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.
Freshest Country Air
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
There is a fox who roams
Around our little town
I named him Scraggly for his
Skinny build and sinister
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.
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?