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2016 Poems

September thru December















Making My Way Back        Print this poem only

Why do I leave the clover meadow

cool and humming with life,

abandon the lucid brook

vibrant with freshness

teeming with rebirth?


Fanfare and foibles

cast me out, out, and away -

fooling, beguiling

with this good and that

singing familiar lines,

past melodies and moods

dancing, entrancing

with their fix.


I am numb with bluster

streams of noisy luster

flaunting bodies

clothed in lies

filling eyes

frilling tingling

oh so very pretty -

and empty.


This flourishing obsession

tries its best

to rob the soul

but it whimpers

and fades

its trembling blight

loses its gains

in the cleansing rains


Now I am making my way back

making my way back

to where I belong

to the faithful and the strong

to a place I believe

to a field singing with green

to a river of hope

tributaries of love

where I am refreshed

where I am


Romans 8: 5-6
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. in the gentle power of the Light.


Written: 9-8-16


Patience        Print this poem only


How can you still stand and sing

I’m the wind beneath your wings

sit and listen to my poems with love

as if they came from above?


How can you cook and create dishes

to satisfy my hunger and my wishes

when I’ve left you and said goodbye

by ignoring your love or telling a lie?


How can you still give forgiveness

for all the hurt you have witnessed

speak softly when I have shouted

stay with me when I have doubted?


Do you hold that spark of the Divine

that in despair and darkness shines?

Is your store of mercy so wide

that I cannot turn you aside?


Or is it your patience my dear lover

your determined will to discover

in me some strain of goodness or light?

Is it your blindness or is it your sight?

Author’s Note: I wrote this after reflecting on verses in I Timothy 1:2 and 12-14  In his letter to his beloved Timothy, Paul’s greeting, in addition to the usual “grace and peace” uses the word “mercy.”  And later he says  “Our Lord considered me faithful… one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor and an arrogant man.  But I received mercy...  the grace of our Lord overflowed along with faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”  


When I read Scripture I like to ask what God is saying to me, now,.  So even though it occurred to me that God is the very essence of patience, so too my beautiful wife Helen, and dare I say many other wives, are blessed with an abundance of the uncommon virtue of patience.  Thus the title of the poem which is addressed primarily to Helen, but also to God. 

Written September 5, 2016











Dare I say I’m a righteous man?        Print this poem only


Language is such a vexing vessel…

Try to describe a trout’s speckle

the angle of an eagles’ wings

the stress of a violin’s strings.


Can you capture a baby’s sigh

the look in a dying man’s eyes

what it does inside seeing them

or hearing your favorite old hymn?


Can you say in a word

the reason you are stirred

by a great sermon or speech

and the heights that you reach?


Why can’t I say or take a stand

that I am a righteous man?

Am I just enough? Do I even start

to think of such purity of heart?


And yet if I - a believing sinner – repent,

like the eagle on Spirit wings’ assent

a sweet covenant of mercy from above

will make me a righteous man in faith and love.


Author’s Note:  Written upon reflection on I Timothy 1:9 “We know that the law was not made for the righteous person but for the lawless and rebellious…”


Written September 4, 2016

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Fighting Darkness        Print this poem only


If you follow each of these guys

watch them go through their days,

the normal conventional eye

would see their divergent ways.


One an engineer by trade

one a poet dreaming of summer

a retiree who’s made the grade

an oilman and a former drummer.


But look closely and see them sitting

once a week at a café table

listening keenly and admitting

their struggles the best they’re able.


See their Bibles open to a letter

from Paul sharing his terrible thorn

teaching them how to better

their walk on the path they’ve sworn.


Listen and hear them quietly say

what the Word means to them,

working, staying, loving each day

wherever, whomever God sends.


Observe the depth they all reach

beyond any divides that may seem,

hear how together they breach

the expected and find the Supreme.


In short this is a gathering of men

willing and determined to fight

the darkness that draws them,

to climb together into Light.

Author's Note:  This was written about a small group of men who meet weekly to discuss a chapter of a book of the Bible and to share how it applies to their lives.  It is a diverse group and we have come to appreciate and respect each other in spite of the differences.


Written 9-27-16


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Bison Song       Print this poem only

Oh how the sadness in your wizened eyes

betrays your history on our mother earth

the plains whose dust your heard would fill the skies

your massive movement sounding your great girth.

For centuries your flesh and bones supplied

the native peoples from their very birth.

Whites took your land and brought your quick demise

to steal the sacred meaning of your worth.


But still with furry shoulders you stand tall

your sacred legacy of strength remains

we thank you for the blessings you still bring.

You ground us lifting souls to Spirit’s call

you sweep and roar across our daily plains

reminding us to bow, then dance and sing.  

