Monday, December 24, 2018

A Tree Of Celebration...

A Tree Of Celebration...

Rooted in the lower world,
Land of spirits and ghosts,
Loved ones from seasons past,
Their stories remembered once again.

Ground beneath blanketed,
With snow and a great sharing,
The bounty of this year given,
With love and joy wished to all.

The stars and spirts circle up to the heavens,
Spinning about the pole star,
All beautiful,
Tucked away in boughs and branches of reality,
Or out at the edges shining.

Mystical and mundane,
All in Spirit are one.

Love rules this Universe,
Vision helps us ride it,
And today we must see and send to all.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 12/24/2018

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Nearing Solstice...

Nearing Solstice...

A cool crisp night,
Sharp pretty stars hidden by charcoal clouds,
I sit outside with a jacket,
Shivering out poetry to the scent of a quiet cigar.

I need poems in my life,
I need these quiet moments,
A brief bubble in which my soul can echo,
And commune with those riding this wavelength,
Taking a pen and weaving the frayed threads of life into wonder.

It's here in this space that I can recharge,
Vent the pent-up artistry this world devalues,
Salute my peers,
Distance myself from the dog-eat-dog,
Dream of bourbon and nog.

There are mysteries deeper and deeper,
What is and what lies underneath,
Reconnection to the Universal,
Unformed by the blasphemous treason of human desires,
Simply be and be me in the world I would wish.

Perhaps if I could see it vividly enough,
Write it clearly enough,
A world that values love and compassion might emerge,
A vision of a future of light.

So much we could do,
If only I could somehow share the gift of Thor's hammer,
The electricity of insight,
Meant to build rather than batter.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 12/14/2018

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Sartia's Halo Polish...

Sartia's Halo Polish...

Even halos get dulled,
Centuries of flights in all weather,
Missions of mercy and constant scenes of agony,
The acid in an angel's tears pits even the best materials,
And the corrosion of the soul facing death,
Time after time after time,
Followed by the healing expansion of spirit,
The one you get in the joy of a miracle delivered,
The flowery scent of tears of joy,
When a mother sees her child cry away near death,
Surviving with no longer fevered little curls,
Still damp with the sweat of fate,
Sartia's hands have always been brave,
As she scrubs the crags of woe from their halos,
As each touch brings a flash of the visions,
The sight of what the Heavenly host have borne,
As Sartia rinses them with martyrs' blood,
And tears of requited love,
Under God's golden moonlight,
In her little garden world of pale roses,
Her blue eyes are ancient,
And her soft face is ever young,
As the shaken hug her in mutual comfort,
Their halos returned after each brief respite,
Their crushing weight for a time lifted,
She cries but softly in her state of gentle grace.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 12/18/2001

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Rowan's Promise...

Rowan's Promise...

Rowan had long locks of hair,
The color of Autumn fire,
Streaked through with chestnut brown.

Her eyes like amber and cinnamon were filled with an easy smile,
Warm like morning embers,
Easy to rekindle the bright light of laughter.

Rowan was the first-born daughter of Summer,
Her childhood filled with yellow dandelions and their seed-children flying on soft breezes,
Tickle-chin and bumble bees,
Butterflies and clover,
Beautiful lilac bushes and fireflies.

Soon enough came cool days,
Grasses grown tall and tufted,
Rabbits hiding abed and birds in big swooping black flocks,
Milkweed bursting with soft white and acorns falling,
Their caps like lost hats,
With breath hanging in the air like magic.

The leaves on the trees were mimics,
Vivid mirrors of Rowan's bright hair or her mother's,
Brown and red and orange and yellow,
Like cartoon fire decorating the land.

In what seemed like only a breath of time,
The air turn ed shimmering white as young Rowan exhaled,
Ponds became dark reflecting sheets of the soft charcoal-gray skies,
White flakes fell to Earth,
Days shortened into long and dark nights,
The stars became sharp and bright,
And drifts of snow rolled across the open fields,
Tufted by the tall locks of tawny-gold grasses and dark leafless trees.

Rowan and Summer lit candles and watched the Hunter dance across the cold dark nights.

It was one these long dark nights that Summer began to teach her daughter of their family:

My love,
The time we just passed with the turning of the leaves,
The harvest and the falling of seeds,
The flight of the milkweed seed and the seeds of tall grasses on the wind,
The time of first breath steaming the air and first frost upon the prairies and windows,
That time was your time,
Your beauty lavishing the Earth."

Rowan smiled and remembered the beautiful colors,
And the feeling of the Spirit World close to the world of the living.

Summer continued the education of her daughter in her soft and warm voice:

"The time before that when all was green and hot,
When bees were busy and flowers turned to seed,
When leaves were emerald and creatures were swimming,
When dandelions showed their yellow heads and nights were warm and soft,
When birds raised their chicks,
That time was my time,
My beauty lavishing the Earth."

Rowan closed her amber eyes and remembered her youngest days,
When she roamed barefoot and waded in ponds chasing pretty dragonflies.

Summer continued on by the flickering light of candles,
As the snowy winds howled strong and frigid outside their house of stone and thatch,
An ancient abode made warm by the fire in a large hearth:

"Now we are in the time of my Grandmother Winter,
And this is her time,
And she will lavish her beauty upon the Earth."

Rowan's eyes opened in colorful surprise,
Full of doubt and disbelief.

