I joined the Brownies when I was seven
Oh what fun I was in seventh heaven
Having fun and making new friends
But in the Brownies my life almost ends
We were doing badges - this particular one was for swimming
I wasn’t a strong swimmer and was having lessons
We sat on edge of the baths in our costumes and hats
Then we had to swim along the side of the middle of the pool
To gain our badge we had to swim a width all the way across
I’d only ever swum in the shallow end before
But everyone else was swimming across…
So I started off… got halfway across…
And then I got into trouble
Began to go under the water…
I sank to the bottom of the pool
Two men dived in to save me
My parents were frantic
They had been watching me ‘swim’
And were sitting upstairs on the balcony
Unfolding before their very eyes
Was their worse nightmare
Thankfully these two men saved my life
All I can remember was being rather ill at the side of the pool
As the water came gushing out of me
One memory I have is of being given chocolate buttons to eat on the way home
I was awarded by Brownie badge – guess it was out of guilt
I never did complete that width.
Now I am scared of deep water
If anyone asks me if I can swim…
I say ‘yes’… like a stone!
Contest: Near Death Or Near Life Experience
Sponsor: Anthony Slausen
Copyright © JAN ALLISON
I'm always there, in that place that doesn't mean a thing to anyone but me. A far away
meadow where I don't have to hide all the happiness of a young girls heart. One that has
been ripped apart, so many times. I stare at all the beautiful flowers and trees of my
surroundings and let the wind gently rustle my hair. I close my eyes taking in all these
wonderful things, as I lie on the cool grass. My body mixes in with the air, and I'm blowing
past natures statues and creatures galore. I stop at the edge of a nearby pond, my body
floating softly to the ground as an eagles feather. I look deep into the sparkling image that
makes me who I am. I gracefully touch the water with my fingertips and let the water
shimmer like the stars. A white unicorn grazing near the freshly harvested hay, called out to
me. It approached me as I stood, and nuzzled my arm. I brushed its silk coat and burrowed
my face against her cool cheek. This is the reason I come to this place. To interact with the
things not known or believed in their world. Its just my own, my sound and the behind
scenes of my eyes. It's calm and peaceful, which their world is far from. I'm the only one with
the doorway to this meadow. I love going there, it's like a blanket that warms its comfort
over me when I need it the most. And when I get there, my feelings are a boat sailing to
sea, leaving me filled with perfect serenity. I'll always be there, till the end of all life, and I
know this lovely meadow will never be replaced.
Copyright © Audrey Hays
I remember a riding pony I had as a lad which was born blind. A filly she was born during an
Arkansas blizzard and we did not know that she was blind at first for we kept our horses in our
barn for several days because of the winter storm. We all had fallen in love with her by the time
we learned she was blind and could not bear to put her down. I remember training her to ride
after she was mature enough and I named her “Pet” for she was my riding pony.
We spent many happy days together riding inside the green pastures.
I remember she never refused to let me ride her even the first time. And she learned very
quickly to respond to my voice and she trusted in every command that I gave her.
I would say, “easy Pet” when we would come to rough terrain or an eroded ditch in the
pasture. She would slow to a careful walk, in response to my voice.
I would ride her down into the lower part of the pasture to the creek in hottest part of the day.
Pet could of course smell the water and when she would come near the bank of the creek I
would again say, “easy Pet” and she would respond by slowing to a snail’s pace down the steep
Pet would wade out about belly depth into the water where she would drink her fill of the cool
clear water. And I would use her back as a diving board launch and swim to my heart’s delight.
After she was through drinking I would climb on her back again and give her head to her and
she would trot to the barn where she knew I would give her treats, such as carrots, apples,
sugar cubes and so on.
I remember I never did have the heart to make her run full speed as
I supposed that her blindness was burden enough in her life for her to bear.
It is said of truth that one gets to keep in heaven those things of this life that were loved sufficiently.
I know that my beloved Pet shall be my precious playmate again in the heavenly ethereal of the Spirit.
Pet lives on even now in the depths of my childhood memories. Her loving low neighs as she
approached me by smell, and her nuzzles into my pocket for the sugar cubes she knew would
always be there for her. In heaven I shall see my Pet again, and this time she will see me,
maybe for the first time.
For and in honor of Carol Brown
Copyright © john freeman
I don’t remember any one moment or act that brought myself
and my friends to this moment….maybe it was the night we had
dinner at Aunt Elaine’s house….she had boiled water for the pasta in
tainted water because she had refused to update her data-chip implant,
and her filtered water had been cut off….anyway, everyone was sick
for days…..lesson all of us present heeded…. things we wanted to do like
before seemed out of reach….what with the twice-daily voice-response
activated check-ins…. and the ID line-up queue for food rations…. a guy
couldn’t just up and go fishin’ for the day….or go hiking in the woods,
at the drop of a hat….rumors flew like the wind of people I knew who
escaped to the northwoods, never to be heard from again….. some people
heard of folks arrested and taken to detention facilities….no one knew
where….everyone feared needing any acute medical care…. whether you
returned cured…. or returned at all…. was anybodys guess…. I just wanted
to go fishin’…..
