Places and Spaces

Going back home…

“For me this journey was like going in the depths of my heart’s womb, like looking in the mirror of life, looking at oneself through so many eyes that have known me but inside them they are changing, like I am changing in me and none, no one can even say or do anything about it.”

~ Narayan Kaudinya – East Indian Endologist – The Road to Nara

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My visit back home a few years ago was a clash

between past nostalgia and present reality.


The house where I was born so full of memories

Now overgrown with bushes and run down;

Reality bites as I take in the view…

Perhaps that is why we tend to remember the good

and let the bad things that happened to us

sift through the hands of time and fade into oblivian.


The church where I listened to my father preach

still looks much the same, as does the cementery

extending up the hill behind, which now holds

many of my friends and neighbors from childhood.


There are a few people still around, just as old as me,

who remember the good times and talk of days gone by.

People such as Mary Ann who turned ninety this week

and was lovingly celebrated at a church dinner

that my two brothers drove many hours to attend.


It was a grand time of appreciation and love

the kind that should be given while one is still alive

instead of kind sentiments when we have passed

and never get to hear what is spoken.


Sometimes I wonder why we go back

knowing it’s not the same, yet feeling the yearning

to once again relive a good moment or feel the love

of friendships long past.


Places and spaces do hold meaning long after they

have changed or disappeared, and we desperately

cling to their memory so we can feel that at least,

that part of us hasn’t yet died or faded away.


Photos: Dwight L. Roth and Phil Roth

Today at d’Verse, Ingrid asked to think about Places and Spaces that were special in our life and write a poem about them. I did a train of consciousness poem reflecting on my childhood home where I was born.

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Losing Cruz

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This is Cruz, my niece’s dog. She had him for many years, but he developed some health issues that could not be treated. As his health declined, she realized she needed to let him go. So, with her permission I have created this post in his memory.

Losing Cruz

Through thick and thin

My loyal friend protector and companion

Shadowing me at every turn

I always find you there

When I am gone you wait patiently

Anticipating my return

Barking your greeting excitedly

When I walk through the door


Our walks and hikes we shared together

Seeking new adventures

Whether Vancouver streets or mountain climbs

I loved every minute being with you


But your time has come / I let you go

Through heartbreak, pain, and tears

Memories of you are always with me

And more love than you’ll know

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Photos: Jen Townsend

Paint me in the Shadows

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When my time has come and I am gone

Take my ashes and paint me in the shadows

Under the oak tree where memories were made…

In the shadows with the fungi and let me watch it grow

And feel the coolness of the wind floating through the leaves


When my time has come and I am gone

Brush me smoothly under rocks of overhanging cliffs.

Paint me in the shadows where cool water

Trickles its way gurgling neath the trees

And deer quench their thirst on hot summer days


When my time has come and gone

Blend my ashes onto boardwalk pilings.

Paint me in the shadows where I can hear

Excited children walking as the waves roll in

Splashing in the shadows and rolling out again


When my time has come and gone

Take me to the farm I loved so long ago

Paint me in the shadows of the furrows

Of rich dark dirt to nourish alfalfa roots

growing green and tall in the summer sun


When my time has come and gone

Paint me in the shadows of garden rocks

Where Zinnias grow tall to shade me

While bees and hummingbirds come and go

And little Wrens keep me alert with their song


When my time has come and I am gone

And my pigment has turned gray

Paint me in shadows of your memory

and I’ll be here to stay


Posting for Open Link night at d’Verse Poets Pub. Some winter reflections.

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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

Past Loves

Athatbasca Glacier

Past loves are like a glacier

sliding slowly across our heart

an escarpment revealed…

leaving scars from long past

embedded in the rock of our being…

as it melts in the sunlight

of this present day


Past loves are like a glacier

Cold, solid, overwhelming

moving us into the future

as the sun warms our hearts

Slowly calving away

sometimes with great force

falling into warmer waters

to be remembered no more

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Past loves are like a glacier

grinding away at our souls

moving slowly across our being

leaving only rubble in the moraine

glistening in the sunlight of a new day

lateral moraine

Past loves are like a glacier

slowly “Slip Slidin’ Away


Photos:  Athabasca Glacier, Hubbard Glacier, and Lateral Moraine   –   Bing Photo Images

~disclaimer… This is not written as a personal reflection, but from observations of those around me who have experienced love’s heartbreak.

This poem is for d’Verse Poets Pub Open Mic and Open link night.

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Dreams Laid to Rest

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Do dreams and visions become clearer with age?

Or does the dimming of the eyes blur them into forgetfulness

Do the young have vision or just a dreams and wishful thinking

Dreams that fade away with life’s circumstances and harsh reality


Do dreams and visions become clearer with age?

Or does time and testing erase them from our view

knowing our dreams have turned into todaydreams

Realizing tomorrow is here and all we have left is today


Do dreams and visions become clearer with age?

Or does pain and suffering challenge our faith and question our God

as we are overshadowed by dreams that are crumbling around us…

Or do our crumbling dreams carry us on beyond the rational to the eternal


Visions turn into dreams as they ebb and then flow out with the even tide

Becoming memories of life’s journey, joys, and sorrows… dreams laid to rest.


Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse Ingrid asked us to write a poem about dreams and visions. I decided to do a reflective piece with questions I find myself asking.

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Old Friendships Never Die

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We are enjoying our time together in Mackinac Island, MI. A reunion of college friends full of great memories as we create new ones together once again. We are all moving a little slower, but doing as well as we can for our age. Clear weather and warm temps made our time here wonderful. Memories for the next fifty years!

Friends for fifty years

Reliving memories past

Lake Huron Sunrise


Our gathering together

Before sunset shadows fall

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I Can Still Dream…

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I can always dream… they never get old!

Let my mind wander up and down memories past

Delusions of grandeur finally replaced with reality


I can always dream… they never get old!

Remembering the good times when faces were flushed

Spontaneous times of sweet intense connection


I can always dream… they never get old!

Babies, turning into children, growing into adults

Blooming in their prime… still making our mistakes


I can always dream… they never get old!

Places to go and things to see traveling while we still can

Making the most of the time we have left


I can always dream… they never get old!

Even when I am old confined to a chair

Memories are as fresh as they ever were


I can still dream…


Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Strike a Match

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Sixty-three years ago, I bought my first new bicycle from Workman’s Bicycle Shop. It was black with chrome fenders. I was taking on a paper delivery route that covered a two-mile area, so I needed a good bike. The Workmans were friends of my family, so it was good to get one from them. It wasn’t actually brand new but felt new to me. The Workmans collected old bike and frames and refurbished them. New chrome fenders made them look brand new. 

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Matchbooks strike memories

Chrome fenders and Newspapers

John Workman’s Bike Shop

I found these matchbooks in my garage, and it took me back to the age of twelve. Most of them were collected since then. In a day when many people smoked, matchbook covers were a good way to advertise their businesses. Some of these came from Habitat Restore where I volunteer.

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth