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Long poem by Carol Connell | Details

Our Second Trip To Peru

Our Second Trip To Peru

In 2014 my family and I were privileged to be able to go on our second missions trip to Peru. The year before we had gone down with a group of 12 from our church, comprised of mostly young people, but this year it would be just my husband, 2 grown children and I. After about 10 hours of flying, we landed at the airport in Lima. We were greeted by the missionary and his helpers, loaded our luggage into a couple of vehicles and began our trip to the missionary’s home. Lima, which is the capitol of Peru has a population of over 12 million people and driving in this city can be a hair raising adventure, to say the least.

In Lima’s traffic
a person can learn to pray
for their survival.

On our first trip, we had spent all our time in Lima and her surrounding suburbs, but on this trip we had plans to visit Iquitos, a city in the Amazon jungle region and Cusco, a city and area of high elevation and home of the legendary Machu Picchu. Our first stop was to Iquitos, the largest city in the world that is only accessible by plane or boat. Cars are pretty scarce in Iquitos. The most used method of transportation is the rickshaw, which is basically a motorcycle with a cart behind it in which passengers sit. This open air form of transportation was a new and fun experience for us.

Hailing a rickshaw
negotiating the fare
and then we take off.

My husband was scheduled to preach a crusade that they were having at one of the churches in Iquitos. The people greeted us warmly, the worship was exuberant and it was very hot. None of the churches there have air conditioning.

Sweating a river
in jungle sanctuary
we praise God anyhow.

I told myself I would do my best not to use the restroom while we were at church. It’s just not the same as it is in America. However, there was one service where I just had to go.

 Primitive toilets
sometimes do not have a seat.
Bring your own tp.

We enjoyed our time in services with the Peruvians, and after the crusade was over, we had occasion to do some sightseeing. We paid to take a trip down the dirty Amazon River to a small wildlife refuge. It was a peaceful ride down the river, and after about half an hour, we pulled up to the shore where there was a rickety wooden stairway that leads up to a small wildlife refuge. As we exited the boat, we saw several small monkeys coming down the side rails of the stairway. Much to my son’s delight, one of the monkeys came and jumped right onto his shoulder. These monkeys seemed truly happy and anxious to see who their visitors were. We found out that these monkeys, as cute as they are, also can be full of mischief. One of the little guys pulled a chopstick out of my daughter’s hair and tried to run off with it, but we were able to apprehend him and retrieve the article. I had my own encounter with a small imp.

Fresh little monkey
trying to lift up my skirt.
Missionary laughs.

As we made our way through the refuge, there were several animals that we were allowed to hold in our hands if we so desired. We all took turns holding a giant turtle, a toucan and a colorful parrot sitting on a limb. All of the animals there have been thoroughly cleaned up and have had parasites removed from them. I also held a sloth.  It was not what I was expecting.

Stiff, sanitized sloth
much like a furry backpack
held near in my arms.

Before we returned to the city area of Iquitos, we planned to make one more stop. The missionary told us that there were groups of native people that live along the river that ran around very scantily clad or sometimes naked.  We weren’t at all interested in seeing that, but the tour guide on the boat told the missionary he knew of some native people that were not like that, and he could show us where they were. He took us to the spot, we got off the boat and started walking towards a large hut that was in the distance. For some reason, my son was ahead of everybody else in a group, and when he reached the hut, he went inside. That tour guide must have fibbed. My son was mortified.

A primeval hut
filled with half naked women
he quickly exists.

Once we had returned to Iquitos we took a walk through an open air market.  Just  one look at the filthy hands of most of  the merchants let us know that we would be playing Russian roulette with our health by eating anything here. We came to one particular vendor where we just stopped and stared for a few minutes. 

Grub worm on a stick
regional delicacy
I think I will pass.

Near the end of our Peruvian trip we boarded another plane for our flight to Cusco. Cusco is a region of Peru, and there is also a city by the same name. We were told that where we were landing the elevation was 11,000 feet.   . As soon as our plane was on the ground, I could feel the difference.

Landing in Cusco
one thought dominates my mind.
I need oxygen!

 The next morning a taxi that was scheduled to pick us up came and dropped us off at the train station. The train ride to Machu Picchu was about an hour long, but it was scenic and pleasant. After exiting the train, we got on a nice, spacious tour bus which would take us the rest of the way there. All I can say is that Machu Picchu is absolutely breathtaking.  I can certainly see why it is now named as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

Oh my, what splendor
Machu Picchu in person
Photos can’t compare!

I might mention that the elevation is around 7,000 feet at Machu Picchu, so I had no problems breathing during our visit. There is so much more that I could say, but I will end my recollections by saying that this was a trip of a lifetime, and I was so blessed to be able to experience this with my family. I will never be the same!

The people, the sights
of our journey to Peru
live within my heart.


