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Lyric History Poems | Lyric Poems About History

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Details | Narrative | |

Heinrich Heine Revisited

I can clearly sense your utter despair of Der Matratzengruft*
As you valiantly carried on your poetic works to the very end.
This did not change your literary accomplishments well-known,
And your courage through the misery and morphine* is undeniable.

Your lyrical poetry speaks volumes among all of German literature,
And it was most marvelously set to music by the likes of Schumann,
Schubert, Silcher, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and Strauss—to name a few. 
Their melodic tones as applied to your verses then, now live on forever!

Your role in and principal contributions to Romanticism fall in line
With the highest quality of your poetic language and its intention.
Your role in battling early nineteenth-century censorship in Prussia set 
You out front of many of your contemporaries who resisted much less.

It’s so tragic Herr Heine that your literary resistance so prominent in
Challenging Prussian censorship would make you ever so more noted,
And besmirched as the Nazis in 1933 burned your books and those of
Other German scholars as a reflection of their insane and twisted beliefs!

It’s with great irony indeed that the banning and burning of your works by 
The Nazis was parodied further by them as they ignobly quoted and used
Your famous line from “Almansor,”* when you likened that “where books 
Are burned, in the end people will be burned too.” We know what they did!

And so, with both honor and sadness I do understand the very cry of lament
From the confines of your mattress-grave about your final exquisite poetry,
Written through writhing pain and tears as you faced the end of your life.
It took great courage to face your end like this while staying true to your Muse!

Gary Bateman, Copyright © All Rights Reserved (December 15, 2014) 
(Narrative Quatrain poetic format)

AUTHOR’S NOTES:
*Der Matratzengruft from the German means “The Mattress-Grave.” 
(Heinrich Heine was confined to his bed, his “mattress-grave,” in 1848
with various illnesses until his eventual death eight years later in 1856.)

*Heine poetically referred to his pain predicament in the poem “Morphine,”
written near the end of his life, when he noted in two famous verses: 
“Gut is der Schlaf, der Tod ist besser—freilich / Das beste waere, nie
Geboren sein.” (In English: “Sleep is good, Death is better—of course, /
Best of all would be never to have been born.”)

*Almansor was a play written by Heine in 1821 that had a most famous 
line in German: “Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort wo man Buecher verbrennt,
verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.” (Rendered in English: “That was
but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people as
well.”) The significance here is that as the Nazis burned the books of Heine
and other German artists on the Opernplatz in Berlin in 1933, they actually
celebrated this event by “engraving” Heine’s famous words from “Almansor”
in the ground at the Opernplatz site. The obvious depravity of this terrible
event reflects the innate cruelty, stupidity and evil of the Nazis as they 
burned the books and defiled the names and reputations of Heine and other 
famous German writers. Their actions were monstrous and shameful, and 
were indicative of mankind’s base instincts at their very worst. Moreover, 
despite converting to Protestantism from Judaism in 1825, Heine’s Jewish 
origins played a continuing presence in his life and were one of the major 
factors for his being scapegoated by the Nazis later in 1933. And besides,
the Nazis were always more interested in burning books, rather than 
reading them!  


Details | Lyric | |

Montage Poetry

The words we use become pictures into lives
Pictures from words spread out for all to see
This is what becomes of our poetry
Has the makings of a montage to me
With words we complete many pictures
Pictures then arranged to fit in closeness
And so with our poetry I do believe
We create a montage for all to see


Details | Lyric | |

New Deal

New Deal

Black Tuesday
     October 1929
     Vanishing wealth; stocks decline

Great Dust Bowl
     Windstorms and drought, top soil gone
     Breadbasket empty; nature’s con

FDR
     He’s the man, New Deal imposed
     Opportunities renewed; hopes rose

New Deal Reigns
     Work offered by the CCC
     Saves the lost American dream

Recession Echo
     The winter plunge 2009
     Who will save our dreams this time?

Reality Knocks
     Frustration with Congress, current events
     November elections a time to vent

New Deal Needed
     Americans looking for leadership
     Power from sheep about to be stripped



*For Constance, a Rambling Poet’s “Create your own form, maybe?” contest
By Carolyn Devonshire
I work frequently in this form that I choose to call “Headline Couplets.”  It includes a 
headline followed by rhyming couplets that address the concept, person or event in 
the first line of three-line verses.  Probably inspired by my years as a journalist.


