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 Wide World

This sagging house 

wraps her hundred year 

old arms around me.

The house that no one wanted 

on the north side. 

The first family she held 

lived here in the darkness 

of the war to end all wars.

A world war.

I am working for my daughter

and for everyone who can still

look deep into my eyes

and hold my hand

and for everyone who can’t.

In the great chain of humanity

perhaps all we have to do to rise

is to look at our deep flaws

and reach out our hand. 

We thought we would have one kind of time.

It turns out that isn’t the case.

So like those chess players in the park

the timer has just been slapped

on our lives.

I know it's serious. 

That many will be lost.

Even so

amidst all the work

we cannot forget 

to consult the sun

the water and birds

those clouds

that women singing to herself

in the street

or our faith will crumble

under this great wall of fear

that is moving across the land

and, even with death,

there's so much more than that.



I remember the big one.
It was stacked
so high with
what needed
to be ignored
in order to survive
that the sky
would often
disappear for days
in the rush.

Far out 
on the plains
this little city
still feels
the ancient
body beneath
its streets.
There are
oneiric days
when the sky
is a deity
silent and slow
and I can breathe.



   Kids play area at a laundry-mat in South O

I am cleaning

          except the corners
               stained dark 
               and sweet 
          of mangled time

like someone 
has died.


Rest Area

Lying on the couch
awake since three
in the nursing home
with my dad
and all the other
saints of survival

I watch his skeletal 
frame disappearing 
into the pitch
dark bedroom.
Each shuffle step 
a psalm of frailty.

Eighty-nine year old
bones still moving.
Still holding him up 
in this weighted world.

On the drive home
I feel myself fading.
When I realize
that I can’t remember
the last few minutes
I pull off.

In the rest area
I sleep in the front seat
with the windows down.
The sun and wind flow in
along with the smell
of warm sweet grass.
When I wake 
I am lost in the world
for a wonderful moment.

I climb out of the car 
and slowly walk the perimeter
of the picnic area.
There are no people.
Just a lone semi
parked by the edge
of a corn field.
A driver named Winkle
may have been sleeping 
in its cab for fifty years.

I find a curved hiking path 
mowed into the waist high 
“restored prairie”.
It’s surrounded by wildflowers
and tall, brown grasses.

Fifty yards out
there is a sculpture.
A boat with no skin,
only broken ribs.
A plaque explains that it is
symbolic of the Viking explorers.
It has been surrounded 
with a fence so 
no one will touch it
or get too close.

I watch the fall bloom
golden rod and more
rocking back and forth
on the moist wind
coming up from the south.

Monarchs go tumbling by
diving again and again
into the wind
fighting their way
across North America
on paper wings.

Off in the distance
the windmill giants are
waving their arms at something
beyond the horizon.

The earth is tilting.

I think of my father.
No longer able to kneel and pray.
He lies on his back in bed
and prays for the world.
He sleeps and prays.

He has fought 
the wolves of loneliness.
He was wounded but now 
they lie quietly by his side.
He lies quietly by their side.

When I am with him
(and even when I am not) 
I feel his grace.
It gives welcome weight
to the ballast that’s needed
in this storm of days.

Back in the wild field
an old fence post holds
a twisted strand of wire.
It sings so softly with the wind
that it can hardly be heard.
It sounds like the ghost 
of a drowned woman 
calling from far 
beneath the water.

I am in love 
with these quiet things
that have nothing 
to do with survival.
I stand in the field 
listening to this sad music
and watch as a long 
spine of clouds
slowly bends itself
over the ancient 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.