Said Rowan in a voice of dry leaves rustling in the tree tops,
"How can you call such as this beauty?"

Rowan gave depth to her question in a voice like a honking flock of geese and the flapping of many birds' wings:

"I can not bear to move far from our front door,
The trees look dead as sticks,
The paths I ran upon are treacherous with ice and snow,
The birds and bees and butterflies are all gone away,
And even the spiders,
Every pond is a sheet of ice as black as night,
And if the frozen winds do not chill my bones,
Then they howl and shriek about our door,
Worse if they are gone all is silent and dark as the days are short!"

Summer smiled as a wolf howled at the bright full Moon somewhere across the fields.

She replied to her daughter in the tones of a babbling brook and gently-rustling grasses:

"Look in the morning at the silver and crystal of the icicles in early sun,
And hear tonight the quiet inside,
For this is the time of rest and reflection,
Of learning and stories and tales of things long-gone and grand,
The time when old things pass and are either forgotten or woven into legend and songs,
As all the world makes ready for the arrival of my Mother,
The ever-lovely and new Spring."

Summer went on in the voice of bees buzzing and birds singing in the rustling boughs of trees:

"My Grandmother Winter is the source of all that is or ever will be,
She is the cold and the night,
The great void in which the Sun and Stars all nest,
She is the endless river of Time that allows the emergence of all which is new."

Upon these words a knocking came to their front door,
As if a sheet of snow and ice were flung at it,
And Summer smiled when she reached to open it for her dear Grandmother.

With a chill draft and a swirl of flurries,
Winter stepped over the threshold,
And the fire leapt and crackled as a burst of cold air rushed into the hearth,
Thereby feeding the burning of the logs stacked within.

She was beautiful,
With long and pale white hair trimmed in glittering ice crystals,
Her eyes as pale a blue as twinkling starlight,
Her hand like gnarled tree-bark clutching a staff of long-dead oak,
Her shawl of frost lace,
Covering the shoulders of her long black dress of deepest night,
Clasped together with the Moon as her brooch.

Winter looked down at her stunned great-granddaughter,
And she smiled like moonlight peeking through the dark clouds of a snowstorm in the night.

She spoke then,
And it was like the thunder of a distant avalanche accompanying carolers singing:

You are lovely,
Born to herald my coming to the World,
The color before my pale and dark presence,
And I give you your True Name with love,
Autumn you will always be,
And a tree with red fruit will bear your child-name,
For all to remember your first season."

As Winter spoke,
The first rowan tree appeared,
In the ground at the foot of the path leading to Summer's door,
Just in the place where Autumn had first played as a toddler,
Its red fruit blended against the deep green of the pines,
And so we have the colors of Yuletide,
To remember the passing of Autumn's time to that of Winter.

Autumn's amber eyes danced with delight,
However Winter had further to tell her lovely great-granddaughter.

Winter's voice this time was the shrieking howl of a gale upon the frigid sea:

"When the wheel turns past my time,
Will come my first daughter Spring,
With flowers and new creatures born,
Early rains and new leaf-buds upon the trees,
Though you will never meet your lovely Grandmother,
Nor she you,
I shall tell her of you dear,
And you must tell all the World each year that I am coming,
So that All may be renewed."

"I will and I shall dear Grandmother!"
Autumn promised in a voice of a scythe singing among stalks of wheat.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 11/24/2018

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Flying At Night...

Flying At Night...

Meditation brings a deep buzzing,
Like a power line resting on your body,
Through your very bones.

Suddenly you are free.

Adrift in time and space,
A mere whim takes you away,
Touching the face of a star,
Or perhaps spinning your favorite galaxy like a top.

To see the beauty of Atlantis,
For that I would gladly fly.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 11/12/2018

Monday, November 12, 2018

All The Things Santa Ana Left Us...

All The Things Santa Ana Left Us...

The mountains so pretty,
Green after a fresh rain,
Golden when dry,
Boulder-strewn and dotted,
They underscore the sunsets,
Orange-purple-indigo reach for the fading sun.

The winds so fierce,
Blowing hot and dry,
Bellowing like a politician,
Stoking the hellfires we dread.

The humming birds so nimble,
Around us they flit and flutter,
Hover above our flowers,
Red caps and green vests,
We feed them sugar-water,
Giving thanks for blooming fruit.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 11/12/2018

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Where There is Smoke...

Where There is Smoke...

The scenes look like a fire-breathing minister went to confront the rattlesnakes in the desert brush,
Probably with a can of gasoline.

Paradise is totally in ashes,
Just gone like the title of an old book,
Malibu is completely evacuated under smoke clouds the size of Texas thunderstorms.

It's on a biblical scale alright.

Ninety thousand acres here,
Three hundred thousand acres there,
Top off with people fleeing walls of flame doing eighty.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 11/09/2018



The vista is immense,

Expansive and panoramic,

At once immediate and timeless.

A water buffalo lives next to a Holstein steer,

Camel the next pen over,

Just before the wallaby cage,

As a honeybee chases me off the shady bench.

I have been watching the sun shine,

Down onto the mountains and the vinyards,

Glorying in the silence of the winds as crows soar on thermal spirals.

Our granddaughters and their new friend have been playing in the chicken coop.

The rabbits do not mind.


By: Daniel A. Stafford

© 11/04/2018

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Life On The Small Screen...

Life On The Small Screen...