Details | Lyric | |

Aliens Choking on Oxygen

I was here I was here First I was here First Take a breath of oxygen Your choking on confidence The lights are on but you cant see Slit wrist Bleed You took my life from me Let us come back You stole the air we breath Let us come back I was here first Choking on oxygen I was here first Choking on oxygen I was here first Choking on oxygen You took my life from me Let us come back You stole the air we breath Let us come back Choking Like Aliens Choking on oxygen
to hear the song search youtube for "Aliens Choking on Oxygen" Heliosonic written by Sara Perle and Omar Masri


Details | Dramatic Verse | |

the day you flew to Heaven


           We knew , it was if a moment stopped in time 
              hearing the news before most of the World did
           He loved to fly his plane from Colorado to Monterey Bay
           He was a avid golfer at Pebble Beach respected 

           He had loves and passions from many places 
           deciding to fly low through the overcast red sunset
            Not only did he love music and inspire all 
            He loved his Plane , he will always remain a beautiful Soul

              The next day it was confirmed ..all saddened 
             It was John Denver's plane that went down
             Today in Pacific Grove stands the Memorial 
             So Kiss me and smile for me we will ~
              always in loving memory 
               OH babe ,  do we hate you go ~    
                            
    

         Inspired by ; contest in Music and Loss of an Artist
                   "Leaving on a Jet Plane "
             


Details | Lyric | |

The Old Homestead

Orphaned footsteps round the old place.
Pitch black soil, packed deep with bartered
coin and Indian heads – wood and otherwise,

coat her worn leather shoes, Hutterite chic. 
The long land screams within its own silence.
Prairie sage burns somewhere, a ghostly smudge

for the undulating grass and, those it serves.
Its alive scent makes the dead turn towards 
its head - and the barely living turn to listen. 

The impossibly endless horizon holds its bright 
blue at bay, begging acknowledgement for 
its self-professed being and looming enormity.

She looks at the broken window glass and 
through the tattered, delicate gray lace. “Those 
were hers.” She whispers to the one who listens. 

This great-great-granddaughter sees the curtains 
as they once were – wistful in the hot Manitoba 
wind; fresh and lowing with the honest elemental 

scent of aspens, hope and bare-knuckle wash boards; 
always fresh; shifting in the cry for solace in summer 
shadows – never as still as this moments endlessness.

Blowing through the deep brown of splintered pine 
front doors; cracking the announcement of cast iron, 
rot and burnt wood comes the simple statement of – 

I lived. This mother of five young does not cry, 
just yearns to walk in the old ones footsteps;
to know them loved; hear the birdsong through

unbroken bedroom windows for a 5am waking; 
feel the resistance of dough on fingers that beg 
to be broken, and kiss the twisting undead, living. 


The burning of the noonday sun taps her whole,
marking; branding her pale Swedish skin its own.
The red sting of burnt breaks her inward silence, 

welcoming her familiar face home.




© Kristin Reynolds 3 29 2009

*Reposted for John's Summer Celebration Contest. This is a personal celebration; 
celebrating and honoring my great grandparents who settled in Manitoba after leaving 
Sweden and Denmark. This celebrates the summer of family, at least for me. We went there 
every summer until it was gone...


Details | Lyric | |

If History Was Food

< Plato liked his full
Ceaser liked his salad
And Molotov had a burning desire for cocktails
And of cause Wellington was upper crust
But who do you think had to pay for all this
Monet of cause
But the face of Helen of Troy looked as if she had
MUNCHED A THOUSAND CHIPS >
-----------------------------------------------------


Details | Lyric | |

Inside Job

Building castles in the air,
Gold and diamonds everywhere;
You were the brightest stars in your own skies

In empty space you built your dreams
Behind  computer screens
You rode in long expensive cars
 Drank in all the trendy bars
As all the while you lied and bet
Against the ones who'd hoped to get
Some small piece of our communal pie;
They bought your homes and with them bought the lie.

     It was all an inside job
     Pulled by a faceless mob
     Of bankers, lawyers and their ilk.
     It was all an inside job
     By a thoughtless, greedy mob
     Of men who rob the poor to sleep on silk.

