Mary E. Moore
Mary E. Moore obtained a Ph.D. in Psychology at Rutgers University. She then earned an
M.D. at Temple University’s School of Medicine, where she completed a residency in internal
medicine and a fellowship in rheumatology, subsequently rising to the rank of Professor on
Temple’s medical faculty. Her last teaching post was at Albert Einstein Medical Center in
Philadelphia, where she headed the Division of Rheumatology. Dr. Moore started to write
poetry seriously after her retirement. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in
Light Quarterly, Möbius, The Raintown Review, Verbatim, The Eclectic Muse, The Mid-America
Poetry Review, and in several other journals and anthologies. More of her work and information
about her chapbook, November Day, can be found on her website:
He is gone, but he is here.
Shape of shadow, source of sound,
with stir of air, ever near.
To my routine, so closely bound.
In nearby woods, we’d often share,
I’ll trace the path, now so redrawn,
and as I go, will loose him there.
He is here, but he’ll be gone.
Note to Pogo: You and I
Early on, you sniff my jeans and shoes
assuring morning's walk is not in doubt.
And if I style my hair, the latest news
is broadcast by the dryer: Stepping out!
What remains of cereal's for you
and clink of spoon on dish declares, She's done.
With PC shut-down, software sighs Adieu . . . ,
proclaiming work is through, and next comes fun.
I read your sign as well as you read mine,
discern from your low hum you have to pee.
Appreciate your stare that says it's time
to stop that boring stuff, Attend to me!
Have learned that I'm to hold the rawhide strip
you shove into my hand, that you intend
(a feat impossible with no firm grip)
to gnaw it nearly to the very end.
Our tracks converge so many different ways
I wonder if, in fact, we two are two.
Or if, in other lives, in ancient days
of being, we were one, then, by miscue,
were split and sent off singly to explore
succeeding worlds with selves just half-expressed,
haunted by recall of something more.
And now, in part united—doubly blessed.
The oval path around the meadow’s lined
by trees. One side is bordered by a stream
whose sloping shores invite those dogs inclined
to wade. Some swim a bit to blow off steam
on warmer days. Most follow us and play
while we stroll round and round confiding stuff
that only those with close-knit ties would say.
With Pogo, Pepper, Cypress, Junior, Duff,
old Kato, Kelley, Holly, Tess off-lead,
we all are free. Besides, we all attain
companionship which suits a special need.
Like those who ride the same commuter train,
we dog-park folk share common bits of history
but our strong bond is forged by six-legged mystery.
after Richard Wilbur
A large, good-looking frog, whose name was Guy,
was sitting in a puddle.
He hoped a female frog would hop on by,
so they could cuddle.
With green, resplendent hide,
curvaceous legs and eyes protruding just
the right amount to see both far and wide,
he was robust.
And croaking added greatly to his act—
the phrasing was complex.
But no amount of song seemed to attract
the gentler sex.
Br’r rabbit sensed Guy's plight
and said, “Your puddle’s far too small, My Pet.
The girls don’t know you’re here. So do it right—
get on the Net!”
Guy’s YouTube video did well, beyond
his wildest expectation.
Then many froggie maidens found the pond—
The frog-to-puddle scale applies
till now, to some degree.
But it’s the puddle’s virtual size
that is the key.
Published in Light, Fall-Winter 2008
On six old legs we walk each day
tracing our familiar way.
My dog cannot conceive the view
that walks like this may soon be through.
For him, though sights and smells may vary,
the given is the customary.
For me, I often pause to wonder
when the fates will set asunder
our supports or, what is more,
leave us only two, or four.
From November Day, Shadows Ink Publications, 2008, first published in The Raintown Review
It proved to be daunting for this volunteer
to make the English language clear
to a group of people from distant places
who absorbed new facts at different paces.
To reach them all, there was no panacea.
They hailed from Poland and South Korea,
from Chile and Russia and Viet Nam.
Facing this challenge required aplomb.
