Dear Readers I am so happy to announce the publication of my poem ” Heading That Way”
In Lummox #3 2014. You can find that publication at http://www.lummoxpress.com and order a copy, which I hope you will as it has so very much to offer.
I am very grateful to be included in this publication. There are many wonderful writers in this tome of 170 poets which includes interviews with Grace Cavalieri,John Macker, Doug Holder, Rick Smith and Daniel MCGinn. There are lots of photos and some cartoons. This is a publication to keep at your bedside table, take with you on a long trip or to the islands this winter.
You will find my poem on page 69 and attributed to Susan Topping (Silver) rather than my usual nome de plume Sue Silver. This due to a misunderstanding with the editor RD as it is Susan Topping who pays the bills.
Yes it is time I officially changed my name. Is that hard to do? I will soon find out…

These days I am living between Annapolis, MD and Shepherdstown and I am really enjoying Annapolis. What an interesting town, filled with interesting and wonderful people just like Shepherdstown in so many ways, but of course so much larger.
I am not going to put my poem here just yet. Please support Lummox by buying a copy if you can.
Here’s a poem by Grace Cavalieri:

After Taking The Train To Martinsburg

–for Angel

Did you think that I could

Come to the mountains

Where it is raining

Without finding something to praise,

Only this time it is a dream

Shimmering like the new green

Out every window,

The remembrance of traveling

When young, feeling that

Something was needed but finding

The porches seemed small

From a distance,

Then left with nothing in particular

Your cheek next to mine

And how I’d like to show you

The mourning doves building

Their nest in the crook

Of that far tree

Stick by stick by stick

As if it will last forever.



It is already well into 2013 and I am so behind in posting something new for you, my dear readers. So here are a couple of new poems and a photograph I just took. I have begun a photographic study of this road not too far from my home.
I am doing some black and white photographs as well getting ready for our big Jefferson County Photographers Show in May when I will have to have 8 silver black and white photographs ready.
I love working with film it is so exciting. You don’t have that immediate gratification that you have with digital,this is true, however, it makes one work harder really understanding how photography works.

Trough Rd, Jefferson County,WV

Trough Rd, Jefferson County,WV

Here are a couple of the Black and white photographs our JCP show last fall.
Gargoyle, Jefferson County, WV



I will never give up the book for the box

That cold steel under my fingers

Devoid of bookish personality

Page and font, perfume of age and type

A heft and hue only to itself.

I will never give up the book for the

Kindle or some other mock marvel

in that vein – no cover art to gaze upon

with each reading of the book,

no writing in the margins, no torn page

no date due stamps on the back,

no greeting on the front, no birthday memories

in a gentle hand ” to my dear Anna.”

No special binding holding volumes

of pages to their place, just a box

of metal, for other people, not me.

I will never give up the book.

( Published in The Anthology of Appalachian Writers Bobbie Ann Mason Volume III )



I fish for hours

casting where greenness,

reflections of the sky and trees,

fill my eye.

I walk the path around the pond

casting near the old log.

The wind brings perfumes of humid air

and the leafy pond.

Better than Chanel to me.

A fish jumps by the reeds.

I cast and reel, cast and reel – not one fish bites.

Not even the leaping bass.

( Published in The Anthology of Appalachian Writers  Ron Rash Volume IV )






The Rumsey Experiment

The Rumsey Experiment

Shepherdstown, WV is 250 years old. That is a long time. All year we have had many events ongoing in celebration. I have had a hand in a couple of these events and as a photographer have been out and about with my camera. Shepherdstown, WV is a beautiful old town in the Shenandoah valley. The original buildings make up the bulk of the town which is 4 square miles of the original plat while the surrounding area which we also call Shepherdstown extends several miles into the area.
The Colony of Virginia began issuing Valley land grants in the 1730s. In 1734, Thomas Shepherd was granted 222 acres (898,000 m²) on the south side of the Potomac (then called the Potowmack), along the Falling Spring Branch (now known as the Town Run). From that tract he selected 50 acres (202,000 m²) and laid out a town. Naming his town Mecklenburg, he petitioned the Virginia General Assembly for a charter, which was granted in 1762. Thomas Shepherd was the sole trustee, owning the town and being responsible for its government. A second charter, which allowed for self-government, was granted by the Commonwealth of Virginina in 1794. In 1798, the corporate limits were extended and the name was changed to Shepherd’s Town. After the American Civil War, the town’s name was officially contracted to Shepherdstown. (Quoted from Wikipedia)
Shepherdstown has a University, Shepherd University , an orchestra, lots of fine eating, great shopping and still maintains it’s original historic flavor. There are strict building codes and the use of neon signs, the presence of MacDonalds, 7 Elevens and the like are forbidden. At least within the 4 square miles that make up the original town. There are many old homes , old trees, lovely gardens and we collect our mail from the post office here in town. For more information about my wonderful town please visit http://www.shepherdstown.org
To celebrate Shepherdstown’s 250th I was involved in my poetry group The Bookend Poets’ publication of a commemorative publication, “In Good Company”.
Here are my two poems.
The long ride then over two lane roads
In the top down two-seater with the rumble seat in the back
Where I got to sit
Singing whatever I could
As a kid
With Auntie
Driving I’m sure quite fast
And my brother riding shotgun
Oh do stop that noise
We pulled up to what I remember now quite well was
The old pharmacy, my first time here
In Shepherdstown, 1952
And that was just the beginning.

