On Retirement

Monday’s the official last day of work. At this job.

Twenty-six years, four months and 21 days in one place. I’ve hated it for 10 years and some odd number of months. (I’m not sure when that started; it sort of sneaks up on you and you only realize it long after it’s happened.)

I’m working on some things that are part of processing this, but the party’s Saturday night. A gang is coming, including two of our oldest friends who are coming in from the West and the Far Northwest (Cheyenne, Wy, and Sequim, WA, respectively). Just for this. I’m assembling a playlist and a slideshow to have up on the screen, and have been trying to find songs that hold some meaning. This is one:

I’ve Got Nothing Else Right Now

Retirement party coming up, and a mutant wisteria eating the side of my house demands attention from clippers. Onward!


Ummm, Er


Thanking God

Originally posted on anntogether:

Gethsemane/acrylicI think during sleep
and rest at sunup.
I like my coffee black
as long as it’s the color of caramel.
I enjoy warm red wine from a tumbler–
glass stems make me nervous.
is the voice you may speak to me in.
For several years,
a guitar and banjo have held up a wall–
I’m supposed to embrace them.

When the piano cries for attention,
I occasionally oblige.
My mother has a beautiful voice.
My family doesn’t enjoy when I rattle the walls in song.
A boisterous Italian belting out, “Danny Boy”
may not grant me, “luck of the Irish,”
but I often feel fortunate.
Did you know that?
I cherish the people in and around my humble life.
Next time I talk with God–
not Satan,
he doesn’t like pianos

I’ll be sure to say thank you…

portrait – acrylic – my Catholic school interpretation of…

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Picture of the Day: Sassi di Matera, Italy


Booking flight now….

Originally posted on TwistedSifter:

sassi-matera-italy-francesco russo

Across the canyon, which was carved by the Gravina river, we see the ancient city of Matera in southern Italy. It was recently declared the European Capital of Culture for 2019.

At the edge of the canyon you can see the Sassi di Matera, ancient cave dwellings that are suspected to be among the first human settlements in Italy, dating back as early as 7000 BC. Situated in the old town, the historical center of Matera was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.


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Passing Through a Small Town 

main street, small town_america/plein_air_landscape
“Small Town America” by Tom Brown

by David Shumate
Here the highways cross. One heads north. One heads east
and west. On the comer of the square adjacent to the
courthouse a bronze plaque marks the place where two Civil
War generals faced one another and the weaker surrendered.
A few pedestrians pass. A beauty parlor sign blinks. As I tum
to head west, I become the schoolteacher living above the
barber shop. Polishing my shoes each evening. Gazing at the
square below. In time I befriend the waitress at the cafe and
she winks as she pours my coffee. Soon people begin to
talk. And for good reason. I become so distracted I teach my
students that Cleopatra lost her head during the French
Revolution and that Leonardo perfected the railroad at the
height of the Renaissance. One day her former lover returns
from the army and creates a scene at the school. That evening
she confesses she cannot decide between us. But still we spend
one last night together. By the time I pass the grain elevators
on the edge of town I am myself again. The deep scars of love
already beginning to heal.
“Passing Through a Small Town” by David Shumate from High Water Mark. © University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004. (buy now)

Expensive Mistakes


An old printer has sat in the dark
In my oldest’s neglected closet
For seven years,

Barely usable for a year
Before it was replaced.

$400 was the cost. I remember things like that,
Which tells you something…
Mainly that my parents survived
The Great Depression and WWII,
And it was “waste not, want not,”
Every damned day.

If I were to throw that printer out,
It would mean admitting that I spent

I can hear the disapproval even now.
But it doesn’t bother me much any more.
Expensive mistakes have taught even me, finally.

A printer isn’t the worst of it, as much as
Falling hard for the wrong person,
(And who hasn’t done that?);
Or falling for the right person at the wrong time,
Or failing to see moments of joy inside pain;
Or not learning that true courage means acting despite great fear.

Or living too much on the surface of things;
And choosing blindness to the gift that is each day;
Or letting life make me ever smaller inside,
Instead of choosing the wisdom of wide arms,
Embracing the passing parade while it lasts.

