Wednesday, February 21, 2018

THE WITNESS

I was there.
I saw it happen.
It left a portrait in my mind,
Painted with an artist's brush,
Each stroke awash with vivid pigment
Placed with knowing, seeing hand,
Affixed on canvas, mounted, framed
And there displayed in muted light
In the museum of my mind.
There to be recalled or recreated
At a moments notice,
Or somehow quietly creeping,
As I lay sleeping, into fitful dreams;
Waking me from restlessness,
Denying fond forgetfulness,
Knowing that I must confess,
Bound to be the lone witness.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

COMFORTABLE SHOES

Faithful conveyors, what I would give to
Ease the burden you must bear, and
Help you to carry this flesh and bone from
Hither to you and back again.

Strapped with the bindings of fashion or season,
Designer's opinion of what you should wear;
Punishment undeserved and unwanted,
Wondering what must have been your great sin.

Blessed relief when the trial is over,
The buckles undone, the laces unlaced.
Wonder on wonder, why were you subjected
To such cruel torture meant to abuse,
When a few more moments of searchful reflection
May have offered relief and quickly erased
All the suffering which could be avoided
By choosing a pair of comfortable shoes.



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Monday, February 19, 2018

THE CREEK BELOW THE GARDEN

God's little acreage just below a grove of pine
Which in season wore the sweet cologne of nature's gift;
The warm clean scent of honeysuckle lingering in
Morning dew which touches wild huckleberry bushes
Clinging near the ground.

The garden clearing held a maze of bush and vine,
A quarter acre filled with roadside vendor's ware
Which mother rather gave away than charge a tariff
For their growing; an abundance more
Than we could use before their freshness faded past.

But I, in youth, was forever intrigued by
The narrow strip at the garden's edge, where a
Trickle of water somewhere upstream grew to a band
A few feet wide and sliced a miniature canyon through
The lower quadrant of our land.

Tall trees bordered on all sides, ancient in their guardianship. 
Moss and fern attested to the quiet seclusion from the sun.
Elderberry lined her sides with deep red-blooded sweet repast,
Which mother captured in a jar to last
Through winter's coldest days.

In Summer we would force her waters back
Into her shallow banks with stone and stick and sand,
A man-made dam of rudimentary skill, which washed away
The first strong rain that fell to quell
Our foolish youthful dreams.

Funny how the time goes by and memories fade into night.
But certain aspects in our youth are lasting thoughts... unwavering.
The creek below the garden is undying in my meager mind;
A cave-wall painting etched in stone...
A fond remembering.

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

SPEED

Motion... building...zero to sixty
And beyond until the friction
Singes against supple skin,
And eyes begin to mist and blink
To focus on what lies ahead,
As passion quickly turns to dread,
Adrenaline pumps fast and fierce.
A pounding heart pounds harder yet
Like jungle drums foreboding doomed
Anticipation of regret.
But it keeps moving; cannot stop;
Becomes addicted to itself,
An all-consuming fervent passion
Fueled by fever, cloaked in stealth,
Feeding on it's own desire
Speed keeps building higher, higher,
Higher!  Faster!  faster yet...
Until it's time to pay the debt.


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Saturday, February 17, 2018

BRIDGES

Whether to cross a wide river or gorge,
Or some symbolic abyss of our lives,
We all build bridges
From dreams to realities
Looking beyond what we see with our eyes.

There is strength in a bridge;
A power unspoken;
A built-in resolve to inhabit the land,
To cross over boundaries and
Seek out new faces and places
So that we might understand
All of life's little secrets
Lying just "over there";
Just over the harbor, beyond the divide.
We keep building bridges,
Seeking her treasures,
Until mother Earth has no more to hide.



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Friday, February 16, 2018

WHITE PICKET FENCES

Straight and tall, poised and polished,
Bathed with the purity of white
The silent sentinels stand guard
Along the quiet streets and lanes;
A symbol of serenity,
Of a haven housing peace and love;
Standing duty round the clock,
They drop their guard to welcome home
The weary work-worn wayward souls
Who toil to keep them in repair.
Their gates swing open, beckoning,
Inviting in with loving care.

