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forget the tall man with the hat

who comforted you

the one who walked you

bay trail, car rides, fish market every day

snuggled your black pelt against his frame.

when he called

you always came.


his scent, his deep voice

and tender kiss, my little girl

forget, so the sting of his non-return is lost in your dreams

i am here now

to take over

step into his gigantic man shoes

walk you on familiar trails

see the world through his eyes

where he left us, not here but not forgotten

all the love he poured into you

i can reach out and touch

caress your coat, ease my own pain of the loss

and help you forget

the tall man with the hat who loved you.

Daniel Swetlik


for Anthony & Serena on their wedding day January 27, 2018

through the window, the moon shines blue
on her soft hair

fleur de lis tassie
laces his wrist
a charm bracelet of wallabies and lilies
tasmanian angel fastens his dream, locks his heart.

as sunrise entrances twilight into sparkle morning
her aura catches the edges of tassles dangling in paned glass sunlight

the love charm has got her
its rays beam of wallabies and lilies

reflects in the window
shines in her eyes

her creole kangaroo
he has this lyrical kick
sings straight into her heart
of arenas circled by talisman tails, practiced and loved

a charm locket of wallabies and lilies

alligator green, ferociously faithful

dressage and cajun ballet all tangled together
through the window of musical notes:
the charmed song of wallabies and lilies sing your love

the tranquil and the strong

the flower and the song

photo by Susan Munroe


a re-post of this birthday poem to Robert Cassidy since TODAY is his Birthday!

smiling eyes man

dancing with Divine

you nourish thirsty vines.

exuberant flash

koko pele heart

the color of your smile

spreads joy on the quilt of life.

smiling eyes man, son of Divine

you embolden our connection

sew radiant stars on torn patches

hang dreams on empty branches.

koko pele heart, singing your soul

you help us all

to shine a little more.

for Robert Cassidy, Happy Birthday, brother!

Robert Cassidy on guitar

Robert Cassidy on guitar

for ira kart

it started off as patter

like rain

on my brain

when we first met you

your piano keys striking my nature like flowing rivers

and then your patter became more familiar

and we began to know you as friend

as tribe member

music gigs and giants games

your patterns of smile and simile

your kind heart with eyes to match

and your patter was like soft rain

to my thirsty brain

your piano keys that smiled sunshine

into our wet hearts

and in your eyes, we recognized ourselves

saw in ourselves, how we were all connected

in the family, in this tribe

and you brought out heart

where before

there was only patter in my brain.

and i wonder why our loved ones

why our friends…

why can’t they just stay in the neat alcoves we carve out for them?

in that corner playing the piano

where my spirit lifted?

on stage right, where i expect to see you, now and every time coming

why can’t you just stay there?

to remind me how to turn my patter into harmony

where i can be beguiled by you?

charmed by you?

heart devil

i will never hear piano keys the same way…

you brought color to our lives through heart

and measure of music sublime.

i will stand back and let you go

but i will forever keep

the echo of you

the pattern you played…the rhythm you drummed in our ears

and the imprint you left on our hearts.


click here to see this poem performed at Ira’s memorial


a tribute to Julie Levitt

she breaks the day with a bucket to the compost pile
her long hair bunned like a flower bud dawning
greets her morning with observance of dew
and an eye for what will be pruned today
she is alone with the voices in her garden

she trots out the wheelbarrow
bends her straight back to the curve of earth
weeds a berm, prunes a rose
kisses a hello to the vines
and she is alone, solitary with green voices

she doesn’t speak
of the joy and the beauty that feathers her arm
or the soil that sets in her nails,
she keeps this to herself, digging her spade and planting flats
the pleasure that mounts in her heart
alone in the fullness of her garden

giving gifts of cuttings
a bouquet for a banquet
a daisy for a daughter
an herbal oblation for her husband
she escapes until sunset in the spring of her garden
a grinning girl, happy like a child
with stained pant knees
stamping her shovel, it makes her point
she is in the company of her own devices dancing in the garden

she is there
she will always be there
caressing the wayward leaf, digging the roots
being touched by birds, salvaging seeds
but she is not alone
she is surrounded by a choir of loved ones singing from her garden
as she draws toward nature’s familiar voice
calling her, calling her
by name.