Smoking candles, fallen flowers
Foreclosed homes and broken hours -
This is the aftermath of what you've done,
Games ill played and  ill begun.

And the rich keep getting richer
Though they've painted us the picture
Of what happenswhen you set the weasels free.
They've no concern for you or me
Or the discrepancies we see;
Should be enough for us that they should always be.
No one's punished ,no one pays,
And they remain, complacent in their ways.

     It was all an inside job
     Staged by the untouched mob
     Of bankers, lawyers and their ilk.
     It was all an inside job
     Perpetrated by the mob
     Of men who rob the poor to sleep on silk.

And now this evil season
Has descended without reason
And the sheep will stand and wait
To receive their unearned fate.

I hope you're proud, you sleep at night
While masses live by candlelight
May your riches find you lone and cold
When you at last are frail and old
And no one mourns your passing days
And none thought loyal will stay
To watch with you all through the coming gloom
That pushes you, now helpless, to your tomb.

Castle building in the air
Gold and diamonds everywhere;
The brightest stars will dim away
Replaced by others, other days.

     And so it goes, the inside job
     Brought off by the blacksuited mob
     The bankers, lawyers and their ilk.
     The framers of the inside job
     That heartless, faithless, grasping mob
     Will one day drown, beneath a sea of silk.


Details | Lyric | |

Phryne II

Greece you are waiting for me.
With white speechless marbles
within the August heat.
With sullen and loveless areopagites
carving my name on sea-shells.

Hypereides, you liar.
Praxiteles, oh so blind.
You Xenocrates, son of the *****.

And me that I was thought
I would return bearing banners
to rebuild your Thebes.

A roar under the earth.
Ashes in the wind.
Athens rises in the sky
and charges against me.

Why should I be afraid?
Why should I run for a shelter?
No!
I don’t want you to cover my eyes.
I want to see the terror in yours,
when after the execution
you’ll find me at the exit,
waiting for you
with a molotov cocktail in my hands.


Details | Rhyme | |

My Rodeo Cowboy

papa said 
son what you going to do 
with your life

now that you have 
no money job 
or wife

he said papa
I'm going to 
leave this town

think I'll
join up with the rodeo 
and break them bulls down 

Maybe even rope
me a stallion or
even a clown

Son you better
take another 
look around

for theres no money
for bull riders
thrown to the ground

or being stepped on
by a horse or bull
weighing over eight hundred pounds

Papa I promise 
Ill make you proud
of your rodeo cowboy when I'm done

And promise 
not to be thrown or bucked off
to the ground

So papa please come
visit when our show's
in town

for I'll be 
the one riding high on 
the biggest bull that's found

hanging on for just 
eight seconds while I'm
listening for that bells sound

just kicking those sides
of horses and bulls
jumping up and down

with coming out your
top rodeo champion and
bull rider found



Tribute To
The Rodeo Cowboys 
and Cowgirls


Hang Tough


Details | Ode | |

In Memoriam (Che Guevara)

                            I
I woke up this morning with tears in my eyes,
your face was in the morning paper;
they shot you dead like a dog,
hunted you out all day and night.

                            II
They said you'd always been a bad seed
and youths were dying because of you;
they said you're a criminal on the run
with a dirty face and shaggy head.

                    (Refrain)
But I know you better than they do,
you preached love to all the people;
you fought for them, young and old,
you lit up their nights with your heart.

                            III
And now as I see you lying dead,
it seems my dreams have vanished as well;
they can call you names, any names they want,
but I know there's only one like you, 
there's only one like you, 
there's only one Che Guevara.
              (Repeat Refrain)
                
You lit up their nights with your heart,
you lit up their nights with your heart,
you lit up their nights with your heart.



Details | Lyric | |

If Your Eyes Were Opened

Do you think the stains of ink,
Could've come from somewhere else?
You are not for me;
And, of course, you are his.
Look back on history;
There are things I don't regret.
I can't help but think,
You're the one I should forget.
We've never crossed that bridge;
We've not gone step by step.
Trying to be a friend,
We're both out of our heads.
Would I protect you? Yes;
This is what you fail to see.
If your eyes were more open,
You'd be broken, easily.
If ever I loved you,
Then the choice I had to make,
Was to shield you from the truth,
Of another made mistake.


