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Poem List: 2015 May thru August











Shade of Black and White        Print this poem only

Have you heard of the yin and yang,
the combination of black and white
of which the ancient Chinese sang
female and male, darkness and light?

They are opposites or so it seems
but in truth one compliments the other
I don’t think of them as extremes
any more than father and mother.

On a hot day who doesn’t want shade
relief from the sun on a summer day
the protection the dark oak has made
the coolness of black and white into gray.

It seems apparently contrary forces
are complimentary in mother earth
and not from totally different sources
both are good and of equal worth.

When we wear our black and white
we know how good they go together
and as the day recedes into night
we bow to both in equal measure.

Written 5-4-15











Not a Native        Print this poem only
For six decades I felt bad
about not being able to say:
“I am a native Texan”
until I rediscovered later in life
and possibly for the first time
the mysterious beauty and charm
of Louisiana.

In pre adolescence
just as childhood seemed to be taking hold
we moved across the Sabine
for a new life
in the land of cowboys and Indians
where people walked,
said my dad,
with a distinctive dip of the hip
from right to left and back
with every step –
it was the Texas walk –
the first hint in my young mind
of what it meant to be a native Texan.

With so many return trips to
the bayous, mossy oaks, crawfish, and cousins
I never forgot from whence I came
in spite of my intense desire to fit in
to a peer group
composed, to my chagrin,
of native Texans.

I was destined to be
“not really a native”
of any place -
forever on the margins
in transition
in between here and there
always wondering
what “getting back to normal” means.
But that’s for another poem.

Maybe this “not being a native” thing
is why my keen interest in Native Americans –
so tied to the Earth
yet not wishing to possess it
roaming it
without wishing to “home” it.

I too am a roamer
never completely at home
or native
in one place
one religion
one country
one party
one group.

But here I am in Texas
this big bad wide state
too big for any one person to grasp
with its own mystery
inhabited by oh so many
from the margins
in transition…
a perfect place
for newcomers
like me.

Written 5-25-15


Sabine River










Prayer of Thanks        Print this poem only


This evening I am filled with gratitude

and an unflinching positive attitude

for the beautiful people in this group

like a bowl of warm rich and tasty soup

you make me feel satisfied and full

you make me happy to stand and pull

myself together each month we gather

you’re one reason my life seems to matter.


Bobbie Williams comes to my mind

making sure people are greeted and signed

as they enter and join us in this place

I can’t wait to see her smiling face

feel her spirit, hear her strong voice

see her eyes sparkle and rejoice

when she speaks with a smile of her PIP

and you’d better not give PIP any bad lip.


And how could we forget our brother Dave

who loves to joke and misbehave

and read his poems quite aloud

and speak of his country so proud,

Dave who swears to his love of rhyme

Just ask; he’ll  tell you a limerick any time

wearing his mischievous little grin.

Dave and Bobbie are absent to our chagrin.


So let us now bow our heads and pray

that these two beloveds won’t stay away

for very long but will return to us wholly healed

that God will grant his protective shield.

We pray that all who have entered this place

will have strength for every trial they face

We thank God for the wonders he has done

in the souls of these poets each and every one.

Author’s Note:  Written for the members of our poetry group at the time, Poetry in Progress which met monthly in the local civic center.  We came to appreciate and love each other and our gifts.  The group no longer exists, but it was glorious for the 4 or 5 years it did. 

Written 6-1-15













Johnny Hears
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That first reunion on the grounds of the Tonns
Johnny saw grandpa and his Falstaff beer
he smelled the mustard on the hotdog buns
and as always his smile brought us cheer.

He felt his muscles flex and move
running around with the other boys
learning to read lips soon he would prove
how needless is gossip and malicious noise.

Johnny felt the babies he loved and held
he bounced them and giggled and cooed
off to their mamas with their poopy smell
yet not prone to be mean or rude.

When he saw someone in trouble or need
he’d be there with a helping hand
maybe stubborn but gentle indeed
he was also a hard-working man.

He tasted life with openness and verve
he loved family and kitty cats and trains
attacked cancer with purpose and nerve
refused defeat by his multiple pains.

But Johnny’s most outstanding sense
was his humor - it made us laugh -
our own troubles seemed less immense -
he made our hurt decrease by half.

In the end his sense of spirit and soul
called us to a higher power
as he heard the bells of heaven toll -
may we hear God’s call in our final hour.

