Monday, January 25, 2016

The Last Time I Bumped Into Don Murray

                                                 by Ralph Fletcher

The last time I bump into Don Murrray
 his 83 year old hands were long,
white, blue-veined, tremulous 
but strong when we shook hands.

Those hands carried a gun in the war,
and broke up fights between soldiers.
At 50 they signed the legal paper
to take his daughter off life support.

I’d watch him offer a hand to his frail wife,
not to lift her up, as he explained it,
but as a fixed point in the world
she could pull against to stand.

The hands gestured as he talked:
 “Even when Minnie Mae was dying
I was able to finish most projects—
I did a lot of writing in my head.”

I pointed at his hand: “You’re bleeding.”
The waitress fetched a Bandaid,
his hands such a river of trembling
he could not manage to unwrap it

so he finally let me do it for him,
more amused than embarrassed,
muttering about new medication,
as I tenderly covered the small wound.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Writing Kind of Night

It is clear tonight,
a writing kind of night.

There’s a moon stirring up
mysterious metaphors
in my imagination.

The heavens are jam-packed
with planets and black holes
that are still undiscovered,

and magnificent poems
still to be written. 

from a Writing Kind of Day by Ralph Fletcher

Thursday, April 30, 2015

There are many tasks you have to do when you’re about to move. In this poem defrosting the freezer unearths some important memories, and reminders of what will be left behind.

Defrosting the Freezer

One container of spaghetti sauce
Grandma made before she died.

Two old pieces of wedding cake
you couldn’t pay me to eat.

Three snowballs from last winter,
slightly deformed, no longer fluffy.

Four small flounder from the time
Grandpa took me deep-sea fishing.

Everything coated in a thick
white layer of sadness.      

from Moving Day by Ralph Fletcher

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spider Web

An elusive thing
at the birth of spring:
the first fine web
of a spiderling.

You can’t hardly feel it,
it’s almost not there,
caressing your face,
lighter than air.

          by Ralph Fletcher

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Two for Tuesday. The first one is a science poem, and gives
a good way to remember what H20 means. The second is a sad
love poem.


The recipe
       for water is
the same as
       it’s always been:

two parts
one part

       that’s the rule
to make a water

Waiting for the Splash

Last night
after you hung up
I wrote you a poem
hoping it might
change your heart.

This morning
I tell myself:
Get serious, man.
Someone once compared
writing a poem
and hoping it will
change the world
to dropping rose petals
down a deep well

waiting for the splash.

from I Am Wings: Poems about Love

© Ralph Fletcher. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 27, 2015

This is a poem about how it feels after you go to a
family reunion, and get to hang out with all the


We leave the reunion, go home
to a house that’s much too quiet.

No more tag or kick-the-can of
killer croquet with my cousins.

No more bloody war stories
told by my big-bellied uncles.

No more staying up late watching TV
while the grownups crazy-laugh
around the kitchen table.

Just us. Boring us.

Our family becomes
like a package of plums
at the supermarket—

so small and tight
I can hardly breathe.

from Relatively Speaking: Poems About Family

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Knife-dancing angels playfully fight.
Snails move slow and often stop.
Guppies gaze through watery windows
Hung with curtains of swirling light.

Fish hear secrets and never tell.
Most sleep and eat and keep in pairs.
They listen to me in perfect silence:
I should listen half as well.

I study my fish and they study me,
Our worlds bridged by heavy glass.
But I am dry and far too heavy;
I clomp to the kitchen gracelessly.

At times my land life seems out of whack:
No fins, no gills, with unwebbed feet.
Life on earth began in the water—
Today I swear I’d gladly go back.

                          by Ralph Fletcher