Sunday, December 26, 2010

I LIKE WINTER

Editor's note: "There are many things about winter that are beautiful and fascinating, but of course it depends on your vantage point!" Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem.

I like snow;
I love to hear
The north wind blow;
Not just a cold December breeze,
But really howling through the trees,
Like screaming, wailing
wild banshees.

I like the frost,
On door and window
Pane embossed;
And hung like garlands, clean and bright,
On fence and shrub, reflecting white;
Or ghostly in
The pale moonlight.

I like to see
The drooping branches
On a tree,
Bent down, to touch the ground below,
Each one transfixed into a bow,
By weight of heavy
Sodden snow.

I like the season,
For each above
Related reason;
Oh, yes, I love it, every minute
Have no complaints at all ag'in it,
If I don't have
To go out in it!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

ODE TO WINTER

Editor's note: "Some folks dread to see winter arrive' others hate to see it go," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. "I guess it depends on your appetite for weather." I don't know which book this is from -- it's one my Aunt Olive, Dad's sister, chose for publication in the December/January issue of "Fanfare," the Brethren Retirement Community's newsletter. Looking outside and seeing half a dozen or so inches of white stuff on the ground, it seemed appropriate for posting here as well.

The northern wind is howling
Like a banshee in the night,
Overcoating lawn and garden
With a coverlet of white.

Wires along the highway,
Whining in the cruel cold,
Cry that winter's got us
In its bitter strangle hold.

The hoary frost has settled
O'er the garden corner post;
In the pale moonlight it shimmers
Like an eerie sheeted ghost.

I appreciate the beauty
Of the snowy winter scene;
With the world in fleecy garments,
It appears so white and clean.

But let me clear the record,
So as not to be amiss,
It doesn't take me long to get
My belly full of this!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

'TIS THE SEASON

Editor's note: Dad never was one to get excited about holidays, most likely thinking for the most part they're a waste of time and money that could be better spent elsewhere. And for the most part, he had a good point -- perhaps never more accurate than this time of year.

'Tis the season to be jolly
Time for mistletoe and holly;
Merry hearts are full of cheer,
Christmas Day is almost here!

Joybells ringing all around,
From every side, the carols sound;
Christmas music fills the air,
Yuletide spirit everywhere.

Toddlers, thrilled as they can be,
Climb and sit on Santa's knee;
Whisper in his ear what they
Would have him bring on Christmas Day.

Nearly hidden, under all
This hoopla, din and fol-de-rol,
A manger scene that seems to shout,
"Hey, here is what it's all about!"

No question, Christmas has become
Commercialized too much for some;
But no one dares to advocate
We lose our right to celebrate.

And though I deem that well and good,
And wouldn't change it if I could,
I've had enough of Christmas cheer
To do me for another year!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

CHRISTMAS CARDS

"Our Christmas card list is a little shorter this year," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. "We've crossed out the names of those folks we haven't seen for ten years, people who owe us money, and all relatives no closer than third cousins."

From friends and kinfolks everywhere,
We're getting Christmas cards;
Some with little notes inside,
To give us their regards.

Up to now, we've seventeen,
But expect that many more
Before the season ends, because
We sent out thirty-four.

Some are cheap, some are not,
And Lucy's keeping track;
You can tell how much they cost
By the numbers in the back.

Here and there, we find where we
Can cut our card expense,
If one we sent cost half a buck,
And theirs was twenty cents.

Perhaps the difference ain't enough
To be concerned about,
But they never seem to total up
To as much as we paid out.

I'm sure we won't break even,
No chance of coming near it;
But anyhow, I'm happy we
Have got the Christmas spirit!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

THANKSGIVING FARE

Editor's note: Many of you know Dad was a popular after-dinner speaker for many years, and with that came some pluses and minuses. "After-dinner speaking is not, in itself, fattening," he wrote as the introduction to this poem. "But the environment is conducive to overeating, especially around the holidays." Most of us don't do the public speaking circuit, but this time of year, I think we can relate to what he's talking about!

Thanksgiving time is on us,
And we've cause to celebrate,
But I've been doing, maybe,
More than what I should, of late.

For, almost every evening
Finds me occupied somewhere,
At a banquet table loaded
With that good Thanksgiving fare!

