You were beautiful,
my tiny child,
wrapped tightly in my arms,
close to my heart.
I listened to you breathing.
I counted your fingers
and your toes.
you cried out to me
and I loved you
with every ounce of my soul.
Will you hear me
when I cry out?
Will you hold me close
as I held you then?
I remember the day
You took your first step.
There was no stopping you.
Your feet gave you freedom
to explore the world
like never before
but danger lurked.
I opened those doors anyway,
you to the world.
Where will you be
when my legs
no longer run?
no longer work?
Will you realize
that I love
about that day
you first tied your shoe.
We tried and tried
to get that rabbit
in that hole
and you finally did it.
You pointed your toes
for everyone to see
how proud you were.
I am proud too,
of my writing
and my drawing,
of my needlework
and my cooking.
But my hands are beginning to ache
and my fingers will not bend.
I will lose the things
that make me proud
except for you.
Hopefully not you.
Will you let me
brag on you?
Even tell wild stories
that are a bit beyond the truth?
Will you be proud of me too?
I waved good-bye
that morning when you left
on that large, yellow bus.
I was so scared.
I know you were too.
You waved at me bravely
through the dusty window
but I saw the water
forming in your eyes.
You came home, however,
full of pride and joy.
You sang the alphabet song
and got most of it right.
You practiced for hours
until you could sing it
even in your sleep.
whether I took
my pills today or not.
if I told this story before.
I even forgot once
who you were
and it terrified me.
is my treasure
the only thing I have left,
and I heard you make
fun of me
for not remembering
that I gave you the
same gift as last year.
Will you love me
when I no longer
know who I am?
You came home blushing
from the glow of
your first kiss.
Your first love,
the one you thought was real.
You talked about him non-stop.
You changed for him. You gave.
But he left you anyway
for a blue-eyed girl
and I held you
while you cried for him.
I too have a
The love of my life
left me after
He left me here
to live life on my own
while he moved on
to another realm
And I cry for him too.
I long for his shoulder
and strong embrace.
I feel betrayed
because he and I
made a deal
that we would never
leave the other alone.
Yet I am alone
sitting in an echoing house
with no hands to hold.
You welcomed her home today-
your tiny baby girl.
She has your eyes
and possibly your toes.
I see you counting them
as they roll me
into the room.
You finally came
It has been a while.
You look up at me
with tears in your eyes
"Will she tie my
when I get old? "
On the southern side of the old cemetery,
corner of Gilmore and 1st,
a field was claimed by children.
It was riddled by gopher holes, and nettled with blackberry bushes
and bare feet constructed cupped paths,
trampled deep in tall amber grass.
It wasn't far beyond a patched wire fence
that hemmed my Grandmother's russet old house.
Westerly whirlwinds would rattle the ragweed
and seeds of the bull-thorns, that prickled our toes
would race with the tumbleweeds, tossed into rows
like last winter's snowmen
Traces of honeysuckle mixed with wild rose
from Grandma's old arbor, which loomed in the distance
A rusty old weathervane, cruised 'round, and 'round
The ivy was overgrown, and a sleepy dog snoozed
But, deep in the field, was a land of our own
A place we called 'Neverland', our loft in the wind
In the yoke of one tree, with the help of our dad
was a fort built of scrap wood, from piles by the shed.
And by hook or by crook, I would take all commands
While my brother's brewed brainstorms, and his black plastic hook,
assigned him the Captain, while I was the crew
of a ramshackle galleon, as if from our own storybooks
While I dangled in air, from the tired old swing
"Tinker" my name...in this all-boy domain....
I would push off, while he pulled me, right up to the sky
and into the branches, crisp leaves in my eyes......
I would fly to the depth's of the steel gray-blue sky
I could grovel, and shovel, to have his approval........
for he was much older, much wiser than me
and I would play like a tomboy,.....shoving doll-drums away,
on those hot summer days......with red hot splintered rays
in the dry summer sun, that would spotlight our play.
We would play until twilight, and watch the day fade
Defying all gravity.......I could see to eternity
Tootsie Pops clinging to the tip of our tongues
while the sun of the twilight, dipped over the dunes
and the call of our mother, slipped over the moon
I remember as a young boy, going out to play, I would sometimes see old Mr. Kimball, sitting on the steps of his porch, often reading the paper. World War II was in full swing so the newspapers and radios were avidly sought out for the latest news. Mr. Kimball was a fireman, and probably not even that old, but he seemed that way to me.
Sometimes, he would invite me to sit with him and we would talk about everything and nothing. I loved spending time with him because, he was the only grown up I knew that took the time to entertain the mind of a young boy.
