Psychological Egoism

For the past 30 years, I’ve had the pleasure to be a professor of literature, writing, and philosophy. Today, in philosophy class, I’ll be introducing the concept of psychological egoism, a mode of thought that suggests that all behaviors are motivated by self-interest. In other words, it suggests that every action or behavior or decision of every person is motivated by self-interest. It also suggests that every action must be motivated by self-interest. That got me thinking.

Psychological Egoism
for my wife

The daisies I plucked
from the soft earth
near that brook that twists

through the meadow
as an errant strand of tinsel
and left in a vase

on the table where you hide
your poetry and dreams,
in old books, on old paper,

I’ve gifted each petal
so you might consider me kind
and gently press your lips to mine

that I might taste your heat and divine…
these flowers are for me.

The Characteristics of a Good Poem

So, now you know.

A Good Poem

A good poem must generate
its own heat, like a dragon
curled in captured shadows,
steam rising from its scales

each time a drop of rain
slips from the sky,
sizzles against its heart.
A poem should be a delicate quiche,

wet with melted cheese,
just pulled from the oven,
imbuing the air with a hearty perfume:
bacon and mushrooms.

Better poems glow as dawn glows,
light spilling through dark letters
as sunlight floods the space
between stout oak trees

and brooding evergreens.
The best poem knits
itself to your skin,
warms it like an old sweater,

lost and worn, found
in a wardrobe’s deepest nook,
your eyes, it seems, the first light
that place, those words, has touched.


Feathers. I collect them. I actively search for feathers as I enjoy a walk through the forests about my home or as I stroll my property, raking leaves, mending fences.

They are amazing instruments, at once mighty and fragile, allowing eagles and sparrows alike to defy gravity’s will, but, in one’s hand, so easily torn and broken.

Additionally, each is laced with such a wonderful beauty, colors and craftsmanship.

Poetry laces their flight, fall, and frame: magic, art, providence, and wonder.

This for That

I was able to pen a few words this morning. My dog chased a groundhog down the poor rodent’s hole and I was set to thinking.

This for That

Bold sparrows dare
the dark burrows
of groundhogs,
hollows heavy with shadow
and sleep,

to pluck tufts of fur
from a napping chuck
so the birds might barter
with the maple faes
who siphon the sugar

from raindrops that course
between the ridges
of a maple’s bark,
trading magic’s sweetness
for a tuffet of fur –
warmth’s tangibility.


It seems my developing manuscript, A Children’s Field Guide to Goblins, Gardens, Seasons, and Shadows, isn’t, as intended, being written for children. The complexities each poem offers are…well, complex, a bit too complex for children. Dilemma. What to do?

Here’s an example of the aforementioned complexities.


Sprites hum
above the flower bed,
harmonize with dragonflies,
sing lullabies
as they lay

their children,
still wingless,
between the cool silks
of a rose’s bloom.
Each babe will rest
for the afternoon,
sheltered from that heat.
As they do,
I’m oddly assured
everything will be fine.