The printer in the closet needs to go,
Because expensive mistakes
Cannot be redeemed until forgiven.

At the Limit


Enjoyed this one.

Originally posted on Julian Beach :: Writing:


We went north and west, remember?
winding from Irish Sea to fretting Atlantic
calling at the favoured places; Tara of Kings
yellow-flagged, wind-ruffled Ramore and Erne
the Calf House at Blacklion, tinted with old moss.

Were you moved?
Did your soul stir?
Or were you obdurate
Lia Fáil to a false claimant?


Leaving the gulls to their dive-bombing
of the returning lobstermen at Killybegs
we topped the rise to Lurganboy
and below, the widening Owenea winked
reflected westering beams, pink with salmon
driving against the current to spawn.
Moving Hearts was on the stereo
and even the ineffable sorcery
of Spillane’s mournful low whistle
could not quicken you.

We wandered Tramore’s glistening sands.
You, under way, steamed ahead in review order
dressed overall, stem to stern, single-handed
leaving steaming new glass in your wake.
I stopped, dug for razor clams, called you to help
but a fling of…

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Let Me Die a Youngman’s Death

Roger McGough CBE FRSL (born 9 November 1937) is an English poet, performance poet, broadcaster, children's author and playwright.
Roger McGough CBE FRSL (born 9 November 1937) is an English poet, performance poet, broadcaster, children’s author and playwright.


 by Roger McGough

Let me die a youngman’s death not a clean and in between the sheets holy water death
Not a famous-last-words peaceful outofbreath death

When I’m 73 and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car on my way home from an allnight party

Or when I’m 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber’s chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommy guns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I’m 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a young man’s death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
what a nice way to go‘ death

What is the Problem to Which the Delivery Drone is the Solution?


It’s long. But for anyone interested in the future uses of technology, or the environment, or simply whether we want our skies filled with Amazon’s drone robots, this is worth some time.

Originally posted on LibrarianShipwreck:

Who amongst us has not gazed up at the sky and thought, “yes, those clouds and birds are a nice sight but what I really wish I was seeing is several hundred delivery drones buzzing about”? Perhaps it would be better to frame this in the opposite direction, who amongst us has gazed up at the sky and actually thought that? It seems like it is pretty safe to assume that the answer is “not terribly many people.” Nevertheless the image of, at least metropolitan, skies filled with drones going to and fro is a vision of the future being articulated in some quarters, particularly vocally by Amazon which has recently proposed reserving air space for its, as yet un-deployed, delivery drone armada.

Drones, of course, have been in use for quite some time – they are not particularly new; however, proposals and plans that would see swarms of the…

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The Scariest Moment: A Huge Thank You to Y’all.


A talented and thoughtful blogger friend took the plunge.

Originally posted on Being Southern Somewhere Else:

Hello, WordPress Friends.  I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my recent–and I do mean recent–experience. I am doing an enforced happy dance to counteract my tendency to downplay any accomplishments.  Pardon me if I seem to crow a little loudly over simple self publication, but it was something I was actually afraid to do.  I was worried it would be harder than I could manage or some unexpected trial would result from even trying.  Yes, I suffer from that tiresome habit of not believing in myself.  But I believe Stephen King has the right of it in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

Here’s where you all come in.  I couldn’t have done it without you.  If you’re asking what hand you played in me publishing my own work, well, without this blog there…

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Memo: If I Were In Charge…..

Note: This is evidence why it’s a bad idea to put me in charge of anything. 

Memo To: the “Under-appreciated and Whiny” code Monkeys downstairs  Web Development Department

From: That Idiot Upstairs Who Signs the Checks

Hi, guys. I need to talk to a web developer. We’ve got a little bug in the code on the Hello Poetry site. Our pages are telling readers to submit “suggestions” on a mouse-over of the little pencil icon.

To Carl Sandburg, in this example. Of all people.

I know….Yes, none of us, including me, saw the problem when we OK’d the final design. No fingers are being pointed. However, now that I see it, live, next to Sandburg’s name, and others, it doesn’t seem like our finest move.