© All Rights Reserved
Copyright © James Marshall Goff
The old man sighed
Sitting on a rock next to a pond
Crookedly balancing Yin and Yang between his eyelashes
Conversing with the Lady of the pond
Jade eyes and un-wrinkled time
In Her beautiful face
Held in his hands
An old fishing rod
Bends and flexes with the times
It holds and catches even the biggest
Devils in the water
The lotus flowers embrace the jade tide
Soft-hearted water caressing unmovable rock
Trees bent in silent reflection
The ultimate knowledge, the Lady whispered
Lies between the murmur of the leaves
The laughter of the lotus
The bend in the trees
These will outlast everything
I shall give knowledge to my sons
And teach them
The old man contemplated
The secession of his life
There is a time to hold on and a time
To let go
This time, his time
Is over, long gone with the Maiden on the Moon
Beckoning him home
He taught the young men
To bend with the rod
To bow to the spirits
To be one with God
To be forceful, to be soft
To listen and to speak
Wise Man’s words
And Foolish Man’s dreams
He told the Old Stories
He sang the Old Songs
Traditions and ancient verses
To light their path through life’s courses
And as each of his sons threw the rod on the ground
Frustrated with the old man’s ways
Outdated methods and foolish wishes
The heavens opened and unleashed
The ultimate Father’s Rage
The rain pounded on the once peaceful pond
Dismantling the flowers and smothering the land
With a wrathful urgency
Drowning the Lady in the lake
Her beautiful jade eyes never again to reflect philosophies
Hidden in the reeds
The lotuses closed onto themselves
Never again to give such a sweet smell
The old man sighed
It’s out of his hands now, it’s out of his hands now
This will outlast
Copyright © Bella Cardenas
A Fountain for Carmela....
In the village of Santa Maria, high in the mountains lived a little girl named Carmela. It has
always been the tradition of the women to carry water from the well no matter how far and bring
it home. This was done sometimes twice a day.
It was another beautiful morning as the Sun began to rise. Outside the front door, brightly
colored Parrots were singing sweet songs as Carmela’s mother, Esperanza, prepared the
morning meal of tortilla’s, black beans and sweet coffee. Carmela so enjoyed sitting next to her
mother by the cooking fire. This was her time, alone with her mother, learning how to tend the
fire and grind the maze that she loved the most.
As her Mother dipped her ladle into the water jug, it was plain to see that it was almost empty.
Carmela looked into the jug and asked….
"Mama, can I carry the water today?" Little Carmela asked, she was so happy to be old enough
to do such a thing. Her mother had taught her how to balance the jug on top of her head just
right, so as not to spill even drop on their many trips to the well. But the well was half a day’s
walk down the mountain and back and she had never gone all by herself. It was a hard task for
sure but her familia needed water for cooking and cleaning.
Copyright © Randall Smith
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
Copyright © Andrew Crisci
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
Copyright © Paula Swanson
Waves crash down on the rocks reducing them to sand
Then sweeps them away to some far off land
The wave roll in covering my feet in sand
In the concept of time I wonder just who I am?
I gaze before me the vastness of the sea
Represents all the possibilities inside of me
I can’t think of any place I would rather be
I have trouble describing there’s so much to see.
I walk out to the rocks to find some treasure
I find many starfish much to my pleasure
It seems that the only way to go is up
So I step up and take a drink from life’s cup.
Peace and tranquility fill me inside
While the waves provide a pretty good ride
The water is cool and so refreshing
All of the pieces seem to be meshing.
A seagull in the water and gets hit by a wave
I dawn a smile and feel I am saved
I like how the sky melts into the sea
Over the horizon sounds like the place to be.
The adventure I’m on may never be through
Sometimes I’m not sure what I should do
I just press on and see what shall become
I like what I see so I try to grab some.
Copyright © Mark Russell
There may be troubled times ahead
if things do not change.
In as little as 30 years monsoons could stop
this is due to deforestation.
To avoid this happening we need to
reforest vast areas.
It is not possible to plant trees without
preparing the land first.
It can take up to 10 years to re-bond the land
and get it stable enough to support trees.
The Monsoon is one of earth's most important
If we lose it climates will change completely
and the earth could be little better than a dust bowl.
Activeremedy.org is fighting hard to avoid this happening
lead by two ladies who have dedicated their lives to this cause.
In a little as 60 years water could cease to exist
and with it life as we know it.
People need to be aware and to find out what they can do.
By working together we can hopefully avert this crisis.
