Who is Tending the Garden?

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Garden or guard? 

How does your garden grow? 

How about your guard?

You see what I’m getting at here?

I hope not.

Not yet, anyway. 

To put it another way,

How much for plowshares?

How much for swords?

How much for love?

Or for planes above?


Planes that have bombs.

Bombs that explode

Sending shards in every direction. 

Killing anyone around.

It’s not just a loud sound. 

So this is a killing for willing and unwilling alike.

Soldier in hiding or a boy on a bike. 

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And, yes, it is true. 

A garden unguarded can be taken from you. 

But do you ever wonder 

How far down the killing path

We must go

To guard our garden? 

Let it grow? 

How does our garden grow?

How about our guard?

And, speaking of guards. 

Are we really guarding what needs to be guarded? 

Are we really sure of the guards who guard us?

Photo by Jakob Jin on Pexels.com

Do we arm every school bus?

Avoid walks in the sun? 

I once dreamed of a tall skinny man 

Who built a nice garden with veggies and green

The nicest plots I’d ever seen

So he was happy for a good long span.

Until he began to insist on a wall, 

The tallest wall but that’s not all.

Upon the walls, hired shooters sit

The garden’s gone to weeds and silt. 

The alarm awoke me to a sunny day.

And I forgot the dream until today. 

Thank goodness that nightmare’s done.

I’m so happy that type of error

Is never for the the daylight air. 

Never for the real time fare. 

Aren’t you?

—————-

Wall

After All

Crows and Me

The Word for War

Guernica

Siren Song

Math Class: Who Are You?

Dick-Taters

Ironic

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So, our instructor assigned us to write a story with a strong emphasis on irony. Mine is about a hypothetical future American tragedy of a coup financed and designed by the Kremlin. By way of summary, this is how it related to irony and I appended this to the story for the instructor’s edification. 

“And, the most ironic part of the whole American tragedy was this: even though he spent his entire life conning others, it was beyond his ken to consider that Vlademort Putrid was likewise conning him. He had been lying and bragging so long about his competence in all things that he actually came to believe he was smarter and a better strategist than Putrid. Putrid likely could have done it alone. But, of course, he did not do it alone. Putrid had the collaboration of highly trained, highly dedicated KBG/GRU professionals to help. 

“In principle, perhaps he could have enlisted American experts, but he didn’t feel the need. Furthermore, he faced a real dilemma. He couldn’t openly ask any but the corrupt for help against American interests. And those who were corrupt were generally far less competent and always less well connected to a healthy network of professionals than their more numerous and genuinely patriotic counterparts. 

“I said that was the most ironic part of the whole American tragedy, but there are near contenders. Another highly ironic part of his entire con game was that the played the game as though the only thing in the universe that mattered was his own pleasure. Of course, no matter what moves he made or is yet to make, he is not actually immortal in and of himself. By lying to himself and everyone else, he essentially cut himself off from being part of The Great Tree of Life (or at least from being a non-cancerous part). Rather than living on through his actions that benefited the whole, he delimited his life, curtailed it, circumscribed it to his own physical mortality. 

“The intertwined corollary of the above is that even while he lived, he missed out on the best feeling in life: being in caring and loving honest relationships. In order to absolutely and positively ensure that he grabbed as much as possible for himself, he limited his “prizes” to mere material crap and the pleasure of cruelty. “

So, this is how they responded: 

“When it comes to being ironic, this is definitely A plus material. 

However, sad to say, there are also some serious problems with your narrative. First, of all Americans are too well educated to fall for the lies of a known con man. And, why not simply make the character more believable? It’s not plausible that so many people would fall for the con. Apart from that, the cowardice you portray on the part of so many within his own party is also unbelievable. 

Still, the mechanics of the writing was also clean, so I’m giving you a B+. Next time, focus on believability rather than forgoing that to punch the irony.”

Was that a fair grade, I ask you? 


Poker Chip

Donnie’s Final Gift

Plans for US; some GRUesome

Three Blind Mice

Stoned Soup

The Ailing King of Agitate

Dick-Taters

The Titanic

Con-Con’s Special Friend

Trumpism is a New Religion

Essays on America: The Game

Essays on America: The Stopping Rule

Essays on America: The Update Problem

Wednesday

Labelism

My Cousin Bobby

Where Does Your Loyalty Lie?