this poem won 3rd Place at the San Mateo County Fair 2016

for ruth curtiss

elegant flight
you are beauty in the sky
the breeze of your wings
so gentle on my skin

graceful bird
with the next life to come
nested in your breast
your spirit is soft
and unhurried

let me feel the gentleness of your breeze
to lift the gravity of my heart
see the vista of your inner eye
to broaden my finite vision
and rest my grief

as you leave behind this mechanical world
let me feel the transcendence of your ascent
float my eyes to the sky
and watch your divine flight
so graceful
so right

blessing your journey
as i sit on this lonely shore
within you
unbearably without you
watching on

I’ve linked a song, Sometimes, by David Gresham, lyrics by Jessica Radcliffe that is very touching and i feel goes well with this poem: Sometimes

A tribute poem written for Maestro Mitchell Klein, Conductor of the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra.
The poem is written in three “movements” to imitate a classical piece. The first movement is my experience of what it’s like to listen to a classical piece…a sort of day dream story. The second movement is taken from 30 years of programs Maestro Klein introduced. The last, third movement, is inspired by the scrap book the orchestra made to celebrate his 30th year.

 Click here to watch the video

I. Rhapsody in White Andante grazioso

Shhh….you can hear it…!

the silence of the snow-covered valley

a cathedral of ice crystals dazzle in sunlight~

the painter draws one curled note of a lone winter bird

waves his brush like a magic wand and

pixie dust particles prance across the stage

the players entranced, the house in a spell

a masterpiece begins to unfold

snow crystals sizzle as the sun moans its dominance

next, song birds string together their wake up calls

the morning horn, the violet flute, the flutter of clarinet

as the master paints like a wizard

directs the winter’s day transition from purity

to cinematic symphony unveiled

the oboe, a stroke of blue

the tint of a piccolo, the fractals of ice

the cymbal and brush across snare, the crunch of snow

the artist, this wizard, paints faster now!

dashes his brush

to catch the heart of the violas, the soul of the cellos

directs the the trace of the spider-legged trees, weighted by a rainbow of icicles.

in the background he beckons the bass to fill the sky with

a trail of smoke from a lonely farm house chimney

the painter, his passion is rhapsody now!

he will transform the scene yet further

not a sound will he make, not a whisper will leave his lips but his magic wand it waves and reaches

he speaks with his heart, his eyes

invisible tendrils reaching across his stage

from heart to heart, from focused eye to eye

a genesis is happening here that is inexplicable…

a village forms on the canvas in my mind’s eye, where there was only snow-covered countryside – a Viennese waltz breaks the ice

and listen! A parade of baroque, as shop keepers open their doors

the day as bright as Chopin!

Spring begins to bud as green as Verdi

and with it, romance, introduced with the grace of a choral harp

the young man sees his beloved and his devotion is conveyed in wordless ensemble: a Mendelssohn affair of the heart

the painting is complete with the lovers’ union

and as the sun sets on the magician’s canvas

the music dims to shadow.

the artist’s arm draws away

we are gently lifted down,

transformed by our journey through a symphonic tale

to find ourselves returned to the silence of snow.

 II. Around the World in 30 Years Vivace, anima

instantly! time shifts, the magician-painter moves forward a century

we are welcomed with Appalachian Spring

we receive the gift of giddy Gershwin gliding gallantly into our golden ghettos

this artist is no longer a painter but an alchemist, channeling the colors, the shapes, the character and emotions of the unseen world into music

suddenly! a tango in 2/4 claps to a start, a young man precisely pulses with the woman in red to the heat of Spanish guitar on their heels…

this wizard with the magic paint brush goes offbeat now

he paints jaggedly, it’s a mystery, this jazz with xylophone hair and striped trumpets popping

this hypnotist, this magician, he takes us from medieval poetry and musical soirees

to red violins dancing in our heads
and layering Rachmaninoff’s fugues like rainbows

he takes us around the world a few times in 30 years

we time travel to illuminate Carmina Burana, chase Puccini butterflies across the room

peacock folk songs polka to Hungarian dances

with Ludwig rarely left behind

…there’s even room for Sesame Street

the parts breathe together: the stage, the canvas, the magician – They are One

the wizard’s eyes and wand beckon the magic light in every star on stage

he magnetizes his constellations to orbit in unison, to form galaxies of passion

to shine and radiate their genius

telepathically, they engage to create a collective intelligence

he imparts light and imagination with his beating heart

illuminating the soul of each piece

and fills the house with helium balloons of harmonies, counterparts and magic melody