Copyright © Shadow Hamilton
Toasty mornings with teakettles whistling bring to mind Danish days on Marata’s
horse farm, ponies prancing in the unusually warm sunlight, and new fangled
sparkling silver water fountains. Mirada, Karen and Laura’s Mom hosted Bob, Jamie
and I for a summer vacation. We had just settled into the whitewashed kitchen
when the problem was presented to us. For years the housed herd of guest horses
had been watered by filling lovely old white porcelain cast iron tubs which had been
scattered all over the rolling green fields of the farm in Faum.
Mirada had the forward thinking idea of saving farm hand time [and her the hourly
wage] of piping water to these beautiful horses with new fountains! Yes, my
lovelies, all you have to do is push your nose right here. Out bubbles crisp cool clean
water, minus the dead flies, which often drowned in the old tub! Seems horses are
very suspicious. Nope the herd was having none of it. Soon, if not cajoled, they
would be passing out from lack of water in the Danish summer’s heat. What foreign
creature had replaced their friendly old white tub of water? Where was their water?
They saw no water. Sure there was a scent of it from that pole but “What the
heck?” snorted the black stallion shaking his head at the girls.
We were told there would be no breakfast, lunch or dinner for us until we helped
get those horses watered. So off we went, shuffling our feet to a meet and greet
with the herd. Marata and the girls knew the horses. We almost knew a horse from
a cow. I went right up to this large black beauty, pet his nose and rubbed my cheek
on his face, love at first sight! Blackie started following me and we walked toward
the fountain. Then the sun glanced off the dreaded thing and he shied. I pushed the
control, filled my hands with water and brought him some. Lordy, lordy he drank
from my hands! The herd behind him whinnied. I tried to get him nearer the fountain
but it was a no, go. He’d drink from my hands but not the fountain. It just goes to
show you, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink, is really
*The next morning Laura begged her own pony AGAIN to drink. He finally did the rest did too then ;)
Copyright © Debbie Guzzi
In the wee hours of the morning
When the owls and imps were upon the marsh
We would take our old pirogue and paddle into the darkness
Our intent was to catch bullfrogs but anything was game
We were two young boys armed with BB guns and fishing poles
Headlights strapped hard and tight around our skulls
We searched the shore and stumps for eyes glowing in the night
Cypress trees towered overhead and occasionally the canopy would break
And we would see the clouds drifting quickly past and catch a glimpse of the moon
The paddles would never break the waters surface, as silence was our friend
Once we spotted our prey we would move in slowly and my brother would creep
Slowly to the bow. He would bend over the bow reaching out many feet in front of the boat and grab the frog behind the front legs and quickly stash it away into a burlap sack
Every catch brought us great pleasure, as this was no easy feat. We could have shot them with the BB guns but that was illegal and not nearly as fun. On occasion we would have to steal them from a water moccasin that was ready to strike. Those moments were like lighting and only steeled our intentions to catch more.
Once we had caught a dozen or so we would begin to look for other prey to catch or harass (we were teenagers and couldn’t help ourselves). The occasional raccoon caught out in the open was always fun to chase but never pleasurable to have in the pirogue with us. We learned that lesson the hard way one night when I pushed the boat into the fork of a cypress tree with an old mother coon eating a turtle. My brother and I fought like hardened sailors to keep her at bay but both ended up in the water and nearly sank the pirogue.
Other occasions found us pulling loggerhead turtles from the depths and trying to dispatch them before they bit off a finger.
We both have all our appendages to this day, but I swear Lord we tried, we really tried to lose them.
I never saw a frog leg jump from the pan, but the old man did make us slice them at the knees just to be sure we didn’t loose a piece of that meat that tasted better than any chicken I ever ate.
Copyright © Stephen Kilmer
He starts singing songs of Ireland and we are home in a jiffy
"What's a jiffy," my mother wonders
"Guess where we went Granny?"
"I don't know but I have a feeling you are gonna tell me," answers my grandmother
"And Don't call me Granny!"
"We went to church so Poppy could ask secret questions."
"The priest gave Poppy a shot and a beer and Poppy sent me next store and he gave me money for taffy."
"He told me not to tell anyone especially you about the priest cause it's only for the priests ears."
"He said God would take away taffy and I'd never get another goodie and God would strike me dead if I told."
"So I can't tell anyone."
"He did," and she starts yelling and grabs a weapon,"what kind of idiot would be scaring a little child?"
Granny is standing on Poppy's toes and and asking him questions of where he'd been and getting a sniff of his breath
"So what did you tell the priest and him giving you consolation and a shot and beer."
"That little rat ," and thinks about the money for candy
Later, Granny is chasing Poppy with that big iron frying pan and poppy running and singing
"In Heaven they have no beer, that's why we drink it here."