Dance of Billions

Knock, knock

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Knock, knock.

Knock, knock.



Who’s there?

Why? Do you care?

Knock knock. 

Block the rock. 

Rock the block. 

Do you dare?



Do you dare to care?

Do care to dare to care?

Care you here?
Care you there?
Care you everywhere?
Or where?

Or anywhere?

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Knock. Knock.

Too too many!

At my gate!

They’ll all rush in 

Let them wait!

We can’t let others crash our cash.

We can’t let any crack or gash.


Knock, knock.

No-one’s home so go away.

Come again some other year.
Come to yet another gate.

Where you can wait. 

You can wait

Another decade.

Perhaps our guilt will fade.

If we never have to see their face.

If we never have to grant them grace.

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Anyway,

You’re not like us so go away.

Come again another day. 

Another year.

Another tear. 

Another decade. 

Another time. 

Become a whiter tone as well. 

You don’t belong 

You sing a different song. 

You eat a different meal. 

You cannot share our deal. 

We fought long and hard to take

This land

From savages who had no gun. 

So how could they be good?

For good God’s sake!

They made their things of wood!

Such a primitive band!

Who stood in the way of progress and steel!

Good God! They didn’t even have the wagon wheel! 

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Knock. Knock. 

It is the sound 

Sounding all around. 

The sound of islanders whose

Islands are no more. 

It is the sound of 

It is the sound of

An echo 

A reverberating shot

I think:

I’ve got mine 

So, hell with thine.

The savages didn’t even fell each tree

To farm the land more easily. 

Knock! Knock!

It’s louder now. 

A pileated woodpecker 

A tree wrecker. 

A double decker

Bus and train and sandwich stack.

Busted brain plays whacky shack. 

I need more gold.

I need less cold. 

I will not fold

My life in half to share

I do not dare to care 

For others 

Born of other mothers

Dark of skin 

Who undoubtedly sin. 

Photo by Irina P on Pexels.com

KNOCK! KNOCK!

It is the sound 

Of the ground 

Of the Ice

Of the Sky.

So busy building scrapers

And tanks

So busy building 

Tankers and tanks

So busy building 

Machines that can kill

We destroyed all the krill

Filled our ground with plastic fill.

And therefore killed the seas.

We’re spreading disease. 

And all our —

Hold on! Someone’s knocking at the door.

No-one important I should say.

They are dressed all in black. 

Little more than a formless sack.

Photo by Lucas Pezeta on Pexels.com

KNOCK! KNOCK! 

They are knocking as we speak. 

Guy looks like a freak

Holding … what the hell … a scythe?

Well

I always meant to tithe. 

That was fast.

Pearly gates at last. 

I’m knocking knocking at the door. 

Knock. Knock. 

Knocking at the door. 

The days and nights 

The darks and lights.

Extend into infinity. 

No-one seems to hear my knock. 

No-one seems to hear my call 

Or see my bloodied hands.
Or care or know I’m here at all. 

I can hear the music of celestial bands. 

Distant, faint, behind the sheer and rocky wall. 

But no-one seems to care at all. 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Knock.

Knock.

Knock.

Knock.

Knock.

Knock.

As Gold as it Gets

A Horror Story

Hot Dog

Donnie’s Final Gift

How the Nightingale Learned to Sing

Dance of Billions

After All

The Crows and Me

Guernica

Roar Ocean Roar

Sunday Sonnet: Sadie the Sifter

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My Sadie is a sniffer and a sifter after clues.

The rainy days I find so gray and nondescript, 

To her, are better for odiferous wetter news

She finds in dew on every bush and blade she’s nipped.

She finds the flights of crows a mystery and a soar

She loves the lights that twinkle in the starry sky

Not only now and then but now and evermore.

She follows — Wait!  — the scent of rabbit wanders by! 

The dislocation of my shoulder’s no big deal!

We can’t let that become priority o’er prey!

How can a merely human soul resist her zeal? 

She streaks through every scene of every act each day.

And then…she snoozes with her head upon my feet.

How oddly weird that dogs make humans feel complete. 

