Fake Smiles

Phil's Garden Skeleton

Behind each smile there lies a motive

why those teeth are showing;

Some like Scarecrow Jake don’t have much choice

Their smiles are always showing;

But the ones that irritate me most

are those pasted on fake smiles glowing.

Shown at parties by every host

All the while they’re knowing…

they have to pretend to welcome you

with their big fake smile showing.

Oh, do come in,” they say

with smiles from ear to ear.

Then they talk when you can’t hear

…after you walk away.

For me, I like them genuine

A smile that is believable;

One you can trust every time

and they never will deceive you.


Photo: Phil Roth

Today at d’Verse, Lisa asked us to write a poem about a human trait that irritates us. I chose a fake smile. Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

The Fear of Living…

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The Fear of Living

I don’t fear death; I fear living… too long! Some drop and are gone, others take longer to leave this world. Lingering is a fearful word in this old man’s vocabulary. Lingering often comes with losing control, as dementia sets in. Loss of memory, loss of driving privileges, loss of physical abilities to function without help all come with different levels of fear. And then there is pain. Chronic pain is very real to many, both young and old. It changes how we live and function.

I watched my father-in-law as he gradually developed Alzheimer’s disease. It was so hard to give up his keys to his car. But, not remembering where his car was parked, or how to navigate across the city of Edmonton, made driving too risky for him. When his wife developed a brain tumor, he had to move to a care facility, which involved more loss and now separation. It was extremely sad to see this happen. Even in the best of settings life was no longer memorable for him.

Fear of living on and on and out of control is my greatest fear. I try not to think about it or obsess over it, but it constantly shadows the recesses of my mind.

Living well for now

Aging brings new challenges

Life becomes fearful


Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Frank Tassone asked us to think about our fears. This seems to be the season of the year when fright and fear are celebrated in some circles. Spooky ghosts and goblins are nothing compared to the real fear of living in pain or life out of control.

Thanks to my friend, David’s, post for stimulating these thoughts:


Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Grasping the Wind

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Grasping the Wind

You can’t hold on to what you will never have…

Those days of youth and vigor pass as we age

leaving some grasping for what is lost;

Seeking a fresh a new look // a temporary fix.

No matter how much we doctor up our body

or keep a regimented exercise routine…

It is still the same old engine wearing down

purring along with a few hits and misses;

But. still with the same number of miles on it!

Replacement parts and filler do not change

the fact that in time life will  run its course.

Temporary fixes are just that…. Temporary.

Live life to the full as long as you can…

Don’t fight the finality // embrace it.

Enjoy family and friends who love you as you are;

Think of all the lifetimes you have already lived.

When this temporary one passes…

God’s light and love will carry us on

to something more permanent and lasting.


Fall seems to be a time of reflection for me. The approach of winter always turns my thoughts to my on winter of life and what it means. These are some of those thoughts that passed through my mind today.

Posting this on d’Verse open link night. Join us at: https://dversepoets.com


Peddle Faster

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Peddle faster feel the wind

The finish line is now in sight

My race is on

But winning is not the goal

Just finishing well

Many slow down // stumble and fall

Barely dragging across the line

I never know what I might encounter

So, I give it all I’ve got, while I still can

The finish line is not far off

So I ride with gusto

Enjoy the thrill

Competition is not the goal

In this race of life

Anything can happen

Fading away is not my plan

It is all about finishing well

For the finish line is now in sight

But // I’ve still got a long way to go

But only time will tell

Photo: Dwight L. Roth


No Joy in Pain


Some people tell me, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Other will say that the end justifies the means, and it will all work out in the end. The preacher tells me, “Count it all joy when you suffer.” “God is testing you!”

I am not a fan of any of the above. I have been through back surgery for two ruptured discs. I did find healing and renewed physical strength for which I am grateful. On the other hand, I went through several years of depression that let me scarred with wounds that will never heal. Being told to cheer up or it will get better was no help.

No one, it seems, has a quick fix for pain. The best help for someone who is suffering is to be there for them, in a physical sense. Skip the helpful comments, the old clichés, and religious promises, and just be present with them. Listen and feel their pain with them. In due time things may or may not work out, but what I remember most is who cared enough to be there for me.

No joy in deep pain

Words and promises fall short

Be present with me


Today at d’Verse, Ingrid asked us to dig deep and share a time in our life when we experienced pain. We are to write a poem that expresses how pain affected us as we went through it and hopefully came out on the other side.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Connected or Disconnected

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Today I was feeling disconnected, so I thought I would write my feelings about it. My good friend Bob, moved back to New York, in 2018, to be closer to his family. He loved to talk and came by often when I was painting in my garage. He would sit and talk as we would solve the world’s problems while I painted.  Since he moved, I have not found anyone like him to connect with and it has been a lonely time for me. I am most grateful for all my wonderful blogger friends, but it is not quite the same.  

Feelings run deep

through the labyrinths of my mind

expressed in many subtle ways

as time moves on.

Emotions flow

like calm bayou waters…

over many tangled roots.

Finding connection with people

becomes a disillusioning task

in this age

of three-second attention spans

and busy schedules.

Friends who will take time

to sit and listen

are hard to come by.

Most acquaintances

are ‘hi and bye’ friends

with few shared interests.

Even family

is hard to connect with

amid work and school activities…

A smile and a hug

a shared meal or visit

between smart phone checks…

all on the run it seems.

Perhaps my interests

are just that…

my interests

while others have moved on.

Does anyone really care

what happens

how it happens

or what I think?

In our crowded

disconnected world

we live in seconds

not hours.

Who sits

and talks for an hour,

let alone minutes any more?

Perhaps we need more

front porch swings to sit on

with neighbors

who know each other…

people whom we can share

long conversations with

about the meaning

of life, love, and happiness.


we should spend real time

with our loved ones now

before it is too late.


Photo: Dwight L. Roth


After Time


Everyone keeps time

Loses time

Takes time

Wants more time…


No one wants to talk

About what happens

after time.

Does time stop


eternity begin?

Our last breath…

Easing (Bouncing) the soul out gently…

Does the screen go black

Or just change format?

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Shortness of Days

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Fall brings coolness and shortness of days

Age brings awareness of life’s transient journey

I lose the invincible feeling of youth

replacing it with more time for contemplation

Lengthening shadows of night become clearer

now that I am counting time with a different clock

Reflecting on life changes // I wonder

“Will I be around in ten more years?”

“…or even next year?’

“What challenges will aging present?”

Covid-19 amplifies thoughts of life’s finality

Numbers of casualties rise and fall with the seasons

Questions of, “What if?” shadow my thoughts

Yet, life is to be lived rather than hidden away

So, until changes slow me down, I will press on

doing what makes me and others happy…

Using common sense, enjoying the blessings of life

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Quicksand of Expectations

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Naturally, we view relationships through our own eyes

taking in all that we enjoy // perceiving what will be

Yet, as relationship expectations grow, the delusion increases

Wishful thinking, full of wants and needs draws us

to assumptions of crashing cataracts… leaving us dashed…

often broken on the rocks of unfulfilled expectations…

as life roars on around us // carrying away our dreams


Co-dependence is a quicksand of mutual expectations

turning a loving relationship into sinking turmoil

sucked under by our own needs and desires

to a point of suffocation


Photo: Dwight L. Roth