Not a barrier at all
Are these brave soldiers of the lane;
Their presence not intended to
Lock out a single sound or soul.
Instead they bid a welcoming
And offer sanctuary
When panic rushes from all sides
And madness takes its toll.

Picket fences... purest white...
Vigilant both day and night.


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Thursday, February 15, 2018

WATER

Here I stand at my back door window.
The robins have not yet awakened to sing,
But sleep has eluded my senses this morning,
Chased by the gentle tap-tapping you bring.

I stare at the streams of fresh liquid crystals
Which dance in the floodlight in chorus line fashion;
A river, an ocean which falls from the Heavens
And cleanses the Earth with a demonic passion.

I beckon the taps, for I must have my coffee,
And you, most obediently, quickly obey
In an act which is commonly taken for granted
A hundred, a thousand times every day.

My mind starts to wander and worship your treasure,
You giver of life we both fear and revere;
Your presence a barrier or a conveyance;
A reason to weep, a reason to cheer.

We span your expanses with bridges and monuments,
Ride on your whitecaps to enchanted isles
Where waterfalls freshen the mist of the morning
And crystal clear streams seem to go on for miles.

Married to sunlight... Creator of life...
Earth would be barren if you were not there...
Sustenance too often taken for granted;
Water... water everywhere.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

OLYMPIC GLORY

They came from every corner
Of an ever-changing world,
Diverse in dress and culture,
Speaking unfamiliar tongue,
Each with their special talent,
Eager to put on display
The exuberance and energy
Inherent to the young
Whos' lofty goals exceed the limits
Of our grand imaginations.
Records are no obstacles
When sights are set on high.
Success is bought with passion,
Perseverance, perspiration
And the fortitude to carry on,
Never asking why.
Each and every one of them
A unique song to sing.
Don Quixote's quest pales
With the telling of their story.
They all seek dragoned windmills
To topple in their dreams;
Chasing immortality
To find Olympic glory.


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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

THE CLEAN CRISP AIR OF AUTUMN

Something is different as I wake this morning.
The air has the freshness of cool satin sheets
As I rise to greet the new day at it's dawning.
My mind starts to race and my heart skips a beat
In anticipation; something has changed.
The air is new and clean and alive;
No sweltering mire of the dog days of August
With laboring breath meant to merely survive.

No sweat-stained nightshirt.
No ragweed filled head.
No tossing about through the night in half-sleep.
The breeze falling down from Saskatchewan beckons
A peaceful serenity, silent and deep.

The trees know the difference. they've started to blush
Knowing full well their nakedness soon will appear.
The Sun itself seems to be more in a rush
To shorten each day to the end of the year.
But I'll not waste these precious days.
I'll count each one with loving care;
Recording the sights of the changing seasons,
Breathing the clean, crisp Autumn air.


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Monday, February 12, 2018

FORTUNE'S FAVORITE SON

The lottery jackpot was
Twelve million bucks;
So, I bought my ticket like
All hopeful fools.
Somebody, somewhere,
Favored by luck
Will find the right combo
To capture the pool.
Who knows what might happen?
So, might as well try it.
If someone is going to win,
Why not me?
It surely won't happen if
I fail to buy it;
And no one is likely to
Give them for free.
So, I'll take a chance and
Wager a dollar,
And hope for the best when
The drawing is done,
That luck is a lady and
I am her child.
Oh! to be Fortune's favorite son


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Sunday, February 11, 2018

THE BLESSING

To say that we are truly blessed
In understanding God's design.
So many gifts are undeserved.
If we would stop and take the time
To count our blessings one by one,
The pause would be forever long.
Time and again these miracles
Have been immortalized in song
And story sometimes ages old;
While often others go untold
And we are left to sort it out;
Discard the stones and keep the gold.

Thankful for the daily bread...
Thankful for the warming Sun...
Thankful for the air we breathe...
For restful sleep when day is done.
Thankful for the fortitude to
Face the daily stress and strife,
And for the greatest gift of all...
The opportunity of life.


