Spiritual Exercise, forthcoming 2017 

Lost and Found, Pinecone Press, 2017 

Two Cats & a Musician, Pinecone Press, 2016 

Ripe Studies, Pinecone Press, 2016

 Map of Art, Pinecone Press, 2015

 Pool of Fire, Pinecone Press, 2015 

Speech of Being, Pinecone Press, 2015  

Child Sorrow of the Creek, Pinecone Press, 2014 

A Strung Bow, R.L. Barth, 2000 

After the War, R.L. Barth, 1998 

****Books for sale on Amazon****

Selected Poems

Chantey: A Ballad of Young Love 

  Beyond the hutch, 

Rising in the air, the terns twist,

  Glide, and they touch,

The trawlers bob, the schooners list, 


  And on a white 

Stone and blond beach, lift I a grain 

  Of sand as slight 

As a tern’s veering in the rain.

   Bony and weary, 

Buoyed by the wind, wet as a wave,

   It sings a teary 

Sea chantey of the grave. “Be brave,”    

  It tries, “be bold!”

It cries, “Every line that is drawn

  Here in the sand 

Tomorrow all soon will be gone.

  “What if the old 

Are not,” tries next, “young, night not dawn,  

  If lover’s mend 

A quarrel sweetly in the sun?”   

  Plays he with shells; playing love scenes,  

She finds the end 

  Of it so justifies the means,  

They hardly talk.   

  The boy is shy, and she, un-kissed,  

On sand like chalk 

  Snaps on a bracelet, while she dares;  

Joined by a string,    

  Its shells are twelve, 

She hums a theme a tern might sing,  

  And, newly, cares 

For him that made it for her wrist.  

Michelangelo’s Dream

  The hand that oils

The Sistine’s height,  

  The wrist that coils 

Snakes of the light,

  Was never young,

Nor pleased by men  

  With a sweet tongue 

With a sweet scent.


Is a mean state 

  Of mind. Lord, free

It of the hate

   Of nothing at

All at this time.

  This priest is fat, 

As a ripe lime, 

  These nuns corrupt

The bishop, carve

  Roast and have supped,

 Let the poor starve.

    Let the chimes sound

At holy hour

  On sacred ground

The papal power,

   The fatal tree

Of innocence

   Is paint to me,

And it my lens.

  Preserve this vault.

Who will restore

  It?  Who will halt

At the high door,

   See Aaron’s rod

Give birth to Pan,

  The grip of God

        Hands love to man?  

Spiritual Exercise

If, to faith, I will not leap?  By degrees

Next will not near the Divine on my knees?  

It’s I and Thou

Are speaking now. 

But if the Lord, unknown, will be ungratified

Except by it or, angry, is unsatisfied,

What distance in time, between us, and space?

And is it likely I will face Thy face? 

If backwards I walk, I am on my toes.

Then note it, speak,

Who know this old attitude in any place,

At any altitude,

goes at it own pace,

To say I am closer says we are close.

Deprived of magic

Are you, mythic, to me, comic or tragic,

The true, the given, and the un-denied,

When faith is weak. 


You get the news, not the bad, but the worst,

So the improbable is the true, cursed

You. Doc is divinity of the facts

In the data from the lab, and it lacks

Nothing, not an exception, the last chance

It might be wrong.  Angry, dropping your pants,

Wrap yourself in a gown smelling of Tide,

Summon twice your strength and half of your pride;

Toting a study guide for the MCATS,

The nurse is sexless, and the tech is bats,

As you flop on the table at the spot

A map of the algorithms deems your lot

For half an hour, as the beam radiates

Next the therapy only a fool hates,

Yet you don’t love it much, and for three months

You, Monday through Friday, do the same, dunce

Of the hospital and the waiting room,

In a space vacant as a mummy’s tomb,

Read Maimonides, Galen, or else Kant,

Think of mother live and, Shirl, your aunt,

Take a yoghurt, free, for it rewards you

For being human, being in the new 

Wing of the complex named for Mrs. Welthe

Lost to a tumor once in perfect health.