Cycle, revised and redesigned

Amika Press is releasing a revised and redesigned edition of Cycle, my compilation of four stories about environmental issues in our world. When Cycle was first published in 2012, Kirkus Reviews hailed it as “an inspiring call to action.” The book was a Literary Classics Gold Medal Winner and a Living Now Evergreen Book Award Winner.

In this moment of multiple national crises, we cannot ignore the serious ongoing environmental problems we continue to face. The current federal administration has used the cover of both the pandemic and the civil unrest to undermine the nation’s environmental laws and weaken existing regulations.

Please read Cycle (again, if you have already). Please listen to the four voices that speak in the stories. Give the book to family and friends, colleagues and neighbors. I would very much like to talk with anyone about the themes and issues in the book.

In addition, I will be donating 100% of my author royalties to The Nature Conservancy. Cycle is available for purchase, directly from Amika Press, here: And on Amazon, as a paperback and an ebook, here:

“whatever we lose”

This poem is always new. Thanks to J Voris for the photo.

maggie and milly and molly and may
by e. e. cummings

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

52 Poems for Men, compiled by Jay Amberg

“swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim”

How about a brighter selection from 52 Poems for MenImage by Sharon Wirt.

Pied Beauty
by Gerard Manley Hopkins


Glory be to God for dappled things –

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;

And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.


All things counter, original, spare, strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.


52 Poems for Men, compiled by Jay Amberg

“vexed to nightmare”

Here’s another from 52 Poems for Men. Photograph is by James Orr.

The Second Coming
by William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

52 Poems for Men, compiled by Jay Amberg

“the strange, sore comforts”

This poem was given to me when I retired from teaching at Glenbrook South High School. While it’s not included in 52 Poems for Men, it’s still one of my favorites. Painting by Regina Roland.

Lines on Retirement, after Reading Lear
by David Wright

for Richard Pacholski

Avoid storms. And retirement parties.
You can’t trust the sweetnesses your friends will
offer, when they really want your office,
which they’ll redecorate. Beware the still
untested pension plan. Keep your keys. Ask
for more troops than you think you’ll need. Listen
more to fools and less to colleagues. Love your
youngest child the most, regardless. Back to
storms: dress warm, take a friend, don’t eat the grass,
don’t stand near tall trees, and keep the yelling
down—the winds won’t listen, and no one will
see you in the dark. It’s too hard to hear
you over all the thunder. But you’re not
Lear, except that we can’t stop you from what
you’ve planned to do. In the end, no one leaves
the stage in character—we never see
the feather, the mirror held to our lips.
So don’t wait for skies to crack with sun. Feel
the storm’s sweet sting invade you to the skin,
the strange, sore comforts of the wind. Embrace
your children’s ragged praise and that of friends.
Go ahead, take it off, take it all off.
Run naked into tempests. Weave flowers
into your hair. Bellow at cataracts.
If you dare, scream at the gods. Babble as
if you thought words could save. Drink rain like cold
beer. So much better than making theories.
We’d all come with you, laughing, if we could.

“sometimes goin’ in the dark”

I intend to keep posting poems from 52 Poems for Men and elsewhere. I hope you are reading (and/or writing) your own truths, now more than ever. Happy May Day.

Mother to Son
by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

52 Poems for Men compiled by Jay Amberg.

Photography by Seren of MusingMoonStudios.

Support your local restaurants: Tag’s Cafe

Tag’s Cafe is located at 2012 Central St, in Evanston. They are a friendly breakfast and lunch addition to the already wonderful Tag’s Bakery. You can order online here or by calling 847 859 2027. Remember to add a cookie.

Cybele, goddess of earth and rebirth

Let’s visit with one more goddess. Here is Cybele.

The introduction to this thorough and fascinating article describes her well:

Cybele (Greek Κυβέλη) was a Phrygian goddess originating in the mythology of ancient Anatolia, whose worship spread to the cities of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. She represented the Mother Earth and was worshiped as a goddess of fertility, nature, caverns, and mountains, as well as walls and fortresses. Like other ancient goddesses, such as Gaia (the “Earth”), she was known as potnia theron, referring to her ancient Neolithic roots as “Mistress of the Animals.”

The goddess was known among the Greeks as Meter (“Mother”) or Meter oreie (“Mountain-Mother”), possibly in connection to the myth that she was born on Mount Ida in Anatolia. Her Roman equivalent was Magna Mater, or “Great Mother.” Additionally, she was worshiped as a deity of rebirth in connection with her consort (and son), Attis.

Cybele was a pivotal influence on The Healer’s Daughters. She is included in the itinerary for a proposed Goddess Tour to Turkey; read the article for an idea of how present goddesses are in Turkish culture.

Above artwork is by Amanda Lindupp. You can see more at her Etsy shop.