Tom Stock

Poet, Essayist, Photographer, Naturalist

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All I have are photos

To imagine your life

I’ve read some of your books

And the books of others about you

I want to know you, befriend you, hang with you


I want to enter your cell to see how you sleep

To lie on your bed

Watch you at prayer

Follow you on walks in the meadows and hills of Kentucky

To attend you’re mass

Watch you write

See you look up and pause in thought

See where and how you dine

Hear you lecture to young monks

Stand beside you as you light a fire in the hermitage


But all I have are pictures

And books and poems and journals and letters

I want to be you Tom

Watch you take photos and see them

Hear you sing chants before daylight

Stand behind you as you write your novel in the rental cabin on the hill near    Olean


Eves drop on your conversations

See you kneeling, sitting, and working in the forest

Catch your smile, a Merton smile that lights up your whole face

Be at your bedside when you were hospitalized in Louisville

Stand on the corner of Fourth and Walnut when you had your revelation


Oh Tom, come for a visit, you’re invited

Yet all I have of you is on my shelf and a favorite small copy of a painting…

A small icon of you in lotus posture with a gold halo behind your head

You’re not a martyr, you are a holy man

I want to be in the Abbots room when you are there


I only met you when I was 63

When a friend Carl told me about you

I am blessed to have your name as well



Pump Jack – poem and illustrations

There’s oil down there

Bow to the black jack

Bend, pump, pull and pipe

Jack your pump

Jack pump, pump jack

Drill baby drill

Draw it up

Suck the field dry

That’s black money

Pe tro chem icals

Atmosphere expendable


Tank it, pipe it

Fractionate, fractionate

Barrel after barrel

Gallon after gallon


Step on the gas

Fill ‘er up

Top ‘er off

Pedal to the metal

Pump jack pump


Blow it out your tail pipe

Into the air

Earth’s air

Our air

Pump jack pump

Leaf blowers blow

Lawn mowers mow

Cars gotta go

Explore for more

Money, money

Pump jack pump

A Bowl

An old girlfriend had only one bowl in her tiny apartment. She ate her only meal from that bowl. She is a yoga teacher, thin, and has the appetite of a bird. I thought about her bowl as a symbol of simplicity and hunger. Children holding a bowl with hunger written on their faces stopped me cold once too often. I’m going to start using only a bowl for nourishment. I get edgy when seated at a fancy dinner party where the place setting is fifteen pieces. Where’s my bowl?

I remembered her as I prepared a small salad in a medium-sized bowl. I thought…I am living large. My bowl is always full. I will never go hungry. In fact, I think about food way too much. I need to live more like a bowl than a lavish dinner setting.

A bowl could represent the entire Universe. Although no one knows what the shape of the Universe is, a bowl is just as good as any. The Universe holds itself together within its rim. A full bowl represents a step on the food chain. I make Potato leek soup from the produce at Homecoming Farm, where my wife and I have a work/share in a community of supporters. Whether my bowl is empty or full, it holds energy which is passed on. I am, along with my bowl, part of an interconnected web of life. When I volunteered at a soup kitchen, I watched the guests faces as a volunteer ladled soup into their bowl. I don’t have that look on my face when I accept a bowl of soup. My circumstances are different.

I had a friend named Linda who was a ceramicist. We became friends. When she visited my house, she brought me four soup bowls that she made. That was fifteen years ago. Only one of those bowls survives. Every time I use that bowl, I remember Linda. Cupping that bowl, I hold the world, indeed, I hold the Universe. As I eat the food in my bowl, I share that same process with millions of others who may only use their bowl a few times a week. My bowl reminds me to restrain myself.   I can do with less and get along just as well.


My World View


The four venitian blinds in my study have not been cleaned for six years. There are fifty slats per blind. The plastic slats are close together. It’s time

Using a damp cloth, I begin to swipe. The topmost slats are the dirtiest. It takes an hour to clean just one blind. I need a break and decide this process will take four days. Just being in my study doing this means something, so here goes.

My shades have collected dust that comes from everywhere including the far corners of Earth. Dust can stay aloft so long as to circle the planet. Dust can enter the house. It is so light that only sunlight can reveal it’s presence in the air.I think it’s safe to assume that the dust in my study has settled there after long journeys. I think it is also safe to say that I have particles from every continent and from fabric from every culture all across the four corners our our “spaceship”

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Mastering The Art Of Collage – Workshop

Workshop to be help at Gallery North Community Art Center

Three Friday evening sessions

APRIL 28 – MAY 3 – MAY 10

5:30 – 7:30 PM

Course Fee – $120

To Register call 631 – 751 – 2676

With collage artist Tom Stock. Have fun and learn the skills. Enjoy the lovely studio space.