Heaping mounds of turkey,
And the dressing piled up high!
Cranberry sauce and salad,
And delicious pumpkin pie!

I'm thankful for the bounty
Of this gala festive board,
But my middle section shows it,
Which I cannot well afford.

I've been a turkey lover,
For many, many years,
But I'm so full of turkey now,
It's running out my ears!

When I came home last evening,
And the same the night before,
Lucy came and let me in
When I gobbled at the door!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I SHALL NOT COVET

Editor's note: "Fortune comes to everyone who waits," Dad reminded in the introduction to this poem. "This one saying may be true, if you don't run out of time."

I don't care how far you've come
Toward acquiring fame;
It doesn't bother me at all,
That people hail your name.

And I don't give a hoot because
Your house is bigger'n mine,
And you've got such a fancy place,
And all fixed up so fine.

You're welcome to your Cadillac,
You drive with such delight;
I don't begrudge you all of this,
As a jealous fellow might.

But, if we're even, all of us,
And equal at the start,
It's hard to see how we can get
So many bucks apart!

For your good fortune to arrive,
You hadn't long to wait;
But it appears that mine will come
Too little and too late!

With all the riches you have gained,
I say hooray for you!
Though I'd be better satisfied
If I could have some, too!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

KNOW THY NEIGHBOR

Editor's note: "I'm sure we all sometimes recognize a person with whom we are not acquainted, and are also acquainted with some we don't really know," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem.

I chanced to meet an acquaintance
While strolling, one autumn day,
And each of us said, "Good morning,"
And went on his merry way.

It wasn't in any way different
Than what we had done before;
We'd greeted and passed each other
On a hundred occasions or more.

But I'd never shortened my sail
Or paused for a second look;
As goes the old country saying,
We'd howdied, but never had shook.

I knew where he lived on the corner,
With a vacant lot out behind,
But what he did for a living
Had never entered my mind.

"A mighty find fellow," I pondered,
As his name I tried to recall,
Then I realized, all of a sudden,
That I hardly knew him at all!

So I vowed to learn more about him,
And the hand of a neighbor extend;
I found it well worth the effort --
My acquaintance became my friend!

I learned a valuable lesson,
And I have this moral to tell;
If a man's worth knowing at all,
He's certainly worth knowing well!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME

Editor's note: "When I was a lad, if we wanted to go to work an hour earlier, we just set the alarm clock as hour earlier. Pretty dumb, huh?" Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. No, Pop, I think maybe you were on to something.

The whole thing began, so the story goes,
With an Indian chief called Running Nose.
I understand this redskin bold
Complained because his feet got cold,
For his blanket wasn't sufficient quite
To reach from end to end at night.

When he pulled it up beneath his chin
It seems his troubles would then begin,
For that would leave the other end bare,
And it stuck out in the frigid air,
And that is the reason, so I suppose,
That he got the name of Running Nose.

So the tribal council gathered around
The campfire on the communal ground,
And debated how to afford relief
From this problem besetting their mighty chief,
And they proved to be, at this big pow-wow,
Just about as smart as we are now.

These wise old chiefs decided to lop
A foot or so from off of the top
Of his blanket, which then he could sew
Onto the end that was short below!
The logic behind this remarkable plan
Explains how Daylight Savings Time began!

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

NO DEAL

Editor's note: "Envy is one of the inherent traits of human nature and causes more troubles than ragweed or mumps," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. "The grass is always greener in somebody else's pasture, our troubles are greater than the other fellow's, and why couldn't we have been born rich and talented like that guy over there?"

I used to ponder quite a lot,
And think perhaps I should have got
A better deal from Nature when she passed the talents out;
But when I try to pick a guy
I think is better off than I,
I come to this conclusion: There's a lot to think about.

Comparing talents, more or less,
Is like comparing kids, I guess.
When taken all together, your own are not so bad;
If we could trade for others, just
To try a little while, I trust
We'd all decide we much prefer to keep the ones we had.

Of all the people I have met,
I've never known a person yet
Exactly like the man I think I'd like to be;
All things considered well, I find
I'm satisfied, with peace of mind,
It's just as well I can't be anyone else but me!

