Air Hugs

My mailman delivers my mail, mows my lawn and quietly leaves unexpected gifts at the neighbors’ houses…He knows everyone by name and most of their personal business…He gives advice for pruning shrubs and getting rid of ants…he gave “air hugs” long before we heard about a pandemic and is one the many reasons I enjoy living in a small town. This is a poem for him.

Sweet Summer surprise

Tomatoes left on door step

Gardens grow good friends


Sunny Side Up

Whirlwind of tail and paws
Golden eyes camouflage hidden treasures of
Seasons past
Days of brilliant sun and silver snow

Life was free to roam
You pleased

Hollowed trees and broken porch steps
Were your umbrella from hailstorms of humanity

Creeks and abandoned birdbaths quenched your thirst
for the good life
of open fields and quail
and blue tailed skinks
While running from loose dogs
and eagle eyed predators

Some people have said your hunger for something wild
Will never be satisfied now
Because someone thought it was more humane to
Rescue you from the unknown dangers
that lurked behind, under, and above
the natural elements

One day you appeared at dusk and again at dawn
on the doorstep of
One who needed to be needed
One who was eager to give you scraps and a
Warm blanket for the winter nights
One who made you feel comfortable
and secure

Christened with a name that echos your
Sunny persona
You spend your weighty days
Slightly rotund
Happy to eat prepackaged meals
Reconciled to the fact you are safe

Watching your other life pass by
from your windowed perch
You are content
Knowing on the inside
You are free
Because long ago
Your spirit captured the sun


it is HOT
and September
and nothing makes sense
But iced tea
and rhubarb pie

Growing up in Colorado, we had a garden of strawbwerries and rhubarb. Since it was arid where we lived on the eastern side of Pikes Peak, we couldn’t grow anything in our backyard except the one fruit and one vegetable. (According to Michigan University, rhubarb is a veggie.) Because it was so dry in the Summer, the grass often gave up the ghost, making room for weeds to grow. Those were the times we ate dandelion greens in place of canned spinach. Neither was tolerable to my childish palate unless a promise of pie preceded the meal.

When the neighbor kids came over on skin blistering days, we drank sugarless iced tea and crowded in front of our one window fan. On the good days, there was pie. Somedays were too hot to be cooled off merely with dry air blown over our sunburned bodies so Mom taught us a trick that she learned growing up in southwestern Kansas during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. She soaked a towel in cold water and draped it over the makeshift air conditioner. It was enough to cool us off while she reminisced about the times she only had potatoes to eat and other children made fun of her for having one dress to wear everyday to school. We begged for more stories about a distant time and place so different from our own, but it was time for us to finish our snack, she would say, before leaving us alone again. We sipped our iced tea and ate our treasured treat with renewed sense of gratitude and energy to play again.

Everyone who was lucky enough to taste it, declared Mother made the best rhubarb pie. Her secret was tapioca instead of cornstarch for thickening the sauce and lard and vinegar for making the flaky crust. She didn’t put any strawberries in it. She didn’t believe in “doctoring” something that was already perfect. Strawberries were saved for freezing and for eating later in Winter.

Many years later, after I had moved to Seattle and was recuperating from a painful operation, Mother along with my sisters, took time out of their busy lives to travel up to the Great Northwest to help me. I was never considered a spoiled child growing up, but that week I felt very special.

I could barely eat and keep anything in my stomach and I was getting weaker each day. My mother asked what she could do to make me feel better. I knew the perfect medicine. Unsweetened iced tea and rhubarb pie, please. Yours, of course. None of that store-bought-strawberry-doctored pie for me. Anything other than Mom’s rhubarb pie would simply be nonsense.