Submitted for Foreign Travel Contest sponsored by Thvia Shetley

Copyright © Carol Connell | Year Posted 2017

Long poem by Ivor Davies | Details

Legacy of Penang

Back in 1962 when I was just a lad
my dad gave me a holiday
the best I ever had.
A holiday of every dream
that one lifetime could hold
so listen while this wondrous time 
to you I now unfold:

In bygone years to travel far
was not a normal thing,
to travel some six thousand miles
by plane was amazing!
Propellers aided by a jet,
a very modern way,
aboard a British Eagle plane
my life would change that day.

A little island in the sun
where British troops were based
on active service out Far East
where they would get a taste
of jungle warfare while they helped
to form a brand new state
by helping stop objections from 
a few this change did hate.

But as a teenage boy, you see,
the politics of war
were not as noticeable to me
as other things I saw.
I felt the beauty of this land
with folk of every kind
for at this time in England
few ‘cultures’ could be found. 

For back at home in Blighty
a youngster such as me
had to know his place in life
and couldn’t roam quite free,
but out here in the tropics
no prejudice I found
of the nature that had kept me thus
by England’s limits bound.

Now out here in Malaysia,
on this island of Penang,
I found a place where deep inside
stirred memories that sang
of a time in my existence
that I’d never felt before
born of ancient inner knowledge
that my soul was screaming for.

To continue with my story
of the time I was a lad,
when in a British Barracks
with a soldier for a dad
I had given up my schooling
for adventure in the world
and like a butterfly emerging
my wings were now unfurled.

On this truly wondrous island
Minden Barracks was my home
with excitement and adventure
wherever I could roam.
I immersed in all the wisdom
of simplicity I met
and learned that what you give to life,
returns in what you get.
For the Chinese and the Indians,
Malays and some ex-pats
had found ways to live together
though all wore different hats,
in perfect symbiosis
where all fulfilled their roles
and by leaning on each other
could emancipate their goals.

Now even at this early age,
I was not too dim to see
that the rich were getting richer
and the poor were never free,
but something buried deep inside
these people of Penang
bore a certain understanding
of the common song they sang.

Now I grew up very quickly
as my friends all went to war,
young soldiers who were now my age
what were they fighting for.
Atrocities befell them 
as they fought Malaysia’s side
against those from Indonesia
who would not join this ride.

Skirmishes abundant
though Penang was hardly hit,
it was only very seldom
that we faced a scary bit.
When Minden B’ was threatened
all the locals stayed inside
just in case the British soldiers
started shooting the wrong side!
But throughout this ‘confrontation’
my job became pure joy,
for the Army’s recreation 
then became my brand new toy.
On the island’s sandy beaches
you would find me day by day
driving speed boats for the soldiers
when they found the time to play.

In Penang, their favourite island,
 the troops would take their leave
and have fun while water skiing
as they took a short reprieve
from the nature of their duties
that had brought them to this land
and for just a fleeting moment
could enjoy the sea and sand.

For three years whilst Water Skiing
I enjoyed this paradise
but the days I was not working
were all equally as nice
for at home in Minden Barracks
was a special swimming pool
where friends would meet
and wash their souls
with conversation’s tool.

This really was the centre
of our commune in this land,
the meeting place for sharing
where all friends would understand.
Soldier’s wives, their men at war,
and others gathered round,
if any place is hallowed
then this pool is sacred ground.
But Georgetown and its traders
was the place I loved to be
where the colour, noise and culture
always let my soul soar free.
Where the many, many trishaws
and the bikes and traffic mix,
with the hawkers, shops and markets
this is where I got my fix!

Four good years I lived my life
in this very special place,
absorbing understanding
at a multicultural pace.
I’d been born into a country
that the world thought was mature,
but maturity is lost of mind
when progress is the lure.

Back in 1962 when I was just a lad
my dad gave me a holiday
the best I’d ever had.
Back in 1966 I went back home again
and the schooling that I’d given up
had not been lost in vain,
for I’d learnt the real meaning
of my Life in this short stay,
a meaning full of everything
I carry till this day.

So now I’m in My sixties,
not the sixties of my past
and the thing I’ve found along the way
is most things never last.
But learn from where you travel,
let morals be your guide
for none can steal the things you hold
and carry deep inside.

Ivor G Davies

Copyright © Ivor Davies | Year Posted 2015

Long poem by john fleming | Details

And still i drive - Part two

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars do not cry.
Into Ochs valley, through the Vale of White Horse...prancing 
besides a Dragons Hill;
It was here that a Roundhead - did a Royalist Cavaliers blood in 
Oxons streets so spill!
Where Great Alfred strove to drive out the Dane and his Law;
And blazing fires were lit to roar in the open grates of Christ churchs 
Great Hall.
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars do not deny.
Along the ever stretching A34 littered with the slaughtered carcasses of the
Daily score;
Over Royal Berkshires balding heights, where from every bush 
And every turn,
Reflecting back from my glowing headlights
Sharp green piercing eyes - cunning Red fox that so discerns.