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Saturday, February 10, 2018

FAMILY

Taking the gauntlet of support...                                        
Reaching out when others turn away...                              
Reconciling differences of rage                                         
With words unspoken, just a look,                                     
A touch, a feeling, an embrace.                                          
Lives that intertwine like lace,                                           
Whose history could fill a book                                        
With pictured stories on each page                                    
That fade with age to shades of gray                                  
In vague statistical reports.                                                

Families are made to give;                                                 
Conception itself a gift of life                                            
To an unsuspecting innocent child                                     
To be nurtured and coddled until the day                           
It can stand and walk and run on it's own,                        
And decide for itself it is fully-grown.                               
But even as we make our way,                                          
And stumble, falter and trek through the wild,                   
Family pulls us through all the strife,                                 
Feeding the sustenance needed to live.                              


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Friday, February 09, 2018

THE COMFORT ZONE

I've never been one to walk on the edge,
To take the great challenge,
To live on a dare.
I leave it to others to bunji
Or dive from a plane never knowing if
My chute will open,
Facing the danger knowingly unaware.

I admire those who have captured the nerve
To explore the unknown,
The uncharted seas;
Thumbing their noses at dangerous waters,
Racing so fast that the world is a blur;
Having the gall to do just as they please.

Living each moment spurred by adrenaline,
They face the challenges,
They walk alone.
The rest of us watch and vicariously dwell
Far form the danger of their man-made Hell...
Safe in the arms of our comfort zone.


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Thursday, February 08, 2018

FOREVER YOUNG

Why can't we be forever young?
Age is such a demon bastard,
Rogue taskmaster, overlord who
Seeks to take our very best
And put it in a distant past,
Where it is just a memory of
Bygone glories, reminisced on
Holidays and family gatherings
Where we are offered sad reminders
That we were never meant to last.

Bodies crumble as time marches;
Circuits spike from overload.
Looking back becomes obsessive
As the future dims to night.
Partners leave and friends forsake
And we are left to dance alone,
Seeking solace in new faces
Opening new eyes to light.

In our hearts we build new hope;
New songs, new lyrics to be sung.
Living 'til the day is over,
We shall be forever young.


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Wednesday, February 07, 2018

MOWING THE LAWN

It must be Saturday afternoon.
I hear the annoying, buzzing din
Of gas-drinking, grass-eating,
Cud-chewing monsters
Disturbing the neighborhood's quiet repose.

It can't be avoided, the dread obligation
Of suburban dwelling which no one enjoys.
Unlike the city where concrete and asphalt
Adorn every lawn and nothing grows.

In younger days it was not such a labor,
And I sometimes got paid when I hired out my service.
But now it seems that the lawn is mine,
And so is the weekly summertime chore.

I suppose someday I'll become one of those
Who hired kids like me for their dirty work,
So that I won't awake on Sunday morning
With joints that ache and muscles sore.


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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

FIFTY-SEVEN CHEVY

Classic is the one term
To describe her sleek, lean, hungry lines.
Michigan toiled long and hard
Perfecting her unique design
Which up 'til then had only hinted
At her moment, now unveiled;
Every curve and every point
Distinctly polished and detailed.

From her broad and toothy grin,
Which dared accentuate her eyes,
To her sharp foreboding fins
Casting illusions that she flies.

Many an hour I freely spent
Caressing her chassis to sparkling gleam.
Many a mile she carried me gladly
Until we became an inseparable team.

A passion between machine and man,
The likes of which had never been,
Grew up in 1957;
A year like we'll never see again.


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Monday, February 05, 2018

LOOKING UP IN THE SKY AT NIGHT

Since before the dawn of recorded time
Man has searched the Heavens through sleepless nights,
Looking for answers in awe and wonderment,
Tracing the outlines, making up songs.

I only see the enormous magnificence
Lying before me, resplendent in beauty,
Making my essence seem desperately small,
Yet giving me pause just to know I belong
In some paltry way to a larger contingent
Interconnected to worlds without end.

I longingly gaze and become immortal.
... Everything clear now.
... Nothing is wrong.


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Sunday, February 04, 2018

THE BIRTHDAY CARD

I got your birthday card today.
How kind of you
To remember me and celebrate
The aging process one more time;
Though at this age the celebration
Seems more a sigh than it is a shout,
And time accelerates as we begin
To mellow in the wine.