All motion ceases as the world comes into focus,
This narrow lens that feeds our minds like a fire hose,
The stream of thought bought from others,
Limited to the goods in someone else's bazaar.

Where is the contemplative silence of our own meditations?

The intricacies of bygone times may be beyond us now,
Lost in the race of electrons and photons hammering our brains with paid programming.

Thus are we encoded.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 11/07/2018

Friday, November 02, 2018

Dissonance De Ego...

Dissonance De Ego...

I am purposely mixing languages in my title,
Just to give a little jarring note,
Like the atmosphere around me,
A jangling and discordant ambiance.

Here I am,
Oatmeal-raisin cookie eaten,
Favorite coffee to hand,
On the tiny sliver of weekend,
The eked- out hour,
Where I might be here.

Immediately behind us is an animated conversation,
Intelligent and intellectual,
The highest level of whining,
Complaining gossip on a level I have never before heard 

Might I growl yet??



By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 10-26-2018

Author's Note:
Last Friday evening at Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Tinkerer...

The Tinkerer...

A gadget is an object of delight,,
Better yet retro or steam punk,
Whiz-bang spark and flash,
Function with flair and panache.

It's always about making it work,
But making it look good never hurts.

Iron and steel and steam and wood,
Sparks and fire,
Hot air and smoke.

Resourcefulness is an art form.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 10-28-28

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Poets' Moon...

A Poets' Moon...

...can withstand a more varied light,

Or forlorn weather,

The coldest of winds and baleful gusts.

A lovers' Moon needs fullness,

Soft Summer night breezes,

Twinkling stars and music,

Candlelight or a gently-flickering fire.

A poets' Moon can withstand the flight of a raven across its gaze,

Or a dragon or witch or bat,

The first flurries of an encroaching blizzard,

Even the distant thunder and lightning,

Echoes of storms passed,

Anything in the Universe might appear.

A poets' moonlight will bare it naked,

Expose its core for all the night to see.


By: Daniel A. Stafford

© 10-28-2018

Friday, October 26, 2018

The High Priestess Of Sound...

The High Priestess Of Sound...

This world we live in is all out of tune,
Changed to fix a mathematical error,
Sometime back in the sixteen hundreds,
A convenience for the composer's sake.

Don't worry the wineglass,
It may shatter explosively,
Yet only if it is the finest crystal of purity.

Pure notes devoid of linguistic meaning,
Therein lies the magic,
The root form of creation and cohesion.

A community of pure sound.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 10-26-2018

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Autumn In California...

Autumn In California...

A subtle change of hue,
Delicate tilt of Solar angle,
Tinges of color lend a subdued glow to specific plants and trees,
Especially in late afternoon or evening.

Nothing so overt as the blazing colors and tawny grasses,
The visible breath and frosted mornings of my native Wisconsin.

Here in Summer's Winter home,
Jack Frost is a rare guest in court,
Though mist and fog blanket the tops of mountains,
Ceiling over canyons in hushed morning reverence.

Verdancy is only limmed by Autumn fire,
Yet Orion rises.


By: Daniel A. Stafford

Friday, October 19, 2018

Brain-Shaking The Universe...

Brain-Shaking The Universe...

A quantum field is the waving grass of endless possibility,

Waving this way and that,

Depending on the winds of thought,

Tickling the feet of minds all about the Multiverse.

If an ordinary human has the wing-breeze of a monarch butterfly,

Then poets are as an albatross,

Where a shaman or yogi may be a Thunderbird or Dragon,

Shaking fluid reality,

Or soaring on the shared winds of monarch migrations.

We all dream of being hurricanes.


By: Daniel A. Stafford

© 10/18/2018

Thursday, October 18, 2018

I Want To Dream...

I Want To Dream...

...Of a sound,
Maybe a droning hum,
Or possibly a drumming drum,
One sound that lets me see,
Drowns out all the wicked noise.

I will dream it so clearly,
So tight to the sound,
That I will see a new universe,
One full of trees,
With clean air and crystal-clear skies,
I'll see for miles.

There will be no clocks,
No tick-tocks,
Everyone will wake when they do,
 And fall to sleep then too,
Work at things that they love,
Where art and crafting are of value...

They and I will write there,
in beautiful flowing cursive,
A beloved finger print.


By: Daniel A. Stafford

Sunday, October 14, 2018

In The Moment...

In The Moment...

Joy flows from the smallest of things,
Sunrise to open eyes,
The scent of a grandmother's kitchen,
A warm coffee mug on a frosted morning.

Gold may bring ease,
But it is cold in your hands,
Will break your teeth,
Make you look over your shoulder,
Always glancing side to side.

As long as there is food,
A beloved face to see and touch,
A voice intoned in warmth,
A fire and a candle,
Somewhere soft to lay your head,
Wealth is all about you,
Simply awaiting definition.


By: Daniel A. Stafgord
© 10/13/2018

Inspired by Anil's poem above.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Public-Domain E-Book: "The Great Book Of Blizzard..."

Preface to "The Great Book Of Blizzard":

The Poetry that is contained in these pages is the result of a lifetime spent mostly in places with real Winter; The Great Lakes for the most part, yet also the Great Plains, the Rockies of Colorado, and even mid-North Texas and Northern New Mexico.

In the face of Climate Change, I wanted to save and preserve what it was like to live in these places in the era of actual Winters.

Many of these poems are what I like to call “Poetic Memoir,” and are based on real events in my life. Some are simply fantasy based on a lifetime of experience with snow and Winter...real Winters.

