Be Still

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Be Still

In a world that never stops

Being still occurs only when we drop

Too tired to move and totally worn out

After a hard day’s work there’s no time to shout

Work eat sleep seems that’s all we do

Not time to meditate when our day is through

Sometimes our bodies force us to stop

To rest and recuperate when we’re not feeling tops

But what do we do when challenges arise

When fear and uncertainty show in our eyes

Do we run and fuss as we try to escape

Or do we wait and listen and meditate

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We could learn a lot from little baby bunny

When he is scared and uncertain he’s still not running

A natural instinct that can save his life

Sit still and listen as you assess your plight

Wide awake and watching every movement

He waits and listens planning his escape route

If the time comes and he has to flee

He’s taken time he knows where he should be

So next time you’re anxious and not sure what’s to come

Be still and listen so you can plan your end run

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Baby Bunny Photos: Dwight L. Roth

When the End is Near

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How does one prepare for his own demise. I used to think as I drove down the road, “If this or that happens, I will react in this way to avert a bad outcome. Ironically things happen in split seconds and not in rational minutes. This became a reality when canoeing in Michigan with my wife. We decided to take a short cut through a set of rapids. I made the mistake of grabbing a fallen tree limb in the river as we went by. It two seconds we were upside down in the water. Life is the same way. Split seconds often decide our future in this life. To think we can plan out our life to the end is rather foolish. Things happen when  we least expect them. It is more important to live each day to the full, enjoy our families, and be grateful for the gifts others bring into our life.  Planning is important, but a wise counselor once said, “Life happens when we have other plans.”  Live every day as though it will be your last.

When the End is Near

How does one prepare to die

When all my life I have always denied

Until the time of confrontation

Be it diagnosis or major complication

I used to think I could plan it out

And when my time came to go out with a shout

How foolish to think I could have any say

When my time has come and it’s my day

The older I get the faster the time flies

Like a barreling freight train that comes flying by

To plan for my end must be done in the living

Of each day’s moment each opportunity for giving

When that time comes and it will for us all

I can say while I lived I gave it my all

And if I keep going on as long as I can

When it’s my turn to go I won’t need to plan

But when I am gone if I am remembered

Hopefully it will be that I never surrendered

As I press toward the mark of that high calling

I trust that my life will have been worth the living

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Stamp mixed media art: Dwight L. Roth

1″ Coptic Journals

My granddaughter, Ashley Roth, is an artist living in Chicago. She recently graduated form James Madison University in Virginia. One of her specialities is creating miniature books and earrings. Here is an example of her latest work!  This is a diversion from my usual poetry post, but I felt her unique art was worthy of sharing it with all of you.

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Photos: Ashley Roth

https://www.etsy.com/shop/PositiveFibes

 

Cleansing Fire

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Starting Forest Fires

Gossip is what starts the forest fires of life

Lightning strikes landing at unexpected places

Catching listeners like dry tumble weed

Igniting in an instant those dry tinder ears

Just waiting for the next fiery strike

Bursting into flames traveling from ear to ear

No one can escape the heat of the flames

Moving faster than a person can run away

Following them licking their heels

Riding them like a horseman with a whip

Snapping pain into their being with every stumble

Leaving charred burned souls destroyed in its wake

But even the worst gossip cannot destroy everyone

Life re-emerges like fireweed brings returning beauty

The bark of some trees takes the fire and put out new leaves

What is intended to burn and destroy only brings out

The best in the strong and beautiful

Don’t let gossip destroy you

Fires just cleans your soul

Like purest gold

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Forest Fire Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Relationships

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Relationships

Relationships like railings have a central focus

Holding two similar yet different pieces together

When simply laid on the post they will soon fall apart

Some have nails of commitment holding them in place

And salt treatment to help them last twenty years

Many make commitments to stay joined for a lifetime

In time decay occurs around the things that brought them together

If left uncared for those things will not be strong enough

And the relationship will fall apart

I am afraid the song “Love Will Keep Us Together”

Is not enough

For when the decay begins

Love as it used to be goes right out the window

The song should read, “Work will keep us together

Relationships take hard work, compassion, and forgiveness

And most of all God’s grace to keep them together

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

 

 

What Ever Happened to Flavor

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Who ever heard of healthy fast food? Seems like a contradiction in terms.  We have gone crazy in this country trying to save everyone from their inevitable demise! After eating fast food filled with fat and trans fats, I am now at age seventy and in good health. I am somewhat over weight, by my own bad choices, but heathy non the less. Some of you , like my sister, will roll your eyes at this one and say there is no hope for me!! This poem is a tribute to the days of “ignorance,” when we indulged and enjoyed the taste of food made with food that was very satisfying. Roll your eyes if you must, but just remember a little button my wife got me one year that said, “Exercise. Eat Right, Die Anyway!” She tells me its just my taste buds growing old, but I know better!

