Poetry Break: November Poem by Claudia Ricci, Ph.D.


By: Claudia Ricci, Ph.D. 



The crisp brown swamp grasses are glowing

in the wetland.

The grass is still green despite the

sheen of white frost this morning.

We are between autumn and winter

in that uncomfortable place

where everything is dying.

Yesterday I tore up piles of limp yellow hosta and

stiff black bee balm stems and peony and bleeding heart.

How quickly their time passed.

As I sit here, I know that all comes alive just to die.

I look longingly at photos of chubby-cheeked babies

and earlier versions of myself.

But I don’t land there except for a glance.

Don’t think for a moment I am

going to lead you down some


alley way of words.

I google breaths per day

and it says that at rest

we take in 16 breaths a minute

or 960 per hour

or 23,040 per day.

Or consider this:

experts say

we have

between 60,000

and 80,000

thoughts per day.

Knowing all that,

I’m not going

to waste a minute

in despair.

There is a dome

of blue above

me and love

in every person

I bring to mind.

And would you

believe this:

the iris

that came from

Grandpa Angelo’s

garden in Bristol,


decades ago

has just thrust forth

navy blue blossoms

despite the cold?

Hold that in mind

and find your heart’s

battery charged.

Light your eyes

on the lemon tree

that’s bearing

six big green fruits.

Study every

beautiful grey


and every tree

glowing in yellow

leaves. Follow a sunny


and pass the time

there all day long.



Bio: Claudia Ricci, Ph.D.

claudia ricci Ph.D. Monthly Contributor at Two Drops of Ink Marilyn l davisClaudia was a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and a prize-winning reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, where one of her projects was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Her novels include:

  • Dreaming Maples, published in 2002, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize
  • Seeing Red, January 2011
  • Sister Mysteries, July 2018

Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines nationwide.

Ricci spent 15 years teaching English and journalism at the University at Albany and was a visiting professor for one year at Georgetown University.

To order her novels, visit her website at www.claudiajricci.com

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