Brothers and Sisters

 Brothers and sisters  
(at least in our crowd)
You tell them you love them
You tell them you're proud

Of what they've accomplished
Of what they've achieved
Of all their successes
And how you believed

They had it within them
Each task that they tried
Would turn out stupendous
Would bring family pride
Before we were grown up
That's not how it went
Even Mother would say
We weren't heaven sent

When young we would argue
All things come what may
Whose turn to ride shotgun
What game should we play

We'd fight over candy
Who Grandma loved most
Was Santa a real man
And who burned the toast

Whose turn to wash dishes
Who should put away
Its who set the table
Who chooses today

Name calling was frowned on
We couldn't do that
We'd go to our bedrooms
To settle a spat

Our mouths would get washed out
For saying that word
Unspeakable happened
For flipping the bird

The weekends were for fun
But on Saturday
Our chores had to be done
Before we could play

The families on our block
Seemed much more subdued
But when they spread gossip
A battle ensued

Don't pick on our brothers
Or say things unkind
Our sisters will give you
A piece of their mind

And don't tell our sisters
They're not very smart
Our brothers will fight you
So don't break their heart

{That's the revised, more refined version. Feel free to write your own ending]

Waiting for Autumn

 She chooses to remember that Sun was kind
when he whispered morning melodies
Fed her green smoothies
and avocado toast
Smiled and ­­­­­told her to hang on
a better day was dawning

The ritual continued day and night
Sunshine and young Leaf played games on neighbors' shadows
until Moon chased Sun from the branches
Sun always managed to find a purple mountain to hide behind
While Leaf played hide and seek with Moon
Sun was a patient and gentle suitor
He knew he could court his Precious One again in the morning dew
But now Leaf's skin is cracked and prematurely wrinkled
All because Summer ravaged her imagined rival
After hearing the Four Winds taunt
Leaf's boundless beauty could not be matched nor denied

Summer was relentless this year
With her
Southern whiskey breath
and moldy
pursed lips
Jealousy joined Summer and together
they overpowered the youngling and others like her
Leaf turned to catch a glimpse of an old friend
Who decided long ago to mock Fate
Who drifted down a pitiless path
With no one to comfort him
No one to dry his tears
Helplessly, Leaf bounced down a cracked sidewalk
that scratched and discolored her cheeks
Why did this happen to such an innocent part of creation
Who merely longed to dance and twirl and laugh
with Grandfather Tree
Who closed his eyes for just a moment and lost his hold on her

If she had a little more time, she thought
She could say good-bye to those who loved her for a Season
It's too early
Not even October, she cried
So unfair  

Leaf landed on a stranger's lawn
Her tired fingers released her hold
on the brittle dry grass
She resigned to the idea
that this was her final resting place
Leaf will be content until she sees her Beloved Autumn
Whom she never met but heard stories about
How he cools the brow of Nature's broken ones
with his misty kisses
And takes them to his sanctuary
Specially prepared for those who trust him
There Springs and Waterfalls sing in harmony
Old things are made new
And Love and memories grow new gardens
In due Season

A Lone Fisherman

This is such a moving poem that awakens the senses to a world of imagination. I want everyone to experience the artistry of fellow blogger Yaskhan. Enjoy!


The ozone murmurs

In the silvery gloaming

As a fish quietly leaps

The quivering waves of

A dappled twilight moana

Its breath drawn upon

An opalescent August sky

Whispering shadows etch

Fragile moments

Bringing song of the sea

Filling piscator’s net

With briny scents;

Crepescule colors flicker

Yellowing the marine

Across windswept Neptune

The rising tide

Pulses a refrain ..

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His Eye is on the Sparrow

What’s up. Sunny? This morning my yellow tabby, Mr. Sunshine, was not moving. His morning routine consists of eating breakfast, meowing to go outside and running down the stairs of my back deck to do whatever formerly-stray-but-now rescued cats do. Not today. He ate and went outside alright, but did not run down the steps. Instead he was lying under my raised flower box. Frozen in place. Then his tail twitched as if to say, “Go away, kid, you bother me.” I knew immediately this can’t be good.

I was right.

When I picked up the cedar flower box and slid it to the side of the porch, Sunny took off down the stairs. Under the box, just out of reach of my cat’s hopeful paws lay a tiny, trembling, feathered creature that was gasping for air.