And yet you took the time,
You bought the stamp,
You licked the envelope,
And placed it lovingly into the mailbox
Speeding it my way.
And you must know just what it meant,
This krimpet filled with sentiment,
This funny little card you sent
Designed to make my day.


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Saturday, February 03, 2018

PICKING UP PENNIES

Do you bend to pick up pennies
Or simply pass them over?
Will you only make the effort
If heads is showing up
And you think that some great power
In the center of all being
Has placed it there before you
As an offering of luck?

Nickels, dimes and quarters offer
Much more worthy quarry,
As some poor fool's misfortune makes
Another person's day,
And though no one builds a fortune
Finding change among the rubble,
No harm is done retrieving it
And putting it away.

To those who think the effort
Too demanding for the prize,
Whose ego will not let them stoop
For such a paltry fee,
Perhaps these lofty values
Are just misdirected pride,
Or perhaps it's sloth preventing
Them from bending at the knee.


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Friday, February 02, 2018

HOW MANY STARS IN THE HEAVENS

Imagine there is some poor fool
With nothing else to do
But count the stars up in the sky
As each comes into view
To try to verify a number,
To validify the claim
That the universe is finite,
And no two stars are the same.

Even if a thousand fools count
For a thousand nights,
And never stop to bat an eye
Or count the same star twice,
The search would still continue
For an ending to their quest,
Leaving in frustration
Someone else to count the rest.

How many stars in the heavens?
No one will ever know.
The universe is infinite
To mortals here below.

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Thursday, February 01, 2018

FLIGHT

Whispers of the lonely wind...
Feathery delight...
Drifting, shifting, lifting, falling,
Silently alight.

Longing to be lifted up
Into the gentle light...
Racing to the setting sun
Into the dark of night.

Flitting like the butterfly
Who does not know its plight...
Chasing windmills...
Braving storms...
All dread hid from sight.

Lifted to the heavens like
A silent wind-blown kite.
Fears abated, pulling on the
String with all my might.

Moving forward; never back;
Never left or right.
Nothing else to equal the
Pure ecstasy of flight.


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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

INDIAN NATIONS

The ancient warrior, drawn and pale,
Hardly the image of eons ago,
Still gives us pause to reflect on his plight,
The grave indiscretions of
His conquering foe.

Long ago, no one can remember,
Before all the ships arrived on his shore,
This was "his" land teaming with
Every abundance imagined to fulfill his needs.

But boat load on boat load
Explorers and settlers amassed
On his borders, eyes hot with passion,
Primed to the hilt; sword at the ready;
Meant to proliferate credos of greed.

Lies upon promises, heaped to infinity,
Pushing and crowding him west to the seas,
Killing his livelihood, breaking his spirit,
Prodding and pounding him down to his knees.

What kind of shame can a nation endure
When it's destiny feeds off her native son?
Somewhere in time there's a reckoning day
Where truth is revealed...
And justice is done.


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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

BROKEN INFINITY

Everything is measured somehow;
Marked by linear space and time.
What begins must someday end.
It's proven time and time again
As church bells toll their loathsome chime
To the passing of another friend.

Youth is such a hypocrite,
Letting us believe forever
Is a goal we might achieve,
Leading children to conceive
Of never ending fairy tales;
Of fabric with unbroken weave.

We are but a moment here,
A pebble dropped into the sea.
Our concept of eternity
Is just a theory.  Hopefully,
We strive for our allotted time
In life's broken infinity.


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Monday, January 29, 2018

THE ROSE OUTSIDE MY WINDOW

Look at you!  You're just amazing.
One of God's most perfect gifts
Growing right outside my windows,
Brightening a dreary day.

Petals softly kissing dewdrops
In the early morning mist.
Colors seldom seen except on
Nature's pallet dipped in hues
No artist's canvas duplicates,
Nor photograph to capture all
The subtle textures of your skin,
The soft sweet fragrance waiting there.

Pity that my time allows but
Just a brief tormented glance.
Would that I could give you all
The tender care which you deserve.
Yet you survive despite neglect
And flourish in your habitat,
Bringing me a joy unmeasured
Beaming in the morning light.