In his front window hung a small flag. It had a red border surrounding a white field, upon which there were two blue stars. I was always curious about it, so I asked him what it was. He said “It's a Sons in Service flag. One star for each son serving. You remember my boys don't you?” I did of course. Chuck, the oldest, used to tease me, calling me a sissy to get a reaction. Bobby was a couple of years younger, and the bike I was riding once had been his.
Mr. Kimball went on to explain how Chuck was now in the Army and fighting in France. Bobby was in the Navy, aboard a ship somewhere in the Pacific. He didn't say it, but I'm sure he was worried about both, communications being what they were back then.
One day, when I was walking over to see him, I noticed that the flag had changed. It now carried one blue star, but the other one was gold. With the innocence that comes of being a child, I asked what the gold star meant. He quietly said “It means Chuck is coming home”, and without further comment, he turned and went in the house.
A couple of days later, I saw a hearse pull up to the Kimballs house, and four men carry a flag draped box up the porch steps. That is the moment the meaning of war came to a small boy. I knew Chuck was home.
I am standing outside my bedroom, on the precipice of lost innocence.
Wide eyed, and barefoot on cold hardwood.
Someone is hammering on our front door.
My father, looking a bit annoyed, shuffles anxiously down the stairs.
Tussled hair, a bewildered vein bulging in his forehead,
wearing his old, blue plaid robe, the one with the woven rope belt,
he looks like a lightweight boxer, ready to enter the ring.
There are two grim faced policemen waiting on the front porch.
My mother, at the top of the stairs, clutches the neck of her gown.
She looks as if she might choke herself.
Confused concern, reflects in sleep swollen eyes.
They ask my father, “How well do you know those folks across the road?”
As they notice me standing on the stairs, they quickly lower their voices.
In a hushed, rather husky monotone, they explain to my father...
whispering something about a boy who has taken a shotgun out into the hills…
He has taken his own life…and has been identified as the boy...,
the teenager, who lives kitty-corner across our road.
The same kid who mowed our grass when Dad was sick for a spell last summer.
The one who bags Mom’s groceries at the local A & P.
They think I don’t hear them ……but I do…
and I hear them ask my father,
would he, please, come along to help them break the news?
My father, glazed eyes, and head low, steps away a moment, to quickly dress.
I remember hearing my mother gasp, then suck in a sob,..
But then is right behind me, pulling me towards her…..
and I can feel her heart pounding, through flannel of my pajamas.
She is squeezing my shoulders..so hard that it hurts,.... somehow I don’t mind.
I look up seeking reassurance,.... her eyes are huge, …
and she knows that I have heard….
And we both know,...that nothing will ever be the same.
After this day is over, the childhood of yesterday, will wear a different face…
Father pulls a coat over his pajama tops, …he gives my mother a touch on the arm.
With a desolate look at me, he touches my head.
He steps out into the darkness of a not quite dawn.
And through the window, I can see the line of shadows on the lawn.
Three men, like hunched over soldiers, walking slowly into the wounds of a new day.
(Sadly, this is based on a true story)
(Why I'm Still Breathing)
When the cow was dry, she was compliant.
When she calved, she turned vicious
and no fence could hold her,
but she gave milk in abundance,
and Dad refused to sell her.
She chased Mother 'round and 'round the barn
until Mom panicked, climbed the corner logs,
and perched under the roof,
clinging like a cicada shell on a weed-pod.
Beasty pawed and bellowed until Dad came home.
"I could gain on her on the corners,"
Mother said, "because I could turn faster,
but she gained on me on the straightaway."
Plug-ugly tore through the fence,
into the garden, where Mom and I worked.
"Run, Cona Faye, run," my mother shouted.
How did she know? The cow passed Mother
and thundered straight for me. I ran.
At the fence, snorts filled my ears. Hot breath
steamed my back. I saw myself stomped,
pulverized into the dirt. I turned, screaming
at full volume, and flailed my arms
like a windmill in a strong wind.
That old red cow locked her front legs
and skidded like a freight train on full brake.
I seized the moment, and scaled that rail fence.
I read Darryl Ashton’s poem Called Pinocchio Rex and this brought back
memories of a childhood incident
When I grew up we had a smallholding – the house was called ‘Longacre’ as we
had over an acre of land. Over the years we had chickens, pigs named Pinky
and Porky and a goat called Susie… she had kids called Billy and Nanny – guess
I was no good at names back then… but I digress
Attached to the house was a small village shop but my parents also made a
small income from selling fresh eggs and in the summer home grown
strawberries – I would help pick washing baskets of them and bag them up to
Every week a little old man would arrive for his dozen eggs and if the shop was
shut he would ring the doorbell. He wore a pointed felt hat, had steely blue
eyes and the most enormous nose you have ever seen. Unbeknownst to him
my parents nicknamed him 'Pinocchio'.
