Dad at 100

I don’t believe how fast a century

can rifle through the past

Being born in World War One

A life that didn’t last.,


Dad had parents from the land

Of Nordic dreams and cold

So they moved west to America

One year apart it is told.


First through New York in 1903

Then Philly in ‘04

Through Liverpool in cargo holds

Hungry and cold some more.


Landing in Elkhart, I-N

And meeting by mistake

His mom and dad got married

Then had four kids partake


In good days and the toughest times

That war would bring their way

Agnes, Arthur, Walt, and Carl

Survived their mom’s worst day.


When Dad and Mom were married

At the end of World War Two

Art, then Walt, and Stephan then

Came forward into view.


The fifties brought Mark, Dave and Bill

Then Amy in ‘62

Seven kids packed in a house

That was fit for just a few.


No one cared when Art left home

His bed was taken fast

Then Junior joined the Navy

And his bed was gone at last.


Spreading out, we took the room

That opened up the stairs

And wore the clothes and shoes

Our predecessors left like chairs


Looking back a hundred years

to when Dad entered life

our world is so much different

than those immigrants’ tough strife.


Our kids reflect the decency

That Dad showed all the time

We passed his character on to those

Who read this corny rhyme.


We thank the Lord for Dad

And Mom because we sure do know

What they endured and got us through

To reach most every goal.


Our memory fills with mixed emotion

Running wild and free

A legacy that leaves no doubt

Will live on in me.


His losses might have outnumbered

the few, brief wins back when

stress and pressure built inside

 our good dad who would then


Try like hell to make a home

While Mom worked industry

He suppressed his lowly pride

for our big family.


Everybody left him there

alone on Avalon Drive

the house we grew up strong and in

which Dad could never thrive.

So all he had was pondering

His past and wifeless life

To occupy the long, dark nights

Fighting all that strife.


His smile at family gatherings

Belied the hurt within

That love he felt with us around

Reflected in his grin.


Clinging to the basic goodness

Of those things done right

Dad could make his way of thinking

fit without a fight.


Thinking was all that Dad did

day in and day out

because his physical condition

  was what he could not flout.


Brought into closer, clearer view

Dad shed a tear or two

And all who knew him loved him

for the effort that came through.


Our son of immigrants could shine

From time to time, it’s true

Whatever he did not achieve

Is fixed in all we do.


(For Dad on his 100th birthday,
 ------Dave     January 25, 2016)

We Deserved Better

Nothing is guaranteed when we start to breathe.  All anyone can hope for is fairness and decency.  These thoughts explore the voyage, outlook, and reflection of the race we all run.


So this is Christmas and what have you done?
Since John asked that question
what a world we’ve become.

The planet is warming but businessmen plea
for time and new science to
make more money.
History hath shown the facts
and the woe
which could have been
stopped had someone said ‘no!’

War is the answer to men missing minds
Polluters declare war on
anyone they find.

My number was low in ‘71
so I took a bus ride to Chicago to
get fitted for a gun. 

But my eyesight was flawed and
4F was my label.
Good thing for me that I wasn’t able.
Because so many lives went into the
hell of Viet Nam
I rode the
bus back not having to bomb.

In college I protested that hopeless debacle
one day in Bloomington when the mayor called awful
the loss of good people, white, black, and of yellow.
He spoke from his heart and made the crowd mellow.

It could have turned rowdy, and tear-gas filled eyes
were spared of the sting of a crowd on the rise.
Back to Ball State with a new point of view
and a fistful of new friends as friendly as you.

War seldom solves the problem at hand and far
better approaches should not have been banned.
For, can it be said that a man has gained
if blood and misery have fallen like rain?

The collective power of many great minds
like Jesus, Buddha, and Jefferson
has offered our species answers that find
superior outcomes if we would only listen.
Peace, kindness, and freedom---ideas that glisten.

Women have known that for thousands of years
but, until recently, only offered their tears.
Because men drunk with power or looking to gain
ignored their precautions and kept up the pain.

If an asteroid thirty miles wide
was headed for Missouri
and, with nowhere to go, would you hurry
to see all your family, your friends, Jesus?
How much would war matter to the combatants
or would it, then, not be worth the fuss?

