My New Children’s Book

The Sweetest Way to Die

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By

Dwight L. Roth

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Last week I wrote a poem for d’Verse Poets Pub about the ants that invaded our pantry while we were off on our weekend trip to the beach. One of my blogger friends suggested it might make a good children’s story.  After thinking about it for a few days I decided to work one it. This is what came out.  I did my own sketches and inserted them into my original poem.  It ended up being fourteen pages.

If you would like a free pdf. file to make a copy of it, just email me at dwru27@aol.com .

Below are some sample pages from my book:

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The original poem is here:

The Sweetest way to Die

Grandma’s Black Raspberry Pie

Black Raspberry pie

A hug Black Raspberry pie

Thick and smooth as a clear purple sky

made with flour and lard it seems

Topped with a dip of real whipped cream

*

My earliest recollection

of my grandma’s fruit pie

is sitting at her table

And that twinkle in her eye

As she put a big slice out on my plate

It always brought a big smile to her face

Today at d’Verse, Mish asked us to think of all the different fruits of summer and write a poem about one of them. I chose to revise one I did a few years ago about my Grandma’s Black Raspberry Pie.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Pie Photo: Pinterest

Princess Treasures

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Sweet little sisters

Linger over each shell found;

Assessing whether

the newest one

just might be a little better

than the one before;

Washing the sand away

putting each precious find

into their bucket of memories

to carry home

with them at days end.

Today at d’Verse, Linda asked us to linger on the word linger, and write a Quadrille (exactly 44 words)  using it in some form! My poem is about two sweet little girls we saw who were next to us at the beach last week. They were having so much fun collecting shells in the surf, they did not know anyone else existed.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

The Cauldron of Time

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Memories buried in the cauldron of time

Last coke fires long extinguished

What was once the source of steel making

left to turn to rubble.

Hollow shells of coke ovens

buried in the hillsides

Specters of the past // once alive

Now // just ghosts…

with eyes that have no fire.

Swallowed up by nature’s blanket

overgrown and hidden

for the last seventy years.

Once beehives of life and work

Now, just crumbling brick walls

stained with memories of the past;

Unsigned…

with names of countless men

who’s sweat and toil

were the first

to make America Great!

Coke ovens burning at night

Coke Ovens burning at night.    –   Ed West Photo

In September of 2010, two of my brothers and I went back to our hometown of Masontown, Pennsylvania where we grew up. We spent four days driving around, visiting friends, and reliving memories of our childhood. It was a wonderful time. One of the things we wanted to do was find some old Coke Ovens that were buried in the hills nearby. When I was a child, they burned day and night lighting up the hillsides like jack-o-lanterns.  The smoke poured into the air and was blown away by the wind. The gasses were burned off the coal then it was watered down and only the coke that remained. There was not EPA to worry over the environment back then. The coke was loaded into cars and hauled to Pittsburgh to fuel the steel mills.

With the help of a friend, we found some coke ovens down along the river at the little mining town patch of Mount Sterling. Most of the houses were gone and it was greatly overgrown with vegetation.  We hiked through the weeds and underbrush and found the abandoned ovens crumbling but many still in tact. We made and shared great memories on that trip back in time.

Coke oven workers

Backbreaking work day after day at the coke ovens.   –  historical archives

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Photos; Dwight L. Roth

Beach Reflections

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Beach Reflections

Two years gone by since visiting the beach

Hearing the ocean rhythms // listening to the sea birds

Time takes its toll on this aging body

Plodding through sand with chairs in hand

Feeling the aches in the hip joint as they talk back

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Long walks on the beach left for the young

Children and grandchildren full of life and energy

Still, I love to dig in the sand // creating sculptures with my hands

Creations enjoyed for the moment then lost to high tide

A joy passed down // sons and grandsons legacy 

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There is a peacefulness at the ocean // gazing out across the vastness

A therapeutic place where my mind can wander far and wide

And wonder how the ebb and flow of this sleeping giant

keeps happening year after year // as it dances with the moon

Though our time quickly slipped away, the experience was priceless

Memories made and hugs exchanged…  as we all said goodbye

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Posting this for d’Verse Poets Pub open link night.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

The Sweetest way to Die

The Sweetest way to Die

There’s no one at home, I don’t hear a sound

Said one tiny ant to another deep under ground

No footsteps, no TV, no voices to be heard

*

Tiny ants were sent out to assess the situation

Came back with the assurance, of the house’s evacuation

Time for a house party, they all shouted hurrah!