"You damn fool I'm gonna bust you in the head, "and throws the pan at his head
Cousin Francis has bill collectors come to the house looking for him
Granny was four foot seven inches and she starts kicking him in the shin
My Mother grabs his Dick Tracy hat and she jumps on it and flattens it
I ask my mom where I was when this happened and she pauses
" You were in Heaven Patrick waiting with your brother!"
The truancy officers bang on the door and want to know where Uncle Charles is
Granny shrugs and says, "He is upstairs and the sound of the window going up sounds
They all run upstairs and see Uncle sliding down the tree and running as fast as his
seven year legs can move
He comes home later that evening holding a goose under his arm
And Poppy has a soft-boiled goose egg for breakfast every morning
I ask Uncle what happened to that goose and He said,"one day he came home and
they had chicken for dinner."
And Poppy was gone to heaven to get me and my brother ready Mom says
And Granny sits my brother and me on her lap and says,"you two knuckleheads listen up."
"This is very important so don't forget it."
"Treat people the way you want to be treated, because you never know who is going to hand you your last glass of water"
Copyright © Patrick Cornwall
Waves of Change
Changes in life descriptionalized
In comparison to waves of the ocean
Our bodies are made mostly of water
A body of water with flowing emotions
Now an ocean will flow peacefully
Until there is a bit of turbulence
Disrupting from a smooth flow
With the up and down currents
As we walk onto a new path
A different kind of feeling steps in
New ventures can be scary in thought
Of what is left behind when we begin
An air of difference can bring on a spin
To a funnel effect as does a water spout
Sometimes when in the spin motion cycle
We are shaded by clouds and cannot see out
When actually caught within the spin
We do not see the change is there
Our sense of direction is lost
We become totally unaware
If you are the one caught
Within that fast paced spin
You will not be able to see
The shape you are really in
That’s the time we need someone
To give us a tap on the shoulder
It’s not a matter of who knows more
Or which one of the other is older
You’ll need a friend like Dory was
Saying to just keep swimming the sea
To never give up your hopes and dreams
As changes in life really just happen to be
Florence McMillian (Flo)
Copyright © Florence McMillian
I am Canine lupus familiaris
Known as dog
Man’s best friend
Someone to fetch
Someone to catch with
Someone to walk
Since I cannot speak
I watch and listen
I also watch my master drink sour water from cans
As he and his friends laugh
Their shrill laughter becoming louder and louder
Their voices hurting my ears until I leave the room.
One week master was excited
The phone rang constantly
A jarring message
A three day weekend
More sour water
More loud noise
Then suddenly I was left alone
Quickly and firmly
The door closed to me
At first I was glad for the silence
My eyes grew accustomed to the dark
Hungry, I searched the house
Found food and some water
I could smell the bags of dog food in the pantry
But it was no use
I couldn’t unlock the door
But I was brave
I didn’t panic
I made do with what I had
I conserved what little food was left in my doggie bowl
I drank water only when needed
I pooped in the bathroom
Like my Master always did
But it wasn’t enough
By the third day the water was gone
The doggie bowl empty.
When the door opened three days later
Master walked in
Sour water on his breathe
Short angry hissing words escaped his lips
When he found me
Alone and hungry
Rubbing his face
More short words followed
Anger directed at himself for neglecting me
Then he hugged me
Suddenly there was water
There was food
Looking up at him
My eyes told him
My father was the Wolf
From the frozen North
My mother the She Wolf
Who ruled the forest
And guarded the wolf dens
I came from strong genes
I learned how to survive.
Copyright © Edmund Siejka
The rush of swish against the shoreline
The wind blowing swift by is a sign
A storm a brewing, clattering, and shattering
The thunder clapping a great sky battering
The waves swoosh higher up
As you can get this sound like in a cup
But more so just cover your hand
Now the feeling of grit giving sound to sand
Whoosh! the wind takes your hair
It is fear-est when water spit as it declare
War on your skin, with vibration that pings
And the silence of slow blowing wind sings
Copyright © Reynaldo Mast
(Good Advice Spurned)
Grandmother packed a picnic lunch.
Brother, sister, and I, with two uncles
traipsed into the woods,
in search of adventure.
We found it.
We ate our picnic lunch, sitting
on a fallen tree, spanning the creek.
We sampled “Rabbit Ice,” formed
on weeds, hugging the stems
in smooth, thin white curls.
We drank creek water in cupped hands,
so cold, we shivered.
“Let’s build a fire,” my brother said.
Uncle Larry cautioned, “You’d better not.
You’ll set the field on fire.”
We built the fire,
warmed our cold hands.
As the circle of fire began to spread,
we beat it with branches,
water carried from the creek in our hats.
Undaunted, the fire ate up the dry grass,
spreading like a pond ripple
from a rock thrown in.
Uncle Larry refused to join
our efforts to ‘beat out’ the fire.
He stood, callously laughing
at our futile efforts.
The entire field burned.
We worried all afternoon.
