SALT: A Poem from Barbara Crooker’s book GOLD

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

A coupleof months ago, I published a poem from GOLD, by Barbara Crooker, another Douglass College (Rutgers University) graduate. (Link to that posting: With her permission, I am posting this poem from GOLD as part of National Poetry Month and will post another one from her other book I reviewed, MORE.




On the boulevard, the Bradford pears

release their petals; they spill like salt

on the ground.  My grandmother would

have pinched up the granules, thrown them over

her shoulder to fool the evil eye. My mother

would have said Don’t cry over what’s spilled.

When we were in Brittany, we saw les artisan

paludiers harvest it by hand, marketed as fleur de sel,

the flower of salt.  When we poured my mother’s ashes

in the ocean, they ran through my hands like grains

from a silver spout.  On the blue canister in my kitchen,

there’s a little girl standing in the rain in a yellow dress,

the same can of salt under her arm, open, running out,

like those Dutch interiors repeating themselves in convex

mirrors.  Repeating like the bits of DNA in molecules

that become the coins in our ovaries’ purse, doled out month

by month, drawn by the moon.  Long ago, someone tipped

some salt on a black skillet, and decided to call that spillage “stars.”


GOLD is published by Cascade Books, Eugene, Oregon, an imprint of Wipf and Stock publishers ( and costs $11.00 on Amazon. ( The cover is an excerpt of a painting by Klimt, one of my favorite artists.


Owl Hour: a poem about love, by Barbara Crooker

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Yesterday I published a review of Barbara Crooker’s book MORE. If you scroll up on the Home Page or Poetry category, it will still be there. This second book, GOLD, is a more tender selection of her poems, many of which are sad but lovely thoughts about love, death and dying, especially her mother’s. The cover is lovely and is perfect for the contents.

I like her poems because they are not esoteric, with lots of hidden meanings that I can’t fathom. Rather, these poems stir my heart and  help me identify some of my own feelings, such as the one below, “Owl Hour,” because, like the author, I remarried later in life. And since I met my husband right before Valentine’s Day, 15 years ago, I picked this as my first poem from this book to post. (I hope to post more in future blogs.) Actually, I think the whole month of February can be devoted to “Heart Matters,” the title on my Home Page.

GOLD is published by Cascade Books, Eugene, Oregon, an imprint of Wipf and Stock publishers ( and costs $11.00 on Amazon. ( The cover is an excerpt of a painting by Klimt, one of my favorite artists.




I don’t know why I get so cold at ten o’clock, but that’s when I’m drawn,

like some sort of nightbird, to our nest upstairs in the flannel sheets,

once the color of pinot noir, now duller, patinaed by the silver

of our skins. I need to pile on the blue blanket, the heavy woolen

one from Ireland, the Broken Star quilt, before I stop

shivering. Sometimes the house itself quivers in the wind.

Then you come up, and we arrange ourselves like a nest

of measuring cups. Some of our friends now sleep alone, half

the set missing. I’ve told you you’re not allowed to die first;

I don’t do numberscheckbook, taxes, bills. My breasts

press into your back; my hand with the numb fingers stretches

over your heart. How lucky we are to have found each other;

what if I hadn’t gone to the party that night? The second time

for both of us; we know how it can all go wrong. Even

when I can’t sleep, I listen to the hoots and calls

of your breathing, which both keeps me awake

and will be the first thing I’ll miss when all the nights

are silent. We know there’ll be an afterwards;

we’re not that young anymore. I turn, and turn again,

the way a dog circles before he lies down. And though

we can’t see them, the stars twirl overhead, each one nested

in the place in space it’s supposed to call home.