A Christmas Carol


One of my stories, A Christmas Carol, has been included in the Old Mountain Press’s new anthology of poetry and flash fiction. It is entitled Tis the Season, and is available on Amazon Kindle as seen below. Tom Davis is the editor and has several of his own books on Kindle as well. This is my story.

A Christmas Carol
Dwight L. Roth

Each Christmas, we listened to A Christmas Carol on the big floor model record player that sat between the two windows in the living room. An album of several large vinyl records waited patiently on the shelf for our arrival each year.
My Aunt Janet and Uncle Loren lived in a big two-story brick house on Main Street in Allensville. We stayed with them each Christmas, when we traveled four hours to be with our family.
As we all gathered around the record player, Uncle Loren pulled out the first shiny black record and carefully placed it on the turntable. The scratch of the needle against the vinyl came through the speakers as we waited for the story to start.
It was a magical time… a fantasy world, as I listened to the story unfold. Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Ghost Marley, and Tiny Tim all came alive in my mind as the ghosts came and went. We sat mesmerized, letting the tale unfold all the way to the final transformation of Scrooge into a generous caring man.
The radiators clanked as the steam passed through. The colored lights in the windows were filled with liquid that bubbled, adding to the hypnotic spell cast by the story. No one said a word until the needle scratched its way into the speaker as the last record ended.
It was a great time to be alive.

Click on the picture or link to it on Amazon search.


The Sweet Chill

Ice Tea photo

Smooth and cold you slid over my warm tongue
Chilling everything around that you touch
Yet when you feel my warmth you go to tears
How hard your core when left out in the cold
Waiting to melt that hard exterior
Frigid until finding that drink we all love
Changing states // floating in your own essence
Bringing pleasure to young and old alike
Cooling the heat // bringing a chill // you will
Bring pure pleasure on a hot summer day
Smooth as you melt on my tongue // sweet iced tea
Ice cubes filling the glass

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse Gina asked us to consider the common ordinary things of life and write a poem describing them. I chose the common ordinary ice cube that we put in our glass every day never once thinking about its make up or wat it does for us. Taking it, and all of life for granted we tend to miss some of the small ordinary things like ice cubes.

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A Love Story

Hartzlerspicnic1944 Paul and Beatrice

She watched him tanned, tall, and lean
With bib overalls and a head of dark hair
Thinking how handsome he was
How strong and capable a man he had become
He was only sixteen //but gave the appearance of eighteen
His gate was long // intense // full of determination
She loved that about him // the boy/man from across the field
Smart and fun to be around // his smile was full of laughter.
There he was, driving his father’s four milk cows up her lane
To share pasture with twenty-five more
Self-conscious // she picked up her father’s tee shirt
Hanging it on the porch line strung between two posts
Glancing towards the lane she caught his attention
He waved and gave a hearty, “Hi Beatrice! How are you today!”
Tongue tied, she could only reply, “I’m fine!”
And then he was gone // on up the lane and over the hill
It was evident he was special // graduating from high school at sixteen
She // only fourteen // knew she was in love
She would wait for him and follow him to the ends of the earth…
And she did


My mom when she was in high school

In memory of my mother who lived across the field from my father when they were growing up in the early part of the last century.
Today, Bjorn asked us to look at different perspectives in poetry and write a poem that reflected that for d’Verse. I chose to write from my mother’s perspective when she and my father were both teenagers.
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Photos: Audrey Hartzler’s family album

The Heavenly White House

Whitehouse Christmas Ornament

In Heaven the White House will be made of gold

With greenery all around // accenting the shiny and bold

The rooms filled with portraits of Presidents past

Looking for ones whose die was cast

In truth and justice, moral fortitude and integrity

As the Presidents pass by // each with a door key

They’re believing and hoping their key will fit the door

As they’re walking up the steps // they are still not sure

As many come and go // their keys won’t fit the lock

Those remaining really wonder as time stops on the clock

For those who have not arrived there is an encouraging note

We’ll leave the light on for you // there is always hope

That somewhere down the line we’ll find

One with justice and integrity and an honest mind

To live in the Golden White House in the pines


Photo: Dwight L. Roth



Frost Flowers

See the source image

Have your ever seen frost flowers growing on a cold winter morning? Many years ago when I was much younger, I enjoyed going deer hunting. Since I was a school teacher, the Thanksgiving break was a great time to hunt. I remember getting up very early on Thanksgiving morning, and driving my Ford Maverick back into the mountains near Broadway, Virginia. I forded a small stream and parked in the pines at the bottom of the ridge.

