Just because today
Your ship may sink
And that won’t be fun,

Know tomorrow that
Your sink may ship
And that plumbing project get done.



Grampa had a hip replaced

and then the other hip,

then he got one old knee replaced,

the other after it.

With all these leggy changes

now I wonder if by chance,

Grampa must go shopping

and replace his old length pants?



Mom’s a driver, hand on the van
Mom’s a cook, hand on the pan
Mom’s a shopper, hand on the bread
Mom’s a tailor, hand on the thread
Mom’s a scrubber, hand on the towel
Mom’s a builder, hand on the trowel
Mom’s a math whiz, hand on the bills
Mom’s a doctor, hand on the pills.
It all proves that
Mom’s part octopus:
At least eight-handed
Looking after us.


My sister’s dance recycle was held this afternoon
The open was a fresh take on the classic “Brigadoon.”
The ballerinas stole Act II updating “Claire de Loon”,
Next came a Modern version of “The Ballad of Rocky Raccoon.”
Throughout it all I snacked on extra crunchy Lorna Doones,
Which the Tap Dance Troop’s clicks covered to a new “Angelina, Zooma-Zoom.”

From where this event got its name,
at first I had no clue:
There were no boogeying bottles or can-canning cans.
But after seeing the old songs
rethunk, reduced, and reused
“Dance Recycle” is now a name I understand.



Skedaddle whistles
To move along Padiddle
Who cannot decipher
The Hurry-Up Riddle

of faster, quicker,
sooner, more,
of pick up your feet
and get out the door.

When Skedaddle says
Padiddle says
Don’t worry.

If Padiddle wonders,
Why rush?
Skedaddle says,

When Skedaddle asks
How should we go?
Padiddle answers,
Definitely Slow.

If Padiddle refuses
to move fast
Skedaddle’s expression
becomes aghast.

If they were horses
Skedaddle’d be at the battle
while Padiddle lagged back
fixing his saddle.

The Airship Padiddle
would relax at the gate
while Skedaddle soared off
from the chance to be late.

Though their names sound alike
they work no more the same
than a fiddle and rattle.


If life were like a grotto
There would be no score
If the lighter of a candle
Had been rich or a poor

Or boy or girl
Or black or white
Or young or old
Or left or right

Or what had brought’em there
Or how many lights they’d lit
Or if they liked to stand in back
Or kneel alone or sit

No one keeps track of how to spell
The candle lighters’ names
At a grotto time is better spent
Reflecting on their flames

And when the spirit moves,
Passing the light along,
With no thought that the candle
You’re sharing from is wrong

If life were like a grotto
Every light that we discover
Would warm and guide and give itself
To freely spark another.


Danish, Denmark, Netherlands,
Dutch, Flanders

France, Wales, Britannia
Scotland, Irish


How will I ever fit the great big world inside my noggin?

Roberto's Globe


Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 10.11.42 AM

Click on the “book cover” image above to see this poem presented as a #StellerStory.


Today I will be busy
Though I have no to-do list,
Just lots of stuff ahead of me
That nobody should miss.

All of it is out there
In one easy to find place
That has no walls or ceiling
But endless open space.

The directions there are simple:
Walk right out the Door
To the magic land of Nowhere,
It’s the greatest to explore.

All it takes is curiosity
And every trip Nowhere will prove
That no matter what you’ve heard
Nowhere is someplace too.

A view from the beneath the roof over the Door to Nowhere

The view from beneath the roof over the Door to Nowhere (Photo: PaC)

See Timothy Egan’s column in The Old Gray Lady for more on the value of minds that go Nowhere — John Lennon’s, for instance.


Charter Members, The Scowl So-Sigh-ety

The Scowl So-sigh-ety
meets way back in Angry Alley,
Deep in the heart of Distasteville
across Disgruntled Valley.

If you’ve never met them
I suggest you stay away,
unless, of course,
you love looking for clouds on sunny days.

If so, run to their next meeting,
frowning’s the sole entry fee,
So show a grumpy face, complain,
and join the Scowl So-Sigh-ety.

To see The Scowl So-Sigh-Ety as a #StellerStory, click the image below.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 10.18.28 PM


Has his old broken down Honda
got your dog into a jam?
Did your goldfish back his Ford
into an unsuspecting lamb?

Then come pay us a visit
– now don’t delay or stop! –
Yes, come see Sam Cram’s world renowned
Pet Automotive Shop.

We’ve got gaskets, gears and wipers
for every pets’ cars’ needs:
from the Jaguar racing horse
whose vintage Pinto’s lacking speed

to the calico who’s preference is
whitewalls on his Tacoma
and the ferret who wants front seats
reeking of Vanillaroma.

Yes, old Sam Cram the Pet Car Man
makes driving dreams come true
for domesticated motorists
and biped owners, too.


Be gone Old Man Winter,
You’ve had your prance.
I’ve already put away
all my corduroy pants.

April is half gone now,
the green grass is showing,
so much that I can hear
folks down the street mowing.

Baseball has returned,
we’re all thinking spring
nobody has interest
in one last icy fling.

You’re in this year’s rear view
as we head forward,
away from you Winter,
and the hot summer toward.

After the long, drab winter, popped lilacs are like purple pyrotechnics. (Photo: PaC)

After the long, drab winter, popped lilacs are like purple pyrotechnics. (Photo: PaC)


UPDATED 3-26-16: To read this poem as a STELLER STORY, click on the photo below.

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 11.18.07 PM

Last year’s Easter egg hunt
was in the old cornfield.
Now it seems that day
not every egg was revealed

and that from those left back
are this year being born
acres and acres of stalks
sprouting tiny eggcorns.