*

Through cracks in the floor, windows, and walls

Tiny ants marched in and went straight to the pantry

Slipped into the Wheat Thins, and crawled in the chips

But their favorite of all, Hungry Jack’s Syrupy sip

Under the lid they squeezed through the cracks

Into that bottle of heavenly smack

*

This is so great said one to the other

So they sipped and imbibed until all were quite hyper

Drunk on the sweetness they couldn’t find their way

back out the top, so they were stuck for the day

*

What will we do the tiny ants cried

How will we get out of this bottle alive

No need to worry said the tiny ant leader

This is like heaven, life couldn’t be sweeter

*

So they sipped and they sighed, and then they all died

For we all know too much sugar can can kill our insides

They partied their life away in a sticky death’s  dance

*

And when we arrived home, she said,

Oh no, we have ants!”

For our Tuesday prompt at d’Verse, Sarah asked us to write about creepy crawlers. I chose tiny ants, because when we came back from our family weekend at the beach the little buggers were all in our pantry. They were so small I could barely see them. My wife found them, and so instead of sitting down to catch our breath, we had to clean out the pantry and spray for tiny ants. This is my poem from the ants point of view. How did they know we weren’t at home??

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Summer Fun

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joy in the journey

Sea turtle rests in soft sand

High Tide is coming

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Waves breach sandy wall

Sea sculpture in jeopardy

Turtle loses head 

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High tide claims its own

Turtle disappears in surf

Memories forever

***

Photos; Dwight L. Roth

The Thrill of Discovery

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I can still remember the lore of water and mud, of mountain streams, and rotten logs and  bugs under rocks.  Nature’s mysteries still draw me to get my feet in the mud, letting it squish up between my toes. One of our best learning environments is all around us.  I enjoyed watching these children searching the lake bank and under stumps for that special treasure, while totally oblivious to everything else around them. 

Nature’s mysteries

Focused… searching  intently

Treasures in lake mud

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Shoes tossed aside

Wading into discovery

“Oh, look what I found!”

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Sharing their treasures

Exciting moments in time

Mud dries between toes!

Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Purple Heart

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Today I talked with my neighbor who has been having ongoing relationship problems in his marriage. He decided it was time form him to leave the relationship and move out. It is very sad to see this taking place. It happens so often it seems. If you are in a situation like this, make the effort to go to a good family counselor for help before calling it quits. It may take some time, but it can save your relationship, if both of you are willing to work on resolution. I know this from experience.

Purple Heart

Seems all we do is argue and fuss

Can’t seem to find common ground

Not a way to raise a son…

Listening to all our ranting and raving

Perhaps time away from each other

Will help refocus our relationship

But then again, maybe not

*

Why is it so hard to listen

When our self-worth is on the line

Defense seems the only choice

Love has flown south for the winter

Raging words burn like California forest fires

When the battles are said and done

No one comes out a winner

I leave this relationship with a purple heart

Wounded in battle and scarred for life.

Painting: Dwight L Roth

The Cry of Haiti

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With all the disasters that keep happening around the world, the human spirit in its resilience keeps rising again and again. This is a tribute to that human spirit! 

The Cry of Haiti

1)Though the earth may shake us

and walls come tumbling down

We’re brothers and sisters in our pain

We’re brothers and sisters in our pain

*

Together we will rise to face another day

To become more than we are now

To become more than we are now

~

2)Though death surrounds us

and tears flow from our eyes

We’re brothers and sisters in our pain

We’re brothers and sisters in our pain

*

Together we will rise to face another day

To become more than we are now

To become more than we are now

~

3) Though our stomachs are empty

and sky over our heads

We’re brothers and sisters in our pain

We’re brothers and sisters in our pain

*

Together we will rise to face another day

To become more than we are now

To become more than we are now

~

4)With children dying

broken in the streets

Our hearts cry out in agony

Our hearts cry out in agony

*

We’re brothers and sisters in our pain

We’re brothers and sisters in our pain

*

Together we will rise to face another day

To become more than we are now

To become more than we are now

~

5Where are you God

in all this tragedy

How will you heal my broken soul

How will you heal my broken soul

*

We’re brothers and sisters in our pain

We’re brothers and sisters in our pain

*

Together we will rise to face another day

To become more than we are now

To become more than we are now

Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Ingrid asked us to consider the oral poetry, the poetry of the spoken word passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. She asked us to write a poem with that feel by speaking the verses and then writing them down. The more I thought about it, the more I kept coming back to a song I wrote in this manner, after the first devastating earthquake that hit Port O Prince a few years ago. And then again, this year, another one hit in Haiti, causing death and destruction. And now, we just had Hurricane Ida come roaring from the gulf and bringing devastation to Louisiana this week. This is a tribute to the human spirit!

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