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Long poem by Franklin Price | Details

The Night Before Christmas Eve

The night Before Christmas Eve
By Franklin Price
12/17/2016


Prologue

The Night Before Christmas
A most famous of  poems
Read  to children aloud
By their parents in homes

To children who gather
'Round the brightly lit tree
To hear Santa is coming
Presents for you and me

They have been to the mall
And they've sat on his knee
He said have you been good?
Answered: as good as can be!

He said what would you like
Jolly Santa to bring?
Can grant most any wish
Can bring most anything

In the past was a train
Or a two wheeler bike
Or the prettiest doll
I can bring what you like

You may like a computer
With some games you can play
Find it under the tree
At first light Christmas day

Not a wish within reason
That I can't bring to you
After all it is Christmas
That's the thing that I do

Have you been out shopping
For your family and friends?
To give each other gifts
For your elders Depends

Just a bit of humor
Not a good gift I think
Like buying your loved wife 
A brand new kitchen sink

I speak with experience
And will never forget
A sink's not for Christmas
I remember that yet

Like Santa, ask everyone
Make your own gift list too
Of what others would like
That's the best thing to do

Take great joy in shopping 
For the giving is best
A smile Christmas morning
Says your gift passed the test

I've digressed  just enough
It's time to get to the heart
Of what this poem is about
I hope for you, the best part



THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE
 At home near the North Pole
Elves are packing the sleigh
For the merry old soul

The Reindeer are sheltered
In the stable so near
The coming night's weather
To be cold but quite clear

The workshop's still busy
 building last minute toys
To soon be delivered
 To good girls and  good boys

Santa pressing his suit
 Combing his silver hair
He is so very real
 To the kids who still care

Out in the warm stable
The reindeer cannot sleep
No noise they are making
Heard, not even a peep

Santa is looking out
 At the snow coming down
The smile on his round face
 Becomes the smallest frown

The light of the full moon
Is all covered by mist
He may need a reindeer
 With red nose to assist

As Santa is watching
 Moon beams come shining through
Maybe now red nosed Rudolph
 Will have nothing to do

Santa still has to drive
 And could be much less droll
You would think that at least
 He would have cruise control

Satellite positioned 
As he moves on his way
Doesn't follow the stars
As way back in the day

Puts in his computer
Where all children may be
Takes a few terabytes
Of super fast memory

Computer must keep up
In flight Christmas eve night
The sleigh is approaching
Speed of dawn's early light

He must plan his own  trip
With his elves to assist
To bring gifts to each child
 Who appears on his list 

There's Dani and Billy
 and Lily and Belle
So many more children
Than  herein I can tell

Santa goes to each place
Where a child is asleep
Finds a good way to enter
Down the chimney may creep

Just a few years ago
Houses heated with coal
And brick fireplaces
For the Merry old soul

Down the chimney he went
Not always  any more
Where there's central heating
  Enters through the front door

Most children in houses
More than a few are in tents 
He will visit them all
Even trailers with dents

Santa gets very hungry
Every year I will tell
 Some houses have  goodies
Santa follows the smell 

Of new cookies fresh baked
 And milk in a small cup
Can take just  a small taste
 Or he'll never get up

To go out to the sleigh 
And climb up on the seat
It could be the next place
Has more cookies to eat

He will pick up the reins
Give the reindeer a cluck
With the power lines low
 Finds he really must duck

He will look up and down
 To the left and the right
Zoom right to the next house
In the dark of the night

He still carries the toys
In a sack that appeals
Has gotten much older 
Now it's driven with wheels

His bifocals are thicker
Near and far they can see
His teeth are now false ones
He had lost all but three

His white hair's much thinner
Not much left there to comb
  Keeps his cap on his head 
'Til the time he gets home

Not a pipe in his mouth 
As he had long ago
Non smokers don't like it
 And they all let him know

Biggest loser he's watched
 And has lost a few pounds
Six pack he has gotten
 Where he used to be round

Feels so  much better now
 That he goes to the gym 
Does not quite look the same 
But it's really still him

When you look at him now
 He will still wink at you
He feels so much better
Now it's easy to do

So I've given his plan
 Put it down here in verse
If you were very bad
 I just hope you don't curse

When you open your gift
 Either switches or coal
From good lookin' Santa 
That thin merry old soul

When he finishes up 
As the sun starts to rise
And you hear his kind words 
Do not be so surprised

“I hope you are happy
Have a very good day
Merry Christmas to all”
Is what he has to say


Epilogue

I got you through Christmas
And how Santa prepared
Of getting and giving
About those who have cared

Hope you gave not expecting
To receive from the same
 And not always because
You drew another one's name

The presents now opened
And the wrapping is trash
The money's in pockets
Of all those who got cash

It's time to get ready
For the afternoon feast
For the turkey and ham
Fresh warm bread raised with yeast

Sliced, canned cranberry sauce
Mashed potatoes so fine
There is much more good food
These are favorites of mine 

All sit at the table
To taste food, but before
Thank the Lord for the meal
For all gathered and more

For we should not forget
About the Holiday's name
If Christ not in Christmas
It is never the same

From simple beginnings
To His death on the hill
Was sent here to save us
To believe, then he will

When we've said the blessing
And we unclasp our hands
Our stomachs are growling
Feed us all their demands

We pass 'round all the bowls
From the left to the right
Eat until we're all full
Even into the night

Crawl away from the plate
We are too full to stand
Cannot eat one more bite
Bellies  big and so grand

Not even one push-up
Or a  walk on the tread
If we wait just one hour
Ala mode pie instead

Hope that your own Christmas
Was so  happy and fine
Got all wished for presents
A full table to dine

That you thanked the dear Lord
For  Him sending His Son
He's the reason for Christmas
He's the Savior, the One

This story is over
I've at last reached the end
No one better than Christ
On whom we may depend

