Brown-eyed Susan
Roses of Belfast
Brown-eyed Susan
Under a White Umbrella
Mexican Conquest
Expresso Dreams
Summer Rain
Christmas Eve
Morning After
Eternal Unity
Bitter Blossoms
Tender Mercies
Into the Darkness
Miss Maddy Jones
Could They?
The Temple Gate
Midnight Writer
Sioux-Blue Sky
Nine Years Old
Spring Sonnet
Same Time, Next Year



September spreads across the fields,

laying down a patchwork of crops

ready for gathering, clinging to the soil

for a lazy final season in the sun

before the harvest begins.

Fencerows and country roads

define the seams between

broad fields of milo and corn,

and long expanses of beans

still green, but poised to change

overnight to a shade of yellow

to rival the sun.


Along every country road,

next to every weathered barn,

I see clusters of brown-eyed-Susans

and remember another September,

when the sky was an impossible

shade of blue and time stopped

while the world watched in horror,

helpless, as planes flew into the heart

of a peaceful nation at slumber.


What was Susan doing that day

on the ninety-ninth floor of a tower

in Manhattan, so far from home?

Why did that brown-eyed beauty

from the Midwest share her last smile

with strangers before the planes hit?

Did they know how rare and special

her spirit was? How sunshine

sprang from her gentle laughter?


Did anyone really know the tragedy

which stalked her that day?

Did her brilliant dark eyes conceal

the recent death of a young cousin

back home in Illinois, or the untimely

demise of an uncle years before?

Were any they aware her father,

a war veteran and firefighter,

also died before his time,

in a tangle of wreckage

at the crest of a distant hill

one bitter cold winter night?

Did they know her dad was there

that terrible morning in September,

unable to rescue her, but waiting

to receive her in his arms?


America mourns the thousands

of lives extinguished that day.

We vow that none will be forgotten.

Their names are spoken each year,

their stories told, their pictures cherished,

and in homes across the entire land,

where the fields turn once again

to shades of gold, we pause to pray

for those we knew and loved,

and for strangers caught in the storm

of heat and fire and dust and noise,

people who should not have died

beneath the warm September skies.


When the prairies bloom,

hundreds of miles from New York City,

and the first leaves drop each fall,

on fields in Illinois where she was born,

I will think of my friend, Susan,

that sweet, brown eyed flower

who bloomed brightly, but too briefly,

and I will always ask why.