What would Granddad say,
when he saw the black field
from the kitchen window?
Copyright © Cona Adams
Oh,no!not again,my book is in a mess.vomits of inks all over my notes.
My pen is drunk again.Stench!,stench of vomits everywhere.As it wobbles
from line one to line four...No!no matter what I must finish this piece,so
that I can have peace.I`m writing a Sedoka to a wonderful damsel and....
the ground is spinning,I`m feeling very dizzy; Hiccups.....hic...cups this is
frustrating,oh! it`s not me,it`s my pen....then I travel to the world of
extreme bliss where I`m married to a princess in a golden castle....
with plenty cattle...the sky is blue as the flowers bloom and the stars
are sparkling;Oh,yes!I`ve been here before~the apex of glory...
cool cosy water fall touching my head....De ja vu ~~de ja vu....inks
dripping on my feet...Ha!my pen~~I jerk back to life....thick inks flow
out of my drunken pen forming a sea of water on my notes.Oh!smell
of whisky fills the air.......my Sedoka is ruin.Ha!my princess in the Ca..
cas..tle..;Wha..t an illusion..Staggering..waggling...rambling, my pen
Copyright © olusegun Arowolo
We left the barracks in mid-March,
With snow still on the ground,
Drove two days across the border,
To participate in a multi-national event,
Commemorating the World War II atrocities,
The Japanese called Death Marches.
Our soldiers, sailors, and airmen,
Were marched relentlessly across the Philippines.
Bataan Death March,
Where only the strongest survived.
Today I march for them,
For fallen comrades,
Recognizing their sacrifices.
Freedom’s price so high, paid with our brothers lives.
Here I am, out of water, as I march through the deep sands;
Bataan Memorial Death March,
Where quitting is not my option,
As my brothers marched without choice.
Wounded warrior, I suffered through dehydration,
Through pain in joints already injured in service to my country.
Out of water, I did not worry, for I knew;
The human body’s capability to survive,
For days on end in relentless conditions,
I marched on, to the end…
16 Feb 2015
© 2015 CM Davidson Pickett
Copyright © C.M. Davidson-Pickett
My first concern was to contact family, friends and employees that might be in the
immediate vicinity of the event. We are one of those lucky stories where my wife
had a doctor’s appointment and did not go to work that morning, otherwise - well,
I’d rather not think about otherwise.
Given what I do and where I was living at the time, I spent the rest of the week
trying to find corporate real estate immediately available for occupancy and doing
interviews. If you do a web search on my name and “eagle rock” you can still find
some of those articles.
Early Saturday morning, I took my one son who still lived at home onto the city to
volunteer our assistance. We took the Jersey City ferry into midtown. At first, we
made our way to the Javits Center where volunteers were to gather. Even at 6:30
in the morning this place was pure chaos with hundreds of people wandering
around with no organization.
We decided this was a lost cause and started walking down towards the World
Trade Center. What a surreal experience this was. For 30 blocks we walked down
the middle of NYC streets without any traffic in site. No taxis; no cars; no buses; no
pedestrians. It felt like a scene out of a science fiction movie with NYC totally barren
of life, save for the two figures making their way downtown.
A few blocks from downtown, we were met by roadblocks. We walked up and down
a few streets to see if there was any place we could be of service. We came upon a
street with a man on the other side of the blockade handing out water bottles to
rescue workers returning from the WTC. We asked the police officer if we could
assist the man and he let us inside the barrier.
The supply of water bottles was getting low so I gave the man $200 and he went
off to purchase more. Meanwhile, my son and I handed bottles of water to rescuers
covered in sweat and soot. Over time, a crowd started building up behind the
barriers and people started cheering and clapping for each rescue worker as they
came up to get some water.
Somehow, whenever the water bottle supply got low, a new supply arrived. My son
and I spent hours handing out water to tired and thirsty rescue workers as the
crowd grew and the cheering increased. It was just our way of providing what little
help we could and it helped us, personally, come to terms with what had taken place
in our own backyard.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of that tragic day on September 11. I hope we
Copyright © Joe Flach
In the summer of 1949, I lay in the grass in "Grannys" back yard picking clovers with 8 year
old Ada Bee, my black and only friend. Ada Bee had six fingers on her left hand and picking
Clovers meant that I could stare at her hand without embarrassing either one of us.
My "Granny" was actually a neighbor who had taken us in when my father left. She was kind
and took brother and me fishing; cooked cornbread on the fireplace; made snow ice
cream;taught us to can and love the Lord.
On my special clover picking day, my blood grandmother, "Mammaw" came for a visit, which
usually lasted a month because she had no actual residence and pawned herself off at one
of her eleven children's homes during the year.
It was now my mother's turn to house Mammaw, though mother had no actual residence,
either. Hopefully Granny would like Mammaw since they both loved to fish and Mammaw
would have a place to live for another month out of the year.