When I was aged about 7 years old the doorbell rang – mum was busy baking
in the kitchen so I answered it. There in front of me stood this old man wanting
his eggs. Mum shouted from the kitchen
‘Who is it Janet?’
I replied ‘Oh its only Pinocchio’
At once mum appeared from the kitchen, her face was the colour of beetroot.
She apologised for the comment from her ‘cheeky daughter’ The man
purchased his eggs and walked away – never to return!
The moral of this true tale is that parents ALWAYS tell the truth and that
children have ears the size of an elephant and a mouth just as big … so if you
don’t want them to repeat something YOU have said keep it zipped!
11th August 2014
It is October again, but I have another in mind
One long ago, and it brings tender memories
It wasn't the usual, of Halloween kind
Of parties and goblins, of which there were many
It was a year of some changes, our family had moved
I was ten years old...struggling and shy
A small little town, I'd been replanted and torn
It was late in October...now uprooted and more...
A different school....a country lane....no close neighbors next door
On Halloween night, it rained and it poured
The end of the world...I was unhappy and bored
Leaving what had been home, familiar and sure
Where our old street had been filled
With Halloween thrills
Here in the country, ...no one came to the door
I was dressed to go out...but storms plagued the night
My mom understood....she saw my sad plight
She went up to her room, made up her face
She combed up her hair, until it stood on it's roots
Covered her face with black fireplace soot
She threw on her robe, and pulled on dad's boots
Crept out the back door, and to the front porch
When the doorbell rang....I jumped in delight!
Trick-or-treaters had come to our house this dark night!!
When I opened the door, at first I didn't see
It was mom, ...trying to hard, bring me some glee!
She grabbed me and laughed and pulled me to come
Out into the rainstorm....up the road we would run
We ran in the downpour, getting soaked to our skin
Laughing and yelling....such fun it had been!
Later that night, we warmed by the fire
She let me stay up....no one was tired
So cozy and warm...no longer so cold
With popcorn, and candy...and the ghost stories told
That one Halloween, on that night of the storm
Was the best Halloween....and reminds me of home.....
I'll never forget when each Halloween comes
The gift of the fun.... all thanks to my mom.....
A child with a crayon can color an imaginary world,
With dolls of mommies, daddies, boys and girls,
Full of horses, cowboys, cars and trains,
Can scratch them out and draw them all again,
Color me a rainbow with a pot of gold,
Color me a fairy with ribbons and bows,
Paint my face, a bright yellow sun,
In a green grassy field where a blue river runs,
With mountains and trees set in a colorful scene,
Monkey bars, teeter-totters, an old tire swing,
Color my face with a bright happy smile,
In a wonderful world, if only for awhile,
I can pretend my life is happy and gay,
Not worry about the mean stuff, just for the day,
Not worry about what I will eat, or where I will sleep,
Or the cockroaches and rats that make me creep,
Color me a family with brothers and sisters,
Color me a man to call Daddy, not Mister,
Color my mom in a bright yellow dress,
Stretched in a hammock under a tree with a nest,
In the yard of the house, we can call our own,
With neighbors on each side of our lovely home,
Color my dreams carefree and wild,
Color my life always as a child,
Color me a father, color me a Dad,
Color me the life that I never had.
Color me a garden with fruits of all kinds,
Apples, pears with grapes on the vine,
Color me a crayon that’s really a crayon,
Not this old sharpened pencil that I just found,
To draw my picture on this brown paper bag,
That was once filled with gin and Ole’ Granddad,
Now, Dream me a dream…Once upon a time,
I had a real father that I can call mine!
There once was a girl,
Who's name I can't tell.
To spare her the pain,
I'll just call her Belle.
Belle was a beauty
And all the beasts could see,
She was everything in a girlfriend
That they wanted theirs to be.
Belle was so trusting,
Because she was never treated wrong,
But little did she know that
Her innocence wouldn't last long.
She had two friends,
Sasha and Trevor,
And a boyfriend that she thought
She'd love forever.
Her boyfriend, Sam,
And Trevor were friends.
So this fearsome foursome
Had fun to no end.
The youngest of the four
But the smartest, she thought.
But what a friend was
Was not what she was taught.
Trevor and Belle
Would hang out all day.
She would try to be like him
In her own boyish way.
You see, the Trevor I speak of
Was King of the Beasts
And everything he wanted
Was laid at his feet.
And, although curious,
Belle stayed true to Sam
And that made Trevor feel
That he was less of a man.
One day, in a summer
5 years ago,
Belle told me something
I needed to know.
She told me what happened
The day that she ran.
The day that will forever
Be burned in the sand.
She told me what happened
When she looked over her shoulder
And saw him walking towards her
As the room grew colder.
She told me her tears
Were no match to his power.