Although I have lived in Southern California for four years as of the completion of this compilation in 2018, never forget that I am a native of Wisconsin who spent fifty years in the Midle West of these United States of America. My family still lives there, and lives with snow.

For those of you who find snowy Winters a novelty, or know it not at all, I hope this book can give you a deeper understanding of what it was like.

What so many forget is that almost everything in nature needs a period of rest and renewal before the busy regrowth of Springtime. Even humanity needs – and mostly neglects – quiet time to turn inward, reflect, and recharge.

Thank you for reading.

With love and light,

Daniel A. Stafford

This book donated to Public Domain

Download .PDF e-book for free HERE.

Monday, October 01, 2018

The Whirling Dervish Of The Middle Country...

The Whirling Dervish Of The Middle Country...

They bide their time all the long Winter,
Finally dry enough to fly as Spring renews the Earth.

At some point,
The dry and dead stem snaps and releases,
And the mother tree is left,
Towering immobile above the soil.

If the only moment a plant knows in its long life is as a seed,
These must be among the most graceful.


They settle softly to their bed of chance.

Maple seeds are a wonder of nature.

A single-bladed helicopter, 
They have been toys for children as long as children could see them flying.

I wonder if Igor Sikhorsky was a maple-seed child?


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 07/06/2018

Ever So Much More So...

Ever So Much More So...

Not a moment goes by in quiet,
Clock hands whirl in a furious rush,
Every second wrapped in a harried agenda.

We are infinitely more connected to the wider world,
Lost in the demands of the little rectangular devils in our pockets.

I have not read a complete novel in two years,
And there are people besides me who would consider that evidence of a collapsing universe.

Carry on,
Wayward souls,
But quickly.



By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 09/30/2018

Sunday, September 30, 2018



There is something about this poetry board,
A feeling,
A look,
An essence.

As close as I can come to holding paper and turning pages,
When there is really glass and plastic in my hand,

It almost seems the older posts might yellow with age.

This is a good thing,
In its way a glorious achievment.

I only hope the place keeps its soul.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 09/30/2018

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Elvis In The Temple...

Elvis In The Temple...

It was a strange dream,
Odd and disjointed,
Nothing new for the painters of night graffiti.

I was walking down an old street in the deep South,
Walking up to a seemingly abandoned ruin.

Oddly, it was a place I knew by deja vu.

An enormous concrete pyramid,
Overgrown with vines and ivy,
Shaded dark at night,
Imposing and immensely heavy.

The entrance was under the light pool of a lonely old street lamp,
The kind that resembles a gaslight.

Just as I was about to walk up to the door,
A long black limosine pulled up,
Disgorging three very unexpected spectres in the flesh.

Elvis was in the middle,
An old man in a suit first with a key,
A beautiful woman followed.

All of them were dressed in fine black clothes, looking sharp and purposeful.

Elvis glanced and me, said "Hello, Dan" in a kind but lofty and dismissive voice,
Leaving me acknowledged,
Yet neither declined nor encouraged.

I followed the trio into the temple of night,
A place oddly mixed with finely-appointed rooms and crumbling bare-concrete empty spaces.

In the empty rooms were crumbling statues,
Cheap concrete replicas from the look of it,
Chipped and barely standing in places.

There were high ledges about the perimeter of these empty places,
A black cat seemingly trapped on one high ledge,

I climbed a statue that threatened to topple at every move,
Rescued the ungrateful beast,
Which promptly dashed away into unseen corners.

Finally I made my way into a softly lit room,
And the three spirits in flesh were there lounging,
About some unearthly business I never learned of.

The place was carpeted finely,
Rich tapestries all about,
Clearly that had not been seen by human eyes in at least a decade,
Perhaps more.

Elvis glanced at me briefly,
A glimmer of momentary observance with no depth,
As if I were a distant acquaintance,
And I sat in a chair nearby,

Whatever they were conversing,
It was not audible to me,
Not for my ears clearly.

Elvis stood up as they were leaving,
Stepped over and silently handed me a lamp that no longer worked,
Having its form but robbed of its function.

I briefly elated,
Thinking the King had given me some odd gift,
For attached to the bottom was a tag,
A note with a hand-scrawled name,
Not mine.

"Servant, a service to the King,"
I thought.

I took it in stride,
A deliveryman for a musical nightshade,
And opened my eyes to yawn.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 09/29/2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Memoir: A Cigar With The Lost Sugar Queens Of Old Havana...

The night is one of quiet celebration. Appropriately, it is the evening of the Autumnal equinox.
The air is cool in the high desert of Temecula; A light jacket perfect. The stars shine above me as aircraft slowly blink their way across the sky. The palm trees are still sentinels in pooled light of amber streetlamps. It is quiet except for crickets and car tires in the distance.

I just achieved the two certifications that have saved my new job and launched my second career. I had only nine days left to spare.

I have tokens for marking the months of hard work it took me to achieve this.

I just finished a very fine cigar, the best I have had in a year. It was bought from Bob - at least that is the name gives.

Bob is the fellow who sounds and looks as if he is from India, and runs the strip-mall smoke shop down the hill. His shop is small, but he built an excellent walk-in humidor for his shop. He is rightfully proud of that humidor. He assured me that this cigar from one of his top humidor shelves is truly excellent. He was quite truthful, and I will tell him so when I see him next.

