Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Plea to Our New President

A Plea to Our New President

Forget your worst threats
but keep your best promises.

Learn humility as well
as you’ve mastered pride.

If you hope to act presidential, remember –
listening is the actor’s essential art.

Look at something besides size
and everything beyond color
when measuring a man
or a woman.

Treat all children
as if they were your own
and all adults
as if they could be you

or your fallen brother.

Friday, March 20, 2015

All Children Speak Chinese

I haven't been posting, but I have been doing a bit of writing....and a fair amount of publishing.
Here's one poem I'm working on.

All Children Speak Chinese

In the toddlers’ tonal tongue,
ga or da may mean
cup or car or  carry me,
depending on inflection

Later, when we add more
words, we still do much
the same with yes and no
and love; it just escapes

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Class cinquain

On Thursday, December 18, the poetry class at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki and I composed a group cinquain.  Here's the format we were using: 1st line- one word that names the topic
                                                                                 2nd line- two words that appeal to the senses
                                                                                 3rd line- three words that describe an action
                                                                                 4th line- two words that name an emotion
                                                                                  5th line- one word that is a new name for the topic

    Since Professor Kitsi was recording the final version on the board, I have only my sketchy notes for what we came up with. Here is my best recollection, including two alternatives for very different endings. Dr. Kitsi or any of the students can feel free to correct me.

   warm messiness
drinking coffee kisses
   dizzy tenderness  (or tender dizziness)
       hangover         (or love)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Day in a Life

I just visited a poetry class at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki. The students there had just come up with individual images using William Carlos Williams as a model. I put their images together in the poem below, which they then read for me.  Efharisto poli.

     A Day in a Life
So much depends upon
a street lamp at dawn
and a full moon
waiting for the sun
to rise –
and the bright yellow
sun shining on
a green and orange
bed, cutting through
the rain clouds.

So much depends upon
a hot cup of coffee,
chocolate cake,
crispy cookies,
melting caramel,
and strawberries,
by a fireplace.

So much depends upon
children playing
in a schoolyard
or in the summer’s
heat on a
golden beach,
a bird’s white
wings reflected
on the ocean’s
blue waves
where divers defy
buoyancy and descend
to the untrodden

So much depends upon
a wide open window
spreading the sound
of rain
and the hum
of freedom
to a dark and empty
the strumming
of strings and
a new pair of shoes
by the bed or under
the Christmas tree.

So much depends upon
a hug at sunset
as the mist blurs
the celestial dark,
upon two hands
two pairs of lips
kissing with eyes
closed or upon
friends on a couch,
talking and teasing.

So much depends upon
a black and white steed
walking with elegance,
a ballerina’s curtsey,
the warmth of the water
washing away the remains
of a stressful day.

So much depends upon
a rounded white candle
smoldering through
the night and a voice
calming your demons
while the midnight wolf
never forgets
he is free.

Monday, June 30, 2014

A New Beginning

     I have posted about 350 poems here, and I think it is time to revisit and revise some of them for possible publication rather than continue to post new work on a weekly basis.
   Thank you to those followers who have stuck with me. I may still occasionally post a new poem here but not on any regular schedule.  If you are finding this blog for the first time, please feel free to browse and, I hope, find something you enjoy.
                                                                                                                     Fred Zirm

Monday, June 23, 2014



When I cycle swiftly,
sometimes the rush of wind
sounds like a car
that’s not really there
or masks the noise

of one that is. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hard Plumbed

We ran into some complications with a kitchen appliance.

    Hard Plumbed
The delivery man tells us
he cannot replace the old
dishwasher with its solid
copper connection and no
cut-off valve to accommodate
a new and improved successor.

It was installed as if it would
last forever – like a monument
or a bank vault or a heart.