Details | Lyric | |

Blind Sight

Back in the day when a horse was a need
And a sword was a weapon to fear
Poets were druids and music was magic
And an eye interfered with an ear
So musical poets were blinded by swords
White hot and held very close
So all they had left was a hearing of tone
And  an opening way of reprisal
They felt their duty to blind with their beauty
So that listeners felt so alone
They  would need to be led
And of course would be bled
By the king they had put on the throne
The songs taught them so well
That the king went to hell
And the blinded then held a revival
Nowadays poets can see and be free
Stand on their own and be whole
It’s the way we come into the world
Using all senses the mind comprehenses
To heal all the scars of  the soul
Pain’s for the body to deal with
Soul’s a creation to hold
As the only thing one can own
Leaving  this wonder unfurled
Is the way we go out of this world


Details | Blank verse | |

he is leaving home

                            
                  In great respect of the band I grew up listening to
                       as sure as Mom passed down Saturday Chores 
                      for I had been chosen to scrub bathroom floors `

                    Yet a familiar sound would bring me to keep scrubbing
                       The red album, The blue album , The White album 
                        Then .. Abbey Road , always remembering the sad look on
                  Ringo's face ,  something hard to understand underneath~
                       
                      I get it now, what you were saying all those years ago ,
                    the many sad lonely tears , secret tears , secret fears 
                    For Maxwell's Hammer was a real one . It wanted silence

                    Going back ..remembering when John Lennon died 
                      I was in Arkansas saddened with the world .
                      Then seeing his face saying " Drag isn't it " 
                      No .. this was not my hero in music and song .

                      he was a stand in hired William , he filled his shoes 
                      bringing diversity to create so much beautiful music from loss

                       One left standing , alone;; grief struck on back cover ~
                       The other identity hidden, tried to be part of ..coming together
                                                                                                                                                                        
                            his  world of secrets
                        He to suffers today , in fear , Faul~
                       
                        Too many years gone by .let us tell the Truth. Let us be free
                         The very sad long and winding Road ~
                         Let us Bury our real Paul. 

                         No more " Mystery tour "
                             No more fear 
                                Let him be in peace ~


           Inspired by " The Last Testament of George Harrison , Is Paul Dead ? "

                






Details | Rhyme | |

Kingdom Lost

In summertime, the ivy climbs,
and hides the castle wall.
The king dreams of late,
that the sea is so great,
and yet - his boat is so small.
As swift as a fox and
dark as a raven on wing,
seven hundred soldiers march  
into the valley of the king.
Long overdue, a battle ensues
flanking the powers that be.
Children cry, and good men die, 
the monarch is now on his knee…
Soon the horsemen alone 
try to maintain the throne.
But the long way around
is the shortest way home.
The evening is filled
with chaos and smoke,
and the kingdom is 
stunned by it all…
Soon the sun will go down,
and in spite of his crown, 
the king will undoubtedly fall…
His rival’s strength
was mistaken,
by a king overtaken,
his life is now but a pawn.
His authority lifted,
the power has shifted –
an era of glory is gone…
 
 
 


Details | Ballad | |

NO MAN STANDS ALONE - The Ballad of Barney Ross

CHORUS
No man stands alone
in the street, the ring or the combat zone
some lay in the gutter
some sit on a throne
but no man stands alone

At the age of fourteen 
he had a dream
to become a rabbi 
Chicago 1924
then his dad was killed by men
who tried to rob the family store
his brothers and sisters were sent away
to an orphanage where they would stay
and though his faith was blown away
he vowed to bring them home someday

To God and man revenge he swore
he walked with gamblers, 
hoods and whores
he fit right in 
then on a whim
he walked into a boxing gym
he fought Canzoneri in ‘33
for the lightweight title victory
he made up with God 
and finally
he could reclaim his family

Those McLarnon fights 
were the stuff of lore
the only man 
to ever put him on the floor
he won two out of three, 
then in the Armstrong bout
he nearly died 
but was never knocked out
then in 1941
the Japanese pulled a sneaky one
so he joined the marines 
and he got a gun
and he sailed into the rising sun

On Guadalcanal, 
he fought so brave
overmatched like old King Dave
he put twenty attackers 
in an early grave
for the one marine 
whose life he saved
in a hospital bed 
for months and days
they kept him in a morphine haze
then sent him home 
strung out and beat
to the pushers on the mean, mean street