A cat’s a cat

To Relish the Steps

The Puppy’s Jaws

Sadie is a Thief

A Suddenly Springing Something

Hai-Cat-Ku

The Turtleets

Be Careful What You Wish For

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The Kevin said he’d lead the band!

Be strongest man in all the land! 

But when the traitors came to slay,

The Kevin hid then ran away.

The Kevin blamed the Trump that day! 

But soon, it seemed, he flew the coop! 

To Florida to eat a scoop. 

And there he pledged to be a wimp. 

For coups and couscous be a simp.

For nuts & guns, he’d play the pimp. 

And now he sits atop his throne.

He reaps as sown; his cover’s blown.

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He brags that now he leads the band!

When really he just pounds the sand.

The saddest man in all the land. 

Pretends to power; total slave. 

Photo by Clown Caramello on Pexels.com

And here’s the really foul deprave:

By wanting all the power for him.

The Kevin’s just a shadow limn.

There’s nothing left of what was him.

Photo by Min Thein on Pexels.com

A rootless rot upon the land,

He opens gate for treason’s band.

So bent upon his bid for power.

He lost it all in shameful hour.

The joyous tune has turned note sour. 

Photo by Julius Silver on Pexels.com

Bereft of honor, truth and heart,

Robotic role – a walk-on part. 

The words upon his lips are dust.

As Putrid speaks, so Kevin must.

His mettle now just rotted rust. 

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Essays on America: The Game

My Cousin Bobby

Absolute is not just a Vodka

Poker Chip

Stoned Soup

Three Blind Mice

Come back to the light

How the Nightingale Learned to Sing

The Crows and Me

After All

Peace

Life is a Dance

Beware of Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing

BREAK IT!

Satire Slain

Freaky Friday Fibbing Fest

A Drop at a Time

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The walls are steel.

The walls are high.

The walls are strong.

The walls are long.

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Drip. 

The soldiers train. 

Sunshine or rain.

The soldiers march. 

The soldiers march. 

Photo by Nafis Abman on Pexels.com

Drip. A peasant shares her bread.

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The lash is long.

The money tempts. 

Cruelty rules.

Lewd one drools. 

Photo by Regina Pivetta on Pexels.com

Drop. Drip. Someone truly cares.

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The king lacks love

Wears iron glove.

The lackeys obey

Every day.

Drip. Drip. Drip. Another chooses love instead.

Ozymandias too:

He strove to do

What can’t be done. 

Not done by anyone. 

Pitter patter. Pitter patter. Another someone dares.

Agent, spy, tank and gun.

They cannot keep you

From your golden grave

But weapons do deprave.

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Splash, splash. The understanding reaches flash.

Afraid of brains, 

The kings use chains. 

With freedom gone, 

Creativity drains. 

Muddy waters roil. 

Burble as they boil. 

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Lashes wound but waterfalls

Become a tide of epic fails. 

All who live in stony jails

Hear the sirens; hear the calls. 

Dripping drops become a tide. 

A mile high, a hundred wide. 

At last we learn the hidden cost

Summer simmer, frozen frost. 

At last we see the trees.

They bend and twist

In twos and threes. 

Forests die while hates persist.

Fires, floods and famines find 

Fertile land for odious brand.

Brigand, brag, and burning branch.

The Golden Rings to powers bind.

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And after all has burned to hell.

And nowhere left is fit to dwell. 

Then at last will everyone see. 

We didn’t have to play for greed. 

We could instead have planted seed. 

And let the water gently fall upon the land. 

We’d Eden in our grasp it seems. 

Instead we joined the bang-up band. 

Drip. Drip. Another act of kindness turns the tide.

A tidal wave a mile high, a thousand miles wide. 

(Or we could turn this ship of fate

And open every heart with gratitude

Alter every selfish attitude. 

Live and love and dance and mate). 

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The answer lies with what we do. 

Not just me. And not just you. 

It’s what we all could choose to be. 

We could save humanity. 

We will save humanity. 

Not just me. And not just you. 

The answer lies with what we do. 

It’s what we all could choose to be. 

