A Living History

This is not a painting

It is a living family history

Not just an abstract splash of color

But, a life’s journey

A story that began a lifetime ago

Moving 2500 miles to Alberta

Building a little house in the big woods

Raising his family near a Cree Indian village

By the shores of Calling Lake


This is a story of mid-life change

to the big city of Edmonton

Becoming a respiratory therapist

A new career of serving others

Retiring to a condo


Memory fading to dim

More than Mother can care for

Her brain tumor required attention

Care needed for both


End of like can be full of surprises

This is not a painting

It is our family’s story

Painting: Dwight L. Roth 1-2013

Today at d’Verse, Mish asked us to choose an object, that means something special to us, and write a poem beginning with the line… “This is not a _________” Eight years ago we flew to Edmonton, AB to make care arrangements for both of my wife’s parents. Her mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and her father was suffering from Alzheimer’s. It was a traumatic time for all of us. When we finally returned home the end of January, I poured my emotions into this painting depicting their life in Alberta. To me, this is much more than a painting. It is a piece of family history!

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com …click on Mr. Linkey and read more poems.

When Death Comes Knocking

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It does make us rethink life when death is knocking
making us withdraw into our cocoons
Time to rethink our way of life // our values // our purpose
while we quarantine in our homes
Forced reflection demanded when death offers its portal
Looking out on quiet streets
Neighbors now masked strangers
Some live in fear // most take precautions
Others choose denial // finding reality hard to face
We now live in a time warp somewhere out in space
Getting prepared to make entrance
into a strange new world
Uncertain what walking through this portal may reveal
We step out cautiously and do as we’re told
Life is precious // some will die // most will live
We just hope and pray death’s portal
is not our chamber door

Staircase Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Anmol asked to consider the word portal for our prompt today! As we move into a new way of living with the dangers that are all around us, I chose to write about how it affects us mentally as well as physically.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Unwelcome Changes

NCAA canceled

 “Life happens when we have other plans.”   ~Towes

This seems to be the case with the spread of the coronavirus across the globe. Life is in a state of unwelcome change for many. We like our life of schedules, work, and recreation. But when we get to the point of closures, cancellations, and quarantine, we begin to feel the pinch so to speak. Today at d’Verse, Bjorn asked to use lists as our basis for a poem. This subject seemed to be well suited for the prompt.

First it is China
Then Japan along with
Italy and Korea.
It’s affected
all of Europe
Now it’s knocking
on our door.
Some in panic
many in denial
others will just
stay home for awhile.

Games are canceled;
along with movies and plays.
Schools and colleges closed
NBA and NCAA too.

A lesson for all of us…
Life // unlike climate change
can be drastically altered
in a very short time.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Picture from bingimages.com

Back to School

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Big yellow school bus

Carried us to school each day

Down county back roads

Every child learned to write cursive

French was the foreign language

Girls preoccupied our minds


Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Lillian, at d’Verse, asked us to think about going back to school and then write a poem of six lines about the a b c’s. We had to pick any six letters of the alphabet in sequential order, and write  a poem about school. The ornament above was given to me by one of my students back in 1982.

Join us at: https:  dversepoets.com

Memories of Home

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Today I traveled to joined my two brothers at the town where we all grew up for one last visit together. Everything changed greatly in the fifty years since we have been gone. The large cooling towers and stacks of the Hatfield power plant along the river were not there when we lived there.  The town suffered greatly from the loss of jobs from the depressed coal industry. As we drove down the roads we used to travel, we commented how much the trees and woodlands had grown. Our old home place was over grown with weeds and bushes, which made us very sad. We are finding a few things that are relics of the past, but mostly it is a completely different world. We were greeted with a beautiful rainbow as we visited our home church cemetery this evening. It was a good time for reminiscing.

Going back home again

Nothing matches my memory

Everything has changed

Summer rainbow greeted us

One sight that never changes

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth




My faith in God is not something to be proved. Rather it is something to be believed and lived. Faith is a belief about truth, with a little experience that helps reinforce it. I have found faith to be rather elusive at times in my life.

When all is well faith comes easy, but when “life happened”, as it does to all of us, it threw me for a loop! I was spiraling downward fast with no answers in sight.  My prayers went unanswered. Things seemed out of control. There was no way I could fix things. The only thing I had left was faith that God was in control, and things would work out for my good. Even then I had my doubts. I was frustrated and angry.

Through it all, I found prayer was what I needed to change me, not others. In time, and with help from some good counselors, life finally got back on track. I learned a lot about myself and about God. It definitely changed my understanding of faith. A lot of what I thought was faith was mostly culture and religion, but my belief in God and his eternal providence and grace is still strong.

Burning through blackness

Spring sun rises // Dark is light

Grace for the graceless


Mish asked us to write a Haibun about some aspect of faith. It has to be written from our experience.  A Haibun has a concise prose segment followed by a  seasonal haiku. Come join us at d’verse.



