Bob Isaacson's Blog

Welcome to this blog. It is basically a collection of stories, letters, essays, reviews, and poems that I have written over the past years, some of which were published in the Santa Barbara Independent and other local publications.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


On Leave of Absence, Monday Morning, 8:00 a.m.:

I open my front door—
A deck covered with ice.
Stay home. Light a fire.

In the Afternoon, Hiking on the Bluffs near Goleta:

Storm clouds gather above the coast.
An old, old friend has died.
Let it rain.

Sunday Morning:

Why fog in winter?
In summer it tempers the heat.
This chills the bone.

Winter Pastoral:

Digging long ditches,
I probe for broken pipes—
Two days knee deep in mud.

Saturday, after Heavy Rain:

We hike through green hills.
Huge white clouds drift south.
Water runs in every draw.

Now That I'm 61.5:

Lost cell phone.
What was that password?
Wallet missing. Give it up. Enjoy.

Winter Chanterelles:

Fungus fruit in leaf rot,
Poison oak, Toyon shade—
We scour dark places.

Perfect Zen Memory, San Antonine du Val, Southern France:

Espresso, sunlight,
A raspberry tart—
The day lay ahead of me.

The Ferrier Comes on a Winter Morning:

Warm breath clouds the horses.
Hammer clangs anvil.
Our dogs gnaw the trimmings.

Finally Horseback, After Weeks of Rain:

Ears bolt upright,
Our mares spook at cow, bush, rock—
Their heads brim with ghosts.

Turning Out the Cow Herd, After a Branding:

We finish at noon—
Heifers sprint up the hill.
Steers tiptoe, gin…ger…ly.

Prelude to a Week of On and Off Rain:

Take tools to cover.
Bring in oak logs, split kindling.
Buy a damn good book.

Lying on the Sofa, 10 A.M., Feeling Somewhat Guilty:

I stare out the window—
Bare boughs, dove song, grey sky.
That is all there is.

An English Professor Teaches What Could Be His Last Class:

The door closes.
The words of students grow silent.
I hard prune my own.

Stephen Defines God and Shrugs in James Joyce's Ulysses, Page 42, Bodley Head Edition:

"A shout in the street"--
It's too simple to understand,
So I concur.

Busted, Caught Watching "Trailer Park Boys", Canada's Outlaw Comedy Series:

“Dad,” my daughter queries,
Looking askance,
“Is your mind on vacation?"

In Morning Sunlight, After a Night of March Showers:

With my stick
I whack a tall mustard plant—
A candelabra shatters.

A Haiku in the Tractor Shed Machine Shop:

Turn the screw lever
And tighten, tighten, tighten --
Thought caught in a vise.

A Small Group of Cows Arrange Themselves in a Bright Green Swale:

Some stand and graze.
Others lie down and look up --
They think me an artist.

On Giving Editorial Advice to Someone about a Poem:

I have crawled through the fence
To a meadow not my own.
Call the sheriff.

On a “Cardio” Hike with My Daughter on a Breezy March Day:

We plan a tough hike,
But only pick mushrooms.
There’s a metaphor here.

On Buying and Eating a Box of Frozen Macaroons from Trader Joes:

Nine time zones distant,
In Paris, you once stole my heart.
Now we are both old.

Lion Kill in Pig Canyon, Found on a Late Afternoon Walk:

We pause.
The leg of a calf lies on the road.
It is a long way home.

Monthly Blood Draw at the Outpatient Lab, Cottage Hospital:

Tighten fist to rock.
Eyes close. Fingers open, upward--
See now. Strange flower.

Tinker’s Curse, Near Fred Hanna’s Bookstore, Dawson Street, Dublin:

Old woman in rags
Begs coins. I offer a sandwich--
”Pig’s nose on ya!”

Why the Evangelical Protestant Missionaries Failed on Achill Island, Ireland, During the Famine:

A farmer stops work,
To shout, as we pass by,
“We never took the soup!”

Pick Pocketed by a Gang of Dublin Children, Not Far from the River Liffey:

Tiny girls swarm past us--
No wallet!
I know them well,” laughs the Garda.

Shaking Hands with the Corpse of the Old Crusader, Catacombs, Saint Michan’s Church, Dublin:

In the dim cell
Extends a withered hand—
“Just… ‘tap’ it,” cautions our guide.


From Yew tree needle,                                   
It blocks cell division--                          
Deforest the graveyards!                                   

Carpe Diem, Carpe Florem-- A Brief Meditation in Wildflower Season on Horace’s famous Line of Poetry:

Don’t seize the flower.
Leave it for others.
But the day? It’s yours to waste!

Wild Iris Meadow, Mount Pinos, Late July:

Quick, now, go. You must see them.
They bloom for you.
Tomorrow? Don’t bother.

Evening Fogbank, El Chorro Ranch, August:

Thick fog shrouds the ranch.
Welcome, old sailor, weary,
Home from the harsh sea.