Shredded Lives

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Sadly, we have another incident of a young man, stopped by the police, ending in tragedy! Dragged out of his car the man was brutally beaten by five police officers. He died three days later in the hospital. The five police officers have been charged with murder. Bodycam video released has once again brought protesters out into the streets calling for justice. It is so sad to see this happen over and over again. When will we learn a better way to deal with our problems.

Another man dies

violently, beaten by cops.

Families’ lives shredded


Photo: Dwight L. Roth

An Odd Memento

Ovens of brick crumble, broken

Flames buried in the past


Echos of coke workers’ shovels

Smells of acidic smoke


Blackened brick reminds me of home

Rows of ovens glowing


I can hear the steam train rumble

Whistling at the crossing


Today at d’Verse, Grace asked us to consider mementos. We were to use a form created by Emily Romano, that is syllable based. The first line of eight syllables, the second line of six syllables, and the third of two syllables… is repeated four times.

When I went back to my hometown in Western Pennsylvania with my brothers a few years ago, we decided to look for remnants of coke ovens that used to turn coal into coke by burning off the gases in brick beehive ovens. They were last used in the 1950s. With the help of a friend who lives there, we were able to find some abandoned coke ovens. We hiked in through the brush to examine them. I brought back a piece of brick from one as a memento of my childhood.

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Photos; Dwight L. Roth

Photos: Ed West & Fayette County Historical Society

Cold Beauty

One of the things Facebook does is remind me of posts on this day from years past. Today I was reminded that in 2017 it was snowing and cold as you can see in the photo below. We sometimes think it is the red male cardinal that is the beautiful bird, but as you see here the female is also stunning!

Female Cardinal

Snow queen’s

gorgeous winter coat

accents winter snow

Female Cardinal 2

Photos; Dwight L. Roth


Willie Nelson playing Trigger (2)


Willie Nelson, an icon in the country music field, is growing old. The years of smoking pot are catching up with him. When he sings, he struggles to catch his breath for the next line.

He plays an old beat-up Martin guitar that he calls Trigger. It looks about as rugged as he does. A hole is worn through the body from his fingers scraping it as he picks out the melodies. Willie has a luthier who works on Trigger, gluing the cracks and keeping it playing. Willie says, “I’m going to keep on playing Trigger until one of us dies, and I think Trigger will outlast me.”

Now he is old and gray, and his guitar is much the same. He says, Everything I do is stitched with its color. Even the ashes falling from the end of my joint are gray!”


Watercolor Painting done today of Willie Nelson playing Trigger: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse Lisa gave us a Prosery challenge to write a 144 word story that included the following line:

Everything I do is stitched with its color. – from poet W.S. Merwin’s poem, “Separation

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Wild Woman in Pearls (2)

She was Kaleidoscope woman

Passing by my window

Brazen and bold in every way

Those doughnut flowers in her hair

White pearls around her neck

Emboldened her confident spirit

Colors of the rainbow

reflected from her boldacious personality

Ready to dance …Ready for Carnival


Painting “Woman in Pearls” – Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Dee Jackson asked us to write a Quadrille poem using some form of the word bold. She said we could even create our own bold word if we wished. I decided to go with boldacious. This is as bold as I can get at this point!

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2023 One Day at a Time

One of the joys of being retired is that I can choose what I do on a given day. As the new year begins, I spent the afternoon in my garage doing one of my favorite things, creating another musical instrument from whatever I can find. I got a skill-saw case from the Habitat Restore, then found a silver-plated serving tray that had a really good tone to it. I thought it would be the perfect resonator to mount in the saw case lid.

I figure things out as I go and sometimes have to back track and correct the unexpected. But in the end, it usually works. In this case, my neck was not wide enough for six strings, so only used five!

Some say the goal is the end result, others find joy in the journey. I find as much joy in the journey as in the end result, so I take it one day at a time and get finished when I get finished. Hearing those first chords blend together in harmony is very rewarding.

