There was a time…

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There was a time when learning was fun
When learning went beyond books and tests
Actually using their mind to solve real life situations

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Observing creatures in their natural settings
Watching bugs and frogs and a preying mantis
Creating an egg sac that later produced hundreds
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When our children are all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all learn just the same // every child scoring
Higher and higher // or the teacher we will fire
What will happen when they face real world problems?
Perhaps Siri, Cortina, or Alexa will have the answers!

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Photos of may students in my early years of teaching. Since then times have changed and our focus seems to be on test results rather than well rounded students. Perhaps this will change as the cycle goes round and round.

For a wonderful example of what real learning can be, check out Forest Kids Learning. It is a fabulous program that does a wonderful job of hand-on learning!

https://www.facebook.com/ForestKidsCanada/

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Plastic Earth

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“Where were you when the earth was plastic?” This is what God asked Job, in answer to Job’s complaint about his woes and sorrow. Obviously this is more of a paraphrase than a quote. I love to think about the time when the earth was in its formative years. The beauty of geological time is written in the rock layers all around us. I can’t imagine the tremendous forces that lifted and bent these rocks. Once mud on the ocean floor, these rocks are now part of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Fossils tell of a very different time. I have broken open rocks and found perfect fossils in them. I have cracked geodes open to find amethyst crystals that grew as lava cooled millions of years ago. So when you complain about your situations in life, I ask, “Where were you when the earth was plastic?”

Read writing in rocks

Recognize we are but dust

Gives life perspective

 

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth – taken at the Linville Falls in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina

I am posting this for open link night on d’Verse Poets Pub.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

 

Timber Rattlers

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The deadly lie in the warm sunshine
just outside their rocky lair // entwined;
Two appear as one // tightly wrapped;
Rattles shake // warning all to stay away.
Beady eyes fix on the intruder’s focus;
iPhone clicks away as undulating coils squirm
Better keep away from these poisonous vipers;
The risk is not worth a new pair of boots.
Some trophies are better left as photos…
“Live and Let Live” //  “Tread on me and Die!”

 

Photo: Terry Showalter

Terry came upon this pair while logging in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania. There were two Timber Rattlers wrapped up together.  With his smartphone, he was able to get this great photo, and then get on with his work. Terry gave me permission to use this photo in my blog.

 

 

 

Lost (Flash Fiction)

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Lost
Dwight L. Roth

I was lost…totally lost in the pitch-black darkness. I climbed this ridge several times in the daylight, following the winding trail all the way to the top where we had set up camp. Now I was stumbling; tripping over rocks and branches as I wander off the trail. Why did I forget to bring my flashlight?
Talk of a mountain lion in the daylight brought no fear, but now, in the pitch dark, the reality presented itself with every distant rustle of the leaves and breaking of a branch. I pressed on climbing upward, feeling my way through the saplings, mountain laurel, and dead tree limbs. “The top can’t be too much farther.”
Suddenly. there is that unmistakable wine of a big cat; off in the distance, yet too close for comfort. Chills run up my spine, when far away an interrupted cry… silence!

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Bjorn at d’Verse introduced us to our new form to work with…Flash Fiction. He asked that it not be more than 144 words. It could be exactly 144 words as well. Mine is 144 words. We must use the given line from a poem somewhere in the story. Today it was “when far away an interrupted cry…”

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Waiting for Heaven (a Ghazal)

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Obsolete // life’s most difficult burden
Life lingers on as you wait for heaven

Your rising soul resists the dimming light
Strong and powerful //waiting for heaven

Time and physical tolls // body wears out
Still you struggle // not ready for heaven

Mind and body fail you // yet life goes on
Disappear // four walls // waiting for heaven

The end is near // it is perfectly clear
Breathing is difficult // nearing heaven

Spirit rises // all earthly struggles cease
Safe in the arms of God // you reach heaven

A few years ago we waited while my mother-in-law was coming to the end of her life. I wrote a poem at that time called Waiting to Die, which was a combination of what I felt about life and what was actually taking place.  Today, I have condensed those thoughts into a Ghazal for d’Verse Poets Pub.  The Ghazal is from an ancient Arabic poety that writes in couplets of the same length. They end in each couplet with the same or similar words. It us usually about love, life, or pain. This is my second attempt at a Ghazal.

