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Sample Poems by Peter Karoff


A tough old bird
One legged gray mottled feathers
Seagull owns a coral rock
Absolute dead low tide
I am clearly too close for comfort
Bird annoyed loud squawks
Slow awkward lift off

At LAX chaos scramble
Heft heavy bags on the Hilton bus
A woman pushes and says
"You're pretty strong for an old guy"
Her husband - I think - laughs -
"She can only lift 100 pounds"
"Time to trade her in" I say

First light at 4:30 far too early
All around awake by what call
What cricket or hoot owl
What aspiration gives it up today
What beach walk beats the tide
When do you trade in
An old bird or an old guy


Governments fail from lack
Fortunes rise and fall
And great art is made by force of

You won't find will in resumes
It isn't always noisy
And often lies deep

Obsession while not will
Is part of the intensity
Which is a precondition

Conception is nice
But doesn't express will
While execution oh yes

The ah ha components are
Passion and huge ambition
All over a good idea

Oh Cecelia Oh Elisabeth

They materialized magically from the congregation
Who knew they were there to lead us in communal song
Two sopranos two contraltos one tenor a chorus no less
Holding forth Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now as though
They had practiced for hours and a good thing it was
We could hardly sing a note so overwhelmed by loving
Martha in the morning Martha in the evening a cascade
From all sides a lifetime of sighs holding on to each other
How she loved a soprano's gifted voice singing carols
Christmas made magical meaning elevated to the highest
And we belong to it all gathered in this precious space

Sinking In

I am thinking like a poet - her absence must almost be a presence
Barbara Lawrence

Absence is not the opposite of presence
You can be present but still be absent
How many times have you and I heard that
And one can be present even in absence
In a court of law it is called "in Absentia"
From the Latin convicted or acquitted
But nowhere in sight but you are in sight
What is absent is the idle conversation idling
Along just the two of us a steady hum
Of perfect-pitch music of the smallest
Of things the thing become the thing
Minutia of one's life integral to the other
Silence fills the empty house filled to the brim
With you with the brilliant colors you chose
The art the glass the bright reds and blues
All things curated with your loving soul
Present and absent takes me sinking in