Dance of Billions

Paradise Lost

After All

Have no word for

The Crows and Me

Guernica

The Fungus Fools

Your Cage is Unlocked

The Forest

Roar Ocean Roar

Listen You can hear the ripples

The Broken Times

Paradise Lost

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Paradise Lost

(First appeared as part of The Poetry Exchange’s Featured Poet, Spring, 1997 under the title: “Deforested”)

Gray day wasted while the whippoorwill
Wishes that the slushy city sewers
Had not replaced the only lonely home he knew.
The groggy foggy unfocussed hurly-burly rushing
Of splashing autos on the gray macadam roadways
That gnarl through the neighborhoods
Is vaguely deja vu.
Silhouetted smokestacks shadowly seen,
Limned in gray on gray-green,
Remind the mind how poor people pass the day after day.
Where no home fire hearth lighted cabin
In the winter woods beckons, beacons, hearkens
Heartily a red sunset glow on white snow
For a day’s work done.

One hardly knows.

Here, where machine clouds of steam unsentiently sip, sap the soul,
You wonder as the rain water wanders,
Then rushes through the gurgling gutters,
What foul trick man played upon his own brave soul,
To have forsaken all the fiery emotion that makes life great
To sit at desks, to stand in lines, to wait.
Where are the country color and
The rich thick loves hidden
Beneath the inventions, interventions, and pretensions of society?

We wander in our own gray-glass cages
In a lurching kind of mock-precision,
Like the nightmare dream of a psychotic technician.
And the only color the commuter encounters
In his travels to and from,
Is the scarlet and the gold of a raccoon
Too stupid to stay off the highways of modern civilization.

————

Pet Sematary (A relevant book by Stephen King which was a partial inspiration for the poem)

Isn’t the extinction of species a “normal” thing? Yes…and no. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/

How many animals are killed by vehicles? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/roadkill-literally-drives-some-species-to-extinction/

How much “labor” is actually “saved” by our “labor-saving devices”? https://www.reddit.com/r/antiwork/comments/qbgihm/for_95_percent_of_human_history_people_worked_15/

You must remember this.

The Forest

Ah Wilderness

Dance of Billions

Your Cage is Unlocked

Myths of the Veritas: Recipe, Ritual …

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Myths of the Veritas: Recipe, Ritual…

Many Paths muttered to herself, “Perhaps I should rename myself, ‘She Who Walks in Many Circles’.” She glanced down at the ground, still damp from the morning’s rainfall. She chuckled. No, she thought, actually, I’m walking around in the same circle, over and over. I cannot find a way to guarantee that someone won’t betray us. She sighed. Then, her awareness blossomed outwards. She heard voices. Happy voices. Tu-Swift! And, Cat Eyes! Soon, the couple appeared at the edge of the granite-bouldered clearing atop the small mountain where she had come to meditate. They walked hand in hand, smiling. When they saw Many Paths they both waved, sang her name, and embraced her. 

Many Paths smiled wanly. “It’s nice to see you. I was just…thinking.” 

Tu-Swift and Cat Eyes glanced at each other. Tu-Swift said, “Yes! I imagine so. After all, you have an important meeting to think about! The last thing you need is to talk with your friends!”

“Indeed,” added Cat Eyes “we had come up here to find some of those low bush blueberries to add to our lunch porridge. But we’ll be on our way. Why spoil a perfectly good dish by adding ingredients to it? Best eat everything on its own, wouldn’t you agree?” 

Many Paths narrowed her gaze & pursed her lips. “I’m not sure I know what you mean.” 

Tu-Swift said, “Putting different things together just complicates everything. We should eat one thing at a time. As with a song, for instance. Best to stick to one note, sung over and over.”

Many Paths chuckled. “You two are talking nonsense. That wouldn’t be much of a song. And, of course, it makes sense to combine different ingredients for a recipe.” 

Many Paths stared at their faces for a moment. “But you know that. You’re … did She Who Saved Many Lives send you by any chance?” 

Tu-Swift and Cat Eyes both shook their heads solemnly. “No, she did not,” they said in unison. But beneath their words and expressions, Many Paths sensed a shared joke of some sort. 

Many Paths sighed and said, “I suggest you do get some blueberries. There’s a patch, as you well know, right beyond that dead tree. It’s nice to see you both, but I need to … get back to what I was doing.” 

