Table of Contents   


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Rhymer Primer


The Poem


Lyrics of Love 


Captive Eyes

Love's Command



Instant of Love

Brown Eyes


Beyond The Wake

The Yellow Haired Girl

Symptoms of Love


Marriage and Friendship Return to Table of Contents­


What is Marriage?

Memories of Old Classmates

Quiet Friend

Remember Me Not

Blithe Spirit

Counterfeit Lover


Night Thoughts  Return to Table of Contents ­


Winter and Old Age

Middle Age Frustration



Forbidden Fruit

Dark Memory

Journey Into Night

The Old Storyteller


Religious Verse  Return to Table of Contents ­


Genesis I

Genesis II

The Apostles

Apocalyptic Visions

Blood of the Martyrs

Faith Versus Reason

An Old Man And His Bible

Twilight For A Sinner


Odes to the Brave  Return to Table of Contents ­


Those Who Dare

Heroes of 9-11 (Twin Towers & Flight 93)

The Protectors

The Greatest Generation (WW II Veterans)

A Nobler Breed (Working Mothers)


Ballads  Return to Table of Contents ­


Ghost Whale

The Storm

Dead Men Tell No Tales


Popsicle Sid And The Lollypop Queen

The Ballad of Stella Marsh

The Ballad of Molly O'Shay

Mister McMurphy

Poor Old Frank 

Ballad To A Bird 


Reflections Return to Table of Contents


The Projectionist

The Clock

Broken Shells, Broken Dreams

The Mater Tree




Night Sounds

Voice Of The Sea

Dream Master

Lucid Dream

Suffer Little Children

Kingdom Of The Cats

Cat On The Lap

A Mystery, Written In Stone

The Christmas Crown


Speculative Verse  Return to Table of Contents ­


The Alien Abduction Club

Night Of The Comet

The Astronaut’s Notes

Lonely Planet

Area Fifty-One

Life In Outer Space


Urban Legends & Crackpot Theories  Return to Table of Contents ­


Ghostly Apparitions

Big Foot Sightings

Extraterrestrials: Fact Or Fiction

The Circle Makers

Alien Theorists

The Big Bang Theory

The Global Warming Myth

Another Crackpot Theory

The Da Vinci Code


Poetic Commentary Return to Table of Contents ­


How They Forget

Rioting In The Street

Hollywood Movies

Reality Shows

Drunken Comportment

Liquor Made Me Do It

New Year's Resolutions

Oracles Of The Dead


Lyrics of Love  TOC ­


Captive Eyes  Return to List


Is this love?

          What is in your eyes?

It’s as if I saw a comet

          coursing through the skies.


The lights are getting brighter.

          In each pupil it seems clear.

Perhaps they are but shining,

          as the reflections in a mirror.


Is love light really glowing

          or has reason taken flight?

It’s terrible not knowing,

          if what I think is right.


Is this love?

          What is in your voice?

Although you chatter aimlessly,

          my ears and eyes rejoice.


Can one express the wind

          when the sea begins to churn?

Is it my imagination

          as I watch those fires burn?


When the tempest rises,

          there is something else to fear,

one more thing to ponder

          as your lips are very near.


For what is in your smile,

          which is more than a mere grin?

Could mystery so beguile me

          and hide a secret sin?


Is it practical in my cloudy mind

          to actually know what’s right,

while I’m drowning in your gaze

          and captured by its light.


And with your breath so close

          do I turn away and flee?

Can one escape the tide

          or be swept up by the sea?


Is all my great elation

          and captive eyes ablaze

mere one-way emanations?

          Am I now still in a daze?


Can the touch yet so deceive

          that it interprets what I dream?

Can a voice make me believe,

          while captive eyes so scheme?


That all your wondrous qualities

          have not a sacred name.

In each pupil I saw a galaxy

          now reflects a shallow flame.


That one and all as mysteries swell

          the apathy will show.

Imagined there, will inkling tell

          what I cannot bear to know.


Then why all these questions

          when I don’t really want to see?

I would rather be in somnolence

          and trust my reverie.


Oh what is love

          but a bit of fire and smoke

to blur the eyes and trick the ears

          to become a chagrin joke?


If I the errant wanderer be

          must test my wild surmise,

I shall cast my gaze and gamble thus

          when I see those captive eyes.


Love’s Command  Return to List


Can one cancel the wind

          or stand against the tide?

Is it possible to comprehend

          that my love could ever die?


When long ago by carefree storm,

          as a sapling I was found,

you picked me, like monsoons warm,

          then tossed me to the ground.


But I got up upon my knee,

          then slowly crept to stand.

I knew it was my destiny

          to yield to love’s command.


Can one ignore the light,

          though gone, not feel the fires

and so far from lover’s sight

          not remember these desires?


When long ago the storm moved out

          what was left in me will burn.

Until consumed by time or doubt,

          I shall wait for your return. 


Essence  Return to List


Jewels are the eyes of just anyone

          and eyes are impossible dreams.

Sapphires or diamonds with the glint of the sun,

          all can deceive with luster and beams.


But beyond the crystalline around

          we can pinpoint inner fire.

The sensual warmth of blue or brown

          does not show love’s desire.


It is the gaze that is fondly held

          upon the loved one’s face.

Within each pupil love has filled

          a change has taken place.


Touch  Return to List


It is the touch that shall manifest

          what the eyes and voice have told.

If we love, it’s time to test

          whether the touching hand is cold.


If it is hot when the room without

          is the same as it was before,

then without a doubt the eyes and voice

          have greater love in store.


Instant of Love  Return to List


Loving eyes in a moonlight night

          reflect celestial rays.

Beneath a crown of lunar light

          they share a peaceful gaze.


As they look into my eyes,

          my heart begins to toll.

With tender truth or gentle lies,

          they burn into my soul.


The face beneath the moon

          then shares its cosmic smile.

Arms reach out very soon

          to hold me for awhile.


Teasing lips part slightly,

          as my pulse begins to race.

Warm breath blows lightly

          from that tender cherub’s face.


I feel that body pressing

          into the hollow of my arms,

a slow and subtle caressing,

          as I share those secret charms.


Brown Eyes  Return to List


Brown eyes innocently stare

          from a warm yet vibrant soul.

Beneath a nest of raven’s hair

          they softly share their glow.


So lightly do you speak your mind,

          with great depth in your gaze.

In that look, so gentle and kind,

          I see the rapture of my days.


I see a meaning undisguised

          to all my lovelorn schemes.

In the quiet majesty of your eyes

          are the lanterns of my dreams.


Heart  Return to List


What is it that cries out

like a lonely spirit of the night,

that, although we can’t here it,

our mind can feel its might?


We feel the throbbing deep inside,

          as we reflect upon our pasts.

Though in our heads we can hide

          in our chests the memory lasts.


Why is it that inevitably

          when certain friends walk by,

we can cover our feelings so they can’t see,

          but deep inside we hear it cry?


Something soft touches it, to us appealing,

          invoking a familiar name,

until we can no long hide that feeling

          and recall a forgotten flame.


What is it that cruelly upon us lets it abide

          the memory of each day,

but sweetly lets if fade inside,

          until it goes away?


Something new will come along

          and make us forget the rest.

Oh, what is it that like a poem or song

          we can hear it at its best?


Pounding, surging, stoking desires,

          we thought were finally dead.

The mind portrays each burst of fire,

          and from the heart the flames are fed.


Beyond the Wake  Return to List


The Sea, the sea, yon I see

          lost horizon in reverie


While love has passed beyond the wake,

those eyes they still implore.

I watch the dawn fall upon the sea

          and listen to its roar.


Beneath the sky when daylight comes

          the sea I scarcely hear.

Your voice cries out above the waves,

          and I feel your presence near.


The sea, the sea, this man’s romance

          by the sea.

For the sea around calls upon my reverie.


The Yellow-Haired Girl  Return to List


Who was that yellow-haired girl

          the one who stole my peace?

Of all the lasses in the world,

          my love was like a disease.


She cared not a wit for my affection

          and was deaf to my groans and sighs.

Not once did she look in my direction,

          for I was invisible to her eyes.


On any occasion or hour of day

          I’d see her with her peers.

She’d look straight ahead in her snobbish way,

          whispering into their ears.


Then one day, my pitch was perfected

          to ask her for a date.

The response I got was quite expected,

          and I didn’t have to wait.  


She turned up her nose, as I feared

          as if the thought was completely absurd.

Into the crowd she disappeared,

          not uttering a single word.


Years later, as I thought of this action, 

          it struck me as so unkind.

The yellow-haired girl lost her attraction,

          slowly fading from my mind.


Symptoms of Love  Return to List


Light-headedness, palpitations,

          and loss of concentration,

recurrent fever, perspiration,

          and frequent agitation.


Euphoria, but loss of appetite

          and sometimes indigestion, 

amorous thoughts, especially at night

          then bouts of sudden depression,


Nervous speech and darting eyes,

and obsession with the clock,

hysterical giggles, yet ready to cry

          as if in traumatic shock.


Fear, frustration, and gloom

          while listening for the phone,

the desire to escape crowded rooms

          just to be alone.


Then joy, bliss, and ecstatic blast

          when that voice and face appears.

The symptom of love now shared at last,

          dispelling all my fears.


Marriage and Friendship TOC ­


What is Marriage? Return to List


What is marriage

          but a rough road to tread.

It’s more than just a honeymoon

          or romp in the nuptial bed.


It’s more than just the romance

          seen on soapy tales.

We are more than mere sidekicks

          on life’s rocky trails.


What is marriage

           beyond the lyrics of rhyme?

It’s the forging of two souls

          that lasts the test of time.


Memories of Old Classmates  Return to List


Unforgotten faces emerging in my dreams

          are the memories of old classmates.

In my daydreams they also appear:

          their faces, voices, and special traits.


Names can be lost, but not eyes nor a smile

          nor a particular walk or look.

I’ll find their photos after a little while

          tucked away in my yearbook.


A few moments searching and it all comes back,

          each antidote and escapade.

As if it happened but yesterday,

          each photograph is part of a parade.


Left is my spirit, but gone are the games,

          the assemblies, the dances, and plays.

Touching each picture in Ouija board fashion,

          I remember those carefree days.


Long lost friends are out of reach,

          but time can’t sweep the past.

The yearbook stirs my recollection,

          making my memories last.


Endearing notes, as milestones left,

under photos on special pages.

Inside the cover in sweeping prose

are the words of high school sages.


Laughter and friendship, long ago heard,

          in each photo that I find.

Those special persons touching my heart

          burn brightest in my mind.


Co-eds and debutants captured my affection

as did the spirit of the high school teams.

The games, the dates, and even the classes

          still haunt me in my dreams.


Unforgotten faces live in my yearbook

          in an age that seemed trouble free.

Life has always had its knocks,

          yet I’m filled with serenity.


Lord protect them and guide their fates.

          Keep them safe, happy, and sane.

Let my mind not forget and heart always feel

          the memories of old classmates.


Quiet Friend Return to List


I left you standing there

          but failed to make the toast.

It took the distance that we shared

          to make me miss you most.


It came to me in awhile

          that I may never hear your voice.

I would never see your gentle smile,

          unless I made a choice.


I chose to reach across to you

          by the magic of the phone.

If I had not made this breakthrough,

          you might never have known.


You would never have heard the high esteem

          from this admirer from afar

or never have known, my friend,

          just how dear to me you are.


Remember Me Not  Return to List


Remember me not when the candlelight grew,

          when darkness engulfed except for the fire.

A thoughtless encounter that in the night flew,

          until the morning quenched our desire.


All that we had was selfish submission,

          an infantile pact, no long range sight.

We betrayed our mates in silent perdition,

          as contrite sinners regretting the night.


Forgetting the mystery in life’s greatest plot,

          we selected an easier game.

Beyond the moment when the touch was hot,

          nothing was left but the flame.


Remember me not in the shadows that veil,

          as daylight broke through our cover.

Our ill-conceived passion was destined to fail,

          because of guilt shared by each other.


Despite the fun, we were shallow dreamers,

          not in spirit but physical domain.

Both of us were but selfish schemers,

          collectors in ill-gotten gain.


Playing our parts in pretended mystery,

          our love was far from sublime.

Between us there was but little history;

          we just wanted to have a good time.


Remember me now as a make-believe lover,

          though my moves were so carefully planned

When it was over, we would discover

          it was nothing but a one night stand.


Blithe Spirit  Return to List


Blithe spirit yet fading light,

          uncharted, restless soul.

Once in limelight, now in dim light,

          but breathlessly you play your role.


So heavenly, beneath altered curls

          carnal eyes swim crazily.

Once wondrous eyes scanned the world,

          now long eyelashes droop lazily.


In the thrust of dawn

          or twilight at your best

the flame inside is carried on

          and a spark is left to test.


Beyond the animation

          of your shallow, narrow part

there is yet the old vibration

          from your lonely, restless heart.


Blithe spirit, a shadow yonder

          beacons you; go softly then.

Once a pure soul, but now you wander.

          Perhaps for moments you'll love again.


Counterfeit Lover  Return to List


False hope, untrue fate,

          elusive and fleeting dream,

though you were an exciting mate,

          your love was but a scheme.