Copyright © Franklin Price | Year Posted 2016


Long poem by roger turner | Details

The Bartender

Twenty two years had passed  by

She blinked, and a lifetime had passed

She started this job as a lark

She never thought it would last

Two husbands and rehab were part of this bar

The husbands...her clients all knew

But the rehab, was hers...and hers all alone

Only one in her family knew

She'd been tending bar here for 3 presidents plus

Two popes, two husbands....one queen

There were things in this bar that were secreted away

There were things just not meant to be seen

Say, 4 fights a week for 22 years

That's four thousand six hundred fights

That's more violent acts than one person should see

That's  a lot of just mind numbing sights

As a tender of bar, she was part doctor as well

Serving drinks, and giving advice

She was hit on as well, and most she turned down

But some, they succeeded....some twice

They would come with their problems

spill their guts to this girl

Who they'd probably just met that night

They would tell her their problems and drink a few ales

When they  left, they would be feeling all right

But, Mary...poor Mary would harbour their pain

She'd help them, but could not let things go

They'd cheer up with her talking and 1 or 2 beers

But she hurt, and would leave feeling low

There was always a someone on the tales other end

Who was home, maybe beaten or mad

But, Mary....she talked to the one who'd come out

And she always left feeling quite sad

The stories they told her, she never asked them to tell

But they came and they opened on up

And she as their hostess just listened and served

Whle they sat there, getting full in their cups

She married two men that she met in the bar

Both left wives, and poor Mary was blind

They both charmed this girl, till she was way too far gone

And she learned that love..yes, was blind

She had a young niece, that her sister had left

She was going to school here in town

If there was one person alive who could bring Mary up

Her niece Amber was the proverbial clown

After marrying twice and divorcing just once

Mary vowed not to do it again

But, she was hit on each night

in this bar Down the lane,

by a considerable number of men

Her first husband...a lout, for better want of a term

Was a drunkard, and jealous most days

But she fell for him hard, for his sad tale of woe

And her marriage lasted 91 days

He would come in each night after finishing work

And would berate her for flirting for tips

After leaving the bar, he would beat her at home

Hitting low, just above Mary's hips

Her boss saw her marks whens she was filling the fridge

He kept quiet, but he told her to call

A friend that he had, who would help Mary out

He knew her marks were not from a fall

Before Mary phoned she had incredible news

Her husband had been in a crash

Her problems were over and her bruises would heal

And it all happened ...poof...in a flash

During this time her sister ran off

Leaving Amber for Mary to raise

Though she hated her sister for leaving

Dear Amber she loved, and she helped Mary get through the days

But eight years along, with no outlet in sight

Hearing tales and of other folks pain

Mary reached out and she found comfort in

A needle and a rock of cocaine

for three years she spiked, shooting up every day

spending money she stole from the till

And during this time, she got married again

He seduced her when she had no self will

He knew of her problem and joined in all the same

Just a leech come along for the ride

He would help keep her secret, never telling her boss

Never letting them know she was fried.

Poor Amber found out, she walked in one June day

there was Mary with her coke and her spoon

When she looked at young Amber, she knew she must quit

And she knew that she must do it soon

Pure heartbreak she saw in that little girls eyes

She could see how she thought she would lose

Her Aunt like her mother, gone from her life

Mary knew she would now have to choose

Rehab was chosen, and her husband he left

He found out that this train had now stopped

his free ride was over, his meal ticket gone

You could say that his bubble had popped

Two years clean celebrated, at the bar with the kid

Mary got some good news from her boss

He was retiring to Texas and was selling the bar

And he would sell it to her at a loss

She was now the proud owner of a bar all her own

Three doors down from Giannis on Hope

She would run it precisely, the way she'd been taught

She would run the bar clean, free from dope

She would meet some great people,

Some nights in for a drink

And others that she wished would just leave

She would listen to stories, some good some not quite so much

And others just to  hard to believe

She would make friends with some people  And others she'd ban,

making sure that they left with a start

She'd befriend Harry Cooper, the World War two vet

Who would imprint his soul on her heart

And Amber...yes Amber would come down to spend time

She was fine and was going to school

She was a classical junkie in the dark of her room

And I tell you this girl was just cool

Mary brought Amber up with morals and faith

She would come when her Aunt made the call

She would rather hang out at the bar every night

Than to go with her friends to the mall

Mary made peace with the demons she had

She could leave the folks tales and go home

But, now she had Amber and a reason to live

And she would not have to do it alone

the bar's past Giannias, three doors  down to the right

It's not large but she makes  it make do

There's some music out back from a bluesman as well

Come on down and be one of the few

Be a regular there, join up with the crowd

It's not big but the beer's always cold

You don't have to stay long, but you'll come back again

For it's special....or so I've been told

Tell Mary I sent you, you'll get a free drink

And a free ear to hear of your tale

But, leave your ciggies outside for you can't smoke in here

You can do it outside by the pail.

