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Long poem by Brian Johnston | Details |

Growing Up, La - Part 2 - Rev 3

- - Chapter 2: Adult Responsibility (With Some Breaks) - -     

By ten years old, no weekends off, 
Or Saturday cartoons, 
Although I did have cash to spend, 
I felt my life in ruins.
I dusted cars in my dad's store, 
And cleaned its toilets too, 
I fixed truck tires as I got old, 
Not much I couldn't do.

A trip to two month summer camp, 	
I learned to shoot and sail, 
At twelve years old, a pioneer, 
Canoed explorer's trail.
Near tragedy on my return, 
My sister paralyzed, 
A late victim of polio, 
My conscience brutalized.
Felt guilty leaving her alone, 
While I frolicked and played, 
Brotherly love had been displaced, 
Her protection was waylaid.

The washers, dryers, I repaired, 
And freezers with no chill, 
Then televisions came along, 
Tube testing my new skill.
Assembling new farm implements, 
And posting parts on hand, 
My driver's license opened doors, 
‘Collected bills' firsthand.

On Sundays we would go to church, 
To hear the preacher tell, 
Because my dad was not with us, 
His soul would burn in Hell.
	
Dad's Channelled Poem-[]
[‘It's bad news when a preacher comes.
They all want stuff for free.
I have to feed my children too,
I've problems they don't see.']

Three years of summer music camps, 
In Junior High reborn, 
I played piano in dance bands, 
Took lessons on French Horn.
My French Horn teacher laughed out loud
When I walked through the door, 
‘Your lips too thick, please stick out tongue, '
Now rolling on the floor! 
‘To take your money is a crime, '
The German said to me, 
‘You've no high notes, ' ‘I know' I said, 
‘Mom loves French Horn you see.'

Most summers were our busy time, 
We all worked hard till dusk, 
My ‘tail rung through a ringer, ' (1)    la, * 
The time for ‘smart mouth' (2)    brusque.
But then the job that I loved best, 
Flat tractor tires in field, 
A chance to meet a farmer's girl, 
The country's charm revealed.

One summer worked a cattle herd, 
Two thousand cows were planned, 	
By cutting, wind-rowing (3)    the grass, 
Soon haystacks dotted land.
Dakota winters could be fierce, 
The temp forty below, 
The stacks were shelter from the wind, 
A shield from blinding snow.
We'd use a horse for round-up, la! * 
My God that was a thrill, 
Except for blisters on your ass, 
Or when you took a spill.
I had not ridden horses much, 
You're so far from the ground, 
The horse not knowing you from spit, (4)   
Disdain can be profound! '
There was no time for niceties, 
And work to do, ‘C'MON! '
If horse and you somehow part ways, 
No choice, you climb back on.

Our ranch was all on ‘Indian Res., ' (5)   
By river loop enclosed, 
In South Dakota's Lower Brule, (6)   
A twelve year lease proposed.
Land acres more that twenty thou.
Covered by native grass, 
A chance like this was very rare, 
My father could not pass.
The river's edge a solid fence, 
No barbed wire to maintain.
The nearest town two hours by road, 
Security mundane.
Our days were mostly work and sleep, 
With meals our only break, 
Except for weekend groc'ry trips, 
No chance for love's heartache.

Till I discovered farmer's girl, 
Who lived half way to town, 
Contrived a way to go to church, 
When Sunday's call came down.
The church's name not one I knew, 
The people all seemed nice, 
To escape Sunday's usual fare
Was worth most any price.
Harmonica, accordion,
Played music we could sing, 
The pastor beat foot-pedalled drum, 
We made the rafters ring! 
I told myself, ‘there's something strange, 
The music's gone too long, '
Emotion peaking and yet I
Somehow did not belong.
With music's end the sermon broke, 
The world's sure end was near, 
Time now to sanctify all sin, 
‘Repent now! God's word hear.'
For God's quite mad, this cannot stand, 
No doubt that it is prov'n
Those rockets from Canaveral 
Are shooting holes in Heav'n.
I was in shock, glued to my seat, 
The flock their garments rent, 
And I the last one in his seat, 
No sin did I lament! 
At last not knowing what to do, 
I left and went outside, 
And knew whatever happened now, 
I hadn't found my bride.

Brian Johnston
August 20, 2014

Poet’s Notes:
* When I was in the American Peace Corps in Tanzania, East Africa we had a group of 7 
surveying assistants that were always with us in the first year and that we became very 
close to. Their conversation was always sprinkled with 'la' and I thought it was kind of 
cute. Like they might say to me, 'Why don't we stop in this village for some food, la.' 
They used this word kind of like I use the word ‘OK' in casual conversation. 'You've got 
food in your teeth, la.' I really enjoyed this idiosyncratic affectation.

(1) 'tail rung through the ringer' - Early washing machines did not have a 'spin cycle.' So 
to get the excess water out of your clothing you would ring out the water from each item 
of clothing first before hanging it on a clothes line to dry completely in the sun. So the 
phrase 'tail rung through the ringer' means that you are all out of energy, and very tired. 
The energy has been squeezed out of you by your job like water rung out of newly 
washed clothing.

(2) 'smart mouth' Someone who likes to talk back to authorities, or who just complains all 
the time.