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Sunday, January 28, 2018

FIDELITY

My ways may not always be common
To general philosophy;
The rugged macho credo of
Male dominant society.
The outcry and the decry
Of later day liberality
Speak boldly from necessity
For all to seek fidelity.

No shame to bear the weight of trust,
To shun the tempting lure of lust,
To find the one and only one
To share your all until all is dust.
An honest person is "not" rare,
Or should not be if truth be told.
A place is waiting those who care.
Fidelity is Heaven's gold.


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Saturday, January 27, 2018

WATER OFF THE BACK OF A DUCK

"You have no right!"  yatta, yatta, yatta, Boom!
"You can't do that!" Nag, whinny, whine, nag.
The volleys and salvos continue to fly unabated.
Unaided, your defenses reel
Until calm is a foreigner, and lashing back seems
The only alternative left in your repertoire
Made up of candle-lit folly and dreams;
Once filled with logic, gusto and zeal.

How do you deal with the daily barrage,
The desert mirage, the facade of contentment?
How do you feel at the end of the day?
Do you put it away?
Are you filled with resentment?

Living with pressure is no easy matter.
Do you run and hide?  do you pass the buck?
Do you square your shoulders
And take its full measure?
... Like water off the back of a duck.


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Friday, January 26, 2018

HARBOR NO ILLS

Harbor no ills for you, my brother.
Harbor no ills, my enemy.
Sing in the sunlight,
Dance in the moonlight,
Softly embracing in sweet harmony.

Is seeing believing?
Is truth merely blind?
No one is all-knowing
For there's too much to know.
But we can take time to
Deliver compassion
To realms seldom seen
By mere mortals below.

Reach out to the one who
Has smitten your hand.
Reach out even though you
May not understand.
The sun casts long shadows
From the crest of the hills.
Stand tall on life's hilltops,
And harbor no ills.


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Thursday, January 25, 2018

PLEASURE AND PAIN

If passion holds pleasure,
It also breeds pain.
No other emotion is free
To lay claim to
The bold multiplicity found
In it's faces;
Nesting in dozens of
Dark hiding places.

No one can know when
Passion may strike,
When two people meet and
Their small worlds collide.
Drenched in emotion,
Drawn to each other,
Driven by feelings they
Soon cannot hide.

What of the outcome?
Pleasure or pain?
Melt the facade 'til
All passions lay bare.
Time is our mentor, our teacher,
Our healer;
Patiently waiting to
Render her care.


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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

FEAR

There are but two things in life, as we know it,
We mortals tend to fear:
Pain, which we constantly strive to avoid,
And death, which is always near.

Would you put your hand into a vice
And turn the screws until bone was dust?
I dare say you wouldn't. The pain would be far
Too much for one to tolerate.
But if passion guides our will or
If we're bound to mend a broken trust,
The fires of Hell may not be goad
To make us pause or hesitate.

The Reaper bares his shadowy scythe,
Forbearance to the dark unknown,
Foreteller of a fated end,
Beleaguering a troubled mind.
It is this great unknowing which
Gives cause and pause to fear.
The grand regrets of things undone,
Of loved ones sadly left behind.

There may be more for us to fear
But somehow they are all connected.
Pain and Death are parents to
All fear... imagined or collected.


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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

THE HICKORY SWITCH

Mother would get so frustrated at times.
Raising six children was no easy task;
Especially six who were so much dissimilar
In interest and temperament.
It's no small wonder that
She was able to keep her sanity,
Able to refrain profanity
When six strong wills clashed with her own.
Amazing we all came to be fully-grown.

But mother has a secret companion
Tucked in the corner there by the window.
Twenty-eight inches of flexible pulp
Ripped from the limb of a nearby hickory,
Standing in wait for her to command
With the quickness of lightning,
The sting of a bee.

We always knew when the call went out,
When she summoned the threat of the hickory switch,
The time had come when her patience was broken,
Better to yield than to try and pitch
Our case any further, although the switch
Was really nothing to fear for the pain.
But the choice was made. the course was laid.
The switch had decided... There's no more to gain.


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