Copyright © roger turner | Year Posted 2018


Long poem by JENNIFER PROXENOS | Details

IN THE WILD

IN THE WILD

Early morning, we go for a drive,
An awesome feeling as we arrive,
At our camp gate which, opens 
At 6 o’clock, 
Now we are in the African bush
Which, will unlock,
Moments that we have missed and
Remember from our last trip, and
Treasures recorded by camera, some
Happy, some bring a tear,
With some we recall our fear,
One should not get too near,
For this territory is wild animal land,
It would be a mistake to let a situation
Get out of hand!
The maximum speed allowed in
The Kruger Park,
Is 50 kilometres , but we slow
Down to 30 and embark,
On a weekend adventure we so love,	
Yesterday, I put our binoculars into the glove
Compartment, we are ready to experience
Africa’s wildlife
Of which we never tire, 
My husband puts his hand
On my knee, so proud I’m his wife!
Suddenly we see a pride of lions, sprawled
Across the road,
We jostle with other cars, for a good view, 
And place ourselves advantageously.
My heart is racing, they are my favourite
To spot,
The lions aren’t in a hurry to leave
And nor are we,
We make a mark on the map with a dot,
As when we get back, 
Reception would like a report
What animals and where they have been seen,
We do not want to fall short!
Abruptly a lioness, his majesty, king
Of the park‘s queen,
Stretches and disappears into the bush, 
Followed by 2 lionesses and one cub,
I feel privileged to share this time
With them, and quickly bring my camera up,  
For just across the road is a leopard
With his kill, among some branches,
My husband puts a finger to his mouth shhhhhhh,
But I am so excited I can’t keep the
The camera steady,
Fortunately he has his set and ready!
The leopard gets the jitters, senses my thrill 
And jumps down,
Vanishes into Africa’s bush leaving his kill
In the tree, 
Ingraining in us an unforgettable memory!
He’ll be back, to finish off
A small impala buck,
Which the Leopard hauled up
With exceptional ease,
If you please!
We have seen two of the big five,
Are hungry, forgot our lunch, so drive 
Back to Berg-en-Daal, our camp
Eat what I’d packed and take a short nap.
The sun is scorching, the temperature is 41 degrees,
Not even a breeze,
Gratefully, our rondavel is cool thanks to air
Conditioning and a thatched roof, 
We sleep like babies, knowing the fence
Around the camp is absolutely full proof!
We set our alarm for 14.00 hours, and leave
Once again,
Our morning trip was short, we were very lucky in 
Spotting of game.
Our afternoon trip we plan to be longer, and 
Drive alongside a river,
We stop,
When we spot,
Hippos and crocs,
We zoom in, get a great shot, but the croc’s
Razor-like teeth and the hippo’s enormous jaws, 
Make me quiver,
And shiver!
We turn around, hear an elephant’s trumpet,
Keep a good space between mom and calf,
Certainly if we get between them it will
Be no laugh!
Amazed, we watch a dung beetle collecting and rolling,
Elephant dung,  
He is laboriously pushing
His prize, whilst his mate lays her eggs,
In transit – she’s got it right the male is the worker,
In fact they are co-workers, she is no shirker!
A green mamba slithers across,
On a mission, glad we are in the car,
Seeking to ambush a squirrel, wonder if
The mamba will kill it, I think it’s cute, run
Squirrel, far!
Next, we see a buffalo, too close for
Comfort, a loner, maybe dangerous,
Prefer to keep our distance, not get too near
Its wary eye,
He’s a bad tempered guy!
We cut short our afternoon trip and 
Decide to call it a day.
Go to reception and extend our stay.
We collect coals and wood at the 
Shop in the camp, go start our braai,
Under a clear night sky,
And see constellations of stars
Imagining what it could be like
To one day live on Mars!
During the rest of our short stay,
We see rhinos,
And a pack of wild dogs who we
Catch unawares.
We park on the opposite side 
Of the track,
And watch them as they 
Tear apart their
Afternoon snack!
If any meagre remains are left,
The vultures and hyenas will scavenge,
And ravage,
With savage
Delight, 
Until, no morsel is left in sight.
On our last day, we see two baboons
Fighting,
Quite horrific, it was quite a sighting
A tad frightening!
Our windows are open half way,
A precaution
As we travel with caution,
A foul smell reaches our nostrils, a
Kilometre away, we see upwards of 
30 vehicles vying for a spot,
An elephant carcass has been around for
A while, 10 lions are having a feast,
Oblivious of humans, his majesty graces
This orgy of eating,
The odour takes some beating,
It was stinking,
No animals will dare come near,
The Lions want it all,
There’s no competing!
We were engrossed,  
Forget to look at the time,
Two giraffes pass, 
We brake fast, 
They look alluring with their tall legs and 
Long sexy eyelashes,
They stare at us, eyes trying to seduce,
Us, but in fact all they’ve done, is reduce
Our time to arrive at our gate,
We make it through, will enjoy our
Braai a little late.
We light our fire, settle down 
Whilst meat grills, foiled potatoes crackle
And the cob turns a golden brown,
My husband says hush, don’t move, a
Snake was creeping over my foot, I freeze, 
Did not move a muscle,
Imagine if we had got into a tussle,
I would certainly be the loser
And the snake the abuser!
This was our last night, 
We left early morning
Had glorious weather and, one after the 
Other wonderful sighting,
Just around the corner is another
Unexpected exciting
Surprise at the top of a tree,
The best sighting my husband could wish
To ever see,
A Fish Eagle perched right at the top,
Ready to swoop down and catch an
Unsuspecting dung Beatle with his long and
Sharp talons,
Poor little chap,
He was enjoying a casual stroll,
Fate, catches up with him, he dies
All because he is slow!
We see herds of wildebeest, zebras
And a few warthogs,
And say au-revoir to the Park
Which I compare, 
To an eternal Noah’s Ark.
We travel back, get home late	
My husband whispers in my ear,
The Kruger Park brings out the wild
In me, says, 
He found me even hotter,
And an excellent spotter,
As excitement also brings out 
The child in me!

Copyright © JENNIFER PROXENOS | Year Posted 2018

Long poem by Rhoda Monihan | Details

Disability, Illness and Fundamentalism

Disability, Illness and Fundamentalism

My brother died of Cystic Fibrosis, 
When I was twelve and he fourteen, 
It took away his ambitions, 
To study at Oxford - the pipe organ’s steam. 

I understand being born with a genetic disorder, 
Because I have Cerebral Palsy and sometimes mused, 
Upon when researches will similarly classify, 
The failure of muscles which neuronal circuits use.

I was born with a condition, 
And so knew James was likewise endowed; 
I didn't know why my dad, an MD, 
Did not suspect his son’s cloud. 

I wrenched that it was my dad’s old age, 
That prohibited him for from making a diagnosis, 
But deep down I knew that he was immoral, 
For not offering a prognosis. 

So I related to James very well, 
And we talked about ‘male’ things:  
Cars, Spitfires, planes, and inventions, 
Because I was a tomboy with wings. 

We also discussed politics, 
World history, philosophy, science and maths, 
But at the end of each discussion, 
He made out to mum that we were just having a laugh! 

Our parents were fundamentalist Christians, 
Full of woe at non-religious activities, 
And believed that the soul supported mind and body, 
In harmoniously pounding entities.  

Neither did he say that he cared for me, 
In the toilet or with my jumper, 
Which he sometimes would put back on me, 
Before we were seen by “Mother Thunder.” 

He was just like them as he loved the Bible, 
So I allowed him to thus develop;  
In the church with his piano, 
The congregation to envelop. 

My knowledge of his illness, 
Was validated at school, special and disabled, 
Where there were others with CF,  
Who also had fingernails turned inward. 

Indeed I may have complained to my school, 
About the deprival of his life-span maximisation, 
But they continued to patronise me, 
For my self-care hesitation. 

It was only once James was diagnosed, 
That they took me seriously and ‘kent’, 
But by that time I was entangled, 
In a web of divine intervention for a CF relent. 

They thought God would cure him, 
Completely and entirely of CF, 
But I always knew their insanity, 
Would end in them being ‘cognitive deafs’. 