Winter of my life

Enjoy one day at a time

Hear the harmony

Photos; Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Kim asked us to write a Haibun about the way we are starting our new year. Since the weather was unseasonably warm, I spent the afternoon in my garage tinkering! A great way to start the new year!

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Entanglements or Potential

A few months ago, the wind snapped off a small rotting tree and dropped it on top of my maple tree. It was causing the maple to lean, and I was concerned that it would cause it to be permanently damaged. I tried cutting a chunk off the bottom, but it was still too heavy to move. I tried wedging it against the big gum tree to get it to fall, but it was so entangled in the top of the maple that it would not come down. This weekend my neighbor Scott came over and I cut four sections letting it drop each time. At this point a smaller part of the trunk was still hanging in the maple tree. We both got hold of it and with some effort were able to drag it down and cut it up.

Don’t let the entanglements of 2022

follow you into the New Year

Take steps in working them out

Perhaps with a little help from a friend

will help turn them into potential

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Christmas Grace

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What do you want for Christmas she asked?

A chemistry set would be a real blast

When Christmas came, this angel of grace

Was at our door with every gift in place

We were just poor preacher’s kids, our die was cast

Waiting for Christmas was always a great task

But we knew our selected gift of choice

Would make us shout from the top of our voice

What do you want for Christmas this year?

She would get it no need to fear

Just a hammer of my very own

Would make my day when you come to my home

Money was scarce and gifts were few

But, at our house we always knew

That no matter what the circumstance

We need not worry about chance

What do you want for Christmas this time?

A Louisville slugger would suit me just fine

Then I could be like Henry and Donn

A bat of my own yes, that’s the one

                                  Ruth and Edgar were one of a kind

No children of their own they did not mind

Bringing smiles and joy to their preacher’s kids

And that helmet they brought me surely did

What do you want for Christmas, she asked?

She never let a Christmas pass

Every year until I left home

My gift of choice would become my own

I will never forget that act of grace

And the joy and smiles she brought to my face

I learned of God’s love and his saving grace

And his only son Jesus who took my place

And now each Christmas I hear that voice

What do you want for Christmas, it is your choice?”

There is nothing I need that will bring me more joy

than the gift of God’s Grace to a little boy

(Written as a tribute to Ruth and Edgar Honsaker,

who helped make our Christmases a little brighter.)

Photos; from the family album

Reposting my Christmas Poems this week

We are remembered most by how we touch the loves others!

Hardtack and Chocolate Drops

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Chocolate Drops and Hardtack

Growing up in a preacher’s family meant that I got in on all the background preparations that went on at Christmas. This was especially true when getting ready for our annual Christmas program.

We lived in a poor coal mining community of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Christmas program created a special time for everyone, especially the children. They knew that after the program ended everyone got a special treat to take home.

A week prior to the program my father shopped for all the goodies that went into the Christmas boxes. He came home with a variety of candy, English walnuts, and Brazil nuts. We all participated in the job of sorting the candies and filling one hundred boxes.

The small cardboard boxes came flattened and needed to be pushed into a rectangular shape and closed on one end. The long narrow side had a string inserted so it could be carried like a miniature suitcase. On the outside were colorful pictures of Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus, the Shepherds, and the Wise Men. The boxes were about the size of an Animal Crackers box of the past.

On Saturday we all gathered around our big dining room table and began filling the boxes. Into each box we put a couple of chocolate drops, some colorful hardtack, English walnuts, Brazil nuts and Hershey Kisses. We folded and locked the flaps together and carefully packed them into several large cardboard boxes.

As the program commenced, the atmosphere grew tense with excitement. Parents watched their little ones recite their piece, all dressed up in housecoats and holding shepherd staffs. When the program ended, my father announced that we had one last thing to do. Several adults passed out a box of candy, a big red apple, and a big navel orange to everyone.

The service ended and we all went home with a treat and a smile.

Printed in the Old Mountain Press winter anthology 2017

read on Amazon Kindle

A Christmas story from my Childhood.

Amethyst Photo: Dwight L. Roth   (I did not have a photo of the candy, so this was as close a representation as I could get)