She told me what made this beast
She told me she screamed
And hollered and yelled
But her cries were soon muffled
By his lips, dry and pale.
She told me how she felt
The day that she was bruised.
Never in her life
Had she felt so used!
I asked her why she didn't fight
Or get tough like she does on the field.
She just said I'd never know the
Weakness that I would feel.
I couldn't help but to cry for her
As she blamed herself.
Belle had always wanted to be
The beauty on everyone's shelf.
"But not like that," she said to me,
"Not with one of my friends."
She let a tear roll down her face
As she spoke of her life's end.
Some may ask why'd she tell me;
"What made her come to you?"
I simply look at them and say,
"You don't know Belle like I do."
I know this story in great detail
And if you look real close you'll see
The tear I shed while writing this
Because...Belle is me.
My daughter`s budgie "Sissie" died a late night
The next morning I told her that "Sissie" was dead
With tears on her eyes and cheeks, she asked her mom
- Is "Sissie" in heaven with God and grandmother ?
- Yes, she is with God, grandmother and the angels
I answer her
Surprised at this answer, my daughter investigate
whether it was true
She walks into the room where the cage with
the budgie used to stand
After a short while, she runs back to mom....
- Mom, mom.... God has not only taken "Sissie"
- God has taken the cage too
This is a true story - - - from gold child`s mouth
dedicated to: Laila A.Mjelde
Your face and rotting teeth and heavy jowls
and sunken breasts with bulging waist and
Your image of laughter, lovemaking, seeking
bourbon tweaked philosophies
of life begins
The hands that tremble as you tilt
the glass that begins another
Tirade thoughts, empty lies, money spent on
lipstick coated leeches who prey on
Through these wintry days pass faces long past
into what was then
while with the coming spring ...
at last! at last!
One can remember
and want no more
what could never be:
Love is a season.
And holidays mark the seasons, and years like signs in the road,
reflecting the bumps in our journey, but showing us a way back home.
Sixteen, in pajamas, watching the rain pelt down,
it was long past midnight, Christmas eve.
Twinkling lights on one house across the road, stared back at me.
It was if they were trying to fill our dark house with color.
The block was filled with a hundred lighted windows.
But the blackness of our own, somehow, seemed more appropriate.
There was no Christmas tree in our house that year.
I suppose Dad felt it was too soon, or perhaps just the effort to get through each day
had taken all the strength he had.
We had stayed up and watched a Christmas program together.
Perry Como, I think it was, for I think I remember he sang "Ava Maria", and Dad got teary eyed.
My brother had come home from the Air Force earlier that week,
trying to help bring us a bit of cheer,....at least, for awhile,
but he had been called back to duty, and I missed him terribly.
The house was silent after Dad had gone to bed.
I wasn't sleepy,....and it was lonely looking out at the cold night
It seemed the whole world was sleeping, waiting for Christmas.
As I finally headed for bed, I noticed a light had been left on in the front coat closet.
I opened the door, and looking up, to pull the chain, I noticed the box.
The shoe box that had kept the sugar cube house, safe, dry, and out of harm's way.
A sugar cube house that Mom and I had made together when I was 8 years old.
Little sugar cubes stacked into walls, and a roof, glued together with red frosting.
We had copied one out of her Good Housekeeping magazine that year,
and had surrounded it with little trees, and a oval mirror pond, and items we had found at the 5 and 10 cent store. She had carefully packed it all away last year.
After her last Christmas.
Late into the night, I sat in the dimness of the house, laying out the sugary scene on the fireplace mantel....just as Mom would have done.
When the freckled morning moved into day...I woke on the sofa...Dad sitting next to me. He had covered me with a warm blanket, and had fallen asleep beside me.
After breakfast....he disappeared outside, and soon came in carrying a sorry looking branch from our old evergreen tree.
We decorated that bedraggled branch...it wasn't the most beautiful tree we had ever had, but it brought Christmas back to my family.
For Deb's Contest: A Christmas Tale
(Inspired by "The Match Girl" By H.C. Anderson
I used to look at your wrinkly hands
And see the veins follow routes like a map
Your fingers shook like a spayed chihuahua on the piano keys
Demonstrating the chord in which I was supposed to play after you
I was thinking instead about the stool we were sharing
How old and fragile the wooden piece was
The green-blue floral padding faded and worn
The chipped, wobbly legs
That creaky sound when you repositioned...