Latterly of course they prayed, 
That God would save him from death as well; 
And so I often questioned educators, 
Who forbode my slowness accusation to sell. 

After he died they produced a book, 
And called it Goodnight James, 
Which upset me and found me distraught, 
Because their own faith it blames! 

It seems to say that if you ask nicely of God,
In a way and in a certain manner, 
That Jesus will heal the sufferer’s body, 
So as to create a holy clangor.

I am disabled, entitled to the health service, 
And would not like to promote divinity, 
As a pathway to make anyone better, 
Even if it allow conceptual modal validity.

Studied marketing, hate the book Goodnight James, 
Because it plasters God as real, 
As potentially effective as a doctor, 
When He just ramifies what you feel. 

NHS doctors are real to me, 
Because hey helped my brother get better, 
Fight bacteria and mucus build-up, 
With operations and drugs - ‘bread-and-butter’. 

There is no God, 
And he’s certainly got nothing to do with the NHS, 
In any way whatsoever! 
Because that would make a great big mess! 

The NHS is not attached to divinity, 
Dependent on it at all, 
Not a sidekick or an offspring, 
Not a development from God, a call. 

It’s not above God, 
Beside him or below, 
Not secondary, 
Nor a third party to know. 

The NHS is not an agent of the divine one, 
And it is not an agent of earthly representatives, 
It’s not assigned to Jesus for productivity,
And in medical need, God is not active. 

It is the mind of the doctor which I so love, 
Astute, intelligent, insightful and aware, 
Of the patients’ incapacity’s, 
Giving life, functionality and care. 

I don't know why my parents wrote the book, 
To chide those who ignore, 
The celestial being in medical journeys, 
Making the patient into an ignorant whore. 

See, there are not three people in the doctor’s room, 
There’s only two, you and her or him, 
God is not invisibly interacting, 
In that beauteous dialogue - the win. 

Although I understand faith can be expressed, 
In many ways, boldly or with timidity, 
I likewise have the right to my opinion, 
Of who to trust in life’s tepidity. 

To sacrifice one’s mind for a delusion, 
When the actual means a nurse or doctor, 
Is an extremely saddening experience, 
For the relatives who know people so much more. 

Obviously, private devotions are personal, 
Not affecting anybody else, 
But what they did changed hearts, 
Towards God, and not towards the NHS. 

Fundamentalists in the 80s so needed to know, 
How to fit in to their brave new society, 
Where new technology, disability rights and medical advances, 
Gave church leaders a certain amount of sobriety. 

The book could’ve described James’ love for me, 
And that would have explained disability at least, 
But what transpired was a religious projectile -
A holy cry of an introspective fundamentalist feast! 

I explained life and death to James, 
How to cope and why we get ill and suffer,  
He was more at ease after we had talked, 
More interactive, chatty, and calmer. 

You can only validate what you know is true, 
And I know to hope in the health service, 
To glorify, praise and advocate its methods, 
So as to help others enjoy a human presence. 

People’s lives will only improve, 
When individuals make it better, 
Societal progress is wrought by the ones, 
Who’s convictions become actions and words, letter. 

So I did not help market the book, 
In any way at university, 
And I don't know if my parents understood, 
Their slighting by my apparent adversity. 

I have my own memory of James, 
His fondness, deviation and complexity, 
So I hope that you will understand, 
The real story of his personality. 

Go to the doctor when you are ill, 
Don’t request divine healing, 
Because your confidence will be much greater,
When you rest in people’s love, in their caring. 

Copyright © Rhoda Monihan | Year Posted 2018

Long poem by Robert Nehls | Details

PAUL AND SARAH - PART TWO

Conditions were harsh out in Kansas,
For the children and Sarah and Paul.
Neighbors and friends packed up and were gone;
Headed west they could hear fortune's call.
Never sure year to year of the harvest,
So their talents were traded and sold.
Sarah a seamstress, Paul made his knives,
And they spent them like silver and gold.

Fourteen years worth of lessons in Kansas. 
God had always provided their needs.
They trusted in him for direction,
And would willingly go where He leads.
They wanted the best for their children,
Where nature's a little more tame.
Destiney's hand reached out once again.
Opportunity shouted their name.

The Pacific Northwest urged them onward.
Where there's timber and culture and schools.
A talented blacksmith would thrive there.
Sarah had visions of fashions and spools.
They drifted through dreams for their children;
Better teachers and schools, books stacked high,
And a chance to pursue their own future.
Spreading their wings and learning to fly.

To strive and succeed is a blessing.
Fanning flames of creativity.
Possibility coupled with freedom.
Oh, this beautiful land of the free.
For all that have dreams to enlighten,
Where they'll find their true calling and grow.
Expanding on gifts God has given, 
And nothing to stifle the flow.

They sold what they could, packed up the rest,
And were headed out west on the train.
America opened her heart once again,
With her treasures and spirit to gain.
Not sure of the place they would settle.
God would show them the way, this they knew.
Seattle, Tacoma, Portland or where?
Each mile they traveled, hopes and dreams grew.

Mother nature poured out warmth and beauty,
And Oregon welcomed them home.
Overwhelmed with her glory and splendor.
No need to go further or roam.
Bought a place by the city of Portland.
Opportunity seemed to be there.
Some land, a few buildings, a cabin.
God had led them and answered their prayer.

Sarah enrolled the children in school.
They cleaned up the cabin and land.
Traded dresses and knives for things they would need.
And set about doing all they had planned.
Paul hung a big sign outside his shop.
"BLACKSMITH FOR HIRE, KNIVES CUSTOM MADE."
Didn't take long for his skill to known.
Inventor, an artist, they called him, "The Blade."

The loggers and miners would bring broken parts,
And request special tools to be made.
Paul met every challenge with passion and skill,
And a spirit that never would fade.
Each job had a lesson and Paul wrote them down.
And would think about ways to improve,
Hardening, friction, balance and wear,
Then built them to see what a field test would prove.

Neighbors and friends had repairs to be made,
On implements, wagon parts, hinges and tools.
Matthew, Paul's son, would work after school,
And learned that a blacksmith was no trade for fools.
But the fire and anvil, hammer and steel,
Brought a joy he would not be denied.
He made the repairs like a smith twice his age,
While observing his father who worked by his side.