Coals on the Hearth of Time


Most of us know of someone who suffers from dementia. As we get older our minds sometime lose their short and long term memories. We got a first hand experience with this in 2013 when my father-in-law became debilitated from short term memory loss and had to enter a facility for Alzheimer’s patients. It is sad and difficult to watch this happen knowing there is no cure for it at this time. This poem reflects on memory loss and how it can affect us.

Coals on the Hearth of Time

Gone the fire once burning brightly

Life’s logs burned down to glowing embers

Slowly consumed white with age

Raging inferno of youth left behind

Dreams long lived slowly exit

Sifting out past memories

Coals of childhood smolder in the darkness

Warm glows grow dim on the hearth of time

Flickers are all that remain of a glowing life

Short bursts reappearing for a time

Flash paper memories

Lost in smoke of the dying embers

Clinkers from the past refuse to burn

“Where is Helen?”

Wondering why

Not remembering the question

Not knowing the answer

Repetitive memory now gone

Waiting Waiting Waiting

Remaining coals turn to ash

The fire dies

Cobwebs of the Blue Ridge


For every new invention there is a cost. Not in making it, but in what it does to change society, culture, and the world. Electric Power is one of those inventions that is so embedded into the fabric of our life, that day to day life would stop if it should suddenly disappear.  I am very thankful to be alive in this generation. I have seen many great changes since I was born. Color TV, calculators, computers, cell phones, tablets, electric cars, Space Shuttles, rockets,  LED lights, and many more inventions  were invented during my lifetime.  Makes me feel old!! We learn to live with the side effects of all of these.

Cobwebs of the Blue Ridge

Giant spiders of steel haunt the Blue Ridge

And many mountains across the country

Spinning their webs of twisted wire

Across peaks and valleys while stretching endlessly

Glistening in the sunshine like silver threads

Shimmering with dew drops when it rains

Full of power deadly currents of life

Some with twenty-five thousand volts

From dams to cities across the way

Giant colossuses spread their webs

Bringing energy and light to the darkest night

Mountain Spiders’ webs already spun

Woven across the scars on the landscape

Over rocks and hills with a never ending hum

Without them life as we know it would cease

Awaiting Metamorphosis


Downsizing and moving to a smaller residence can be very traumatic for some of us who are growing older. The decision to make a major change can leave one with a lot of anxiety. Leaving the house you love and lived in for the past twenty years is not easy. Not knowing what the future holds makes us uneasy. The upside is that our life can become easier to manage with less responsibilities. It may give us the opportunity to develop new interests and meet new people who can enrich our lives. This poem takes a look at facing the changes that come with aging.

We wrap ourselves with strands of life

That tells our story from front to back

A life of joy and sorrow

All woven into that cocoon we call home

Layer after layer we weave the strands

Stories, pleasures, and memories abound

Bringing undefined feelings of love

To our ephemeral life

Family and friends give life its edge

Children and grandchildren cut deep into our souls

Embedding themselves in the fabric of our cocoon

Cool crisp mornings with coffee and tea

Birds and flowers and vines of Kiwi

Unspeakable joy and pleasures surround

In our home cocoon we’ve so tightly wound.

Time to let go and break out of our shell

Who knows what joys and pleasures we’ll tell

In transformation of mind and matter

Though parting is great sorrow

There is still hope for tomorrow

Beyond this cocoon we call home

The Curtain Rises

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Watching grandchildren grow and change is one of the joys of my life. As I think back on my childhood and on the experiences of raising my sons, I find the roles we all play and the cycle of life continue beyond myself. It is wonderful to see them moving on into the role of parent, training the next generation for roles they will inevitably take.  We have no training manual, only the example of those gone before. It is a big responsibility being the director for the next generation.

The Curtain Rises

From womb to womb my comfort displaced

Crying with stage fright I take my place

Unprepared for all the applause

Jason in the tub - Ruth 001

I am a star if only for the moment

Smiles and laughter greet every performance


Gaining more confidence my part is rewritten

I  emerge shyly  from behind the curtain

Sometimes a hit sometimes a flub

Settling into the character I love

Learning, shaping, the cheers die down

Directors change the play goes on

Too much, too hard, I want to get off

The director draws me back to my spot

Reviews are harsh my lines self-written

Invincible confident I move on without flinching

Searching finally loving my part

Free to explore I speak from my heart

Loving and caring my understudies arrive

Watching and learning smiling wide eyed


Full of wild wonder, joy, and fear

Finding their part and with pride always near

Filling in for me when I flub my line

Taking over my part as I begin to decline

The play of life a fleeting grand moment

Cherishing each and every applauded performance

Handling each misstep covering dropped lines

Awestruck  outstanding as my delivery declines

My understudies are here and now it’s their time

Life’s a stage where we all perform

Big parts and small parts lessons to be learned

As I near the end of my acting career

Great Grandpa White and Jason

Mine not for prying eyes or an audience’s loud cheer

Just a small part far from perfection

Played…then my understudy assumes the direction

With proud joy and pleasure I take my last bow

It’s time for me to go it’s their time is now.