During this time of Covid-19, I have had my down times just like many of you. But, what I find helps more than anything else is to create purpose in my life. Being isolated gives me much time for creativity. It lifts my spirit and brings me joy. This past year I have self-published a hundred page book of poems I have written for my daily blog on Word Press. I also wrote and illustrated a children’s book about Rocky the Owl, and passed it out to friends who have little ones. Now that the days are warmer, I have been painting again. There is not time to sit and wait for the grim reaper. There are things to do that take my mind of the sand in the hour glass!
The sand in the hour glass runs faster at the end
I feel it shifting and settling into that narrow space
People for centuries tried to flip the glass to no avail
In the span of time and antiquity
our few minutes goes quickly
So make them count // those last few grains
settling into the final drop // becoming sand once more
Tell your stories // write your poems // sing your songs
Fill your days with creativity // joy // and wonder
For the sand in the hour glass runs faster at the end
This is a painting I finished last week of the City View Dairy Farms in the community where I grew up in Pennsylvania. I posted it on the community Facebook page where it was appreciated with hundreds of likes and comments and memories from people who no longer live there, but have great memories of getting milk there. It gave me great joy to see so many find it meaningful.
Charlie was a farmer all his life. It was a small farm; about a hundred acres. He milked cows every day until he was seventy years old. It was a good life, but much of that was gone now. His wife died a year ago in April. His only daughter married a man who worked in the technology field. The only alternative was to sell the farm.
On auction day, folks came from miles around. Tractors and implements sold quickly. The thirty milk cows did as well. The farm sold for more than a half a million dollars.
All that seemed insignificant now, as he stared at the shell of a dilapidated barn, out the window of the rest home. Charlie thought to himself, “Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy, One day I will collapse, just like that old barn.”
Photo: Dwight L. Roth
Today at d’Verse, Linda asked us to write a flash fiction of exactly 144 words, using a line from a poem, Spring Azures from the book Wild Geese by Mary Oliver. The line is… ‘Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy.’
Old country store
with stories to tell;
Closed and locked
just waiting to be torn down.
Lead paint peeling
roof shingles falling off.
What a sad day…
when it disappears from site/sight;
Making way for “progress”…
Like many of us;
Waiting for our time.
Photo: Dwight L. Roth
Today at d’Verse, we are to write a Quadrille of exactly 44 words using the prompt peel. I decided to go with paint peeling on an old building.
I saw this old F-20 Farmall tractor today, sitting in a field where it had probably been for the last forty years. There were two tractors and some old farm equipment there as well. It brought back the memory of a poem I wrote a few years ago. I decided to repost it here since it fits very well with this tractor.
My Plowin’ Days are Done
Parked in the weeds no roof for my hood
Plug wires hanging out in the grass there I stood
My plowin’ days are done
Paint’s faded badly and my chains are all rusty
Put aside and replaced with one that’s more trusty
My plowin’ days are done
Air in my tires and my engine still runs
It’s been a long time since I’ve had any fun
I think my plowin’ days are done
When I’m put out to pasture no money in the bank
Joints are rusty and my engine won’t crank
Then I will know my time has come
I believe my plowin’ days are done
The Farmall F-20 tractor was built by International Harvester from 1932 until 1939 at the Farmall Works, Rock Island, Illinois, USA. They were replaced by the Farmall H and the Farmall M.
Photos: Dwight L. Roth
I am also sharing this on the d’Verse Poets Pub site. Bjorn asked us to write a poem using alliteration, and also possible assonance or consonance. I think this poem contains some of those properties.
The older I get the simpler life becomes
I feel sort of like a tree shedding it bark
End of life // is not too far in the future;
makes me stop and think…
“What is really important and true?”
The older I get
the more focused faith becomes;
Moving beyond religious trappings
guilt, fear, and control;
were nailed to the cross for me.)
Understanding God’s grace in my life
brings me peace;
Knowing I am blessed
to have lived this long
in good health.
I let go of all those things
I once felt obligated to do;
Understanding that the metaphors,
taken so literally by some,
Are there to guide me along the way…
not to prove right or wrong.
I let go of “streets paved with gold”
and “mansions over the hilltop…”
knowing God is Spirit;
No need there
of physical things
we hold so dear.
I believe the image of God
is not flesh and blood
nor what I put on or take off,
but rather an attitude of spirit
that is loving and compassionate.
I came to the realization
that all those prayers I prayed
never got past the ceiling.
I realize prayer is meant
to change me // not them
Prayer brings me closer to God,
as I focus on my needs
and the needs of others.
Infomercial religion has no appeal to me
…nor or to God…
There is no place for peddling the gospel
for personal gain…
nor to exert control over the faithful.
Hamster cage religion
leaves me frustrated
and going in circles;
Faith and action bring a feeling
of authenticity and connection.
Church should be uplifting…
an encouraging fellowship
full of good news
connecting us with God
showing us how to love as Jesus loved.
To me the Bible is my guide …
not my God…
words of truth to live by.
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.
We’re not like cans of Campbell’s soup
With overdue expiration dates on a plastic loop
Or bottles of dressing imprinted and stamped
Use by January 25th or you might feel cramps
Our time will come when we least expect it
Or maybe body events will announce our exit
However it happens // whatever comes up
Our label that’s stamped on our plastic cup
Should read, “Could expire at any time!”
Flying always takes a lot out of you. This is true of life as well. Seems the older I get the faster life moves ahead. Feels, sometimes, like you are sitting at the end of the runway, hoping nothing is coming toward you.