Looking Back
Come take a journey with me
we’ll go in my time machine
I don’t know how old you will be
but I will be eighteen!

You wear your poodle skirt
there’s brylcreem in my hair
the collar’s turned up on my shirt
in the blink of an eye we’ll be there

Together we’ll cruise the main street
the radio turned up loud
the music will have a jive beat
and we’ll spot some old friends in the crowd

I know Jimmy Rodgers will be there
I’m pretty sure Elvis will too
he can be your teddy bear
and love you tender and true

Buddy Holly, Gale Storm, Sonny James
we’ll see Don and Phil and Pat Boone
there will be lots of other great names
but Frankie won’t come till High Noon

We’ll pack them all in the car
were going to see jailhouse rock
the drive-in is not very far
movies start at darkish o’clock

Close your eyes - set your mind free - remember
return to those days of pure gold
in our life we may be December
but our souls never have to grow old.

Remembrance Day 2011
Impressions of Remembrance Day Service 2011

Brilliant golden leaves still clinging
halo the trees in the November morning sun
and cast into shade the cadet sentries
at each side of the cenotaph
rifle butts to the ground
heads bowed
in reverence and remembrance.

Clouds roll in bringing brisk winds
the flags snap and stand out stiffly
the wind noise
picked up by the sound system
rumbles behind it all
creating ghostly echoes of the sounds
of war

The crowd stands silent,
Civilians, veterans, cadets
berets, medals and poppies everywhere
the troops march in to the open square
an eloquent and moving tribute
to the quick and to the dead

The Last Post once again issues
from the bell of the bugle
and dissipates into the heavens
tears fall, hats and caps are
held over hearts, and memories
flood those who have served
and gratitude those who have not.

Orders are given and rifles fire
Their sounds driving lumps into our throats
While the wind, now icy
and with hints of snow
creeps into hands and feet and souls
and whispers “this is how it was for Them”.

Chaplains pray for the souls of those lost
Politicians speeches are carefully worded
subtle pleas for votes
A torrent of leaves is stripped from the trees
And hurtled violently toward the ground
in my mind, they become
the countless and faceless dead
Blown away by the evil
of mainly forgotten wars
Familiar words “They shall not grow old …”
are recited
A familiar hymn is sung “Abide with me
fast falls the eventide…”
Some of us know the words!

Beth was going to a an Umbrella theme tea - What follows here is the silly little piece I wrote for her to read
I had a lovely brolly long ago
It was a very pretty little thing
The top was red with flowers white as snow
Just perfect for those showers in the spring

I took it with me when I went out walking
It made me feel quite jaunty and in style
I hung it on my arm if I was talking
To a friend I hadn’t seen in quite a while

I carried it through many days of bright sun
I always hoped that it might start to rain
Sometimes I wore my wellies just to have fun
But every day the sun came out again

Then one dark day there was a giant rain cloud
I grabbed my brolly, thought this is the day
When people see my brolly I will feel proud
And everyone will look at me and say

“That is the cutest brolly I have ever seen
How smart you are to have it here today
My own old brolly’s just a simple drab green
I didn’t bring it – it gets in the way”

Then suddenly with force down came the rain
And with it came a very gusty breeze
I ducked into a doorway in the lane
I pushed the button – up it sprang with ease.

But then – oh no – the top just kept on going
It’s inside out, and broken in my hand
And then instead of rain it started snowing
and my nice brolly’s in the rubbish can!

His Father’s Image
I met a man I had not seen in many years. I was surprised by how old and worn he looked and how closely he resembled his father. I imagined his thoughts. Then I realized (with horror) that this might very well be autobiographical!

