Tiptoeing Through The Tulips

Et Tu, Brute 001

Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can never fool all the of the people all of the time.”  As I watch the 2016 political campaign play out before us, I see that the greatest value they all espouse is winning. Winning at all cost sometimes causes candidates to say one thing to one group and something different to others. This seldom works.  People cans see through this tactic, and it usually becomes a detriment in the end. This poem reflects the result of trying to please everyone by being politically correct.

Tiptoeing Through the Tulips

When you try to please everyone

You end up pleasing no one

When you cater to some

Then cater to others

It all comes back to haunt you

The two sides of the coin

Will eventually be seen

In the end those whom you tried to please

Will work for your demise

They will stab you in the back

As you look at them and say,

“Et Tu, Brute?”

The “Just Fine” Mask

EER_0783What kind of mask do you wear?  Most of us at some time in our life have put on a mask to hide what is happening in our life. On the outside we appear to be doing well, but on the inside we are not “Just Fine!”  “Don’t worry, Be happy!” might work well in the words of a song, but many people are not ready to reveal themselves because of the fear they won’t be heard. My former pastor used to say, “What’s happening is not always what’s going on!” Take time for your friends and co-workers. Listen and find out what is really going on. This poem speaks to our superficiality and how it affects us.

The “Just Fine” Mask

“How are you?” “Oh, I am just fine!”

How easy to protect ourselves behind our mask

Social butterflies flitting here and there

A drop of nectar from me and one from you

Kiss, Kiss!

“How are you?” “Well, I have been better.”

“Stop right there I don’t want to know”

Cutting you off… too much information

No invested emotion here

Kiss, Kiss

“How are you?” “Oh, I am so glad you asked!”

“Here we go again… do I really have to listen to this?”

“Tell me what is going on, I would love to hear.”

“Don’t worry it will get better.”

Kiss, Kiss

“How are you?” “I am really struggling!”

“I am so sorry, tell me more.”

“What can I do to help?”

“I’ll call you soon!” “Then we’ll talk.”

Kiss, Kiss

“Hi how are you?” “I’m fine!”

“I can’t deal with this anymore”

“Love you, goodbye!”

Night Light

The Bodie Lighthouse towers majestically above the sand dunes near Nags Head, NC. Can you imagine sailing in a time before we had digital navigation? There was a time, not too many years ago, when the lighthouses along the Outer Banks made the difference between life and death for sailors on the dark stormy sea. It is hard to imagine building these structures let alone moving one. It was an amazing time when the Cape Hatteras Light was moved inch by inch from the edge of the dunes to a safe location away from the eroding sea.  These wonderful night lights were a  beacon of hope shining out across a sea of darkness. This poem is a tribute to them.

