Life II

Why is everything part of suffering?

Why is it important to starve and be tormented?

Sometimes the simplest, smallest things

Have the whole of living in their features.

A newborn’s face is not a murder,

A lick of a dog’s tongue not a horrific crime.

We surround ourselves with stretchy bubbles,

Letting the terrible in but not out.

Have we forgotten the world in peace?

Have we subsumed the world in fear?

Close your eyes and feel the sun,

The rain, the clouds, the breeze.

Is this not part of life as well?

Is not the budding of leaves

As much as the shedding of them?

Do not forsake the joyful

As payment and punishment.

Breathe deep and exhale,

The heavens belong to you too.


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway

Today II

Sky of wet, raw linen

With occasional rips

To let the water out


Music at the restaurant

Was plain and banal

Matching the weather


A car hit the pillar outside

Leaving the roof held

By jokingly called “stripper poles”


Not much for today

Just pain and boredom

Held together by panic


Waiting for the dentist drill

And the traction pulley

Maybe escape with some music


Whistling away, the wind

Whips the last soggy leaves

Over to the next yard


Passing through a tunnel

The air like a freight train

Reaches a final destination


Only to roar off again


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway

Park Bench

Shaded, faithful to the Nature,

Dappled with cool parts for resting.

A bench relaxes itself in the sunlight,

Waiting for weary visitors and playful children.

Light whispers back and forth.

It is bright and the sun fans through the trees.

Hostas take their places and mark the entrance.

Time swirls like a honeybee, noting

The roses and pinks around it.

It is tranquil and serene,

As a person takes a picture

And makes the scene their own hideaway.

Captured in green for a period

Unbeknownst to anyone.


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway


Under a wintry sky

I wrangle words into art.

These words slip and falter,

Sometimes they even shatter

As vases to my heart.

Working under cold and bareness

I stich together some sort of meaning.

Other times I just sit,

Coaxing my brain to finagle one more piece.

It doesn’t always end well,

But I continue to ponder deeply

As my mind is an ocean,

And I a mere diver to its depths.

Finding the pearl is difficult,

But I surface, bringing it to the chilly air.

And it again becomes words,

Typed onto an online page.


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway


Her love is not sculpture,

Her sweetness is not hardened stone.

She lives a gentle solitary life,

Passing the cup of love to others.

Her recipients mostly are appreciative,

With a few holding hate in their hearts.

She does what she can in her dwindling years,

But nurtures the kindness that she conveys.

At home there is a cat and a cup of tea,

A ticking clock and the smell of jasmine.

She settles into the tufted couch,

Thankful to have served another day.

She closes her eyes and inhales deeply,

Adrift in her memories and at peace.


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway


She thinks in harmonies and symbols.

Words come to her like butterflies,

With fantasies on their wings.

She nibbles on the edges of ideas,

Trying them out before devouring them.

Her world is alight with floating color,

And music touches her fingertips.

She stays in this state for moments,

Forgetting days, weeks, months.

Her food bursts with momentum,

And she drinks from a patched cup.

She is beholden and she is beheld.

She targets the lines and converses in verses.

Not forgotten, she is everywhere.

Left alone, she flashes like lightning.

She is in another’s soul.


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway

This Morning II

Snow becomes a shape shifter,

Building up a deposit of cold white

Over branches and street lights


The ground is too warm, though,

So it melts to a watery gray

With a speck of dust from the air


Sky is mercifully bright

As it tidies up the flakes

It falls and swirls around endlessly


Bringing the water to shine

Despite its dirty imperfections

It holds a quirky mirror to the world


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway

Haiti 1995

Her skin was darker than the dirt road,

But not as dark as the heavy night.

She laid still and lifeless,

But her eyes were open

And her mouth was agape.

Her neck was nearly ninety degrees,

Snapped by a heavy wire.

Her arms and legs were everywhere

Like a puppet without the strings.

A policeman with latex gloves

Pinched her skin with a pair of pliers.

A crowd of ivory eyes stood around her,

Silent or barely muttering.

The truck that let her hang was gone.

She was a nonentity now,

She was somebody’s daughter at least.

She is no one,

But then she was everyone;

Dead, yet quietly sinking back into the darkness.


©2017 Valerie Hathaway



A salmon swims its journey

To birth, life, and death.

It secretly maneuvers around

Bears and the fisherman’s net.

Everybody wants it dead,

A tasty treat on a platter dish.

But notwithstanding the water

It continues to its final wish:

To be parent to a group of minnows

It won’t with its deadened eyes see.

So pull back your nets and lures

And just let the salmon be.


© 2017 Valerie Hathaway

My Grandparent’s House

Hoarders lived in my grandparent’s house.

Piles of papers and magazines turned loose

Paths to each room seemed to rouse

No other way but the one I must choose.

What memories may be held in the muck,

In salvage or garbage they may mistook

For something once useful, now laid to rest

In the stockpile that gathered in that cluttered nest.

Depression era values took and held fast

In which no tidbit of information lost

But no computer or scanner kept alive

To share these tidbits on a hard drive.


©2017 Valerie Hathaway