I leaned a ladder on a passing cloud
And climbed up past the step that says STOP HERE
To find myself among a happy crowd
Of folks who like their weather partly clear

I didn’t see the number on the plaque
They’d hung above the rainbow-colored bar
But judging by the populace’s lack
Of sadness it was 7 or above

I would have liked to stay to see the sights
But when the breeze kicked up I had to go
In case my ladder toppled from the heights
(I hadn’t braced it very well below)

The ladder cops were waiting at the base
To write me up for blowing past their STOP
But when they saw the bliss upon my face
They clearly wished that they’d gone to the top

The ladder’s in the rafters of my shed
They made me promise that I’d let it be
But if again I got it in my head
To go cloud-climbing…could they come with me?


Mr. Gravity’s the guy
Who paints the wonder on the sky
For who would ever want to go
Without Big G to tell you no?
If we could simply climb on top
Of any random cloud, who’d stop
To notice those that look like ducks
Or rhinos driving pickup trucks?
The fact the sky is hard to touch
Is why we seem to spend so much
Imaginative energy
On something we can plainly see
Is just an empty space above us.
Mr. Gravity must love us
Massively to hold us so.
We love above ’cause he’s below.

And Baby Made Three

Someone born today
Back in 1936
Would be 81

All three multiples of three
Within its digits*

March is the third month
27 is three cubed
(3 x 3 x 3)

I need hardly say
3 x 3 x 3 x 3
Equals 81

Naval architects
Who had been born on that date
Would build trimarans

And, had they been drawn
To athletics, what’s the sport
They’d most likely tri?

Silly number games
Just a way to celebrate
My daddy’s birthday

*One of only twelve
Years since
Anno Domini
In which that was true

The last one, of course,
Came 3-cubed years after that:


Tonight we’re opening our show!
Fourth week and fourth night in a row
For sixteen openings in all
And one last drapeless curtain call
One more chance to share the light
One last night to get it right


I admire people who can paint,
Who aren’t embarrassed when they’re asked to draw.
The Muse of Visual Arts showed true restraint
When gracing me: I earn less awe than, “Aww.”
Likewise the vocal arts, whose patroness
Gave me the skill to hear and recognize
My less-than-perfect pitch, though I confess
I sing despite the sadness in her eyes.
The Literary Muse took pity, though,
And–probably when all the rest had gone–
On me a love of writing did bestow
And charged me thusly: Try to pass it on.
Words are all I have to give away,
So, no, I won’t be shutting up today.