His Father’s Image
Liar, he screamed!
This man, this creature,
this caricature you show me
Is not, cannot be my father
He was never so old
The lines in his face
never so deeply chiseled
His eyes never so dull
His hair never so snowy and sparse
It is a trick
cheap theatrics
nothing more than
a little spirit gum
and wax
take them off and it will be him again
firm and strong
clear eyed and steady
take it off I say
I am weary of your lies
Show me the truth, liar

silence was the rebuke
The mirror gave

2009 Choir Party
Our church choir, of which my wife is a long time member, are a wonderful group of people, but no longer teenagers. This little piece was written to give a rather tongue in cheek look at their summer party at our home in 2009.
It gives the term "wild and rowdy" a whole new meaning.

2009 Choir Party
The choir was in a party mood
They’d been singing hard all year
And so they came with lots of food
Summertime was here

Reverent Bob and Jan (his wife)
Were deeply sad to say
That though they loved the party life
They’d be on holiday

Don and Grace apologized
They had a graduation
And so while others fraternized
Theirs was a no win situation

Some others too could not partake
But most were promptly there
There even was a birthday cake
For Joan, but all could share

They ate and drank and talked till eight
Sang many a good old song
Then someone said it’s getting late
We’d better get along

Hold on, one said, I see a pool
And it looks really neat
I really think I’d be a fool
If I did not dunk my feet

So out they went and took a seat
Along the water’s edge
They took the shoes from off their feet
And sat them on the ledge

Well there they sat, eight maidens fair
In water to their knees
But only two men joined them there
Although the gals said please

Then like folies bergere (from France)
One leg went in the air
It was a sort of water dance
This is all true – I swear!

Oh what a wild and rowdy night
They stayed till almost ten
(it’s summer and it was still light)
when they went home again.

Perhaps when Christmas time is near
They’ll want another go
And I would think them all quite dear
If they helped me shovel snow!
Love Poem - My Life
Our 50th wedding anniversary is in June 2010.
50 years of life's struggles and joys.
50 years of change.
Some things however do not change!
Written for the love of my life (Beth) in June 1960
My life is simply this
The smile in your eyes
The touch of your hand
The warmth of your kiss
The joys we share
The things we do
Your happiness
My love for you

(why February)
Should we move Valentine’s day?
Why does St. Valentine’s day have to fall in February?
I mean, someone had to choose to put it there.
didn’t they?
It’s not like it is his birthday or deathday
or even his wedding anniversary.
(besides, I think he was a monk,
and could even have been celibate)
Why February?
It could be in the summer!
We could lay by the pool,
naked flesh slathered with ointments
to keep from being fricaseed
and to drive off ravenous bugs
desiring to feast on our blood.
But no – it has to be in February.
A month when the grey naked trees
seem to be tiptoeing,
skirts lifted, across the horizon,
trying to keep their feet
out of the mud
and traces of grimy snow,
left in little ridges
where they were dumped by the plows.
Not a pretty sight.
It could be in the summer!
But then,
February needs Valentine’s day.
Perhaps putting it in February
was actually a stroke of genius,
causing the yukkies to disappear
under the warm glow of love remembered,
present, or hoped for.
Love is stronger than mud!

Phillip 1967 -1975
I can think of nothing that hurts like the death of your child. This piece was written while still on the raw and bleeding edge of despair, and while the references in the piece may not be understood, I hope the acute agony of my soul is obvious.
I had a tremendous fear that I would stop hurting at some time. Thank God, I never have!
And I know that the same is true for Beth, Stephen, Kevin, and Alison.
The poem was published in a book called Reflections By Moonlight.
March 28, 2010 marks the 35th anniversary of our loss

Untidy stacks of hockey cards
by grubby hands and
the insides of jeans pockets
wait for the return of hands
that lift them
and the voice that says
“Daddy, want to see my cards
I’ve got four of Corneyer”

The robot, patiently, on his track
and neato shoes
with a compass in the heel
now feeling only emptiness
Treasures once, now remnants
all wait
but not alone
my heart
also shelved
for grubby hands to bless it
without hope

Like Footprints in the snow
Seeing a set of footprints in a light dusting of snow under a full moon early one morning prompted this poem.

