Heroes of 9-11 (Twin Towers & Flight 93)
The Greatest Generation (WW II Veterans)
A Nobler Breed (Working Mothers)
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
“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.
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.
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.
Everyone has a phobia
though they may not know its name.
From the bibliophobia to claustrophobia,
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 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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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
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
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
is a poem
but a rush of stark emotion?
Often does it roam
in realms of pure devotion,
strictest quatrain lines
or freely flowing bursts,
lyrical or philosophical kind
or the simplest haiku verse.
what is a rhyme
but a play of clever thought?
Without a proper theme,
what value has it taught?
does it often seem,
so uplifting is its role.
What does poetry mean
if not to touch our soul?
what is a poem,
if not a bit of whimsy?
Though sometimes filling tomes,
its substance is often flimsy.
can it be,
too subtle for the dull.
Happy, sad, rhymed or free,
our heartstrings will it pull.
a subtle trick
is welcomed we may find.
Or a crude limerick
brings laughter to our mind.
of great deeds,
couplets and haiku,
poems of glory or misdeed
rhymed and free verse too.
wondrous a menagerie
our secret pleasure abides,
flowing rhymed or running free
as steadfast spirit guides.
straightforward or obscure
to sing, whisper or recite
our burdens will it cure.
what should poetry say?
Should it inspire or should it preach?
Should the lines like music play
or sink deeply as to teach?
lyrics we often hear it—
messages to the heart
But is it the purpose of the poet
to romanticize his art?
is it in a poem that delves
into uncharted, untried zones,
makes us rise above ourselves,
though sad, ailing or alone?
is in its reading
that makes us yearn for more,
improves our intellectual breeding.
as a painting or a score.
a language of the muses,
speaks a celestial tongue,
in our heart and mind enthuses,
in rhyme, free verse, and song.
---- Gerald Lee Gibson
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.
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.
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