(3) 'wind-rowing' - To rake newly cut grass into long rows called 'wind-rows' that could be 
more easily picked up and bailed then by yet another machine.

(4) 'not knowing someone from spit' - To have no respect for the person at all.

(5) ‘Indian Res’ – Land that Indian’s were given official title to by the American 
government in an attempt to placate and domesticate them.

(6) ‘Lower Brule’ – A huge tract of Indian Land contained in a large meander of the 
Missouri River. Although the mouth of this loop is only one mile wide, to get from one side  
of the meander by river is over 28 miles. Lower Brule is owned by the Cherokee Indian 
Tribe.


Long poem by SillyBilly theKidster | Details |

Billy the Kid's Great Escape

*
Sentenced to hang in the town of Lincoln,
Billy made his bold escape.
Both of his guards died from thinking
that a shackled young boy couldn't break away.
*
I've often wondered what thoughts were going through his head
as he stood staring out that window chained to the floor by his bed,
watching the gallows being built that would soon seal his fate.
Was he planning at that very moment his greatest escape?
Did he already know that his hanging would never come to be?
Was he already aware that before night fall, once again he'd be free?
Whatever his thoughts, they were interrupted rudely
by Deputy Bob Ollinger, one of his guards while in custody.
"Word has it you said that if we ever met again you'd kill me on the spot. 
Well here I am Kid. Now's your chance. Show me what you've got. 
It's a shame that you'll hang in another week or two, 
because I'd love to be the one who gets to kill you. 
I've got 16 silver dimes in the barrells of my shotgun. 
I'd love to try them out on you, but I can't unless you run. 
If I free you from those chains will you run for the door? 
Oh by the way Kid, your Ma was one sweet dirty whore. 
I'll kill you before you hang Kid. That's a sure bet." 
"Be careful Bob," said the Kid, "I'm not hung yet."
Bob thrusted his shotgun hard into Billy's gut. 
The Kid looked up at him in pain and said, "Now what?" 
"Don't do it Bob," Bell screamed angrily,
"or you'll be the one who'll hang for sure 
for killing an unarmed man in cold blood
who was chained helplessly to the floor. 
It's time for the other prisoners to be escorted across the street to be fed. 
The Kid's not going anywhere. He's chained to the floor by his bed. 
Anyway, I took the prisoners last so now it's your turn. 
Go and have yourself a beer and I'll stay here 
and guard the Kid until you return." 
Bob Ollinger placed his shotgun into the gun rack. 
Before he left he said to Billy, "I'll see you when I get back." 
No one can say for sure if the above dialog ever truly took place, 
but one thing's for sure, 
Ollinger tormented Billy at a merciless endless pace. 
They were arch enemies who fought against each other
during the Lincoln County War. 
Ollinger was in the posse that killed John Tunstall,
Billy's employer, friend and mentor. 
"I have to use the privy Bell," Billy said to the deputy. 
Bell kept his rifle trained on Billy as he tossed him the key. 
Billy unlocked the chains that kept him bound to the floor. 
Still in handcuffs and leg irons, Bell escorted Billy out the door. 
Billy entered the outhouse closing the door behind him. 
"Let's not take too long in there Kid," Bell said with a humorous grin. 
While in the outhouse Billy managed to slip one of his hands out of his handcuff. 
"You fall in there Kid?" Bell laughed, "You've been in there long enough." 
"I'm coming out now Bell," Billy said opening the door. 
"Sorry I took so long Bell. I must have ate something bad for sure." 
Deputy Bell then escorted Billy back to the jail cell. 
Once inside, Billy spun around and smacked hard Deputy James Bell. 
Bell lost his balance, dropped his rifle and was momentarily stunned. 
"Hands Up Bell!," the Kid yelled. In his hand was a gun. 
"Please don't do it Bell," Billy pleaded, but Bell tried to run. 
The Kid had no choice but to do what had to be done. 
He shot and killed Bell, then went and got Ollinger's shotgun. 
The Kid never found pleasure in killing, 
but Ollinger would indeed be the exception. 
Knowing that Ollinger heard the gunfire, Billy stood by the window 
and waited for Ollinger to appear in the street down below. 
One senior named Godfrey saw Bell fall dead down the stairs. 
The moment probably gave Godfrey a few more gray hairs. 
Ollinger ran out into the street as Godfrey screamed, 
"The Kid's killed Bell!" 
Ollinger looked up into both barrels of his own shotgun 
and whispered, "..and now he's killed me as well."
"Hello Bob!," Billy called out with a song in his heart 
just prior to blowing Bob Ollinger apart. 
He blasted both barrels into Ollinger's chest and face. 
Pieces of old Bob lay scattered all over the place. 
Billy smashed his shotgun in two, threw it at him but missed. 
"You'll never rifle me again," he screamed, "you son of a b*tch!" 
On the balcony he addressed the crowd whose jaws hung agape. 
"I don't want to hurt anyone, 
but I'll kill anybody who tries to prevent my escape." 
In the office he found a sledge hammer
and smashed the chains of his leg irons free. 
He told Godfrey to fetch him a fast horse immediately. 
As he walked down the stairs, he came upon Bell's lifeless body 
and many eyewitnesses admit
that the Kid looked upon him and said almost tearfully, 
"I'm sorry I killed you Bell, but couldn't help it." 
As Billy mounted the horse the chains of his leg irons startled the beast. 
The horse reared up and threw Billy down onto the street. 
He was at this point his most vulnerable laying down on the ground. 
The crowd could have overtaken him easily, but none made a move or a sound. 
Once again Billy mounted the horse
and fled with the sound of his leg iron chains ringing. 
Many claim that as he rode out of Lincoln County
that they heard the Kid singing. 
Billy had escaped danger so many other times in his past, 
but this was his greatest escape ever. It would also be his last.
*
"I had no intention of killing either one of them. My plan was to tie and gag Bell and then get out of there before Ollinger got back, but then things went terribly wrong.....I certainly didn't want to kill Bell, but I had to in order to save my own life....I never felt happier than when I gave it to old Bob. I said, "Look up here old boy and see what you're getting". I then blasted him in the face and breast. He use to ride me to the point where I just couldn't take it anymore."
- Billy the Kid