Bodie Lighthouse at Nags Head 001

Night Light

Towering above dunes gnawed by ocean waves

Stands a monument of engineering

Seeking some souls to save

A beacon of light to prowling ships in the night

Specters of the sea

Those who listen… who shake with fright

Will live to see dry land tonight

Light piercing darkness guides a ship all alone

Flashing danger ore a graveyard

Of lost ship’s bones

A brick and mortar giant of clay

Hattarus Lighthouse - original 001

Calls excited children to come and play

Or climb the winding backbone of steel

And dream of one day steering a ship’s wheel

And every night the mirror shines

Reflecting the light within

Through hurricanes, lightning, wind, and rain

Into the black of night again

Children and parents have all gone home

The dark waves pound the shore

Standing strong it’s all alone

Knowing some ships sail no more

Rain and hail beat the window panes

But the light of life never wains

Ocracoke Lighthouse 2 001

Ships toss on the rolling foam

The colossal stands alone


Bodie Lighthouse  –  Cape Hatteras Lighthouse  –  Ocraoke Lighthouse



Power is a beautiful thing

when used for the common good

Steam trains of my childhood

Dragons of steel


Snorting their way through the Pennsylvania hills

Pulling a hundred coal cars

 to the steel mills at Pittsburgh


Farmall tractors shiny and red

Roaring through the fields

Pulling plow and disc

 through soil of rock and clay

Farmal H Plowing

Rolling over blankets of earth

Smoothing them like a quilt

Feeling all that power surging under me

        as I ride the surf


Kenworth, Peterbuilt, and Mack haul it all

Roaring down the highway

Tires humming on the asphalt

Diesel engines fifty-three foot trailers

 Convoys of steel

Feeding never ending appetites of “the Blessed


Airplanes, Subways, Ships, and Space Shuttles

Power at its best

Carry us to the far corners

 of the earth and beyond

Connecting one race of man with one another

Opening the heart to greed

Gold, Diamonds, Oil and Land

 Override common sense

Override the common good


Destructive Power looms in the shadows

Threatening us with guns and bombs

Killing maiming destroying our fellowmen


Selfish power



  Political Gain

Dark Power for devious minds

 Living only for themselves


Delusions of money, wealth, and fame

Disappear like flash paper in a magician’s hand


Nature’s power far outweighs them all

Beyond manipulation

It overcomes at

Without consent

Volcanoes, Typhoons, Earthquakes, and Floods

Power from beyond

Far exceeding anything

 our minute minds can conceive


The most beautiful power

 Is the power of love

Above the physical

 Above the greed

Even above the natural

Nothing moves the heart of man like love

Dwight & Ruth's Wedding0010

The love of a child

The unselfish heart

 Moves all toward the heart of God

Splitting the Heart

Ruel's wooden bald eagle.

Older folks have so many stories to tell if only someone will take the time to ask and listen.  I always enjoy hearing stories of life before my time. I worked for a boss who was in his seventies and when asked about his past, he told us some most interesting stories. It reminds me of taking a log and splitting it open to see what is in the center. When you cut to the into the log you begin to see the beautiful wood grain that has come from years of growth. When planed down, that grain becomes a work of art, a thing of beauty. The same is true when people share their heart. Take time to listen and ask question. It is amazing what you will hear.

Splitting the Heart

Memories are meant to be opened

Just as a log is meant to be split

Revealing the beauty of its past

Grains rich with uniqueness

Only seen when the heart is opened`


Layers of memories like wood grain

Embedded in the heart of our being

Appreciated only when they are revealed


Some logs lay for years

Preserved by the swamp in which they lie

Only to be found, opened, and viewed with awe


Others rot away

Destroyed by circumstances beyond their control

Memories lost in the compost heap of time




Some go up in flames

Fleeting memories

Soon lost in smoke and ashes


Beauty lies not in the rugged bark

Nor in the gnarled limbs

But in the split layers of the heart


Inner beauty laid bare… uniqueness of the soul

Cherished memories… the story our life



Wood sculpture by Ruel Detweiler –  Bald Eagle Intarsia 15″ wide x 26″ tall
Woods used: Aspen, Walnut, Red Bay, Spalted Birch, Mulberry and Poplar. No stains used; all natural color.

The red oak bench made from recycled truck racks by Dwight Roth.

Chasing Truth


Perspective changes how we understand truth. I believe what we consider to be truth is part of a much bigger entity.   The apostle Paul said we see through fogged up glasses.  It is interesting to me that people think they have a handle on truth, and that gives them the right to judge everyone else. I find that much of what we believe is truth is based on faith. In spite of that some feel they must prove that what they believe is really true based on facts. They take what little they have and recreate it into something very different. Others take it as a mandate and try to force it on everyone else. I have been chasing truth all my life. This poem shares some of what I have learned.

Chasing Truth

I run toward truth

Arms wide open as a lover’s embrace

Breathless with anticipation

I move through the swamp’s fog

Heading for higher ground


I reach for truth

Gathering it as bort on the diamond cutter’s floor

Only to find the chips

Are parts of a much larger facet

Shining as they may

They are only the edges of a greater glory


I grasp truth

As a child clings to his toy

Thinking no one else will possess it but me

Settling for sparkling dust on the cutting room floor

And seeking no more


I find truth

Shining in all its faceted glory

Set in nature’s gold and love’s embrace


Only to tarnish it

With Id and Ego

Thinking it is I who makes it shine


I face truth

Dimmed by all its light


Surely if I change it some,

It will suit me much better when not so bright


So, I grind it

With mortise and pestle

‘Till all it becomes is dust in the bowl

Never again to be part of the whole

Good Friends Last Forever

IMG_1791 2009

During our college years, Ruth and I sang in a folk gospel group called the Optimists.  We were nothing spectacular, but we were well liked among the friends who followed us. No Grammy Awards were given and we were relatively unknown.  But for us, the friends who supported us made our lives rich and rewarding. Since that time we have come together a few times to reminisce and catch up on what is happening in our lives. No matter how long we are apart , when we get together again it is just like we had seen each other yesterday. Our friend from the past and the present still enrich our lives. It is great to be famous, but  only among our friends.