Gallery North
90 North Country Road
Setauket, New York,11733

Man Cave

I’ve put on the mantle of cave man

Descending into the past, 4,000 years

In a limestone cave in Ireland

I come out into the light

Into the cold

Into survival mode

For food, water, fire wood

Tired of fighting off others who want my cave

I can start fire

Keep warm, watch the weather, stay close to the cave

My shelter, my home, my survival

I hunt with my sharpened stone on a spear


Oh to fast forward into the pleasures of a civilized life

I want to be a cave man on Wall Street

I wear a jacket, shirt, and tie

Cave life is tough, no question about it

I want the good life, to live large

Be able to grab a London broil

And throw it on a fire

To have a futon and warm blankets

When the cave gets drafty

And where are the women?

I have a club, I’m ready to grab one

By her hair and drag her into my cave

Share a meal of London broil with her

Let the fire dim down to romantic

Sleep with her, let her clean and decorate OUR cave

Protect her when another real estate agent

Comes by to check out the square footage

I can scout further away while she guards the cave

I can find food for US

Since she arrived, the cave is more comfortable

It’s not a man cave any more



April 29th. 2017

9:30AM – 1:30PM

Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center

Jones Beach – west end ( near the U.S. Coast Guard station)

$4 to the Long Island State Parks Commission

Come prepared with lunch and drink, outdoor dress, and writing tools

Brief ½ hour introduction with handouts

Two hour outdoor experience – Jones Inlet, dunes, shoreline

Quiet writing time

Discussion, feedback, sharing

Leader: Tom Stock is a naturalist, essayist, poet, hiker, and experienced workshop leader. He assisted Max Wheat for several years and has taken on facilitator-ship to honor and remember Max

Please RSVP:


Check out Stock’s writing at

Snow Hike -“The Hills”

It’s my oasis. I come to the “Hills” to escape the computer in my office. I come to experience the largest, natural, unfenced forest left on Long Island because it’s there. I don’t have to pay. I have only a compass and map. I can bushwack or follow well-marked trails. I am away from cloying noises. I can get lost at random. I have the chance to some upon magnificent boulders that stand out dramatically in a forest of pine/oak trees. I come to be with the lichens which have not diminished as they have further west due to clean air void of sulfur and nitrous oxides which lichens are sensitive to. I came to be with my pal with Mark. my hike companion.

The day was beyond a February thaw. I’d call it a “melt” there was snow cover but it is corn snow mush. I wore the wrong footwear, a pair of sneakers which soaked up water. I had the camera and note pad. Our plan was to walk east on Hot Water Street and turn left on #6. Number 6 is one of the north-south emergency routes that serve if a rescue is necessary. They are wide enough for a four-wheel vehicle. We found snowmobile tracks which helped our footing. My shoes sank into the soft snow.

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The World Of Dogs Museum – Prose Poem

The canine world all under one roof/sectioned into galleries –all dog / dog lovers can browse many galleries/listening room of barks with cute yips, scary growls/ a whole wing devoted to breeds/display of evolution from wolves, with specific branches where you can trace your mutts pedigree/ /great Danes, chocolate labs, hairless and shaggy/ all shapes and colors/ don’t miss the performance room – for the drug sniffers and the security guys/ a room set aside for the famous – Toto; Rin-Tin-Tin; Lassie; RCA Victor dog who tips his head to listen/video’s of dogs in commercials/a visitor center to record your favorite dog storiy/ films; interactive exhibits/ it’s all here under one roof/ an extensive research library/ a huge gift shop with over 50 different treats and any accessory/a large book section /tips on showing for those who want their dog to win best in show/ best breeder/ best agility/ obedience demonstrations on the hour/ dog history section/ “ask the Vet” service/ dog art/ a display of stuffed dogs/ dog cemeteries and where to find them/ information desk/ daily lectures/ membership benefits/ no dogs allowed in the museum, leave yours at home please.

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show – A Special Treat

Nancy and I attended on Pier 54 in Manhattan. “This is a one-time event for us.” The $35 entrance fee suggested to me that THIS BETTER BE GOOD! “Just once to get an idea.” Nancy added. Up to this point, I haven’t paid much attention to dogs. In fact, I have tried to avoid them after the day I toured the Babylon Animal Shelter to consider becoming a volunteer. It only took an hour to decide that being in the same building with 24 of the fiercest looking pit bulls I’ve ever seen that I’d pass. Taking nature walks in Gardiners County Park close by was another reason. It is a popular dog walker’s park. As I pass leashed dogs or they pass me, I gave wide birth…pretending to be afraid. I was trying to tell adult humans that I wanted this park for nature, not dogs, forgetting that yes, dogs too are part of nature.

It did not take too long to see dogs in a new light. Here, they are the center of attention. The show layout was L-shaped. One leg was the bench area, the other the ring area. There’s also a gift shop and exhibition area, and food court.

The bench isles are the staging area where dogs, owners, and handlers get the dogs ready for competition. Dogs are groomed by teasing and combing, blow drying, cutting, talking to, patting, and penning. Some dogs are sleeping. Many are on small platforms with leashed necks so they can be attended to. The bench area is organized by breed. There are over 200 breeds and 3000 dogs. Each bench contains the paraphernalia necessary to make their dogs glamorous.

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