Long poem by William J. Jr. Atfield | Details |

Differences you say

Differences – you say !

I – me Lass – brave Helios, rides his golden chariot, 
drawn by fiery Steeds, into the vastness of this universe.

These mighty Titans, dispatched – brilliant, glowing -
ruled, controlled the blueness of this planet, the heavens.

Our bright Sun, sprinkles life giving particles, waves,
out in all directions – into the endless firmament.

Then there is the cold souled, silver shield that traverses 
that moth eaten, dark cloth, that hangs like lead 
in that dead laden space, blackness the place 
you choose to ride – your life to hide.

Oh !, if only we would climb down from the edge of fences.
Oh !, if only we would leave behind, walk away from defences.
Oh !, for us to, but if we only could, reach our dreams
Oh !, for us to, not have all those things, it seems,

that get in the way – life’s experiences, what it means, 
from time to time, - that should be left behind – long ago, 
that hang on so tightly, from fears that you won’t let go.
Oh !, for us two, to find the door, to see, understand, to know.

Oh !, for us to, for us to realize, that after the end, the winds will blow
it all away, into waves of rainbow colours that will show 
it all to have been a necessary, but unnecessary way to go.
No matter what is said and done, it all is the universes flow.

A straight line, towards your destination, is the obvious choice. 
Unfortunately, a jumble of thoughts, experiences, become the voice.

A trip – full of baggage – and around the world we go.
A carrousel ride, on each and every horse, the story doth show

A very dizzying ride it is, the point, to get to know 
is a journey, of many directions, on winds that blow  

Live and let live the life one so chooses.
Seldom is it necessary if one wins or one loses, 
not much concerned for – or where or why.
For in the end, it is all in the beholders eye.
 
Much too much involved !, much to obsessive, 
with others and the lives they made a mess – ive.
I can only wonder ?, make an educated guess, live
with my analysis and know, from the heart you give.

I cannot carry the weight of your life into today, 
for all that was, all that is, need not words to say, 
for nothing will change, not before, nor after, it’s your way, 
no matter what one chooses, or not, to express, it’s the game you play.

All has come into, become a part of, is constantly shared 
with, and no matter how it affects, it’s no longer cared 
for, for it all distracts, disrupts, disturbs the air 
that we are inhabiting - and not – it is unfair

I know that it is part and parcel of the lady fair. 
If only to the point, but you never seem to get there.
Hours and hours go by, I cannot help but cry 
as I listen and listen, understand, I do try.

Actions, activities, motion, play are the order of the day, 
board games to win, games to lose, but they cannot be had, 
for it is not in the cards – alone – one can have a say, 
only but for two, does it come though, to share and that’s not bad.

Vocalizing, expressing, gossiping, complaining are your way. 
Hours to exercise the body, the soul, the mind, it is so sad, 
for it leaves so little to share, so little time for making hay.
Not such a bad way to connect, what a great fad !

Just some of the differences that have come to be 
what is between you and me, yet there is much more to see 
that could come into you and me as we ride this rough sea 
of life, that at times you find joy in this old boy, so free.

Happy am I when you come near, when you are here.
A little hollow, a little empty, in the end, harbour fear 
that the sunshine will fade, be covered, will disappear.
Which way ?, - our ships passing in the night - will we steer.

A Mole

Will the Mole, leave her underground, black hole ?, 
to – with eagles fly – reach out and touch the sky ?
will this night hawk, this owl, venture into day light,
play in sight of shadows, created by a sun so bright 
and warm, where day creatures know the storm 
that rages throughout and within, who shout 
with voices searing, with knowledge clearing, 
with understanding of choices made by rending, 
choices made for, and by them, behind a closed door.
Living a life that has been over flowing with strife.
There is much to know, about what was laid upon her soul. 
Some can, some cannot let go, why ?, I do not know.

Can the bound, the nocturnal, the frightened ?, 
find freedom, find in the diurnal, find in fearlessness, 
a soul mate to travel with, upon day light roads, opened.
A soul mate to take into the darkness, the coldness. 
Can they be blended, one into the other, if the story be told.

