BLUE HERON BLUES (Gladys, Please Come Back!)

Blue Heron mating dance, turned Fifties Doo-Wop…


BirdwalkGladys, please come back!
Whatever it was, I didn’t mean it!
My heart beats for only you
Nobody does the things you do

I’ll walk the line forever
Even, till the end of time
If that’s what it takes
To make you mine, all mine

My dearest darling, can’t you see
I was meant for you, and you for me?
I should have told you, so many things
I long to hold you, in these empty wings

 Because, I’m so in love, I can’t forget
The serpentine curve of your slender neck
Your straw-colored legs, like graceful sticks
Beautiful feathers, lovely pointed beak
The cacophonic symphony, when you speak

–Photo by Craig Roberts– 

Blackberry Quest

blackberriesDad’s blackberry quest began shortly after dawn one July morning under blue skies and puffy clouds.  A gallon glass jug, covered in moistened burlap, wrapped with binder twine, was filled with cool well water.  The receptacle, a two-and-a-half gallon bucket, carried, along with the water jug.

A straw hat provided the only shade.  Typically attired in bib overalls, blue chambray work shirt, and a blue or red bandana sticking out of his back pocket.  The bandana mopped perspiration and shooed away pesky bees and flies.

Accompanied by Tippy, faithful Shetland sheepdog, and a barn cat or two, the little party traipsed to a wild blackberry thicket–one of several scattered throughout the pasture.  Hereford cattle stared as they walked by.  They were more interested in cool pond water.  A bullfrog stopped and quickly resumed his basso profundo chorus.

By mid-morning the first bucket was filled.  Morning coolness had all but faded away.  Cicadas began their noisy revelry.  A drop of sweat ran down and came to a point at the end of dad’s nose.  He wiped his brow and took a drink of water.  His tanned leathery-skinned arms were covered with scratches.  Tippy lay down nearby, remedied an itch with his back leg.

The expedition ended with the proud presentation of five gallons of fresh-picked blackberries.  Dad had the biggest boyish grin on his face.  Mom went to work cleaning and preserving nature’s bounty.  I wondered what dad thought about on blackberry picking expeditions?  He returned from his commune with nature, fulfilled, rejuvenated.  He never complained about discomfort.  This time there weren’t any encounters with unexpected wild creatures–namely snakes.

Perhaps, enjoyment came through, because my father believed, the best things in life were free.  Fresh blackberries covered with fresh cream and sugar were a special summer delight.  To this day, my favorite jellies and jams are blackberry.  Hot blackberry cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream isn’t bad, either.


PrinceMy first name is “William,” middle name “Arthur.”  As a matter of fact, all, of my three names, could be first names.  If I was named after someone, it had to be an obscure relative on my mother’s side of the family.  I fantasized about being named for historical figures–like “William the Conqueror,” or “King Arthur.”  If that were true, imagine my parent’s disappointment, when I didn’t live up to expectations.

From “William” came the usual nicknames: “Will,” “Willie,” “Bill,” and “Billy.  To which unflattering modifiers were added by cruel schoolmates, that will remain secret.  The nickname that stuck was “Bill.”  In adolescence, my first name suddenly became boring.  What could I do to punch up my identity–make my mark?  One idea, was shaving off my hair, replacing it with tattooed-on hair.  Thank goodness that never happened.

Perhaps a distinctive name, difficult to pronounce?  …With lots of consonants, few vowels, silent letters.  Then, I could feign indignantly, when my name was mispronounced.  …A different spelling?  Why not “Bill,” with three “L’s?” Maybe something like “ZX729,” consisting of letters and numbers?

Several years later, the rocker “Prince,” seized the opportunity, changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol.  It was a gigantic flop.  People didn’t have time or patience for this naming nonsense and used the abbreviation TAFKAP, (The Artist Formerly Known As Prince).  Explanations of identity proved more troublesome than his conventional name.

I’m “William Arthur,” for a brief imaginative moment, known as “ZX729.” I’m happy with my name and who I am!  Although, junk mail comes addressed to “Occupant.”  Now, there’s a very distinctive name.

Fishbowl Philosophy

aquariumCedric was smart
Had a big heart
He was extraordinary
Had a big vocabulary
With all the intelligence
That could be packed
Into his little fish brain

He stared
Was sometimes scared
Especially, early mornings
When gigantic hands
Reached down
Sprinkled food
Without warning

Strange, grotesquely
Distorted creatures
With exaggerated features
And appendages
Pressed their faces
Enormous eyes
Against the glass

What was the
Meaning of life?
This little Piscean
Swam in his aquarium
Pondered epistemological
Vicissitudes, and said
“I swim, therefore I am”

SCARED OF LIVING (Afraid of Dying)

In honor of the fallen–those with heavy hearts–this Memorial Day.


Hardly remembered
Easily forgotten
What could be?
What might have been?
Live for today
Not tomorrow
Nothing given or taken
Only borrowed
Could briefly stay
Afraid to go home
Judgement clouded in anger
Conscience disappeared
Truths, too real to conceive
Secrets carried to the grave

As day transitions to night
Give up, or stand up and fight
Cemeteries overflowing
With timid and bold
Young and old
Those that died
For what they believed
Widows, orphans
Overcome with grief
Same language
Different beliefs
Scared of living
Afraid of dying

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The doorThe landing smelled
Of, the sea, sweat
Sisal rope, diesel fuel
Old wooden door
Rude storage building
Only a seafarer
Could love
Kept things in
Kept things out

Red and blue
Pigments faded
Wood grains roughened
Door moldings warped
Under pressure
But, didn’t break

Toughened sailors
Held to tradition
Passed through
This doorway
To opportunity
Or disappointment
With regularity of tides
In and out, everyday