It was a very cold morning and the air was heavy with moisture.  I climbed the side of the mountain, the sun was just coming up.  I noticed that the sun was shinning off of ice crystal that had grown forming beautiful flowers on the ground. It was one of the most beautiful sites I have seen. The air temperature and the moisture in the air were just the right combination to produce frost flowers.  The sun soon melted them away as I made my way to the top.

Mountain frost flowers

Crystals soon to melt away

Deer and hunter dance


Frost Flower Photo:  kuriositas.com   (This is very similar to the ones I saw)

This Haibun is for Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge with the prompt winter mountain.

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#Haikai Challenge #64 (12/8/18) winter mountains (fuyu no yama) #haiku #senryu #haibun #tanka #haiga #renga

The Cat’s Grr-owl


Cats chase birds from trees long standing
Slowly munching on trunks and bushes
Gradually eating a path through the woods
Dozer and track hoes knock down trees in seconds
That slowly took many years to grow
Pulling up leaves, roots, and mud




All I can do is watch sadly as nature is razed
Hoping the devastation is contained to fifty feet
As the woods moves away from me
Light pours in // new growth will start over
Above the future twelve-inch buried gas line
Not such eco-friendly energy after all
We gasp for breath





Photos: Dwight L. Roth

A Great Example

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Death calls us one and all
Gathering one last time to pay respects
Four Presidents and a son all came together
Sitting solemnly in the front pew
No words of animosity spoken
Not the time for politics or twitter
Only a time for remembering
And honoring a life well lived
An elder statesman and former President
Words of praise // of humor // and of love
All expressions of those who loved him most
And then came the sermon…
~Of love and acceptance
~Of caring and compassion
Straight from the heart of God
Perhaps his last trip to Washington
Will speak to the discord and division
Leaving behind the greatest legacy of all…
An example to follow by the one now in charge
Let him who has ears to hear…
Hear and find wisdom to live by
From the life and example of
President George H.W. Bush
~December 5, 2018~

Photo of Bush’s Dog Scully: UPI

They Still Bleed Red



A month ago, I shared that it would be the last night for the roses. Frost was predicted, came, and went. But the warm NC sun soon revived them. Buds continued to open and in spite of cold nights, living up to -their name: Knock-Out Roses. Now a month later, the petal edges are singed in black, but they are still bright red in the sunshine.

Against cold assaults
While frost shrivels all around
Roses still bleed red
Undaunted by winter’s freeze
Leaves succumb // Roses bleed red


Photo taken today: Dwight L. Roth

What’s Missing


Decided to bake some breakfast sweet bread
To eat when I finally crawl out of bed
Goes so good with coffee and cereal
Getting my day off to a start that’s real

Got out the dough…ingredients and all
The dough had risen // standing very tall
I split it open with knife and fingers
Filled it with nuts, butter, and cinnamon

I added some raisons // then pinched it shut
Greased the baking pan and cleaned up the nuts
Baked in the oven at 375
It looked so good as bread began to rise

Took it out of the oven just in time
I cut it open and it looked so fine
But when I tasted // something was missing
An ingredient lost in the mixing

Next morning at breakfast with jelly spread
Along with my coffee // ate the perfect bread
Something good had changed // nothing was missing
Can you guess what I forgot to put in?


Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Amaya at d’Verse asked us to write a poem that involved a secret ingredient. With all the cooking and baking done over the holidays, many people have special thing s they make that are unique to them. The add that special something that makes it work.  In my poem I am doing the reverse. The question is what did I leave out that I should have put in?

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Christmas Memories


I started teaching in 69

Fourth and Fifth graders were just fine

As each Christmas rolled around

Small gifts on my desk I found

Ornaments for my tree

Saved throughout the years

Now my tree’s filled with memories

Of smiling faces and good cheer





Photos: Dwight L. Roth

A quadrille of 44 words today for the d’Verse Poetry Pub. De Jackson asked us to write using the word Cheer. The ornaments given to me by my students bring me cheer each Christmas as I put them on our tree.

Join us at d’Verse:  https://dversepoets.com