Differences – are they few or are there so many ?
Are we able to live with them ?, or without any ?
There we are – two old birds on the wing, 
with different voices, different songs to sing
of any or all, to the table, want to bring.
Shed light, and let show, what is our thing 
which at times has put us into the ring.
Sparing in defence of our particular notions, 
beliefs, as we express – in animated motions, 
a light, who we truly are in the heat of the moment.
Yet the hurt, the pain created by wards, was not meant.
Yet they have lent a truth, some truth was sent 
out from the heart, the soul, life ancient 
that dictates - in the moment – what’s fates sentiment.

PS

And what are the differences you see ?
What are they ?, what is between you and me ?

B. J. “A ” 2
March 15th   2003 


Long poem by Brian Johnston | Details |

Essay: Darwin's Theory - Science or Fairy Tale

Not to let the air out of anyone's tire but it's really not fair to compare religious 
writings to modern science. Scientific theories for one thing are models of 
reality (for example)       and do not really claim to be reality itself. Though 
there may be some 'scientists' who claim that 'science' is true in the same 
sense as the belief that there is a God, I am not one of them and I believe such 
'scientists' are not very bright! . Holy writings always require us to have faith, 
to believe something because it seems true or because we want it to be true, 
or because someone we trust told us it was true. Science tells us a model is 
true because all the tests made to determine it's accuracy show that it's right. 
And any Tom, Dick or Harry who performs these necessary tests will always get 
the same answer. In short: Science is verifiable, Religion is not. 

I am both scientifically trained (A sort of scientist I guess)       and a practicing 
Christian. I find value in both my faith and in science. I personally like to think 
of a scientific theory as a kind of a poem which can be very beautiful indeed. 
This of course can be difficult for a layman to see who doesn't understand 
mathematics very well.

When a child asks you why is the sky blue how do you answer? Do you say 
'because God made it that way, ' or do you tell the child well it's because light 
obeys the laws of refraction, which once you study mathematics for 20 years I 
will be able to explain to you? The simple answer here is that 2000+ years ago 
we were much more childlike than we are now. Our ancient texts give the 
wisdom of the ages (and it is wise)       but just like science is not literally true, 
maybe it is not scandalous to say that our spiritual ancestors wisdom is not 
literally true either. God may have spoken to us as children then, but one of his 
great gifts to us was Science as well. Those who ignore what Science can tell 
us, do so, I believe, at considerable peril to themselves and to others.

When Christ taught others he used parables a lot. Surely most people will 
admit that while these parables may teach us important truths, they may not in 
fact have ever actually happened. In this sense I personally believe that the 
Bible is not literally true and that does not mean it is not the word of God, it 
just means we need to grow up and understand that our responsibility to God 
extends beyond the Bible. Science in fact has much to teach us about how to 
understand what is written in Holy Books like the Bible and we should listen, 
because the same God that created the universe, created Science too! 

Here is just a small example that a scientific theory is not reality, but a model 
(or poem)       about reality  that can serve us without being literally true. 
Gravity is a very simple example. We all have an intuitive feeling about gravity 
being a force of some kind. This crude idea of gravity being a force has taken 
us a long way, to the moon and even to other planets and back again. This was 
an early model of physics. More modern physics has a different model which is 
really very different sounding and complex but which is much more accurate 
than the simple  idea of gravity in explaining what we see when stars get very 
massive for example, or when we travel very fast. This takes us into some of 
Einstein's theories which are much more accurate and complicated than gravity. 
So from Einsteins viewpoint, gravity does not exist at all, it is what is called a 
'fictitious force' that exists only because the mass of an object, especially very 
big objects, cause both space and time to curve. Doesn't sound like gravity 
anymore does it, and yet the new theory, though it does not replace the 
usefulness of the laws of gravity for you and I in our daily lives, means that for 
science gravity is as old fashioned as a horse and buggy.

Did you know the the earth is 4.5 Billion years old, not 6000 years old as the 
Bible estimates, and was man really created by God by breathing life into a 
figure he molded out of clay or did God create man though evolutionary 
processes that took millions of years to accomplish? I personally admire the 
God more who created the potential for every thing we see around us in an 
instant, than a God who took seven days to accomplish the same thing. But 
that's just me. Science can be tested as I have stated, the Bible must be taken 
on faith. Given the possibility that both were given to us by the same God, 
what do you think we should do? Do we really have to throw one or the other 
out completely? I don't think so. Both are valuable.