You can join us at:  https://dversepoets.com

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Country Soul Music

Today at d’verse Amaya asked us to think about music that touches our soul and brings tears to our eyes! I have been a lover of country music since I was a teenager. Traditional Country Music has always been embedded in the lives of the listeners. Listening to it is often like watching a reality show. Vince Gill gained fame in the early 1990s, and his song Go Rest High on that Mountain touches my soul like no other. He finished it after the death of his brother a couple of years earlier.

The clip above is from the funeral of George Jones, where he sings his classic song with Patty Loveless.  George Jones, a veteran of Classic Country Music, was a close friend of Vince. As you listen, you can’t help but get caught up in the intense emotion flowing from this song. It is truly one of the great songs of our time.

Music searches the soul like nothing else;
Setting words on fire // lighting the spirit;
Inspiring our hearts // connecting us with God.
Tears flow as I listen to Go Rest High on the Montain;
Crying for my loss // Crying for their loss
Coming face to face with my mortality
Knowing at some time the center of focus will be me.
Empathy, pain, and grief all rolled into one;
Cathartic tears cleanse my soul // resets my spirit;
A time of reflection past … present … and future

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This is the official version of the song:

 

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Flyin’ Chicken

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When we visited our hometown last fall we passed this restaurant. It held my interest for two reasons. It has a very unusual name for a restaurant and I have a grandson named Aidan! I had to get a photo of it to bring back with me. Hope you enjoy my humorous poem.

Aiden’s Flyin’ Chicken

Chicken flyin’ // chicken flippin’
And every one just right for pickin’
Landin’ right in the frying pan
Ready for a hungry hardworkin’ young man
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Right next to Sam’s bar // Cheer the Steelers near and far
But if you drink too much you won’t find your car
Best get your lotto ticket and skip the bar
Daily specials // Open till 10
If you like it you will certainly be back again

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Photos of Aiden’s Flyin’ Chicken in Uniontown, PA.  – Dwight L. Roth

The Age of Steam

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There is something very fascinating
about steam trains huffing and puffing
when you are seven years old.
I watch it coming up the track…
First, a white light
shining through clouds of smoke;
Then a mighty black dragon of steel
rolls through Martin crossing;
Bell clanging
Whistle blowing
Piercing the evening air.
Rhythmic clacking of wheels
shines steel rails to a mirror finish.
Cars, the color of coal dust,
are piled high with chunks of black gold…
Coke from the ovens that
fuels the blast furnaces in Pittsburgh.
I count the cars …a hundred or more…
and finally, the red caboose passes by
disappearing in the distance.
The Pennsylvania Dragon chugs on;
soon to go the way of the dinosaurs…
Lost somewhere back in time.

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Train Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Tonight is open link at d’Verse. I wrote this as a submission to Old Mountain Press for the upcoming anthology, Old Times Not Forgotten.

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

Memories

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Memorial Day brings back memories of all those loved ones who have passed on.  Hopefully memories are good ones that can be recalled with warm feelings. My mother loved our boys and enjoyed being a part of their life. My father died at age 70, but she live on to be 93. She enjoyed watching them grow and seeing them become parents to her great grandchildren. We look back with fond memories of those days.

Memorial Day brings

memories of lost loved ones.

Always in our hearts

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Ode To My Son

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What ever happened
to that carefree little boy;
Who loved life
and all that it entails;
Pretending to be Superman…
Wearing his red jacket for a cape;
Jumping off the steps pretending to fly?
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Now a man…
with a son of his own;
Perhaps a little less carefree…
But, still with imagination
and sense of humor;
Caring and helpful
a great dad
Any daughter or son would love
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No matter what life throws at us…
We must never lose our sense of wonder;
Our carefree joy of life and love;
Always imagining we will be
More than we can ever be
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B& W Photo: Dwight L. Roth