They had to expand to meet the demand.
And they hired a couple more men.
Paul kept creating for customer's needs,
Hired some more and expanded again.
His blades weren't forgotten but set to the side,
Too busy to give them much thought.
His creative talents had never been lost.
He followed the rainbow in search of the pot.

Sarah rented a shop in the city,
Called it the, "Huckleberry Boutique."
Designing clothing beyond the normal;
Made for the boldest and for the meek.
She hired a clerk and three seamstresses.
Was a favorite with women and girls.
Her daughters would wear her creations,
With drapes, pleats, ruffles, flowers and pearls.

Paul raised up the flag every morning.
And the years just went trickling by.
They were grateful for all God had given.
Read from the Bible and didn't know why,
They'd been blessed with so many fortunes.
Their home and family, business and friends.
The children were now off to college.
The circle of life and love never ends.

Mary had hopes of being a writer,
Of people and places, worlds not what they seem.
Martha had worked with her mother for years,
A fashion designer was her greatest dream.
Matthew had learned his father's trade well,
And he wanted to be an engineer.
Invent and design for the loggers and mines.
A fine family business, a noble career.

In time the children were settled in life.
Mary wrote stories and sold quite a few.
"Huckleberry Fashions," was thriving;
Martha now at the helm, the company grew.
And Matthew returned to his father.
Engineering degree, his dues had been paid.
He took over the business and loved it,
And freed up some time for his father, "The Blade."

Paul and Sarah had time on their hands.
And they knew what they wanted to do.
There were poor, unfortunate souls reaching out,
To the churches for shelter and food.
With compassion and love for their neighbors,
They would share God's sweet bounty with them.
And help them to reach their goals and their dreams,
While freeing themselves from poverty's hem.

There were businesses all around Portland,
That would also be happy to share.
The churches united, a great common cause.
There was guidance, training, housing and prayer.
A scholarship fund was created,
And watched over by Sarah and Paul.
Volunteers vowed allegiance and honor.
"SPREAD YOUR WINGS SUPPORT GROUP," stood very tall.

The Board of Directors and all those involved,
Gave their smiles, compassion and heart.
No one expected a salary or wage.
Brushstrokes creating a fine work of art.
A foundation with nothing to gain,
But the blessings that God has to give.
Helping others to reach for abundance.
Then passing it on so others may live.

Paul made his knives when he had some free time.
Gave them as gifts to family and friends.
Sarah designed just for fun now and then,
And followed the industries fashions and trends.
They were thankful for all of God's blessings,
Independence and dear Liberty.
Where all have a chance to make dreams come true.
Oh, this beautiful land of the free.





Copyright © Robert Nehls | Year Posted 2016

Long poem by Cindi Rockwell | Details

THE JOURNEY

Once upon a weedy lawn
At Cedar Oaks Retirement Home
There sat my mother, weak and old
On an afghan knit to block the cold.

It was summer, but in mom's grey eyes
Was winter, when all around us dies.
I had tried to park her in the sun
Though I doubt she could notice what I'd done.

The disease had eaten up her brain
So little of her now remained
She didn't even know my name
I knew her not, much to my shame.

I looked around our patch of earth
Saw dandelions,and thought with mirth
Of how when small these grew quite wild
Mom would pick them as she smiled.

"Blow upon this cloud of seed,
"Then wish for what you really need."
I picked one now,and sadly blew
I asked for "mom" I never knew.

Suddenly a gust of wind
Took those seeds and made them spin
I felt my body start to rise
And change to match the seeds in size.

My mother gasped, & sucked us in
The seeds and me like some great wind
I saw her teeth, quite brown from smoking
And feared that I might cause her choking.

I swirled around, then down a slide
"Is this my mother I'm inside?!"
I landed in a battered lung
Where signs of cigarettes had clung.

And unsure of just where to go
I found a bridge, and crossed it slow.
Whence I entered a crucial part.
I found myself in momma's heart.

Where in a corner, dark and dusty
A young girl played, her laugh so lusty.
Her eyes weren't grey but tinged with blue
The plaited hair I also knew.

Her teeth so white, her face unlined
It was my mother, quite a find!
A joy, a freedom never shown
A lightness in her manner, tone.

And then a moment changed it all
I saw my grandma softly call
And whisper in my mother's ear
"Your dad has died. I'm sorry, dear."

Her wailing nearly deafened me
As the joy drained out like tides at sea.
Seeing all her pain and grief
I felt unwelcome, like a thief.

So I moved further in her heart
And came upon a teenage tart.
Awkwardly smoking, trying too hard
And too easily letting down her guard.

She fell for boys like rain from clouds
Her clothes too tight, her make-up loud.
Each night she staggered home alone
Hoping one would actually phone.

Then came the day that in that place
Could only lead to her disgrace.
I saw my mom in grandma's parlor
And my granny pacing as she hollered.

She pointed at mom's bulging middle
Screamed, then cried, then swore a little.
Pulled my mom up to her feet
In one swift move, threw her on the street.

My mother was 16, expecting a child
Homeless as well, she ought to be wild.
But instead I saw a great peace abide her
As she gently caressed me still forming inside her.

I saw in her eyes how love was the way
She changed from a girl to a woman that day.
Not love for a boy, a career, a degree
The love that transformed her was her love for ME!

Already feeling like my heart could break
And not sure of how much more I could take,
I still turned around to roam and explore
Both anxious and wary for what was in store.

This part of her heart was lit bright as the sun
My mother was wedding her intended one.
I remembered the dresses, beautifully white
I remembered the dancing that went on all night.

And then like a knife tearing straight through my chest
I knew what I'd see when I looked at the rest.
My mother so happy to be loved and give back
And me, growing older, and jealous of "Zach."

My stepdad who treated me like I was his own
Whose only crime was to enter our home.
I wanted my mother's attention on me
I was blinded by self-centered jealousy.

I knew that my mother would have to pick me
Especially if he behaved violently.
I found I was born with a flair for theatrics
And ran to my mom, often faking hysterics

Til finally my mother was left with no choice
But to tell him to leave, with a crack in her voice.
And suddenly I saw what I hadn't before
This part of mom's heart looked all broken and sore.

I couldn't continue with ease like before
The walls were too thick, advancing a chore
As if my mother had run out of room
For chances of love to grow or to bloom.

Then finally I hit the last, great, thick wall
Without any access beyond it at all
And almost afraid to look at the view.
I nonetheless watched, as I knew I must do.