And I was praying it wouldn't collapse under our bodies
Your voice was gentle and calm
Softly pushing me back to my practice
and my fingers played that bright G Chord
“Very good,” You praised with a smile
Your voice so small and lightly faded
But still loving and pleasant
You explained to me arpeggios and broken chords
And I was glad it was you explaining it
I remember yelling at my dad
And throwing a big tantrum over playing “Allouette”
His straight harsh voice cut my fingers off the keys
As he ordered me to pay attention
Watching his hairy fingers demonstrate the left hand
And then the right
Pressing loudly and ramming the song into my every being
And I remembered
I was never concerned about making him angry
I would laugh if he made a mistake in teaching
Or if he stumbled on his words - which was frustratingly rare
I would scream if he corrected me
And yet I was determined for his praise
That he never gave
Your son loved music like you
And he wanted me to love it just like him
In an annoyed kind of way, I obliged
But I would make him suffer for forcing it on me
Even if I couldn't deny it was something I would always love
We never have our piano lessons anymore, Grandma
But I will never forget how you taught me
That stool remains in the room
It hasn't been sat on for days
And it took far more than mere days
To receive from your son…true praise
But that’s okay
I will pray it collapses under his body
Once I had a bicycle,
A loving present from my grandfather;
Since I was his favorite granddaughter,
He granted my wish at a snap of my finger .
Since he was so old,
A new bicycle he could hardly afford;
He took his bike when he was young,
Which I found it once at the back of our barn.
As far as I remember,
It was really so old and rugged;
But my grandpa was like Mr. Mac-Gyber,
Amazingly fixing all things all-over.
My granda was a well-known painter,
I thought he will repaint and use sandpapers;
When I surreptitiously sneaked into his hut,
He was there recycling all my milk cans.
When everything was done,
He gladly gave it to me with a big hug;
I hurriedly drove it at once,
Down the street and field with so much fun.
“My bike was real a unique one!” I thought.
So different from others in our neighborhood,
Its wailing siren was made up of a cow’s horn,
Tubes were made of dried bamboos and corn.
Other parts were still the same,
Like forks, hubs and chainwheel set,
The rest were made up of my milk cans,
They were pedal, brake and seatgear stem.
Handle bars were what I like most,
Converted from the handle of his old plow;
So sturdy and so strong all I knew,
And I can drive it so long in full control.
However, when I travelled quite afar,
Parts were falling one at a time;
Until everything suddenly split apart,
Eventually it dropped and rolled me down.
Date: Aug. 3, 2012
( A loving tribute to my dearest Dad)
4th Place Winner (My Very First Winning Poem)
Contest: Any Poem of the Week Contest
Contest Judged: 8/4/12
Poet Sponsor: Poet-Destroyer
It started growing in a field
Billy Stover watched it grow
Because the corn was tall
Because Billy Stover was small
No one knew
Now one saw
No one saw how the tiny boy watched by the hour in summer's heat
Even from the top of high elm trees by the road
who could have detected that small lad stretched out
on his stomach leaning on his elbows watching
On stormy days Billy watched from the closest window
elbows propped up on the sill
He knew it was growing though he couldn't see it
He'd be down in the field now in the mud watching
but his mother forbade it
"What do you do out there Billy all by yourself?
What is it you do out there instead of playing?"
On certain days when the wind swayed the green stalks
and nipped Billy's cheeks his eyes would light up
He fought back a burning desire to run into the white kitchen
to tug at his mother's apron to bring her out
and show her his one spot
He jumped up once when the flames leaped high
started running for the house
"Mother! Mother!" he silently shouted
Every part of his small body shook with joy but
The bleak white walls of the kitchen
his mother her hands dipped in bread dough....................................
It started growing in the field in the dirt in the mind of Billy Stover
And no one could have kept a secret better than Billy
There's an old upright,
standing tall, against the wall,
no one plays it much anymore
as it sits there in silence, out on the old sun porch
But I can imagine it quite regal in its prime, shiny and new
And age has turned the varnish yellow
The veneer, a bit buckled, and the bench has been repaired
With clamps and screws, and Elmer’s wood glue
A relic from another time, although the
sound has not changed throughout the years
and tears have spilled upon the keys
There's one key that sticks, and three more are chipped...
If only time could skip…backwards to then…
To when my mother and I sat side by side
together,.... playing “The Blue Danube”.
Her hands over mine, pointing out the key of C
And what I do see,... still in my mind….,
are the blue veins of her hands
and hearing the waltz, a bit off key
(It needed tuning…it always did, it never mattered, it never will)
I was small…my fingers couldn’t reach them all,
those pock marked, scarred, and magic keys
But the measure of Johann Strauss would bounce off the walls…
She would hum into my ear…
Her soft brown hair would mix with mine
I could smell Breck shampoo, and feel her breath upon my cheek
And the music, soft and sweet, classic light…from that old Upright...
A simple tune…the waltz of time
that has played on and on... long beyond her life
and will play on long beyond my own…
Recited on youtube..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Huza5He36b0
To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eye'd,
Such seems your beauty still.