When the night had fled,

          you emitted a tired yawn.

The gold had gilded on your head

          in the light of early dawn.


I saw those shallow, empty eyes,

          that deadpan sheen of blue.

Last night was filled with obvious lies

          and then my time was through.


Without the price, your angel’s face

          would have lost its limelight glow.

Your variations of love’s embrace

          had been a tawdry show.


Night Thoughts  TOC ­


Winter and Old Age  Return to List


I cast my thoughts into the night

          through a window laced with frost.

I traced my dreams in cold starlight

          of hopes that now seem lost.


Snow lies freshly on the ground.

          I hear the night wind blow.

I tremble at this cheerless sound,

          in spite of fireside glow.


Old age is winter come at last,

          the hour glass nearly spent.

I remember things long since past,

          to the simplest, trifling event.


Oh, would that life be one long summer,

          and time would suddenly cease,

my days and nights no longer numbered,

          my mind then filled with peace.


And would that all my afflictions

          that old age and winter bring, 

as snow in sunlight's reflection

          be melted in the spring.


Now, by icy window glass,

          I see my image cloud.

The sudden flakes upon the grass

          cover it thickly as a shroud.


Finally, toward the hearth I turn

          to chase these thoughts way.

I pause to watch the fire burn

          and dream of a better day.


Middle Age Frustration  Return to List


Cry, shout, but don't give up,

          your future is not through,

though brimming is the bitter cup

          that life has given you.


Middle age now stings you

          as you cope with common things

and contemplate the menu

          of what life so often brings.


In your moments of despair

          during solitary repast,

you must close that bill of fare

          and not dwell upon the past.


For somewhere in your dreams

          is a better, clearer day.

Along the way your plans and schemes

          have simply gone astray.


Your most recent agitations

          should be sloughed off with the rest.

Despite your middle age frustrations,

          you've done your very best.


Sixty-Five  Return to List


Oh my gosh, you’re sixty-five,

          a relic of the past.

Just be thankful your still a live,

          and not a fossil cast.


You’re going to live a long, long time,

          so get used to old age humor.

In birthday cards expect such rhymes.

          Let’s face it—you’re not in bloomers.


But when your detractors are growing old,

          a different song is sung.

 Age is but a state of mind we’re told.

          Whose to say who’s young?


You’re only old as you think,

          not by years you’ve lived on earth.

Life is but a cosmic blink,

          yet each day brings new rebirth.


Dreamer  Return to List


Dreamer, open your eyes;

          the night has fled the day.

Tumble from that patch of sky

          where your past is tucked away.


Yonder as you slumbered,

          where the heart is always true,

beneath a canopy of umbrage

          sweet memories came to you.


But now your dream is over

          and the moments slip away.

You must leave your bed of clover

          and begin another day.


So do not weep at dawn light;

          your past can never die.

When you travel through the starlight

          to that special patch of sky.


Tonight in safest keeping

          where your dreams are tucked away,

you will journey while your sleeping

          to a land of endless day.


Forbidden Fruit  Return to List


We shall not eat forbidden fruit

          if we pause to contemplate.

We know the nectar brings disrepute

          to the most exalted reprobate.


Temptation can strengthen and make us wise

          but too often makes us blind.

So often it’s cleverly disguised,

          polluting the soul, poisoning the mind.


Wise folk know the signs

          and how easy sin is bought.

We must shun the poison on the vines

          and let forbidden fruit just rot.


Dark Memory  Return to List


From long ago, memories revealed

          I tried to put away.

In my brain, a murky shield

          around that bygone day.


Fragments rise from that mire

          beckoned in my dream.

Suddenly, my mind acquires

          a sublimated theme.


I must have been very small,

          a young, defenseless child.

I can scarcely remember it all;

          the details are quite vile.


I saw her overhead

          a coat hanger in one hand.

Filled with awful dread,

          I didn’t understand


Why was she beating me?

          What was my terrible crime?

The details of this history

          are blurred by so much time.


I know enough to realize

          I angered her some way.

I saw rage in my mother’s eyes

          on that dark and dreadful day.


Journey Into Night  Return to List


The collapse night came suddenly for me

          I became a prisoner of the night.

After chasing the dying sun, I’m free

          from the day’s incriminating light.


Moving along in a grid-locked stream

          with the phantoms of my past;

trapped in my dark dream

          I’m invisible at last.


In darkness I drive in silence,

          a part of the commuter tide. 

Blacker than night is my soul’s torment 

          in which my spirit cannot hide.


In my mind’s eye, I’m back home,

          no longer on the run.

Now a fugitive, I roam. 

          My journey’s just begun.


The Old Storyteller Return to List


The Old Storyteller sat with a book,

          though his eyesight had begun to fail.

He gave his grandchildren a sly, droll look

          and began a most fantastic tale.


The words they heard were not in line

          with the pages he could barely see.

They came from the library in his mind

          —fantastic moments from history.


Instead of words on a page

          from a story he'd read before,

he drew back, that wise old sage,

          searching the archives of yore.


So many tales to tell then

          about events from his colorful past,

stretching the truth ever so thin,

          a story was born at last.


Each tale he would weave,

          was spun with utmost care,

his adventures, mostly make-believe

          were spoken with artistic flare.


Wild natives had he fought.

          Mountains had he scaled.

Life's mysteries he'd been taught,

          as he searched for the Holy Grail.


He'd done just about everything,

          he explained to the boys and girls.

There's not one place he hadn't seen,

          as he traveled the entire world.


There came a point of no return

          when the story seemed absurd.

Though probably his wildest yarn,

          they believed his every word.


Listening to their child-like laughter,

          he watched them scamper away.

He was ready with another chapter

          from the tales of yesterday.


Religious Verse  TOC ­


Genesis I   Return to List


In the beginning of Creation

in the vacuum of the night,

came that cosmic detonation

          of God’s eternal light.


The sound of that commotion

          so difficult to define,

rippling in the celestial ocean,

          was a sign of God’s design.


And the universe that dawned

          on that fundamental hour

continues on and on,

          as a measure of His power.


If we had been there with the Lord

          at the beginning of it all,

we would have seen His light flash outward

          and here his cosmic call.


We would have seen the light expand

          in reaction to His will.

From that wondrous loud command,

          we can hear his thunder still.


We could see the stardust spinning,

          each condensing into a mass,

in each galaxy beginning

          as clouds of swirling gas.


Much later in production

          we could see the earth begun,

amidst the solar system’s construction

          around a primal sun.


The sun would later shine

          above a lifeless sea,

as organic compounds aligned

          into the Creator’s recipes.


Then the Spirit of the Lord

          would move upon the land.

Where footsteps had not trod,

          He would spread his cosmic hand.


Where he pointed there was thunder.

          His glare as lightning shot,

with a special touch of wonder

          the spark of light begot.


After a thoughtful glance,

          He stirred the primal stew,

but left a measure of chance

          in that organic, amorphous brew.


Having set his plan in motion,

          he let the molecules stray,

on a path of evolution

          that continues still today.


Genesis II  Return to List


Where a variation bordered,

          He stuck his finger in.

He divided up the orders

          but let the strongest win.


The spark of his Creation

          was tested in every age.

Three billion years duration

          was enough to set the stage.


Around the simplest cells of slime

          the patterns of life evolved.

Through countless eons of time,

          complex life forms solved.


From jelly fish to dinosaurs,

          change was left to luck.

Evolution had traveled far,

          often running amuck.


Then one day, in a more gentle clime,

          the Lord was filled with mirth.

Instead of allowing chance this time,

          He came personally down to earth.


From the forest’s leafy cover,

          He selected from the least.

He would make it rule the others,

          a tiny, large-eyed beast.


After millions of years of anticipation

          and gently guiding it along,

He looked down upon this aberration,

          Something was dreadfully wrong!


Not man or beast nor fish or fowl,

          half man, yet like an ape.

After studying this oddity awhile,

          the Lord now changed its shape.


From simian to man, He clearly defined

          by giving him human thought.

On other creatures he now dined

          with weapons he had wrought.


With fire to warm him at night

          and a family by his side,

God’s chosen won the fight

          in evolution’s tide.


And God withdrew in meditation.

          He knew he wasn’t done.

He would one day finish Creation

          by sending His begotten Son.


The Apostles  Return to List


Peter was called the rock,

          though he denied Jesus thrice.

Yet as shepherd of His flock,

          he was martyred for our Christ.


John, the Beloved, was always bold  

          He was there at the crucifixion.

He wrote a prophetic book, we’re told,

          much stranger than fiction.


Matthew was a publican   

          until Jesus changed his game. 

His gospel, like Mark, Luke, and John’s

          recorded Jesus’ fame


Set down in the gospels

          was the mission that they heard.

But it was left for Paul’s epistles

          to propagate the Word.


Of the Twelve selected

          one would fail Him later.

Judas, whom Satan directed,

          turned out to be a traitor.


After Jesus’ resurrection,

          the whole world would know. 

Except for Judas’ disaffection

          the faith would grow and grow.


One-by-one Apostles were killed.

          Only John was left alive.

Though often martyred, the ranks were filled

          with followers willing to die.


But John, at ninety-two,

          had no time to weep.

 Jesus promise came true,

when he was left to tend His sheep.


There, on that lonely station

          he served his greatest mission. 

In his book, called Revelation

          he ministered to the Christians.


Apocalyptic Visions  Return to List


In his island home

           cutoff from civilization

John the Revelator finished a tome

           he entitled “Revelation.”


To Seven Churches he extolled

          “ Hold onto the Way…”

He warned them of faith’s role

          in a dark and evil day. 


There would be days of tribulation

          to measure Christian’s worth.

But before annihilation

          shall Christ return to earth.


What is buried there

in the Revelator’s book?

Should Christendom beware?

          Let’s take a closer look.


Theological teachers

          are critical of Revelations

Accepting John as preacher,

          they reject Doomsday Equations.


He was a visionary, many say,

          with contemporary perceptions.

So why would members of the Way

          be give such projections? 


In the early Church’s tradition,

          there was official Roman reaction.

To protect themselves, the Christians

          cloaked writing with abstraction. 


His revelations were for contemporaries. 

          Preaching was John’s intention.  

His own words runs contrary

          to Apocalyptic invention.  


His passage “the time’s at hand,”

          was a contemporary vision,

so it’s hard to understand

          the millenialists’ End Time vision.


John warned his flock

          of “things coming to pass.”

There is no Doomsday Clock.

It’s an echo from the past.


The Revelator was reassured

as other’s of his day,

But would divine intervention occur

for members of the Way?


Before this came about

would an antichrist reign?

In an age of trial and doubt

          would the Church suffer pain?


Tested by tribulation

          in a period of travail,

against an evil nation

          would the faithful still prevail.


Would the Lord then return,

          and an age of grace be born?  

Would all sinners burn,

          after Judgment’s final horn?


From the Revelator’s mind,

          more meaning has been sought,   

for an apocalypse in our time

          and fuel for movie plots.


But for me, the meaning’s plain,

          and the argument should cease.                   

John was a shepherd of his time,

          who wrote a masterpiece.


Blood of the Martyrs  Return to List


Down through the ages

          Christians suffered for their belief.

Whether simple peasant or sages,

          their faith brought them grief.


During the Roman Empire

          when the persecutions started.

With cross, the axe, or fire

          they were summarily martyred.


Nero made a spectacle of them

          with cruel Roman clout.

Christendom’s future looked dim.

          He almost wiped them out.


Dressed in animal pelts

          to lure hungry beasts,

blood in the arena was spilt

          to provide a martyr’s feast.


Nero felt his scruples freed, 

          his worst impulse employed. 

To divert blame from his deeds,

          Christians were destroyed.


After such ghastly losses,

          in the dark of night,

he had them tied to burning crosses

          to provide his guests with light.


From those times, his infamy soared.

          The persecutions grew.

Folks were murdered by the scores,        

           political enemies too.


Because of Nero’s convenient lies

          the murders had been guided.

Then, after the emperor’s demise,

          the persecution subsided.


Yet an edict went into effect.

against members of the Way. 

Christianity was an outlawed sect.

          Believers would still pay.


In Emperor Domitian’s time,

          emperor worship was a rule.

The Empire was a dangerous clime

          because of his political tool.


Failure of observance meant execution

          Such power did he wield.  

By the choice of death and admitting conviction,

          the faithful were revealed.


Thousands died for committing this treason

          under ten Roman Emperors in all.

For refusing to recant for any reason,

          punishment would surely fall.


Many were crucified or fed to beasts,

          while patricians lost their heads.

From the highest level to the least

          are listed the righteous dead.


As examples to pagans, they were killed, 

          yet their work as witnesses was done. 

Because of their courage, their membership swelled,

          until Constantine himself was won.


From that point, the Lord’s flock grew.

          Christianity was triumphant at last.

If not for the suffering of those few

          the message would be lost in the past.


In the Book of Life, standing out 

          are the names of the righteous dead.

The blood of the martyrs was the grout,

          between the bricks of the Church they bled.


Faith Versus Science  Return to List


Why is faith on trial,

          particularly for Christian folk?

In classrooms for professor’s wiles

          it becomes a political joke.