--Down Country Roads (1970)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

Editor's note: "It's nice to have someone to blame all our troubles onto, even if we have to go a long way back to find a whipping boy," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem.

In the Garden of Eden,
A long time ago,
No evil existed,
No sin did they know;
Till the Devil slipped in,
And soon after that,
Adam and Eve
Began to begat!

No longer allowed
In the garden to remain,
They promptly went out
To raise a little Cain;
And that was the start
Of the whole human race;
Their descendants begatted
All over the place!

This chain reproduction
Which they set in motion,
Led up to the present
Population explosion;
So, let us remember,
Not that it matters,
The whole thing began
With those first two begatters!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

THE FISHERMAN'S DREAM

I had a dream the other night,
While deep in peaceful slumber--
I dreamed I died and traveled on,
For Fate had called my number;
And as I crossed the Great Divide,
And hurried on alone,
With eager step I made my way
Into the Land Unknown.

And there, before my very eyes,
Was a grand sight to behold--
I saw a sportsman's paradise
Instead of streets of gold;
For dancing down the mountainside,
In the sunset afterglow,
A brook was singing on its way
To meet the lake below.

The mossy bank was smooth and green,
'Neath the overhanging trees,
While flowers on the mountain top
Added perfume to the breeze.
The stream was full of finny folk--
I saw them flash and shine;
O, such a spot I'd never seen
To wet a casting line!

And as I stood enraptured there,
I heard a footstep fall,
And coming down the path I saw
An old man, gaunt and tall.
"Please tell me, sir," I cried to him,
"Please tell me, if you will,
Where I can find a rod and reel,
So I may try my skill!"

"I need some tackle right away,
No matter what the price;
I never dreamed, when down on earth,
That Heaven would be so nice!"
The old man slowly shook his head,
Quoth he, "It can't be done.
I'm afraid that you're just out of luck--
You ain't in Heaven, son!"

--Down Country Roads (1970)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

TV and B-O

Editor's note: "The latest census figures lead to some startling disclosures," Dad wrote in the introduction to this poem. "I can't vouch for their accuracy, but some are very interesting!"

Figures show we have today,
From census tabulations,
Twice as many TV sets
As bathtubs in our nation.

Now this is most amazing,
And it isn't true, I hope,
That people watch soap operas,
But neglect to use the soap!

There are many TV watchers
With bright and shiny faces,
But one begins to wondeer,
Are they clean in other places?

And what about the ratings,
That tell who's watching shows?
Would the sponsor care how many
Need a bath, do you suppose?

One thing helps a little,
For this is also known
That most who skip the bathing
Do use twice as much cologne!

Everything considered,
I have come to this decision:
A lot of dirty people
Have been watching television!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

LIFE BY THE TENS

Editor's note: "We tend to consider the life span of man in decimal units," Dad wrote in the introduction to this poem. "Nobody, for example, looks at thirty-six or fifty-two as turning points."

At twenty, no longer in your teens,
You've become a grown-up at last;
Your future's a shining beacon ahead,
And darkness swallows your past.
You reach your peak of vigor and vim
At the age of thirty or so;
Now, you're smack in the prime of ife,
And full of the old gung-ho!

At forty, they tell us life begins,
For some people maybe it will;
But others now are fighting the fear
They're almost over the hill.
At fifty, you've come to the awkward age,
And are losing some of your fire,
Feeling the wear and tear of life,
But still too young to retire!

The next decade goes galloping by,
Faster than ever, it seems;
You find that you're beginning to have
More memories now than dreams.
Seventy falls in the golden years,
But also, let me remind you,
Three-score and ten decidedly means
Your future is mostly behind you!

I hate to end on a negative note,
But there's another thing to it,--
If you haven't made your pile by now,
You probably ain't gonna do it.
If I had any precept in mind,
Or moral, in writing this rhyme,
It's give it your best, at whatever age,
And to heck with Old Father Time!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

THE COLD WAR

Editor's note: "Some animals act like people, and some people act like animals," Dad wrote in the introduction to this poem. "When you put them together, they sometimes imitate each other." It seemed to me an appropriate poem as election time -- with all those annoying, mud-slinging TV commercials -- is upon us.