It was a scene I knew all too well.
My teenage years, when I put mom through hell.
When I dumped her for boys who cared nothing for me
Choosing from her real love just to flee.

I left her alone in her house in the woods
I left her for losers who sold me their goods.
And then, too proud to admit I was wrong
I never went back, til her health was long gone.

And it was too late to say how much I cared
Too late to know it was something we shared.
Ready to go, I took one last long glance
And I saw something I never expected, by chance.

I saw my mother, like time lapse pics
Every night of her life, never missing a tick
Down on her knees, by the side of her bed
Praying for ME, who left her for dead.

She prayed for my health, she prayed I'd find love,
She prayed I'd be blessed by our Dad up above.
And even when she couldn't walk on her own.
My mom still put my needs o'er her own.

When the tears rolled free down my face,
I heard a huge sigh, and felt pulled from my place.
And in half a minute I was back on the lawn
Front of mom and Cedar Oaks Retirement Home.

My mother looked down on me, suddenly aware
And I saw for the first time her pain and her care.
And I noticed also an angel-like glow,
As she reached out her hand, and said, "Now you know."

I hugged her, held her, thanked her til night.
But the lucid look never came back in her sight.
She passed shortly after, to my great dismay
But I'll never forget the gifts given that day.

I learned never discount the love of your mother,
Never trade in that bond for the sake of a lover.
I learned there is power in a mom's loving prayers
And there is a God who hears and who cares.

I learned about faith, and love unconditional.
I learned about judging by standards traditional.
And I learned that from a little seed
Can come most everything you need.

Copyright © Cindi Rockwell | Year Posted 2015

Long poem by Karim Mohsen | Details

Before The Day Ends

I saw a girl at the museum. I had to take her number
It was like my heart woke up from a long slumber

She was admiring a Picasso painting.
 I knew nothing about art so I just said it was amazing
She said "Yeah. It's quite breathtaking"

She was going into details I was going to be exposed
but her beauty was enough for me to listen to her talking about something I loathed

I mean the only thing that made less sense to me than paintings was poetry
I didn't hear a word she said but I nodded unknowingly

Then I realized I just said I was going to an auction
I guess I have to work on y methods of seduction

When I went to the auction and I saw how much people were bidding I got depressed
Then I remembered this was my only way to get her interest

I waited for the auctioneer to announce
a very important painting that belonged to an artist whose name I couldn't pronounce

I bid and the guy beside me raised
We went back and forth. It felt like it could've went for days

I won then I realized
I was about to spend the money I had saved for a new car and tears almost fell from my eyes

She was impressed so I guess it was job well done
Now it was time for a date I deserved to have fun

Before I asked her out she said
"I gotta go. My boyfriend is waiting." I almost dropped dead

I learned my lesson not a dollar will be spent
Before I make sure the girl doesn't have a boyfriend

I went to a gym which I've never done in my life
I saw a girl on the bike and said she must become my wife

I passed huge guys and went to the other bike
I didn't know what It'd feel like

We started a conversation, minutes later I was gasping for air
I blacked out and when I regained consciousness. She wasn't there.
I got up and started to cuss and everyone just started to stare

Before I left the gym I saw a girl. She was even hotter
but the manager wanted me out so I didn't bother

I decided to go to the bar though I've never drank
but first I had to stop at the gas station cause I had an empty tank

Waiting for my turn I saw a hot lady beside her car
I said "Hi, wanna join me? I was on my way to the bar"

She said "Sure but can you do me a favor first?
Can you please buy me a drink. I'm dying of thirst."

It was a weird request but it was a small price. I was finally going on a date
I came back with the drink but it was too late

She stole my car. I was going to take hers
but was stopped by 3 guys in matching shirts

apparently it was their car and they thought I was the thief
I said "It was just a misunderstanding guys. I'm gonna leave"

Believe me I'm a good man
I'm the victim here. You don't understand

I tried to leave but before I could run
They gave me a beating and man was it a good one

I went to the bar. I almost forgot about finding a date
I just wanted to drink and forget everything that happened today

I ordered a bunch of drinks that sounded cool
I got wasted quick and fell off my stool

A chick helped me back up
The bar was spinning and it didn't stop

We had a conversation I was doing the talking
I told her everything that had happened and she listened to every word that was spoken

I paid and said I have to go
She said "Do you know where you live?" I said "I don't know."

She said "Let me help you get home"
I said "I can do it on my own"

She said "Fine. At least take this
It's a special medicine take it then take a short rest

You'll be sober quicker
Believe me it'll help." I said "It better"

I struggled to get home.I took the pills then laid down
an hour later I woke up and looked around

I remembered what happened. I remembered the girl
Everything was clear when the world didn't twirl

I ruined the best shot I had so far
I hoped she was still there. I ran back to the bar

I asked the bartender. He said "She comes every year
She went back home. She thought about settling here

 but she's superstitious and after you rejected her she felt it was a sign
to go back home." I was going to lose my mind

I was walking in the street. It was afternoon
I said to myself I better find a girl to go after soon

Cause I made a vow to myself to not go home today without a date
I've been alone for so long and I wanted to find love before it was too late.

I thought for long where to go next
I was interrupted by a text

It was from a lady it said "Go to this address. A  big surprise is waiting for you"
I decided to go maybe God was rewarding me after all I'd been through

The address was far and I didn't have enough money in my pocket.
I stopped a car and the driver agreed to give me a lift but I was stuck with

two smelly men in the backseat
I was in the middle squeezed, that plus the heat.

I felt so sick I left the car and I vomited
I couldn't walk and if I was honest with
Myself I was losing hope then I met a modest chick

She give me a ride and bragged about her achievements all the way
but it was nothing compared to what I'd been through today

I reached the place and dialed the number
I looked around and I saw a girl picking up her phone
 standing beside her lover.

She said "This is embarrassing. That text wasn't meant for you. It was meant for my guy
But I must've mistaken the last digit." I didn't know how to reply.

She said "I hope I didn't cause you much trouble." I said "No.
I actually live here." She said "Cool. I have to go"

Going home was a bigger struggle than coming here
Suddenly I remembered the gym, the bar and the auctioneer

I wanted to be angry but didn't have any energy left
I went home and in front of my door I found a gift

I made sure it was for me before I opened it
I held it carefully cause it felt like it could get broken quick

It was a picture of me and an old friend from college
She wanted to meet. I took a shower and put money in my wallet

I met my friend her name was Candice
She looked stunning in her black dress
We had dinner. We fell for each other and after dinner we kissed.