When not maligned in the class,

prejudice in the media is seen.   

It seems like it’s Hollywood’s task

          to belittle them on the screen.


Against science, it has nothing to prove

          for faith cannot be gauged.

Scientific formulas it never approved,

           since that war was long ago waged.


Among the modern Christian community

          a general tolerance exists.

Centuries after Enlightenment immunity,

          their forbearance still persists.


Yet often cloaked in “Biblical Mysteries”

          an effort with directors is sought

To debunk scriptural history

          too often with scientific rot.


Adam and Even and Noah’s Ark

          aren’t seen as historical facts

In what seems a theatrical lark,

          even Jesus’ divinity is attacked. 


The Exodus, they believe

          was Mother Nature’s work,

Using science, they try to weave,

a geological quirk.


While academicians make sport 

          to a level that is libel.

Scientists and historians distort

          the stories of the Bible.


But against this tiresome breed.

          Christians remain aloof.

Simple faith is all they need,

          not scientific proof.


An Old Man and His Bible  Return to List


When I’m tired of the pace around

          and all my physical strictures 

I find a place to settle down. 

and find a fitting Scripture.


If I’m worried, depressed, or in pain.

          I can always find a Psalm

When feeling forgotten by my children,

the Scriptures are a balm.


Often, it’s not profound

          I simply cannot sleep.

On some days I’ve found

          I read so not to weep.


Other times, as a Ouija trick,

          the Lord guides my selection.

With closed eyes, I make my pick

hoping for divine direction.


In the end, with a wistful look,

          I know that life is fleeting.   

I fall asleep holding the Book

          comforted by my reading.


Twilight For A Sinner   Return to List


Why do we wait

just before we fall,

our prayers coming late,       

          with our backs against the wall?


During death bed repentance

or battlefield amends,

we ask, at our death sentence,

          forgiveness for our sins.


Even those who live righteously

          need atonement and reprieve.

The fear of death looms ominously

          At the end we all believe.


At the end of his days

          a sane man will reach out.

Silently, he will pray,

          tired of all life’s doubts.


To me, in my twilight years,

          I no longer feel that dread.

In God’s grace I no longer fear

           the path that lies ahead.


Odes to the Brave  TOC ­


Those Who Dare  Return to List


Desert, jungles, forbidden terrain

          are the soldier’s common course.

For them it’s not a movie or game.

          Reality is much worse.


In infantry, airborne, in hostile climes

          the danger’s always there.

Despite sniper’s bullets or hidden mines

          they forge on—those who dare.


Those who serve deserve our tribute,

          for soldiers are a special breed.

In all quarters, they bring the fight.

          On freedom’s path they lead.


Many who dare at a frightful cost

are quiet, selfless heroes,

preventing our freedom from being lost

from relentless, intractable foes.


Heroes of 9-11  Return to List


(The Twin Towers)


Above the teaming business district

          Surrounded by Manhattan

Twin Towers stand majestic,

          now targets of Bin Laden.


Flying low that historic hour,  

          throwbacks from the past 

approaching first the North Tower

          the Jihadists’ die is cast  


Inside the building structure

          where innocents reside

sudden, unexpected destruction

as Flight 11 collides.


The South Tower is next

          as Flight 175 looms

Trapped in the building complex

          countless victims doomed.


The heroes of the hour

          go beyond their normal skills.

Firemen and policemen scale each tower

          to lead them down stairwells.


Pedestrians run for their lives.

          Sirens scream through town.

Only a handful of persons survive

          when the towers come crashing down.


(Flight Ninety-Three)


On the silver wings of terror

          toward al Quaeda’s goal

crew and passengers aware of error

          rise up bravely for their role.


To prevent the Capitol’s destruction 

          a simple plain is found.

Men and women rush the cabin

          to force Flight 93 down. 


No heroes could be braver

          in that most uncommon way.

Facing death they didn’t waver

          to give their lives that day.


The Protectors  Return to List


We should praise our silent heroes,

          in those ‘take for granted’ ways

Though others take their bows,

they don’t expect much praise.


In the worst possible conditions

          police and firefighters strive.

To protector the public they have that tradition,

          so often risking their lives.


When a siren erupts in the distance

there’s mayhem, danger or strife.

A protector arrives for assistance

or to save someone’s life.


For emergency rescue as first responders,   

for hot pursuit or public arrests,

for firefighting or catching absconders

          they’re humanity at its best.


The Greatest Generation (World War II Veterans)  Return to List


World War veterans are a dying breed.

          They’ll never be replaced.

Because of them, the world was freed    

          from the twofold enemies they faced. 


Europe, Africa, and the Pacific Ocean

          on land and on the sea.

Sailors, soldiers, and airmen’s devotion

          protected our liberty.


On foreign soil and ships they bled,

          upon two epoch stages. 

Those many thousands dead

now live on with the ages.


Our greatest generation,

is now a dwindling few. 

Too often they’re forgotten

          in a youth-oriented milieu.


These venerated icons

          deserve more than mere nods. 

For liberty’s boldest sons

          history now applauds.   


A Nobler Breed (Working Mothers)  Return to List


A working mother has a place       

too seldom winning praise.

She has to run a triple race

          all her working days.


She has to please her husband,

          her children and her boss.

While meeting their demands,

          she pays a selfless cost.


But often, as she surges,

          in her glories, through her tears,

a different woman emerges,

          stronger after the years.


Filled with common sense

          and that certain special air,

with growing independence,

          she still has time to care.


Torn with dual devotion,

          between her family and position,

between motherhood emotion

          and a working mother’s ambition.


Hit by family feuds before,

          jarred by traffic jams,

her work becomes a frightful chore

          against such daily slams.


Errant children and cranky parents

          will spoil each eight hour day

until gradually it becomes apparent

          that mother’s turning gray.


So why is it that men have had

          a greater share of praise,

when working mothers unlike dads

          have just begun their days?


She must come home to tame the beast,

          to quell the madcap tribe,

to clean, to sooth, to fix a feast,

          so her family can survive.


And later on as the tribe sleeps on

          and her many chores are through,

she smiles faintly, after a tired yawn,

          searching for a thought or two.


Somewhere in her youthful dreams

is a better, clearer day.

Along the way her plans and schemes

          seemed to have gone astray.


But her present meditations

          are weighed against the night.

Despite her many frustrations,

          she knows her path is right.


She knows she is a nobler breed

          who’ll win her rightful place.

Quietly, she’ll take the lead

          in that frantic, triple race.


Now dreamily, with unburdened heart,

          she’s thankful the day is done,

but waiting still is her threefold part

          when morning’s schedule’s begun.


Ballads  TOC ­


The Ghost Whale  Return to List 


Arr ye matey, I got me a tail.

          Now settle ye down for some grog,

about the time we was huntin’ a whale

          and got ourselves in fog.


Standing watch with me lantern,

          it came in a clear starry night.

Looking out from the stern

twas a ghostly, unnatural sight.


Whilst me shipmates were fast asleep

          It was just me and Ol’ Seth

Spewing up from the briny deep

          was Davy Jones foul breath.


Said Seth aloud, “It’s curse you see,”

          as we stood there by the rail. 

“It’s Davy himself that’s angry          

          for chasing that thar whale.”


“Now Seth,” says I, shaking my head,

          Don’t be fillin’ the crew with your lore

For all we know that whale is dead,

          and we’ve been in fogs before.”


 “Aye,” cried he, “I pity the beast.

          “We’ve chased it to its end.

He’s comin’ back in the mist

          to get his righteous revenge.”


Arriving finally as he spoke

          the fog rolled over the bow,

onto the deck like the Reaper’s cloak

          around us both like a shroud.


“It ain’t normal!” I said to Seth,

          “the way that mist came in,

‘like the Devil’s foul breath,

          not carried by the wind!


The sky was clear, the weather swell,

          until this mist took hold.

Like a vapor rising from hell,

          it be thick, nasty, and cold.


Surely, this be Davy’s curse

          for killin’ all them whales.

I tried to recall a Bible verse.

          as we hunkered down by the rail.


We needed a prayer, but my head was a mess.

          The shadow of death seemed near.

“Lord,” I shouted, “is this a test.

          for all our misspent years?”


I listened to that beastly moan.

Twas Davy Jones Locker below.

Not from cold, we was chilled to the bone

          as the ship rocked to and fro.


Out came the crew, in dreadful fright,

          staggering like blind men on deck.

Caught in a fog that blanked out the night

          each man was a mindless wreck.


Round in a whirlpool the ship spun

          like a toy boat in a gale.

There was no escape.  There was nowhere to run

          in the wake of that angry ghost whale.


And then it stopped, after a terrible cost.

          We stood there, Seth and me.

During his anger, shipmates were lost,

drowned in the boiling sea.


We lost half the crew—sixty in all.

          on that cursed, whaling trip.

The damage was so dreadful

          we almost lost our ship.


So here I sit, a landlubber knave

          tellin’ me seafarin’ tale,

happy I’m not in a briny grave

          because of that angry ghost whale.


Aye, whalin’ was me game.

          As a whaler I never shirked.

Now I’m filled with shame

          for doing that kind of work.


Just to light our lamps and stoves

          we almost wiped them out

For profit, we killed’em in droves.

            Tis a sin there is no doubt!


Twas not the sea I turned against

          but the reapers of whale oil.

It’s not natural in spite of that event

          to work at a landlubber’s toil.


Aye!  A fish out of water was I,

          chilled by that awful day. 

There I sat guzzling me rye,

          drinking me pay away.


Now a merchant cap’n was lookin’ for mates.

          Men of mettle and skill he sought.

Not knowing about my future fate,

          I signed up on the spot.


Twas a different task on that trip.

          My spirit was suddenly light.

No longer on that cursed ship,

          I slept like a baby that night.


I looked ahead with a glad heart. 

          not thinking of that whale.

 The journey had a favorable start 

          as the merchant ship set sail.


Then offshore, I looked out

          scanning the quiet sea.

I spied at first a distant spout,

          several whales roaming free.


I remembered then about times past.

          When whalers went in pursuit.

It had been for us a bloody task.

          to share the company’s loot.


Now men went about their jobs,

          each and every day,

cleaning, polishing, tying knots,

          on a seaman’s daily pay.


No more dangers in the chase

          each time the ship set sail 

or the smell and gore I had to face

          after killing those poor whales.


As I looked from the rail

          scanning the quiet sea.

I thought about for that one great whale

          who changed my destiny.


Aye, there I was on a merchant ship

          my soul at peace once more.

This time on a longer trip,

          to a distant, foreign shore.


The Storm  Return to List


Now ahoy me buckos, lend an ear.

          I’ve got me a tale to tell.

Twas that storm at sea that swab’s fear,

           like the breath of Davey Jone’s hell.


Glassy waters, it was for sure,

          like when ghost ships suddenly show.

Then came that nor’easter

 and Davey’s breath did blow.


Every inch of our ship did it wreck

          Tearing our sails to shreds,

Half the crew were blown off deck  

          Our captain was among the dead.


Shiver me timbers, you won’t believe.

          You’ll think me off me rocker.

But there in the swirling eye of the sea

          was the mouth of Davey Jone’s Locker.


I could see him gazing below the spin

          a cold fish-eyed face.

His gullet gobbling them poor men

          into that awful place.


Certain he’d swallow the entire ship

          I made me peace with the Lord.

Why should I give Davey the slip

          with better men aboard?  


Aye—all the crew, except a handful

the best with the worst shipmates.

Into the Locker—one hundred lost souls

          suffered the same cruel fate.


Into the hold, like bilge rats we stowed.

          as the sea continued to churn. 

Deafened we was by the wind that blowed

          waiting for our turn.


Then, as suddenly, did the blowing end

as did the rocking of the boat.

We had no sails to catch the wind,

          but our ship was still afloat.


So we floated for weeks with nothing to do,

           praying for distant shores.

There was plenty of rum left from the crew

           and months of water and stores.


We was a drunken foursome:

          the cook, first mate, cabin boy, and me.

Like so much sea-going floatsom

          we were castaways on the sea.


Because of the cook, we ate well,

          until the vegetables turned bad.

The cabin boy was sick a spell,

          and the first mate he went mad.


On the brink of scurvy, we finally saw it.

          In the distance there were sails.

The first mate had regained his wits,

          though the cabin boy was pale.


Another day, and he’d be dead

          the mate would’ve slit our throats.

Now, there she was dead ahead

          an American merchant boat.


Them Yanks took us aboard,

          preventing the first mate’s crime,  

like sea-going angels from the Lord,

          just in the nick of time.


Alas, the cabin boy ran away,

          probably back to sea.

The first mate will return one day

          but not with the cook and me.


I stayed here in Boston, a longshoreman.

The cook found work in town.

Tis better to toil on safe, dry land

          than be taken by Davey and drown.


I’ll never forget his evil face,

          staring up from the deep.

I keep thinking about that awful place.

          It haunts me in my sleep.


So here I am mates, tellin’ me tale,

          with drinkin’ friends I’ve found.

I’ve no desire to ever set sail.

I’m stayin’ on solid ground! 


Dead Men Tell No Tales  Return to List 


I’m a hostage on a pirate galley

          My shipmates are all dead.