Ada Bee and I were giggling just as Mammaw walked up, ecstatic that we had found a four
leaf clover. I smiled anxious to tell her of our luck, but instead she grabbed my hair and
began pulling it with vengeance and slapping me hard.
I was in shock as I ran all over Grannys' 13 acres, cutting my legs on the barbed wire fence
and blackberry thorns, falling down, as she continued to chase me with a big Hickory stick.
When I finally made it back to Grannys house, Ada Bee was gone.
"Granny, Granny, I screamed, please help me!"
"No Josie! Granny said, Ada Bee is a nice little girl and there isn't anyone else to play with
around here!" Granny kept turning in circles covering me with her big apron so that Mammaw
couldn't hit me with that stick. She could have easily said, "Josie, please leave my home",
but she didn't.
It was at age eight, that I learned people are prejudiced and have hate in their hearts and
this hate is further harvested by what they teach their children. It was then that I learned
never to judge a person by the color of their skin. There have been times when I have
wished that everyone could feel the intrusion on innocence that I felt as it may have made
them a better human being.
I also learned that God does not love one of his creations more than he loves another of his
creations. Nor does he love one land more than another land that he created.
Someday, I hope He will tell me what happened to my friend Ada Bee for I never saw or
heard from her again.
Copyright © Judy Konos
One of life’s sunshine days
A pleasant walk down to the river
Scene of all basking in high summer sun
Sheep graze roaming enamoured of the warm grass
The river flowing passing on its ancient meandering way
A self carved path by an enticement no choice drawn to the sea
And over the river and water meadows comfy white cottages seen
The bright garden colours given now a soft focus by haze and distance
Onto the river bridge the weight an impetus of water a few feet down below
Grey stone ancient buttress shaped by old artifice granting water a gentle pass
Auric and glistening the strong suns noonday blazing light beams down
Lit the riverbed of soft golden sands transmuted a bronze by depth
Flanking green reeds softly sway the gentle current persuades
Shadows shapes seen moving contrary and counter way
Lovely minnow’s dark tops sides a silver hidden
Viewed unseen but in this summer light
Serendipity favour a glance a view
Perhaps a little peep
Copyright © Nigel Fox
In the 80's I lived in Anchorage Alaska. You could go anywhere and catch salmon till your arms fell off. I would drive for hours to fish in completely desolate (of people) lakes. There were several lakes that were so clear you could see the trout swimming two hundred feet down (they were 8 to 28 inches long) you could see the bottom of every lake just by peering over the edge of the boat. After several years of catching these trout that were as long as your arm, I checked the map for new and more challenging lakes. I found a lake Southwest of Wasilla that had "fingers" cut into one side of it. Each one was 50 by 2,000 foot long, obviously man made. I didn't bring my boat and planed to fish these "fingers" from the bank.
I had snapped my Fly pole running through the trees and was tired from all the the frantic running. I rigged up my Casting pole and walked out to where the water was just above my knees, between two trees 20 feet apart. 15 min went by and I figured I better change lure. My right foot had sunk past my ankle in the silt and I pulled hard to get unstuck. My left foot sunk deeper. I had been in this situation before and kept working to get at least one foot unstuck.
Almost an hour went by and the water was to my waist, I had mud to my calves and the waders were like a second skin. I couldn't move, I tried everything. By now the water was up to my armpits. I saw my cooler float by and then my tackle box (and needless to say, my life too) That's when I started yelling help. There was no body on these lakes and I knew it. I went under water and tried to dig my legs free, only to run out of air! I came up yelling help. I yelled only to hear my echos of help, I had a wife and two daughters to live for. I was done.
That's when I heard a calm voice say "catch this knife" I looked over and it was an old man in his 80's. I told him I was stuck real bad- he said, "I know, cut em off" and tossed me a knife- It was a perfect ten foot toss and I caught it! I went under water and sliced my waders from the hip to the thigh (240 bucks worth)- when I came up again he was reaching out his walking stick to pull me out. It was 5 feet too short. I yelled at him to come closer, "just grab hold of the tree branch there and I could reach it" He shook his head and said again "cut em off" and then he walked away behind the trees.
Copyright © Mitch White
I plunge into this big body of water about 2a.m. Pacific time
I can’t believe I am declining so quickly
Feet first now I am drowning in the water
I just lost my breath my touch I lost myself and her tragically
I can’t play Marco polo with no one I was just crying for attention and love
I need cure doctor I need a higher dose
I am deep in the water
I just had jump feet first in this water
I can’t see my destination
I do not known how longer I would dwindle before I reappear to the surface
I am drowning because I am suffering from depression I believe this is the best medicine for the moment no more Advil and Percocet
Sorry doctor I Don’t need no more blood pressure medicine either
I am deep in the water is my best substance, uncomfortable it’s sounds but this what depression is like
I had lost my touch because I didn’t believe in Miracles
I had broken heart since the age of 21
All I really needed was someone to listen to my thoughts but you had ignored me just like everyone else
I am deep in the water
Copyright © christopher michaels
What's on the Cover
by Amy Swanson
"Fat, fat, the water rat,"
the other children said -
and she could never after
get that phrase out of her head.
