For some reason
they bring them in at night
shiny planes full of shiny boxes
There is a ghastly precision
a uniformed efficiency
indifference and order
If they gave out visitors’ passes
you could get close enough
to watch them disappear

Tim Dyson


In the cemetery of Beit She’arim
inside a tomb from the third century
paved with mosaic
and decorated with wildlife reliefs
is carved an inscription
commemorating a local resident.

The author, though Jewish, had a Greek style:

    I lie, son of Leontius dead, son of Sappho,
    who after having gathered of the fruit
    of all wisdom left the light.

    Woe is me, in my Beit She’arim.
    After having gone to Hades,
    I, Justus, lie here with many of my relatives
    for that is what powerful fate has decreed.
    Be consoled, Justus. No one is immortal.

Dark is the house without windows.
Dust is the only weather in the tomb.

Indifferent as a reflecting moon,
a green moth flitted over the stone,
then lay for a long moment on the ground.


Anne Whitehouse


As a child, I believed
I saw the face of God
in the shifting shapes of clouds,
when they swirl overhead
under the celestial dome,
or pile high in great pillows
that hurry across the sky,
or drift close to the earth,
beads of fog and moisture
snagged in the branches of trees.

Anne Whitehouse


In memory of Paul Berné

At the end of Paul’s life.
we painted the lampshade
with the stencil,
playing with colors
as in the past.
I knew his time
was getting shorter,
but not that we were
out of time

The nurse said, “Dying is hard.
You and I have never tried it.
He doesn’t want to leave.
Though he can’t see you,
he can still hear you.
You must help him to let go.”

Anne Whitehouse


Fields glow gold in the early morning,
and curtains of light float to the ground.

Leaves blow up silver
when I chase the light through woods.
I collect a shriveled leaf
in the shape of a heart,
dried brown and flecked with holes,
and hold it to the sky,
filigree filtering light
through its interstices

Anne Whitehouse


The dark-eyed salesgirl at CVS
jumped into the toy collection box,
bobbing like a jack-in-the-box,
tossing her long, dark, silky hair.

She jumped out laughing,
flirting with the salesboy,
inviting him to dance
to the background Muzak.

Under the store’s fluorescent glare,
they swayed and twirled,
overcoming the boredom
of a slow Sunday night
in a dead-end job,

in step with an old love song.


Anne Whitehouse