And the second poem is:


Shepherdstown, small as it is, has an orchestra.
A town of historic homes
And alleyways with old chicken coops
Wooden garages and a town run.

From upstairs, the edges of the tin roofs wade
Across the sky, stepping unevenly
Like the sidewalks aged into disrepair
And there’s the bebop of the train whistle moan.

The cry of the dogs calling their news.
We had a few town dogs before leash laws arrived.
They’d hang out on main street
Sit where they pleased..greet you,hang out in class.

The main street parades and the local middle school band
Playing past my window, make me run to look,
Most people don’t know that small town type life.
It’s a good life to me, special.


I do so love a good read. To me there is nothing like it.I am under the spell of two good books right now. Elizabeth The Queen by Sally Bedell Smith. This is understandably a fairly long book and as such I pick it up and put it down, reading other books in between.
Elizabeth The Queen is a very well researched and well written book. Queen Elizabeth II has played an important role in my life as I spent a good part of my early years in Commonwealth countries,namely New Zealand,Australia and Hong Kong. There are plenty of photos of the Queen usually one in every home and a lot of coverage by the media. Consequently,the Queen and the Royal Family are present in one’s life and consciousness.
In fact the Queen, with Prince Phillip and Princess Ann made a visit to my town, Auckland, while I was there a couple of times. I had my camera with me and managed to be in the front row as Queen Elizabeth made her way down our main street in Auckland, Queen St lined with citizens. It came my turn for my moment with the Queen. Says I after curtsying,”are you having a good holiday?” To which she replied “HOLIDAY ?!!”
What did I know? I was a young 20 something.This said, Her Highness smiled and moved on to the next person. Thus my moment with the Queen who is about 18 years older than I. Almost a lifetime to me at that time. I did not fare so well with Princess Ann who scowled at me as I was taking a rather close close up of her as she greeted people on the roadway up to our lovely museum perched on a hill in Auckland. A large Corinthian building with great pillars and a lovely view of the city. If I could only find those photographs I would post them here.
The wonderful Appalachian writer Ron Rash writes so very well. I recently read his book Saints at the River. This is a really good read. Here’s a bit from the book….By the time we got to the Ranger station the rain had thinned to drizzle.Fog on the Tamassee’s surface smoldered like a doused fire….. On those mornings
the fog felt like a countercurrent, moving opposite the earth’s rotation, to hold everything, even time, in abeyance.”
I love Ron Rash’s writing. He also wrote a book called Serena which is a helluva read.He has written several other stories, published several poetry books and is the winner of many awards.
My third book is by Bob Dylan ” Chronicles Volume One”. First published in 2004 in the UK. Bob talks about his early days in New York city in the Village. He also talks about how difficult it was being so famous and the lack of privacy he and his family endured, especially during those days in 1968 and the peace movements when he was expected to lead those rallies in Washington DC and elsewhere.
Just as all of us struggle to find our voice, Dylan relays what it was like for him. I am really enjoying this book.

On another note, please check out the Letter Q :Eileen Miles on Poets.org.” This letter is a reprint from “The Letter Q” a collection of notes written by queer writers to their younger selves.” It is a wonderful piece and really to me genderless as you didn’t ( at least in my experience) need to be “Queer” to have a hard time getting accepted by your peers at school or wherever. At least I never seemed to really fit in as I was growing up. Due mainly to a multiplicity of “reasons”
but isn’t that so for so many of us writers?

So here’s a poem I recently wrote and oh look it is to some extent on subject:
We walk a path so ill defined
at first lost in some underbrush
with twists and turns
some lucky few know

Like a hummingbird flies straight
to it’s summer world albeit
continents away. What way?
you ask…the one that takes you
to yourself.

Across the plains of every man
the earnest brow the piercing eye
and know the secret heart
a song that sings and leads us on
and here within the silence of our heart
of hearts

Awakens within a peace in stillness there
that burns without a flame or heat
come still closer,closer still.


Two Worlds


I hear the sing song

Complaining of my friend

Her face gone tight, like a fighter’s face

Words up like fists balled to take it on.

The whatever, whenever someone did her

Wrong. This world doesn’t love you nearly enough,

Until that heart of yours loves itself so much

Nothing can touch you, but that love

An elixir in your every breath, this fractured world

Gets laid to rest in that sweet, sweet silence

Waiting there

In the stillness inside you,

Listen there.


This is the poem I wrote for the dVerse challenge today.