He’s been dead for several decades—30 years before the Internet—for one thing, so there’s little chance he’s going to get any emails. For another, he won three Pulitzers, and we haven’t won any, nor have our readers, as far as we know. And he probably wrote a couple of million poems. Let’s quietly disable that feature before writers everywhere see it and say mean things about us on their blogs. You know what drama kings and queens they are …..

Sandburg copy

Dancer 6: Memories Over a Glass of Wine

I Want To Dance with You_Kiku Xue

You weren’t my first summer girl—
But were the first one to take me over
Body and soul (and OK, I admit, it wasn’t all that hard to do)
But you are the one from the early days I remember

With only a few sharp regrets, since softened by time.

But also rises in me a wistful toast
To our being so young and eager, so serious, so clumsy,
So lost in hormones and music on the radio
Sitting on the lawn under a black sky sprinkled with stars,
Fumbling, clutching, giddy with freedom, while
Bullfrogs’ song charged the humid darkness with need.
I could always find your lips in the dark, ready, curious, eager,
As glad as mine were to find yours
And we both bubbled with happiness at this secret joy we’d found.

The years have not all been easy, for either of us,
And our paths have never crossed again.
I wonder about you sometimes,
Hope you remember, a little,
The same summer nights, and imagine that you raise a glass
With a smile, and think kindly of me, as I do you,
My summer girl, in the last days of our childhood.

Last Answers

Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg

by Carl Sandburg

 I wrote a poem on the mist
And a woman asked me what I meant by it.
I had thought till then only of the beauty of the mist,
 how pearl and gray of it mix and reel,
And change the drab shanties with lighted lamps at evening
 into points of mystery quivering with color.

 I answered:
The whole world was mist once long ago and some day
 it will all go back to mist,
Our skulls and lungs are more water than bone and
And all poets love dust and mist because all the last
Go running back to dust and mist.

Short-order Cook

Short-order Cook
Short-order Cook

Reminded me of some of the jobs I’ve had…. H.

by Jim Daniels

An average joe comes in
and orders thirty cheeseburgers and thirty fries.

I wait for him to pay before I start cooking.
He pays.
He ain’t no average joe.

The grill is just big enough for ten rows of three.
I slap the burgers down
throw two buckets of fries in the deep frier
and they pop pop spit spit…
The counter girls laugh.
I concentrate.
It is the crucial point-
They are ready for the cheese:
my fingers shake as I tear off slices
toss them on the burgers/fries done/dump/
refill buckets/burgers ready/flip into buns/
beat that melting cheese/wrap burgers in plastic/
into paper bags/fries done/dump/fill thirty bags/
bring them to the counter/wipe sweat on sleeve
and smile at the counter girls.
I puff my chest out and bellow:
“Thirty cheeseburgers, thirty fries!”
They look at me funny.
I grab a handful of ice, toss it in my mouth
do a little dance and walk back to the grill.
Pressure, responsibility, success,
thirty cheeseburgers, thirty fries.

“Short-order Cook” by Jim Daniels from Places/Everyone. © The University of Wisconsin Press, 1985. (buy now)

Reflections: Dancer 5


I see her beauty and am charmed, utterly, but then something makes me look ahead in her life. What will she be like in 10 years? In 20? In 50?

All I know now is that it is a long journey she is on, and nothing stays the same. Everything changes, many times. We each roll the dice and play the game, whether we know the rules or not. We roll up the faces of chance, with whatever faith we have. In the end, the ways and honesty with which we love and have been loved is all that matters. And I refuse to believe that something so good, even if it does not last, can ever be bad.

We change as we grow older, become a different person, over and over, but always the same person, too. The things that happen to us do that, but whatever they are, they’re just part of life. Nothing need be wasted unless we stop squeezing meaning from everything, even the disasters. The living of it is the point. And that is what gives up its sweetness to us to taste, and to remember.

So I see her beauty and am charmed, utterly. She is youth, and life, and promise and potential. She makes me remember many things, good things, and some things that still sting.

And, for just the briefest of moments in the grand sweep of changing moments, life is just a little sweeter, a little more good.

–Inspired by the BBC production of “Every Human Heart,” Try it on Amazon. 