Like Footprints in the snow
A lonely path and powdered snow
Brightened by a winter moon
Footprints falling in a row
Sunrise coming very soon

Someone walked this lane alone
And left their mark of passage there
Etched in ice upon the stone
Crystals glitter everywhere

“I was here, just look and see
I made a difference, you should know
See the tracks I left behind me
Showing others how to go”

How short a time until the daylight
then how briefly do they stay
traces still are there at twilight
Tomorrow they’ll be gone away

We live and work to leave some sign
A little light, a candle’s glow
But in the end, your life and mine
are like those footprints in the snow

A toast to those who’ve gone before us
Hold close those we love today
And sing another rousing chorus
Before our footprints fade away
Missing Notes
There are lots of jokes made about seniors who read the obituaries in the newspaper first. It becomes not quite so funny when you lose close friends and realize that you will inevitably lose more.
Too late we discover just how important is the role that friends play in our lives, and that when we lose one they leave an empty aching void.
This poem tries to express the grief these losses bring.

Missing Notes
Friends are the notes my life song plays
But the keyboard’s no longer complete
Still the music goes on
with an uneven beat
and the melody colours my days

Too busy to listen, we don’t have a clue
That the music is made up of parts
When some come up missing
It yanks at our hearts
and the tune becomes shocking and new

faint echos of lost notes are all that I hold
and I know now that each one was dear
and I yearn for the past
draw the memories near
and let the sweet music unfold

now I listen for each note and chord as they sound
I savor the tune as a whole
notes present and missing
are part of my soul
the music of love is profound
I often find myself making judgements about people based on superficial things - how they look, how they act, what they say. I do this knowing that these kinds of indicators generally do not reveal the true person, and I make a conscious effort to keep an open mind.
The majority of human beings we encounter are simply trying to find a way to get some happiness from life.

We’re always making judgements
About the other guy
This one thinks he’s really smart
That one’s very sly
Another thinks she’s really hot
One has too much to say
But in the end we’re all just folks
Trying to find our way.

You think she’s superficial
And he is just a bum
That one with the fancy car
Came right out of the slum
And little miss propriety
May not be what she seems
But we will likely never know
The stuff that makes their dreams

We’ll never know the way they feel
When they’re alone at night
Or how they really see themselves
With no one else in sight
The fronts that people show to you
are seldom who they are
Its just the mask they show the world
To cover up their scars

I don’t know the way I’m seen
I can’t guess your thoughts on me
Do I appear as cold as ice
Or do I seem too free
Do you think I’m way too bold
Or am I seen as stone
I only know that down inside
We’re each of us alone

Some wear that mask to hide the hurt
Of failures large or small
To show to everyone around
That they don’t care at all
Some only crave a little warmth
Some love to make them strong
But how we see the face they wear
Is very often wrong

Each one of us, and all of us
The best of us, and worst
Those that are blessed among us
And those that are most cursed
All have one thing in common
As we struggle through each day
For in the end we’re all just folks
Trying to find our way.

In a song, Iris Dement says "I think I'll just let the mystery be". She refers to the mystery of life, why are we here and where are we going. This poem deals with the same subject.

softly steals the night across our lives
and robs us of the day
leaving in it’s place
a quiet darkening
before we are aware

shadows in our eyes and in our minds
we tiptoe through the gloom
needing to see
that which is unknown
and the why of it

hoping for a meaning to it all
a reason for our lives
beyond biology
can it all be chance
and we it’s product

knowing with a dawning clarity
that we have loved
that we are loved
and light will come
to see us through the dark
It is enough!
It seems that at some point in life, the child becomes the parent. I wrote this after hearing friends talking about their parents who were growing old, and it occured to me that it would likely be my fate (if I live long enough) to have my children thinking of me as "poor old dad" - HEAVEN FORBID!