Nature’s packaged each one
in a shell in a husk,
so cracking the eggcorns
is a rusty padlock fuss.

But once their outer layers
are opened up and clean
the cob yolks deep inside
are like nothing that you’ve seen:

Purple, pink, and yellow,
orange, blue, and jade,
all the prettiest pastels,
every springtime shade.

Just how nature made this magic
Science is still figuring,
but one thing learned so far:
is mighty omelets
from the tiny eggcorns spring.


Eggcorns are the kernel of a colorful Easter breakfast. (Photo: PaC)  


In a pinch? In a bind?
Have an out of style flip?
That’s dampened your spirits?
Put a dip in your zip?

Well no messy hair doll
has reason to fret
who knows the old Ballad
of the Green Barrette.

It’s a song that licks cowlicks
and marches past bed-head,
that makes crooked parts
straight as new tire tread.

So to tune up your coif,
it may be your best bet
to sing that ol’ pea-colored clip classic,
The Ballad of the Green Barrette.

"SIGHT READING IS TOUGH, PILGRIM!" - An artist rendering of the original score from "The Ballad of the Green Barrette"

“SIGHT READING IS TOUGH, PILGRIM!” – An artist rendering of the original score from “The Ballad of the Green Barrette” (Photo: PaC)


Dear Tooth Fairy,
Wherever you might be,
Take one good guess
Who it’s time to come see.

If you are not near by
My apologies
I know sometimes your work
Takes you overseas

Or maybe this is your week
To be on holiday
Either way, with all respect,
There’s no more time to play.

Because another tooth
At eight-oh-four this morning
Leaped out of my mouth
Without any warning.

Now I’m sure that no one knows
The tooth business like you
Or appreciates how teeth can
Fall out out of the blue.

And while unexpected calls
Must make your life tricky
Just imagine how they help
Spur the economy!

Just what would happen if
No one ever called?
Think of the horror: poor you!
At home, watching the walls!

But at least for one more day
There’s no danger of that.
So stop what you’re doing, check my address,
And this evening, be here, stat!

AN ARTIST RENDERING OF THE TOOTH FAIRY ON VACATION - Seen here (silhouette, at center), riding her Vespa in Cinque Terra.

AN ARTIST RENDERING OF THE TOOTH FAIRY ON VACATION – Seen here (in silhouette, at center), riding her Vespa in Cinque Terra.


So you found a 4-leaf clover.

Well, I hunt bigger things:

Like five and six leaf clovers

And the extra luck they bring.

And the highly coveted clover

With leaves that number seven,

Legend says those who find one

Will go straight to heaven.

The eight leaf clover doubles up

What a plain four leafer brings

The 9-leaf clover isn’t lucky at all:

Touching it actually stings.

Ten leaf clovers are what I’m really after

They’re the best it gets.

So you’d like to come hunting them with me?

Hmmmm….well, ok…let’s.

I’ll bring you along for the low low price

Of that old 4-leaf clover you’ve got.

What’s that? I said 4-leafs don’t interest me?

I said that?!? Well. I must have forgot.


Field Notebook Renderings of Members of Genus: Polyleaf – (from upper left corner) The Basic aka The Four Score ; The And-1 ; The O’Six Pack ; The Stairway to Seven ; The Octclover ; The Stinger aka the Paul Newman aka The Henry Gondorff ; The Big Time aka the Green Whale aka The O’Derek


UPDATED 9/18/17: To see this poem as a fully photo illustrated STELLER STORY, click here.

Up in the Hudson Valley
Lived a dog named Zo
He was always the biggest pooch
Wherever he would go.

Weighing more than most grownups,
Even far away he looked tall,
“No dog in all this land,” thought Zo,
“Could ever make me feel small.”

As he started each day
That was Zo’s world view
It kept his sun warm,
Made his sky extra blue.

And that’s how it was
As he strolled a new street
One morning and looked up
And saw two large feet,

And above them huge legs,
Giant ears, a big kisser,
Eyes climbing, Zo thought,
“What have we got here, Mister?

“That can’t be a dog,
There’s no way. But it is.
Up there … on that roof ….
That whole building is his.

“Do my peepers deceive me?
Is he bigger than I?
Who am I kidding?
He blocks out the sky!

“Could he be part Bull?
Smooth Fox? Jack Russell?
Would even Godzilla
With this fella tussle?”

Politely Zo nodded
And yipped a hello.
The roof dog’s response
Was too slight to show.

Or too little, at least,
To detect from the street,
At the level of Zo’s
Now fast moving feet.

“Good day sir,” Zo barked,
without looking back,
“It appears on this street
You’ve got things well intact.

“Should you stop what you’re doing
because of me? No!
You just hang out up there,
I’ll go keep being Zo.”

Then off he moseyed
Politely smiling
While in his brain this address
He was filing.

Good old clear sighted Zo
Still gets thrown in a fog
Thinking back to first meeting
That other big dog.


A Waterloo kangaroo
met a Syracuse moose
looking for a Buffalo crow

flying with a York stork
and a Champaign crane
who once knew a San Francisco doe

speaking Bismarck Lark
to a Montauk hawk
with a swine from the Mason-Dixon line

while a Worcester rooster
and Delaware bear
made plans to dine at nine

at Decatur Alligator’s
where the famed Seattle Cattle
played behind the Ocala Koala

who opened the show,
“Here’s one ya’ll know
called, ‘My Friend in the Zoo in Walla Walla.’”