I wasn’t caught in the tally,

          because I kept my head.


My shipmates’fate was swift and cruel,

while I hid in our ship’s hold.

 I’m a cook, not fit for a duel.

          I had never been too bold.


Most were killed or walked the plank,

          for dead men tell no tales.

I had my cowardly luck to thank

          for not joining them at the rail.


Into the hold and captain’s quarters

          they searched for hidden stash.

One-by-one into Davey Jones locker

          I could hear my shipmates splash.


I knew for certain, they’d sink the ship.

          I’d be in it when it went down.

I couldn’t very well give them the slip,

          and either way I’d drown.  


In the end they’d blast the hull,

so I called out to the crew. 

Rather than joining Davey’s roll

          I’d make them run me through.


Raising up from behind a crate,

          I made my final stand.

Certain of a terrible fate,

          in their bloodstained hands.


“We got us a live one!” a pirate cackled.

          “Shall I cut his scurvy throat?

Immediately then, I was tackled

          and given up for a vote.


To the main mast tied, my fate was weighed

           Should I drown or from the yardarm dance?

Balanced between ayes and neighs

          I had but the slimmest chance.


It seemed half of them, drunk on rum,

          had cast their vote for me.

A mere object of pirates’ fun,

          I might still be tossed into the sea.


Elbowing through, a patch on one eye, 

          with wooden peg and cane,

twas the captain himself, who mumbled “Aye!”

          the tiebreaker in this game.


What did it mean? I caught my breath

          For a worse fate was I saved?

At least, I wasn’t in the briny depths,

           and my death sentence had been waved.


It turned out, when they took me aboard,

          and scuttled my old boat,

the Lord and Davey reached an accord,

          thanks to the captain’s vote.


Not mercy or heaven had saved my hide,

          nor the comeliness of my face.

Because the pirate cook had died

          I would take the blaggard’s place.


Unlike me, he joined the attack

          and a shipmate cracked his head.

With mixed emotions, as I look back

I’m thankful that he’s dead.


As a prisoner of a pirate galley,

          saved by my occupation,

but if the King’s Navy wins a sally,

          it’ll be guilt by association. 


Until then, I’ll bide my time

          and be the best cook I can be.

Praying for all those poor souls

          lost to piracy.


Fortunately, the captain forbade me

          from plying the pirate game.

I’m too valuable in my duties.

          I’m a slave in all but name.


Until captured by the King’s ships

          and hung for their bloody deeds,

they’ve given the Royal Navy the slip.

          Our galley makes good speed.


I seen a lot, and my blood’s chilled

          --men killed or thrown off the rails.

But so far I’m alive and well,

and dead men tell no tales.  


Unsinkable  Return to List


I’m a survivor, once a shipmate

           on the HMS Providence.

I would have suffered a common fate

          if I’d joined in her defense.


I became a cook on that galley,

a bark called Chesapeak.

Until a Royal Navy sally

          my future looked quite bleak. 


Then one day I took the leap

          and jumped into the sea.

As our ship slid into the deep,

          I was momentarily free.


I grabbed that board they called the plank

          and paddled away from the ship.

I had this symbol of death to thank,

          for giving death the slip.


Twas a fitting end for that pirate gang,

revenge for their misdeeds.

Not one man was left to hang.   

          All were claimed by the sea.


But there I was with a choice to make,

          floating away from the scene.

Would calling out seal my fate?

Did I drown or be tried by the king?


What decided the issue was hesitation.

          For inaction I would pay.

Fading steadfastly into the horizon,

          it was soon too far away.


“This it!” I cried. “I’m a dead man here.”

“I’ll become shark food or die of thirst!

With nothing left but misery and fear,

          I prepared myself for the worst.


But then I saw that afternoon

          --the distant sails of a sloop.

As it came nearer, close to a swoon,

          I let out a loud, hoarse whoop.  


That same hour, I was hauled astern,

          spared from the briny depths.

It wasn’t till later, when I learned,

          who saved me from sure death.


Sure enough, I was still alive,

though probably not for long.

I looked around at their cold, dark eyes,

realizing something was wrong. 


There’s only one thing worse than pirates,

          and it chilled me to the bone.

I could hear their screams in the bowels of the ship.

          From the hold below, I heard their moans.


Slavers, they were, all of them frowning,

          Spaniards from the Ivory Coast.

I was thankful I was spared from drowning,

          but not welcome among my hosts.


I was given water and begrudgingly fed.

          Perhaps this was a lark.

Not understanding a word they said

          I was completely in the dark.


Was it a seagoing policy

          to save a drowning sailor?

Would they toss me back into the sea

          or become my new jailer?


Once a captive of pirate rogues,

          I might be worse off with these knaves.

Would I join those poor blacks below

          and be sold as one more slave?


My answer came after several days

          of treatment worse than before.

I was spat on and cursed in several ways.

           Every inch of my body was sore.


Then one morning, after a stormy night.

in the shallows of a lagoon. 

I suffered now a castoff’s plight.

          Quite suddenly I was marooned.


I was thankful I was close to land

          as they shoved me off the rail.

As I swam frantically up to the sand, 

          the slaver ship set sail.


Not an ounce of water or piece of bread

          was I given when deserted.

I was just thankful I wasn’t dead.

          I hadn’t drowned and wasn’t murdered.


They hated me for what I knew

          about their dastardly deeds

In danger around that scurvy crew,

          I was grateful I was freed. 


Here I am on this forsaken place

          with only cocoanut trees.

Cast off from the human race

          surrounded by endless sea.


I keep hoping a friendly craft

          will finally come my way.

Hopefully, loneliness won’t drive me daft

          until that blessed day.


Popsicle Sid and the Lollypop Queen  Return to List


Long ago, when I was a kid

          the strangest person at school

was a big, clunky guy, named Popsicle Sid,

          who first struck me as a fool.


Always in his purplish mouth,

          a grape Popsicle was shoved.

All in all, he was brutish lout

          that only a mother of father could love.


He never bathed or combed his hair.

          He wore the same shirt and dungarees.

You knew when ol’ Sid was near,

by sniffing the oncoming breeze.


Then one day, during football tryouts,

          Sid showed up on the field. 

In spite of all our doubts,

          a new side of him was revealed.


Trying out just for kicks.

          he strolled out on the grass

Chewing on a Popsicle stick

          he threw a forward pass.


 Perfect did it spin

          to the quarterback’s surprise. 

He did it once again

          before the coach’s gaping eyes.


If that wasn’t enough

          he could kick the ball

As a tackler he was tough;

          it was like hitting a brick wall. 


But the greatest feat seen

          was his speed during a play,

knocking away the opposing team    

          unfortunately in his way.


Fear and respect from our opponents

made it a one-sided game.

If it weren’t for those glorious moments,

          it would seem like such a shame.


Quite expectedly, college scouts

          made offers to Popsicle Sid.

Though his grades were in doubt,

          he was offered several bids.


At that point, to his rescue

a social connection was made.

 High school cheerleader Emma Lou

          would help him with his grades.


Now Emma Lou liked lollypops:

          strawberry, lemon or lime.

Into her mouth one would be plopped

          at almost any moment in time


Arm-in-arm, they were a familiar sight,

          Popsicle Sid and the Lollypop Queen. 

After long hours, both day and night.

          an improvement in him could be seen.


Thanks to Emma, Sid’s grades rose.

          A purse from a sow’s ear was made.

Though his exam scores were close,

          he achieved an average grade.


Together at his chosen college

          they would walk hand-in-hand.

On the field during scrimmage

          she was there in front of the stands.


Sid ran swiftly with the ball

          with Emma’s cheering him on.

The fans shouted cheers and applause

          as the school band played their song.


But Sid’s luck finally ran out

          on one cold and winter day.

After several fumbles, it was a rout,

          after one unfortunate play.


Sid ran out to catch a pass

          in order to turn it around.

But that moment he slipped on the grass

          and slammed into the ground.


At that moment his career was shot,

          though no one knew that day  

An x-ray showed a cerebral blood clot

          the result of successive plays.   


His parents sued the school and won

          for not catching that clot before. 

But the damage to poor ol’ Sid was done,

          and his prospects with Emma were poor.


Yes, Emma’s days as the Lollypop Queen

          were exchanged for a Rose Queen crown.

With an AFL quarterback she was seen,

          after letting ol’ Sid down.


Back home he went.

His career had come to an end. 

Yet, with his football days spent,

he somehow managed to mend.


His spirit then rallied,

          and he sloughed off the past.

When all things were tallied,

          he got more than he asked.


With a Popsicle in hand,

Sid reminisced.

“I don’t care about his fans.

It’s Emma I now miss.”


He moved away and found his niche,

          and Sid settled down to his life.

Because of the lawsuit, he was rich,

          and soon found himself a wife.


I saw him just the other day.

          He found peace of mind at last.

Sharp was his memory of football plays,

          but he spoke not a word of the past.


Popsicle Sid lost his Lollypop Queen,

          but a truer love was found.

Those days might seem like a lost dream,

          but he’s a legend in our town. 


The Ballad of Stella Marsh  Return to List


One night when her husband arrived,

          Stella Marsh was ready.

He’d beaten her often, yet she survived 

          Now her trigger finger was steady.


While her children slept in their beds

          he swaggered through the door.

After emptying her pistol, he was dead.

          crumpled on the floor.


When the police appeared, they arrested Stella.

          She was not surprised with her fate.

From a timid housewife she was now a killer,

          Her children became wards of the state.


According to Stella, who had no remorse,

           her marriage had been on the skids.

Murder had been only recourse.

          The state would take care of her kids.


Now poor ol’ Stella must do her time,

after the pitiful life that she led.

To rid the world of that miserable slime

she filled her husband with lead.


The Ballad of Molly O’Shay  Return to List


What ever happened to Molly O’Shay,

          --that naughty girl in school?

She was a wild thing, who liked to play,

          and broke every cardinal rule.


I left home and made a life.

          I figured she did the same.

Happy with my children and wife,

          I forgot about that dame.


Years passed by, our children grew up.

          I failed to reach all I aspired.

Drinking bravely from life’s bitter up,

           at a ripe old age I retired.


Then it happened one wintry day,

          as we walked toward our car.

From a distance, we spied an old bag lady

          pushing a shopping cart.


Lo and behold, I couldn’t believe

          that broken down old shell.

With palm outstretched, a beggar’s plea,

          stood that onetime high school belle.


Molly O’Shay, once a crowd pleaser,

          gave us a charming grin.

It was all that was left of that coed teaser

          after living a life of sin.


Her skin was splotchy, eyes bloodshot,

          yet her teeth were sparkling white.

Her gray hair hung in tangled knots.

          She was an awful sight.


In one grimy palm I spotted her twenty.

          I wish I had given her more.

For Molly, however, it seemed plenty,

          enough for the liquor store.


When Molly O’Shay, mumbled “Thank you,”

          it almost broke my heart.

To a seedy haunt, down a dark avenue

          she ambled away with her cart.


Mister McMurphy  Return to List


One week night at five clock

          Mister McMurphy returned.

The key rattled in the lock,

          and the knob he slowly turned.


There was darkness in his home,  

as if no one was around. 

Normally, he would hear the television,

          but this time not one sound. 


“Something’s wrong,” he grumbled

          “The house is much too quiet!”

Toward the living room he stumbled

          fumbling for a light.


There wasn’t note, none at all,

          and it filled him with such gloom.

It was the first time he could recall,

          finding empty rooms.


His wife, daughter, and son       

          had snuck away today.

After years and years of abuse,

          they had finally ran away.


In his mind denial was rooted,

          though he mourned his wasted life.

They were ingrates, he concluded

          He mostly blamed his wife.


Each day, he returned,

          stumbling in the gloam.

A long lost hope still burned

          as he searched his empty home.     


Poor Old Frank  Return to List


On most days, as I walked into work,

          I gave a beggar some quarters.

By the door ol’ Frank lurked,

           a frequent pesky loiterer.


When not at the door, he was uptown.

          begging on the street. 

To charitable souls, he made his rounds, 

a quota he must meet.


Frank was clever, I later discovered;

          his money was well spent.

Not only were his meals covered,

          he also paid his rent.


After several days on the street

Frank was nowhere in sight.

 Pedestrians I would meet

          claimed he vanished in the night.


One day I heard an explanation.

          that struck me as quite odd. 

Frank was under investigation

          for tax evasion and fraud.


It appeared he was quite able,

          to work a normal job.

He wasn’t mute or disabled.

          He was just a welfare slob.


Ballad to a Bird  Return to List


Long ago, one sunny day,

          I took my morning walk,

as usual, without delay,

          and with little idle talk.


But on the way, on my route

          I heard the strangest noise,

not a whisper or a shout

          a bark, meow or voice.


It was a loud, warbling sound

          coming from a tree.

For moments as I pondered

          it remained a mystery.


Glancing through the briars

          I spied a tiny bird

Of all of nature’s flyers

          it was the loudest I had heard.


My iphone I now grabbed

          and aimed it at this sight.

A quick photo was nabbed

          before the bird took flight.


