G. H. Mosson is the author of five books and chapbooks of poetry, including most recently the chapbooks: Family Snapshot as a Poem in Time (Finishing Line Press) and Simultaneous Revolutions (PM Press May 2021).

We must admit there will be music despite everything” – Jack Gilbert


Change like hanging off the side of a cliff

with the breeze too sweet, impressing

worry of what might go wrong,

so should I scramble

up, inch down, or let go

and brush close to flying?

I suspect it depends

where you want to go,

and who you want to be

when you get there.

I didn’t yet know

a smile tinged with risk,

and forgot how famished

the days had been

for choice –

and would I get there?


To be or not to be is not about death but about living. 

The world is multi-sided, and in the despair of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, he cannot see.  There is no sight for us, unlike the birds, without insight. Yet, rightly sighted, we just begin. 

Still, to begin is to fly open.  How shall I be? is the question. 

Luckily those among us alive despite war, despite illness, despite car accidents and viral pandemics, despite all the pitfalls and tragedies, are given in our individual variety an opportunity

of living:

to declare our love or doubt it exists, seal the corrupt deal or do what’s right (though no one notices),

to keep one’s airy vow or forget about it, be ourselves or adopt a costume (without any guide for it),

to honor one’s mistake or blame others, to fake the day or be alive!


Below are some of my ideals:

  1. I believe in remembering and paraphrasing,
  2. in a walk in the woods and early morning light,
  3. listening before speaking and
  4. tending one’s accrued obligations;
  5. then days without obligations, with little that must be done, and the only necessary words are subtractions from yesterday, with
  6. some message arising from an after-dinner walk, as you turn the corner . . . how the choices you have made if made in righteousness were right . . . how the cost was good . . .
  7. how, any overview too escapes one’s grasp
  8. like writing upon a wave;
  9. and in the past, those doldrums of boredom, mere lack of attention,
  10. how abundance is unspeakable – gives one pause.