Tu-Swift nodded gravely. “Yes! I can see you’ve just about finished making your circular fire pit.” He pointed down to the circle of bare ground Many Paths had clearly been treading. “How about if we help you trample everything for a few minutes and then you can help us pick berries?” 

Many Paths shook her head and chuckled. “She Who Saved Many Lives sent you. She did. Did she not? She thinks I need some one of some thing or some one to shake loose my thinking since I have been literally walking in circles and thinking in circles at the same time. Am I right?” 

Cat Eyes bit her lip. “You’re right that you’ve been walking in circles. That we can see easily enough for ourselves. I say again though that you’re wrong if you think the Elder Leader sent us here. Neither of us have spoken with her today. As to whether you’ve been thinking in circles, well, that only you can tell.” 

Many Paths nodded. “I have been indeed. All right. You win. I’ll tell you the problem and perhaps you two have come across something to help in your reading. Then you can return to the Tribe Mother and say you’ve helped me.” 

Shadow Walker appeared at the edge of the clearing. Many Paths glanced over to see him smiling like the sunshine she so desperately missed. She smiled back and said in a tone of accusation and pleasure, “You!” 

Shadow Walker strode over quickly and embraced her. He kissed her fondly and said, “Yes! It was me. I love you dearly. But you’ve been as gray as the weather. It’s time for a rainbow instead! The four of us are going to share your problem and see whether we can make some headway. I knew only that you said you were going around in circles with the problem. I didn’t know that you were — literally — going around in circles!” 

Many Paths laughed. “I should have known you would be behind this scheme. Well, all right. You know the problem well enough. How do I ensure trust among the people who come from other tribes? Wait. What do you mean by the four of you?” 

A strong voice came from behind Many Paths. “My legs needed some exercise so I came up to join you.” 

Many Paths smiled at the Elder Leader. “Ah, you are always welcome. If you’re here…. You always seem to show up where you are needed most.” 

She Who Saved Many Lives smiled. “I wish that were true. But I did bring a considerable number of hickory nuts to add to the porridge. That’s my contribution. If only we had some honey.” 

Shadow Walker held up a wooden bowl filled with honeycomb. He smiled at Tu-Swift who said, “I say that five of us pick some berries and we will have a fine lunch indeed. Then, we can talk of more serious matters.” 

“Yes,” said She Who Saved Many Lives. “Serious indeed. But serious need not be grim. I think a pleasurable meal, jointly prepared, and joyfully shared is always a good prelude to serious thinking.” 

Cat Eyes added. “Indeed. If we share a meal and everyone brings something which everyone eats, that in itself would build some trust. Would it not?” 

Many Paths nodded slowly. “You’re right. Of course. We should begin with a shared meal. I can see much wisdom in that.” 

Tu-Swift nodded. “Me too. Speaking of which, I’m hungry! And the Tribe Mother is right. Serious doesn’t mean grim. Recall some of the weapons that we came up with by playing around? Make the meeting festive and joyous, not grim. In the books we’ve been studying lately, there are some suggestions for some rituals that might help as well. I’ll describe some. After lunch. Now, let’s get those blueberries. 

Many Paths smiled at her “little” brother. He no longer struck her as little at all. She began to look forward to lunch. She took the Hand of Shadow walker in one hand and that of the Elder Shaman in the other and began walking toward the blueberry patch. 

The sun peeked out from the clouds and sparkled on the wet leaves. 

The Myths of the Veritas:

The Forgotten Field

The Orange Man

The First Ring of Empathy

Stoned Soup

Three Blind Mice

Index to a Pattern Language for Cooperation and Collaboration

Freaky Fractured Friday Fables:

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Mammon and the Misrepresentative Mentiroso Shaitan

Once there was a very ambitious man Mentiroso Shaitan who wanted very much to be rich. He spent all his time at the tavern complaining about how he wasn’t rich and wanted to be. 

One of the men at the table said, “I am a woodsman. It is hard work, but you can make a decent living. And, you’ll stay in shape. And, you’ll get to spend a lot of time in beautiful places where the air is clean and clear!”

Shaitan said, “That sounds like too much work and not enough money. I want to be rich not decent.” 