The other token is the first novel I have read in two years. Most people who know the younger me would be slack-jawed in shock to read the sentence immediately preceding this one.

I just picked the novel out this evening, and it is different from my usual fare of science fiction and fantasy. It is a story of a woman of Cuban decent, and her sugar-industry heiress grandmother who fled Cuba as a teenager immediately after Batista fled the island.

It is written in a poetic and romantic style, and jumps smoothly from the late 1950's era of the young woman fleeing Cuba to the days of her Journalist granddaughter returning her ashes to the land she loved.

"Next Year In Havana" is the title, and I am in love with it after the first chapter.

The book is paper in my hands, a tactile joy I have missed. 

The cigar was so good that it was painful to have finished, and I was loath to put it out. It was completely synchronistic for the tone of the book I am reading, on several levels.

So is this writing poetry? What I am giving my reader in this moment?

I would argue that poetry is the art of putting heart into writing of the small poignant moments of life. It is the art of bringing those moments to life and magnifying them for the reader. 

A piece of the story is all I can give, but let it be a piece that you can look at in words with your heart's eye and maybe fall a little bit in love with.

Yes, I am living this, loving this moment, and laying it at your fingertips.

Perhaps the air here in California tonights smells faintly of the ocean after the afternoon breezes from San Diego have finished their journey up the Temecula valley.

Just as one of the characters in my book is scenting the warm salty air of Cuba upon her return to the land of her immediate ancestors. 

The rest of her journey awaits in the soft paper of the pages in my hands.

The rest of my journey awaits me on Monday morning.

For this weekend, however, I will have my feet in Temecula and my heart and mind in two very different times in Cuba.

All I have to do now is turn another page...


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 09/21/2018

Compassion is the greatest sign of humanity.

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Month Of Mars...

The Month Of Mars...

Sailing over fires.

The fires are fading,
Yet will renew,
Ages of heat to follow,
Nothing like the cold and radiation of space.

I love this place in the desert,
There are a few stars to see,
Unlike the city with it's glow blinding,
Here the planets play loudest 'cepting the Moon.

There is always motion in this sky,
Aircraft and their unknown companions,
Satellites and foo fighters,
Meteors that burn across sky.

Mars is a cold red glowing bright,
Hard and harsh yet brilliant,
Nothing like the evil soft red glow in the distance,
No brush fire in the sky.

This month of Mars,
A bright stone above us all.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 08/16/2018

Friday, August 10, 2018



I sit with a fine cigar,
The Wind rustles Through the palm fronds,
Heat dwindling in the evening.

Tonight I will see the glow in the Hills,
And know the battle continues,
Started by crazy,
Fueled by hot world.

Cleansing the past,
Involuntary Ash,
Evil red glow,
Wicked and deadly,
Speeding fright.

Do not make light of the plight,
Infernal words,
Cruelty at the fingertips of monsters.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 08/10/2018

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Weight Of Ghosts...

The Weight Of Ghosts...

Life is like an egg timer,
Or maybe an egg shell,
Or some other fragile damn cliche.

I know the richness of memories,
Times and places only a very few will know,
Less and less every year,
But I remember.

We're like cloud shapes in the sky,
Just visible for a blink or two,
But I have seen some seriously good ones.

It's comical,
When I talk to someone half my age,
The backdrop they're missing,
Utter cool evaporating on the wind.

Times and sayings,
Hair and clothes and music,
But people,
People most of all.

The thought of no one knowing who they were,
That's crushing,
And I wonder if that's what truly ages us,
The sheer weight of ghosts.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 07/25/2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Honor Among Clouds...

The Honor Among Clouds...

It's an old and faithful thing,
These flying volunteers.

It started with cloth and grit in World War Two,
The day after the war started,
In fact most people hardly know.

Civilian Airmen took their own planes to the skies,
Spotting submarines off our coastlines,
Sparrowhawks hunting tin sharks,
Piper Cubs and old Jennies alike,
They fiercly defended home.

They still volunteer among the clouds,
Or in old buildings on little airports,
Out among the dust and obscurity.


How many cadets went on to lead,
Officers and judges,
And every other working thing,
The stuff of civil duty,
A nearly-forgotten thing.

If your plane goes down,
They will find you.

If your house is flattened by a hurricane,
They will take the pictures that rebuild you.

If you want to learn of aviation,
They will teach you,
Or your sons and daughters.

The Silent Service,
Those barely heard of or known,
There when the chips are down,
Or when the skies are up.

Say hello to the Civil Air Patrol,
A golden thing under a blanket of dust,
A wonder that America barely remembers it has.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 07/17/2018

Author's Note:

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Summer's Winter Home...

Summer's Winter Home...

We moved here about three and one-half years ago,
A series of lucky circumstances led us,
Also seems to have followed us,
As we followed the childhood of our grandchildren.

Who could've known in those cold Chicago Winters,
That we would land at the heart of an unknown paradise?

Let me wake you with a morning,
Cool and sometimes misty,
Early balloons fly off the wineries,
Their baskets small and high and glorious,
Floating above the palm trees.

I walk the hills,
Steep hills at that,
Past a golf course I love to look at,
But never will use.

Roses and California poppies are littered alongside the walk,
Dots of color lead to beds of flame,
Ducks and loons and even herons and egrets grace the ponds,
As the temperature soars thirty degrees in two hours.