I heard them whisper in the hall
one said out loud "he had a fall"
then glances, guilty, looking up
saw me, and sipped from empty cup.

My kids!
though 40 years now separates
them from the time of teenage dates
it seems as though they’re now the dad
and somehow I’m their little lad.

I once heard one of them relate
the story of the backyard gate
at midnight she had seen me lie
beside the gate, below the sky.
And when she spoke and took my hand
it seemed I didn’t understand
just who she was, or what to do
she really didn’t think I knew.

Gate at midnight, brilliant sky
contemplate these works on high
leave the world and fly in space
past and future in one place.
Surprising that it takes some time
to come back from that world sublime?
to claw back to the earthly place
to recognize a daughter’s face?

Its love I guess that makes them care
and worry that I’m "not all there"
they think that time has not been kind
and things are fuzzy in my mind.

Fuzzy in my mind? Not True!
crystal clear and sparkling new
insights, brilliant, clear, defined
leaving lesser things behind.

As for the fall, she’s right, I did
but had it happened to a kid
no one would even spare a thought
my years are making them distraught.
They judge my acts by their own gauge
but I’m now on a different stage
how can they see that all has changed
priorities have rearranged.
I’m looking now at better things
while they still reach for golden rings
they’re planning how to live, and I
I’ve lived, and now I wait to die.
Every body needs one of these people in their lives.This one has become --
My Nagger in Chief -- My Conscience --My Political Advisor -- My Dear Friend

In the 50’s in The County
all the women in my life
picked on me and pointed out my flaws
your hair’s too long you drive too fast
you’ll never get a wife
where there’s trouble you are generally the cause!
Don’t smoke cigars
don’t drink that booze
don’t get into a fight
cut your hair
slow your speed
stop staying up all night

I had enough and moved away
to where I was not known
away from all those nagging dames
so I could be alone
(That didn’t work out either – I got married!
but that’s another story)

Now having reached this mellow time of life
when I’m a model of diplomacy
you’d think I would be free of stress and strife
with no one ever taking shots at me
----But it ain’t so----
cause my mother, aunties, cousins
have been rolled up into one
she’s like my conscience, at me all the time
but like them, it’s cause she loves me
at least I hope that’s true
and Carole, you know that
I suppose it is a sign of age that I worry about how and what today's children are learning. I think their academic education is likely okay, but what about the other aspects of learning that traditionally came from their elders - both family and friends?

Where did the knowledge come from
It was passed on from father to son
Cause when those old geezers
Were talkin bout sin
There were kids just like me
Listnin in.

Conventional wisdom
The way we learned to be men
Conventional wisdom
Over and over again

some men just outside the feed store
to look you would think they were poor
with overhalls sagging
and dust on their boots
they told some tall tales
those old coots.

The boys were allowed to stand near
And the menfolk all knew we could hear
But you kept your mouth shut
About all that you heard
And you don’t tell your mom
Not a word.

They talked about women and war
And field crops and weather and more
We learned all about heiffers
And barns that burned down
And the best vet’nary
In the town

A Fargo was what one guy had
Some men drove a Chev like my dad
There were old Ford flat v8s
A few stake trucks with racks
And one rig was converted
Ran on tracks

It was there that we learned how to cuss
But a much bigger lesson for us
Was to keep our tongues civil
Where there’s women to hear
Lest you want a good box
On the ear

Looking back at that long ago day
How the men showed the youngsters the way
Today I just wonder
If the kids that I see
Learn only from friends
And tv

And if they hang ‘round with some men
Are the topics they hear teaching them
Whats right and whats wrong
The good and the bad
And what will they learn
From their dad

Where did the knowledge come from
It was passed on from father to son
Cause when those old geezers
Were talkin bout sin
There were kids just like me
Listnin in.

Conventional wisdom
The way we learned to be men
Conventional wisdom
Occasionally we read about someone in a "fast lane" position who decides to chuck it in and return to a simpler and more soul satisfying life. This one attempts to put it in perspective.