Again a song flowed

from its tiny beak

As if amplified tenfold

          to the highest octave peaked 


It was green, yellow, and white

a black mask around its eyes

a most delightful, noisy sight

          belying its small size



          tschat, tschat, stee-eek

back and forth the sounds would switch

          almost tongue and cheek


More than all my pictures

          its sound defines this bird,

of all natures ‘screechers,’

          the most amazing I’ve yet heard.


Reflections TOC ­


The Projectionist   Return to List


Have you not felt that life is an illusion

          and its dynamics a virtual dream?

The violence and turbulence of life's confusion

          are images reflected of things that seem.


A projectionist looks out at the screen

          awaiting the end of each reel.

He controls the operation of his machine,

          but not what the film reveals.


Each motion picture he projects

          was pulled right off the shelf.

The occasional editing he injects

          was directed by God himself.


We strut around and play our parts,

          mere light beams in the air,

products of mere heavenly arts

          to amuse the angel's there.


We talk and walk and seem to feel,

          as holograms of light.

When truly it’s just another reel

          the projectionist is showing tonight.


The Clock  Return to List 


Cruel are its increments and steadfast measure,

while the pendulum, itself, swings free.

Suddenly, it takes its pleasure,

though its hands move imperceptibly.


Minutes seem like hours

          while suffering the passage of time.

Though resisting our observable powers,

          we must wait for its fateful chime.


Yet when we no longer want its speed,

          a greater dread shall arise.

The hands of the clock are suddenly freed

          as time, the grim reaper, flies.


Reflecting life’s saddest truth,

          from sunrise until dawn.

Slowly does it move in youth

          but in twilight years race on.


Broken Shells, Broken Dreams  Return to List


Broken shells, like broken dreams,

          upon a sandy beach.

Piled away are a thousand schemes,

          now so out of reach.


Lapping waters, pounding waves,

          pushing shells away,

remnants of our memories saved

          to remind of a bygone day.


Cast aground these broken pieces

          will haunt our dreams once more.

Each recollection as the tide’s end ceases,

          as fragments upon the ashore.


In constant tumult again it swells,

          more broken shells are worn.

Amidst the powdered and scattered shells

          memories are reborn.


Like the shells the sea has tossed,

          churned from the ocean’s bed,

not all our memories are forever lost

          though the dreams, themselves, are dead.


The Mater Tree  Return to List


Green are the leaves of the Mater Tree,

          freshly grow and green one and all.

In the shade is security,

          not quite ripe to make their fall.


So Father Ground, who each root guides

          whispers to his lady to withdraw her protection

and cast down each child who safely abides

          on aimless branches without direction.


Down fall the leaves—Autumn’s gift.

          The wind through the limbs now blows.

Some are lost or remain adrift,

          but most reach the ground below.


If green is the shade of innocence

          before leaves are finally set free.

As they fall, they begin changing color,

          when torn from the Mater Tree.


Too soon may have been the gale that tossed,

          with no way to go but down.

Though some of the leaves are forever lost,

          most turn naturally brown.


Snowbound  Return to List


Fearful of nature’s power

          I hunker down at last.

It’s snowed for hours—tempestuous showers,

          as an arctic winter blast.


Looking out at the snow,

          mixed with hail and sleet. 

I watched it grow and grow,

          I can barely see the street.


The snow reaches the window,

inching up the pane. 

Though safely in my bungalow,

          panic grips my brain.


I’m trapped inside these walls,

          with nowhere else to go.

As the flakes continue to fall,

          I’m a prisoner of the snow.


Hearing thunder, I look about,

          as my cabin fever grows.

Suddenly the power’s out,

          as a circuit breaker blows.


Another peel of thunder

          and my internet is lost.

My mind is ripped asunder

          by what Mother Nature caused.


To make matters worse

          my phone is also dead.

“Am I being cursed?”

          I ask myself with dread. 


I wanted to make my flight somehow.

          I have important clients to meet. 

But I’m totally cut off now

          by snow, hail, and sleet.  


So in my bungalow I wait,

          until stormy weather subsides.

Oh, the cruel hand of fate,

          when the clouds in heaven collide!


Rain   Return to List


Looking up at the firmament,

          I watch the storm clouds amass.

Thunder signals that rain is imminent

            as lightning streaks now flash.


I do not fear the sound and fury

          nor the anger of the tide.

It’s the flood and hailstorm fury,

          not the rain that weather provides.


The first rain, as Earth cooled.

          poured down endlessly.

Over the smoldering land were pools

          that became the mighty sea.


Today the rains continue to mold

          the mountains on the land.

Great canyons it also erodes

into finite particles of sand.


Man once worshipped the sky

          for the fertility of the soil.

Raindrops and sunshine complied

with the ancient farmers’ toil.  


A duality exists, as in times of yore,

when the rain begins to drop.

Floods will follow such downpours

when a rainstorm fails to stop.


As I ponder the weather’s power

          its blessings are quite plain.

Dashing from a sudden shower,

          I rejoice in the falling rain.


Phobias  Return to List


Everyone has a phobia

          though they may not know its name.

From the bibliophobia to claustrophobia,

          not one fear the same.


Fear of heights, fear of cats

          fear of things that smell

fear of fire, water, and bats

          and fear of going to hell.


The list goes on and on:

          ten thousand fears or more.

You may have a new one,

          to raise the final score.


But if it’s embarrassing

          that secret, bizarre dread,

though your fear is quite distressing;

          keep it in your head.


No one needs to learn

          you’re fear of bees or clowns.

How can they discern

          if you’re looking at the ground?


If you want to tell someone

          be careful what they hear.

A stranger might make fun

          if it’s a silly, trifling fear.


Some things should be deferred

          in the silence of your mind.

If it can’t be conquered,

          there’s always help online.


And if that doesn’t do the trick

          you’re in good company with your peers.

Just remember, you’re not sick.

          Everyone one has fears.


Night Sounds  Return to List


Night sounds from unknown zones,

          I try to laugh them off.

Bumping noises and unearthly moans,

          are not so easy to scoff


In the quiet of my home

          is that the rustling of a mouse?

Why at night do rodents roam

          like phantoms in my house?


It makes me very upset

          and I’m always on guard.

I don’t have a pet

          yet there’s growling in my yard.


Why not in the day light?

          I can handle noises then.

It’s always in the night,

          when the haunting sounds begin.


And what’s in the shadows yonder

          lurking in the park? 

Who can blame me if I wonder

          at the phantoms in the dark?


It doesn’t seem to matter

          where I happen to be.

I often hear a clatter

          that interrupts my reverie.


Sometimes when I travel,

          the sounds are often worse

My nerves begin to unravel

          I feel like I am cursed.


Am I haunted by my past

          by those figments in my brain.

Will my nighttime fears last?

          Will I go slowly insane?


It drives me to despair

          the notions in my head.

Night sounds haunt me everywhere,

          feeling me with dread.


Voice of the Sea  Return to List


On the beach, I reached down

          to a conk shell near the pier.

There inside was a haunting sound,

          when I raised it up to my ear.


I once believed when I was a lad,

the conk shell echoed the ocean.

Recalling this belief I once had

          I pondered my once held notion.


Though not a fact as I once thought,

          I heard the voice of the sea.

In the shell the wind is caught,

to fuel this mystery.


Ancient mariners in distant places

          I envisioned as I listened.

Over the waves, my mind traced,

          more fantasies had now risen.


Farther up on history’s trail

          the voice underwent revision.

Slicing through ocean swells,

          a pirate’ s galley envisioned.


Farther out, white caps break,

          from that distant, bygone day. 

Over the swells, leaving a wake

          my vessel sailed away.


In my shell the voice resides,

          more visions as I please.

In the conk shell my memory rides,

          as I sail the seven seas.


Dream Master  Return to List


Memories, like shadow or bursts of light,

          bring phantoms to my dreams,

through fog, sunlight, or darkest night

           nothing is what it seems.


What are those dreamscapes

          that our wakeful world has wrought?  

In a maze of repetition

          are those recurrent, nightmarish plots.


If symbols have meaning

          they make no sense to me.

Like horror movie screenings

          is that dreadful imagery


Trapped, chased or falling

          with worsening, dark revisions.

From uncomfortable to appalling

          are the same recurrent visions.


Each time there’s a new plot,

          though a familiar scenes occurs,

sometimes as a puzzle wrought,

          a pattern often recurs. 


Nightmares or bad dreams; 

          whatever label you choose.

Those repetitive, ugly themes,

disrupt my nightly snooze.


Prayers and mental exercise,

          nothing worked for me.

 It couldn’t be exorcized,

          that awful imagery.


Then one night it happened

          I awakened in a place: 

 a memorable situation

          and familiar, recurrent face.


It was like a mental gate.

          My memory was pricked.

In a translucent state

          my mind could not be tricked


Awakening in a flash

          inside a lucid dream.

In that moment I dashed

          one repetitive theme.


Now I know the game

          My memory is a tool

If the dreamscape is the same

          my mind cannot fooled.


In a translucent state of mind

          my nightmares are dispelled.

Though a different place and kind,

          my monsters can be killed.


Lucid Dream  Return to List


In those experiences I awaken,

from slumber much more deep.

In the dreamscape undertaken 

I know I am asleep.


For awhile, with lucid thoughts,

I explore this sensation.

The key to dreamscape plots

          is simple levitation.


With my heel, I kick off

          weightlessly from the floor.

Out the window, then rising aloft

          or floating through the door.


I can do most anything,

          using flight as my tool. 

I might dance, cavort, or have a fling.

          if I follow dreamscape rules.


Flying takes me to sensory heights.

          if I have a dreamscape plan

Remaining calm, not overexcited

          with my mind in total command.


Above all, I think clearly.

          This is not a reckless ride,

never looking into a mirror

          or exploring my darker side


The reason for these rules is not

          based on moral schemes

If I don’t follow a clear plot,

          I’ll awaken from my dream.


To improve on my dreamscape

          and the techniques of my flight,

when I find myself awake,

          all the details do I write.


Upon the next lucid dream,

          I might let my mind take flight

or, from a previous theme,

          conjure up a sight.


In a bedside log enclosed

          are details of each plot.

Emerging later as I doze,

          are images previously wrought.


Suffer Little Children  Return to List


Looking back through history

          I think I went astray.

I took myself too seriously,

          and forgot how children play.


Though we can’t act like simpletons,     

          we must hold on to our youth.

I learned this from my grandsons.

Through their eyes, I saw the truth.


The rules for playing a children’s game

          are not the logical kind.

Sometimes it may look quite lame,

          and requires a patient mind.


Suspend criticism or rational grounds,   

          as in silly nursery rhymes.

Learn to make strange sounds

and act foolishly at times.


When little children jabber

          don’t try to comprehend.

If you can’t decipher blabber,

          fake it and just pretend.


Stop, look, and listen,

          and let them have their way.

It doesn’t have to make sense,

          as they chatter and they play.


Kingdom of the Cats  Return to List


In the shadows, in secret play,

            the feral feline roams.

 Drawn by serendipity,

             he lives without a home.


Castaway and vagabond,

          true child of the night.

In his secret twilight kingdom

          he shuns dawn’s lonely light.


In the alleys and the field,

          among the silent grass,

all minor mammals quickly yield

          or become a cat’s repast.


Wary until daylight wanes,

          in darkened habitats.

At night the feral feline reigns

          in the Kingdom of the Cats.


Cat On The Lap  Return to List


Whenever you’re stressed

          or just plain upset,

what works the best

          is a cat as your pet.


Now dogs are all right.

          They’re very entertaining.

But they bark too often at night,

          and are no comfort when its raining.


Now cats stay calm

          seldom ever wetting.

They become a mental balm,

          especially during a petting.


They don’t eat dreadful food

or slobber on your face.

They’re rarely ever rude,

          always knowing their place.


They say dogs are man’s best friend.

          They’re faithful and they’re true.

Our affections they might win,

          but cats are special too.


A Mystery,  Written in Stone  Return to List


There, written in stone.

what do I see?

Is it fossilized bone?

I’ve found a mystery!


Piece by piece

my curiosity is led.

What lies beneath

when the matrix is shed?  


Too hard a prick  

scrape or jab

and a delicate relic

is damaged in its slab.


Why bother with this feat

          with brittle shale around?

How long will it take to complete

          the puzzle I have found.


Often a prize

lies in plain sight—

an ammonite of great size

or perhaps a trilobite.


Sometimes fossils lie

          scattered on the ground—

dazzling the eye,

much more easily found.


Clams, crinoid stems,

          and gastropods galore,

I’m happy to collect them,

          even buy them in a store.


But greater than collecting

          and the trophies on my shelf

are the efforts at prospecting

          and the discovery itself.


On that lucky day,

          I found that special rock,

with bated breath, so carefully,

          it’s mysteries I unlocked.


There are rules in

          fossil preparation

and proper tools to use

          for layer separation.


To much pressure,

          will fracture my fossil.

It’s better to work along a fissure

          than pound, jar or jostle.


Tiny fragments I scrape

          and brush away;

until a shadowy form takes shape,

          clarifed each day.


Long hours to unveil,

          an outline is shown

Written in the shale,

           yet undeciphered in the stone.


There, with vaguest feature

          the fossil I discovered,

staring back an unnamed creature,

          still a mystery uncovered.