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
And still i drive.
Between the clearing acres of ten thousand gnarled boughs
That once did so ably fashion for great Windsors mighty beams.
Steering along Newburys pass where Civil war was played out thrice
Against the brow:
Same old crowd - bloody encounters and fisticuffs - same age old
Greed driven schemes!
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
And still i drive.
At the approaching roundabout i must begin to slow -
First exit left - M40 - and steadily onward i accelerate to go;
For i have the Immortal Bards Warwickshire set within my determined mind -
My own forlorn loves hopes...lost...now far distant...long gone behind.

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
And still i drive.
Wide motorways with boastful, imposing overhead gantry signs:
Grandly heralding the names of "just up ahead" places
Boldly framed upon blue panels within white trim designs,
Straddling wide lanes - huge and brightly lit,
Prompt and remind the tourist of the "sights" they must surely visit.
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars do not lie.
Here the reflective waters of Shakespeares Avon still peacefully flow
That pushed upon the old mills rustic wheels so many forgotten years ago.
Where, carting slowly, the Hathaways would come for flour, or so it was said,
To bring back unto Newlands farm to bake and offer prayers 
For their daily bread.

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars do not die.
Pittering hail blows across my glass windscreen - the swinging rhythmatic blade
sweeping it clean;
And staring, as if caught in a trance, my mind casts back
To that last meal we ate - you on the settle - i by the exposed and varnished 
Brick stack;
In your warm, comfy little lounge loudly arguing back and forth over this and that!
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars do not cry.
Unfurling before me the M6 toll that impedes my progress upon this hour 
So late,
As queuing, my whirling thoughts drift again to the moment, where in silence,
I had quietly stood at your little open gate:
Incandescent with cruel stabbing words you did me so violently berate;
Crashing door slamming tightly shut - sealed now upon a doomed forgone fate!

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars do not deny.
The barrier rises as once again the blizzard contrives...
Whereupon, engaging the gears and steadily revving the engine,
I Resume the drive;
Speeding towards Staffordshires potteries of ceramic plates:
Pattern ware for commoner, landed gentry, Lords and Ladies, 
And lofty estates.
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
And still i drive.
The monumental journey of one hundred leagues is nearly all but done,
The resolute chimneys and Bottle kilns i will soon outrun.
For now a sailing Moon begins to shallow and fade -
Whilst gathering together her skirts -
A final encore before daintily retiring from centre stage.

Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But i know not why.
Hesitant grey light in the wings steps aside bleak and rugged tors;
Dawns waking orchestral chorus prepares to perform sweet clarion chords;
Beacons that coursed constant along my long troubled way,
Soon to be gradually extinguished at the onset of another slowly waking
Cheshire day.
Stars fall under failing skies...stars fall...stars fall...
But stars should not cry. (For men do not cry! Do they?)
The painted black and white metal railings that secure the pastoral herds
Of the shire
Are adorned with the icicles and hard frost from a fierce biting ire;
And as Moonlights diminished beams disappear behind thick drawing drapes
- Finally drawn -
Back in the land of my fathers fathers to which i am forever inextricably sworn!!

                                Forgive me, Julia!!


Copyright © john fleming | Year Posted 2015

Long poem by Gregory R Barden | Details

Such Does Exist

I ran out of breath on the road to Mumbai,
Not for sake of dust or smog or even health.
I had rounded a curve on my motorcycle ...

And all at once could see in the same view,
The skyline of Mumbai, Matheran Mountain,
And a wide swath of the Arabian Sea, and

All was lit with a late-day sun that was as
Red as the poppies in Patel Nagar, painting
The whole scene with a bright sheen of

Exquisite hue ... there was a slight misty
Fog from the sea through the valley around
Matheran, that reached its fingers back

Towards Pune, and the glow of the sunset
Illuminated all of it perfectly, making the
Entire scene like a tapestry of scarlet lace

Threaded with gold! For a moment I
Thought I was dreaming and back at my
Hotel in Jaipur, for nothing REAL could be

So exquisitely beautiful ... then I recalled
Your lips and thought, "Yes - such a color IS
Possible!" I caught my breath ...

And moved on.

