owl through window

Owl Dreams

A barred owl flew
over your head,

I remembered the story,

I remembered
the awe in your voice
as you shared
the thrill,

the feel
of its wings
skimming close,

I shared my wish
to see one as well,

so you dreamed one
for me,

he perched on a branch
outside your window,

his penetrating gaze,
you acknowledge him,

you wanted to find me,
to tell me,
come quickly,
come witness this wonder,

yet it was only a dream
and my owl’s still unseen,

but the real gift
was being
in your dream,

where the space between
you and me
is as thin as the gap
between earth and sky,
between night and day,

maybe that’s the way
we survive this world,

I will dream for you,
you will dream for me,
and our dreaming
will illuminate
what we hope to see,

the places that will
finally set us free.



May blessings settle in this home
like peace at silent dawn,
resting in the shadows
and the rays of noonday sun,

floating on the whispered wind,
alive on fragrant breeze,
present in the robin’s song
carried on his wings,

nestled in the teapot,
and there on buttered bread,
there upon the table,
there in folded hands,

there in every troubled heart
and all the gentle souls
who find their way inside this space,
this warm and welcome home.


We Carry One Another


If we carry one another,
the load is divided
in two,

it’s true,

I never knew
as a child,
or as I grew,
that I would need
to be carried,

how lucky I was
to have you

when the time came,

I knew
it was hard
for you
to do the
heavy lifting,

but I’m here now,
I’m whole,
I’m strong,

if you need to be carried,
let me be the one
to share your load,

if we divide it in two,
we will survive.

Waiting for their Time

dandelion in wind

I throw them all
at the page,

some words
blow away like
dandelions in the wind,

others stick to the edges
unsure of their place,

others drop in
the middle
without explanation,

while others sneak in
as sly interlopers,

a perfectly designed,

carefully aligned,
emotionally balanced

you can’t trust errant words,

they will find a way
to be heard,

yearning to
describe, excite,
provoke, enthuse, amuse,

many hold promise,

some blow away
like dandelions in the wind,

while others stick to the edges
of my mind,

waiting for their time.


Rockvale - car - unfiltered

I came upon the Edsel while hiking in Henry Horton State Park near Nashville, Tennessee. It was picturesque in its utter decay. Everything was absent – seats, doors, wheels, upholstery, steering wheel, mirrors, windows, and witnesses to the day it became a permanent fixture in the park.

I couldn’t help but imagine the scene: two lovers driving through the park late one night fighting over a flirtation at the bar, booze doing most of the talking, then a deer in the road, a quick turn, a rush through trees and brush, a squealing of brakes, screams as they both flew through the windshield. It would be days before the police found their bodies, determined the cause of death, and notified their families.

John Comstock, who worked in logistical issues for the police department, was responsible for organizing the car’s removal, but it wasn’t needed as evidence so, it was low priority.

 John had an emergency appendectomy the next week that resulted in complications and early retirement. The car’s removal fell to the new guy who had more pressing matters on his desk – the robbery at First Federal Bank, the suspected arson at the Johnson farm, the stolen parrots from the Adopt-a-Pet Store in Kirkland, and so forth. Over the next many months and years, the car was forgotten about completely. Anything valuable was stripped by vandals and teenagers out on a lark.

 It’s not a great story, but sometimes the ugly truth has to be told. The car is now just a monument to every bad decision ever made.


Rockvale - hallway

She Walks the Halls

How will I go to sleep tonight,
when tiny feet
from days gone by
echo down the hall,

eight children
lived inside these walls,
observers of the
bloody Civil War,

their parents couldn’t shield them
from the horrors in plain sight,
they saw the loaded guns,
they watched the flames at night,

brother against brother,
father against son,
sides were drawn,
families torn,
hearts were split in two,

not much was whole
at war’s exhausted end,

it’s rumored that a woman
is the ghost of Peacock Hill,
she roams the halls,
she looks in rooms
her spirit never still,

I may assist her search tonight
to seek the things we’ve lost,
I wonder if we’ll ever know
what endless wars
have cost.

This poem was written during my stay at Rockvale Writers’ Colony, near Franklin, Tennessee (originally called Peacock Hill). The house was built in 1853 and survived the Civil War, spared because a Northern sympathizer was the builder. Late one night, during my stay, I thought about the young parents, with eight children, who built the house a few years before the beginning of the Civil War.

Rockvale Writers’ Colony is the antithesis of all things related to war. It is a haven for writers to delve into the complexities of the human spirit.

Be Forewarned

tree - franklin park conservatory


When it’s five below,
we’re warned
it might be too cold
for our faces,
our skin
might freeze,

so many degrees
of danger set in,

yet no warning is raised
when it’s sixty degrees,

to beware
of the kiss of sunlight
brushing our faces,

the touch of a gentle wind
caressing our skin,

the symphony of bird songs
thrilling our ears,

restless hearts,
uncertain of such joy,
could use a warning
to take it slow
when it’s sixty degrees.


Photo by Rita Bourland – Children’s Garden – Franklin Park Conservatory – 2018




Lisa berg - moon


I don’t believe in ghosts,

I say it again
then glance at the moon
through twisted trees,

crooked branches
cast eerie shadows,
flitting, floating,
fooling my senses,

an owl’s shriek cuts the night,
bats zoom by in darkened flight,

shapes rise up
unearthed, set free,

I’m frozen, alone,
afraid to scream,

figures draw near,
then an icy whisper in my ear:

‘come follow us to a secret place
where humans keep our spirits fed,
you shouldn’t fear what lies ahead.’

I fight for my life
then slip away,
I shiver and shake
’til dawn the next day,

I now sleep nights
with sheets pulled tight,
a light beside my bed,
lest figures find their way inside

to whisk my soul away.

Photo by Lisa Berg


Norton - Schiller Park


Breathe in the air,

take a break
from holding your breath
against bad news,

let your lungs expand
with the promise
of this day,

there are so many
ways you make a difference,

your smile,
your style
of letting others
be heard,

all you have learned
in life
is part of your
beautiful being,

share that,

live that,

be kind.

When is it Time

lisa berg - hummingbird

Photo by Lisa Berg

When is it Time

When is it time
to go,

it’s a mystery
how I know
I’m ready,

subtle shifts in the air,
small whispers in my ear,
take care,

your journey
will be long,
you belong there
not here,

be strong,
bring along
your will
to fly,

keep an eye
to the skies,
to the earth
spinning ‘neath your wings,


we yearn
for our own
whispered clues

as we ponder
our days,

it’s hard to discern
which way to turn,
whether to go
or stay,

be safe
little hummingbird,
we’re counting
on you.