Long poem by Broken Wings | Details |

La Collection

~^~ Dawn Walking in the dawn, in the forest loud with sound; Hear the birds sing in the trees! Listen to the wind, see the stream flowing free; Touch a leaf so green, dew wet! Do you hear it now, the sound of nature, the song; A song so sweet, magical Choka x3 Written April 23, 2009 ~~ Leaves Colourful leaves in piles, luminous colours for miles and miles. Burgundy, orange hovering, the trees slowly relinquishing, surrendering. A cool breeze makes them dance, some quiet and calm, some leap and prance. The Autumn sky so changing, clouds moving, billowing, shifting, expanding. And in one blustering wind, piles empty where once colourful leaves had been. Sun touches the leaves of a tree, Like a stained glass window scene, to see. Rhyme Written October 15, 2008 ~~ gliding deep clear sparkling snow diamond like snowflakes falling horse swiftly gliding Haiku Written October 28, 2008 ~~ my little garden plant unfurl your leaf send your root deep deep deep tis spring tis spring now Haiku Written April 23, 2009 ~~ Cluttered Dresser Ornate mirror Butterfly hair clip Deep purple antique necklace Doll, of my childhood Pearls, old and yellowed with time Pink glass vase with wilted roses Family pictures Mom's favourite earrings Hairbrush Scented candle, burning List Written November 5, 2008 ~~ On Bent Knees Prayer books waiting at the door, polished pews and stone cold floors. Specks of dust glitter in the light, half forgotten dreams still burn bright. Stained glass windows cast a glow, on bent knees this day my prayers flow. Couplet Written February 2, 2009 ~~ The Book Exploring the city on a rainy afternoon, I happened upon, Ye Olde Book Store; Opening the door, chimes sang out, The store dusty, small and amazing. To the ceiling books and rows of books, The shop keeper, an elderly man, nods; I walk quietly, I feel that I am in church, Alone, I am in this place of books. So many to touch, but one beckons me, Taking it in my hands, I brush off the dust; Opening the book, it seems to me so interesting, I purchase it of course for a small price. Finding a café close by, I settle in to read, The words on the cover seem to be engraved; A collection of poetry by the great poets of all time, Page after page, tattered, yellowed with age. Verse Written April 23, 2009 ~~ The Wind Standing on a sea cliff with salt on my lips, Holding out my hands to the heavens above; Moving past me, a roaring wind, blows my raven hair, Breathing in the sweetness, it whispers my name, Tangled with the crashing waves, the birds soaring, the clouds rolling. Verse Written March 13, 2009 ~~ O, The Glistening Tears You come in the light of day, Through the ornate cemetery gates you come; Down the lonely long road, Past the headstones, row on row on row. O, the glistening tears. With a broken weeping heat, You come, for us your family buried here; What a cruel destiny and cruel fate, Such love that even death cannot destroy. O, the glistening tears. And when the seasons change, And fall winds blow over us resting here; And when winter frost is in the air, And we lay beneath the pure white snow, O, the glistening tears. And when spring comes and flowers grow, You come in the light of day, you come, you come; For us your family buried here, Souls connected by bonds that even death cannot end. Verse Written February 8, 2009 ~~ The Memory Of You Mom, today I saw a girl with her Mom They were so happy laughing and talking Together, mother and daughter, friends I wondered if the girl realized My heart was filled with envy and pain I have so many things to tell you Happy things, sad things, just things Things only a mother would understand Tears came to my eyes as I watched God must have needed a special angel To separate the puzzle that was you and me The pieces that fit so well together Mom, our love is an endless river It will go on and on and on and never end God took you from me, it was your destiny I know nothing could keep you here Our parting words, I love you so much Your answer and I love you my daughter God took you in the dawn but he left me a gift A precious gift, the memory of you Verse Written February 8, 2009 ~^~


Long poem by Carol Eastman | Details |

A Spark of Hope

A little girl lost her home this year, for her, Christmas wouldn't be there.
Her family was angry from all the troubles, they simply couldn't repair.
Don’t bother us about presents her parents said, they were depressed by their fate.
With bitterness they said, you’d be lucky to have dinner tonight, or even a plate.
Life was harsh, nowhere to go, anger and fear had put their souls, in a terrible place.
The little girl had found no hope or joy, lurking near their old car, of late.
The car was their home, gas money was scarce, and with few places they could park.
Yes, their troubles had slowly extinguished, that precious hopeful spark.
Without that spark, they’d never find their way, from this terrible place of cold and dark.
And life’s darkness grew deeper nightly, as hope vanished under a reality so stark.
Even the very fiber of her family, seemed to be shattering slowly, slowly, apart.
The child felt alone here in this dark car, as sadness tried to engulf her little girls heart.
The future seemed filled with hopelessness, as shame and dread, were leaving their mark.
Embarrassment to be seen and turned away, made it hard for them to reach out, to restart.
But life goes on, and we can’t fear to rebuild, or the future will be hard to impart.
The girl suddenly declared there’s more to life, and she wouldn't let it conquer her heart.
She decided triumphs will come, and all will get better, if she held to that hopeful spark.
Seeing the desolation and anger here, she couldn't stay around, she had to get away…
So she climbed out of the car, and she walked into town, not so very far to stray.
She went and looked at the store windows, where Christmas was being displayed.
The music and people filled her heart, lifting her spirits, deep inside, that day.
She noticed a store, way down at the end of the row, on the next block, where it lay.
No one was there, it seemed lonely, and the darkness was again, spreading it’s decay.
She ran there in time to see an old man closing up, with sadness on his face betrayed.
What use were his goods, if no one would shop, or come down along his way?
The super store down the block, was daily making him lose more and more in the fray.
He could no longer afford to hire people, and the season had very little time, to stay.
As they talked the girl saw that she couldn't let the darkness take another, so she prayed.
Then she told the old man, if he’d open the shop, she’d bring customers down his way.
She added, she’d find reasonable workers, if her family could live upstairs, she portrayed.
First bring the customers, he said, and the rest will be yours little friend, he conveyed.
She had him put his best toys, as a contest prize, and to add lots of lights on the display.
He set a contest, “Winners-the best collectors for families in need” on Christmas Eve.
He put out a bright contest sign, but still nobody came to his end of the block, to survey.
So she had him call the Salvation Army, for a kettle, Bell ringer, and Carolers, who came 
Lickety split, their way.
Then she had him call a dear old friend, and farmer, to bring a tractor full of bails of hay.
Another volunteered his horse and sleigh, both, to see the city lights thru New Years Day.
This was a great idea, since the older drivers, could use the help, for their bills to pay.
The girl ran all over spreading the excitement, and to come see the prizes, his way.
The families suddenly started heading toward his door, and to those wondrous rides.
At that moment her parents came, and she explained what her hope, had improvised.
Her father talked a contractor into building a disabled family a home, to help advertise.
He could get a tax break; come to this store for supplies, and hire unemployed workers, he devised, so wise.
In the end, each night grew brighter, because of a girls hope, and heart-warming delight.
And the old man began smiling for the first time, in a long, long, time, starting that night.
All was saved, a home was found, and another built, as a sad little girl taught grownups to smile along the way… 
You might say, A Spark of Hope lit a candle, then a raging fire, which was burning bright by Christmas day.