I had a dizzy spell on the side of Sugarloaf.
It was early morning at the mountain on a
Very stormy day, snow falling as heavily as

I'd ever seen, even for the Western Maine
Mountains, and a bit of wind, too, but not
Enough to shut down the gondolas. Not

Many people there that early on such a snowy
Day, so I had taken the ride to the top alone,
And about three-quarters of the way up the

Gondola came out of the clouds and above
The storm, and the sunshine warmed my core.
I was busy getting my skis on and poles in

Hand, (and the first part of the trail was north-
Ward), so it wasn't until I'd gone a ways thru
The amazing powder of the Snow Fields that

I noticed the panorama, and I had to stop to
Get my balance ... the peak of Sugarloaf and
The surrounding mountains were sticking up

Through the flat cloud layer like islands on a
Sea, and the sky was so blue above that the
Clouds had taken on a dark azure, the low

Sun shining through the lens of atmosphere
Adding a glow that was almost green, and
Altogether it made for a sight that I'll never

Come close to describing, in any way that gives
It proper scope or a hint of justice. I thought
To myself that I must still be asleep in my

Nana's house back in Kingfield, for nothing
REAL could be so sublimely gorgeous ... then
I recalled your eyes and thought, "Yes - such

Colors ARE possible!" I steadied for a minute ...

And then kept skiing.

I had a revelation one day in the South Pacific.
A friend and I were scuba diving off the coast
Of Vanuatu, just north of Port Vila and about

Two miles out in Mele Bay. We were looking
For a very rare "hairy" species of Nautilus
Called Allonautilus Scrobiculatus, that had

Been seen by a lone diver the previous day.
We'd been down pretty deep all morning,
Floating in twilight and getting a bit frustrated

Chasing look-alikes, when we decided to
Head to the surface and the boat for some
Lunch. My buddy had gone up right by the

Boat, but I was a bit further out, and as I
Surfaced I was watching what looked like
A Tiger Shark swimming away from me in

The opposite direction, making sure it had
No interest in me, and backed into a school
Of large jellies. If you've ever done so you

Can get confused very quickly as to what's
Up-or-down, but I'd risen enough to have
Strong mid-day sunlight, so I stopped

Surfacing and just enjoyed the sight ...
The pinks and oranges and pastels of
The jellies against the strong aqua back-

Ground of the water at around 40 feet, and
The bright sun rays piercing all with shafts
Of brighter blues and greens and white!

But when I looked down toward the deep
Water some of the jellies were glowing
Against the almost black-blue of the depths,

And the mix of it all was more breathtaking
Than I can put to words here. I had to adjust
My regulator and try not to get too excited,

But it was a once-in-a-lifetime sight, and I
Couldn't help my heart beating out of my
Chest! For a moment I thought I was

Asleep and dreaming back in my bungalow
In Matarisu, because nothing on Earth
Could be that stunning, but then I recalled

Your smile and thought, "Yes ... yes, such
Incredible beauty DOES exist!" I gathered
My wits together ...

And surfaced slowly for lunch.

You see, I've had a thousand such moments
In life - brief seconds of wonder, and
Exhilaration, and heart-stopping beauty,

And each time I have to stop and think of
You, not because they remind me of you,
Or compare to you, or even resemble you

In any way, but purely for the fact that
WITHOUT you, I wouldn't even know what
TRUE beauty was, and every one of these

Extraordinary, exquisite sights and sublime
Moments, would have passed in an instant,
Forever unappreciated. Because of YOU ...

Such beauty DOES exist.

Copyright © Gregory R Barden | Year Posted 2017

Long poem by Gregory R Barden | Details

To Help A Hob - Part 1

There "he" stood in front of me, the deep forest behind him framing
His ancient face like an emerald halo, the growing dark of dusk getting
Deeper by the moment. He was no more than two-and-a-half feet tall,
Though just as wide as he was vertical, clothed in some kind of fur and

Odd sandals, very muscular with leathery skin, and looking at me like I
Should find all this as a normal, everyday occurrence. He had just asked
Me, in some form of archaic keltic dialect, what my name was, (I THINK),
So I told him. As soon as I did so his huge, square head of bushy white

Hair and beard began to jiggle with the repercussions of internal laughter,
And the left corner of his mouth turned up into a half-smile. As his eyes
Began to sparkle a bit, he then spoke again, this time with absolutely no
Foreign accent at all, remarking how I was an American and must be there,

(The Scottish Highlands above Glen Cove), on a hiking trip, though surely
Lost. Well, this was all quite accurate, but I was in a lousy mood to begin
With, believing this little gnome to be a hallucination from fatigue, and I
Was not about to give him any sort of satisfaction, so I just continued to

Stare in perplexity, (as I had been doing since we had come nose-to-nose
On the deer path). The jiggling subsided slowly as the corner of his smile
Straightened again with realization of my bad humor, and he told me HIS
Name was Gambol, that it was now a "problem" that I had seen him, and

That he was going to have to do something about it, though it was certainly
Too late to do so TODAY, and I'd have to come with him. Well, not that
I didn't appreciate the help, being lost and hungry and extremely tired,
But this WAS a hallucination, so I could hardly take him seriously, and

Began to chuckle myself. Exclaiming that the whole thing was ridiculous
And the light fading, I kicked a small rock with my foot and turned away
From him, back to the deer path. I had taken only one step when I felt
A strong arm around my waist, at which point the little old bugger