Now I know there are folks that will tell you
A city’s the best place to live
It’s crowded and noisy and vibrant and filled
With all kinds of pleasures to give
But I’m tired of the way that I’m living
And I’m sick of the way that I feel
I need to get out where there’s space all around
And back to where people are real

Many things that I once thought important
Those things that held me in thrall
Things like being accepted by the crowd that is in
And the clothes you cant buy at a mall
The air kisses I took for affection
The car that said I’ve got it made
Have been finally seen as just tinsel
But oh what a price has been paid

You don’t want bright lights in a nightclub
for the glitter is tired and sad
and the friends that you thought would stand by you always
leave when better prospects can be had
and the money you earn on that fast track
is all spent just to keep up some face
to impress all those people that don’t really care
you’re so easy to simply replace.

In the country you don’t need a name tag
People already know who you are
And you meet more friends in the general store
Than you do in a trendy wine bar
And when somebody says howrya doing
They will actually hear your reply
Cause the reason they asked was they wanted to know
And you talk over coffee and pie

Not everyone’s bad in the city
Not everyone’s good in a town
But the closer you get to the nature of things
There’s more friends that won’t let you down
And Gucci and Dior and YSL
Are not names that mean a whole lot
But Levi’s and John Deere and Stihl and Snap On
Are designers whose products are hot


I’m trading in the city for a village
I’m trading in my beemer for a van
I’m trading in the fast life for a ride in the slow lane
And I’m getting back to who I really am
Sadly, most of us settle for something much less than we thought we would when we were young and the world was there for us to take!

Has anybody seen my dreams
I’ve noticed that they’re gone
Somewhere along the path I took
I must have laid them down

I used to keep them bright and clean
And let them guide my way
So sure that if I followed them
I’d never go astray

Has anybody seen my dreams
I’ve noticed that they’re gone
I don’t remember when it was
That I went on alone

I knew that I could be the one
That I could be the light
That I could outshine every star
That I could set things right

Has anybody seen my dreams
I’ve noticed that they’re gone
And I can’t seem to find them now
And nothing’s getting done

I go to work and do my job
But life is just a bore
The more I get the less I have
Is this what life is for

Has anybody seen my dreams
The ones I let slip by
I sure could use them here today
Without them I can’t fly

Has anybody seen my dreams
I’ve noticed that they’re gone
Somewhere along the path I took
I must have laid them down
My dreams
I must have laid them down
Light on a distant hill
While this is not exactly biographical, it is symbolic of those images from our early years, whatever they may be, that stick with us all our lives.

Light on a distant hill
A million miles, a million smiles
a million sorrows that knocked me down
home’s any place I just happen to stay
in another nowhere town
But deep in the mine of my memory
Lives a part of my long ago
And it springs to mind
When the day is unkind
Making me want to go
Faint but clear I see it still
one tiny light on a distant hill

An unpainted farmhouse,
poor stony ground
A barn that had seen its best day
Work worn hands on my mother
Dad ploughing the soil
Stopping on Sunday to pray
There was love in abundance
Despite those hard times
There was safety and warmth and content
But something inside
Drove me out of that place
And on to a road that was bent

As a child I recall coming back from the town
Sunday nights with the church service done
And as we turned on to that gray dusty road
Far ahead shone the light that meant home
It was always left burning
when we went away
In that weathered old house on the hill
And the world full of darkness
seemed brighter somehow
just because that small light was there still

As I grew older and started to roam
when I had no where else I could go
I could count on that light
That my mother kept lit
Just in case her loved boy
came back home
then it shone like a beacon
now it beckons me still
though my folks and the farm are long gone
a shopping mall stands
where our farm used to be
and ten thousand light bulbs are turned on