What Ever Happened to Flavor

Whoever heard of healthy fast food ?

I remember when the first Million were sold

Those hot juicy burgers that never grew old

The French fries had a ‘to die for’ flavor

Hot and salty tickling my taste buds forever

But then things changed it made me really sad

Health guru’s said that flavor was really very bad

Trans fats gave that to die for flavor the only one to be had

Now on the chopping block that taste’s gone forever

Those who are young never experience that flavor

How great were the fries cooked in golden corn oil

Now we eat “healthy” fries from dry russet potatoes

And though golden brown they still lack the flavor

99.9% fat free burgers spiced up to give them savor

So dry not even a grease spot appears on your paper

All shiny and brown with flour processed to oblivion

Our beautiful buns that taste like unsalted paper

I feel bad for kids of today who eat them down without thinking

Never realizing how good they were in the past generations

Whoever heard of making fast-food healthy

Like trying to add vitamins to candy bars named Hershey

Fast food’s not intended to be good for you

It’s purpose to entice make you feel really really good

Gives us back that taste and forget the health gurus

Indulge in moderation fat filled burgers and trans fats too

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Clip-Art: foodhome.tumbler.com

Beauty & Poetry

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Yesterday I had a visit from an Eastern Blue Grosbeak! I was very excited to see this beautiful bird. It was the first for me. It stayed around while I shot these photos from my recliner with a 200mm lens. The colors are very striking. At first I thought it was a blue bird, then a cow bird, then I saw the big fat beak and guessed it was a grosbeak. I looked it up in the bird book and found that my guess was correct. He came back this afternoon, but saw me moving and flew off. I hope I will seem him on a regular basis.

I decided to skip the words and let the photos speak poetry for themselves. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

 

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Lottery: The Joy of Losing

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Who voluntarily gives their money away knowing that the system is rigged, and then believes it is for a good cause!?? This is what folks do in North Carolina. When the Lottery could not get a foothold in the state due to many conservatives living here, legislators came up with a new strategy. Tell people that it will provide funds for our schools and convince them that gambling is for a good cause. It worked and now we have the NC Education Lottery!  Takes a little of the guilt away, but not the contradictions!!

Lottery: The Joy of Losing

Winning is in most people’s blood we see it everywhere

It builds our competitive spirit gives us a confident air

Ball games tennis matches swim team meets and more

Bring out the best of who we are makes us very proud for sure

With the Lottery it’s just the opposite pulling dollars from our pocket

The joy for most comes in losing with minds too weak to block it

That “What if…?” moment dominates  always gets in our system

Keeps us coming back for more too deaf and blind to listen

That “Aha!” and “O shucks!” moment leaves pockets empty that’s for sure

But their will to keep on loosing keeps them trying for a little more

Everyone knows they won’t win a loss is guaranteed

But then again they just might this one last time indeed

So they buy an extra ticket that’s sure to increase their chances

1/300,896,497 pretty good odds don’t you think looking at a glance

Every now and then they might win every winning makes them dance

Always re-spent on winning Power Ball it’s now at 300.2M

If I buy a hundred tickets it could be worth a hundred milllion

How sad gambling addictions are promoted by the State

With their help lines and hot lines and ways to change your fate

Meanwhile calling it the “Education Lottery” “Money for our schools!”

While the sponsors and politicians line their fat pockets and drool

We teach our kids:

“Hey, gambling is fun… you might win a million dollars!”

What a sham to believe such a scam and promote it with our scholars

Then again you might win five or twenty-five or more

While your spouse and your children knock on the Poor House door!

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Clip Art: mumfest.com

 

 

 

Thunderbird

Some of you are old enough to remember when Ford Thunderbirds were full size cars.  This 58 Thunderbird sitting in the yard rusting away is a reminder that we all will outlive our usefulness. Glory does not last forever. People get old and cars rust away, neglected in the yard. I saw this beautiful old car sitting in the grass as I passed by and wondered what kind of stories it could tell. The same is true of old folks sitting in their chair or living in the rest home. Oh, the stories they could tell, if only someone would ask and take time to listen to their tales.  What car did you drive in 1958?