Hollywood was very keen
to put his story on the silver screen
but they focused on the drug abuse
he tried to sue 
but what’s the use?
Barney Ross was brave and strong
they couldn’t keep him down for long
his rabbi said that he must try
to be a model Jew in the public eye

but from the public eye he slipped
like a phantom radar blip
they say he hunted Nazi criminals
and he ran some guns to Israel

Barney Ross was brave and strong
I thought that he deserved a song
he did some bad
he did some good
and he saved the world
the best he could


Details | Lyric | |

Country Boy, City Slicker On CD

Well, I moved into town to live like a city slicker,
Loaded my truck, found a place, and here I am,
Though a country boy has a head a bit thicker,
City life is not so hard to understand,

And I've been learnin' how to use a computor,
How to do some picture takin' with a cell phone,
How to get insurance for my truck and motor scooter,
But city life is nothing like back home,

Because where I come from, they call it the boonies,
Dirt roads, back woods, life as country as can be,
Though now I'm mixed in with all the town loonies,
They'll never take the country out of me,

Yea, I can still plant me a nice little garden,
Though not nearly as big as it use to be,
And still listen to country music, Dolly Parton,
She's on my coffee mug for all to see,

And I still get to do some dear huntin'
For those split tails runnin' 'round here,
And I make sure to keep my truck tuned and runnin'
By way of Auto Zone, or I'd run out of beer,

Yea, I livin' in the hood, straight from the boonies,
It's great be an American and free,
Though I'm mixed in good with all the town loonies,
They'll never take the country out of me,

Yea, I moved into town to live like a city slicker,
And I'm doin' the best that I can...
I can drive by Churchill Downs and hear the horses nicker,
I'm just a country boy with a city slicker plan,
I can drive by Churchill Downs and hear the horses nicker,
I'm still a country boy, yea, that's who I am,
Though a country boy has a head a bit thicker,
City life is not so hard to understand.


Details | Idyll (Idyl) | |

Beethoven Opus 133---poetically

Contractual agreements with publisher caused DELETION


Details | Haiku | |

Haikus About God: III

Beauty of nature
Why condense it down to God?
Isn’t life enough?


Details | Haiku | |

Haikus About God: V

Omniscient guy
Yet he lets bad things happen
How can he exist?


Details | Haiku | |

Haikus About God: IV

God made all people
But some better than others?
Stop being silly.


Details | Lyric | |

Ancient History

I went to the VA Hospital and was surprised to see
that most of the patients were old gray haired fools like me.
I asked: “Where are all of the wild young boys who went to the ‘Nam?”
I was told that they were now a small footnote in the annals of ancient history.
I asked: “How can that possibly be?”
I was told that history books are written by stern professors in college backrooms
and not by the wild young boys who actually survived the events of ancient history.


Details | Lyric | |

If History Was Food Part 2

If history was food part 2








Details | Haiku | |

Haikus About God: VI

The body: sacred
We’re all made in God’s image
Hence... circumcision?


Details | Lyric | |

Come Lie With Me

Come lie down.
Beside me 
there’s no other.
Push my firm words
inside your head, 
my hard love,
‘cause tough love 
crack tough skull.
You’re revolving on the rim.
Come,
come down to me, 
a stream of knowledge.

A woman was here.
Inside my head
I hold books.
She went with bungalow 
and children.
Children are children; 
like monkeys they mimic 
Her every step painted in vivid green.
Come, 
come lie down.
Beside me my story is. 
The truth 
is never a tale 
spilled from sweetened lips. 

Come, 
come down here, 
come lie down.
Beside me 
there is none 
that can whisper this chronicle, 
my chocolate story – 
bitter-brown  – 
composed with blood and feather pen.
Sculpted in her head is 
her post-colonial self.
Come taste of the wine I’m poured.
Come, come,
come lie with me.