“…Passionate Love for a Ghost…”

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell

I’ve meant to tell you many things about my life, and every time the moment has conquered me. I’m strangely unhappy because the pattern of my life is complicated, because my nature is hopelessly complicated; a mass of contradictory impulses; and out of this, to my intense sorrow, pain to you must grow. The centre of me is always and eternally a terrible pain—a curious wild pain—a searching for something beyond what the world contains, something transfigured and infinite—the beatific vision—God—I do not find it, I do not think it is to be found—but the love of it is my life—it’s like a passionate love for a ghost. At times it fills me with rage, at times with wild despair, it is the source of gentleness and cruelty and work, it fills every passion that I have— it is the actual spring of life within me. 

This is the philosopher Bertrand Russell writing to his lover Constance Malleson on October 23, 1946.



Exactly. Nothing to add to this.

Originally posted on Retkon Poet:

There are things I
now that
I did
not know

most of which
I never wished to know.

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Grace is a Verb: Dancer 4

Dancer on Dock
Grace in motion: unknown dancer frozen in perfection

Numinous Beauty,
Lithe embodiment of Grace.
Stay with me a while.

Solitude’s Song

Middle Kootenai Lake, Montanna. Photo by John Stanfield
Middle Kootenai Lake, Montanna. Photo by StandardReserve

From better writers… a series

Maybe Alone On My Bike
by William Stafford

I listen, and the mountain lakes
hear snowflakes come on those winter wings
only the owls are awake to see,
their radar gaze and furred ears

In that stillness a meaning shakes;
And I have thought (maybe alone
on my bike, quaintly on a cold
evening pedaling home), Think!-
the splendor of our life, its current unknown
as those mountains, the scene no one sees.

O citizens of our great amnesty:
we might have died. We live. Marvels
coast by, great veers and swoops of air
so bright the lamps waver in tears,
and I hear in the chain a chuckle I like to hear.

“Maybe Alone On My Bike” by William Stafford from The Way It Is. © Graywolf Press, 1999. (buy now)

Pray for Salvage Value

Publishing can feel a little like THIS...There’s a good reason pro authors finish a book’s first draft as quickly as possible: If you wait too long, you lose touch with the energy and lives in that created world. They both die of asphyxiation.

This means one of two things. Each and severally—as the lawyers say—is and are quite bad.

(There’s a third, quitting, but …. just no.)

Either you have to pray that there’s something salvageable after you shit-can the 95-plus percent of it that makes no sense anymore, and probably never did…

OR you knife the useless bastard in its hard drive sector like Macbeth stabbed Duncan.

Get drunk, feel sorry for yourself and have the funeral;

Start over.


……….Besides, you never know….. 

Nein Kampf

Originally posted on Retkon Poet:

Nothing worth having is
its longest nights.

No wars worth
their salt come
without a human fault.

When tea lights are all
your tired optimism can muster,
and you lust for the
dying flicker of melted wax
and wilting wickers

to blow you down,
the job;

you’ve got to stand tall,
you’ve got to rally;

for when
back alleys become
templates for city squares,
and hate is
the only quality
a people have left to share;

when civilizations lie
in rubble, your
words are
the shovel clearing
away intolerance, lending
solace to
bereaved who wonder what
to call their

You’re our
only sense of
chastity in

this long-perverted rhapsody,

all that’s empowering
something born forever powerless.

In this world run
by cowardice, nothing worth keeping is
without its
the endless nights or
a life spent searching the bottom to set

the ship right.

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I’m sharing a new writer I’ve been reading, and appreciating. So good. I hope you enjoy her talent, as well.

Originally posted on Gulab Jamman Writes ♥:


as tears dry, so dries this ink. 

let this line be the last. give me

a new poem, page, and pen –


and the sky 

          will swallow 

                            my grief;


churn my sorrows 


                                  the stars;


but let this line be the last. Some words

are louder left (unspoken)

❤️ Yusra Gulab Jamman


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by Seamus Heaney

My father worked with a horse-plough,

His shoulders globed like a full sail strung

Between the shafts and the furrow.

The horses strained at his clicking tongue.
An expert. He would set the wing

And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.

The sod rolled over without breaking.

