My Poetry

A Note About My Poetry Writing

Although I always liked poetry and read more of it as the years went by, I never wrote a poem myself until February 17, 1997. A few days before I had been in a bookstore looking at the poetry section when I discovered Bill Moyers’ The Language of Life—A Festival of Poets published by Doubleday in 1995. The book is the compilation resulting from one of Bill Moyers’ TV series, and includes interviews with selected poets and several poems by each of them. As I read the book, I thought, “Someday I would like to try writing a poem.” A couple of days later I was reading the book again, and had the same thought again; only this time I said to myself, “Sooner than later.” By the time I went to bed that night I had written my first six poems, and before I went to sleep I had written another six poems. Since then I averaged about one poem a day for several years.

Pictures and Poetry

A friend suggested I add my photography to this site, but I decided I wanted to keep this focused on stories. As I thought about it though I realized I had combined several poems and pictures to tell stories, so I have added them here.


For those interested in seeing some of my photography I have posted a select set on the 500px photo site.



Ouzel Falls by Carl Slater


Long before we could see them
we heard the rumble of Ouzel Falls
as they dropped over the cliff
and plunged fifty feet
down through the rocks.

Then as we rounded a corner in the trail
we caught our first glimpse of the Falls
a thundering spray of white water
crashing down the chute of rocks,
a chute they have carved over the years.

Now, at the height
of a late runoff season
the Falls roared with an intensity
and spread over the rocks
unlike anything they had done for years.

The force of the Falls
deafened our conversations
held us in awe
and covered us
with the fine mist they created.

How astounding—
these Falls have continued
and will continue
their incredible rush
thunder and plunge

for days and weeks and months and years
an unremitting force
carving through the rocks
filling the forest with their thunder
and the landscape with their spray.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Working by Carl Slater

Three-year-old Hunter settled at his desk,
flipped the switch on his
notebook computer,
inserted a learning CD,
and launched the program.

He selected the ABC game,
which promised him a treat
when he had named the twenty-six letters.

He proceeded through the game,
while Grandpa busied himself
in the kitchen, preparing
a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

When Hunter had identified all the letters,
and Grandpa invited him
to the kitchen for his treat,
he responded,
“No—I work!”



Flan Man and Slate Woman by Carl Slater


Flan Man is a literate man
Which we discovered
The first hour
With him identifying
The opening lines of
“Crime and Punishment”
And “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”

Slate Woman is a literate woman
Who has always loved books
Always has one or more
Being read at the same time
And has shared
One or two
“Ironweed” for one.

Flan Man is a financial man
Numbering and
Accounting and
For Coopers and Lybrand
And being driven mad
Each year until the passing
Of that fateful day
In April.

Slate Woman is a financial woman
Valuing and
Data processing and
To her clients
And hoping to hell
There are no errors
In the product this time.

Flan Man and Slate Woman
Meeting in the midst
Of Boston’s financial world
Growing to develop
A love that defies
And reflects
Their humanness.


A Stroll in the Park

birth date_1

In honor of Sean Flanagan’s mother Julie
on the occasion of his birth 9/11/2002

It may have been 6:30 in the morning,
She may have been in labor since 4:30 yesterday afternoon,
She may have been up most of the night,
She may have been excited out of her mind,
But when she called me this morning,
She sounded as if she had just been
For a stroll in the park,
And was calling to report on it.


To Touch Eternity

On the day when we the people
Remembered, eulogized, and grieved,
Our loss of security,
The ending of three thousand lives,
The impermanence of life and structures,
And the fleetingness of everything material,
I took myself to the beach to touch eternity,
To sit by the ocean,
To see the waves roll in,
And gently flow out again,
To hear their constant sound,
Rushing to and fro
As they have done for millions of years now
And will continue to do for millions more.

One Response

  1. Sharlee St. Onge
    Sharlee St. Onge September 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm | | Reply

    Very enjoyable photos and poems.

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