wouldn’t you want to be a great blue heron…if you were born again?


Audubon’s The Birds of America, Color-Plate 211by Margaret Hasse

If you, too, dream to be born again

as a bird, wouldn’t you want to be

a great blue heron, rare vagrant

wintering in the Azores and coastal Spain,

snacking on shrimp while wading

on long, beautiful legs? And if
you loved your life as a human who

sheltered in a small house by a lake, you

could summer there again, nesting

in the white pine, fishing on the shore

in the blue Zen of stillness when early

morning ambers through the eastern sky.
Margaret Hasse, “Audubon’s The Birds of America, Color-Plate 211” from Summoned. © 2021 Margaret Hasse published by Nodin Press.

a home in color


by Margaret Hasse

After being a student, then an hourly worker,
I became a career girl and earned real money.
I left behind a provisional furnished apartment
with its stained curtains, butt-burned table
and Goodwill mattress I was never sure about.

Alone I bought a house with an attic,
a basement and a skirt of flowers.
Freely I spent on white paint, silver knobs
for kitchen cabinets and a sofa made of corduroy
that wrinkled my face when I napped.
A bureau with a display to worship
photos and framed mottos:
If only one prayer, thank you will suffice.

Do I regret the down payment,
fixtures, fittings, furniture, years of mortgage?
Would I take anything back?
No, I would not. I meant it all,
every purchase, all the weight that encumbered
and rooted me on this earth.

“Belongings” by Margaret Hasse from Between Us. © Nodin Press, 2016. Reprinted with permission.

the captivity of babies…


Owen holds the newborn and the 2 year old


The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, November 10, 201

On the Captivity of Babies 
by Margaret Hasse

Now that winter’s halfway here,

leaves swirl coldly
and babies aren’t seen much

except in the captivity of nurseries

lumbering with their hands
drawn into roses.

Babies are unto themselves,

a little sub-culture, none of whom suspects

how many other babies are being held

all over the world.

Babies escape slowly

from the little pens, the seatbelts,

the restraining arms.

It’s brilliant. Few notice

how tricky babies are.

On occasion, an aunt might fix
 a BB sharp eye on the little one,

and fire, “My how you’ve grown!”

The escaping baby feels very uncomfortable.

Babies enter the world impeccable and wise.

They leave their little prisons,

put nakedness in abeyance,

take on the clothes of the world,

spend a long time trying to locate

a perfect love

that resembles their first.
From time to time, they achieve glimpses.

As when an aging baby

late for a business appointment

sits dreamily in his car,

cigarette’s blue smoke

lingering in curlicues.

Before him a large leaf

shoved by the windshield wipers, is waving.

Or when a woman who has never run

to breathlessness, does so.

Amazed she does not burst,

she draws in large packages of air,

thinks of air as the new blood.
“On the Captivitiy of Babies” by Margaret Hasse from Stars Above, Stars Below © Nodin Press, 2018. Reprinted with permission

Jazzy Ben Franklin




Jazz You’ll Never Know
by Margaret Hasse
Alex dresses up in a sweet black suit
for his Central High senior picture
holding his trumpet as if
he will raise it
like a silver night-blooming moonflower
to play “Sweet Georgia Brown” or “Almost Blue.”
Alex has sat in on jazz gigs in New Orleans,
San Francisco, D.C.
and Saint Paul.
He attends summer jazz camps, jazz competitions,
jazz schools,
listens to Smithsonian Jazz Orchestra records.
He once ate ice cream
named Jazz,
ate an apple
named Jazz,
hopes there’ll be a car
branded Jazz,
wears a cologne with notes
of jazzy fragrance from a blue bottle.
When he shakes his silver ID bracelet
his own name flashes on one side,
Louis Armstrong on the other.
Alex, I ask, what is it with you and jazz?
If you have to ask, Mom, he says, quoting his hero,
you’ll never know.
“Jazz You’ll Never Know” by Margaret Hasse from Earth’s Appetite. © Nodin Press, 2013. Reprinted with permission.

It was on this day in 1775 that the Continental Congress established the Postal System. In the early days of colonial America, there was no centralized system for transporting correspondence — merchants or slaves carried letters between towns, and taverns or inns collected overseas mail. Early American settlements were coastal and relatively isolated from each other. Most mail was transatlantic, going from colonists to friends or relatives back in Europe. Mail that needed to be transported within the colonies was carried by postal riders, who rode alone through dense wilderness, marking the way by slashing marks into trees with axes.

In 1707, the British Crown officially took over the North American postal system, and appointed a series of postmasters general. One of these was Benjamin Franklin, who worked hard to make the system more organized and efficient.

In January of 1774, Franklin was fired from his post for being sympathetic to the revolutionary cause. By that point, revolutionaries had set up alternative systems to deliver mail without the Crown’s knowledge. These systems were invaluable for secret correspondence, but also as a way to publicize revolutionary materials to a wider audience — otherwise, when the revolutionaries published anti-British newspapers and pamphlets, the Crown post simply refused to deliver them. Americans supported the alternative mail systems as one more way to boycott England — the Crown mail service came to be seen as a form of taxation. Soon, this alternative system became the more popular and profitable of the two.

In May of 1775, the Second Continental Congress formed a committee to determine the best way of organizing this new alternative system. The six committee members, including Franklin and Samuel Adams, spent two months deliberating, and delivered a report on July 25th. The following day — on this day in 1775 — it was approved by the Congress, and the Postal System was established. Franklin was unanimously elected as postmaster general, with an annual salary of $1,000.

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