III. It’s a Family Affair Adagio Amoroso

father’s son, with cello bow in hand

your baton dances like a ballerina

creative rhythms move through your body like electricity through conduit:

the light is ON

and you shine it on the audience, the soloists, musicians…everywhere

your careful eye, inspiring heart, and curious soul

delight with the birth of new talent

you mentor and tend the garden of the beginner, the veteran, the seeker

gently leading each soul you touch, bringing to bright light

the tap dancers, the howl of the didgeridoo, the taiko drummers and the cultured and colorful guests who pepper our stage and spice our music

even earthquakes can’t hold you back: the show DID go on!

Abracadabra! you pull a bouquet of measures from your collective stars on stage

some call your stage magic the Klein Phenomenon

you say, “Play very cello-ish”

when you raise your magic wand-baton you make time stand still-ish

you have the ear,

to hear the kindness and the beauty

one-of-a-kind innovator man

these are the lyrics written to you, Classy Glockenspiel

as confident as you are gentle, giving us 30 unforgettable years of unfailing grace

you patiently help us paint a masterpiece of musical splendor

encouraging ever-changing interpretation

you bring beauty, kindness and music into our lives

your gift for teaching and programming

is our gift of learning, creating.

Approachable Hero, you are gracious

you give us good humor, even in difficult moments

Magic Maestro, you have been PSO’s good fortune

Mitchell Klein, you are our beloved conductor and friend.

Thank you for 30 years of magic!

Mitchell Klein & Maurine at his 30th year Gala

Mitchell Klein & Maurine at his 30th year Gala

Learn more about the Peninsula Symphony at:


we are creature and you are man

we call you to the intersection of material and nature

we call you

for a walk

to bring you to the unseen glory of scents and instinct

to sounds outside

we give you what we can of our ways which you mostly do not understand

but we observe you intensely to learn your words, comprehend your alien meanings

and urge you out every day, we say: commune with us in the great outdoors, come with us to glimpse the wild

you are our ever-faithful

and we are yours, completely

with expression we calm you and bring you from the calamity of a troubled mind

to the peace of devotion
and love unconditional

for in a less natural place as this, you have given shelter

and take us on a walk

to a dimension on the edge of reach called love, we have learned

to operate in this language, love, falling so naturally between us

we are the saved and we are your Savior

we are creatures of different kinds

but we each strive to reach each other

and swirl in the simplicity of the moment: a nap, the great woods

or a daily vacation

as simple as a walk

–Happy Fathers Day to Danny from Dinah & Boomer

Boomer & Dinah

Boomer & Dinah

he swung out like a spider monkey
traveling like a banyan

reached out of the jungle
to California where he swung his roots

eye like an artist
arm like a hammer

he built and created and built and created
hands calloused like tree bark, fingers infused with art

He came to find a good like, a pure life
And now

He has grown as strong and rooted as a redwood
And we lean on this gentle man

And we are in awe of his art and his skill
Eyes of light and heart of gold

you came to find a good life, a pure life
but this is what you have brought to us, sweet William

Made our lives brighter and fuller with your tico spirit
You have given us a better life with your friendship

You have shared with us your dreamy art in living color
You have shared with us

The most treasured thing of all
You have shared with us
your pura vida

Close Up of God's Deck by William Solis see more of his art at

Close Up of God’s Deck
by William Solis
see more of his art at


a re-post of this birthday poem to Robert Cassidy since TODAY is his Birthday!

smiling eyes man

dancing with Divine

you nourish thirsty vines.

exuberant flash

koko pele heart

the color of your smile

spreads joy on the quilt of life.

smiling eyes man, son of Divine

you embolden our connection

sew radiant stars on torn patches

hang dreams on empty branches.

koko pele heart, singing your soul

you help us all

to shine a little more.

for Robert Cassidy, Happy Birthday, brother!

Robert Cassidy on guitar

Robert Cassidy on guitar

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Poetry Reading in Pacific Grove

Ode to Maestro Klein, Peninsula Symphony Orchestra

Performance for San Mateo County Supervisors

Poetry Reading by Maurine

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