Three ways to start a poem, I tell my morning students:
an image, word, or an abstract idea.

“Shimmer” is still my word that evening and
it’s not too long before I see it, radiant
in thick-crowned grove of oaks; the way their leaves
reflect a pale red sun , a deep slow glow.
I walk under the tangled canopy
and spy a bright red apple--
yes apple tree, amidst these oaks--
a shade or two darker than
the rosy setting sun.


I suspect it’s that apple tree
as if to add idea to image, word:
Eden’s fruit still hanging for decision.

I pause, quite hesitant, as fading rays
splash light of purpling sky upon this fruit
that dangles like a piece of history
and seems somehow to bring Fate very near.

I choose to just hear crickets, watch the wind
shake leaves into small shimmers.  Branches sway.
Then suddenly the apple drops, and rolls away.

I take a bite, instead, of evening air;
I haven’t found a poem yet, but there’s truth
in rising hawk that scythes this purple night,
in shimmer that’s now dark as evening’s breeze.