It’s nice to be famous only among friends

Among friends is all that counts

The optimists and spouses 2000 0012000

Famous enough for this lifetime

It avoids a lot of unwanted baggage

Never ending expectations and tabloid garbage

No tours to make no books to sign

Just appreciation and love and that’s just fine

I still remember where I came from

IMG_9418  1970

And I am always home when the day is done

No paparazzi, flash bulbs, or sensational news

Only my friends care about my views

Yes, being famous is really great

The rewards are never late

My appreciation has no end

As long as being famous is only among friends



My Life Goes On


…My grandmother died  at the young age of sixty-five, not long after this photo was taken. She had no idea that she would be gone so soon. She also did not realize how her grandchildren and great grandchildren would carry on the life and heritage that she passed on to them. Computers were not even thought of when she was living. Now her great grandson makes his living using them. Who knows what our future holds. Our life is passed on through those who follow. It is important to live in ways that gives them a Godly moral and spiritual foundation. What we pass on is here to stay. Let love be the cement that holds life together.

My Life Goes On

If I should find this my last day

Looking back on my work and play

Life is the place where joy and sorrow meet

A roller coaster ride of ups and downs

Struggles pain and joys abound

Making me stronger I stand my ground

Becoming the man who bears my name

The image of my creator reflected in my face

Not perfect but full of love and amazing grace

A shadow of the divine embracing a much better place

Life goes on be it here or there

In my children in their children

His face is everywhere

Reflections of love’s immeasurable power

Strength for today and hope for each hour

Passing on down through the thread of life


So fragile so dear so full of strife

If this were to be my last day

With sorrow’s leaving I would surely say

I’m not gone I’m here to stay


Tiger Cat

Tiger 001

…We loved our cat for sixteen years. Tiger was a neurotic creature who, when he got stressed would lick and lick. He was very much like some people independent and aloof at times. He chose when he wanted our attention, jumping up in our lap as we watched TV.  He was sneaky at times playing in the toilet and sleeping on the end of our bed when we were out. After Ruth caught him and baptized him in the toilet, he gave up splashing in the bowl.  It never failed, every time we cleaned his litter box, he would jump right in the clean litter and do his thing, just like a husband! In spite of all his antics, we loved him dearly.

Tiger Cat

The runt of the litter a striped gray and black

A cute little kitten to take along back

Playful and funny he sure entertained us

It wasn’t long till Tiger made a big fuss

Bigger and stronger he raced through the house

Upstairs and downstairs chasing imaginary mouse

Not in the morning, not in the evening, but at 10:00 at night

Waiting at the rail giving me a big fright

Neurotic and nervous he licked and coughed

Oh, no! Oh Shoot! he’s up on the loft

Creating giant hairballs so yukky and soft

But Ruth didn’t hesitate she picked him right up

Grabbing him quickly she must interrupt

Off to the laundry to cough on the paper

Hoping to get there to end this bad caper

An independent soul he was always so moody

I’ll come to you when I am good and ready

Saying, “Don’t pick me up unless I tell you!”

Any other time I’ll scat and you’ll be blue

Engines purring he climbs up in my lap

Settling down for his short cat nap

I’ll sleep, he’ll sleep and then he’s gone

While I am still snoring as I sleep on

He’ll be roaming the house while he’s all alone

He thought he was sneaky but we knew better

Our bed was a no no and he was a fretter

Climbing on our bed while we were away

That warm spot that indent we knew where he lay

Tiger with Ruth 001

It’s me for a nap but it’s Ruth whom he loves

The feeling is mutual as she gives him soft rubs

Sometimes I am jealous of this moody feline

Especially when he cuts in and takes up my time

Tiger came first on many occasions

Knowing he was king our special obsession

For sixteen years he watched out the window

Then ran to the door as we said hello

We were grieved when he left us it was time to move on

But we loved him dearly and are sad that he’s gone.




The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life

Micah and friend fishing at Cain Creek

Relationships are what make life meaningful and rewarding. They can be difficult at times, but with some effort can become a foundation of joy.  My father never knew a stranger. My mother cherished her relationships into her nineties. Children and grandchildren are wonderful, bringing joy and blessing to our lives. Develop relationships. Work on them with all your strength. They will provide joy and happiness in your life. Share the love.

The meaning of life lies not in the things we have

Or even what we may have accomplished

But rather in the life we are living each day

Friends who care and share themselves with us


Make life a joy knowing they are there

When we see the laughter in our children’s eyes

Feeling their love and feeling their hugs

We feel the sun on our face, the wind in our hair

The mud squishing between our toes


Listening to the birds singing their songs


The chirp of the wren the cooing of the doves


Lovingly protecting one another

Reminding us the touch of a hand and loving voice

Bring meaning each day to our fast paced life

The meaning of life lies not in the things we have

But in those we love and those we serve

The rest is just icing on the cake

Smooth and sweet

Our life’s a treat


Fishing Photo: M.B.Roth  Painting and other Photos: Dwight Roth