Politics in Washington,
And world affairs as well,
In situations here at home,
All have a parallel.

Our neighbor's dog is just a cur,
And he's nothing much to see;
I've got no use for him at all,
And he hates the sight of me.

He barks whenever I come out
To get the morning mail;
It's pretty certain I'm a guy
That he would love to nail!

But I don't aim, if I can help,
To give that mutt a chance
To chew a swatch of denim
Out of Mister Acres' pants!

He snarls at me, I snarl at him,
We go on day by day;
But never have got closer yet
Than a dozen feet away.

If we don't hold the status quo,
And worse does come to worst,
I think he'll turn his tail and run,
If I can bite him first!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

ENDANGERED SPECIES

Editor's note: "Down through the ages, species have lingered awhile, then disappeared -- often being victims of their own folly," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem.My hope is that someday soon we learn the error of our ways!

A hundred million years ago,
Give or take a week or so,
Lived the Brontosaurus;
It isn't logical to think
Man caused him to be extinct,
For he was long before us!

We are told the larger ones
Weighed as much as thirty tons,
A mass of bone and muscle;
He was such an awesome beast,
Adequate, to say the least,
To give any foe a tussle.

Being such a massive thing,
It surely took a lot to bring
Him down, but then, I wonder
If perhaps it might have been
A little bug that did him in,
A germ that laid him under.

Maybe, if we knew the score,
We wouldn't wonder anymore,
On matters appertaining;
Those critters found, I wouldn't doubt,
A way to wipe each other out,
Till there were none remaining.

Our race may disappear, somehow,
And others, many years from now,
May guess what happened to it;
They may surmise we found the means
To blow ourselves to smithereens,
And were stupid enough to do it!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

SLOW WIT

Editor's note: "How many times have you said something stupid and a few minutes or a few hours later thought of a perfectly brilliant remark that you could have made? I envy those who always say the right thing at the right time," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. I suspect most of us have been there, done that!

I can always come up
With a snappy reply
After it's too late to say it;
I'm really a witty
Sort of a guy,
But I'm just too slow to display it.

By the time I can think
Of a good repartee,
To enliven a dull conversation,
Everyone's gone
From the party but me,
And I talk to myself in frustration.

I'd like to be quick,
And master the trick
Of returning a salient word;
It's awful to be
A pokey like me,
And appear like Mortimer Snerd.

Some day I'll come back
With a timely wisecrack,
It's a dream I'll cherish forever;
But it may be as late
As Heaven's front gate,
That St. Peter will tell me, "How clever!"

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

OVER THE HILL

Editor's note: This really was Dad's "take" on life -- and a bit of advice that makes sense to me as well!

I'll never lament,
As some people will,
Bemoaning the fact
That they're over the hill.
Though somewhat the worse
From the wear and the tear,
I'm not ready yet
For the old rocking chair!

I'm not looking backward
But looking instead
To the rest of my life
That lies up ahead.
I can think of a million
Things to be done,
And I know I'm still able
To have lots of fun;

There's no use to mope
And complain of our plight.
We can't change the past,
But the future, we might.
Though I couldn't run back
Up that hill if I tried,
I can live all the way
Down the opposite side!

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

NOAH'S CONCERN

Editor's note: "Sometimes our faith is shaken because our prayers are not answered," Dad wrote in the introduction to this poem. "Sometimes, our prayers aren't answered because we're not asking for the right things."

Four hundred and fifty feet long
The ark stood three stories high;
The seams well-coated with pitch,
To keep all the occupants dry.

Two of every known creature,
Down to the tiniest bug,
Noah took them on board,
And made them cozy and snug.

He and all of his kinfolks
Were finally quartered inside;
His sons were Shem, Ham and Japeth,
Whose wives went along for the ride.

Then all the fury of Nature
Cut loose the very next day;
It rained from the first week in April,
Almost to the middle of May.

The gates of the heavens were opened,
And the water spilled and it poured,
But Noah was never affrighted,
He'd been assured by the Lord.

And so his faith never faltered,
Tho it went on week after week;
He didn't pray for the rain to stop --
He prayed his boat wouldn't leak!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

HAIR TODAY - GONE TOMORROW

Editor's note: "A bald head is a Heavenly thing; there is no parting there," Dad quipped as the introduction to this poem.

