Doubled over in the knee-high tide

I was trying to get a closer look

at the sloshy brine and green undertow

and how they’ve borne this rinsing roar

without a break 4 billion years by now

and how it was all making me dizzy,

and then some guy with his girlfriend

shouted was I okay bent over like that,

and I waved them off

with a frowning smile and a vow

never to do anything like this again,

never regard the scale of the cosmos

on vacation, at the beach, in public,

doubled over, on a Monday.

© copyright 2023 Ray Waddle 



Gazing up at two tall oaks out back,

then going a thousand feet higher, I hold it there

till my neck hurts meeting painless sky.


Yes I know it’s folly to pinpoint the plane

where gravity wavers and politics ends

and stratosphere comes into its own,


but I stay tensed upward anyway where clouds

breathe and boil and stream their colors,

fend off our taunts, sweep themselves along.


What I’m saying is I’m trying to take a break

from the helpless recounts down here,

the fight for ground, the way the dead slip away.


The sky has its say, saying nothing,

wanting nothing, which isn’t nothing,

if I’m paying any attention at all.

© copyright 2023 Ray Waddle



Already in mid-October the couple across the street

are setting up the front yard – the latest spinning Santa,

dog elves pulling holy family on team USA sleigh,

gortex snowman bewildered on the evergreen grass.

Gently they get it all propped up and plugged in,


so the holiday can blanket us with its calming courtesy,

the kind it takes to go to this outdoor trouble.

What still circles the earth from long ago always lands

in velvet reds come winter, this curbside misrule

hauled out of stone nativity deeps once more.


Now it’s midsummer and the yard scene’s still in place,

blistered in July heat, sagging to one side, and anyone

driving by has good reason to slam the brakes and

take issue with this heedless theological disarray.

Nobody’s going to do that.

© copyright 2023 Ray Waddle