Monday, November 30, 2020

The King's English

Quadrille #117 and the word is “abide” using exactly 44 words.   Submitted November 30, 2020


The King’s English, indeed

Is written in code

If today we go for a ride

Tomorrow you might say we rode

But what we say we can’t abide

Does not affect our abode     

And things we hide today

Alas! We can’t say we hoed. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020


Writers' Pantry #46   A cold, sunny morning in my world.  I find myself feeling restricted, constricted, and conflicted.  My father's words come to haunt me.   Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United, November 29, 2020.



I want to escape this isolation

Take myself to some foreign nation

Where folks are frolicking bare-faced

I want to amble through a well stocked aisle

Of latest fashions where trinkets  beguile

And my cash in hand is well-placed.

I want to take myself out for the night

To some spot of gastronomical delight

And perhaps a cocktail or two

But My father’s wisdom is giving me fits

I hear his voice saying “Wants are not gets” 

And, dammit, I know it’s true.

Saturday, November 28, 2020


The Sunday Muse #136 wherein we're inspired by the photo provided. 

Submitted November 28, 2020 


suspended in limbo


to come up for air

when normal returns

or some semblance thereof.


to be released

from this

sequestorial time out


Wednesday, November 25, 2020


Weekly Scribblings #47 and we're asked to consider lessons learned from someone we loved.  I learned so many things from my father, who led his life by example.  In his later years, I captured  this golden afternoon in poem, when he taught me the lesson of gratitude. 

Submitted to Poets and Storytellers United, November 25, 2020



As we rode through summer breezes

The man of courage and I

He taught me still another lesson

As he had since I was just so high.

For the years had left their burden

And now he walked with a cane

And the body once strong and strapping

Now faltered and gave much pain.

I heard him not once complaining

As we passed fields of grain on our drive

But commenting on God’s bounty and sunshine

Saying, “It’s a good day to be alive”.

When I find I’m feeling sorry

For the problems and troubles I’ve had

I look to my model of courage

With humble gratitude…I love you, Dad.

Monday, November 23, 2020


Haibun Monday at dVerse.  Kim is hostess, and challenges us “to write about a time when you last watched stars, a storm, the sea, an animal, or something else in nature that left you with a sense of wonder or awe.  

Submitted to dVerse, November 23, 2020


Over 25 years ago, my daughter and her then husband had moved to the state of Oregon, and I had gone to visit.  I had commented many times that the sky seemed “big” in Oregon, for reasons I can’t explain.  I don’t recall the occasion, but we were on an obscure and very dark country road somewhere between Albany and Corvallis when my son-in-law pulled the car to the side of the road, turned off the engine and said “Let’s look at the sky”.  By that point in my life I’d for some time lived in a large city where all but the brightest stars were hidden in the smog that overhangs our large cities.  Standing beside the car at roadside, I looked up to see the most magnificent display of starlight that fairly took my breath away.  I don’t know how long we stood, identifying the Big and Little Dipper, the North Star, and other constellations.  It was a magic I’d not seen since my childhood on the Illinois prairie, a quiet time when  I felt a thrill, as if I’d touched the hand of God. There are signal moments in our lives that stay forever in the attic of our brains, archived for a lifetime.  I will always remember that moment, and be grateful to a young man whose love of nature never dimmed.  

Star light, star bright

Magic carpet of the night

I feel God’s touch 

Sunday, November 22, 2020


Given today's political chaos and the behavior of our White House resident, make me want to employ a powerful tool of my childhood, which I dubbed My Mighty Peckinstick.  It needs an explanation, I'm sure, so here you are.

Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United, November 22, 2020


                                                   MY MIGHTY PECKINSTICK

Growing up on a farm you learn to help out at an early age.  Farm animals need to be tended morning and night, and this is called “doin’ the chores”.   When I was fairly young, my chore was gathering the eggs.  When you’re a child, you simply parrot phrases you hear your parents say, so, using my mother’s southern Illinois twang, I called my chore “pickenup aigs”.  Walking into a hen house of a couple hundred hens is a fairly intimidating thing.  Toting the wire egg basket, the long row of nests looked endless to my child’s eyes.  Most were empty, but there were always a couple with resident hens.  These were of two types---the cackling hen who’d fly off in a flurry of feathers when I approached, and the other a formidable foe.  She had no intention of giving up her nest and she’d greet my approach with an evil eye, some threatening clucks and a sharp peck on the wrist if I reached under her for the eggs.  I devised a counter-attack for the clucking hens.  I found a stick about a foot long and dubbed it my peckinstick.  I’d give the hen a gentle nudge to see if she were the pecking type.  If so, I’d hold her head down with my mighty peckinstick, rendering her unable to peck me while I reached under her for the eggs.  

Many years have passed.  I’ve learned proper grammar and proper use of the King’s English.  There have been times through the years, however, when I’ve encountered people who’ve been sharp and hurtful.  I smile to myself and think they wouldn’t have caught me so unaware if I’d been armed with my mighty “peckinstick”.  

Saturday, November 21, 2020


 The Sunday Muse  #135

Submitted November 22, 2020

Art by Justin Dingwall



Who was sacrificed for today?

A proud gobbler who had other plans

A piglet perhaps who was out to play

A lamb known to his many fans

No doubt they had each dreamed success

Far afield from this actual truth

Never expecting to be considered largesse

What a dire ending, forsooth!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020


Weekly Scribblings #46, and we're asked to engage in a

celebratory mood.  I choose to celebrate seniorhood and 

all we've had to learn through the years.

Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United, November 19, 2020


                                                   CELEBRATING SENIORHOOD

I’ve always wanted to be “hip”.  It’s been a challenge.  Just when I’d think I had the “hip” lingo mastered, a new generation would throw me into a terminological tailspin.  When my children were home they helped a lot, but once they were grown I was on my own, facing the computer era all alone.  Kicking and screaming, I was dragged into the technological era, and I learned about floppies, hard drives, modems, bauds, glitches, megabytes, gigabytes, RAM, ROM, CD-ROM, URL CPU, “tweaking and massaging”.  I could speak it!  I was “way cool”.  I even learned to program my VCR.

I moved into the era of bright, young business majors steeped in “educated verbiage”. Memos became communication vehicles, rate increases became revenue enhancement and a meeting with the boss became encounter-specific decision making.  New locations became geographic kickers, top salesmen became major rainmakers, summing things up became bringing the aggregate.  If it was simple, it was a no-brainer, if readily available we could cherry-pick it, and a push-over was a slam dunk.  Disagreements became cognitive dissonance and the art of persuasion and giving the results became quantifying the impact.  I think became my sense is, getting to the point was cutting to the chase, estimating was ball parking and something likely became a conditional probability.  At home over my bookshelves hung the Thoreau quote “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify”, and oh how I longed to implement it.

On the other hand, I’ve had to learn reverse lingo to understand my grandchildren.  For instance, bad is good, hot is cool, and far out is in.  You’ll notice my list here is smaller, as I’m not understanding much.  It’s no wonder we seniors are more forgetful than the youngsters.  All they have to remember is their own patter. Our brains, on the other hand, are cluttered with all the preceding outdated terms like by golly, gee whiz and darn, spooning, necking and making out, tanked, soused and plastered, fast, loose and easy, getting hitched and tying the knot, inka dinka do, 23 skidoo, hubba hubba and …. well you get the idea!  It's time to celebrate us!


Monday, November 16, 2020


Quadrille #116 
 Submitted to dVerse 
November 16, 2020 
Thinking being sequestered might 
be put to good use. 