Hoisted me onto his shoulders like a wounded lamb, and began to run,
As silently as any deer, and at least as fast, as though my 185 pounds was
NOTHING to him! I tried struggling at first, kicking and squirming a bit, but
It didn't take long to realize that I was extremely out-matched strength-wise,

And I was so exhausted and angry at the day by then, that I just let it
Happen ... I mean, if this WAS a dream, I'd be waking up soon anyway,
And the darkness had now swallowed the forest completely, and I could
No longer tell up from down, or even see three feet ahead. We hadn't

Been traveling this way very long before the exhaustion and rhythmic
Thrum of his jog lulled me into a deep sleep, the deepest, most restful
Sleep I can remember, (one filled with vague, sketchy dreams of childhood
And being frightened by Santa Claus, and something about a spaceship

Crashing on some far-off world). When I awoke I was very warm, dry
And snug, and without my clothes, though I was still so tired that the
Warmth and quiet, (save for a soft whistling sound now-and-then),
Lulled me right back to sleep, and it wasn't until I had repeated this

Cycle a couple of times that I became conscious enough to wonder
About my lack of clothes, and the rather odd smell that met my olfactories.
I was still so content from the restful sleep, cozy warmth, and
Soft but supportive bedding, that it seemed something of not

Much concern, especially where it was still quite dark wherever I was.
There was a little light filtering down from above me, and I could tell
I was in an enclosed space that wasn't much larger than my bedroom
Back in the states, but it was oddly shaped and had a variety of odors,

Mostly pleasant, though every-so-often a hint of something spoiled. There
Was still that faint whistling sound coming from the direction where my
Feet lay, but now accompanied by the scrapings and jinglings of what
Sounded like dishes being washed, or food being prepared, a sound quite

Comforting. But it was still very dark, and I couldn't imagine how anyone
Could be doing either with such a lack of light. I was thinking JUST that
When something moved above me and a bright wash of light flooded
The space I was in, (which I could now tell was some sort of cave).

I rubbed my eyes roughly as they adjusted to the light and glanced up,
And there it was AGAIN, the ancient, beard-clad face and sparkling eyes,
This time with a full smile and a wink, and the same expectant face,
Like this should be as common a sight to me as my own nose ...

(Part two coming soon!)

Copyright © Gregory R Barden | Year Posted 2017

Long poem by Isaiah Zerbst | Details

Highland Lassie

Inspired by the painting "Highland Lassie" (1871) by Thomas Faed.

(Verse One; In introduction to Cailin)
Walkin' on the highways, searchin' down the byways,
Tromps a lonely figure on the Highland roads;
Peerin' from the Highdown, breezin' through the lake town,
Askin' of a question erry where he goes:
(Chorus; Cailin, followed by some villagefolk)
And it's, "Marry, gather 'round! for she hasna' yet been found;
I come lookin' for the truest lass, as only one can be:
I've a letter do deliver; as you see, it says to give 'er
To the fairest Highland lassie from Loch Leven to the sea."
"Here's a lass," they proudly say, "fair as June and sweet as May,
And it's sure that she's the fairest in the Highland mountains steep:
Through the heather you may go, climb the mountains capped with snow,
But you'll never find a better lass on which your eyes to peep."

(Verse Two; Cailin's thoughts)
Some of them were pouty, others even dowdy;
"These," he thought, "would never do in fifteen years:
Beauty on the outside, nothin' on the inside,
Leaves a girl with nothin' when it fades to tears."
(Chorus; Cailin's continuing journey)
Trav'lin' all around, for she hasna' yet been found;
He's come lookin' for the truest lass, as only one can be:
With a letter do deliver; as you see, it says to give 'er
To the fairest Highland lassie from Loch Leven to the sea." 
"Here's a lass," they proudly say, "fair as June and sweet as May,"
But you canna' tell the fairest one except you see them all:
And the lassies sweetly smile, for this stranger to beguile,
As 'e treads throughout the Highlands from the winter to the fall.

(Verse Three; Cailin's travels and troubles)
From the banks of Lomon', up to Durness roamin',
How's a wight to judge betwixt a thousand score?
Steps were waxing weary, days were growing dreary,
'Till 'e saw a lass 'e hadna' met before.
(Chorus; Cailin, to a lass called Ellsie and her villagefolk)
And it's, "Marry, gather 'round, for the lassie here is found!
I 'ave searched and found the truest lass, as only one can be:
Here the letter I deliver; as you see, it says to give 'er
To the fairest Highland lassie from Loch Leven to the sea. 
"Here's a lass," I proudly say, "fair as June and sweet as May,
And it's sure that she's the fairest in the Highland mountains steep:
Through the heather you may go, climb the mountains capped with snow,
But you'll never find a better lass on which your eyes to peep."

