Light Verse

The Gutenkauf family would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support following the passing of our beloved Dottie in December.  Please join us in celebrating her life and legacy on Saturday, March 19th 2016.

DG Memorial invite

On March 19th, 2016, family, friends, cohorts and fans will come together in celebration of the life of Dorothy “Dottie” Miller Gutenkauf, who passed away in December. This event is open to anyone who was touched by Dottie’s remarkable spirit. There will be an abundance the things she loved most – amazing people, incredible music, insightful words and exceptional food.

Musical selections will include The Solidarity Singers, as well as segments of the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra, the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players and more.

For more information, please email


I remember snowfalls in the city when I was young
and my friends and I would have snowball fights
dodging between parked cars and mountains of snow
piled up near the corners by the city’s plows
waiting for the temperature to rise and melt them,
or the trucks to load up the snow and take it away.

Snowball fights were fun, even if you got hit,
and everyone knew that packing a piece of ice
inside a snowball wasn’t fair, so it wasn’t allowed.
Our parents looked on from their windows
enjoying the warmth of their apartments’ heat.
Afterwards we went home and drank cocoa.

Later on in life I would play outside with our kids
when it snowed enough to have good snowball fights,
and I taught them how to tell if it was good packing snow
and how it wasn’t fair to use a piece of ice inside a snowball.
These days my kids play with their kids, teaching them the rules
and how to play fair and have fun.  As for me—I hibernate.

©2011 Dorothy Miller Gutenkauf

During a thunderstorm, we always wonder
(even if we don’t admit it)
if we have offended one of the ancient gods
whose business it is to control the weather,
and in one way or another
we take steps to placate him, her, it, or them
before the storm ends.

I sometimes suspect
That the reason such storms happen
Is that the gods know perfectly well
That without the occasional dramatic reminder
We’d never think of them at all.

©2010 Dorothy Miller Gutenkauf

The unknown poet labored night and day,
crafting the words he hoped would bring him fame.
Alas, his efforts never seemed to pay—
Only the cognoscenti knew his name.

©2001 Dorothy Miller Gutenkauf

One by one, the dogs of the neighborhood
alert us as the paperboy makes his rounds.
His journey down the sidewalk can be closely measured
by the chorus of the guardians’ distinctive sounds.

Fifi the poodle is a coloratura;
Max the Weimaraner has a thundering bass;
Oliver the setter croons a mellow baritone—
a credit, so he thinks, to the canine race.

Our own mutt, Suba, has a rich contralto
which she adds to the proceedings with savage glee.
What she lacks in diction she makes up in volume,
contributing her talents to the symphony.

Descended from the wolf or descended from the jackal,
the animals we harbor to defend our homes
warn us of invaders with fierce determination,
making sure we know where the paperboy roams.

The rhythm of the dogs weaves a complex counterpoint,
the theme and variations echo down the block.
It’s really very clever–you’d think they’d rehearsed it:
a fugue in the manner of J. S. Barch.

©1991 Dorothy Miller Gutenkauf

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