The citrus trees in our sideyard have fortified me,
And the blazing Sun emboldens the now dry air,
All the world is abustle and busy,
Until the breeze swoops up the valley at three PM.

By eight it will have fallen from ninety-five to seventy-seven,
Overnight look to the fifties or sixties,
Until the mist drifts up the valley from a San Diego harbor morning,
Forty-five minutes' drive South.

The mountains that surround us look just like ones I've seen,
Where Juan Valdez carted Folgers beans in sacks on his burro,
Yet these are quite beautifully real,
A far cry from the flat prairies of Illinois eaten by corn and soy.

It's January and February that tie me here,
Rainy forties and the tangerines are ripe,
Tomatoes  survived the Winter,
Lemons were for Thanksgiving and Christmas,
Oranges and grapefruits wait for June and July,
As the strawberry carts do for April.

How could one lose,
Here at our little green house,
On a street named for my grandparents,
Here in Summer's Winter home?


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 07/09/2018

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

A Softened Place..

A Softened Place..

The sky is steel-grey with low-angle light,
Waves roll onto the beach from the endless line of surf,
Clouds saunter slowly past above Lake Michigan.

The beach grass is turning that golden color of the Northern Midwest,

Leaves are green,
Yet edged with yellow or orange-red,
Hints of splendors to come.

You may walk here today with the chill breeze that never stops,
Knowing that Winter will freeze you out in a month or two,
You pull your jacket tighter,
Reflective and visually immersed at the edge of a freshwater sea,
A timeless place where the seasons roll you,
And never the other way around.

The throngs of Summer are long-gone,
A few hardy souls wend the art of a cool lake,
Watching their breath waft up into the enchanted air,
Clutching a warm mug of coffee for dear life.

This place is bigger than you,
It's bigger than me,
Yet it's vulnerable to the endless raft of human ants,
Who are too small to see the impacts of their combined works.

You can feel that immense body of water,
From miles away you know where it is,
Just like it grinds broken bottles into soft beach glass,
Baubles for next Summer's children.

The seagulls sing their forever song,
Counterpoint to the bass of continuous waves,
Rolling, rolling, rolling,
The snare of grasses and branches rustling in time,
The slight notes of wind-whistle a finishing touch.

In the distance,
Far, far, far in the distance,
A train horn sings along,
Yet here is the domain of Nature,
Of seasons and time far older than us,
What was with us in our youth,
Hopefully will see children long after we're gone,
Poetry that is beyond writing.

In a place like this,
A softened giant timeless place,
You can find yourself an atom drifting with infinity's dream.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 07/03/2018

Miller Beach, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, 2010 - Photo by Daniel A. Stafford

Tuesday, July 03, 2018



How lovely it is,
To decorate the walls,
To feel a touch of nostalgia in every visit to a place.

Easy on the eyes.

Like a spiral notebook,
One you've written and drawn in,
On-and-off for years,
Soft in the hand.

Easy on the eyes.

I look up and see stars,
A smiling Moon beaming down,
A raft of familiar faces.

Easy on the eyes.

Not so hard on the heart,


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 07/02/2018

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Lonely Old Things...

Lonely Old Things...

Perhaps a candalabra,
Filled with glowing wax,
Hovers over blank parchment,
A dusty plume quill lying silent,
Next to the dried-up inkwell,
There on the desk in Mary Shelley's room.

Percy will never come home again,
As Frankenstein's monster shall have no siblings,
And the headstone on Mary's mother's grave,
That grows weathered and smooth,
Cracked and tilted,
The flowers there wildly entwined with the weeds.

Even long-hand cursive writing seems doomed,
All despite its lustrous flowing curves,
Sweeping grace into the ephemera of the past.

It was ever the creatures if fortune,
Who could call such things as normal.

It wounds the world to see them as lonely old things...


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 07/01/2018

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Recovery Images For Poetic Constellations

Poetic Constellations is an online poetry forum that was originally hosted on It was later taken over by, which a few years after was taken over by

Through the EZBoard & Yuku years, the forum kept the same look. For myself and many other online poets, it was our cosmic poetic home.

When I was notified that the takeover by Tapatalk was coming, I hurriedly saved some of the forum graphics. I had seen another EZBoard-gone-Yuku forum get eaten by the Tapatalk monster, and the site was completely whitewashed, all graphic customizations lost as Tapatalk converted everything to their sterile fuschia-and-white nothingness. is a competing online discussion board provider, and one of our poets is helping us all move to that platform. Years of posted poetic history will be left in the bland white vault of Tapatalk, but at least the place will look something like out little poetic cosmos again.

These images are posted here for Queen Foxy, who has been working hard on this project. It's my way of relaying the graphics to her for use at our new online home.


New Post:

New Reply:

New Topic Create/'Reply Moon:

Sticky Post:

Constellations Gateway Logo:


Locked post


These are all I was able to save before the place was eaten by the Tapatalk beast.

Show Notes:

Happenings in the web poetry universe: I have a long history with web poetry, and there have been many changes over the years. A big change in my poetic universe is happening now. Also, a reading of my latest piece, "Squeezing Time Out Of A Clockwork Lemon..."


Squeezing Time Out Of A Clockwork Lemon...

Squeezing Time Out Of A Clockwork Lemon...

I live in a tight little universe of words,
My grip on moments of writing impelled,
Compressed by the numerolgy,
Soulless beeping numbers of the no-longer ticking,
Clocks that wind up being an anachronism.