(Verse Four; Ellsie's villagefolk reply in confusion)
Then they said, "Oh, please, Sir, don't you taunt and tease 'er,
Caint you tell she's plainer e'en than Skye down dell?
Caint you tell you've pained 'er? don't do that again, Sir,
Lest you 'ave a reason, and if so, pray tell."
(Chorus; Cailin's reply, followed by Ellsie reading the letter)
"O'er the braes an' through the moor, I 'ave trode my walkers sore,
All to find the truest lassie in the Highlands boggy peat;
And the truest lass is fair, for the true shall never wear,
So I say that here's the truest, fairest lass I've chanced to meet."
Then she opened up the scroll, and she read it to the full,
And for those who chance to wonder, I shall quote you what she read:
"When the fairest lass I find, if our wishes are aligned,
I should wish to know thee better, lass, and then, perhaps, to wed."

(Verse Five; Ellsie's reply to the letter)
Then she said, "Oh, come, Sir; don't be sad or glum, Sir;
Meet my father, mother, and my sisters small:
Soon the bells were ringin', people gladly singin'
"Here's the lad who worked to find the best of all."
(Chorus, which Ellsie's villagefolk sing at the wedding)
"O'er the braes an' through the moor, 'e 'as trode 'is walkers sore,
All to find the truest lassie in the Highlands boggy peat;
And the truest lass is fair, for the true shall never wear,
So I say that here's the truest, fairest lass I've chanced to meet. 
"Here's a lass," we proudly say, "fair as June and sweet as May,
And it's sure that she's the fairest in the Highland mountains steep:
Through the heather you may go, climb the mountains capped with snow,
But you'll never find a better lass on which your eyes to peep."

Note: the verses are written using trochaic feet, meaning that they begin with a stressed syllable, followed by an unstressed, and so on repeatedly. The fifth foot (syllables nine and ten) in the second and fourth lines of the verses is a spondee, meaning two stressed syllables in one foot. I mention this for ease in correct reading. An example of this same device is "Since the Savior Found Me" by Edgar J. Haskins, (in last line of verses and refrain).

Copyright © Isaiah Zerbst | Year Posted 2013

Long poem by Robert Ronnow | Details

The Ordinary Care of Providence

Madison's defense of the establishment clause to the Virginia legislature:
"Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them, and not only during the period of miraculous aid but long after it had been left to its own evidence and the ordinary care of Providence."

                                          May I say
electromagnetic waves. Radiant energy.
Light travels in waves
                                  Waves of what?
Electromagnetic waves consist of electric and magnetic fields
oscillating at right angles to each other
and to the direction of motion of the wave.
                                                                 All waves can be described
in terms of amplitude, wavelength, frequency and speed.

Waves of what?
                         Think of a hand waving. The wave itself
is virtual, ideal. The hand and eyes are waves. The wave's
a quantum guess.
                           Religion and electromagnetic waves - visible, audible,
causing real reactions in earth-time (real as it gets). Madison's
             care of Providence
                                          impossible to handle.

Needed is a medium: antenna, cathode ray, page,
        hairy, sweaty
with the capacity to say Providence electromagnetic visible light
element god.
                    Alone in your life and body. Say
the heavy word
weighty word
            charged word (ion god)
the particle physicist and political philosopher have it over the poet
who is sharing ignorance
                                      pretty much all he doesn't know.

Or who stays within a dimension she knows she knows, extrapolating
her hand in a child's hand or husband's hold or nest in a tree hole
limited government
                             separation of powers
                                                             daily low intensity warfare
light, radio and gamma waves
                                             Waves of what?
"Matter can be treated by both wave and particle theories (the duality of matter) since its convertible counterpart - light - has long been treated successfully by both theories."
convertible counterpart
                                    light matter light

Solutions to the equations are called wave functions, or orbitals.
"Religion or the duty which we owe our Creator and the manner of discharging it can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence. It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much to soon forget it."

Last night's movie She's No Angel on the Christian channel
begged many essential questions (and had bad music)
the loving liberal successful couple should
keep a shotgun in the home (later used per Shakespeare)
the community's (authority's) reaction to the violence
and precipitating dissembling might have been (per The Crucible)
the golden spiritual couple would subsequently dissemble lobby or defend
themselves and the loved one legally and lengthily (per Dostoyevsky)
unclean tragic outcomes end in Death's cleanliness
ravens eat the fur and guts of bad guesses off the roads (per A Designer
      of Systems)

but not I think missing
the deeper lesson

that she is neither her past
nor her wings

but a pure goodness
                               bone stillness
                                                    potential energy

a light wave
and a particle.