With each of the things that life dishes out
and the bad things we do on our own
we are all of us changed
at the end of the day
sometimes wearied of life to the bone
its never too late to make a new start
that’s what all the reformers would say
but there’s no going back
to undo things we’ve done
just tomorrow
and what’s left of today

A million miles, a million smiles
a million sorrows that knocked me down
home’s any place I just happen to stay
in one more nowhere town
But deep in the mine of my memory
Lives a part of my long ago
And it springs to mind
When the day is unkind
Making me want to go
Faint but clear I see it still
one tiny light on a distant hill
That long ago light on a faraway hill
This was prompted by various newspaper stories. The murder of a young girl whose body was found at the lakeshore under rocks in garbage bags, a mother who was selling her young daughter, war orphans, etc. It intends to remind us just how easily the horrific can become "just another news item".

They find the pieces covered up with stones
The garbage bags a shroud that she must wear
Her fragile flesh eroded from the bones
A victim of the crime whose guilt we share.

The smile so shy, the trust that all is right
Her innocence screams at you from the page
The little hand that needs to be held tight
The picture taken just before the rage.

She is dressed up in her princess dress today
Her eyes so dark, and little face so pale
With Mommy, who has told her what to say
Not knowing she’s a little girl for sale.

The children of the war, behind the wire
An empty bowl and gut, the empty eyes
The burning tropic sun their daily pyre
We’re glad we cannot hear their feeble cries.

She’s dressed in red and on the corner hooking
Her childhood gone when Uncle came to stay
Still innocent despite the way she’s looking
But God does not hear hookers when they pray.

Their faces in the papers every day
The children that we let them throw away
So common that it’s only daily news.
But haunted eyes stare out and say J’accuse.

And we are guilty
for we have thrown away the millstone!

Written with the 50's as a fond but distant memory!

My old chevy ran the back roads
she raised a cloud of dust
Two primed up doors and masking tape
To cover up the rust
A set of skins that had no tread
A gallon in the tank
A mouse of rye under the seat
No money in the bank
But we were cookin
Man, were we cookin
And getting old was never in our plan

Hey waitress, could we get some toast
A cup of java too
We havent got much money
So this will have to do

We’d cruise main street till midnight
One hand upon the wheel
One shoulder hunched against the door
To sharpen our appeal
The furry dice and purple lights
And cats eyes did the trick
some brylcreem kept our hair real smooth
though straight rye made us sick
But we were cookin
Man were we cookin
And getting old was never in our plan

Hey waitress could we get some toast
A cup of java too
We havent got much money
So this will have to do

Those straight pipes blared our message
Ride with us if you dare
The king was on the radio
And lust was in the air
The bubble skirts just missed the road
Wire wheels and spinners shone
We’d go out to the drive in
If our money wasn’t gone
But we were cookin
Man were we cookin
And getting old was never in our plan

Hey waitress could we get some toast
A cup of java too
We havent got much money
So this will have to do

Well somewhere down the line we scored
So all that good stuff worked
My buddy’s now a union man
And I’m an office clerk
My ride’s a foreign compact bug
A charming shade of gray
I suppose I’m really happy
Since my freedom slipped away
And now I’m cookin
I’m really cookin
In my super duper teflon fryin pan

Hey waitress could I get some toast
A cup of java too
I haven’t got much money
So this will have to do
Yeah, this will have to do
Man, this will have to do
Damn, this will have to do
But getting old still isn’t in my plan!

THE BIG G! (government)
I think my feelings about the government involvement in our lives is quite evident.

