling and crooked and slippery

with moss and rock and the breath of eternal fish.


What happens next,

while I wait,

while I stretch my arms

and try to untangle my feet from the forever.


What happens next while the world slides past,

while ice cream melts in a puddle on the sidewalk,

while rose hips turn tomato red,

while the sea starts to churn and boil and whisper.


A super moon tonight,

another night in the slideshow,

another night in this life of blue and fern

and the ear-splitting serenades of crickets

who sing because that is what they are made of;

the song, the season, the changing sun.

Here we are again

in this same forever doorway,

trying not to hear the whispering of the world.


To look back and see the blue,

or to look forward and see the ferns,

or maybe it’s the other way around.

Either way,

the doorway is narrow

and I have outgrown it;

or perhaps

the doorway is too large

and I am too small.


I stand in the threshold with water rushing past my ankles,

exhaling questions to the winking universe,

inhaling the ghosts of what could be answers

but are really questions to my questions

when I listen to the words.




Revising and Polishing

I feel great pleasure whenever I write. Language has infinite possibilities and entertaining them as I construct a poem is the way I define ‘fun.’ Even the hard work of revising and polishing and trying one word after another till the effect is right is enjoyable, and sometimes hours pass without my being conscious of the time at all.”


~ Roberta Chester

The Secret World All Around Us




All the vegetation around us has a way of knowing our secrets. The trees droop their leaves spying on our lives. The grasses bend their blades to catch our sounds. They know the pasts of whoever has been around. You can feel it in their eerie silence as they stand there or as you walk by. The trees and grasses know. It is their mystique. Their power. The younger you are the more magic you are, so you can see more of the underworld – the secret world all around us.”

– Rhea Cote Robbins, “Wednesday’s Child”


Camp Huckleberry, July 25-27, 2014















Berry Picking




I think of them when I am berry picking,

bent at extreme angles in the bushes,

convening with the bumble bees.

The ripe ones fall into the bucket;

tender and plump and nearly magenta.


I think of them as I stretch and reach

for that perfect raspberry, as it hangs,

poised over wilderness, sweet and juicy.

I think of what my grandfather gave to us

when he first built the camp,

when he gave us periwinkle mountains

and lavender twilights.

Our souls watch as we pick the berries;

they are younger ghosts of ourselves.


The woods on a hot sunny July afternoon

in a patch of raspberries

in the mountains of my western Maine childhood

smell like honey cinnamon baking pie.


We All Have Our Stories


“When I was growing up and dreaming of perhaps becoming a writer, I thought that the experiences a writer chooses to write about must be out of the ordinary. Every book I read had exciting people, exotic places, and strange events. Because I thought my life was so uneventful, I didn’t think I had anything to write … Although it’s taken me quite a few years, I have finally come to realize that what is everyday to one person is unusual and interesting to another. We all have our stories.”

– Rebecca Cummings

Sea Salt Candy


There are some thoughts you can entertain for days because they are like candy to the brain. Sweet, sweet thoughts. Resting easy on your mind, you lie in them for the sheer pleasure of their silkiness. Soft and flowing thought patterns; brain waves in undulation across the sea of synapse.”

– Rhea Cote Robbins, “Wednesday’s Child”

Lay awake, dreaming with my eyes open and unseeing, revel and roll in sweet thoughts of that once upon a time; padded and luxurious I lay in sleeping clouds, and stretch my arms and legs to feel the slipping silky sea; your crackling eyes, my somersaulting skin, the endless everlasting ebony of your shadow cheek. My sweet thoughts carry me through my summer seconds; melting like sea salt candy on my tongue.


Balls Out



Balls out, as my friend likes to say.

World, here I come. I bring with me irrationality, passion, a boat load of mistakes, naivete, colorblindness, an addiction to whole-milk lattes, a larger-than-life love for rock and roll, and a whole helluva lot of spaces to fill – with new knowledge and new experiences – and even more mistakes.

This life is only meant for living.