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58 Thunderbird rusting in the yard

Grass tall around wide white wall wheels

Front dentures missing

Blind in both dark sunken eyes

Skin fading in the scorching sunlight

One time a masterpiece of its creator

Now wasting away neglected and still

Oh the stories it could tell

300 hp 352 cc engine glasspack mufflers

Four barrel carburetor drinking gas like a fish

Lovers in bucket seats riding into the sunset

Duel exhausts Chrome Grille Duel headlights

Pulling up to the light looking next door

Challenging them with engine roar and squealing tires

Black marks on pavement ten feet long

Leaving challengers in the dust

This phoenix could rise from the rust

A master’s hands could bring it back

But for now it sits alone and neglected

Destiny yet undetermined

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Reposted from last year for those who have not read this post.

Things I Miss From Childhood

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On Sunday I heard Billy Collins reading one of his poems on the Prairie Home Companion radio show. I love his poetry and also enjoy listening to him read his poems.  As I am finishing my Childhood Details Collection, I thought a poem like his would fit in really well. So here is my “Billy Collins version”  of my childhood memories.  Some of the things mentions are pulled from other poems I have written earlier, so I hope you will bear with me.  It really works best when read aloud. It helps feel the flow and rhythm of this free verse poem.

Things I Miss From Childhood  (Childhood Details Collection)

Now that I am almost ready for my second

I think back on my childhood with fond memory

I miss sitting on my mom’s knee while she talked on the phone

Hoping no one was listening in on the party line as we rocked

I miss running barefoot in the summer through trails in the woods

Resulting in poison ivy rashes and pink calamine lotion

Hoping to dry up the bubbles that grew on my ankles and toes

I miss the long high stair case with its heavy rail and balusters

Fun to slide on but no fun to tumble down

I miss watching my mom and sister wash clothes in the cellar

Sitting on the basement steps watching the suds

As the clothes were put through the ringer

Soap squeezed out running back into the washer

The cool dank smell of the dark stone basement

Mixed with the stale smell of coal dust and ashes

From the furnace room around the corner

Rows of canned fruit in Mason jars sitting on old wooden planks

Preserved for many winter meals and Sunday chicken dinners

I miss the way Mom tucked me in on cold Pennsylvania nights

Covering me with a heavy quilt she made and knotted

Sleeping in the old iron bed that once belonged to my brother Nelson

It became mine when he left home to go to college

A hot clanking radiator on the wall next to the window

Cooled down till morning as the coal fire burned low

I miss the rides with my pop in our old green 54 Chevy

Feeling the power glide shifting underneath us

The cleaning of whitewall tires with little round pads

Steel wool and soap from a yellow box that read Comet S.O.S

I miss the clothes hanging on the line in the bright morning sunshine

The wicker basket piled high the pin bag sliding down the line

Little wooden soldiers waiting to stand attention all in a row

The long wooden clothes prop pushing up the sagging middle

A sweeping line of towels and sheets extending on an on

Osmosis of water and cotton absorbing the sweet smell of freshness

Unmatched by softeners or dryer sheets shrinking hot clothes dry

I miss gathering eggs upstairs in the chicken house

Feeling the nest of straw prickling against my fingers

Contrasting against the smooth hard shells of perfect eggs

Baskets full of eggs hand washed and boxed for selling

Saving the cracks for us to eat never once thinking of salmonella

I miss watching Pop popping corn on the blue flames of our gas stove

In the old cast iron skillet with a special lid full of holes

Steam squeezing through the holes as the corn popped loudly

I miss the dirt road in front of our house

Where I used to ride my bicycle sailing down the hill

With the siren chain pulled tight against the wheel

Screaming past our front door all the way down past the mailboxes

I miss the spinning wheel that held all the mailboxes

One for each neighbor spinning on top of a big iron pipe

Saving our mail man a trip back the long dusty road

I miss sleeping with my head on my mom’s lap on Sunday evenings

Lying on the old hard oak benches at church as the wall clock ticked

Carried home when the service ended and talking was done

Put straight to bed knowing nothing till the morning

I miss the big white house with two chimneys and German siding

That I painted with Dutch Boy paint one summer when I was eightteen

I miss climbing the Butternut tree that grew tall

Getting bigger each year just like me

I miss climbing the Red Delicious apple tree along the road

Lodged in its fork biting into ripe delicious fruit in the fall

Wiping sweet juice running down my chin on my shirt sleeve

Of the many things I miss from my childhood these are only a few

And…As I enter the beginning of the second they say

These memories are the last to go

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Photo of my childhood home in 1949 from our family album

( The round spinning mailbox post had not yet been put up.)