At the headrig, with a single pluck
Of reins, the sweating team turned round

And back into the land. His eye

Narrowed and angled at the ground,

Mapping the furrow exactly.
I stumbled in his hobnailed wake,

Fell sometimes on the polished sod;

Sometimes he rode me on his back

Dipping and rising to his plod
I wanted to grow up and plough,

To close one eye, stiffen my arm.

All I ever did was follow

In his broad shadow round the farm.
I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,

Yapping always. But today

It is my father who keeps stumbling

Behind me, and will not go away.

“Follower” by Seamus Heaney from Selected Poems: 1966-1987. © Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1987. 

As Sun Sets

tajMahL_ Amir GhasemiNote: Originally posted last year. It’s time to refill the tanks, and I find myself drawn to this again. -H 

“Fair goes the dancing when the Sitar is tuned.
Tune us the Sitar neither high nor low,
And we will dance away the hearts of men.
But the string too tight breaks, and the music dies.
The string too slack has no sound, and the music dies.

There is a middle way.
Tune us the Sitar neither low nor high.
And we will dance away the hearts of men.”

—Sir Edwin Arnold, “The Light of Asia” (often misattributed to a saying of Buddha)

Tunes of Life

A rerun for someone… WomanCello

All those years ago
And I remember the first time,
In the moonlight,
When you stood before me
Shy, uncertain, serene,
While I tried to start breathing,
Soaking in the sight of you
With your gown fallen, body free.

All these years, as you leaned in
Asking me to find the music,
To clumsily compose songs of our life,
Teaching me how it should go,
With you as the instrument upon which
Our song would be played.

Cheesy Writer Pickup Lines

And if this is the best he can do, darlin’, you’re better off turning the page. :-)


Short and Sweet Advice For Writers – Have a Point (plus WIIFM)


Wise words…

Originally posted on Live to Write - Write to Live:

hand drawn mind mapIf you want your writing to be effective, you need to have a point: a purpose, something specific you’re trying to say, a “Why” behind the writing. This rule applies no matter what you’re crafting – novel, short story, poem, personal essay, op-ed, sales page, website, flash fiction, screenplay. Having a point is what stokes your creative fire, and it’s what gives you the ability to write something that will make people care.

I have written in the past about the magic of clarity:

Clarity brings focus and purpose to your writing. It illuminates the ultimate reason you’re driven to write a thing and it helps you make critical decisions about what to include and what to leave out. Clarity is like a pair of enchanted glasses that filters out everything extraneous so you can hone in on exactly the things you need to tell your story. When you have clarity…

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Manhood coerced into sensitivity….

Originally posted on A Nine Pound Hammer....or a woman like you, either one of these will do:

is no manhood at all  ~ Camille Paglia


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Dancer #3: Helen

Photo by Richard Calmes
Photo by Richard Calmes

I don’t know if this old story is true or not, but pass it along just as I heard it… a long time ago.
All I know is that, even as the old man I now am, my soul can still feel the pull of the moon and a girl such as this. 

The night of the full moon calls her,
This daughter of Leda.
She feels it in her neck and belly,
As prickles in the middle of her back.

Her mother sheltered a swan fleeing an eagle,
Not knowing it was the lecherous old liar, Zeus,
Transformed for seduction—
For rape.
He admired her mother and devised a ruse to
Gain her bed.

Or so the story goes. Helen never knew for sure.
Her mother would never discuss it,
But palaces are alive with gossip,
And she heard the dark story of her conception.
There are always enemies who would make sure she knew.

Helen was her name,
Born nine months from that night.
Her beauty outshone the mother’s,
And that had captured a god’s considerable lust.

Helen was not the contriver, the schemer Leda was, though;
She was a child of shame.
Of wildness and arrogance and desire.
Of secrets.

Her beauty would launch a thousand ships
Against doomed Troy, and
Bring the death of Agamemnon.
And Paris.
It was a curse.
The cause of betrayals and death for those she loved.

A widow, she wept and kept silent. And waited….

But every full moon pulled her, secretly,
To the path to the lake.
Stones jabbed her bare feet,
The path, lighted by the pale blue of the moon,
Led through the dark wood, to the cool waters…

Where shimmering ripples whispered her name
And parted silently as she slipped in,
To glide  across the waters, in the moonlight.

