POETRY, 1971-2016


Oh, I have been to bed and back again,
And back again to bed.  So many beds!
So many backs to hold against the cold!
I have kissed unnumbered lips, my dear,
Caressed unnumbered rising breasts, and left
Next day and never missed them once - till now.

Yes, now, my lamb!  Be kind.  Forgive my past.
Another night, a warmer bed has led me on
For years; and, yes, by subterfuge I stayed
Ahead. The countless lies, the rooms I fled
Could fill a mansion; except your eyes, my sweet,
Your eyes tonight have changed all that.  In you

I see the light I need, the hope I lack;
Here with you, my past is dead, my faith
Is back. But now I've said enough.  The night
Is cold, my conscience clear. Let's off to bed.
You're married, what!  Then be a dear, come sit
​And talk. (To be alone is what I fear.)  



                  Red regales in midday vigor,

                        Violet veils the truth;

                  Blue is blessed, cool, embracing,

                        Yellow conjures carefree youth.


                   Indigo has bold intentions,

                        Orange can hold the eye;

                  Green will soothe the fevered soul,

                        But only rainbows prophesy.


                  By the powers within me

                        And in full possession

                  Of my impermanence,

                        I hereby assign and bequeath


                  Unto my shoes, my feet;

                        Unto my hat, my head;

                  Unto my wife, my heart;

                        Unto this day, my life.


                  I nominate my children

                        To be themselves, no bond

                  Required but love freely

                        Given, full benefits.


                  God Almighty shall be

                        The trustee of my estate,

                  Mother Earth disposing

                        Of the rest and residue.

a boomer recitative in six parts
for the class of ‘66
by toby campion


shot from guns we come
puffed-wheat whelps
boom boom

atomic now no past
the war who cares
we won

hellcat dads in bow ties
oxblood loafers
oh god

the bodies buddies lost
buck up mister

bottoms up miss lucky
strike cocktails
blood rites

mommies making glow worms
glimmer girls
oh boy

happy snapshots bawling
for all the world
boom boom


howdy doody salk vaccine
kids act fast don’t be last

i like ike with lincoln logs
chocolate bosco evil moscow   

white is right jews killed jesus
manly chin-ups girlie pin-ups

red man dead man black lagoon
popcorn funnies fame and money

davy crockett indochina 
kids act fast have a blast


stop people look around
love is power midnight hour

need you baby world on fire
tripped out falcon widening gyre

hold me squeeze me love me do
destruction eve a-comin true 

the time has come has come today
the street the heat right on hooray 

instant karma climb so high 
touch the sky never die


portfolio plus kids
a ticking clock
panic at midnight
taking stock

splitting headache missing
simpler days
old friends be home by six
our moms would say

the world was new our hearts
had wings treetop
castles backyard idylls  
secret spots

for lizards later on 
a kiss new snow
filling in the haunts 
we used to know

my thanks beloved ghosts 
troubles will sit lighter 
less sorrow


boom boom
twin towers shatter
body parts scatter
nothing else matters

boom boom
struck without warning
the country in mourning
fresh hatred forming

boom boom
sick to death of history
our endless lust for victory
i surrender to the mystery

boom boom
my faith in things crumbling
my wall of fear tumbling
the best we are humbling


who’s trending now who’s hot
my selfie self is not
my facebook friends are ailing
my server feed is failing 

if god could text me now
just one emoji wow
from yottabytes a face
streaming gladness grace

just joking cyber moles
users geeks and trolls
the glory laugh out loud
was never in the cloud

on earth our steady state
will soon depixilate
boom boom 
our molecules unbinding
all certainties unwinding

the bitter end thereof
reconstituting love
till you and I are one
oh fundamental fun


rain-speckled window

          away you are walking there
                     utter revision​​


One creates the cosmic self;
​Two divides to know itself.

Three illumines, three inspires!
Four makes crystal, liquid, fire.

Five is lord of earth and sky;
Six, impassive, live or die.

Seven crowns the singing gate;
​Worlds undreamed of start with eight.

Nine proclaims that all is done;
​Ten affirms that all is one.

Oh, holy Omega,
The other end of initiations, 

You who ordain
That all must end, and how, and when, 

Thank you
For ruthlessness beyond reprieve. 

Measurer of limits,
When water cracks foundations

​And stratagems collapse;
When remedies fail and breathing ceases, 

Thank you
For grim clarity, the peace abiding 

Beyond supplication. 




    Red death, yellow death,
Glory of God,
       Giving up the forest ghost
      To withered sod.

   Red death, yellow death,
          Year on the verge,
            Lapsing while the final paeans
      Of color surge.

    Red death, yellow death,
   Glory of God,
 Laying out to final rest
      Inside the pod.



                  The juice inside the sugar cane

                        Is spilling on the ground;

                  The river can't contain itself,

                        Vultures circle round.


                  This vegetation swallows men,

                        Women weep at night;

                  The swollen, dank and rheumy sky

                        Has lost the gift of sight.


                  Conforming, could I lay me down

                        To die without ado,

                  Except this ache, this restlessness

                        That has to do with you.




                  The faery tales of six o'clock

                        Forget themselves by ten,

                  And all is dark until the sun

                        Shall come again.


                   Go to sleep, my fairest child.

                        Make this your bedtime prayer:

                  That God my hold and keep you safe

                        From crowded air.

                  Marauders of the night fly loose,

                        Swarming on the wing;

                  They have a taste for innocence

                        And those who sing.


                  But I will stand my vigil here

                        Until our saviour, dawn,

                  When you can rise and have your day

                        And I sing on.



                     OUR WEDDING



            You moved as you,

                  I moved as me,

                        We moved as three:

                              The sun, the moon, the sea.


            Moving here,

                  Moving there,

                        The moves we shared,

                              The moves we dared;


            The I-move-you,

                  The you-move-me,

                        The unmoved moves,

                              The mystery.


            But from today

                  Those moves are done;

                        We unify, we move as one:

                              The sea, the moon, the sun.



                  Garden morning, gone the night;

                  Dripping pearl, parades of light:


                  Nibbles rabbit, mantis prays,

                  Quivers shadow, squawking jays;


                  Cornstalk forest, onion beds,

                  Row on row of cabbage heads;


                  Spinach, peppers, parsley, chard;

                  Watermelons, green and hard.


                  Midday garden blazing flat,

                  Spearmint tea and broad-brimmed hat.


                  Tomato vines on wooden stakes,

                  Trowels and string-line, hoes and rakes;


                  Licking leaves, a tiny snail;

                  Flicking breeze, oh swallowtail!


                  Afternoon, our garden green

                  Growing slowly, roots unseen.


                  Green gets darker, daylight fades;

                  Grass gets wetter, night invades.

                  Fruit and flowers off to bed;

                  Fireflies and stars instead.