First Grandchild

I receive her now to myself,
the weight of her
settling into the cradle
of bent arm and pliant torso.

And as this wiggling bundle
adds her warmth to mine
an eruption of passion surfaces
from some deep place
vaguely remembered.
It lights a fire in my chest
and leadens my arms
so that the whole of the world
seems to be resting
in my embrace.

I gaze into the glint of her eyes
and I am stung by the desire
to never leave this moment behind.
For somewhere in this innocence
lies the secret of the universe,
and in this presence, a call
to reclaim what rightly
belongs to us all.

© 2000 Dennis Ference

what if…

(Inspired by Roy Lichtenstein’s
painting, Crying Girl)

what if I could paint my life
into a comic strip

what if I could grow muscles
super-hero huge

what if I could banish my bald pate
with a lavish flurry of the brush

what if I could choose any age
to garnish this basic body

what if I could charge the heavens
to grant every wish and whim

what if I could slay all fears
with a single slice of the will

what if I could splice these neurons
to the wisdom of Solomon

what if I could seduce all comers
to admire or envy or maybe even love

what if I could paint my life
into a comic strip

would I still cry sometimes
would I still feel alone

© 2006 Dennis Ference

The Oak Outside My Window

The Oak Outside My Window

Your naked limbs tremble,
roused by winter’s chilled breath,
blanched by its frigid embrace;
your bent, spindly fingers reach
trustingly outward, blind
to nature’s careless ways.
On your trunk, scars map
the pruning that breaks and
shapes you to another’s design;
and on top, an empty nest,
the crowning reminder you serve
others who ignore your desire
and scorn your consent.

Strange, how long we’ve been
neighbors and never really talked.

© 2005 Dennis Ference
(First published in Poetry from Page to Stage: A Milwaukee Public Library Poetry Chapbook)

The first time

The Making of a "Popsidoodle"


It’s as if
the sun spit fire
deep into my heart.

It’s as if
a quaking earth rumbled muscle
and bone and shivered each finger tip.

It’s as if
an ocean gushed in the blood-flow
pumping passion through my veins.

It’s as if
I heard my name and was baptized anew
when Elizabeth first lay upon my chest.

© 2008 Dennis H. Ference

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