When we raised our heads

the sky broke apart

and we saw God.

We stood on stilts

and remembered our names.

But then we saw gashes

in the garden below

and heel marks

from heavy boots.

We saw wolves and bears

pacing around us

watching our eyes

and we threw off our stilts

and danced around the fire

till Gaia was smooth and warm.

And in the circle of creatures

we remembered their names.


(c)  1995,  2017  Betty Hayes Albright


So, in Alaska it’s okay once again to murder wolves in their dens (even when they have pups), and to shoot bears from helicopters.


I’m re-posting this old poem again, in protest of a recent decision by our new “leader”, and wondering what will be next. Backwards we go…..




Sun gives it all up

for lavender and yellow;

tree launches the moon.


©  2017  Betty Hayes Albright 


(Photo taken by my son,  Jason Judd)

White Night


And there was such a midnight

when the air took on a glow

and the sky began to loosen

and the dark was lit by snow

and the woods were sooner filled

with a whispering gypsy light

that danced across my footprints,

then swaddled them in white.


(c) 1993, 2017 Betty Hayes Albright


(a re-post)




Hard Wood


You find out

why it’s called “hardwood”

the instant it rises up

to slam you

on the cheekbone

after your doctor

takes away the medicine

that has served you well

for twenty years

but is now declared “dangerous”

for those of a certain age.

He substitutes it

with a “safe” medicine

that causes you to faint

as you’re walking

across the room

but the government knows best,

never mind the insult

and the bruising

and the pain.

Safety first!


©  2017  Betty Hayes Albright 


(It could’ve been worse – no broken bones.)


It’s one more slippery

snow-white day

when every bird

has stolen away


except for one

in the old elm tree

who watches my window.

But does he see me,


or just the reflection

of love left behind?

I blow him a kiss

through the half-opened blind.


And as each new season

transfigures our view

perhaps he won’t mind

that I’m watching him too.


© 2017  Betty Hayes Albright 


She sips hot tea

and watches snow

fall through the trees

and those ugly electric wires

that slice across her view.

She sighs…

“The world is too much with us,”

William Wordsworth said so long ago.

What would he say now?

Children play outside

with phones stuck to their faces

and never look up.


It doesn’t stick.

She turns from the window

to her beloved books:

poetry, philosophy,

nature, metaphysics –

millions and billions of words

strung in constellations of idea.


She imagines stirring them up

into one large pot

over a hot fire

and wonders what the bottom line

would be – the final alchemy.

Perhaps this one plea:

to speak our love now

before the die is cast,

before we sign our exodus;

to lift ourselves

by bootstraps woven

with the dreams of Gaia.


Her tea has gone cold.

She turns back to the window

where the snow is finally sticking

and the trees are turning white.

And seventy times seven birds

are perched upon the wires.


© 2016  Betty Hayes Albright


Invisible Ink


It’s waiting –

blank notebook paper

on my clipboard,

the kind I’ve always used,

college ruled

with a red line down the margin.

My pen is made

from recycled plastic

with blue gel ink

and feels good between my fingers.

Remember those leaky fountain pens

we had in grade school

that we filled from a bottle?

My favorite ink was peacock blue.

One Christmas my mom

gave me a ball point “quill” pen

with a fluffy pink feather plume

and matching ink.

Holding it I felt like Emily Dickinson,

a fountain of words,

inspiration and opinion,

countless pink poems of love

and injustice

followed by a stunned poem

when Kennedy was shot

two days after my 17th birthday.

Then came poems of indignation

about the war in Vietnam

and what was wrong with long hair,

mini-skirts and bare feet?

Ah, but I digress.


Now my muse

puts a finger to his lips

and tells me hush,

this is just non-poetic prose

after all.

He came to me

in a dream one night

arms folded sternly across his chest.

I wanted to pull them open,

wrap them around me,

kiss his face,

but he turned away.

I woke to find my pen

filled with invisible ink.

Can he see this,

or are these words

just feathery plumes of dust?


© 2013, 2016 Betty Hayes Albright



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