Dear Friends,

I have gathered a selection of my poetry from the last twenty-five years into a book called THE SEASONS. (You can preview or order the book here.)

I am grateful to everyone who has read and responded to the poems over the years. I will continue posting my new work here and in twenty-five years (or less) I will have book number two ready for you.



The Easter Disappearance

On the sun wrapped planet 
people who are incarcerated 
and willing to work
the mass graves
get a raise from $1.50 to $6/hr.

They stack the coffins 
three high in a trench
so close to the sea.

The cities
in the distance
are filled with sirens. 

        *  *  *

On the plains 
wind runs across
the black fields 

shaking the pools of water 
that formed where the night deer stumbled 
like drunks in the mud

while celebrating
clean air

and the disappearance  
of cars.



the first snow arrived tonight.

curtains of white

falling and falling.

so many leaves still left,

but that is how death

comes sometimes. 

i am so comforted

that all of us 

will be sleeping soon.



Thick, dark air
and the bee’s heavy song. 

The cool front pushing 
the wild greentops back.

Coffins rumble 
in the storm.

And here comes night
so dizzy with the dance.

Children recite
the Failure prayer. 

A row of glass jars 
rattles by the door.

The Elders are bent
and waiting to ascend

in a room where time
is beginning to end. 


The Big World

My daughter and I
on the North Shore.

So close to heaven
in a tent.

I think she wants to live
that way forever.

We curled against
the cold in June.
Wearing winter clothes 
in our sleeping bags.

Just a little
further north
with my father

long long ago

it once snowed
on an early 
September morning. 
No roads 
only water
to guide us

Today I held 
so softly
his tissue paper body

and placed my hand
on the curved vertebrae
of his spine. 

He said
I hope to see you again.

He is waiting 
by himself
on the platform.
Quiet and still.
Waiting for the next train.


Spring Prairie Dawn

I am still on the dark side of the earth
but the monks of darkness have begun
shedding their robes underneath the trees.

Canopies of black.
Layers, stages, stories, bodies.

Thunder rumbles all the glass in the house.
A pinch of rain.
The Mourning Dove calls.

Cloud mountains 
move in perfect silence, 
sailing high above the watery blue 
at the edge of morning.

And here it comes,
filled with golden light,
and songs and cool air.

How amazing
that we can grow new eyes
after so much darkness. 


winter stars

Drawing 742 by WRH, 2018

These winter stars

hanging above the veiny street - 

are they darker

with the slow bath of death?

My failures of compassion 

burn like a constellation of pins.

Is fire the price of kindness?

Pain the price of health?

The winters are decreasing.

Less complaints about ice.

More love 

of flinty skies.

The hidden face of time

wraps around my bones,

an old coat handed down

and down . . .

I am forced to lie down. 

My daughter runs 

and jumps on my back

over and over again.

With my grunts of riant pain

springs of wild, green laughter

erupt from her body

and cover the leaping world.  


the poetry of Kevin Lawler

The gift economy . . .
from Wiki - In anthropology and the social sciences, a gift economy is a mode of exchange where valuable goods and services are regularly given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards. Ideally, voluntary and recurring gift exchange circulates and redistributes wealth throughout a community, and serves to build societal ties and obligations.