Author’s Note: Inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke’s sonnet, “Archaic Torso of Apollo” Rilke’s poem, in sonnet form,  wrote beautifully what the white marble sculpture of Apollo (arms, and head no longer there) spoke to him. Here are his first five lines:

We cannot know his legendary head

with eyes like ripening fruit.  And yet his torso

is still suffused with brilliance from inside,

like a lamp , in which his gaze, now turned low,

gleams in all its power…


Looking for my own piece of art, I found a wood-carved sculpture of a bison, given to me many years ago by my wife, that now stands on the top shelf of our garden room, a place of honor where it belongs.

Written  10-3-16













Hiding Friend       Print this poem only


Long before I knew you

there you were - hiding

or should I say lurking,

a fluttering feather

teasing me

sending me here and there

into the everywhere.


The teacher whipped my butt

me on the jumping gym

of my fourth grade desk

me in my persistent squirm

but now in shock

teacher standing there stern

but proud of her stealthy shot.


There I was pale



what crime cost

this harshness

and innocence lost?


There I was

a child cast in shadow

under the dark cloak

of shame

and its incipient sting.


And there you are


my friend

behind the scene.


Author’s Note:  This is about the experience of having Attention Deficit Disorder which I now consider a friend, especially in the writing of poetry.  But at the time as a child I knew not of this diagnosis for it was not even available at the time.


Written 11-1-16

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Anxiety       Print this poem only


You swallow up my faith,

you ravenous, gluttonous demon

you vicious venomous being

hiding, waiting

for the weakness and frailty

in my humanity.


You take me away

away from my anchors

from the precious Body of Christ

where my Father planted and nurtured me

and lavished upon me

unspeakable unrepeatable moments of joy.


When in your grip

I cannot seem to recall

my rich inheritance

the bloodline

into which I was born

and reborn.


So on this dark morning

I reach

into this night

I reach out

for the great antidote

to your venom.

I reach

into my depths

to grab a thread of his shawl

to fetch and clutch to my breast

the garment of grace

I need to pass beyond

your dark dank


valley of fear.


Written 11-11-16

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Lizzie Alive       Print this poem only


She is alive so alive

as un-tackable and un-trackable

as a stream dancing on stones

or music written in scherzo

played in pizzicato

putting violins in a frenzy

and music men in a tizzy

yes that’s her mama’s Lizzie.


On the other hand

she’s as sound and sure

of temperament

as an oak in a meadow.

Her laugh and her smile

are perpetual dawnings,

her generosity

a hill festooned of bluebonnets

and sprinkled with kindness.


She is a strong Texas woman

rooted in the plains of her family

like the sturdy Mesquite, 

its limbs reaching out,

its nature surviving drought

and rocky stubborn soil.

The tree is alive

and as wildly protective

as its many thorns.


Egoic arrogance she cannot abide

nor taking generous ones for a ride

but she has a good keen eye

for the hurting, the frail and the weak

her vision triggering the love

deep in her bones

placed there by angels

and her Father above. 


She’s a poet who turns dark into light

has a soul so deep she bears the pain

of others’ suffering and strain

without complaint or ire.


She is a redhead from head to toe

yes she’s funny and oh so feisty

and her heart is all aglow -

but - speak to her nicely -

she’s no pushover you know.


Lizzie, we’re glad you were born

that day eight decades ago.

At this moment we know we are blessed,

that our lives would be so much less

without your laughter and light.

Yes, you are a woman so very wise

but you can’t imagine the fondness that resides

in those here gathered, nor the love that’s inside.

Our joy rises because eighty years ago you arrived

and showed us God’s fire that still brings you alive.

Author's Note:  For Elizabeth Hobbs on her 80th birthday November 22, 2016

Written 11-11-16


Fiddle Fig       Print this poem only


You are so hardy

surviving your tenders' neglect.

Your leafy abundance

dances into my day,

the breeze caressing you

with the opening of the door.


You make me wonder!

How do you create

that massive leaf

through those tributaries

the contrast of which

I can now see,

the night having sneaked away

with the dawn's early light

revealing the veins

of your gorgeous

curved body?


I climb into you -

and travel every tributary

of your green river

savor the great appendage

reaching up

to drink

the light.


Author's Note: It is a Fiddleleaf Fig plant.

​​Written 11-19-16


Elizabeth: A Life       Print this poem only


Her mom knew her intense insistent desire

to have the answer, to find out, to know,

not knowing was her bane, her briar -

she couldn’t bear delay, or walking slow.

“But my dear,” her mom said to her.
“You’ll have to wait a while this time

for nine months you’ll have to defer

your haste for your inside clock to chime.”


Oh how she loved to be fast

with her winding softball pitch

to run those bases like a blast

bowling a strike was a prize so rich

she could not retrain her shouts

as she yelped and jumped for joy

and her opponents were thrown out

showing how a girl could beat the boys.