Details | Ballad | |

Antigone

I am the face of misery
My life, a dissonance of autumn and spring,
The years are written in the same
Lugubrious, nostalgic grey
How can it be the author to blame?
I cannot scream this all away…
Burn nor Bleed this all away…
To Death I am Ordained

Lacuna ever growing
With Velvet sheets of life flowing
Aeons apart of my "royalty"
Under the mask the cannot see...
Can you dispel this tragedy:
Antigone - Epiphany failing

If it must be…
Then just kill me,
(Antigone) sing me out of reality;
I wear this dissonant crown of shame
(Antigone) Of a kingdom's disdain
I hate to be this way... normalcy's bane
(Antigone) Here comes the edict, to blame
The sordid child of Thebes,
This is me,
Antigone

No words of hope
No words of hate
Do I have Lenore to send to me:
The sordid child of Thebes
Caught In the longest nightmare
life - the slowest way to die

I know this is my life 
But I'm not under control
under the mask the will see
Just Another Human

If it must be…
Then just kill me,
(Antigone) sing me out of reality;
I wear this dissonant crown of shame
(Antigone) Of a kingdom's disdain
I hate to be this way... normalcy's bane
(Antigone) Here comes the edict, to blame
The sordid child of Thebes,
This is me,
Antigone

If it must be…
Then just kill me,
(Antigone) sing me out of reality;
I wear this dissonant crown of shame
(Antigone) Of a kingdom's disdain
I hate to be this way... normalcy's bane
(Antigone) Here comes the edict, to blame
The sordid child of Thebes,
This is me,
Antigone

Can you dispel my life; this tragedy?
Can you control the storm in my mind?
I'm asking you: can you rid me
Of The Curse of Antigone?


Details | Lyric | |

Come As You Are

At one point in my life i was an artist
I used to paint and draw
Covering a piece of paper
In beautiful colors
And my art told a story
The sort of story you couldn't talk about
I used to go to school every day
Showing up late 
Wasn't something I'd do
But i dropped out
Leaving my education behind
I played the bass guitar
In a band called 
The Nocturnal
My fingers ran against that bass
Pure magic
The sound of the gods
Setting out to destroy the world
Pure Punk straight from Seattle
At one point i was clean
Sober and pure like a new born baby
Falling further into 
What you now call 
"disapointment"
Screwing up my veins
with every shot of herion
Killing my brain cells
With every joint i smoked
Clogging up my nose 
With every pill you could have known
I used to write lyrics
About my life
My childhood
I used to write journals
The ones you read in the book 
that was published of me
I got up on that stage every night
As i was
Nothing fake
Nothing glamourous
Only a few scars
One shot of heroin
Come as you are
The words only speak for 
Themselves


Details | Ballad | |

Deadman Wonderland

Now that you're becoming Undone It's time to have some fun In Deadman Wonderland Khoon Tu Kao Khoon Tu Kao Khoon Tu Kao The setting Red Sun of Kali Shows it's time for your life to Pay We are the Kind to be feared -your friends We look like anyone you see Thuggee--Death's Devotees Face our treachery Bhowanee we must please She needs more--we have found our mark, our mark Won't you be the one to save humanity? Can't you see this is Deadman Wonderland Khoon Tu Kao Khoon Tu Kao Khoon Tu Kao Sacrifice! For The Black-Skinned Queen Sacrifice! For Our Mother Kali Sacrifice! It's Not Enough Sacrifice! No Mercy! This is Deadman Wonderland Deadman Wonderland This is Deadman Wonderland Deadman Wonderland


Details | Lyric | |

Gathering Dust

In a well guarded place for two hundred and eighteen years
hangs a painting that is rare and revere but so well persevered 

The work is oil on white Lombardy poplar panel
when years ago a candle would show her glow and enigmatic pose

A mysterious smile that will make you sit and stare for awhile
having the most writings and songs about her 
in the Louvre of Paris she is their heiress

No matter her age or where she may hang
over the years at times she has gathered dust

The Mona Lisa is still the worlds most mysterious 
a creation of Da Vinci's innermost piece.

T Reams     5th place


Details | Lyric | |

The Undisputed

The Undisputed



 I usually prevail when mostly other have doubts,

 as my hostel rival friends taunt, boo and shout,

 when they know my mind is focus on that title bout.

 I took the stubborn champ to the limit with a reserve

 of deadly impact of fresh crushing blows therefore

 had the ruthless undefeated champ dazed, shocked,

 and lay resting looking at my dancing toes as

 I exit to go ending the big show.


 2/15/11 by Keith K. Relf