Poetry from Rick Hartwell

Home, Heart

With warmth of heart entering the scalded fall day,
recall –

kaleidoscopic drifts of leaves, Brown County, Indiana,
smooth sap runnels on firs, Coos Bay, Oregon,
taunting northwest snows, Missoula, Montana;

not the perversities of a winter foretold,
rather the rheostat of transformation,
seasons’ sliding dimmer switch.

Moment to Moment

Little bird tap, tap, tapping a third floor window,
trying to access The History of England, like me.

Too few Fridays at 7 a.m., almost too early to
connect the dots from Runnymede to Agincourt.

Facing a seventh decade, back at school again;
bird taps help refocus me on staccato note-taking.

Walking meditation at break; no monkey-mind, just
bird-rhythm thoughts, bloody horrors and heritage.

Being in the present, quarrels with learning the past.


From Within Reptilian Eyes

Amber leaves depend from ebony twigs,
wet bulbous nodules animate leafy emerald trees,
visually dazzling, these intellectual incongruities,
minor befuddlements, slowly ease into apprehension.

Velveteen crows glower from within reptilian eyes,
surreptitiously trickling Doritos from their beaks,
golden flashes flipping in the autumn breeze;
scavengers of the remains of the departed –

Nothing is wasted and nothing is lost.


Richard D. Hartwell
When hate is in the seeds, you can only harvest weeds. Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
In joined hands there is hope; in a clenched fist, none. Victor Hugo, Toilers of the Sea
An eye for an eye only ends up making the world blind. Mohandas Gandhi, The Mahatma

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher (remember the hormonally-challenged?) living in Southern California. He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity. Given his “druthers,” if he’s not writing, Rick would rather still be tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon. He can be reached at rdhartwell@gmail.com.