A bar maid who was delivering a round of drinks suggested, “Well, you could be a barman here or at another bar. It keeps your memory strong, it keeps your heart racing, it pays next to nothing, but the tips can be good if you’re nice to your customers. Oh, and another bonus. Once you see how absurd people act when they’re drunk, you’ll not be tempted yourself!” 

Mentiroso shook his head and scoffed. “No-one gets rich as a barman. Not good enough for me.”

Photo by Fer Valladares on Pexels.com

Another woman, now asked, “Well, what skills do you have? What kind of experience?” 

Shaitan laughed. “Well, not much really. But I’m really smart! And, I really want to get rich.”

Another man slouched in the shadows at the booth at the end of the table. He had been silent till now. “I think I understand you perfectly, Mentiroso Shaitan. There’s no reason you can’t be rich very soon. And you don’t need experience or skills. Here. Tell you what. I’ll pay for your drink. Come back to my place where I can explain things privately. Clearly, these misguided fools think you have to work for a living and that having a job means you should have relevant experience and have evidence that you are quite competent and that kind of claptrap. But you and I — we’re beyond that kind of petty “get what you deserve” kind of life. Right, my friend. Oh, and by the way, my name is Mamman.” 

Intrigued, Mentiroso Shaitan stood and walked to the end of the table and took Mamman’s hand in his. “Pleased to meet you Mamman! I’m Mentiroso Shaitan. Let’s ditch this joint and talk diablo a diablo!”  

Photo by Ben Phillips on Pexels.com

———————

Other short parables and fables:

Foolish Tree

What could be better? A horror story. 

Hot dog

The Sty at Seaside

I can’t be bothered

Tit for tat

It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy

As gold as it gets

Drumpf in the Garden

Stoned Soup

Three Blind Mice 

Do unto others

The Doltzville Library

Coelacanth 

Their Dead Shark Eyes

Your Cage is Unlocked

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Some say: 

“You mustn’t love the shining sun

For rainy days will come again.

That clear blue sky will turn to gray.

Rainbows grow

In arcs to show

That clouds will shadow everyone.”

Some say:

“You mustn’t try to love your cat

Nine lives or not, they cannot last.

Each cat goes, soon or late. 

It’s certain fate

Is obdurate.

Death will win. And that is that.”

They say: 

“You mustn’t love the morning rose.

Glowing in the sunrise rays.

Roses wither, petals fall.

Summer blooms

But winter glooms.

Seasons turn as every blossom shows.”

Some say:

“You mustn’t sprint with all your speed

Feel your heart a-hammering hard;

That shock of feet; that spring of leg.

Joints will fail

Old folks ail

Sprinters all will lose their lead.”

Some say:

“You mustn’t dance to lose your soul.

Instead a more sedately pace should do.

Without a trace of passion shown.

Let no-one see

Your mindless ecstasy. 

Quiet decorum must be your goal.”

They say:

“And when your granite stone is cut

Let that one unbroken line

Connect the dates of come and go. 

None can blame 

Your unlit flame.

Every unfelt passion, in its fashion has a ‘But…’”

But…I say:

“Living life as though you’re dead

As though the fear of death is wise

As though to dance is too much chance

Is silly and absurd!

Relish each and every word. 

Reach as far as you can reach instead.”



I say:

“Breathe the sunshine; taste the dew. 

Stretch your body and your mind. 

Feel and see and smell that rose. 

Love the bubbles till they burst. 

Make each moment its own first. 

Dance you fool, the dance of you!”

I say:

“Dance yourself a riotous reel

Meld with music of Life’s Tree

Lavish love on all you may

Love is at life’s core.

Love is what it’s for!

Hold nothing back. Make life real.”

I say: 

“Make life real by extending your care

To creatures large & small & in between.

To whales & eagles; roots unseen.

Love is what life’s for.

Life is love, at its core. 

Dance for love if only you dare!”

I say:

“Life’s for love so show you care!

Don’t heed words of wishless woe. 

You’re starring in your picture show!

Enjoy & dance on center stage 

Whatever your imagined age.

Being you is exceedingly rare!”

Dance of Billions

Life is a Dance

Take a Glance; Join the Dance

John the Worrier

The Impossible

Piano

Math Class: Who are you?ove