She had grit and courage, she was tough

she up and married a Navy man

but staying back home wasn’t enough

she followed him and moved to Japan

picked up the language and went to work

learned statesmanship and restraint

on the job - no mere flunky or clerk

she stood tall - wasn’t about to faint.


Sold and bought cars, saw the world

she grew devoted, and practical, and sane

but having two beautiful girls

was the greatest joy she’d attain.


Strong in Christ and human kindness

whatever she did, with ledgers and books

she challenged our moral blindness

she was honest on every road she took.


People of many kinds you could mention

came to the library to her station

because she stood stopped and paid attention

and although there were frustrations

she did not show ire or spite

instead she smiled and spoke nicely

she listened and did what was right

explained things softly and concisely. 


Although these days she seldom runs

she travels to visit family and friends

and she still knows how to have fun

to laugh and listen and make amends

She watches frogs, speaks to dragon flies

drinks morning coffee and reads the news

occasionally with tears in her eyes

but by noon she’s shook off the blues.


She gave all she had to Ray

taught us Jesus with her sacrifice

with devotion she showed us the way

for the good of others she paid the price

but was never paid what she deserved

she is an artist, a lady, and a poet

her place in heaven is reserved

and those who love her know it.


For Elizabeth Hobbs on her 80th Birthday November 22, 2016


Written 11-22-16












This Is Personal       Print this poem only


I've got the hand of Jesus

and he's got my heart

This ain't no theory ya'll

or in my mind apart


This is very personal

I've got Jesus and he's got me

can't find reason for it

no logic I can see


All I know is we've got something

that ain't just him and ain't just me

it's the two of us together

making music meant to be


How I got here 's quite a story

A man named Richard told

that God knew if he became human

his true nature we'd behold:


He's a person a human person

with feelings of joy and pain

who loved with a love we'd never seen

a love he showed again and again


And if he's a person who really cares

a human person who's God's real son

then if we're God' children this Jesus man

is a brother to me and to everyone


And if God's inside all his creatures

then Jesus is right here inside me

and if he's a Savior of all us humans

then he's a personal savior to me and thee.


Written 12-6-16


Gotta go stir the red beans       Print this poem only



Oh what a precious soul

that girl next door, Jackie Kroll

her father Max and mother Gin

and Mike - to our family were like kin.


Fondly I recall the crawfish bisque

oh what a luscious savory dish

labored over without a gripe

without charge or fret or hype.


Gin and Max taught her well

for she drew from that crawfish shell

the best etoufee in all of the south

and stirred those red beans to delight your mouth. 


I’ll remember her in that kitchen

cooking was almost like her religion

like a prayer she toiled without fuss

and we knew it was done just for us.


Oh! how she gave us our daily bread

the support and caring in what she said

nourished us beyond the table

to do more than we thought we were able.  


She also had another wondrous feature:

serving others, she was a gifted teacher,

and she sewed the pieces of our lives together

into a quilt fit for all kinds of weather.


Hers was the heart of a Tiger through and through

she seemed fearless, was graceful, and true

she was in our world a very loyal fan

and when we were down she helped us to stand.


She didn’t boast of her walk with the divine

but her devotion was truly a Christian sign

sermons and lessons she sometimes told

and they became yeast baked into our souls.


I bow to you, Jackie and honor your name

maybe you didn’t have status or fame

but I stand here now out loud to attest

as a human person you were one of the best.


I can hardly believe you’re gone from this life

you mother and friend, you loyal wife

but when I think you’re fully gone and disappeared

I need to recall your precious soul that’s still here.


Author's Note:  My dear friend Jackie Kroll Reine passed away December 19, 2016 and this poem is dedicated to her and her family.   Please click here for the obituary.

Written 12-15-16












Distance            Print this poem only


This distance between us occupied

minutes and hours multiplied

by walking and running thoughts,

divining the cost of careless loss

roving and darting with such might

not even a rest in dreams of night.

Then a trouble or something tragic

pauses me, and a moment of magic

makes all that distance naught.

I fly to you my love in thought

bound again by strings unclear

I yearn and ache to have you near.

But again the world cries out to me

and again I am gone - in its roiling sea.



         Inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnet # 44

Written 8-29-16









Shining Moment            Print this poem only


Oh, that shining moment

head emerging from the water

breaking forth into the Light

as from my mother’s womb

this time the span of a life

beneath those ripples,

and I an old man

bathed in grace

rising, dripping joy.


Remembering that moment

a year ago

tears now drip

from these old eyes

my sight blurred by them

blurred by Spirit

by Jesus

who has not let go of me

still he holds on

grasping my heart

shaping it.

Is he a carpenter

or a stubborn sculptor,

his firm hands


chipping away?



Written on 28-2016 for the 1st anniversary of my baptism, my first rebirthday.  Baptized and reborn August 30, 2015


Written 8-28-16

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