Remember when you wished
everyone would disappear
Guess what?
                          No one’s here                            

Remember when you
wanted time to think
Guess what?
                  It’s possiblink                 

Remember when you
felt you lost direction
Guess what?
                    Time for connection

Remember how 
all seemed impossible
Guess what?
It’s plausible

Sunday, November 15, 2020


Writers' Pantry #46 and some thoUghts on 
Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United 
November 15, 2020 

I fell one night into retrospect
a melancholy place to be 
reviewing all the mistakes I made
on the way to becoming me.
When I was young I knew it all
at least I thought that was so
It took some lessons hard to learn
to separate real from for show
The day came when I was wiser
and I felt I was downright smart
but just when I got my head together
my body fell apart.

Saturday, November 14, 2020


 Our photo challenge this week presents a challenge indeed.  A limerick came to mind.  Submitted November 14, 2020


There once was a young man named Arthur
Who considered himself quite athletic
But his demonstration went awry
And the fellows just considered him pathetic.

Thursday, November 12, 2020


This poem was written some time ago, inspired by a deserted country chapel I passed off an interstate I frequently traveled.  I often wondered about the stories it might tell if I were to visit.  Submitted to dVerse  November 12, 2020  Open Link #278



 It was just a little chapel that sat beside the way

But oh the stories it could tell, if it could speak today

The chapel is now empty where once it stood with pride

With voices raised in worship by those who were inside.

I stand beside what used to be, and can’t believe it’s gone

If I listen, I hear echoes of ice cream socials on the lawn.

I imagine all the faithful who have talked here with their God

While outside their forefathers rested deep beneath the sod.

I see all the bridal couples who have here exchanged their vows

And think of long-ago sermons soothing furrowed brows.

How many babes were christened, how many old folks laid to rest

How many Sunday mornings with folks dressed in church-day best.

I feel God all about me as I think of days of yore

And listen to the echoes of those who’ve passed before

One day I’ll be like them, when this life has passed me by

And my voice be but an echo to some dreamer such as I.

May I live my life with honor in my short time here on earth

And touch the lives of others with love, and joy and mirth.

May there always be a moment as day follows busy day

For echoes like the chapel’s and what it has to say.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020


Weekly Scribblings.  "'s only with the heart one can see rightly."  Those words, plus the carnival painting by Shelle Kennedy, inspired my prose this week.  Moments in time cling to certain treasured items, and it is so with the carnival clock.  Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United   November 11, 2020



 Sitting on my shelf with grace and dignity is a carnival clock my father won in the shooting gallery of a little traveling carnival over 75 years ago.  In my treasured store of memory I see them still, my father determined to win the clock, and my mother not wanting him to spend another dollar for six more shots.  At last five mechanical ducks fell from the moving row, the clock was handed to my smiling father, and the clock was given a place of honor in the kitchen of our little farmhouse, where it kept the time for all the years of my growing up and moving on in my life.  Twice they moved, and twice the clock was given a place of honor in each new home. They’re gone now to what comes after, and the clock has come to me, equally proudly displayed in my home each time I’ve moved. I smile at the electric cord, spliced by my father with electrical tape, showing traces of paint from long ago redecorating projects.  It is a piece of family history, a memento of the times that used to be.   I like to think it will one day be a treasured part of family history displayed in the homes of those who come after me, as much a part of family as the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of their bodies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020


 Tuesday Poetics.  Poetry as Witness is our challenge,

 and we’re to write a poem with a local bent.  

Submitted to dVerse

November 10, 2020



Two green lawns, side by side,

proudly displaying their choice

one Trump/Pence; one Biden/Harris

a microcosm of America

just down the street

democracy in motion





Monday, November 9, 2020


 Prosery is the challenge, and we're to use this line .."behind the wall is only space where the wind whistles".