~ William Shakespeare
I have looked into the mirror
Looking for a trace....a trace of my youth
A trace of the girl that I used to be...
Is she there? Buried deep? Is she still part of me?
Years can't be halted, change can't erase..
And there...in my face, are the lines of experience
Stories and time...I see staring back at me
A part of me wants to grieve for that girl
The girl that I was.. Has she vanished for good?
Oh, I do understand....
That I can't hang on to "then"..
To days long ago, when time was our friend
When summers, together, seemed never to end
But, then............ , here by chance, we meet up once again.....
Our friendship born in childhood..so young, and carefree
You...with bright eyes, and brown hair that fell long
Around your high cheeks ...and a wide, gamin smile!
You were the one who's light shined so brightly
Who's charm, laugh, and wisdom I fondly admired
A girlhood where we danced together in sweet grass under sunny skies
And under nighttime stadium lights, to the music of the high school band
After years, that have taken us to separate worlds
In my mind, and in my dreams you have always been
The fair maiden, the one who held my hand
Two girls who made promises...who sat in the dark, under a summer sky
And talked of our "somedays", of our future, our hopes
By the light of the moon, we wished upon the stars
Now here in this moment, I have found you again
And here in this moment, I have found "me" again....
I can be that girl again....as we share our history
our moment in the sun, ....I am "her", again!..
I can be that child, I can be fifteen, I can wear a crown, upon a teenaged throne...
And I can still dance to the sound of the drum, and the tuba,
I can sing football songs, and gossip about the boys,
and make fun of the stuck-up girls
and laugh about the teachers we didn't like,
and about the night of the prom, when I cried in your arms
I can hear Johnny Mathis singing "Misty", and the words will make me weep
I can hear "Canadian Sunset" as it lulls me off to sleep
Perhaps the stars have faded a bit...but beyond the weary miles
They still shine when I look into your eyes...my dear friend, from the past...
They will shine through the ages.........where a summer will always last....
For Frank's Contest:
Every year our vacation was always the same. Two
weeks of fishing, playing, eating and being together
on the river. We had no electricity, no TV, and we
all loved it. The four cousins had time to get to know
each other and to just be kids. In the woods, on the river,
building forts and damns, catching frogs, campfires,
and , of course, fishing.
One day, when everyone else had given up and the kids
were playing on the bank, I hooked on to a BIG one.
I started to scream and shout...they all gathered round
to urge me on, give me advise and to share my
glorious moment. My tackle was not rigged for
salmon, but we could soon tell that's what I had.
For at least 15 minutes I was a star, playing that
fish, back and forth, until he was close to the
bank and we could see that he was a monster..
a big reddish salmon.
My niece, who was about 10, jumped into the
water to help me land him, and then, disaster struck.
He spit the hook, flashed his tail, and off he swam.
We all stood there in stunned silence..not knowing
whether to laugh of cry. I did a bit of each.
The story has become the stuff of legends, the story of
Aunti/Mom and the "one that got away"..really, its
more the story of the bond of family and times that
were so precious.
For the One That Got Away contest...
As I gaze out the upstairs window, it feels like yesterday
It is early, and a burst of sun gleams through the branches of the Cottonwood tree
It's not there anymore....
that string of washing that used to wave on the clothesline,
looking like colorful flags flapping in the wind....
and I wonder...who does that anymore...hangs their wash?
Doves are still strutting on the cobbled path, cooing their song....
or perhaps complaining about the chill of the October morn...
I look about the room,...
Right there, that's where marguerite daisies sat in a jug on the dressing table
next to a framed photo of five, smiling young cousins...
Scrubbed and shining faces, dressed for church one Easter morning, long ago
The faded chintz curtains, and the cover on the four poster is a pale primrose yellow
And the wallpaper is striped in blue and white....
It all looks a bit more worn, but still rather pretty
The bedroom is small,....a bit cramped, and a bit shabby, but comfortably familiar
Over on the north wall hangs a painting of Willowby Pond...
so pleasant to look at, just before falling to sleep...
Mother would tuck into each dresser drawer, a bar of soap....to scent the clothes
I recognize the fragrance of English Lavender, still lingering in the air...
even though she has been gone these many years...
Here I stand again, having things so familiar, ...so much the same...yet changed..
I take a deep breath, recalling the sense of home, the fragrance of lavender
and the sound of the doves...
Like slipping into an old pair of slippers
after spending the day wearing high heeled shoes....