©Hemmingplay 2014

Dancer #2


Photo by Alexander Yakovlev
Photo by Alexander Yakovlev

Rooted in the Earth,

Yearning for Heaven’s blessing

Strength. Desire. Woman.

Dancer #1

By Alexander Yakovlev

Helpless wings frozen,
Purity speared by sadness
Gift I cannot hold 

*Russian ballet dancers photographed by Alexander Yakovlev

Another Meditation on the Temporary


This Moment

By Leo Babauta

We all suffer, every day: worry, procrastination, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, irritated, angry, frustrated, wishing things were different, comparing ourselves to others, worried we’re missing out, wishing other people would be different, feeling offended, loneliness, fear of failure, not wanting to do something, wishing we had less fat or bigger boobs or bigger muscles, angry at being controlled, wanting to find the perfect someone, wishing our partner was more perfect, stressed about finances, not wanting to think about problems, not knowing how to fix things, uncertain about choices, rushing from one task to the next, not liking our jobs.

And yet, these problems are self-created.

They’re real, but our tricky minds have created them. The problems are in our heads, created by some ideal/fantasy/expectation of how we wished the world would be, or hope it will be but fear it won’t be. It exists in our heads.

Try this, for a minute: let all of that go for a moment, and just pay attention to the physical things around you right now. Your body, the light, sounds, the thing you’re sitting on, the things moving or sitting still around you. Don’t judge them against what they should be, but just observe what they actually are.

See this moment as it is, without all the things you’re worried/frustrated/angry about. Let go of all of those things, and just see this moment.

It is perfect, as it is.

Accept this moment. Cherish it. This is real, and it is wonderful.

You can go back to worrying about everything else in a moment.

Sounds Lonely: The Path of Aloneness

How difficult this would be, especially in our consumerist culture that fetishisizes instant gratification: 

1. Accept everything just the way it is220px-Musashi_ts_pic
2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
6. Do not regret what you have done.
7. Never be jealous.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.
10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
11. In all things have no preferences.
12. Be indifferent to where you live.
13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
17. Do not fear death.
18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
20. You may abandon your own body but you must
preserve your honour.
21. Never stray from the Way.
― Miyamoto Musshi

Association Bingo

I built a 70-foot long stone wall in my back yard while listening to a podcast of the history of Rome a few years ago. It took two years— building the wall, that is, not Rome– which, as we all know, wasn’t built in a day.

My little Roman wall: Four feet high. Two and a half-feet thick. A ton a linear foot. One rock at a time.

Then I did half of it over.

A section of the wall wasn’t built very well — OK, I didn’t build it very well— and it fell over after 10 years’ rains. (I think that part was built during the period covering the year of five emperors and one of the civil wars, so I don’t take all of the blame. Oh, who am I kidding. I screwed it up and it fell over.) Having to do it over gave me time to fit in all of the episodes I missed, while pondering the consequences of one’s mistakes. Hard physical labor will do that for you.

I also remember listening to a another podcast series “Ghosts of the Ostefront” about the Eastern Front war between Stalin and Hitler. I was painting shutters on the front of my house in a blazing sun at the time.

Every time I look at those shutters now, I think about the carnage of the Eastern Front, and am glad I only had to paint shutters. And the wall brings to mind columns of marble and statues and murder and intrigue and legions on the march. My wall was built to the echoes of an empire who’s ruins still stand. Maybe the wall will last long after I’m gone, too.

And this is enough.

A Moment of Silence


Needed today

Originally posted on The Starting End:

I breathe in this second
To exhale to the past
This moment I live,
Not my first, not my last

I open my eyes
To see how far I’ve gone
Close them to dream
Of what’s left to come

I look at my fingers,
My blessings I count
They surpass tribulations
By an amazing amount

I go in to my heart
To find that it’s whole,
Despite times of suffering
Emotional overload

I take awe in the day,
How simplistic it is
It’s perfect, its mine
Yes, mine it ‘tis

I speak with my soul,
And not with my mind
“I’m in love with my world”
Are the words that I find

A moment of silence
Realigns my way
This moment of silence,
As my prayer each new day

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All is Temporary


I’m nearly old, she said to no one,
Sitting by a mirror,
Tracing a line down her cheek
With a fingertip,
Lost in memory.