It was the best feeling to be honest
The day ended and I kept my promise.

Copyright © Karim Mohsen | Year Posted 2018

Long poem by john fleming | Details

The Tower rebuilt

I shall resolve to leave this
Place now...
And steadfastly search out,
Nestling between ridge and bluff
Amidst the folds of a foreign 
Land,
Several acres of unkempt ground
Fallow and rough;
Upon which stands...
Crumbled stone walls
With an exposed slate roof in
Some state of disrepair,
And a rounded brough
Complete with smooth, 
Well trodden steps
Twisting around a narrow stair.

An Inglenook, therein,
Will I construct,
With deep reveals to cheer me
In my idling days,
And wide spanning arch
To sit before and stay the onset
Of this old age...
And all its creeping ills;
While in all the subtle crafts
In which I was taught 
to be so ably Skilled:
Rebuild this castle
Inside the wistful echos
Of these deeply-spilling 
And far resounding hills.

Then, with mind well set,
complete with muscles willing
Sinew 
And perspirations honest sweat,
I shall toil upon this task;
For a little more precious time,
Coupled with fortitude and 
Diligence,
In truth, is all one my humbly
ask.
And by my will...
And by my command -
Raise up these fallen blocks
Once more
Upon this goodly land.

For could it happen that
Every night,
Before I gladly retire,
I glimpse a trace of those whose 
Face 
Haunt the hot flames of my steady 
Fire?
Disregarding manifested nightly 
Shadows,
That, in their lonely spectral 
Travels,
Creep across old squeaking boards...
Lain at right angles
Over the creaking joists
Hidden under ingrained, 
Dusty, oaken floors.

And placing down my thick and 
Heavy,
Red leather-bound book
I reach across for thread, 
Sharp needle and hook;
When picking up the threadbare  
Blue-velvet rags...
I stitch in the bright silvery stars
We once eagerly reached for,
But did not quite grasp,
In our younger days as lustier 
Lads;
Perhaps pausing in mid-motion,
With a rueful look,
To pensively consider of that
Weary road 
One lone stray drummer,
Still steadily drumming -
Steadfastly took.

Consider! Accession is but a 
Trifle -
The anointed destiny of all 
Royal Kings... 
And all earthly prizes pale asides 
Whatever riches accumulated
Wisdom gradually brings:
Born of labor,
Re-doubled effort,
Born of non-compromise...
And fated,
Gently resigned, nodding sighs.

Rising now on upright stiffening
Bones...
Listening to the dark hours 
Belated howls
Rise over the laments
Of the Lime-torched rafters 
Swelling moans;
And, plodding slowly upwards
Of my bell-less tower -
Seek out welcome sleep 
Within my shaking, wind swept
Bower!

Slung low under the eastern 
Point
Of a sharp crested Moon...
The radiant Dog-Star
Floods its rainbow colours through
Narrowed slits
Of the high turreted room.
Port-side lies my yawing bed
Rigged-out in white linen sheets;
Amidships my mattress spread -
Two firm pillows serve as cabin 
To plunge about my weary head!

Storm rages down...
And storm blows below -
Redoubtable little boat 
Swung back and fro!
Tossed and tipped from trough 
To pitch:
Resolute timbers - Lashed afloat 
This angry ditch!
Caught in the deep channel 
Of my chaotic bind...
To seek safe haven I do 
Endeavour to find:
A safe harbour on some newly
Formed virgin shore;
Along whose gentle currents  
My sturdy tiller swings...
And now steers for -
Upon the white spumes 
Of a steady bore.

Now...
Far, far, far above,
Past where Andromeda yields,
And Hercules, who upon the head
Of Draco kneels;
And far, far, far beyond 
Interstellar dust - 
Adorned the blazing Constellations 
Throng...
I walk between the milky-ways
Of sunlit nights and shinning
Eternal days...
Which relentlessly spiral
Aboard boundless rays.

For, it seems, that a man can 
voyage over the unfathomable 
Bars 
To chase his elusive dreams
Among the crowded stars;
Where, cutting the black voids
With heavens lights:
Hissing crystal tails of vaporous 
Comets -
Condense within the blazing trails
Of burning meteorites!

Indeed! Men may sail on celestial
Seas -
As they traverse the showering 
Heights:
Exploding forth in grandest 
Majesties 
In golden realms of the Gods 
Hurled smites!
Seek their solace upon Eternities 
Unending oceans -
Their fortunes blown by solar winds:
Mortal souls searching in perpetuity 
Until the dawning revelry then 
Rescinds.

Answering the call to old Gabriels 
Horn,
As dappling sunlight creeps across
My undaunted little tower,
I open my eyes to the new born
Morn -
When summoned to the beckoning
Hour.
Descending from my fortified
Might,
Reinforced with new found zeal,
I reflect upon this newly provoked
Insight -
As the happy chapel bell begins
To joyously peel!

So awaken, Herald! 
And usher in ennobled thoughts,
For enlightenment sought,
Inside where aspirations deem
To dwell.
Just as the planted seeds,
Of much great nourished deeds,
Do so germinate - all naysayers to 
Dispel;
As all lofty creeds, 
Must at some point,
Readily concede, in time,
To the bleak tolling 
Of the cruel fates final knell!

Therefore, put yourself to the 
Immediate task,
Against all obstacles however 
Mean or extreme,
Whilst upon the faithful handle 
Firmly grasp
Of worn tools whose blades are
Worthy and keen.
When bending your strong back 
To take the strain,
Denying any quarter or appeals 
To moderate refrain,
Over adversity you justifiably 
Deign:
Your laudable goals, 
Thus, to surely attain.

Hear me then!
Build tall your Broughs,
Withstanding fancies flight,
Disregarding all those
Who may well try:  
Seek to disparage, ridicule and
Slight.
Suffer not scoffers, knaves 
And braying fools 
But raise up your proud
Monuments
Wherever you should most joyfully
Choose!
For in among the ruins where
Failure steals:
So prevails triumph -
To forever chase his grim presence 
From your low-rubbled fields!