Copyright © Robert Ronnow | Year Posted 2015

Long poem by john night | Details

A British Diary passing millenium

The ask of cultures. 
Dutch to Portugal, do you think colonisation of fruit and lands and their inhabitants was the fairest exchange of our tactics of the strategy to wrestles of communication. They decided the best option was a renegotiation of trade affairs and markets. Thus the agreement was self-determination of the landowners and their community families harvesting natures bounty for an exchange of supplies of living standards of life from the previous authors of empire through discoveries technology had temporarily westernised for an exchange of new information to alchemies of metallurgy and sciences biodiversity through globalized natural winds and waters and their waves of coastlines in cartology and industrial mechanics. 
the astronomy to astrology belief of the people of our world called planet the mother earth, our ark   sailing gently with the creatures spirits and ours as we calm tamely our behaviours to share the higher loves in passion of habitats coexisting harmoniously as they discovered to recognise their mountains topped above and below in universe of a galaxies solar system in orbit magnetically thermodynamically in density of frequency that frequent of motion within times memories remember. 
our constant faith in the rains bow of sunshine filtered water like snow in the warm contentedness of springs rise to the fall of the wind in the breeze gently for the beasts of the soil. 
careful whispered the giant of children walk gently for them to learn to play in safety of hurt from the wild of those who remained orphaned by the ways of disease caused by the dirtying of the soil and trees that make the leafes the crunchy leaves for the roots of the genes of the seeds of the flowers in pollen so gently don’t disturb me ungraciously and teach me to grow big and strong like a tree from the mother in seed a flower empower the honey bees and the birds and the bears and felines and wolfs and butterflies and lilies in clean water and migrations for the nations herds and their moths through lanes far from pollutions trash not filtered recycled reused for the designers some clues make things for many meanings of use better use for the poor to be rich with the nature of life as we maintain dignity to pray calmly in wisdom the learning of better happy faiths to the tribes of the continents of the father of man im sure is in a presence of a time we know because we had a beginning but of the end we heard maybe a beginning to say for the presence an awareness of love I love you. The nature of a woman and from her is affection herd struggling against the zoo is because they lack safari and im telling you its unkind to deny those who wish to be in harmony of walking into nature. 
mothers of new births children should be provided for not working on condition that once the child has bonded to the parents may they return to the places of society to collect their bounty of the land and to do a labour of choices to harmony of the earth and the cradle of life. 
if nations arranged pilgrims learners and sightseers enmasse to go to places for trades of friendships without incident of Iliad we would become a much more calm species as we agree that the way should be along a path without hatreds of territory against those who pass through without payment or debts accumulating from taxes of those places, therefore we return to the question of thought debating the nature of words trades and forces of opinion for the ownership of the minds of a free market, becoming too heavily endorsed by the corruption of merciless foreign traders and selfish nets of greed to specific cheap foods challenged with the competition for ownership of status attracted by the idols of the people who consider themselves to be famous of power. 
so here I am a day later in thought of the things I wrote yesterday afternoon after having some thoughts in an English garden that the summer was feeling warmer than before and that the cloud cover was different from how I remembered as a child when the rains were more windy and frequent and remember that there was a change in the climates that water was scarcer now that the rivers and streams were being used… End of page. From a Britain man. Albion blood not of Albion. 

Copyright © john night | Year Posted 2015

Long poem by Scribbler Of Verses | Details

A Story My Mother Told Me

someone always told me this with tears in her eyes...

(for Lata Sethi's late-mother, who was my mother’s ‘sister’ and who took us all into her heart, and for Lata and Ravi Sethi of Defence Colony, New Delhi)

a wife left South Africa in the 1960’s to join her husband 
who was in exile at the time...

in 1970 the husband was sent by the African National Congress to India to be its representative there...

the husband and wife spent two years in Bombay...

one afternoon the husband fell and broke his leg...

the wife knocked on their neighbour’s door, in an apartment complex in Bombay

the neighbour was an old Punjabi lady...

the wife asked the neighbour for a doctor to see to the injured husband...

a Parsi ‘Bone-Setter’ was promptly summoned...

the husband still recalls his anxiety of seeing ‘Bone-Setter’ written on the Parsi gentleman’s bag...

by the way, the ‘Bone-Setter’ worked his ancient craft and surprisingly for the husband, his broken leg healed quite soon...

but still on that day, while the ‘Bone-Setter’ was seeing to the husband...

the wife and the old Punjabi lady from next door got to talking about this and that and where these new Indian-looking wife and husband were from as their accents were clearly not local...

the wife told the elderly Punjabi lady that the husband worked for the African National Congress of South Africa and had left to serve the ANC from exile...

and that they had left their two children behind in South Africa and that they were now essentially political refugees...

the Punjabi lady broke down and wept uncontrollably...

she told the foreign woman that she too had had to leave her home in Lahore in 1947 and flee to India with only the clothes on her back when the partition of the subcontinent took place and Pakistan was formed and at a time when Hindus from Pakistan fled to India and vice versa...

the Punjabi lady then asked the foreign woman her name...

‘Zubeida’, but you can call me ‘Zubie’...

the Punjabi woman hugged Zubie some more, and the two women, seperated by age and geography, wept, sharing a shared pain...

the Punjabi woman told Zubie that she was her ‘sister’ from that day on, and that she felt that pain of exile and forced migration and what being a refugee felt like...

