The Signal

The search isn’t over

For Frost’s yellow woods

Or Sandburg’s prarie brown grass

They’ve all been politically

Placed in Blue States and Red States

With bugging devices

And hidden cameras

And the other marketing tools

To discover and predict

How the human mind

Chooses shampoos and deordorants

The configurations of the terrain

Are now regulated

By zip codes and area codes

PIN numbers and passwords

And hidden in among

The rooted trees

Are mannequins with plastic leaves

Oh brave new world

With all the androids in it

Oh split second ammendment

With all the weapons in it.


Ted Goodell

May 2018

The Lion

Epitomized in stone

But glorified in flesh

Dangerously beautiful

But all alone

The contender for uncontested power

His grandeur statuesquely strong

Forever regal in a body carved in stone

His presence as the King of Beasts

A sculpted form

Upon a city street

His solitary watch

May look serene

But if his silent stone could speak

A sterner stare

Would leave us weak

For underneath that chiseled mane

Arrested in the snow or rain

He waits in primal depth

His endless longing

For his lioness.


Ted Goodell

May 2018

On Turning Eighty-Five

I turned Eighty-Five

On the morning

of a Royal Wedding

All the pagentry and song

Auspiciously including

My Birthday with a TV invitation

With such historical moment

That I know

This Birthday bonds with history

The protocol of Royal Ritual

Makes turning Eighty-Five

a mirror image

of an almost

Fantasy surprise


Ted Goodell

May 2018

The Poet’s Prayer

(To My Dad on His 85th Birthday)


My father, who art a poet,

Ted Goodell be thy name.

Thy earthly kingdom is a corner house in paradise.

Thy will was to marry a uniquely wonderful woman,

And together bear three miraculous beings.

On earth you created heaven.

Every day you gave us your bread.

Every day you forgave us our trespasses,

and every day we trespassed a little more.

And still, you lead us not into ordinariness,

But delivered us into an awareness of being

For the mind is thy kingdom, and poetry is thy power

and thy glory, forever and ever and ever.



Happy 85th Birthday Dad!


May 19, 2018



On your 85th birthday, I want to thank you for being my father who art a poet. And even though none of us followed completely in your poetic footsteps you gave us all a softness of spirit and an appreciation for the unusual, lyrical, humorous, unbearable beauty of life. Thank you for that.  Sure, it would be easier to buy you a beer, or a BBQ or tickets to a baseball game, but your not that kind of Dad.  I could never find a Fathers’ Day card or a “To Dad” birthday card that ever spoke to your uniqueness as a human being.  There are no cards for Dads who write poetry, prepare breakfast as a daily meditation in the placement of walnuts and prunes, recite the alphabet backward, or dads whose greatest desire is to be free from nearly all social obligations and spend hours walking, breathing and swinging their arms in the wide-open expanse of Lake Murray. I know that there is more to you than even that.  Things that children are never able to see in their parents because inherently the parent’s freedom ends where the child’s begins.  I’m sorry for that.  Thank you for carrying me constantly, for singing to me, for telling me bedtime stories, for driving me to school, for giving in to nearly every request I ever made, for letting me go, for letting me come back, for helping me with money, pets, and boys who broke my heart.  And that was just the first half of my life!  I’m sorry for all the times I pushed you away, for all the times I was impatient or caught up in my own troubles so deeply that I couldn’t see you.  Thank you for being there. I love you.  Thank you for always being a wonderful father, person, and poet. 

Happy Birthday!



The Deli

There is no abstraction
In the making
Of a roast beef sandwich
The algebraics of ingredients
The subtle formula
Of production and customer satisfaction
Has long been understood
To represent the highest form
Of social engagement
And the drive of hunger
For bread, cheese and meat
Lights the divine moment
Of bite and eat.

Ted Goodell
May 2018

The Hunter

The sorrow of my childhood
Was the thoughtless killing of a little bird
Well dressed and educated as a boy
Deprived of nothing
Going to music lessons
and acting in plays.
Selecting a city skyline
for my oil painting theme
Then holding a rifle
in my boyish arms
Joining a friend to hike like woodsmen
On a Connecticut trail
Surrounded by the lush greenery of the Berkshire Hills
The unspoken truth of not deserving this paradise
An empty guarantee of perpetual entitlement
with juvenile perceptions
Responding to the wild energy around me
The aroma of earthy life
and the innocent joy of a little bird
Its pulse in full throat serenade
Revealing its beauty to the radiant sun
My rifle pointing at its fluorescent plumage
and in a flash
My guilt consumes me
The ground trembling
Under the weight of my shame

Ted Goodell
April 18, 2018