My neighbor Sam is frugal bent;
He holds on tight to every cent.
And almost all his married life,
His hair's been barbered by his wife.

Clippings from her trusty shears
Accumulated through the years,
For she adored his curly locks,
And saved them in a storage box.

But Father Time is known to bring
Degressive change to everything;
And so, my neighbor, thru the years,
Grew less and less above his ears.

So there's no reason, here of late,
To snip or slip on Sammy's pate;
His noggin's like a billiard ball,
With nothing growing there at all!

It almost broke his spouse's heart
To see his tresses all depart;
For, where his wavy crown had been,
Emerged a dome of barren skin.

But she's so glad she saved his wool,
Half a dozen boxes full;
Up in the attic, stored away,
Mementos of a better day,.

And often, when she's feeling low,
She'll take a little break and go
To spend a tender moment there,
Running her fingers through his hair!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

THE MISFIT

Editor's note: "'One size fits all' -- hogwash!," Dad wrote in the introduction to this poem. "And almost as ridiculous is the idea that three sizes will fit everybody!" As a lanky, long-armed man who stood 6 feet 3 inches in his size 12 stocking feet, I guess he should know! Truth is, I feel his pain; the difference is that my challenge is sideways, not up and down.

A serious problem on my mind
Moves me to wax poetic;
I know that I will surely find
Many readers sympathetic;
For I am not the only guy,
With chassis long and tall,
Who does not fall within the class
Of medium, large or small!

I try to buy some underwear,
Some longies, if you please;
The ones that fit my torso
Won't reach below my knees!
I buy a large size jacket,
And the shoulders fit me fine;
But the sleeves don't nearly cover
These yard-long arms of mine!

I get pajamas extra large,
And the same with BVDs,
But they make me look like a scarecrow,
A-flappin' in the breeze!
Now I'm no freak of nature,
But I wasn't made at all,
To fit no dad-blamed pattern
Of medium, large or small!

I wouldn't be particular,
Nor hard to please, I swear;
All I want is something
That'll reach from here to there!
And when my robe they hand me,
Up above, on Judgment Day,
If it's small, or large, or medium,
I'm headin' the other way!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

ROAS'N' EARS

Editor's note: "Sweet corn, cooked on the cob, has been one of my favorite foods ever since I was taken off the bottle," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. I don't know if the gene pool plays any role in what our taste buds hanker for, but if does, I know where my love of "roas'n' ears came from!

Though I aim to be discreet,
I must admit I live to eat;
And I ain't found, in all these years,
Nothin' better'n roas'n' ears!

Steamin' hot, piled on a plate,
I might eat six, or maybe eight,
Or even more if I really tried
And was a little on the hungry side!

You can't be fancy when you're eatin'
Roas'n' ears, you can't be neat;
And people who enjoy 'em most,
Pay no mind to Em'ly Post.

If you can't afford high-priced spread,
Just smear on oleo instead;
Then cut loose and wade right in,
With grease a-drippin' off your chin!

Ever' six or seven rows,
Pause a bit and wipe your nose;
Take a breath of air, and then
Grab aholt and go again!

If your lowers tend to skid,
Put 'em in your pocket, kid;
You may not do a fancy job,
But you can gum it off the cob!

Slide that roas'n' ear to and fro,
Slowly rotate as you go;
When one is gone, pick up another --
That's what I call eatin', brother!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

THE GREAT PYRAMID

Editor's note: "The greatest wonder in some of the noted doings of mankind is not so much in the worth of the venture as in the motivation behind them," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem.

Away out there, in the desert sand,
Near the River Nile, in Egypt land,
Cheops built the great pyramid,
(Or if he didn't do it, somebody did).
Seeing the thing, so lonely and bare,
You can't help wondering why it is there.

Standing four hundred eighty feet tall,
A stack of stones, worth nothing at all;
Experts say, to them it appears
It must have taken a great many years,
To build it there, at a terrible cost,
In money and time and lives that were lost.

It puzzles our present-day engineers
How, way back there five thousand years,
Builders with only primitive means,
No great engines or hoisting machines,
Managed to raise a structure they say
Would present a challenge, even today!