I sacrificed dignity, acting things out,
drawing pictures galore to help dispel doubt.
They struggled to learn, yet helped their peers
and, in the process, calmed their own fears.
We spoke of our lives to make conversation
and hearing these stories, found confirmation
that despite our diversity, easy to see,
on sorrow and joy, we all could agree.
At the start, I'd never have guessed what I'd gain,
what I and my students together attained—
an ease with a language I didn't impart,
that parlance unique to the human heart.
The Woman in the Mirror
That woman in the mirror can’t be me.
She looks so worn and clearly past her prime,
while I take nostrums advertised to be
protection from the wear and tear of time.
Her bushy eyebrows and unruly mop
make her appear unkempt. My brows, I pluck,
at least those bits that I can see. I chop
long strands of hair. Those out of place I tuck.
My wit, with highschool classmates, ranked first place.
Her down-turned mouth belies a sense of fun.
The more I stare, the more severe her face—
in movies, she’d be cast as Scary Nun.
No wait! What’s that? Do I detect she blinks?
It’s there again, more clear. My God! She winks!
A Thousand Words’ Worth
In English as Second Language class,
while quizzing students of mine,
I give an elderly Polish lady
"size" as a word to define.
At first, she doesn't seem to react.
I'm afraid she's completely at sea.
But then I see her features change
as if she's found the key.
Pinching with index fingers and thumbs,
she plucks at the front of her dress,
pulling the fabric away from the spots
right where her nipples press.
Tugging straight out and holding that pose,
she seems to display a prize.
She smiles as if expecting applause
and announces, triumphantly, "SIZE!"
The Man Who Had Too Much
First of all he was a pygmy,
troubled by such borborygmi,
his wife would count each blurp and bleegmy,
instead of sheep
so she could sleep.
He also suffered from the shakes
which caused the woman bellyaches,
for fear of losing, with his quakes,
He ended up with halitosis
tolerable only in tiny doses,
certainly not in symbiosis.
She was forced
to get divorced.
My mother starred in different roles,
some which caused me dread.
She'd sing pop songs and play piano,
then wish that we were dead.
Nana and Grandpa kept things steady,
playing their parts with skill.
Nana dealt out fun with card games,
made Jello when I was ill.
At the cellar bench, I worked with Grandpa,
loved tools, to his delight.
"Mame," he'd say, "if you want to do it,
be sure you do it right."
Concealed in Mother's cedar chest
lay clues to another's life:
uniform buttons, ivory chess set,
a poem, a pocket knife.
From these props, I cast a father,
I hoped someday I’d see.
With changing times and story line,
he did appear—in me.
From November Day, Shadows Ink Publications, 2008
Like Mother, Unlike Daughter
I realize that come next month, I'll be
the age my mother was at death. So strange . . .
for she was old, back then. Yet now, not me!
I'm barely past my prime. There's been some change,
it's true, but in dim light my wrinkles fade
and, with determination, I can hold
my back erect. The young don't offer aid,
don't proffer seats to me for fear I'll fold.
But, Mother, I can almost hear you say,
Compared to yours, my life was downright rough.
Small wonder you don't think your looks betray
your age. Although some years we shared were tough,
I passed to you the genes for healthy growth.
I think I did the aging for us both.
First published in Time of Singing, Summer, 2006
aren't keen about routine or an everyday walk,
in the absence of a baby, wouldn't talk baby talk,
prefer sleeping alone or with just your own mate,
enjoy scraping gravy from a dirty dinner plate,
don't want the greetings strangers will give,
are depressed and believe it's the only way to live,
never yearn for some handy, warm body to hug,
can respond to a cuddle with simply a shrug,
make it a point not to boast or to brag,
get no kick playing tug-a-war or tag,
feel no need to make new friends with ease
on a path, by a brook, or under the trees,
never want to feel like you are number one
and the earth circles you, instead of the sun:
do not get a dog.
First published in Möbius, January, 2006
Though from his tail a proper puff unfurls,
his 'do is not the dog-show-poodle-cut.