Healing Hands

This last weekend was a great opportunity for me as I was invited to participate at The American Indian Center in Baltimore to offer massage and energy healing to folks. There were several other people involved who practiced their style of massage / energy healing. An acupuncturist, an herbalist and four of us massage therapists.
We had no shortage of people coming in to receive bodywork. We also served food which we had made and brought.
Everyone was so appreciative.
The weather cooperated which meant more people were out and about.
In another room there was testing for HIV and Hepatitis B and C. Wonderful! plus they had a support group information for people who tested positive.
In this day and age it is so important to be tested and know that there are treatments available.

On Sunday I was able to attend the prayerful ceremony of sweat lodge.
I first came across sweat lodge in 1985 at the time of the Harmonic Convergence.
That was along time ago. I had my two children with me that weekend. They were fairly small and both came in the lodge for a while.
My son received the name Little Bear and my daughter Running Doe.
I sweated with Charlie Thom, a Kurok medicine man from Northern California and he and his local person Shaw who bore the powerful name of Skybull were huge influences in my life for many many years.
We sweated together, did vision quests and had a tremendous community together for many years.

I love this kind of community. It is a wonderful place to grow and share. I feel honored and so grateful to be a part of the communities I live and work in and so grateful to all my teachers.

Through the canopy of tall trees
Evening’s birdcalls echo
We sit in a circle in prayer
The fire pit blessed
The fire built, stones stacked.
Reverent of the earth, singing
Together in prayer.

In time
Enter the lodge
Find our place
The ceremonial journey begins in sweetness
The tears, the sharp fragrance of healing herbs
Stones brought in
In prayer, in gratitude

Sage, lavender, sweet grass, tobacco on the hot stones
Water to the stones, steam rises.
It is hot,
A good hot to me,
The gift of the sacred lodge,
We sweat together.
Four rounds, one to
Each direction.
Healing comes.

Train to Fairbanks,AK

Train to Fairbanks,AK
The click clack, click clack
Gathering steam
In the best window seat
Blue leather like seats
Generous, comfortable.
Plenty of leg room –
At 0840 we are loaded
Pulling away from Anchorage
Out the winding tracks
Up to Wasilla –

I buy a trip book
Which tells of the towns
The mountains
Some history.
Bought a long map one that unrolls
So we can follow the journey

See the rivers and mountains.
The sun is bright and we get tea
in the dining car
two cars back
through the heavy doors
cross the moving metal platforms.
The train to Fairbanks
With a crisp, blue sky.

The lovely train that presses forward
On the slick clear tracks.
In the dining car the conductor
And the policeman
exchange stories with each other
sitting at a table.
They make this 12 ½ hour run
Twice a week, north on a Saturday
South on a Sunday.
The mile markers flash by on
The right side of the tracks.
There are small shacks holding
Mail and supplies and three
Feet of snow on their roofs –
There are crossings with cars
A temperature monitor says 16 degrees

In Wasilla several people get off
A few get on. I could not see Russia
But a good puppy sits prettily at her Mistress’ feet
A lovely Malamute.
The Conductor opens the top of the door
So we can take photos
Without the glass-it’s cold.
We traipse up there several times
Taking photos and movies, laughing bundling
Up our ears and hands.

The wind is wicked, skies  brilliant blue
I write and photograph madly
Everything so new
Frozen rivers covered with snow
The stark footprints of moose.
One set only
tracks of snowmobiles
crisscross and circle
Slim shadows of birch lining the tracks and
Short, bony firs mixed in.
Lakes and streams
expanses of snow.

And here we go into the mountains.
Denali looms and we croon
oohs and ahhs.
I am standing much of the time
Taking photographs
Which I trust will be wonderful
Eating the wind from the ½ open
Door and we stop just past
The trestle covered bridge
To look over the steep gully

Of the Tanana river
That becomes the Chena
When it gets to Fairbanks.
The sun is setting and I am
Still snapping
With names like Nenana
Usibilli Tipple
And my favorite Talkeetna
rolling around my tongue
Like the best garlic dish.

A Poem and a few observations

Thought I would start sharing some of my poems on here and also some of my short stories, perhaps a comment or two on life in general..

Sometimes I find myself working so hard all day, all day. I am sure many of us do. Just overdo it. No break. I don’t even work so hard when I am being paid for it. There I get a break now and again.

With the May weather as lovely as it is, there’s lots to do in the garden.

The Blue Irises have bloomed giving off such a sweet fragrance, the deep purples are following on and the roses getting a head of steam up. Ahh and the clematis are in riot with their pale pink  faces beaming all over the trellis.

I took a flight to Denver last week and wrote this on the plane.


Today the edge of the world is visible.

It’s all a question of perspective.

The light, the shadows, movement

between the two

Like the human heart

Attached to the great vessels

Of the lungs and the body.

Oh the body with it’s rythyms

The hearts lub dub

The squirrelly squeaks of the intestines.

Rhythms essential to life

And joy, essential essences

Immeasurable gratitude

The way the parts of a life

Measure us in our minds eye

Stack up to a forgotten conversation.

Take a deep breath,

follow it’s path deeper

remember who you are

when all the words are done.