Fish, foul or reptile bone,

it’s been a serious game.

Though detailed in the stone,

           it lacks a proper name.


So what shall I call this?

          It has an unfamiliar look

Have I found a new species?

          I can’t find it in book.


For awhile in my study

          my discovery stands alone

My fossil remains a mystery,

          written in the stone.


The Christmas Crown   Return to List 


Atop the tree the Christmas crown sits,

above the merry alms.

Lightly does each ornament  fits,

but precarious is the crown.


Over one but tiny tip

the slender filament we leave.

Like the flag above a ship,

it’s the best thing we  perceive.


Spirit of Giving, Crown of Christ,

Each of purpose fits.

Near the ceiling, twinkling bright,

the Crown of Christmas sits.


Urban Legends and Crack Pot Theories TOC ­


Ghostly Anomalies  Return to List


Do you believe in spirits

           who whisper in the night?

Or willow-o’-the-wisp ghosts

          in broad daylight?


Often what we hear

          is inside our heads.

Not everything we fear

          are spirits of the dead.


But how do you explain

          a ghostly anomaly?

Unless you are insane,

          it’s what you actually see.


Floating in the woodland,

          as a disembodied vision

or as a long dead human,

now a ghostly apparition.


Are these real or imagination?

          Let’s hope that we’re not sick.

If it’s not an hallucination,

          are our senses playing tricks?


There’s television programs 

          playing up this phenomena. 

Are these mere video scams

          and manipulated drama?


I haven’t actually seen one.

          So I shouldn’t cast aspersions.

After all, it’s all in fun,

          a reality show diversion.


But I have a suspicion

          that imagination’s at work.

It’s a mixture of superstition

          and ghostly anomaly quirks.


Is this a sad souls’ final end?

          Why not seek out the light?

Many of them are innocent children,

          who are spirits of the night.


Of all the theological questions

          the one that’s asked the most:

“Why are they be deprived of heaven

to roam the earth as ghosts?”


Big Foot Sightings  Return to List


Despite scientific investigation

          urban legends thrive.

Now programming exploitation

have kept the myths alive.


Big Foot (or Sasquatch)

has almost international fame. 

Day and night on the watch,

          it’s become a serious game.


Practical jokers dressed as gorillas

          are seen as forest brutes.

Caught on camera these silly fellows

          giggle inside their suits.        


Why is it that when pictures are snapped

          he suddenly appears on the scene? 

After all these decades not one beast trapped

          and yet countless sighting are seen.


There must a Big Foot brotherhood

All their costumes look the same.

Romping merrily through the woods,

          they play the Sasquatch game.


Extraterrestrials: Fact or Fiction  Return to List


I’m not convinced about UFO sightings

          and conflicted about their selection.

 Is it the camera angle or lighting

causing blurred or questionable detection?


Could it be a Frisbee

          or a model posed for flight?

Always they flash eerily

          when photographed at night.


Why is it that they never land?

          Where is the scientific proof?

No matter how many movies they make

          the aliens remain aloof.


Area 51 space craft, alien abduction,

          and the Roswell Incident too   

appear now to be fanciful deduction

          Are the sightings also untrue?


Who knows?  After so much collection, 

          a consensus will have grown,  

that, after so much detection,

          we are really not alone!


The Circle Makers  Return to List


Are crop circles alien creations       

          or just practical jokes?  

Because of the current UFO sensation

          are we vulnerable to this hoax?


Why would our alien guests

          practice such a sport?

On such clandestine business

          would our visitors cavort?


Yet public credulity is fueled

           with each circle found.

Hundreds of designs were used

          both complex and profound.


Spectators see a landing site,

          or an puzzling twilight zone.  

Because the circles were made at night

          the artists are unknown.


After a Google investigation

          about the mysteries in the fields

I typed in a question

          and look what was revealed.


Crop Circles are pranks

          not alien designs.  

They’re created by cranks,

          using boards, planks, and lines.


The pranksters are professionals 

          not half-baked UFO fans.

Their artwork is so sensational,

          it spread to other lands.


The secrets to their skills

          their own websites impart.

Countless blogs are filled

          with instructions for their art.


Ancient Alien Theorists  Return to List


Pseudo-scientists created a theory

           made for UFO buffs. 

The evidence shown in history

for them is not enough.


With their primitive tools and technology

Egypt civilization sprang.

Yet ignoring the science of Egyptology 

is that pseudo-scientific gang.  


According to their crackpot convention,

          it came from outer space.

The pyramids were an alien invention

          hatched by an alien race.


After pointing to hieroglyphs

          of objects that seem queer, 

they also interpreted Egyptian myth

          to prove that aliens were here. 


A next step was presumed: 

          those aliens had a plan.

With superior intellect, they assumed,

they taught more primitive man.


The great building of antiquity

          were extraterrestrial gains.

It wasn’t human ingenuity

          They were hatched in alien brains. 


Despite evidence and research

          that undermines their fame,

alien theorists continue to search

          for proof of crackpot claims.


Unexplained symbols and writing

          are fodder for their inquiries  

and all those UFO’s sightings

          reinforce their crackpot theories.


Why is it hard to believe

          that those monuments are ours,

instead of those stories they weave

          about aliens from the stars?


The Big Bang Theory  Return to List


Scientists expounded

a mind boggling notion.

The entire universe was founded

          in one cosmic explosion


All matter and energy

condensed in one small spot.

A mysterious mix of synergy

          and the universe was begot!


Weigh this speculation

against the magnitude of space:

the sum of all creation

in one subatomic place!


As though all sense and logic

          give way to calculation.

Newton’s laws and quantum physics

          set aside for one equation.


Theories can be made

          to fit any notion,

scientific principles laid

          to explain cosmic motion.


But that the universe expanded,

          from such a finite position,

sounds empirically high handed

          against scientific tradition.


The Global Warming Myth  Return to List


Alarmists pandered a theory

          about global warming trends.

They claim the outlook’s dreary,

          with an apocalyptic end.


According to these forecasters

          we’ve done it to ourselves,

based on random natural disasters 

          and the data on their shelves.


It doesn’t matter that fact

          refutes the theory’s claim.

It’s politically correct

          to play the doomsday game.


According to this simple notion

          from the academic sect,

mankind caused the pollution

          causing the greenhouse effect.


When the ice caps melt away,

          the seas will surely rise.

We can prevent that the awful day

          with fossil fuel’s demise.


After expounding this claptrap,

          their theory’s being shaken.

The public’s wising up,        

as the men of science awaken.


The myths of global warming

          are under scientific attack.

What had seemed so alarming

          is unraveled by the facts.


Global temperature is elevated;

          pollution caused the rise.

This nonsense has been fabricated,

          Such forecasts are but lies.


They claim there have been changes,

          but this is not the case.

The global weather ranges,

          but at a normal pace.


So what’s behind it all?

          Why do they persist? 

Even when the temperatures falls

          those people can’t resist.


Scrabbling for more evidence,

          their arguments make us weary.

Hard facts won’t convince them 

          to give up their crackpot theory.


Another Crackpot Theory  Return to List


Who Killed John F. Kennedy?

          Did Oswald act alone?

In books as well as movies,  

          conspiracies are sown. 


According to one plot,

          I write down with a snigger,  

the mafia had him shot,

          though Oswald pulled the trigger.


A more likely group were drawn

          into a secret CIA faction.

Oswald became a pawn

          in organized covert action.


A more sinister design;

more imaginative I think:

Controlling Oswald’s mind

          was an evil KGB link.


That LBJ was involved

          was perhaps the most unfounded. 

 Yet this crackpot theory evolved

          and was seriously propounded.


“The evidence was flawed,” they claim.

          “Government agents have won.”

“Oswald might take the blame,

          but he just fired the gun.”


As long as conspiracist weave,

          their theories will live on.

Most Americans don’t believe

Oswald acted alone.


The Da Vinci Code  Return to List


A religiously construed mystery

          requires a closer look

Fiction became history

          in the pages of that book.


The premise of the fable

          was inspired by a quirk

a figure at a table

          in Da Vinci’s masterwork


Beside the solemn Lord

          sits an effeminate youth.

In the eyes of the author

          lies a hidden truth.


If you look at the canvass

          what do you see?

It was an easy task

          to create this mystery.


It’s Mary Magdalene, of course; 

only visually this is founded.

Yet using an obscure source,

           a theory is propounded


According to a Gnostic fable,

          Jesus had a life.

The woman at the table

          would later be his wife.


To make matters worse

          they allegedly had a son.

Based upon a Gnostic verse

          the Trinity was Undone.


Further details of this tale

          are too absurd to note.

There’s no use to rant and rail

          and literally emote.


If Leonardo were still alive

          he would faint dead away.

That from his masterpiece was derived

          a religious travesty.


Poetic Commentary TOC ­


How They Forget  Return to List


Reminiscing about the past

          is a habit of the old.

Good times would always last

          if the economy would hold.


Though they are partially right,

          those weren’t the best of times.

National tension was rife

          in such unequal social climes.


The older generation is concerned

          about those eternal, age old truths.

and the lessons of history learned

          now forgotten by the youth.


For the young, the times are great

          if the money’s rolling in.

Less concerned with their fate

          short-range goals usually win.


For the never-changing poor

          the issues are quite plain

The one most often voted for

          will offer the most gain.


For the conservative and the older

          the Nanny State is wrong.

For the them our officer holders

          must be morally strong


More important than even morality

common to everyone

Is economic integrity

          in taxes and income.


Where all classes converge,

          when the economy’s in tatters,

they less easily merge

          on liberal social matters.


Sound logic for the nation

will their social conscience rob?

To vote as mere partisans,

          instead of the best one for the job


To keep the economy sound

          yet hold to age-old truths

 now gradually loses ground

          against the capriciousness of youth.


Rioting In The Street  Return to List


Hark!  What do I hear?

          Shouts, crashes, running feet.

Alas, I greatly fear

          tis rioting in the street!


Throughout the city, buildings ablaze; 

the mob is raising hell.

Mindless rampage is the craze.

          They loot, burn, even kill.


What is the cause?  Who really knows,

when the pickings are so good?

Smashing windows, anything goes,

          while wrecking the neighborhood.


Excuses are made.  Others are blamed.

          The government it put to the test.

Vandalism and a looters’ games

          have shaky reasons at best.


In the end when the smoke clears

the reasons are often lost.

Despite such reasons, public fears

          are galvanized because of the cost.


Gutted stores, vandalized walls,

          ruined sectors of towns.  

Answering to a ringleader’s call

          buildings are burnt to the ground.


What is it in untamed souls

          whose hearts are filled with fire?

As if they have a special role

          to spread their activist ire.  


The limit of dissenters’ obstruction

          is often deliberately blurred.

until it causes great destruction

          and collateral damage occurs.


At that point, the public awakens,

          rubbing its collective eyes.

Their confidence might be shaken,

           but it came as no surprise.


For the flashpoint loses its heat

          at such a terrible cost.  

Against a cause, actions defeat

          when the greater good is lost.


Hollywood Movies  Return to List


On the list of recent releases

          it was difficult to find

a motion picture that wasn’t sleazy,

          vulgar, or just plain slime.


Zombies, perverts, and fiends

          --creepy, unwholesome flicks

Movies sacrilegious and obscene

          and violence making me sick.


Why are PG movies rare

          compared to R rated plots?

Hollywood doesn’t seem to care

           that it generates so much rot.


The reputation of motion pictures

          has degenerated into slime. 

It seems there are no strictures

          on horror, sex, and crime.


Reality Shows  Return to List


Reality shows are not my favorite,

          though I see their ratings climb.

The worst behavior they often exhibit:

          bizarre, disgusting, and plain old slime.


Among the stars of their line-up

          are rednecks, deviants, and fools

They focus on aberrant behavior,

          following few ethical rules.


Nothing is sacred to them:

anything for a laugh or gasp.

At the producers whim,

          few subjects are beyond their grasp.


Lowlife humans, strange addictions

          abnormal people, and domestic slop,

unfortunates with bizarre afflictions

          anything that’s over the top.


Exploitation another outrage

          has become a popular theme

Little girls paraded on stage   

          to fulfill a mother’s dream.


Family series make me cringe.

          They display dysfunctional lives:

Eccentric hermits on the fringe,

White trash, and ‘Real Housewives.’


I must admit these scandalous shows

          have gained a measure of fame.

A potpourri of anything goes

          has won the ratings game.


Reality shows will get worse.  

This we cannot doubt

They’re looking for more sources

and ways to gross us out.


Drunken Comportment  Return to List


Among the crowd, I paused to wonder,

          ‘who are these shallow folk?’

Their values are tossed asunder,

          propriety a vulgar joke.


As a designated driver, I can’t drink;

          their safety’s left up to me.   

Liquor takes them to the brink,

          setting their conscience free.


Insults, innuendos, and foolish comments

          freely passes their lips.

Indiscreet trysts with stolen moments

          result from such social slips.


The braggart in the room, always the loudest 

          tells us a bawdy tale. 

It’s the wallflower who becomes the wildest,

          seducing the nearest male.    


With thickened tongues, most are silly

          with each drink sillier still.

Moving around willy-nilly

          glassy-eyed and often ill.