Little girl would anxiously
await the time for play,
praying silently that they
would not tease her today.
Every recess was the same
and each day she would cry,
at times she felt so hideous
she wanted to just die.
She had to work three times as hard
to lose a little weight
while others could eat anything
that sat upon their plate.
She grew into her teen years
all too quickly she found out
that if her food did not stay down
no longer she'd be stout.
She knew that this was not the way,
a miserable eating plan;
but it made the teasing stop,
she even met a man.
She kept her secret very well
continued it for years
while going through life's motions,
hid behind her silent tears.
Folks would say "You're beautiful,"
but if they only knew
just what it took to stay that way
they'd have a different view.
Life goes on, and time went by
no matter how she tried
she never felt like she belonged
sometimes she sat and cried.
Society cares far too much
for lust of lovely things,
And those that don't like what they see
will quickly clip the wings
of someone else who won't conform
to this world's shape and image.
It matters not, their brains or heart,
it's more about the visage.
She raised her head and looked into
the mirror, with wet eyes
she shook her head and suddenly
she came to realize
she was as good as anyone
with so much love to give -
she'd died inside, a slave to scales
she now wanted to live.
She splashed cool water on her face
and made a solemn vow
today would be a fresh new start
beginning here and now.
This is not just one girl's story
many share her tale;
warnings of bulimia
oft met with no avail.
If only we could look beyond
the flesh of one another;
True value based on what's inside,
not what's on the cover.
Copyright © Amy Swanson
The water rushed by pulling at me as I struggled to hold onto the moss covered
rocks, but they were slippery and my hands to not grasp them. I was getting
tired and the water was numbing cold, it seemed to want me. Was I to die today,
to be washed away in this fast moving stream and down the rapids. The sound
of the water was a roar. I could scream, but I would not be heard in this ravine.
It was a beautiful day for a walk in nature and looking down at the sparkling
water I had thought it seemed so lovely. I wanted to get some photographs so,
I made a decision to take what appeared to be a path down to the stream. I
stepped onto it and it seemed fine, so I began the descent. It was a bit steeper
than it had appeared and I found myself holding onto branches. I noticed the
ground was wet and soggy and suddenly I was falling, tumbling, crashing
through the lush foliage and coming to a stop in the water.
It was deep and the current was strong and I knew that I only had moments.
"Dear Lord, I don't want to die today, not today, not like this!" In my mind,
I saw myself floating with my beautiful hair flowing around me and my eyes
staring up, unseeing, at the Lord's painted sky. "Dear Lord, help me, help me!"
It was then, that I noticed a branch hanging out over the water and I grabbed
it, and pulled and pulled myself up onto the rocks. Why had I not noticed that
branch before? I climbed up the slope on my hands and knees to the top.
I was covered in mud and leaves as I staggered home, and still I had not seen
a single person in the park. At home I stripped off my muddy clothes and put
on my nightgown. I climbed into bed and pulled up the covers and I wept and
wept. I gave thanks to the Lord for being there for me in my terrible time of
need. He gave me back my life, that branch was his helping hand. The Lord
has a plan for me and it was not written that I was to die this day. I am so
thankful for this chance and for the important lesson learned.
Nature can be both beautiful and deadly, it must be respected, for it can
be cruel and unfeeling.
September 14, 2015
For the contest, Giving Thanks, sponsor, Edward Ebbs
Copyright © Broken Wings
to tell the truth i have to tell the tale of a dangerous drunk...drowning in devil water...soon to get sunk
menacing stares from demons all around...laughing as he stumbles and staggers in the
another sip of devil water...slippin deeper into sin
he lights a cigarette and smokes his soul to death
from open until close he stays shackled and he's chained
i have to tell the truth...diminsihed he stays drained
devil water brings the pleasure and the pleasure turns to pain
riches turn to rags...beautiful babes and harlot honeys by morning turn to hags
dressed in bags dark disguises get discovered
sweat and tears in love stained sheets...he stays blind and undercover
hungover like a cliff now he's searching for a remedy...pop the top on deadly
poison...swallow hard his slow disease
a slow breeze it turns into a whirlwind...twisting all of his thoughts,hopes,and dreams
i have to tell the truth as his spirit starts to scream
no way out as devil water starts to rise...sexy smiles turn into sharks and brothers turn into baracudas
mind of madness just like a riot...lawless and loveless grab like looters
spending all his cash on a healthy ass,and hellacious hooters
taking shots like shooters...another bullet in his brain
will this be the lucky night? will he go dark and deranged?