It matters only that we offer respect
to others and strangers and those we affect.
The petty and callous things people do
would be blown all to bits
when the asteroid came through.

As the year flips over to a new, round number
we humbly pray and drift off for slumber
hoping the daylight that greets us will hold
a peaceful and quiet world to unfold.

No natural disasters, tsunamis, or quakes
we hope not to see any crying and aches.
May 2016 be the year that holds true
to humanity’s wish for laughter anew..

Bird Sanctuary on Sanibel Island, FL

I Have To Get Going

The Mickey Mouse Club said, "goodbye to all our company-y."

 I should put my thoughts in rhyme

and speak to you from me.

No one can be quite sure when their time has come.

I knew for quite a while that, surely, I would soon be free.


An inner voice keeps one on edge

but no one can reveal

that God is calling home the one

whose truth he must conceal.

Still, each day, he strives to be

a good life force with zeal.


This message is my open heart

for you and all that mattered.

That you cared enough to say goodbye

leaves me very flattered,

even in this soulful state

without a voice that clattered.


I love you, you must surely know.

Oh, we were close so long.

That, dearest one, cannot be changed.

To forget would be quite wrong.

Right is what we’re all about.

Can someone, please, play our song.



Heaven is not the golden place

that we have seen in pictures.

It is all around us everywhere

as life flies through our fingers.

Every laugh and bit of pleasure

prove heaven is like in scripture.


So think about me now and then,

whenever fate allows.

I hope a smile is somewhere near

that memory of ours.

Then we can keep the loving thoughts

like birdsongs in the flowers.


Now, though, it is time to go

on to the next dimension

where spirits flit around the sky

and clouds give their attention.

These words for you are all I have

to show our good affection.

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln

enjoyed writing poetry?  He did.
Try Googling "Lincoln Poetry" and

be amazed at the artistic talent
of our 16th President

The Fox

There is a fox who roams
Around our little town
I named him Scraggly for his
Skinny build and sinister
Crooked frown.

 He searches in the woods
Out here and pounces on his snack
Of smaller, vulnerable animals
And birds that won’t be back.

 Ol’ Scraggly has an attitude
And instincts from his genes
To sustain him day by day
And serve his foxy schemes.

 His warm, thick fur, so beautiful
In orange, black, and white
Keeps his warm on chilly days
And through each lonely night.

Those sharp teeth that sparkle
In his open mouth and grin
Turn each smile into a snarl
That threatens healthy skin.

But he might not present a threat
To you or me or him
When all that Scraggly ever does
Is live life on a whim.

He does not hope to cause a stir
Or change the path we take
Just let him go is all he thinks
His human friends should make.

A fox, in fact, does enrich
Our habitats, in truth
We should enjoy our scraggly friends
Who smile at all the boos.


Dave Johnson

It Has to End Soon

Beauty awaits the patient and caring soul

with no conditions tendered

because the thoughts and acts of him

will move humanity's splendor.

These hopeful thoughts drift sadly out

into a world of bad guys

and though most everyone can see better

violence blurs their sad eyes.

Sure, the constitution guarantees our rights

You may own a gun and shoot it

The right and wrong of such an act

is yours to say and  do it.

But I cried to hear the horrible story

of a Louisiana State Trooper

who had his breath just ripped away

by a sawed-off shotgun shooter.

He had a family, for goodness sake

a future with a promise

of loving, duty, deeds, and power

a stand-up fellow, so honest.

The bright young reporter doing her job
as well as she always did

but off went the Glock to rob all the breath

from the love of her life and future kids.

Each state tries to keep people safe

from troubled, psycho-challenged killers

who carry out carnage with impunity

leaving debris of fallen pillars.

No one deserves to claim remains

of a loved one filled with gunshots

any more than astronomers should

be blamed for weather-changing sunspots.

We can become a gentle nation

without sacrificing our rights

and the freedom to go out and eat

on two consecutive nights.

Is it unAmerican to sit and wait

when someone is gunned down?

What is more horrible than to ponder

when shots will come to town?