When it’s over, I must be firm.

          It’s a designated drive’s chore.

Stifling a stream of insulting terms,

          I usher them out the door.


In the following days, they’ll make excuses

          for actions that often appalled. 

On liquor, they’ll blame their abuses

or pretend not to remember at all.


But liquor’s excuse fades with abuse.

          It’s how much you finally drink.

A polite jigger, maybe two,

          just you can clearly think.


Drunken comportment’s is always a reason

          to play a different role,

on any event, occasion, or season,

          to lose one’s self-control.


Liquor Made Me Do It  Return to List


Liquor made him hit his wife

          that’s what he said

He never meant to take her life

          after stoving in her head.


The same argument was spent

          in a drunken clash

or in a mere accident

          ending in a crash.


“I was smashed,” says he, “not thinking right   

          when I beat up my best friend.”

“I ran through that stoplight

          because my head was in a spin.”


Liquor made them do it,

          a most basic reason culled.

Without their normal wits,

          their faculties were dulled.


Against this fabrication

           and feeble, timeworn excuse

is the attitude before intoxication

          when behavior is cut loose.


Were they angry or predisposed

          or filled with so much spunk?

 Whether careless or mean-spirited

          they chose to become a drunk.


News Years Resolutions  Return to List


Why is it that all year long

          we wait for absolution?

We bundle up all that’s wrong

          into New Year’s resolutions.


What should’ve been

          done day-by-day,

a trifling time to spend,

          all mistakes tucked away

and dashed off at the end.


Then on the list, we’re on a roll

our resolutions we finally cast,

self-improvement, now our goal

jotted down at last.


But looking ahead with all the distraction,

          many resolutions will be broken.

It’s hard to take seriously a last minute action

          when it’s nothing more than a token.      


Oracles of the Dead  Return to List


Mediums—are they schemers

or self-deluded frauds?

Are they mystical dreamers

          with a pipeline to God?


How do they arrive on the scene

and pick up a spiritual thread?

Has it been prearranged for them

when they communicate with the dead?


From the grave beyond

          spirits of the dead are invoked.

Messages so cleverly passed on 

          by psuedo-religious folk.


Priests or pastors it’s more probable

          might feel or mentally hear it.

And yet the most ordinary people

can summon up the spirits.    


Conveniently it appears

          sad, seeking souls abound.

They play upon their hopes and fears

          until a spiritual connection’s found.


So how they do it?

          It’s anyone’s guess,

to connect with a spirit

          and pass the Medium’s test.


The audience oohs and aahs,

          but some folks shake their heads.

The room is filled with hoopla

          when the medium invokes the dead.


Speculative Verse  Return to Table of Contents ­


The Alien Abduction Club  Return to List


It happened long ago, late at night

          --a tale I’ve seldom told.

I looked ahead and saw a light

          on a dark and lonely road.


Coming at me was an eerie glow,

          a floodlight in my face.

At that point I didn’t know

          it came from outer space.


Pulling onto the shoulder

          to avoid a head-on collision,

Momentarily bolder,

          I made a fateful decision.


It sat there on the road,

          beyond the blinding beam.

It should have made my blood run cold,

          but it all seemed like a dream.


Slowly, I took a chance,

          though filled with mounting dread.

Step-by-step did I advance.

           Like a somnambulist I was led.


The lights went out.  It was so weird. 

Though fearful, I was drawn.

In its side a hatch appeared.

          Toward the dark ship I was bound. 


I moved forward in a spell.

          in a shuffling zombie gait.

Unable to execute free well

          drawn trance-like to my fate.


I share with you this unearthly tail.

          but little about the trip.

From this point, my memory fails

          after entering the alien ship.


Peculiar markings on my body

          mad no sense to me.

What they did seemed awfully naughty,

          but remained a mystery.


Awakening suddenly in my car

          dazed and feeling strange.

It happened in one short hour,

          my life forever changed.


Except to my wife and friends,

          my story was generally rejected,

even the markings on my skin,

          --a hoax the media suspected.


There were no witnesses to corroborate.

          It’s my own unfounded deduction.

The same tale hundreds relate

about mysterious alien abduction.


In a group, I find comfort.

          called the Alien Abduction Club.

In our meetings I’m given support

          after receiving the media’s snub.


Along with my peers I was approached

          by the director of a show.

To spice it up, we were coached

          to add details of what we know.


There were others who recalled

          the ordeal that they suffered.

But for me that period was blank

          I was psychologically buffered.


Under hypnosis, I would relate

          my experience on that day.

All of us suffered similar fates

           when the aliens had their way.


I was like being raped a woman exclaimed.

          Her entire body was thoroughly tested.

The rest of us made similar claims;

          even our privates were molested.


But when I look back on that event

          I feel a twinge of mirth.

Why would aliens be sent

          to make sport of people of earth.


Violated yes, but raped no

          They’re simply inquisitive souls.

I got my chance on a TV show.

          My story was finally told.


There will always be skeptics and doubters of course,

          but I know what I went through.

You can call me a liar; I’ve been called worse.

          I know my story is true.


There’s suction marks on my back

          and pen pricks on my rear.

How do you explain my nightmares.

          It’s not mere primal fear.


A UFO enthusiast once claimed

          I’m among a chosen lot.

Instead of feeling lingering dread,

          consider it a blessing that I got.


I like his enthusiasm, but I’m not so sure.

it was a blessing that I earned.

I had one experience on an alien ship,

          and I hope they don’t return!


Night of the Comet  Return to List


Tracking a rogue comet

          my eye pressed to the scope.

I sensed that this was it.

          There seemed so little hope.


I paused to make a call,

          praying it wasn’t too late.

The comet would soon fall.

          It seemed to be Earth’s fate.


From the telescope I turned

          standing on the brink.

Would I be smashed, suffocated or burned.

          There was little time to think.


Imagining the worst that night

          I jumped into a closet

Overwhelmed with fright

          I waited for that comet.


Moments passed but it didn’t collide.

          I couldn’t believe my ears.

Perhaps it fell on the other side.

          The thought allayed my fears.


Stepping out, I held my breath

          then looked into my scope

The comet had left its fateful path.

I was filled with sudden hope.


I listened to the radio

          and the television news.

Earth escaped the fateful blow,

          yet they didn’t have a clue.


I reported what my eyes had tracked.

          reviewing the video made.

After re-checking all the facts,

          my fears were finally laid.


To make sure—one last check,

          I finally stepped outside.

What was it that could deflect

          a comet of such size?


A starlit canopy was all I viewed

          The neighborhood was quiet.

In the darkness, questions brewed

          as looked up at the night.


What had caused its detoured path.

          Had prayers or sheer luck worked?

With video proof of advancing death,

          was it merely a cosmic quirk?


Alas, tomorrow, I’ll call my colleagues.

          Reports will finally come in.

I feel relief but mental fatigue,

          at the thought the world might end.


A mere mote—the planet Earth

          against the galaxy.

One single comet hurled

          could destroy humanity.


The Astronaut’s Notes Return to List


Through the porthole, like God’s eye

          I view the crowded Earth.

Here above the nighttime sky

          I measure its vast girth.


From pole to pole and sea to sea.

          I’m witness to its size,

Against the cosmos that I see

          it’s a mote in God’s eyes.


Here among this lonely space,

          I know this thought is wrong.

An emissary of the human race,

          I still know where I belong.


Small it is among the cosmos

          yet our destiny seems unique.

So far what science knows

          is infinitesimally bleak


So often, as I roam

           Against the cosmos I compare

I ask myself “Are we alone

           Did Creation end there?”


It might be true, as I suspect

that our world was one of a kind.

Here, in contemplative circumspect,

God created humankind. 


Lonely Planet  Return to List


It’s midnight by Earth reckoning.

          on our outpost here on Mars.

By the light it seemed early evening.

          but it could just as easily be dawn.


Everything is red here:

the sky, the clouds, and ground.

Against a dull, amber glare,

          a tiny sun looks down.


Inside our space station,

          we pretend that we’re back home.

But it’s hardly a vacation

          inside our makeshift dome


A day of gathering specimens

          is followed by some tests.

After dinner it’s a regimen

          of recreation and rest. 


So far its mere routine.

          Iron oxide is rife. 

It’s a scientist’s dream

          to find evidence of life.


That face seen from space

          is simply weathered rock.

Stories of a Martian race

          is science fiction crock. 


I love my work; it’s all I know.

          But I’m tired of what’s outside.

Back home while my children grow

          the world is passing me by.


Friends, family, and my normal lifestyle

          like jogging or baseball games

will have to wait for awhile.

Until then things stay the same.


More samples and excavation;

          each valley and mountain we probe.

Further and further goes our exploration

          on this dead and dusty globe.


As for me, I’m tired of it

          --living in this dome.

I’ve served my time on his planet

          and yearn for my trip home. 


All the samples of our toil

are scientifically filed.

I have had enough of Martian soil.

          Let the second team compile.


Until arrival of that team

          on Mars our mission’s berthed. 

For now its but a distant dream:

          my blue green planet Earth.


Area Fifty-One  Return to List            


One day a crew of geologists,

          to avoid traveling in the night,

took time to eat and rest

          in a makeshift campground site.


In the distance, came a signal,

          as one sentry watched the camp.

At first it was intangible,

          like a far off twinkling lamp.


Remembering an old tale,

          he studied the distant light.

As a geologist, he should be skeptical

          of what had come to light.


Judging by it’s location,

          and the research he once had done,

it might be a secret scientific installation

          called Area Fifty-One.


Before he turned to geology,

          he yearned to be the one

to somehow solve the mystery

          of Area Fifty-One.


After a fitful night,

          he awakened with a plan.

He couldn’t prove he was right;

          they wouldn’t understand.


He must convince his geo team

          to pick a different site.

In the direction of that eerie beam

          blinking in the night.


With careful calibration

          and the research he had done,

he must find the location

          of Area Fifty-One.


At first they were averse

          to travel to that spot.

It was across the salt flat desert.

          It was desolate, and it was hot.


After struggling for their alliance

          against the groups’ aversion.

he browbeat them into compliance

           for making this excursion.


Toward the distant, barren hills,

below the heated sky,

with air-conditioning working well

          their spirits remained high.


But then the moment came

          when the group was filled with doubt.

As they wondered about his end game

          the radiator gave out.


Though they passed the salt flat

          and were near his chosen spot.

They were fearful where they were at.

          It was desolate, and it was hot.


With deepest melancholy

          his spirits finally fell.

For the sake of his grand folly

          he had marooned his team in hell.


For moments they spat and cursed him.

          Their trip was a lost cause.

Fortunately, they couldn’t see his whim

          for what it really was.


With little water and food

          and their cell phones out of range,

they seemed stranded for good,

          without possibility of change.


Then, after sundown,

          when they sank into despair,

a familiar thrumming sound

          filled the desert air.


A Government helicopter arrived;

armed airman now jumped out.

The geological team would survive,

          but their future was in doubt.


Trespassing on government property

          was the reason they were detained,

and it was thought they might be spies,

          so in the stockade they remained.


Sitting down in gloom

amongst his onetime friends,

he had all that afternoon

          to meditate on his sins.


All for one reckless action

          he got them apprehended

They were held for prosecution,

          and their careers had probably ended.


Hours passed in detention,

          as they sat in the stockade.

 On the target of contention,

          their grievances were laid.


As prisoners of the government,

          there was no way for evasion.

When the cell was finally opened

          it was time for interrogation.


When it was his turn,

          he couldn’t understand.

Why all this concern?

          for mere trespass on their land?


During the line of questions,

          he explained his occupation.

After detailing their original mission.

          there was a brief cessation. 


The interrogator returned

          an officer behind.

A new line of questions followed

          about a recent find.


An object was laid out

          from a current UFO case. 

There seemed no possible doubt

          that it came from outer space


Recent budgetary costs

and government malaise

had left them without scientists,

          so they needed his expertise.


It was like a melted piece of junk

          like many examples seen.

Heavy for such a small hunk,

          it had a strange, metallic sheen.


A reprieve now suddenly appeared.

          His services were requested.

His colleagues were likewise cleared,

          much space junk to be tested.


Apparently absolved from wrong;

          their freedom he had won.

As he suspected all along,

          this was Area Fifty One.


Life in Outer Space  Return to List


After decades of investigation,

          they have yet to make a case.

or answer the burning question

          ‘Is there life in outer space?”


Earth-like planets surround

          distant red-dwarf stars.

Organic molecules were found

          in our closest planet Mars.   


Yet the question of intelligent life

          is mostly science fiction.

Space ships sightings are rife,

          but in classic saucer depiction.


It’s possible we’re alone in space,

          despite molecular detection.

Countless species and the human race,

          might be our one shot at Creation.


But it’s my unqualified opinion,

by mere logic due I base,

that in that vast dominion

           there’s life in outer space.


If Creation incorporated

          the universe we see,

other worlds are fated

          with natural history.


So, did God create the aliens

          in worlds we’ll one day find?

Will those extraterrestrial seen

          be a different cosmic design?


From the verification

          from a few organic rocks stones

is a tentative confirmation

          that we are not alone.


But those sightings, which are fun,

          are marred by contradiction. 

The legend of Area Fifty-One

          is mostly science fiction.

The Poem   Return to Table of Contents­   

Poetry is the most artistic form of writing. As it’s counterpart prose, however, it relies on life experiences, dream imagery or pure imagination. A novelist or short story writer, who relies on creative imagery, is often a competent poet.  A great poet, such as Emily Dickinson, is able to use his or her life experience but, as the painter or sculptor, color it with the mental brush of imagination and fashion it with the inspiration of dreams.

What is a poem
          but a rush of stark emotion?
Often does it roam
          in realms of pure devotion,

Whether strictest quatrain lines
          or freely flowing bursts,
lyrical or philosophical kind
          or the simplest haiku verse.

And what is a rhyme
          but a play of clever thought?
Without a proper theme,
          what value has it taught?

Deep does it often seem,
          so uplifting is its role.
What does poetry mean
          if not to touch our soul?

Yet what is a poem,
          if not a bit of whimsy?
Though sometimes filling tomes,
          its substance is often flimsy.

Cryptic can it be,
          too subtle for the dull.
Happy, sad, rhymed or free,
          our heartstrings will it pull.

Mirth, a subtle trick
          is welcomed we may find.
Or a crude limerick
          brings laughter to our mind.

Ballads of great deeds,
          couplets and haiku,
poems of glory or misdeed
          rhymed and free verse too.

So wondrous a menagerie
          our secret pleasure abides,
flowing rhymed or running free
          as steadfast spirit guides.

Heavy, common, light
          straightforward or obscure
to sing, whisper or recite
          our burdens will it cure.

Oh, what should poetry say?
          Should it inspire or should it preach?
Should the lines like music play
          or sink deeply as to teach?

In lyrics we often hear it—
          messages to the heart
But is it the purpose of the poet
          to romanticize his art?

What is it in a poem that delves
          into uncharted, untried zones,
makes us rise above ourselves,
          though sad, ailing or alone?

What is in its reading
          that makes us yearn for more,
improves our intellectual breeding.
          as a painting or a score.

Poetry, a language of the muses,
          speaks a celestial tongue,
in our heart and mind enthuses,
          in rhyme, free verse, and song.


---- Gerald Lee Gibson  


Rhymer Primer  Return to Table of Contents­


 What is Poetry?


          In its simplest definition, poetry can be seen as the expression of raw emotion, ideas, concepts, or storylines, written in a structured or unstructured form, which flows artistically or musically because of the words used.   The most basic division of poetry is between structured poems (which includes both rhyme and blank verse) and free verse, which is a free flowing and unstructured form of poetry.  Most types of poetry are defined by the syllables used, the number of lines in each stanza, and the structure of the rhyme.  There are too many types of poetic expression for me to attempt to pay respect to them all.  In fact, the forms and types of poetry appear to grow year by year.  Because of its scope and diversity, it’s even difficult to define poetry.  It’s different things to different people.  Of all literary expressions it appears to be the most ancient, written by pre-literate peoples, utilizing an oral tradition, handed down generation to generation, until many poems were compiled in a later age.  The poetry of the ancient Veda of India and Odyssey of the Homeric Age were originally unwritten and recited orally.  This is true for many of the world’s aboriginals, whose poetry in rituals and ceremonies have been recorded by ethnologists in the field.  Poetry can therefore be defined both historically and anthropologically.  Moreover, in the current interpretation of literature, itself, certain forms of prose have been, rightly or wrongly, redefined as poetry.  There is also a list of invented poetry forms, many of which, I believe stretch the definition of poetry to the limit.  Regardless of the history, ethnology, and scope of poetic expression, all poems share one thing in common: they are, in the same way as painting, sculpture, prose, dance, and drama, artistic expressions.  Two of the main types of poems, ballad and lyrical, have been used by myself in this volume.  All of these, except one early poem I wrote in the Navy, would be classified as the quatrain form of rhyme.


Writing Poetry


          Let me begin this humble primer, by referring to the many excellent textbooks and practical guides on the Internet on how to write poetry.  For that matter, if you want a more in depth definition of this subject, refer to one of the many online guides.  By simply typing the subject in the search box in Google or another search engine you’ll bring up countless sources.  The purpose of this primer is to simplify the great mass of written material on poetry.  The method I’m showing you is, in fact, my own technique for writing verses, which I use when I’m working on a novel.  In many ways poetry is no different than writing prose.  It begins with a blank screen or, for a few of you, a sheet of paper and is inspired by an idea or stream of emotion.  You might have a sudden inspiration or a desire to impress a loved one or simply want to offer a tribute.  It might just be a whim to wile away the time.  From that point, however, you would be wise to follow a clear-cut plan or outline, as in an essay, short story, novel, or any other written document.  Of course, if you prefer, you can do it the hard way and burn up a lot of time.  The success of a potential poem will depend on the rhyming words available.  This is sometimes problematical and is the main reason I developed this technique. 

           Not only, by trial and error, will the would-be poet try different combinations to make it rhyme, he will many times change the flow of the work to fit his scheme, which happens when you don’t scope it out first.  For a poet, like myself, who writes quatrains, the old process was especially burdensome.  This, of course, is the advantage of free verse, a form of poetry in which the writer is unrestrained by poetic conventions.  These types of poems, which I respect for their innovation and boldness, are the most ancient type of poetry.  For my own purposes, however, they are merely stages in my poetic outlines.  For those who are rhymers, like myself, your verses must convey a story or idea that is both coherent and artistic.  In an age in which the storyline of songs is so garbled it doesn’t seem to matter, this might be true for songwriters as well.  Your creation can’t ramble on as it does in free-flowing free verse or lack artistic merit as in many songs.  Unlike the ancient bards or the venerable Walt Whitman, rhymers write lyrical and narrative poems that require both structure and art. 

Begin with a concept, theme, or idea.  For example, you might be inspired by a sunset and the sudden collapse of night.  Don’t worry about a title.  That comes after the outline or “free verses.”   At this point, ask yourself these questions.  How do you want to approach your poem?  Do you want to describe the process of the setting sun or merely the mood?  Perhaps the sunset is merely a component of the poem.  When you have decided what your approach will be, you should consider what you want to say.  This is that point when more bursts of inspiration will fill your mind.  To do this you might jot down your feelings as you might do when writing a story or in a form of free verse, but I prefer a simple outline.  As you will note below, I have strayed from the setting sun as my theme into an emotional expression. What I wind up with in this case is, in fact, free verse, but that’s not my purpose.  After all, this is a rhymer primer.  I might not even use my entire outline.  What I really have here are poetic pieces, which can be scrambled around if necessary as I create my poem.

          At this point, I’m not sure what I shall call my poem.  The apparent subject “sunset,” which can be seen in a synonymous title “Collapse of Night,” comes first.  After this inspiration, the plot really begins.  Don’t worry about rhyming at this point.


1.       The collapse of night came suddenly for me. 

2.       Chasing a dying sun home, I was part of a gridlock of commuters.

3.       Because I was invisible I was safe, but I was a prisoner of the night.

4        Over a distant hill the sun winked out.

5.       In darkness, I drove in silence.  This suited my mood, which was also dark. 

6.       Blacker than night was my soul in torment.

7.       Unlike the sun setting, my spirit couldn’t hide.

8.       Cold starlight followed the collapse.

9.       Missing the final glimmer, I swore impotently at the night.

10.     Though fearful, I could see the end of this leg of the journey.

11      In my mind’s eye, I was home at last—safe and sound, but this was a lie.

12.     The long journey into night was over, but my trip had only just begun.


This essentially is what I want to say.  In fact, it might, with a little tweaking, be acceptable as free verse.  As you will see, when comparing the outline with the following poem, they are not precisely the same.  This is all right.  Number 8 and 9 will fit into my free verse, but they make less sense when I begin structuring my poem.  Just as in scoping out a story or essay, the writer doesn’t have to follow the poetic outline to the letter.  So what shall I call this flow of verse?  What is the dominant theme?  Is it the natural phenomenon of dawn or is it the purposeful action of flight?  After all, the poetic character (myself), though hating the necessity of darkness, feels safe in the night.  So what’s so important about the dawn?  Already I found a synonym for sunset (collapse of night).  What is a synonymous word for flight or escape…fugitive, escapee, runner, or runaway?   For poetry as for prose, synonyms are almost as important as rhyming words, but in this case, we need more than just one word; we need a poetic title that grabs the reader.  After sketching out the plot, it’s apparent that the journey into night implies escape.  With this in mind, therefore, I shall call my “free verse” Journey into Night. 

Now comes the hard part: making it rhyme.  For this feat I will choose quatrain structure.  No matter what type of rhyming scheme you select, however, the process is basically the same.  I recommend, as part of your tools, a good rhyming dictionary or Merriam Webster online (which offers rhyming words for all words).  If you’re using Microsoft Word, you can now split the screen.  That way, as you construct your poem, you can follow along using you outline as a guide.  Following your outline now, begin constructing your poem.  


Here is my finished product. 


          Journey Into Night


The collapse night came suddenly for me

          I became a prisoner of the night.

After chasing the dying sun, I’m free

          from the day’s incriminating light.


Moving along in a grid-locked stream

          with the phantoms of my past;

trapped in my dark dream

          I’m invisible at last.


In darkness I drive in silence,

          a part of the commuter tide. 

Blacker than night is my soul’s torment        

          in which my spirit cannot hide.


In my mind’s eye, I’m back home,

          no longer on the run.

Now a fugitive, I roam. 

          My journey’s just begun.


Helpful Suggestions


As you can see, almost the entire outline was incorporated into the poem.  At this point, I recommend the following suggestions, which helped me very much in my poetry.

Use your computer extensively.  With programs such as Microsoft Word, you can more easily edit, and eventually you will want to type it up.  For the life of me, I don’t understand why a serious writer would rely on paper and pencil or, for that matter, a primitive typewriter with such inexpensive laptops available.  This trait is dramatized in movies and teleplays, as somehow a purer form of writing, but its time consuming and inefficient.        

Make use of online sources.  Don’t be afraid to rely on rhyming dictionaries or the online Merriam Dictionary.  Also make use of online guides and bibliographies of books on writing poetry.  It’s not easy to find the perfect words nor is it productive to use the trial and error method of rhyming, which sometimes makes a potential poet want to give up.  Please believe me: sitting at your desk or under tree searching for good words is for losers.  You’re a poet now.  This is the twenty-first century.  Thanks to Google, you can find hundreds of examples of poems, rhyming sources, guides for poets, and examples of poetic forms and types.  Use these sources!

Never force a rhyming sequence.  Some words I have seen used in greeting cards and even online poetry blogs are amateurish and corny.  It’s better to approximate a rhyming word than use one that is inappropriate.  Of course, there are cases where it’s almost impossible to find a word to rhyme.  If this is the case, find a synonym that comes the closest or reconstruct the sentence.   You should, of course, get a word as close as possible in sound to the last word of the first line of each stanza if you are writing quatrains.  Just make sure it’s suitable.  In the four lines of a verse, the last line is the most important and should, if at all possible, be a solid rhyme, while lines one and three, which don’t stand out as much, are more flexible.  By using a poetic outline you can more easily match the right artistic flow with the rhyme.

Start with simple and basic themes.  Don’t waste your time trying to write an epic poem—at least not in the beginning.  At the right time, you might undertake this, but strive for simplicity.  Some of the best poems are straightforward and simple themes.  It seems quaint to sit under a tree with an empty pad on your lap, searching for great and awe-inspiring themes, but it can also be a waste of valuable time.  First must come inspiration, which can come at anytime, and doesn’t require an idyllic or perfect setting.  Poet Philip Levine wrote many of his poems as a factory worker, and Toulouse Lautrec painted his masterpieces in a crowded bar.  Trains, plains, boats, crowded subways, stadiums, and rooms filled with noisy people shouldn’t stifle your creative energy.  Many soldiers composed sonnets for their wives and girlfriends on the battlefront.  Inspiration doesn’t wait for absolute quiet or the perfect setting.  It might come at anytime and in any place.  That’s the wonder of artistic expression.

There’s no such thing as writer’s block.   If it inspires you, never give up on a theme.  If you sit and wait for inspiration, you might be waiting a very long time.  All you have to do, is open up you senses, and let the inspiration come to you.  Until then, watch television, read a book, or better yet take a walk.  I get some of my best inspiration on walks.  While walking or away from your desk, pull out your notepad and jot down the ideas you will type into your laptop.  It doesn’t matter where you’re at. 

Write what’s familiar to you.  The epic poem or great American novel are often unrealistic and many times unobtainable.  Those times I’ve seen movies or teleplays about writers sitting at their desks and waiting for an idea or those who claim to have writer’s block, I am reminded of the old adage, “Write what you know about or what you feel.”  Don’t search for great or abstract themes.  The world is filled with simple, though profound elements of humanity and nature waiting to be fashioned in the poet’s mind.  Just make sure they are familiar to you. 

Remember: begin with a concept, theme, or idea, and structure it into free verse or an outline.  If it doesn’t work for you, go onto another theme.  There are an unlimited number of poetic themes out there.  Trust me, they’ll come to you!    Return to Table of Contents­