Gritty angry surface
The diving board;
Encountered by his anxious shin
One more childhood innocence lost
Heady summer swimming
Expeditions to the bottom;
Pressure building and breath burning
Too quick to mount the board
His youthful haste subdued
Tears and chlorine
Shriveled swollen skin bleeding
No longer to be comforted by a kiss
Just old enough to be proud
Young enough to be hurt
Sitting at the edge
Stifling his pain
Perched on the porch steps, as the crimson sun goes down
I am sipping on my cold iced tea, and drinking up the joy
I am smiling as I’m watching him, as the weary day retreats…
While the shadows of the trees and poles are stretching long and narrow
He is running swiftly in the yard, in the warmth of summer breezes
His arms are opened vast and wide, while he races through the trees
I see him weaving figure eights, he is flying like a sparrow
While he studies how his shadow moves, as swiftly as an arrow
He is laughing at his mirrored twin, a silhouetted super hero
Now he’s jumping over power lines, finely etched upon the grass
Reflections from the poles above, in the magic of the dusk
The joy lights up his face with wonder, a new power of discovery!
It seems if he could tightrope walk, those lines into the sky
His shirt billows out, like hero’s cape, his glee is free and wild
Oh, joyful moments watching him! … my precious twilight child !
Inspired by Rick's Contest "Shadows and Lines"
Gentle sounds of rainy days,
Cool dampness on a counterpane
The memory of my childhood years, beneath a quilt of poetry
Stirs longing for that healing grace, that comes again upon the page...
A mother's touch with vapor-rub
Some toasted bread, a tender face
A playground out beyond the dew..
The dampened swing, my misty view..
A shadow was my childhood friend, and sick-bed days a game
Imagination flew so high, my carpet ride to magic lands
My tattered book of childhood poems, still takes me by the hand
My first introduction to poetry...Robert Louis Stevenson's Childhood Garden of Verses
(A sick-bed keepsake that kept me company)
i caught your eyes on me. dont bother to look away. ive already noticed. i wish i was
brave enough to stare back. it doesnt bother me, just makes me curious. what are you
thinking? or are you just observing? try to figure me out. but you wont. because youve
only met the imposter. you havent stopped to look into my eyes.
The water tower stands above the town and can be seen for miles around. It has a
ladder leading up to the base of the tank. This ladder has been climbed by countless
teenagers, for thrills and mischief and young kids answering a dare.
Over the years, many symbols and words have been painted on the tank. From
Highschool mascots, to hearts of love and proposals. Flowers and Holiday wishes
It had always been one mans job to keep the water tank painted and to cover up
any impromptu artwork. He always took his time about it though. Making sure that
each message stayed up at least two weeks before he would paint over it.
One day he received a phone call. On the line was a little boy. This little boy asked
the man to please not paint over his message he had written on the tank, as it was
The man explained to the boy that it was his job to keep the tank painted and
clean. But, that he would leave his message up there, untouched, for two weeks. The
little boy, with tears in his voice said "Thank you, I hope it will be long enough".
The next day, as the man was driving past the water tank, he looked up. He saw no
message or pictures of any kind on that tank. He shrugged and assumed that the boy
had just been to scared to make the climb all the way to the top.
Three weeks later, the mans phone rings again. It was that same little boy. Very
excited, he proclaimed "Mister, I just wanted to thank you for not painting over my
message...It really worked!"
Intrigued, the man went to the tank with his paint and supplies. He climbed to the
top, set down his paint and brush. He walked around that tank several times and still
did not see a message. But, as he bent to pick up the paint can, there it was.
Towards the bottom of the tank, in crayon with a young child scroll was written:
"Dear God, pleeze let my daddy come home frum war I miss him
Your frend Mike"
The years passed. Many drawings and words were painted over by one man and then
the other, as they took the job over. But never, the one small patch, with that heart
For the contest: Story Time
Hostess: Carol Brown
Before spring came, in late February
to the blooming and jolly hills
I ran, breathing heavily and frantically,
touching the perfumed blossoms
of a solitary, old cherry tree;
and underneath it I sat writing poetry
that hadn't a perfect rhyme and beat!
Weren't my skills marred by imperfections?
Canaries and red-breasted robins
flew down and rested on my outstretched legs;
perusing my lines to spot their names,
and when they did, they flapped their wings in gladness!
I could have imagined their joyful words,.
if only they had acquired the gift of speech,
and deeper in their thoughts I would have reached:
to dispel the myth that they had no feelings...
After my short poem was completed,
I reached for my harmonica to play my favorite classic tune;
and being surprised by the paleness of the fading moon,
I dedicated that happy melody to her not to let her despair:
by waving my hand to make her farewell less sad, while I whispered,
" Silent moon, eternal companion of every poet,
what's beyond the realm of this universe?...
Tell us more of those invisible suns and planets! "
Before spring came to the dormant valley,
the mountains' peaks allowed the sun to melt their snows,
to create gushing torrents to feed its water to the dry and cracked soil,
which needed rain instead of harmful frost;
and I drank the freshest water and washed my sweaty face,
while fighting off the bees' stubborn rivalry!