I own one or five of those,
By choice.

If time were an orange,
Ray Bradbury could rejoice,
Cut it in ever-smaller wedges,
Knowing it was sweet.

Time is a lemon my friends,
Fertilized in the bowels of corporate crapitalism,
Sour and tart enough to wash windows,
An acid-etched thimble of life-juice.

Still I write,
Of seeds and sun and ancient things,
There in the juice and pulp of a quick-drying moment.

Perhaps this is why an alarm does what it does,
Makes me pucker and squint.


By Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 06/29/2018

Tuesday, June 26, 2018



Perhaps I love anachronisms so much,
Because they glow with the light,
That glamor of "better" than now,
That magic of what was or might be,
A lamplight free of dross and tedium,
Adventure and romance,
Unhindered by the day-to-day grind,
The sawdust steps of keeping up mere existence.

Princesses and pirates,
Of ancient kingdoms,
Or on the dying Mars of a forgotten future,
Long stories and fading candles.

The zip and zing of the medium of the day is exhausting,
Propagandized in extremity,
Sucking the life out of a vampire world that feeds on itself blindly.

Give me a journal and quill,
Stars I can see,
A woman of love and wit,
A ship on the sea or cosmos,
A destination luminous,
Along with the friends to accompany.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 06/25/2018

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

The Singing Fairy...

The Singing Fairy...

She could bend the world with her voice,
Hearts with a glance,
With pencil and pen and ink the universe was hers in a flash.

Swimming in dew pools or through the air,
With a quill in hand and song to lips,
All hearts,
All hearts,
Melting out your ears.

The world is all strung together with a laugh,
Didn't you know?

We'll never know what got her in the end,
But her song Forever,
It still echoes on the wind...

Just listen.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 06/20/2017

Author's Note:
For my dear departed friend Janine "Spinny" Daniel.
The background art on this blog was hers, and titled "Singing Fairy." Janine herself was a wonderful karaoke singer, poet, and as you can see, graphic artist. She will always be missed. Janine loved the wee folk, and drew them often and wonderfully.

I've scheduled this to post on the first anniversary of when I found out Janine had passed away. Perhaps I'll write another of her then, to keep the memory of my friend alive. - Dan

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Twisting Bits...

Twisting Bits...

I've spun electrons since I was two,
Smoked a finger almost like Franklin,
I could easily imagine a key on a kite string,
And flying kites is a joyful bit of wistful magic.

I've flown phone calls,
Spotted airplanes,
And kept the internet humming,
Now I'm learning all about twisting bits,
Logic pretzels if you will,
As twisted as this ol' brain.

It's funny,
But to keep a career in what I've always done,
I have to become certied to nine levels,
Though most of the world thinks it's black magic,
See all the pretty blinky lights?

My head is so wrapped in this world,
Though life is warping by outside my bubble,
It's like a black hole,
Or maybe Hotel California.

Maybe the poetry Gods can sneak me out for a minute,
But the event horizon is pulling,
Pulling hard.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 06/03/2018

Thursday, February 08, 2018

5,000 Year Dandelion Puff:

5,000 Year Dandelion Puff:

Glass ball smooth in hand,
Tennis ball size and pretty,
Stuffed with dandelion puff,
Over Navy Blue base,
The yellow center sphere,
Hidden away but seen,
Under a sphere of seeds,
White silken fibers,
Ultimate softness contained,
Within ultimate smoothness,
Forever waiting to blow,
Away on the wind,
But the Zephyrs can't reach,
Inside a clear glass ball,
Just the light that shows all,
For how many eyes after mine,
Will see that one summer's wish ball,
Never quite ever blow away,
Forever just one day away,
From flight?


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 01/31/2002

Author's Comments

My favorite paperweight,
A full size dandelion puff,
I find it so pleasing to the eye,
Like a moment forever frozen.
Think I'll do the other one

Library Home
AuthorDate Entered/ModifiedViews
Daniel A. Stafford1/31/2002 5:03:12 AM
7/19/2010 9:44:43 AM

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

1950's Leather:

1950's Leather:

Red satin shirt and slicked black hair,
White leather embroidered vest,
Buddy Holly glasses to wear,
Little sweetheart's got a red satin blouse,
And blue jeans so tight,
They got it goin' on as they dance away the night,
Rockin' to the tunes that we still love from yesteryear,
She's tight up on the boy,
With wriggles to the beat to spare,
A New Year's Eve rocket romp,
They looked so very alive,
As the lights flash on the guitar pickups,
The blues harp comes alive,
She's got the feather tiara in her sweet brown hair,
And he's got his arms around her under the lights,
The drummer's thumpin' time for them,
And they're getting that red satin white leather stare.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 01/03/2002

By: Daniel A. Stafford

Author's Comments

A young couple you couldn't help but
notice and cheer on at Elvis's Memphis
restaurant party New Year's Eve.

Library Home
AuthorDate Entered/ModifiedViews
Daniel A. Stafford1/3/2002 2:12:06 PM
7/30/2010 11:22:24 PM
Daniel A.
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To post a comment, you must first be logged in.
You can create an account or log in using the links at the bottom of this page.Total Comments: 3
Leighleigh@leighscorner.com 9:45:36 PM
Thanks for sharing it with us -- you made it come alive! What fun! :)

1/4/2002 4:26:15 PM

Oh! WOW! Makes me wanna get up and dance!
I wish I was there to see this couple in the flesh! Thanks for sharing the magic of that night!


