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2014 Poems






The Crack in Everything          Print this poem only


Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

                   From "Anthem" by Leonard Cohen

Teddy Roosevelt was sickly and reviled

Oprah Winfrey abused as a child

Edison's bulb took a thousand failures and more

Einstein didn't speak till he was four

Ben Franklin dropped out at ten

Jim Carrey lived in a van
Jay-z was spurned by labels untold

VanGogh in his life - one painting sold.


When I am tired and full of woe
there's no brighter place to go

all I see is the darkness in me

I strain and strain to free

my wonder - so I won't quit

escape or run or split.


When frustration ties me up,

feeling like an empty cup

I sometimes think of those

who took lickings and blows

ridicule, illness, ineptitude

artistic blocks of magnitude


and when right in the midst of this

they stayed inside the dark abyss

rode the suffering and the pain

for all the lessons it contained

embraced the flaw and kissed the break

found the grain of grit it'd take


bore it through the vessel's walls
took a thousand practice falls

and found the crack and saw the light

with patient courage fought the fight

and turned the fault into a shift

of attitude – and that was the gift.



Author’s Note: With appreciation to the great poet, songwriter and person, Leonard Cohen for “Anthem,” one of my all-time favorite songs.  If you wish to see the YouTube video of Leonard singing this song in concert, click here.


Written 10-18-14


















Arrow          Print this poem only


I could not tell the dates or facts

or biographical details,

his jobs or titles or his acts

or how he rigged or furled his sails.


But when he said or sang his rhyme

when he stood and spoke his soul

I lost all track of space and time

I knew what graces made him whole.


He told the stories of the poor

he took our minds and won our hearts

he always left us wanting more

he must have hailed from other parts.


He seemed to be from another land

from some place far yet very close

he knew our joy and pain first hand

the thorns and beauty of the rose.


His poems were prayers for love and peace

that God would surely help us cope

that justice would win and wars would cease.

His smile sang hymns of faith and hope.


Albert Willis was a man

but knew our angels and our dark

he walked with us but held God’s hand

and shot his arrow to our heart.


Dedicated to our friend and fellow poet and beautiful human being, Albert Willis

Written 11-4-14 







Beware the Olive          Print this poem only


What havoc when I bit

molar on molar on that olive pit

black olives add a mysterious flavor

to a salad you want to savor


But now after weeks of hoping

this pain with which I’ve been coping

would leave - I swore I wouldn’t chew

on the left side, but so untrue.


Ever try to chew on just one side?

I consciously tried to guide

that food to the right

to avoid that painful left bite.


But then there was that long pass

to Bryant who fell flat on his ass

and missed the last chance to make

a score and then I bit down on that stake


and that left molar cried out in pain

Right Side, right side! again and again.

And so here I sit with that nagging ache

Unpitted olives - oh what a mistake!


Written 12-31-14










Watering              Print this poem only


The plants are dying 

one leaf at a time

loosing luster


no longer turning expectantly

toward the light.


Their stillness a portent

the dulling green

the browning

the yellowing

their silent acceptance

of their perilous symbiosis

with us.


We all need watering.

We shrivel without love.


But unlike this simple green life

we can say no

speak to ourselves

the language

of dissuasion





we can choose to rise

turn on the faucet

and move toward the light

and life.

Written 9-8-14






Together on Earth          Print this poem only


Along this path the pine needles glitter

the lakes sparkle

the chipmunks laugh

the air is cool and fresh.


Yet it is a path through pain

the clouds heavy with rain

but it is a sorrow shared

made lighter by the care.


These moments are delicate

with the brook they murmur

in the language of sunsets

the song of the loon

the clarity of the moon

our eyes - they glisten

as we listen




In these moments we dive deeper

hear the moaning of the whales

through waters warm, then cool

into the darkness of this deep

we lose ourselves, we weep

we hold each other tight

then look up and see the light.


The shady fearsome phantoms

of this thick forest

the musty aroma

first feel like oppression

but pausing, in silence

we absorb the immensity

sink in the profundity

and all it will allow

in the togetherness of now.


Author’s Note: My reflections on the darkness and light in the love and commitment to our marriage of more than four decades.