We hear Johnny’s unique blended voice
echoing in the curves of our hearts and ears
when we think of Johnny let us rejoice
and know when we speak kindly - Johnny hears.

 Dedicated to John Tonn Jr. (4-14-1961 to 6-28-2015)
                               and his family

Written 7-6-15











The Breaking Sea         Print this poem only

I view the frothy chaos of your wide breadth

you break on the rocky shore of my day

but fear foils my dive in your depth

that seems so dark and far away.


Yet from the clutch of that fearful night

your hand and heart in the waking tide

reach for me in the dawning light

I feel you calling inside.


How long my careful measured walk

in your shallows only ankle deep

how can I evade your steady stalk

will I bravely take the leap?


All around me I hear surf breaking

in songs and laughter and weeping

yet here I am my lonely soul aching
to wholly trust in your keeping.


Long have I known the ocean of your care

your hand at the ready by my side

I’m ungainly with the dance of prayer

as my mind and my heart collide.


I know not if I’ll immerse in you

if a bright and amber union is in reach

or if ego be tamed to bring me through

and beyond the wide and sandy beach.


But I shall go down to the sea again

at twilight and search the waves

I hope I will find you waiting when

I’m ready for the sun/Son that saves.

Written 7-6-15












The Name of God         Print this poem only


You know me and you know my name

You call it and I do not hear

in a thousand ways you call,

Why do I close my ears?


I stand away from the edge

of the abyss of your great love

afraid to take the pledge

shrug off your gentle shove.


Yet how many times do I jump

ignore the hesitation in my soul

the voice that beckons me to you

to you my Lord who makes me whole.


You know the name my parents gave

you call it all the day

but what is my name in heaven

what is that name I pray?


When my name is called I hear

it rules me clear as a bell

my name says I'm a person

and you know it so very well.


Your name says you're a person too

not just a fading cloud

you’ve been so loyal and true

Why can’t I sing you out loud?


If my name is special to me

why do I delay to proclaim

to the world that I plainly see 

the power and scope of your name?


Now I speak the goodness of God

how pure his love and his grace

it is not wrong it is not odd

to shout God’s name in this place.


Written 7-15-15 








Goodbye Poets         Print this poem only


I never was much good at math

and got nervous and scared at PE

so I took a more enjoyable path

because words were always good to me.


Words made me curious and brave

big ones stumped the bullies and bums

and I liked the feelings those victories gave;

they influenced what I’d become.


It was words wonderful words I heard

when I came to this place Monday nights

here I found the mystery of the word

made my soul soar to the heights.


Here among these poets and friends

I had fun and I let my light shine

and as my time with you comes to an end

I know I have tasted something divine.


On this journey you showed me you

we’ve reached our fine poetic goals

you’ve been kind and creative and true

thank you for your words and your beautiful souls.

Author’s Note:  A poem written for the last meeting of our local poetry group, Poetry in Progress.


Written 8-3-15















Waking up with you          Print this poem only


Intimacy is a strong word

but so weak to say who you are to me.

Sometimes it feels as if you are me

more familiar than a brother

or even my dear lover.

You inhabit me

yet you are a someone

who is not I,

a presence

observing but not just an observer

you abide in me.


Like no other.

Not so much other.

Oh, Christ Jesus

where are the words?

I cannot find them

they escape me

maybe because

you ARE the word.



yet so close

you are not near

but here

you abide in me.


You bring me to tears

when I awake in your presence.

You comfort me

you make me me

closer even than my mother

I luxuriate

in your love.

Ah! Here you are

your smile fathomless.

Here you are

caressing my soul.

We are so cozy together.

You know me

but you are you

and I am I.


I am not sure

I can be I anymore

without you.


Written 8-16-15









The Palace Down the Road        Print this poem only


There’s a palace a good piece away

it opens its doors to all on Sunday

and for those who enter that place

there are endless treasures of grace


Bracelets, lockets, and chalices of gold

wines of vintage foreign and old

priceless objects shining bright

and flowing arraignment of light


Some of the wealth is tough to bear

requiring much thought and earnest prayer

there are precious lessons and pages

of thought and wisdom gathered for ages


But the man presiding on the stage

provokes and prods and makes you engage

your moral compass before you receive

his riches, before you can leave


Who wouldn’t go to this palace each week

to gather those gems to hear sages speak

who wouldn’t eat the food, drink the wine

sing and listen and discover the divine?


Author’s Note:  This poem describes what I get from my church.

Written 8-27-15

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