A Modest Request
When I grow old and weary,
legs all atremble,
unable to walk far,
and my garden—
the delightful colors,
the delicate shapes,
the delicious scents,
when my garden—
eyes weak and bleary,
too distant to see,
if you will,
bring my garden to me.
She said, "Open wide."
She said, “Close down.”
Even though I'm barely
much more the
she treated me as
placing a crown on
an exhausted molar.
"Thank you," I said,
and hurried home
I be found out.
ego fluffs up
gets in the way
I use a small i
how little i know
the unfathomable riddle called
Then things even out
Recent school shootings
have prompted some
otherwise, normal citizens
to urge school officials
to encourage and force
to arm themselves
defend their students.
a maniacal gunman,
shielded behind a wriggling
armful of 15- year-old Jennifer,
reduces the blackboard
to shredded chips
of powdered rubble
with his AK47 killing machine.
Meanwhile, the teacher
patiently waits to get
a clear shot off
at the shooter’s forehead,
just above Jennifer’s shoulder,
without grazing her ear,
so that the intruder might
the finality of death.
Despite the teacher’s lack
of Seal Team training,
or warfare in general,
he stands firm amidst chaos,
and the shrieks of terror,
not daring to seek shelter
for fear the shooter might
touch Jennifer improperly.
His best option seems
to be to let the crazed gunman
blaze through endless rounds
until the local Swat Team
can swoop in,
arrest the shooter,
and answer questions
When I was a boy Mother insisted I attend church each Sunday,
though she never stepped through the door.
I occupied a pew beside my sisters, and thought about rocks,
fishing, and just about anything else but our Lord and Savior.
One fine morn there was a special feature—a woman came
to play glorious music on her harp for all to hear.
Wait a minute, I prayed. Harp is a light Irish beer, and I'd
sooner have a glass of it than her and that danged harp.
A Boy, Once More
At a lake or pond,
A lovely scene,
I should like to be a boy,
A boy, Once More,
Young arm a rifle,
Worries and cares
Not even a trifle.
Flat missiles at hand,
Smooth to the touch,
Mined from the land,
Stones and such.
For old time sakes,
Oh, Once More,
Whatever it takes,
At Ducks and Drakes.
Learning In Transit
The mountains are so huge, grandfather. Is there anything bigger?
The snow, lad, the snow. It covers the mountains.
The snow is so huge, grandfather. Is there anything bigger?
The sky, lad, the sky.
The sky is so huge, grandfather. Is there anything bigger?
Your Mother's love, lad, your Mother's love.
Her love is so huge, grandfather. Is there anything bigger?
No, lad, there is nothing bigger than a Mother's love for her children.
A Christmas Carol
“And therefore, Uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket,
I believe that Christmas has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Can you see a narrow path, just wide enough for one
where two men chanced upon each other a long time ago?
In the morning glory, witnessed by a watchful sun—
did they stop and stare and wonder, friend or foe?
Can you hear the roaring silence of unbridled fear
louder than the wails of most destructive storm?
When men came face-to-face, blood pounding in the ear—
Eyes wild for escape, sensing death’s true form?
Can you feel the breath of danger cold upon your face,
and hair upon your neck bristling to attention?
Were two molded statues, crafted from God’s race—
rooted as the oak or maple, actions still undone?
Can you see the younger of the two, stalwart as could be,
his empty palms extended, no killing blade secret there?
Was hatred harbored in his heart, more difficult to see—
or reflected in his eyes as youthful courage rare?
Can you hear the other man, older yes, and tall and lean,
notch mute arrow and string his deadly bow?
Was language infant then, the world still raw and mean—
that no words passed between them, oh so long ago?
Can you feel a seething warmth lick across your skin,
a glistening swath where death simmers hot and near?
Were words so few that mere actions cradled sin—
and in your throat you stifle the choking grip of fear?
Can you see a selfish path where brave men often kill,
and must in desperate haste decide another’s fate?
Do you see a fiery blacksmith’s forge, hearts upon the anvil—
shaping threatened lives, facing heaven’s yawning gate?
Can you feel survival’s strain amid death’s insistent call,
when the one with most to lose, smiled and stepped aside?
Can you feel the forest’s breath release a sigh for all—
where two men chose civility over instinct to abide?
Can you see a narrow path where many came to walk,
and a pleasant widening grew, and many paused to talk?
Where empty hands were grasped to show no harm was meant—
and where a wordless truce between two men was heaven sent?
There was a time,
Men lifted the hood
Of their car
Rag and wrench in hand
To diagnose and
Repair the machinery
And a similar time,
Opened recipe books
With happy hearts,
Measuring cups in hand
To create something
Delicious of simple
Electronics and takeout
have fixed all that nonsense.