The great pyramid is the only claim
That Cheops has to a vestige of fame;
Where did this ancient Egyptian king
Get the idea to build the thing?
Nobody knows, but I'd bet my life
It was on a list made up by his wife!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

DIMES AND TIMES

Editor's note: A couple of days ago I spent close to an hour counting and packaging accumulated dimes and nickels that finally filled up our "piggy" banks. It's a chore I hate, but in the end we got enough to pay for one night's stay at a motel on our trip to Maine this fall (and maybe even a meal). It proves that little things count, of course, but they sure don't seem to go as far as they used to. I guess Dad would agree.

I remember well the time,
When I was in my teens,
I often didn't have a dime
In the pocket of my jeans

But I fit in the common run,
Accustomed to co-mingle
With many other farmers' sons
Who had no coins to jingle.

But also, I can recollect
How much a dime would buy,
Like a Danish roll and coffee,
Or a king-size slab of pie!

Five pennies bought a candy bar,
A milkshake went for ten;
A guy who had a dollar bill
Was sitting pretty then.

I realize we can't return
To the so-called good old days;
We have to take it like it is,
And bow to modern ways,.

But anyhow, I'm keeping up
With these inflated times;
For I am short of dollars now,
Instead of short of dimes!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

OF BIRDS AND WORMS

The early bird catches the worm, they say,
Most everyone knows it is true;
Maybe that's good, and maybe it's bad,
Depending on your point of view.

The worm might tell you, if worms could talk,
That being early's absurd,
Why should a worm be in a hurry,
To be grabbed by a mean old bird?

Our feathered friends, on the other hand,
Would be very likely to say
That getting up early, for a nice fat worm,
Is the best way of starting your day.

The more you study the question, it seems,
The less the issue confuses,
In Nature's design, when somebody wins,
There's somebody else who loses.

The moral resulting from this little rhyme,
Good common sense will confirm,
Whether it's best to be early depends
On whether you're a bird or a worm!

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

THIN ICE

"There comes a time in every person's life when some inner sense says, 'Be careful,'" Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem:

Man is never perfect,
And, as far as I can see,
With all his warts and foibles,
He was never meant to be.

We all have had our moments,
And we all have seen a day
When scruples were forgotten,
And we went a bit astray.

Temptations come so often,
To the restless and the young;
They listen to the Devil,
And a little fling is flung!

I know it's human nature,
When our years begin to fade,
To think about our failings,
And the record we have made.

There'll be a day to settle,
And it comes to everyone;
We'll have to pay the fiddler
For the dancing we have done.

I'm tempted very seldom now,
My errant ways are few;
I walk the straight and narrow,
Like a person ought to do.

I guess I'm not too different
From any other sinner;
We skate with less abandon
Where the ice is getting thinner!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

NO COMPLAINTS

Some folks are always complaining,
And never content with their lot;
Too concerned with what they are missing
To appreciate the blessings they've got.

Recalling their errors of judgment,
And dreaming of what might have been,
And how their lives would be different
If they could start all over again.

Reliving our past is a privilege
That Providence will never allow;
The past is no part of the future,
But the future is part of the Now.

I intend to enjoy the remainder
Of the race that's yet to be run,
And looking back over my shoulder
Isn't my idea of fun!

The march of time is relentless,
And life is dwindling too fast
To be spending half of my future
Lamenting half of my past!

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

THE SANDS OF TIME

Editor's note: Dad's been gone just over a year now -- he passed away last June 24. Reading through his books to choose poems for the blog turned up this one, which somehow seems perfect for this week. Memories can't take his place, of course, but I treasure them all the same.

The sands, we know,
Relentless, flow,
And, as the seasons pass,
Each golden grain
Will surely drain
Into the lower glass.

We cannot slack,
Nor hold it back,
Nor is it in our power
To take away
A single day,
Or add a single hour.

We'll never see
It come to be
That Time will turn in flight,
Thereby to give
Us to relive
A numbered day or night.

We can't command
The trickling sand,
But its passing we may ease,
If in its place
We've filled the space
With golden memories!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

MORNING AFTER BLUES

When I was a youth, and still in my prime,
As we used to say, full of Old Ned,
I remember the way we fellows went out
On the town, and painted it red.