Written 10-2-14







Surprised         Print this poem only


Imagine how surprising

when in my chest

I felt you rising

heart throbbing with persistent zest

my face is flabby

my knees crack

my hair is shabby

oh my aching back.


But I guess it took this long

to get ready for your dwelling

to hear the gentle psalm

quit mental rebelling.

Still I am learning

and evolving inside

after decades of yearning

this gradual passionate tide.


After all my slips and dips

snubs, neglect, and slights

the blasphemies from my lips

you never turned off the lights

your faithfulness upheld

every moment I was asleep

or by my urges compelled

your roots in me were deep.


I know not where you are leading

or if I have what it takes

to move with your silent pleading

If I'll dance or put on the brakes

but in the distance I hear the drums

the violins, the flutes and the chime

and I know whatever will come

you'll be in me keeping time.

Written 10-7-14


Hooked          Print this poem only


Once upon a time there was a little boy

who camped with his mom, uncle and aunt

he woke up early with little joy

but he did not gripe or rant

for he knew he was going fishing

as soon as they got to the lake.

His fingers were twitching and itching

to feel that line pull and its quake

when the sand bass took the bait

and hooked it in his upper lip.

Catching that fish would feel so great

so on that rod he’d tighten his grip.


Sure enough it happened just so

when not too far from shore

after his fifth or six throw

or was it cast number four

he pulled and he reeled

as fast as that fish retreated.

That little boy would not yield.

“Hold on, hold on! his uncle repeated.

Soon the fish was on land at his feet

and oh what a shriek of delight!

He showed it to mom and his joy was complete.

Even better – the fresh fish for dinner that night.


After dinner was cooked and eaten

in the glow of that sweet success

that boy had been hooked!

by a green slimy fish no less. 


Author’s Note: Jeremy is now 30 with a brand new baby girl.  Uncle Glenn and his Aunt Helen gave him a gift of a Christmas tree ornament with a large fish with fishing pole and on the end of the line a tiny little man.  This poem was tucked inside the box containing the ornament. 

Written December 19, 2014






This Mysterious You          Print this poem only


Oh what a delight

this mysterious you

stirring in me but not speaking

yet whispering to me

with the confidence of a lover

you, you, you are intimacy herself

oh how lovely this affair

how simple.

You fill me with tears

brimming over with such sweetness

I know I know

love itself.


You are highly irregular

like the floor of a deep forest

crawling with life in every direction

dark and unknowable

yet fulgurant

and bursting with

               and ambiguity

               pointed at my heart.


My heart, my heart cannot beat fast enough

cannot contain this rush

this electrifying passion.

You are mute in my manhood

yet so strong

I burst -

a field of needles prickly in my fiber

you smile my face


like seeing a gorgeous sensuous woman

or a man racing through the finish line in exhausted glee.


Your impulse

is the Brahms, Byron, and Picasso

the don Quixote, Cortez and Hawking

lurking within me.

You, you, you cannot be shackled

without injury.


I yearn, oh how I yearn to see your face

a face with so many dimensions


Definition of fulgurant: flashing like lightning

it is dimensionless.

When will I see your face

you, my mysterious



Written 12-6-14








Hymn to Delta Blue          Print this poem only


The other day in twilight hue

with a setting sun of pinkish gold

I felt the ghost of Delta Blue

and from afar he touched my soul.


He sang a heartfelt battle hymn

he sang his grief in sad refrain

his soulful shouts shall never dim

his words of brothers and their pain.


Have you a thorn deep in your heart

that no amount of talk can take

nor find a balm to make it part

nor take away its dogged ache?


Is there something in you broken

the docs can’t seem to fix

and nothing they have spoken

no words nor drugs can nix?


He could not find a bridge away

or anyone who really knew his scars.

And he saw the folly every day

of desperate hopeless wars.


He stood among the red and dead


he drove a boat in waters brown

and mixed with blood and tears and dread.

No river could his sorrows drown.


His poems addressed our deafened ears

his prayer that we would be alright

all who fought those tortured years

he prayed they’d hold on through the night.


I wish I’d met this gentle man

who felt the wounds of war so deep

I wish I’d gone to shake his hand

to hear him laugh to hear him weep.


Let’s stand and sing a requiem

salute him and all the ones who gave.