It had no bite or claw markings on it that would indicate it was injured by another animal, but it still was unable to stand on its own. This morning was cooler than usual and very windy. Was it possible that this baby wren had been blown out of its nest before it could fly freely on its own?

One wing quivered before the poor thing fell to his side. I ran inside to get a cardboard box and put some scrap flannel material in the bottom. I picked him up knowing this was his last chance to survive. Maybe it just needs to be brought indoors for time away from the wind and curious eyes. I said a little prayer and put him in God’s hands. After all, He created him and knew what was best for His creation.

A few minutes later it was obvious my willingness to have this baby bird live wasn’t enough.

“His Eye is on the Sparrow” came to mind. The song that Ethel Waters and Mahalia Jackson made popular so long ago is apropos even today. I don’t like death! I don’t like to see an animal suffer, or a human being suffer, for that matter. But I do find comfort in knowing Who is on the other side of this thing called life. The One we learned about in confirmation class and Sunday School or learned from reading the Bible on our own, or simply an inspiring poem.

The One who is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent is here and there and we will see face to face someday. And like that song says, “I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m free. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.”

Amen, my friend. Amen.


Sky whispers "Go"
And her breath
Sweeps me to an unknown
World of pain
and doubt

I pray
Release me so I may
Soothe the throats that are
Scorched by Sun's careless jokes
and endless Summers

I receive Mist for Mercy

Then I look to River for Refuge
Only to find Confusion
Waiting in the shadows

I seek Forgiveness for
Fogging youths' minds with
noncommitment on their Road to Nirvana

I rain softly on my lover's wounds and sing
praises to God of the Universe
while Earth's scars
Heal once more

I soar on the Wind
back to Sky
Who knows my real name

Where the Broken Heart Heals

Where is the pathway
Where the broken hearted go
Away from this pain

My heart weighs heavy
This morn approached with promise
Then my friend's son died

Death overtook him
Sorrow pounced on us today
There was no warning

How can he be gone
How does the world keep spinning
Without this boy's smile

Birds hush their singing
Melody melts into dawn
How dare the sun shine

Neighbors come and go
Memories shared with each hug
Roses and lilies

Teacups sit empty
Much like the room where he danced
Only days before

Tables and counters
Burdened with uneaten food
No one is hungry

He would have liked this
Thrown back his head in laughter
A party for him

His mother and dad
The ones who raised him from birth
Struggle to join in

Spirit cover me
Envelope me with your Grace
Give me the right words

There aren't any words
Family and friends offer love
Help is close at hand

Faith has been challenged
Why can't we feel God's comfort
Hope lingers midst fear

Vision turns greyscale
Colors crash into the moon
Igniting shadows

I swallow burnt tears
From the ash heap of lost dreams
Touch becomes muted

Helplessly I watch
My friend reaching for reason
Grasping only clouds

All prayer is vapor
Disappearing with the rain
But there is no rain

Creatures that inhale
Eventually exhale
One final heart beat

We know this is life
But we don't have to like it
While we endure it

We know there is God
We know we'll see him again
We know he is safe

But what about us
And all those who remain lost
Without our loved one

So we must comfort
One another with these words
We will meet again

Mountain of Mourning
We'll never get over it
But we'll get through it

From Salience to Silence

Amended version of the first post.

Watermelon Walk

Robert, my California brother who keeps reminding me he is younger, was visiting some of the family in Georgia the past two weeks. He always enjoys being around my children and grandchildren and greeted them with the usual big Uncle Rob hugs. We ate and ate and served up lots of strong coffee with dessert as we “set a spell”. (That’s Southern for hours and hours.) Our group discussions were much like they were when my sisters and brothers and I were growing up. We sat around the dinner table and voiced our opinions with the same passion and volume a child has when trying to convince his parents he needs a new bike. We asked questions like:

  • Who are the three people, living or dead, you would most like to meet?

This would trigger new questions before anyone could offer their ideas regarding Shakespeare, Michelangelo, or Einstein.

  • So, is…

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