WINDOWED WORLDS
           Introduction and Poems by Peter Dunghe
                     Illustrations by Rusty Zarbo

Jackie was the calmest person I ever knew. She supported herself and a welfare mother with two children on what little she could earn scrubbing toilets at the bank I worked in. “A flower-child,” they called her, but to me Jackie was a saint, the kind whose lives us Catholics are supposed to live up to.

When I found that Jackie was an avid member of an Eastern religious cult, I learned as much about her religion as I could, met Jackie’s “family,” and was inspired by the remarkable little children to compose them a book of verse.

Numerous attempts to illustrate Windowed Worlds were made by the brilliant Rusty Zarbo, but every time he neared completion he gave up and got rid of the prints. Nearly ten years later, I have lost contact with Jackie (who left her cult when the guru turned out to be a moron) and Rusty has officially given up art.

(Copyright 1984)

Please scroll down for the collection.



The soldier in costume
The tramp in his shreds
The nurse in her apron
The babes in their beds

The nun in her habit
The clerk in his tie
The rose in her blossom
The bird in his sky –

Beware of your haven
Whoever you are –
The aunt in her cupboard
The moth in his jar


When I sense you first appear,
Light my eye, and sound my ear,

When I look into the sky,
Say I’m happy, and know why,

I perceive you, gentle lamb:
What I love, and what I am.

(To Damian)

Yellow sunshine in the sky,
On the sill, and on the wall –
Bouncing yellow, catch my eye,
Little yellow protein ball!

Yellow bursting through the door
Back and forth across the room
From the ceiling to the floor –
Joyous yellow sonic boom!

Yellow clutching ‘round my neck –
How could I have let this start?
I’m entrapped, but what the heck?
(Yellow peace has stung my heart!)


Sometimes in the darkness
I lie wide awake
To hear the wind blowing
And trees outside shake.

Sometimes I feel lonely
And so want to cry
Though love sleeps around me –
I can’t say just why.

Sometimes, then, I number
The people who keep
Room in their hearts for me
And I fall asleep.

edition n/157
edition n/?


Around the bowl of crystal clear
The silky, orange goldfish swam.
“Since naught exists that isn’t here,”
He asked, “who’ll tell me who I am?”

Although we loved his wavy fins
And watched him happily each day,
He never saw our loving grins
And never heard we what’ he’d say.

“I’m all alone,” he bubbled out
And forced his mouth into a frown,
But soon gave way this paddling pout
To merely floating upside-down.

Though life can be a goldfish bowl,
We wisely ought our span to pass
Seeing our place within the whole
By looking far, beyond the glass.

 Southwestern Moth
 Not part of the original collection
 Photograph by Rusty Zarbo

edition n/?

(from a Grimm Brothers story)

In the midst of his toil
On the verge of despair
He blew out the candle,
Ascended the stair,
Gave in to exhaustion,
And helplessly slept,
Thought ominous promises
Pressed to be kept.

In the heart of the night
On the skylight’s broad sill
We entered his workshop
His tasks to fulfill.
We wholly diminished
Each chore to its place,
Rewarding his goodness
And saving his face.

In the wake of his ease
On the following nights
We tackled new problems
And set them to rights
‘Till confidence knew him,
Relieved his pure mind,
And joy was his waking:
For love was his find.

In the warmth of his bliss
On the hour of our call
He watched us sustaining him,
Dazed at it all.
He saw we were naked,
Much poorer than he,
And gratefully pitied
Our strange charity.

In the light of his good
On the dictates of taste
He left for us clothing,
Then vanished in haste.
He’d given us shelter –
We needed a home –
So fled we his goodness
Earthed-over to roam.

 Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona
 looking north, November
 Not part of the original collection
 Photograph by Rusty Zarbo

(to a Hungarian folk song)

Warm the chimney, cold the air,
I perch above you, cooing.
Through your pane I glimpse that stare
And would that we were wooing.

Give me aught but voided hopes
That I might truly know you –
As I want you
As I love you
As I cannot show you.

Sun must strain behind the clouds
To warm the solitary
Frightened into twilight shrouds:
The monstrous ordinary.

Now I fly through windowed worlds
(And always shall) above you –
As I want you
As I need you
As I cannot love you.

 La Jolla, California in March
 Not part of the original collection
 Photograph by Rusty Zarbo


North in the morning I drove to find
If the sky overcast broke and where.
Rivers and trees ‘round my road did wind,
Prodding me on with their magic air.

Soon the grey cloudlets did drift apart,
Bidding the blueness beyond them swell
Into my eyes and into my heart,
Hinting that this was where love must dwell.

From out the ivy-clad church of stone
Lovers came strolling and children ran.
Quite out-of-place was I there, alone –
Profligate innocent, unready man.

So they went back to their ivy walls,
Smiling. I turned on my way away,
Glimpsing what mainly my mind recalls:
Bright sunbeams sparkling on sailboat bay.

edition n/97

(Land of the Crab-Apple)

Red branches reach for grey sky
As winds toss the crab-apples
Which weight the red branches down.

In bobbing circles they sway,

The clustered hundreds
Of great little balls
Six feet off the ground.

In constant struggle –

To expand beyond the clouds
To root deeper in the earth
To lie on the ground and rest.

 edition n/141
This print was not part of the original
 collection, but was done parallel to
 the creation of the illustrations.

(to a Hungarian folk song)

Sweet little blossom flow’r
Come to my garden home;
Sunlight and hope devour,
No more in sadness roam.

Sweet blossom flower, stay.
Rose red of petals pure,
Cling to me night and day –
United, hearts endure.


edition n/106

(from a Grimm Brothers story)

One day in the forest while perched in a tree,
I noticed the poorest fox staring at me.
His sad, intense eyes under soft, furry brows
Did in me compassion directly arouse.

His wavy red coat shook. His soft voice did speak:
“Oh help me, dear sparrow. For nearly a week
I’ve gone without nourishment, always to run
From Man with his bloodhounds, from Man with his gun.”

Now foxes and sparrows are frequently foes
(A bird can get hurt when those pointed jaws close),
But this fox was different. He needed a friend.
I vowed I would help him his hunger to end.

We went into town, to the marketplace. There
The food merchants’ stalls were full-spread everywhere.
In numerous swoops from a point overhead
I stole my friend sausages, sweetmeats, and bread.

With joy his tail waggled where once it did shake,
Then, yawning, he smiled, saying, “I’ve been awake
For days. Let’s return to the forest so deep
Where, if you’ll watch o’er me, I’ll catch me some sleep.”

And so in a clearing my gentle fox lay
To slumber assured that I near him would stay,
Would warn him of danger from Man’s bloody lust
For I was his friend – in my love he could trust.

While perched in my tree through the darkness of night,
I think now of foxes who’ve set me to flight.
Their hunger’s what did it, though that of my friend’s
What’s brought us together. I guess it depends

On circumstance, bringing two souls face to face
At just the right time and in just the right place
When each has decisions important to make
And mutual shaping leaves change in its wake.

The sparrows I know would think I’d spilled my blocks
If they knew I’d gone crackers over a fox,
But something I love in him. What makes him dear?
His meekness? His kindness? Our mutual fear?

edition n/84
This colored pencil, water color and marker sketch was never printed and was the last to be sketched for the collection.


Tossing and turning
On a sea of waves,
My ship saw Your Light
In the Eastern Sky.
Kind Sun, guide us to
Everlasting calm.