She sighs.
A chill; her soul shivers .

This is the face that boys
Longed to kiss, she remembers,
Remembering the power of it.
The face that felt the chubby caress of
Her children’s hands,
The face she could depend upon.

A breeze ruffles the curtains,
Touches the flower beside the mirror.
Her eye caresses the exquisite
Design of it,
Built for
A moment
Of perfect purpose.

“You are nearly old, too,” she says, tracing the line of the
Petal with her finger.

She smiles, newly aware…

All things must pass.
All things are temporary.

©Hemmingplay 2015

I Think I Might Have Missed A Turn Back There

babe in a wood

You know that moment when some idea just-weird-enough-to-be-worth-blogging-about happens? The it’s-not-true-but-ought-to-be moment? The kind of thing we normally keep to ourselves but have gone slightly cracker dog? So we don’t..?

I just had one of those.

You know about Moore’s Law for computers? Where they double in power or speed every few months now? So more and more transistors can crunch numbers faster and faster, and the computers are so small that every human has at least one in a pocket—except when it’s glued to said humans’ hands, which is pretty much 24/7. I mean.. c’mon, people!

But I digress….

I wondered… when a certain point is reached, and the Web—the Baby Hive Mind—switches on one day–no, I mean REALLY SWITCHES on— and makes people forget kitten videos on Facebook, and Kim K’s non-human butt, forever. And we all realize the damned dress WAS Gold and White, dammit!

And once switched on, phones…home. 

What I wondered (oblivious to a dozen serious problems with this assumption) was…. what if we’re part of the experiment? That we’re designed to build eight quadrillion microscopic computers and hook them all together globally?  And what if we’re only one of a billion planets, all doing the same thing, and someday all switched on?

I wondered the same thing you just did: Exactly who–or what– would we all be trying to call?

And you know that other kind of moment? The one where you notice people are backing away from you slowly, a look of concern on their faces?

I just had one of those, too.

But there are pills that can fix it.


Riding the Cresting Salt


Ride we the curled, cresting salt;

Cling to the back of a wing-ed horse;

Drift we through warm waters

Rotten with flowers,

Float we, on a phantom, on Hope

On Grace.

©Hemmingplay 2015

Scouting Party of One

Painting by William Tylee Ranney: “Trapper Crossing the Mountains”

From a year ago. 

Remember this: I still love you.

I still love you, but there are times, like now, I bleed inside, realize I’ve forgotten myself,
Or left chunks behind, or sold pieces of my soul
Too cheaply and must go and find and buy back,
No matter how sad and worn they are now.

I feel like the Tin Man with joints rusted in the rain;
The Cowardly Lion tired of being afraid;
The Scarecrow wanting to burn the bureaucratic straw
That’s stuffed in my head instead of brains.
Weary of those around of shocking dreariness,
Shallow people obsessed with silly things, fearful drones.

I still love you, but want to be alone sometimes;
I still love you, but I wonder these days what I’ve missed,
What one thing I can still do well.

I still love you, yet want to beat my wings against the cage of comfort
And embrace everything, and everyone, and taste each moment.
I still love you, yet know you’ll never share why I am drenched
In awe by the terrible beauty of deep space, of Shakespeare, of solitude.

I still love you, despite things you don’t understand, because
You are still there, loving me as you have forever.
We know each other deeply, truthfully, with
Forgiveness and amusement and tolerance and passion.
But that makes me uneasy, too. Guilty. Resentful. I don’t know why.
Comfort is a trap, sometimes;

Resistance is the Enemy.

Not you. Not ever you.

I still love you, even though I may move on ahead for a while, out of sight, through the mountains.



I still love you, though I need to know that who I am exists without constant validation.
It isn’t always good, and can be a distraction like the song of any

Of the Muses, sung at the wrong time.

I still love you,
So do not be sad.

I may be lost at times, and I will stumble
And happen onto strange and beautiful things.

I will return.

But I must go.


I still love you.

© Hemmingplay 2014.