Zubie and her husband Mosie became the closest of friends with the Hindu Punjabi neighbours who were kicked out of Pakistan by Muslims...

then came the time for Mosie and Zubie to leave for Delhi where the African National Congress office was based...

the elderly Punjabi lady and Mosie and Zubie said their goodbyes...

a year or two later, the elderly Punjabi lady’s daughter Lata married Ravi Sethi and the couple moved to Delhi...

the elderly Punjabi lady called Zubie and told her that her daughter was coming to Delhi to live and that she had told Lata, her daughter that she had a ‘sister’ in Delhi...

Lata and Ravi Sethi then moved to Delhi...

This was in the mid-1970’s...

Lata and Zubie became the closest of friends and that bond stayed true, and stays true till today, though Zubie is no more, and the elderly Punjabi lady is no more...

the son and the husband still have a bond with Lata and Ravi Sethi...

a bond that was forged between Hindu and Muslim and between two continents across the barriers of creed and time...

a bond strong and resilient, forged by the pain and trauma of a shared experience...

and that is why, and I shall never stop believing this, that hope shines still, for with all the talk of this and of that, and of that and of this, there will always be a simple woman, somewhere, anywhere, who would take the ‘other’ in as a sister, a fellow human...

and that is why there will always be hope...
hope in the midst of this and of that and of that and of this...


(for Lata Sethi's late-mother, who was my mother’s ‘sister’ and who took us all into her heart, and for Lata and Ravi Sethi of Defence Colony, New Delhi)

Copyright © Scribbler Of Verses | Year Posted 2013

Long poem by Andrea Dietrich | Details

The Trip of my Life

the grace of Paris
lingering in my thoughts. . . 
Madrid’s grimy walls

As our small group of students entered Madrid, it was an early morning in late January. We had left behind us what has been called the most beautiful city in the world, and I had been so enchanted by our two weeks in Paris with its many scenic attractions that my expectations for a semester in Madrid loomed equally high in my mind. Dismally, however, I watched Madrid’s dirty streets and walls come into view through a window of the train as we arrived at the place where we were taken by bus to the “residencia,” that place we would make our home for the next several months. I would be immersed in the culture of Spain, the country whose language and history I had studied diligently and enthusiastically throughout high school. 

Though my first impression of Madrid was not a good one, I very quickly adapted to this capital city in the center of of the Castilian plain. My fondness for the entire metropolis increased as I took daily walks to the stores, cafes, museums, parks and other places of amusement or of historical importance.  Studying at the residencia was not the real education I was to receive, for the learning was not so much in the books as in the experience of going on excursions nearly every other weekend. We visited many regions of Spain and also of Portugal: the Pyrenees with their gorgeous verdancy, the beaches along the Mediterranean coast, and the vast southern region, La Mancha, where the legendary Don Quixote  rode forth on his quest and where a sultan of Granada had built a palace for his many wives. We also enjoyed  the burning of a multitude of papier-mâché “fallas” on the street corners of the city of Valencia as well as the colorful spring festival of Seville along with visits to castles, museums and cathedrals too numerous to name. 

We visited tiny insignificant places such as San Roque when we stayed at a convent before embarking on a small journey across the Strait of Gibraltar into the strange and wondrous land of Morocco. Too many were my experiences to discuss them all here unless I were to write a book! In our small group, some of us were given nicknames. Because I was the one and only student who seemed to be always trying to get everyone to “speak only Spanish” and because I was constantly taking pictures with my trusty Canon camera, I became known as “Miss Spain,” a name which I relished. I and my few closest friends would often wander off onto streets removed from the typical tourist’s route. The photos I took in these places are among my most treasured!

sounds, flavors and aromas. . .
snapping photos

In the end, it all came back to Madrid -that central capital city of a nation whose diversity I was able to happily experience for myself in those four short months I so eagerly lapped up. In Madrid I had also met a handsome   Madrileño with whom I tried to practice my Spanish, stumbling my way through conversations with his friends and family. In early June, the time came for us to leave that great city. We would visit Rome, Athens and Jerusalem before returning to Paris and then England, our final stop before going back home. Indeed, it was to be the trip of my life, for I can not imagine such an opportunity ever coming my way again! When we left Madrid for our last time in early June, I was on the verge of really “getting” the Spanish language, so I felt heartsick to have to leave so soon. Not one other person in my group seemed to share the melancholy of “Miss Spain” as she sat at the back of the bus looking back at the figure of her boyfriend fading away forever with the streets of Madrid. 

friends’ happy chatter
as the bus pulls away . . . 
my guy waving bye

Aug. 21, 2017 for Deb Guzzi's Haibun Contest

Copyright © Andrea Dietrich | Year Posted 2017

Long Poems