The moral to my story is:
Never give up on Hope; it’s your best friend, as life brings its troubles your way…
Know that with time, a good heart, good will, and friendly ways… 
You can find God’s gifts again, if you don’t let the dark take you away…


Long poem by Alan Blenkhorn | Details |

You never left me

You, never, left me
Parents
Separated 
Children 
Sent, away
Others 
Stray 
Out, of, sight
To, fight 

A, living
Misery 
Seemingly
Very, very
Wrong
Everything, gone!

Life
Isn’t
Right
Past
Insight

A, loner
Bi Polar
Without 
Medication
To, boarder
Needs
Sedation 
Any 
Mind 
Filling
Stimulation
Annulling
His 
Sensations
Could
Cause
Dramatic
Fanatic
Inflation

Bi Polar stumbles, on
The, children’s, prison
Sensing 
Grieving
He, plans, on
Just
Leaving
Until 
Still…

He, remembers 
A, daughter
Once 
Close
Loving
Her, most

She, could, be, in, there!

No, moments 
For, despair 
Thinking
Stay here!

The, guards 
Had, no, time 
To, even, move
Due, to 
BP’s, smooth 
Psychotic 
Grooves
Twenty or, more
Everyone
Sore

Then, a, familiar 
Voice
His, preference
Of, choice
Follows 
Her, energy 
Vibe 
Straight, to  
The, completely 
Terrified
He, always, knows
Where, to, go
A, cold, dungeon 
Damp, and, dark 
Below
Her, voice 
Speaks 
Piercing 
Miseries 
Noise
Annoyed

Kicking 
Through 
Doors
Its kids 
Galore! 

So! 
Everyone goes!

Through 
The, front 
Hanging 
Smashed
Doors

Not, one, kid 
Left, back 
A, successful 
Manic 
Attack

On, horse, and, saddle
This, group, traveled
Through, fields 
And, thickened 
Forest
Tundra lies 
Just, before 
Dust 
Under the, African, stars 
Light
Fills, bright, tonight
Keeps, them
In
Tight
Then, a, spot
Thought 
Right
For 
The, night

These, kids, could be, the life, of, him
He, doesn’t, want, a, goddamn, thing

Kiss 
Hug 
Your, horses 
Thank, you
Helps, them, feel 
A, little, less 
Cranky

Tears 
Back 
Remorse
Using 
All 
His, energy’s, force

Through, jungles, in, the pouring, rain
Not, to, mention 
The, constant, strain
Requiring, no, attention
These, kids, never, complain

The, group, finds, a, stray 
On, their, pathway
He, strolled, through 
Like a, snoop 
Too 

Can, we keep, him!? 

He, lost, his, kin
So 
We, let him, in
BP’s, eyes 
Circle, like, flies
Thinking
Something
Is, shorthand
Understand!

A, lion, cub
Brought, these, kids
Lots
Of
Love

Up, the trail, a, ways
Trouble, turns, in, the, haze 
Pounds and, more
Put, on, this, pack 
An, Awful 
Roar!

The, size, of a, Lincoln, town, car!
Biggest, animal 
He, ever, saw

A, beast, of, pride
We, should, really 
Try, to, hide

He, could 
Definitely 
Kill
With 
Chills 

Deciding, pride
Quiet, in, grace
In BP’s, daughter’s, pretty, face!
He, cried




She, never, moved, a, muscle
With, plenty, of, reasons
To, scuffle
Then 
Lionesses 
Joined, in
Gaze 
With, Lincoln
His, daughter 
Held, strong 
He, seemed, to listen
Like, she, belonged 
With, him

(A, whisper)
He is, not, a, pet!
Cub, is, our, friend
You, need, not, fret
We, mean 
No, harm 
Please
Call, off 
The, alarm 

Creating, smiles 
On, each, face
Lasting, awhile
For, an, awkward 
Space

To, find, the, mothers!
Cried, another
 
Group, to, group
They’ll, show 
Us 
A, better 
Route

Lincoln 
Lead, the, pack 
He, knows 
The, best, ways 
To, track

Then, suddenly
A, chemical 
Imbalance
Hits BP
Rapidly 
As, if, in 
A, trance

She, must, be, near
It’s been 
Thirteen, years

Since 
Sharing 
Words
Kind, sincere

Now BP 
Is, talking, to, the, birds
He, has, forgotten 
Words
Sounds
More 
And 
More
Disturbed

What, are, you, doing, here!?

