September-November 2017

The current posting of “Scruples” amounts to #’s 13 & 14. The inspiration for #13 comes from a cruise on the Danube River in 2016. As for #14, after a recent reading of a chapbook I published in 1988, I selected one of the poems for a rewrite. Ethics is concerned with true or false; aesthetics, truth and beauty.  These two “Scruples” focus more on the latter.

“Sightseeing over Scandinavia” was posted in three by 3  June-August 2012. Recently, I submitted it to the online journal Verse-Virtual.  Publication was in the August 2017 issue. Their website is:



One good look at the Danube—
                     from bank to bank—
shows it flowing south, of course,
                     broad and deep, a full length
                            channel, the current
                                     more slick than surly…
As far as colors go, teal can appear dark
                      or light, except for a short time
                                    within sight of Vienna…

There the water turns blue, the river waltzes along.



If a bull enters
            a crowded café,
those near an exit
            can sneak out.
Others are better off
            hiding behind a chair,
or under a table…

Alone, at the bar
           a matador on a binge                            
sips another manzanilla…
           Today he fought badly,
more afraid than brave,
            his passes too safe,
spared by a stroke of luck
             during the toque de muerte.

The bull glares back from the bottom
             of an empty glass,
headstrong, looking for revenge.
              Once in the ring,
there’s no escaping a hangover.


 Sightseeing over Scandinavia


Not a road around.
Nor telephone poles.
Just deep green surroundings
stuck with miles of pines…

Dirigibles make our annual pursuit
of transcendental truth a moving experience.
We can cover lots of ground
while floating around, day
after day, at the same height
as any horizon that comes our way.

Scandinavian forests are supposed
to be full of dwarfs.
So far, we haven’t seen any;
only herds of reindeer,
and a preying wolf.

We’re heading towards the sea,
looking forward to the coastline
for a change of place.
There’s where the fjords are, and
maybe a mermaid.
Before running out of tides
or into unfair weather, we’ll
hover over each beach,
searching for a lagoon
that shimmers, sounds like
it’s singing.





1 comment to September-November 2017

  • Re #13, nice personification of the Danube and meaningful to me personally, having just returned from a cruise down the southern end, which I think gives a very different impression. #14 though, I’m puzzling over, wondering what the bull symbolizes and the relation between the people in the café and the matador. “Sightseeing” puts me in Norway (though I’ve never been) and I can hear that wolf howling through the pines. Thanks for the quarterly treat! I always look forward to these posts.

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