To my son Arlie, (1972 – May 25, 2017)


Now I understand

the keening wail,

the rocking forwards,


so different

from the lullaby

the cradling

from long ago.

It’s forward, release,



the pain

as it bursts through

a damn

in the solar plexus.


The medics came

from experience

guessing it was a heart attack.

He had keened

his own losses

too many times.

We rock and release,


and release

the keening wail,

the keening wheel

that won’t stop turning

around and around

and around.


(c) 2017  Betty Hayes Albright



Shaman man,

you knew every fold

hidden in the riddling

curtain of reality.

You saw the bare

bones of motive,

the underpinnings

of facade.

You were strength and power.

But you also knew tenderness,

the sweet kiss

on the cheek of a lover

slumbering in your bed.

But alas, you also knew

when to go.


Oh Shaman man

do not doubt another season,

a time not jaded

by an overdose of obstacle.

For when we touch

again, we’ll have

a thousand years to spare.

© 2014, 2017 Betty Hayes Albright


(a re-post)




Possum tumbles

like an old football

through branches

to the garden below.

Dazed, he snuffles

through warm leaves

climbs again

limb by slow limb

to his dozing nest

where he’ll finish his dream

of the gardener below

who is wiping her shoe

on the grass.

He thinks she is kind

and tonight

he will leave another offering.


(c) 1997, 2017  Betty Hayes Albright



What is it about

the wailing

train at night?


I would hop

a car with just enough

hay to make a pillow


lie there swaying

full moon strobing

through the open doors


can’t tell if it churns

north or south

I’m just passing through.



©  2017  Betty Hayes Albright




On May 18, 1980, Mt. St. Helen’s erupted in Washington State, killing 57 people, including one of my dearest friends, Barb. This was written shortly afterwards.


You laughed above the heads

of those who couldn’t see your wings,

but those of us with vision

always flew along with you.

Even in the rain you’d soar

above the muddy puddles

with a smile and a wink.


But just this once

your takeoff was too slow.

St. Helen’s grabbed you

in her smoky claws,

and with one spicy belch

she burned your wings away….


I found a bird

the cat brought in,

buried it in forget-me-nots,

and felt you watching,

heard your laughter

rising from the sifted dust

as you spread your wings and flew

beyond the ash

to the curlicue clouds.


(c) 1980, 2017 Betty Hayes Albright


(In memory of Barb, her husband, and her two children)


(a Mayberrie poem)


Once a week

she braves the village,

trades her woven scarves

for bread and cheese,

and candle sticks.

She offers just a veiled smile

and searches every face;

she dare not speak

of things she shouldn’t know.


At dusk she climbs the deer path

to her cottage on the hill

and there she lights one candle stick.

As wisps of smoke slide up the wall

like lovers twined

she gazes at the flame and sees

battle-weary men at rest

tending to their fire;

and there!

in the shadowed edge

a single silhouette.

He turns her way

as though he feels her near.


She reaches through

the waxen light

and hangs her heart

around his neck,

then throwing kisses

to the night

she banks the fire

in his eyes

and blows the candle out.


©  2012, 2017  Betty Hayes Albright


(A re-post, revised)

Lady Bug

(For a future children’s book, maybe….)








Dotty little lady bug,

I would give you such a hug

but if I hold you close to me

I’m afraid you’ll cease to be

so I shall place you on my finger,

maybe you won’t go, but linger

till a breeze lifts you away – 

another flower, another day.


© 2013, 2017 Betty Hayes Albright


(A re-post.  Photo from http://www.wallpaprest.com)


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