That spring has come again to dress herself with incredible splendor,
and this discontent and wishful heart desires nothing more than being there!
My theme is: Happiness In Childhood
We were poor, but my brother and I didn’t know it.
Before Christmas my dad would take us to find just the right scraggly
fir tree..a wonderful afternoon tramping around in the woods.
Old and worn decorations..we were delighted to open the crate
and unpack them; it was like seeing old and beloved friends again.
The red velvet car was my favorite.. his a bedraggled Santa sled.
We always had a present or two..but the most exciting gifts were
in our stockings. The stockings were my dad’s work socks..washed
and pressed for the occasion. They hung with pride, beautiful to us.
One year I got a fishing pole in my stocking. It was stuck through
a hole in the heel. I thought that Santa was the cleverest
of men. Imagine..using that hole to my advantage!
My dad’s boss would give us the same thing year after year.
A crate of oranges, something we never had at any other time.
I can still see the juice on my hands as we devoured that special gift.
I wouldn’t trade those Christmas memories. The greatest gift was feeling
warm, and safe…and loved.
Saturday afternoon with a few moments to kill
Took a ride by the park up on Dutch Hill
My mind went back to a time and place
When I wore a little boy’s smile on my face
So much had changed since those innocent days
I drifted back through the years where a child plays
I played in the sandbox and rode the swing
Climbed the monkey bars in the Early Spring
I remembered church picnics and being there after dark
Playing cowboys and Indians with my friends in the park
We rode the sliding board and climbed in the trees
Spraining our ankles and skinning our knees
Sometimes we gazed at the stars while we lied on the ground
Or tried to see how fast we could push the merry go round
We learned from each other as we grew up back then
And drifted apart as we became women and men
We played from sun up until it was dark
The best years of our lives were spent at the park
Don’ wanna bee roun ewe noh moh.
Don’ wanna see da trajuhdee dats heded,
At yah doh.
Ewe wuz vary ahful tah mi,
God’s chile. Eye didden doyah nuttin.
Yah ‘sposed, tah bee ah liter rite?
Butt ya playin’ roun wit da won,
Whooz comin’ bak leyek ah,
Theef en dah nite.
Win yah ain’t treet mi rite,
Yah naglect’d dah powah uv God.
Cuz onlee wit Him ah wuz,
Ovalookin’ wat ewe wuz doin’,
Ta mi fah da harvest ,
Of God’s chirren bein’ edumacated,
Mi yah outrite hated.
Butt dats awrite God-n-eye,
Gon’ win dis feyght.
Ah wheel hav’ victuree cuz ah,
Choze ta spread luv butt ewe,
Choze ta spread mizuhree.
Don’ wanna bee roun ewe noh moh.
Don’ wanna see da trajuhdee dats heded,
At yah doh.
Ewe ramyned mi uv ol’Pharoah,
Hoo woodn’t lett God’s pipahs goh.
Ah didden wanna fase yah awl dose
Butt God help’d mi leyek God help’d,
Moses speek up tah ol’Pharoah.
God tole Moses tah lett mah pipahs goh.
God telling mi ta tale yah phake Pharoah
Tah lett mi chirren’s goh.
Ah noh ah hatta bee roun ewe sum moh.
Butt itell bee worfwile,
Cuz God wantz freedom,
Fah ebbery chile.
Yah hut mi fah alil wile,
Butt we’ll bee at da prahmased lan’,
An out uv yah Egypt.
Cuz fah awl uv uz ta prospa,
Iz God’s plan.
Ansoon we won’ be roun ewe no moh.
Wheel nat laugh leyek yah didaht mi.
Win trajudee nocks aht yah doh.
Wheel helpyah cuz God,
Wantz uz awl tah bee free.
Frum dah phake phone’ powah,
Uv da enumee.
Staring head on in the face
What is happening in each corner of this dreadful place
I don’t want to say rather me that you
I wish there was something I could do
Children for sale just isn’t right
Buts its happening day and night
He loved you too, you know
Loved you like his very own
In away you were
You came into his life as my friend
Through the years you grew to be my brother in arms
Along the way you became the son he never had
He loved you as a friend
He loved you even more as a son
A son he never had
When things began to spiral out of control
You stayed when so many others ran away
You helped when I couldn’t
You meant a great deal to him
You never looked at him differently
Nor did you treat him differently
You stood by his side
When he fell, you stood by his side and mine
You were willing to help me fight his battle for him
You were there from the beginning
You were there until the bitter end
Always remember my friend, my brother
He loved you more than you’ll ever know
Dedicated to close Family friend Rodney Howard. He loved my Daddy just as much as I did/do.