Tuesday, February 06, 2018

50,000 Years From Home...

50,000 Years From Home....


I recently discovered the Keo project. An orbiting sattelite is set to be launched to orbit
the Earth for 50,000 years before deorbiting and carrying 6 billion messages from
people alive on Earth now, today to those in the far distant future.

This is what I had to say:

My name is Daniel Allan Stafford. I am a resident of the United States of America, 
which may or may not mean anything to whomever may read this. Given such a 
distant future time, I have no idea if my language nor any remnant of the world 
as I know it will exist in your time.

I would like to tell you a little bit about who we are now. We're people who try to
live through our intellect but still get caught up in our feelings. We're people who
love and hurt and laugh and cry and try to ponder out the knowledge of what our
existence actually consists of and is for.

We make mistakes, and there are those among us who care not a tiny bit for others
or the future, that just try to gather as much glory and comfort as they can to themselves
while they are alive. 

We also have people who work very hard to make this world a better place both while
they are here and after they leave it behind through the great unknown of physical

We have those who just try to survive as best they can without doing much else.

I can tell you this: The times we live in now are fair in the sense of beautiful in many ways.
So many things are new. We're discovering what makes our bodies be what they are,
what space is and how to live there, how to coexist without fighting as much as we can.
We have yet to see people living beyond the skies of Earth, but I expect this soon.

My greatest hope is that we can learn to live in harmony and take that beyond Humanities'
cradle, the earth. That we can make life blossom througout the universe and allow that
life to be happy for all those who follow us through our efforts.

If we succeeed, then you will remember us because of what we left to you through our
efforts and hard work.

I'm in the middle of an average life span in these times, thirty eight years old. 
In your time, that may still be someone fairly young. I know one thing, the times
I have lived in, I have loved dearly, as well as those around me.

If you are lucky, you will have a chance to know us far better than we know our forebears,
news of which we must dig out from the Earth's bones and decipher in educated
guesses and art that has no translations ready to hand to explain it's meaning.
There is much beauty in the arts and songs we have with us now, as well as great sadnesses.
We live in a world rich with dreams and memories, and most of all, hopes for what we
can leave to you. I can't imagine what your world must be like, surely things that 
technology does by then must be like magic to someone like me, a ghost from your
distant past. How I wish I could see what you, our distant children, have become.

For myself, I wish you love, joy, and happiness. I hope you can consider yourselves
to live in times of beauty and happiness, achievement and success. Carry on for us.
You are the hopes of our tomorrows, as we are the ghosts of your yesterdays.

I write poetry in my time, and this is my poem about what is truly timeless:


Do you feel the warmth of the sun shining on your face?
Do you hear the gentle wash of the ocean wave?
Do you see the adoration in a new mother's face?
Do you see the flowers begin to bloom in spring?
Do you envision the soaring hawk?
Do you see memories of your own youth?
Do you see the stars that glitter at night?
Do you see the old man's wistful eyes longing for old times?
Do you remember a friend that moved away?
Do you read a poem of well-written words?
Do you hear the melody of a favorite song?
Do you feel the love I hold for you?

Regardless of whether or not I should turn to dust,
There is a graceful thing that I trust.
Forever and a day, 
I shall remember a bright shining ray,
Hope that you give to me,
Continuity with eternity,
Because of memories and love I share with you,
When your time comes you'll know what to do.

Give your love freely,
Because that's what timeless is, really.


By: Daniel A. Stafford

Author's Comments: This, to me, is wisdom. There are some moments that hold a beauty that
will never fade. The moment we give our love to another is one of them. I don't think this
ever will change, regardless of how briefly or long they remain near us in person, they
expand our hearts and souls. 

By: Daniel A. Stafford

Author's Comments

I think this is very self-explanatory
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AuthorDate Entered/ModifiedViews
Daniel A. Stafford8/1/2000 3:43:04 AM
7/31/2010 3:21:08 PM
Daniel A.
Daniel A.
8/1/2000 3:58:46 AM
Anyone interested in participating should contact:
4/19/2004 9:34:14 AM
BalalaikaBalalaika@hotmail.com 10:55:40 AM
Tankyou all people from Russia with love!
Janine Danieljanine@spinnys.comwww.spinnys.com8/3/2005 5:24:43 AM
Hi Dan,

I was surprised when I found I haven't commented on this before although I wasn't surprised it's your most viewed one.

This reminded me of when I put my name down for the Mars mission. 

I think this's awesome and I really truely hope that it gets read 50,000 years from now.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Lucky Break...

I just found a large archive of my poetry stored on a portable hard drive. I have been looking for this particular archive since 2015.

I finally found the folder it had been buried in.

I have backed these up to a couple of other locations where they can be easily found, and will be slowly publishing the poems to this blog if they haven't already been published here.

I am very grateful to have found this archive tonight. It has been a rough few months, and things have been feeling very precarious today in particular.

I will take this as a good sign.

Thank you for reading me.

Dan Stafford

15 on 30:

15 on 30:

Got half an hour on the clock,
In to do poetry I make a quick stop,
But fifteen minutes maybe twenty of the ride,
Deleting junkmail and "collected addresses,"
That confuse my address book to make my brain fry,
Buzzer just rang,
Now I'm running late,
But if I ever catch those e-mail bandits,
I don't think I could possibly be,


By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C) 05/14/2002

Author's Comments