Thank goodness for our government
It’s lookin out for me
It gets most of my money
But the air I breathe is free
(so far)
The folks that we elected
Work hard for us you see
And they are so much wiser
Than we can ever be

They know ten million dollars
Is neither here nor there
Just numbers on some paper
There’s lots of it to spare
And if they keep a little bit
To sweeten up their day
There’s more where it has come from
Just dock it from our pay

Just look at how they understand
That industry must thrive
And if it spews pollution
To help it stay alive
So be it, but the rest of us
Will have to do our part
Don’t barbecue, don’t light a fire
And never ever fart

Yes, I am truly grateful that
They know what’s best for all
Imagine what would happen
If we had to make each call
About what happens in our lives
Who knows where that would end
We really need the government
To act as our best friend

There’s just one other thing to do
To make it better still
Lets get more levels working
We’d be glad to foot the bill
There’s other things that need control
They haven’t tackled yet
So we don’t have to think at all
That’s good as it can get

I’d like to think the pioneers
That came to this great land
Are looking down and smiling
At the success of their plan
They came to flee oppression
To set up democracy
And it has worked out really swell
Cause we are truly free

Thank goodness for our government
It’s lookin out for me
It gets most of my money
But the air I breathe is free
(so far)
The folks that we elected
Work hard for us you see
And they are so much wiser
Than we can ever be – ain’t they great!

These are some bits and pieces written when I was in my early teens. Most of the stuff I wrote way back then was lost (perhaps that is a good thing) but these ones somehow survived.
I remember the school by the side of the road
And the fun that we had, you and I
I remember the houses we made when it snowed
How we played neath the deep blue sky

We really had fun
Though we often had fights
We walked home together
On most of the nights

We ate our lunch under
The stately old trees
And watched the leaves falling
On soft autumn breeze

We used the old woodhouse
For fortress so strong
Where we held off the indians
For hours so long

How we made that old house
Out of boards and of leaves
Where we sat and we talked
Just as long as we pleased

But now its all over
For I’m gone away
But you and the others
Still work and still play

Yes we walked in together
When they rang the bells
For you and I
were the best of good pals.
From the Mayflower to the Plymouth Rock
The pilgrim fathers strode
They saw the land before them
They saw their new abode.

They soon created cabins
They tilled the fertile earth
Under their careful prayerful hands
The new world had its birth

But also there were dangers
Which lay on every hand
Against the hostile Indians
They often had to stand
They often had to fight for life
They had no time for fun
But under steady toiling hands
Crops ripened in the sun

And then there came the harvest
Of all the golden grain
They now began to see the fruit
Of all their toil and pain

They gathered every golden blade
They gathered every ear
The frosts at night then told them plain
Winter was drawing near

After every crop was gathered
And every grain was stored
They bowed down and with simple words
They humbly thanked the Lord

They thanked the Lord for every good
They thanked him for their living
And there in midst of forest drear
They had their first thanksgiving.

When I was young and not too smart
Movie queens took up my heart
But since I’ve reached this stately age
I’d rather have lions without the cage
For I have learned that a girl (or two)
Can sure put fellas in a stew
And I would rather fight and twirl
With lions than to face a girl
But I have also come to know
Without the gals there ain’t no show
So I have learned to tolerate
Them female critters
That I hate.
I sit and think and think and try
To find each wherefore and each why
Still after hours and hours each day
The answer’s just as far away

The teachers pound and grit and swear
I’m getting dumber hair by hair
On a test I never pass
I’m dumber than a long eared ass

I don’t know, I may be dense
I may not have a grain of sense
It may be that my skull is thick
My head may be a dried out stick

But with these thoughts I don’t agree
I think they’re all to hard on me
I don’t think they’re really right
I think I’m out too late at night.

Dark clouds hung low and swiftly flew
With menacing shrieks the north wind blew
The thunder rolled and lightning flashed
And tempest driven, the rain drops dashed
Wee birds flew home to welcome nest
And rabbits ran for a place to rest
A great oak tree from earth was torn
The sod was soaked – here was a storm
I remember this one well. It was in English class and we were to write a poem about Christmas. I had just finished one verse when I became aware of our teacher (Mr. Meany Murray) standing behind me reading what I had written. My next memory is of his knuckles on the side of my head while he encouraged me to take a different approach to the subject. Hence, only this one verse remains

There were bags below his eyeballs
And his beard was dirty white
Where tobacco juice had spattered
As he chewed it through the night

This next one is the second attempt to satisfy the teacher with a poem about Christmas. I think after this one he gave up on trying to straighten out my head.