We knew how the morning after would feel,
But very little difference it made;
We accepted the face as a matter of course,
The fiddler, he had to be paid.

We did it again each Saturday night,
Made whoopee till one, two or three;
Taking the view, the fun that we had
Was worth all the headaches to be.

A lot of water has gone over the dam,
Father Time has taken his due.
And now, I discover, I'm looking at things
From a slightly different view.

I hate to complain or be grumpy, although
I'll have to admit I deplore
That morning after feeling, when I
Have done nothing the evening before!

--Square Marbles (1978)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

THE SKULL SESSION

Editor's note: "I have no doubt there are many very capable psychiatrists in the business of analyzing and treating mental disorders. It just happens the only two I ever knew seemed to be in need of a little help themselves," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem.

Two psychiatrists, meeting one day,
Were chewing the fat in a casual way,
When suddenly one to his counterpart said,
"How would you like to examine my head?"
The other replied, "Now, that would be fine,
And while we're about it, you look at mine!"

Now I can't swear for certain it's true,
But the way I heard the story, these two
Shook hands on the spot and agreed, it appears,
To measure each other between the ears;
Undoubtedly thinking it would be nice
To have this exchange of expert advice.

So, Doc number one, as most patients do,
Relaxed on the couch of Doc number two;
Answering questions formed and designed
To expose the kinks in a tangled-up mind;
Then, Doc number two, his questioning done,
Was examined in turn by Doc number one.

So the two head-shrinkers applied their art,
And skillfully took each other apart;
Switching their doctor and patient roles,
They proved their minds and explored their souls,
And each one decided, no maybes or buts,
Beyond any question, the other was nuts!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

FALLEN ANGEL

Editor's note: "Sometimes the passing years play dirty tricks with the near-sacred objects of our most precious memories; or maybe it's just that our memories play tricks on us," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem.

When I was in the second grade,
At Jackson Number Three,
A little girl in pigtails
Had the desk in front of me.

When she smiled in my direction,
Cupid shot another dart,
And put a perforation
In my palpitating heart!

But when she moved, and left us,
It's a most amazing fact
That somehow I survived it,
And my heart remained intact.

How oft, in reminiscing,
As the years dissolved away,
I wondered why she hadn't been
Declared Miss U.S.A.

To make my story shorter,
My great moment came at last,
When I met this little princess
I remembered from the past.

She had a mug as ugly
As a human face could be,
And a figure like that schoolhouse,
Where she sat in front of me!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A MILE OF SMILES

Editor's note: "When I was a lad, my grandfather called me "Grinny Britches." But as I recall, when I grinned at someone, they usually responded in kind," Dad wrote in the introduction to this poem.

The other morning I chanced to meet
A neighbor of mine from down the street,
And he hollered, "Good morning, Slim!"
With a vibrant voice, chock full of cheer,
And a great big grin from ear to ear,
And I couldn't help smiling at him.

Now, I'd been feeling a little blue,
As, once in a while, most people do,
When they've been taking their lumps;
But after I met this cheerful guy,
I felt a little ashamed that I
Had been so down in the dumps.

I felt rather sheepish because I knew
The trials this chap had just been through
Were greater than any I'd known;
So, straightening up, with a quicker stride,
I felt a whole lot better inside,
From the spirit this fellow had shown.

A little further on down the street,
Another acquaintance I chanced to meet,
And I hollored, "Good morning, Jim!"
He looked my way, and nodded his head,
And I grinned as wide as my face would spread,
And I got a big smile out of him!

So, I resolved, the rest of the day,
I'd foster good will in a similar way,
With folks wherever I went;
I found the idea to be worthwhile,
I got a great life from every smile,
And it didn't cost me a cent!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

THE COMMON MAN

Editor's Note: If anyone could personify the Golden Rule, it was Dad; wealth, "station" in life and possessions didn't matter a whit when it came to how he treated other folks. In fact, the only times I recall him ever saying anything negative about another human being happened when that person failed to do what the Good Book tells us we should. My Aunt Mary, Dad's "baby" sister, says that comes from Dad's Quaker "first, do no harm" philosophy. Not a bad concept when you think about it, huh!