He wears a mass of scruffy, copper curls
that might adorn an ordinary mutt.
When he and I are on our daily walk
strangers speak but, sadly, not to me.
"Hi there!" they say (as if they thought he'd talk)
while gazing downward just below my knee.
Their eyes meet his and distance disappears.
He sidles close. Their fingers comb his hair
to settle in the warmth behind his ears.
For moments, no one cares that I'm still there.
At times when this occurs, I do not know
if jealousy or pride is what I feel.
But in the end, it's pride wins out, although
I wish that I had half my dog's appeal.
First published in Rhyme and Reason, McAlister, Ed., 2006
The Man from Mars
I once met a man who came from Mars
The tag on his shirt said his name was Lars.
Instead of a pair of eyes, he had three
and right in a line where his nose ought to be.
His nose was sitting on top of his head
and was colored a kind of purply red.
His hairs were as thick as spaghetti strands.
On the end of each arm he had two hands.
I stared at him, saying “Lars, I’m Billy
and, by the way, you sure look silly.”
He looked up and down, not moving his head,
“You appear pretty odd yourself,” he said.
“How can you smell what’s up in the air
with a nose pointed down? Or don’t you care?
How handy are you with just one of two paws
on the end of each arm, without any claws?”
Then I saw that his nails (all twenty) were long
and were pointy and thick and probably strong.
I smiled, “We’re different, I don’t deny.
But you have my respect. I bid you goodbye.”
I never again saw the man called Lars
or anyone else who came from Mars.
But from that day on, I watch out because
I remember that hair, that nose, those claws.
So where on earth could a missing sock go?
It was gone though the dryer seemed bare.
I peered way up high and felt way down low;
no stray was hidden there.
The thought crossed my mind it had joined with a pair
to form a ménage à trois,
but no sock of mine would dare an affair,
its upbringing far too bourgeois.
Perhaps it had simply looked years ahead,
judged the future to be problematical,
and set off on foot to where the road led
determined to take a sockbatical.
Just how it had left and in what strange way
it returned, I find hard to write.
For it went undetected until that day
my mother-in-law stayed the night.
To make up her bed, we shook out a sheet,
then suffered a dreadful shock.
In the water glass where she’d placed her teeth,
ker-plop ... was the missing sock!
First published in Rhyme and Reason, McAlister. Ed., 2006
Sticks and Stones
child, I was taught that it wasn't polite
to call someone a "Dago," or "Polack," or "Kike,"
but I knew that a far greater cause for alarm
was inflicting on others some bodily harm.
Now the movies and video, comics, T.V.
are all brimming with slaughter and killing is key.
When the corpses accumulate, ratings go high.
As an extra attraction the severed parts fly.
With the slash of a blade we see blood start to flow,
watch an eyeball explode as it's burst by a blow.
But "fag" is forbidden, the "n-word" taboo
and to cheer for the "Redskins" really won't do.
The motto of times which have gone all P.C.
would, perversely enough, appear to be:
Bloodshed and carnage are fun and games
but never, ever, call anyone names.
Who Would be Best?
To be read to toddlers aged two to four. Shown
with pictures of a pony, a bee, a fish, a dog,
a cat, a bird, a cow, a rabbit and a squirrel.
Who would be best to give you a ride?
The pony, if grownups can walk alongside.
Who would be best for you not to annoy?
The bee who might sting a girl or a boy.
Who would be best to take a long swim?
The fish who breathes water and always stays in.
Who would be best to teach to play ball?
The doggie who knows his name when you call.
Who would be best at giving a purr?
The cat, when someone is petting her fur.
Who would be best at building a nest?
The bird whose eggs need somewhere to rest.
Who would be best to help fill your glass?
The cow who makes milk from chewing on grass.
Who would be best at hearing a sound?
The bunny whose ears are the biggest around.
Who would be best to jump between trees?
The squirrel whose tail lets him balance with ease.
Who would be best to give you a kiss?
The one who loves to be reading you this.