T’was Christmas in the barnyard
All the chickens were in bed
But the old tomcat was waiting up
For a glimpse of brilliant red
‘Cause he had heard that Santa Claus
once yearly round did go
to all the country barnyards
with his reindeer o’er the snow
Now Tommy’s jeans were faded
His shirt was faded too
And in his shoe there was a hole
That went completely through
For the year had been a hard one
And there’d been no rats at all
Consequently many hungry nights
Had been spent in Tommy’s stall
Now Tommy wasn’t lazy
Anyone would tell you that
He simply did not like to work
Very natural in a cat
And so he wrote old Santa Claus
His woes minutely told
And he explicitly explained
The hunger and the cold
He said there’d been on rats at all
And mice too hard to capture
He’d sure appreciate some food
New clothes would bring him rapture
And so he did enumerate
Those things he thought he needed
And all he hoped and all he prayed
Was that old Santa heeded
Suddenly a tinkling noise
Was heard, and into space
There rose a sleight and reindeer
From atop his chimney place
Then Tommy turned and ran inside
His fortune to espy
Yet no gifts did he encounter
‘till a small box caught his eye
On the top, in writing quaint
It said Your Food and Vittles
Already Tommy Cat could smell
Hot cakes on steaming griddles
He ripped the outer tissue off
A breeze went through the barn
And Tommy shuddered when he saw
A mousetrap, needles, yarn.
Have you heard the song the trees are singing
The rustling sound of sparrows winging
The wild cry of the lark
Have you reveled in the warm west breeze
The soft rain falling through the trees
The peace that comes with dark
Have you ever waked from thoughtless slumber
To hear God’s symphony of thunder
To see the lightning flash
Have you ever watched the white clouds rolling
or heard the distant church bells tolling
or watched the rain drops dash
It is interesting (and embarassing) to recall the juvenile dreams that found their way to paper.
Bored with the dreary details of life
Tired of the commonplace things
Needing a refuge, a haven of rest
Desiring to live just like kings
Kings, not in glory
Or power, or name
Kings but in spirit
Not riches or fame
Wishing to live as the great eagles do
We purchased a vessel
And hired a crew
We set sail due south
Till we reached the warm streams
Our answer seemed near
The fullfillment of dreams
When off our port bow
Lying low, near the moon
Lay a tropical island
With a sleepy lagoon
Perhaps t’was the tropics
Just romance in the air
But we knew without doubt
We would find our dreams there
The palm trees that beckoned
Seemed to tug at our hearts
Here we’ll live
Here we’ll ove
Until death does us part.

This next was written when I was 16. I suppose in retrospect I was in what today might be called a “Goth” stage! Pretty silly huh?

The wind was low and mournful
Dark clouds filled the skies
When out of the night, and into the night
A man and horse went galloping by

One second he paused in the lamplight
And motion and time stood still
For his eyes were the eyes of a madman
And his hands were hands that could kill

Then he shrieked, t’was a cry of the haunted
It’s awfulness gave me a start
And I looked, from his breast there protruded
A knife that was struck through his heart

One second longer he tarried
And I knew he had come for me
His eyes grew bright, and in the dark night
His voice cried out ringingly

This night you shall reap the harvest
That long you have sown through the years
Your harvest is torture and terror and night
Your harvest is suffering and tears

Then he laughed with a sound that was awful
And he smirked with a maniac’s glee
And his hands reached out, and his face grew grim
And his fingers grasped hold of me

Then he took me to saddle behind him
And the misty wind lashed at my face
I tried to jump clear but I couldn’t
His horse continued it’s race

And on through the night we galloped
But I saw no morning light
And on the same steed I shall gallop ere more
Into darkness eternally night

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