Your, story, isn’t, quite, clear!

Are, those, your, horses?

Have, you…? 

Any, other, resources

BP looks, back
Was, there an, attack?

I’m, not, well…
Somebody… 
Please… 
Tell…

BP, never, even, came, close
To, the, children’s, post  
An, unconscious
Decision
To 
Steal 
Horses
And
Head for 
The coast
And live
A ghost
Now
Sits, in, a
Roast
With
Mother
The, most
Up, real 
Firm… 
And, close

No, lions
No, kids
No, manic  
Adventure
Just 
Another, painted 
Pathetic 
Depressing 
Picture

Delusion
Stir
Confusion

In, my 
Mind
I, know 
She’s
Fine
I, miss 
Her… 
All, the, time


Long poem by Cyndi MacMillan | Details |

WHEN BASHO MET JACK, A HAIKU BODICE RIPPER

Tess Hiatt knew she was playing with fire, yet couldn’t seem to stop herself. This was the third time that she’d intentionally trespassed down the clearly marked path, the third day she had staked out a perfect spot to view the going’s on at the haiku Equestrian school. 

There was something mesmerizing about their exercises. And that one rider, the way he kept everything so controlled, so precise, peeked her interest. He would trot the circuit, then effortlessly move between gaits. The cut of his tight breeches, the spotless coat and the sheen on his boots spoke of routine and discipline, two things she lacked. 

A fence kept rider and horse within an enclosure and she wondered if they ever longed to just jump the expanse and head for the hills.

She stretched her neck, moved a branch and sighed. Where was he?

“You do realize this is private property, Miss?”

She almost lost her balance. Mr. Discipline was right behind her. Oh, crap! She felt warmth flood her cheeks. Her chin lifted in self-defense. “Hi,” she said. 

His look changed. A grin spread across strong features. “Hello. So, you’re curious?”

“Yes and no. Maybe?” Oh, he was handsome. Her heart rate picked up. 

The laugh was warm, friendly. “I can’t remember the last time I saw somebody ride bareback. He looks spirited. Hard to handle?”

“Jack? Sometimes. He does what he wants, but then again, so do I.” She patted the mustang’s neck and received a soft nicker in response. “We put up with each other. Have grand adventures. Sass and kick ass.” She tilted her head. “Who’s your short friend?”

“This is Basho. He is a rare, Japanese breed called Misaki uma. I won him in a bet. He’s happier just standing in a field or poking along beside a pond watching frogs, but I’ve grown fond of his gentle ways. I think he barely tolerates me.”

She couldn’t hold back a chuckle. “Maybe you should give him more reign.”

“Maybe you should give yours less.”

Her eyes narrowed. “When’s the last time you just let loose, Mister? Don’t you ever just gallop through the creek? Let the mountains pull you closer? Life doesn’t consist of a training ring, you know. When’s the last time you unbuttoned your starched collar? I am neither staunchy nor dull.”

“Dull? What, you find the haiku school so staunchy that you keep returning for a closer look? Yes, I saw you.” He leaned forward. “As far as creeks and mountains go, first, you need to learn to ride the proper way. Then you can go frolic in the wildflowers.”

Jack, sensing her mood, shook his head. “Easy, boy,” she whispered in his ear, leaning low over the horse. 

Tight Breech’s eyes followed her movement. She watched his gaze drop then zero in on her cleavage, saw his jaw clench. Tess became acutely aware of how much leg was revealed by her shorts. He seemed to have noticed that as well.

She felt slightly dissy. “I learned the basics, just. And I can ride fine, thank you very much. Probably could run circles around you and your students. I don’t need to learn Dressage to ride Western. They’re as different as ... well, as..... a Mustang and Misaki uma, as beer and sake.”

“We seem to have differing opinions.”

Basho snorted and Jack’s ears pricked. 

“I should be getting home,” Tess said, wondering why she didn’t want to leave when this man was so irritating. Cute. But as annoying as hell.

“Look, how about we just take a ride up the trail.  I think Basho likes you.” He gave a look, a long steamy look. "And as far as my buttons go, how about we talk about that some more? There may be some... merit... to showing more skin."

Tess blushed. Yup. Playing with fire. But she liked fire. “Okay, you can walk me back to the ranch. But watch out for Jack. He likes to nip.”


***** AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER******


Long poem by Suzette Richards | Details |

LIFE'S A CLICHE

Every journey starts with a single step[1]
Infused with vigour, strength and pep

Impatiently yearning for acceptance
Willingly to sacrifice and do penance[2]

There is nothing new under the sun[3]
You should learn to walk, before you run

No man ever steps in the same river twice[4]
Wisdom comes at an exuberant price

Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear[5]
No man can judge wisely, if ruled by fear

Fall seven times and stand up eight[6]
Resist temptation to be always right

Life’s  a cold case: flogging a dead horse[7]
More often than not, you’re blown off course

The final stance is what is recalled[8]
Elegy or Epigram: exit stalled

© 11 August 2014  Suzette  Richards

Sponsor	nette onclaud
Contest Name	WANDERLUST 
 




GLOSSARY

[1] "Every journey starts with a single step." – Confucius

[2] “Life isn’t a payment for your so-called sins. It’s more a learning thing.” The 
Afterlife of Billy fingers, by Annie Kagan

[3] Ecclesiastes 1:4-11 - “There Is Nothing New Under The Sun”
A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The 
sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.

[4] Heraclitus of Ephesus:  “ No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's 
not the same river and he's not the same man.”

[5] Lao Tzu — “Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.”

[6] Fall seven times and stand up eight – Japanese proverb
Proverbs 24:16:-  “... for though the righteous fall seven times ...”

Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will ... 
man shall fall seven times and shall rise again: but the wicked shall fall down 
into evil. .... From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will touch 
you.

[7]The original meaning of 'a dead horse', apart from the literal 'horse that has 
fallen off its perch', was a reference to work for which a person had been paid 
in advance (and possibly had already spent the proceeds). This dates from the 
17th century and is referred to in Richard Brome's play The Antipodes, first 
performed in 1638 and printed in 1640:

He cur'd a country gentleman that fell mad
For spending of his land before he sold it;
That is, 'twas sold to pay his debts - all went
That way for a dead horse, as one would say!

Our present meaning, in the phrase 'flog a dead horse', is quite different. This 
is a reference to something that is entirely pointless and cannot result in any 
productive end. The phrase, which is also sometimes expressed as 'beating a 
dead horse', appeared in print in 1859, in the report of a UK parliamentary 
debate involving Francis Wemyss-Charteris Douglas, eighth earl of Wemyss 
and sixth earl of March - who was better known as Lord Elcho. It was reported 
in Hansard's parliamentary debates, Volume 153. 1859:

If the hon. Member for Birmingham [John Bright] had been present, he 
would have asked the hon. Gentleman [Lord Elcho] whether he was satisfied 
with the results of his winter campaign. It was notorious that he was not, and 
a saying was attributed to him that he found he was "flogging a dead horse."


Whether Lord Elcho was the originator of the phrase, we can't tell, but no 
earlier use of it in print has yet come to light.

[8] Extract from the poem, Time, by Suzette Richards

it is not
the first impression
that counts 
it is the final thought we leave with others
like lingering dusk
after our sun had set on this mortal world


Long poem by john scott | Details |

Desolation Row

Kids of today, we here them say, no respect, what do you expect
Always hanging around on the streets, doing nothing and nothing to do
Is it their fault in this decaying society or should the blame lie with you
Dirty, unkempt, drug using, smoking, car thieving, layabouts, so say you 

Mature you say, Old and wise but always telling the kids, pushing your own advise
Was it not you that petitioned to have the youth club demolished and razed
Was the noise from a hand full of teenagers so unbearable that you became enraged
Is it their fault that there is no employment and if there is, its on the minimum wage

Yes you live in your own world of self righteousness and predictability, what a pity
Wash the car on Sunday routinely, mow the lawn Saturday on a regular robotic rota, see
Call the kids animals, brain dead, layabouts, ashamed now, ashamed of yourself, you outa be
You have led a privileged life, all bridge clubs and playing golf, you lost reality

OK, so Tom may be a nuisance, he smokes, throws beer cans in your garden, leans on your car
I agree with you, Toms like that and if we are truthful, he probably will not go very far
Then I did hear that he landed a job, begins next week, not the best job washing glasses in a bar
But just to get a chance of work experience is something in these parts, well done Tom, hoorah

The point is, he is trying to make a difference in what he sees as a useless existence, its true
Where as you, Mr Success, from a different time and era well it was easier then, Manager was you
Indexed linked pension now but in your time it was all company car, fringe benefits and salaried too
You probably had a staff of ten, including a personal secretary to do most of your work for you

Not all the kids are the same, Jodie is sixteen, trained  hard to be an athlete since she was aged eight 
Damned hard work she has put in over the years, non smoker, non drinker, I think it is great
Jodie grew up on the same dirty, over populated, crime ridden, drug problematic, council estate
As Tom did but she chose to change her life by getting up early and doing something about it, mate 

You were one of the lucky one's born at the right post war time, no recession, how neat
An economy on the up, war damage to mend, plenty of opportunities and money to spend, oh great
Now you while away the day with your guaranteed pay, standing at the gate scolding at the street
You never had the misfortune to be a hungry kid in a broken home, with very little to eat 

Think yourself lucky you got a nice paid for home, with a big garden and central heating not cold
Like the tenement blocks, the people you resent have to live, so high in the sky, its scary, I’m told
For believe me they are bigger, better, higher people and one day, they may drop a bomb on the old
These streets still scare me and I grew up here, They are painted with blood not rolled gold

So get of your high horse and bless the lord for all the things he gave to you and yours
The unfortunate keep themselves to themselves unless you wanna change that course
If you cannot see how privileged life has been for you, go now, go inside and lock your doors
For one day, the kids may get really angry at their lot in life and unleash a destructive force


Long Poems