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Abandoned Farmhouse

Life, no matter how sweet, is still  temporary
Life, no matter how sweet, is still temporary

Sharing words by others….

by Ted Kooser
He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;

a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.

A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.

Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.

It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.
Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.

And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm-a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.

“Abandoned Farmhouse” by Ted Kooser from Flying at Night. © University of Pittsburgh 1985
(buy now)

What HE Said

Originally posted on M. L. Rowland's Weblog:


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On This Date

by Annie Lighthart 
On this date many things happened.

Governments were heaved into being, creeds

were repeated, maps and speeches given and believed.

There was quiet on this date. A little boy lived.

There was sleep, and one birdcall stitched all the way through.

On this date there was longing. Someone walked

through a room. One hand brushed loose crumbs into the other.

The earth received them out the side door on this date, on this day.

“On This Date” by Annie Lighthart from Iron String. © Airlie Press, 2013.  (buy now)

Oh, For a Muse of Fire

Time to get to work.

Doing the inspiration-kick-myself-in-the-ass thing this morning again. 

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention,

A kingdom for a stage, princes to act

And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,

Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,

Leash’d in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire

Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all,

The flat unraised spirits that have dared

On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth

So great an object: can this cockpit hold

The vasty fields of France? or may we cram

Within this wooden O the very casques

That did affright the air at Agincourt?

O, pardon! since a crooked figure may

Attest in little place a million;

And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,

On your imaginary forces work.

Suppose within the girdle of these walls

Are now confined two mighty monarchies,

Whose high upreared and abutting fronts

The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder:

Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;

Into a thousand parts divide on man,

And make imaginary puissance;

Think when we talk of horses, that you see them

Printing their proud hoofs i’ the receiving earth;

For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,

Carry them here and there; jumping o’er times,

Turning the accomplishment of many years

Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,

Admit me Chorus to this history;

Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,

Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.


Originally posted on unheardunspokencogitationum:

Time heals the biggest wounds
It spreads over the hurt parts
Slowly wrapping them up with
Patience, teaching them to let go
Gradually making the pain subside
Like a dull bearable ache in you
That you learn to live with, smiling
It teaches you gratitude for little
Things you never thought mattered
But as a wise teacher it waits for
You to catch up with and learn to
Smile again realizing you survived
It will plant hope in your heart again
Letting you know feel the world has
A-lot to offer to you and one failure
Is not a reason to stop rather to be
More stronger in face of adversaries
But most of all time teaches you that
You are capable of surviving wounds

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Only bravery

Originally posted on Cristian Mihai:

“For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point — and does not break.”C.K. Chesterton

Courage is not only a virtue, or one of the most important virtues, or even the most important virtue that a man can posses. Courage is every single virtue at its breaking point.

One cannot be good without being brave; this virtue of his will be tested by men, will be discouraged. One cannot be ambitious unless he is brave enough to keep on going when it seems that the entire universe conspires against his desires. One cannot love unless he is brave enough to fight for that which he loves, unless he is brave enough to fight against the impulse to give up.

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Four Dead in Ohio: 1970

If you weren’t alive or aware of the world on May 5, 1970, this probably won’t mean much.

And, it was a different time. That’s a trite way to put it, but it’s all I can think to say. But the screaming headlines around the world the next day about the killings at Kent State by the Ohio National Guard shocked me to my innocent, Midwestern, trusting core. I suppose a similar impact would be for those who remember 9/11 as the traumatic event of their lifetime.

The anti-Vietnam protests had been raging on campuses and city streets for a couple of years by then, but they all seemed distant to me. And on my Ohio college campus, the protests still seemed like slightly goofy college hijinks, under a haze of pot smoke and illusion that we were still protected. A big party with some screaming and angst and sex-drugs-and-rock’nroll.

But the morning after Kent State, something changed in me, and in the country. That was when kids like me, raised on stories of the heroic WWII generation, learned that our government wasn’t just a slightly buffoonish distant bunch of older white guys. No, Kent State told us that those distant white guys were willing to kill us to keep us quiet. That’s when the country really started to turn against the war, still two years from it’s sad, bloody end.

“We understand our lives backwards, but must live it forward.”  — Søren Kierkegaard

Oh yeah?



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