My gratitude to my good friend Mr George Dee Vuy for inspiring me to conceive these
last three verses with the beautiful word..."Ennobled"!! 
Many thanks, George!





Copyright © john fleming | Year Posted 2015

Long poem by Billy TheKidster | Details

The 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 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 filthy 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 fell over 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 boy 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 scenario ever truly took place,
but one thing's for sure. Ollinger tormented Billy at a merciless endless pace. 
They were enemies who fought against each other
during the Lincoln County War. 
Ollinger was in the posse that murdered 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 friendly grin. 
While in the outhouse, 
Billy managed to slip one of his hands out of his handcuffs. 
"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, 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 quickly 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 muttered, "..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 snapped his shotgun in two, threw it at him but missed. 
"You'll never rifle me again," he screamed, "you son of a bitch!" 
On the balcony he addressed the crowd whose jaws hung agape. 
"I do not want to hurt anyone, 
but I will 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 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 bucked violently throwing 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. 
Many claimed that they were all too terrified to subdue him immediately,
but the truth is that he was so loved by so many
that they all just let him go free.
Some even approached to help him back on his feet.
Once again Billy mounted the horse
and fled with the sound of his leg iron chains ringing. 
Many said 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.
*
It was a few days after the Kid's great escape, 
when the following happened to Sheriff Pat Garrett's dismay. 
A stranger rode into the town of Lincoln, 
with the same horse that the Kid stole for his escaping. 
The stranger approached Garrett and said, 'Excuse me partner,
Billy said that you would return this horse to its rightful owner."
.....just another example of the Kid's unique sense of humor.
*

Copyright © Billy TheKidster | Year Posted 2018

Long poem by john fleming | Details

And still i drive - part one

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
And sadly...i start to drive.
Through the unremarkable village with its tall 
Georgian Bay window panes, lightless,
devoid of visages; outwardly staring back at my 
Abject countenance with detached contempt and utter disdains.
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
And i start to drive.
But arriving at the brew i am compelled to ease upon
The pressured brake,
For, at the slowly closing level-crossing with its red lantern gate, 
The tolling bell insists i stop...and patiently wait.

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
As once again i prepare to drive.
At last, in rapid haste, the late commuter train 
Has rattled by -
Within:The snoozing jostled crowds and deceitful 
Drunken brokers that boozily sigh.
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall... 
But stars do not lie.
Away now from Littlehamptons smothering, towered,
Blue-stepping climes,
Where, high upon high, wheeling fat-bellied gulls
With angry squawks viciously dispute their scavenged finds.

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars do not die.
Motoring downwards to ancient Aruns sheep-strewn 
Meadows and thin grass plains;
Past black flint-knapped walls girdling squat Tudor abodes;
Along the oak and Elm treelined roads 
And winding green verged lanes.
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
And still i drive.
Past the dimly lit little ramshackle station where you welcomed
him in;
Here gently retiring Larkin did once alight 
To muse at a noble dukes tomb
And his boastful castle of grey, hewn-stone might!

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars do not cry. 
Travelling alongside these thorny lines of Hawthorn hedge,
Where the cunning Stoat and slinking Weasel reside,
That do so ably divide 
A long forgotten, once bustling,
Feudal countryside.
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars shall not deny.
Each side: Fields of Harvest mouse and blackened Vole
Beneath the hushed, brown feathered wing -
So rips the sharp beak! 
So deathly the talon!
Swooping upon the heath where brown Linnets sing.

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
And still i drive.
Following the deep sided Rifes where the farmers boy 
In olden days did so joyfully run -
And wade the sharply tinkling shallow Bournes with excitable 
Barking hounds and readied hunting gun.
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars do not lie.
Standing upright, like troops aside their barrack beds,
the ranks of stiffly rattling thatching reeds encouraging 
Spearwort and sedge;
Where the chugging long-legged hens slide across slow glides:
Thus cleverly disguise and hide their speckly eggs.

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars do not die.
And still i drive. Across the hushed and vigilant lands of
Silvery streams
Where glistening otters, safely holted,
Whistle within their slumbering dreams.
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars do not cry.
And still i ride. Past the frozen woods of blasted trees
Sheltering the demure deer shying from night time chill;
And tumbling badgers rolling at ease
Upon dry-cracked carpets of rustling, black spotted, molding leaves.

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars shall not deny.
From ancient glade to ancient glade
Where a Gaulic conquerer made an Anglo-Saxon a slave;
And here this Norman dismounted and stood, 
Domesday within his grasp, his thumb between a parchment page.
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
And still i drive.
Exhorting upon my labouring engine to gain the crest 
of yet another leaping hill;
Below: Globular luminosities, distant blobs, sleeping hamlets,
Dwindling narrow cornered streets, 
Misted frills so vacant and still.

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
And still i drive.
Accompanied by the gleeful, ever gurgling sounds
That wind their way down the sloping downs
To unselfishly feed the constant demands of the neat, red-shingled, 
West Sussex towns.
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
And still i drive.
Under this vastness of great yawning cosmic sublimes
Ebbing upon the waves of galactic oceans swelling above:
Straddled by eternal Orion with belted sword and terrible club!

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
And still i drive.
For as i pass those goodly villages and towers, sneaking a peek,
I look out over the dark outlined shapes and spires:
Wonder i upon that furrowed brow, that crimson cheek -
Did you quietly cry, blaze and rage, or fall you into deep troubled sleep?
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
And still i drive.
But sunrises horizons will surely arrive;
And i feel so weak as i readjust myself to the reclined seat.
For i have miles and miles to drive
Before that welcoming bed that i do most earnestly seek...
Lends to me - and sweeps away my exhausted feet!

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars do not lie.
My heavy heart embedded like an anchor deep within
Your reef of sighs;
As motoring over Portsbridge creek my engine flies:
Little painted craft pushing laboriously against the current 
Of a Solents double tide.
A brief glimpse of a lit up bridge, a safe harbour:
The beautiful river Hamble
Where the millionaires yachts reside
Secured and snugly moored
Against a picturesque quayside.
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars do not die.
Standing tall and proud, refuting Hampshires Pompey winds,
Beached "Sails of the South" of wide fame renown;
When, rushing in: resounding waves of indifferent sounds -
Crashing over Portseas spray-lashed rocks to remorselessly pound!

Copyright © john fleming | Year Posted 2015

Long Poems