DUI's like invisible spies...red and blue lights up the night
he puts the pedal to the metal like an eagle fast in flight
one turns into two and two turns into four and as four turns into eight...now he curses being born
mile long skid marks where demons bark...100 miles per hour straight into a ditch...his
corpse gets parked
way down in the darkest depths now he drinks the devils vomit
he gags and chokes and swears that he will never...
the devil he just laughs as he pulls another lever
Copyright © anthony beesley
"Imagine a lovely garden, tea for two and this story"....A Rambling Poet
Just nine years old but she had a dream
of serving others, of doing good.
Adults were failing, but this young girl
decided to do everything she could.
Her birthday was coming, she had a plan.
She asked her mama, who soon agreed.
No gifts wanted by birthday girl,
but rather money for world in need.
She’d heard of the children in Africa
with no fresh water to cool their thirst.
She wanted to cure all of their ills
and need for water would be the first.
Three hundred dollars she set as a goal,
which she almost reached by her birthday.
She didn’t give up, she would find the rest.
She must have three hundred to send away.
There are other children who’ve done the same,
given up their gifts for the water cause,
but Rachel’s story is quite unique
which I’ll tell you now, but I must pause
To steady my hands to pour the tea
and to wipe away this unwanted tear.
More of her story I’ll tell you now.
New twists and turns will soon appear.
Rachel was traveling with her mom,
on some good deed, I have no doubt.
A car pile up and a child was hurt.
That ‘s what this tale is all about.
Rachel died, but ere she did
she begged her mommy to finish her dream,
to get the money to Africa,
so they needn’t drink from polluted stream.
Over a million dollars raised
by tender souls who have heard her plea.
The money just keeps pouring in
from simple folks like you and me.
“A little child shall lead them”.
Dear, sweet Rachel was one of those.
She put the needs of others above
desire for birthday toys and clothes.
By: Joyce Johnson
August 16, 2011
For Constance's contest "I fancy another sad poem" Won no. 3
Copyright © Joyce Johnson
She's pouring from a pot of tea
as we relax on the quiet porch
Honeysuckle vines encircle the posts,
and webs of daddy long-legs
glisten in the afternoon light.
She nonchalantly chatters, telling me her stories...
as if they were ordinary tales
which, of course, ..they are not.
Sailing across an ocean during dangerous wartime,
Living in exotic, but threatened tropics
A life of adventure, of hardship, of fear
Yet none of that revealed on her weathered face
She smiles, cheeks rouged and eyes sparkling.
Inside the house, the counter is cluttered with dirty dishes
The floor is sticky, and dog hair floats in prisms of light
The old hound sleeps in the middle of the kitchen rug.
An older black lab is lapping up water from a brown dish
dripping water from his sloppy face across the checkered floor.
Throughout the house, a lingering musky smell of well loved pets,
and a stale, smokey odor of burnt toast from her attempt at breakfast.
Servants, cooks, gardeners, are now part of a long ago past.
The house is filled with dust covered, treasured belongings from yesterday.
Piles of clutter everywhere.
Junk mail, newspapers, dog treats,
documents and clippings
prized antiques and artifacts
On shelves, and on the walls, are sepia-hued photographs
People of fame, others of family and friends...
I see my own family among them.
A handsome young man, and she, his bride.
He would become a General.
She would follow him to the ends of the earth.
Their life like a story that one would read in a novel.
I sit here now,...with this woman of many lives.
Sitting on her porch, she wears a tattered, splattered dress.
Today, she is a homespun, country widow.
An extraordinary woman, this grand Duchess,
yet now who bears traits of Ma Kettle
She brought class, dignity, and a wealth of knowledge
to our small country neighborhood,....... to my life.
Here we are, together, so far from the world she once knew.
We sit in the shade of her covered porch
A long haired, grey cat jumps into her lap.
Under the veil of a summer day
I pour her another cup of tea, and a little more for myself.
Tea is served....I have much more to drink in.....to savor.
In memory of dear friends, most amazing people, who lived down our road ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester_Maitland Aviation Pioneer
Copyright © Carrie Richards
The river does flow it keeps on going.
It is much like me without even knowing.
I stay my course on my journey to the sea.
I know upon completion I will finally be free.
I stumble over obstacles along the way.
The journey isn’t smooth I must say.
Still I progress leaving them behind.
Many seem to be just in my mind.
Contrasts in colors fade into gray.
The sun hits the ice and melts it away.
My banks confine me like a wall.
I wait for hope expecting a call.
When I slow down the water runs deep.
I am a waterfall from a hill that is steep.
To many species my water brings life.
I cut through the landscape like a knife.
When I get blocked I form a pond.
It takes more time to move beyond.
I reach the other side and I am free.
I return to the river where I should be.
Copyright © Mark Russell