Ode to an Oat

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I thought today of giving praise
To that ancient eminence –
That fellow traveler – the oat.
Wild and flourishing in fields
I’ve walked – whitish ornaments
Bleached beneath the summer sun –
Finding homes in shoes and socks –
Looking for another haunt –
A place to sow more wildish seed.

7/11/2020
7:55 PDT
While watching TV

First and Late

Barb-ColoredPrint

First and Late

I see those eyes and heart that loved me first.
Way first. Years first.

I hear that voice that softly spoke the words.
Way first. Years first.

I touch the hands that wouldn’t let me go.
Way first. Years first.

I kiss your eyes and cheeks and waiting smile.
Way late. Years late.

I feel the shame.

 

February 26, 2020

 

Blue Eyes

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The old man’s German accent sang my name
From the porch behind the tattered screen.
“Neighbor David, I need your help, please!” He came
Dressed in green-stained boots and ragged jeans.

The rifle danced as we walked toward the fence,
Swinging like a pendulum before
The hour strikes and ends the welcomed silence.
I followed Mr. Houghton’s march to war.

We bowed our heads and spread barbed wire for one
Another, then crossed his dusty driveway and walked
Into his alfalfa, freshly mown.
The old man didn’t see a need for talk.

The sweet hay’s fragrance filled the morning air
Like gardenias in a water bowl.
We stepped as one, my prints on top of his,
Mirroring step for step and sole for sole.

I could see his tractor waiting in
The grass (where it started up a little rise)
And knee high green dancing in the wind.
It was then I heard her frightened cries.

Two blue eyes were staring up at us.
Royal Siamese blood dripped red upon
The sickle bar that left her pained and pawless,
While Mr. Houghton handed me the gun.

He held her down. No parting prayer was said
Before one mournful shot soon left her dead.

 

 

10-31-19
Based on a true story

Dragon Breath

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The pain is expected.
It has its routine,
like an ancient, circuit-flying dragon
that skims the forest’s brow
looking for familiar victims
to incinerate
with blazing breath.

Listen to the wings –
pushing dark skies,
cutting primal paths,
savoring the quest.

Brace for the flames –
flashing bright daggers,
burning their prey,
ministering death.

Embrace the shield –
covering wholly,
protecting perfectly,
deflecting the test.

June 2, 2019

Limousine

Old Schoolkids

Our little church bought a limousine
And ferried southside kids to Burger King
For breakfast before heading up the hill.
We’d sing a song or two or three and spill
Some orange juice on ourselves and cry, then laugh
When seeing sparrows on the flannel graph.

I thought it strange that our chauffeur could give
Us all a lesson on how to die and live
While speeding through the morning countryside –
We used to call it God’s Miracle Ride.

The Baying Burble Tree

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In the silence of September
Where the gleaming grundles grow,
Beneath the Baying Burble tree
Across the hedging row,

There lives a codgered gentleman
Among the Crazy Cricks,
A man of mirth and melody
Who peddles Burble sticks.

His voice is heard above the heath
And down below the holler,
Singing, “Buy my Baying Burble sticks
For a dillar and a dollar!”

Well now, all the Cricks and Creaks and Croaks
That lived around the land
Felt that buying silly Burble sticks
Was more than they could stand.

And so they got them axes, gropes and graws,
Then vowed a villain’s vow:
“Tomorrow noon where Burble stands,
The plog will pull the plow.”

That night the old and codgered gentleman
Could hear their cruel cries
As Cricks and Croaks flew round their fires
That flamed the forest skies.

What will he do whose only joy
And job will turn to dust?
What could he do that could be done
Before the Burble busts?

Then as the morning billows blushed
Above the Tootle trees,
And yellow Yikes and Yolo Balls
Were swaying in the breeze,

The strangest sight that you could see
Was seen up in the sky —
A giant Baying Burble tree
And passenger sailed by.

There sitting on a lumpy limb
And holding on for life,
The dear old codgered gentleman
Notched a message with his knife.

And this is what the writing read
Although the tree grew smaller:
“Come ride the Flying Burble tree
For a dillar and a dollar!”

The moral of the story is
A short and simple saying:
“Enterprise works miracles,
But not without much praying!”

9/15/1983