Let’s honor them with heartfelt hymn

and walk into their sunset grave.


Author's Note: This poem is dedicated to Delta Blue which is the pen name of my friend Russell Glen Robison. He was an extraordinary and sensitive poet who published five books, most of which reflected his experience in and as a result of the Vietnam war in which he valiantly served. I regret that I never went to nearby Red Oak, TX to meet him in person before his death 2-24-14. But I am glad I got to meet and get to know him through his poetry. I also dedicate this poem to all of Russell's brothers and sisters in arms who served in Vietnam and to their loved ones who traveled their tortured journey with them.

This is Russell's Facebook page which is still active and contains some of his poems:

[Russell explained his pseudonym: "DELTA BLUE....a slang term we used to describe navy personnel fighting IN country....Mekong DELTA navy BLUE...... "] His book, Delta Blue is about the Mobile Riverine Force in Vietnam.  They fought on the rivers and canals of Vietnam in armored assault craft that resembled the ironclads of the United States Civil War.  On the back of his book, Delta Blue, he says: "It almost seems as if these water borne craft were destined to return one hundred years later and carry the fight to the enemy in the Mekong Delta.  Their story is little known, but long remembered by those who saw them in action."

On Russell's still active Facebook page where you can read some of his poems.  His Facebook page is:


Please see a special page I have prepared as a tribute to Delta Blue (Russell Robison)

Written 11-7-14


Please see a special page I have prepared as a tribute to Delta Blue (Russell Robison)





My Thanksgiving          Print this poem only


Thank you for the sun at dawn

and for the evening when it’s gone

for every moment of my days

I give to you my heartfelt praise.


For seeds in me my parents planted

for friends I’ve taken for granted

for finding a smile when I was mad

at that sassy man who looked so sad.


For all the blessings undeserved

for judgments others have reserved

for a spouse able to forget

to begrudge me for commitments unmet.


For all the loving and forgiving

that made me want to go on living

for the decades of this life unearned

and all the lessons that I’ve learned.


For the sweat of generations past

so many blessings they amassed

for America and the freedoms we’ve got

for workers and all they’ve wrought.


For determination and fortitude

for patience, compassion, and gratitude

for humor and the laughter it brings

for flight and sight, and eagles’ wings.


For cats, and cardinals, and loyal dogs

for fish and turkeys and jumping frogs

for children and for growing old

for all the stories grandpa told.


I want to say a thankful prayer

for my sister and her loving care

for the miles we‘ve traveled together

for sticking with me in stormy weather.


But most of all before I part

I want to say how great thou art

for the love of all that’s living

I humbly offer my thanksgiving.


Written November 26, 2014









You Crackle           Print this poem only


You crackle and bubble up

can't be held in a cup

even when I worry

you can't be in a hurry

takin your good time

findin just the right rhyme

to make us click

to make me tick.


When the world is bustin at the seams

and squirmin out my dreams

I want to lock the doors

but you tell me I'm yours

can't run too fast

know I can't last

I want to gamble my heart

thinkin I'm so smart

not enough piercing not enough tats

to make my old dogs into cats

can't never find enough what I like

when I want a hit, instead, a strike.


You crackle and bubble up

can't be held in a cup

even when I worry

you can't be in a hurry

takin your good time

findin just the right rhyme

to make us click

to make me tick.


Couldn’t speak your name

could not be emptied of my shame

you reached across the waters of my mind

I felt your calloused hand in mine

smelled the sawdust of your shop

raising and building without stop 

I ignore you oh how I try

typing and piddling till I'm dry

but still you stand inside

and quietly abide.


You crackle and bubble up

can't be held in a cup

even when I worry

you can't be in a hurry

takin your good time

findin just the right rhyme

to make us click

to make me tick.


It is still early in the day

there's work to be done without delay

but my old body says

go back to bed

my joints groaning

my muscles moaning

by bones barely able to hold my weight

my feet are in a terrible state

but then I feel a verging

of your energy and your urging

and I pick myself up and head outside

and you, you are there in my slow sure stride.


You crackle and bubble up

can't be held in a cup

even when I worry

you can't be in a hurry

takin your good time

findin just the right rhyme

to make us click

to make me tick.


Written 10-3-14

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