Submitted to dVerse.  November 9, 2020



Once upon a time there was a fair young maiden with a very wise mother. She met a man she thought to be her dream man.  He was tall and broad-shouldered, handsome and glib.  She determined he could be the husband of her dreams.  Soon she came to realize he seemed concerned only with himself.  Mother had warned her of such men.  “They will charm you, my dear,” her mother warned, “but be cautious.  Their handsome face is but a wall, and there is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles. You do not want this man to father your children, my dear.  This one is an empty man filled only with himself.  Look for a man of substance.”  And so she did 

Sunday, November 8, 2020


Writer's Pantry #45 at Poets & Storytellers United  

Submitted November 8, 2020



Some say gray is dull and drab 


      it’s the color of the early morning

     fog that rests gently in the valleys 

     of  the Great Smoky Mountains.

it’s the color of the nimbus clouds

that skid across summer skies, their

bellies filled with welcome rains

for gardens and fields.

it’s the hair color of  our seniors,

signaling their cumulative years of

service and knowledge, giving of

life and self to those who come after.

Sometimes we need to see color

      in a different light. 

Saturday, November 7, 2020


 The Sunday Muse #133

Submitted November 7, 2020


The light of hope

cannot be extinguished.

Even in the most somber of times

when all about is gloom and doom

the tiny flicker that is hope

continues to illumine a small spot

in the heart of humankind.. 

It is said even at the bottom of

Pandora’s box, after she released

the evils, there remained 

the light of hope 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020


Weekly Scribblings and we're to consider the eye of the hurricane.  

Well heaven knows we've been in the storm  for most of 2020, 

and we're hungry for the eye.  Aye Aye

Posted to Poets & Storytellers United, November 4, 2020



Here I sit in the eye of the storm

Filled with happy contentment

Don’t spoil my nirvana

And tell me its return is imminent

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

About November Memories

For reasons obscure and deviant, I am unable to wrestle Blogger into form for this post.We are asked to consider what November means to us. I have very vivid memories of Novembers long ago, but I seem unable to get them into poem form. I hope my prose is forgiven. Submitted to dVerse Tuesday Poetics November 3, 2020


November in the farmland was a time for preparation for the harsh middle Illinois winters. The crops had been harvested, and fields prepared for Spring. Mother’s garden had been cleared. The shelves in her larder showed an array of canned meats, vegetables, fruit, jellies and jams and the bins were filled with root vegetables and apples. There was fresh straw in the barn for animals, baled hay in the loft for their food. My mother excitedly prepared for November 11, Armistice Day, which happened to be the first day of pheasant season in our part of Illinois. Mother’s brothers were great hunters, and she looked forward to their annual visit from southern Illinois to hunt pheasant and quail, plentiful in the fence rows of the little farms that provided them a haven. Happy meal times ensued and family stories were told round the table. After a couple of days, the hunters headed home and all was made ready for Thanksgiving, which was almost an anticlimax after the excitement of the hunters’ visit. Mother’s hunter brothers are long gone to their happy hunting grounds, the fence rows are long since gone as are many of the little farms. My Novembers have been spent in cities, but they are always a time I recall those happy family times, and life as it was then all those many years ago. *********

Monday, November 2, 2020


It’s the dreaded quadrille, wherein 
I try to compress my personal verbosity 
into exactly 44 words. Happiness or a 
form thereof is the key word this week.
 Submitted to dVerse 
November 2, 2020 

are always
looking for happy
as the small magic moments
of our lives pass by unnoticed   
in our headlong rush to euphoria.

Glorious autumn colors, a blue moon,
laughter of costumed children 
seeking treats, proud parents standing by
These are moments 

Sunday, November 1, 2020


Word Pantry #44. Words and phrases borrowed 
from song lyrics, poems, idioms and maybe an 
original thought tumbling into my head in a 
midnight epiphany. Must be because, like 
everyone, I'd like to escape from politics and 
Covid.  I hope to take my own advice!
Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United 
 November 1, 2020

So, you’re
leaving on a jet plane
a fast train to nowhere
a slow boat to China
no matter the fare

buying a ticket to happy
in some Valhalla afar
you haven’t learned the lesson yet
wherever you go. there you are

the bird of time is on the wing
it’s time you read the script
the joy is in the journey
sit back and enjoy the trip