Prestige doesn't concern me much,
Neither does money or fame;
I'm not impressed by titles and such,
Nor awed by a famous name.

And furthermore, I care not a whit
To be told of your family tree;
Not concerned the least little bit
With your royal blue pedigree.

I've always been for the common man,
Who has to work for his dough;
The fellow who does the best he can,
While having a tough row to hoe.

I've been for him who doesn't have much
In the way of material things;
Who's used to battling life in a clutch,
And accepting whatever it brings.

I've been for the man who's had to cope,
And knows how it is to be poor;
Who's tied a knot in the end of his rope,
And defied the wolf at the door.

I'll favor the right of these little guys,
The reason is easy to see.
I really couldn't feel otherwise,
Because one of them is me!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

GUNG HO

Editor's Note: "Sometimes it seems our luck has run out and we might as well toss in the sponge -- but that's not the way to win a ball game," Dad wrote as the introduction to this insightful poem.

What in the world can a poor man do,
When his losses are many and his gains are few?
How can a fellow continue to hope,
When he's just about to the end of his rope?

How can the poor guy carry his load,
While pushing uphill on a rocky road,
Fighting ahead, to gain no more
Than what he already had before?

How can he hold his chin up high,
And keep a determined gleam in his eye,
While trying harder, only to find
He keeps on getting further behind?

It's easy to falter, and a great many will,
But a few press on to the top of the hill;
For this is the method that life employs
While separating the men from the boys!

Records of history will demonstrate well
The proof of the story I'm trying to tell;
The ones who win all the marbles and stuff
Are those who hang on when the going is tough.

So don't knuckle under, no matter what,
Give it the very best you have got;
Set your sights on a distant star --
You're never licked till you think you are!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

SLOW POKE

I'm not the sort of feller who
Is always in a stew,
I seldom get all lathered up
Like lots of people do;

Some folks think they have to go
In high gear all the time,
They say that resting is a sin,
And loafing is a crime.

That hurry, scurry kind of life
Was never meant for me,
The slow and easy-going type
I much prefer to be.

I've never had the least desire
To gallop through the day,
But like to take the time to smell
The flowers along the way.

I can't see any use in bein'
Forever on the run,
And maybe that's the reason why
I don't get nothin' done!

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

THE NON-VOTER

"A double-jointed mule can kick in any direction. So can a guy who doesn't vote on Election Day," Dad wrote in the introduction to this poem.

My neighbor never takes the time
To vote on election day;
I think he'd rather stay at home,
So he can always say
He didn't vote for so-and-so,
And then he'll rant and shout,
"It's time for all of us to rise,
And throw the rascals out!"

If Democrats are faring well,
And winning good and strong,
Then he's a hot Republican
And hollers loud and long.
But if the wheel of fortune brings
A turn-around from that,
And the G.O.P. should sweep the state,
He becomes a Democrat!

Like my neighbor, lots of folks
Are never satisfied;
No matter who's in office,
They're on the other side.
Election day, they won't assist
Any candidate to win,
So they can say they didn't help
To put the rascals in!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

OUR TRAP LINE

More than sixty winters
Down the line, have come and gone,
Since me and brother Frosty
Ran our traps before the dawn;
Sometimes the wind was howling,
And we fought the drifted snow;
It might be damp and foggy,
Or it could be ten below!

The moon still brightly shining,
Or as dark as pitch, perhaps;
No matter what the weather was,
We had to run our traps!
Muskrats, they were common,
Down along the open ditch,
But any time we caught a skunk,
We thought we'd struck it rich!

The pattern of his marking
We could hardly wait to see;
A "broad" would bring a dollar,
But a "star" would get us three!
We walked to school that morning,
Quite elated, and I guess,
We gave off all around us
The aroma of success.

Our teacher didn't take the time
To ask us where we'd been;
She simply took a whiff or two,
And sent us home again.
This didn't spoil our appetite
For trapping, I'll admit;
Besides the money, we received
A nice fringe benefit!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

GOLF!

Editor's Note: This poem seemed appropriate for this week since golf season is almost in full swing (pun intended).

Some friends of mine are golfers,
And they say it's lots of fun,
So I lets 'em take me out one day
To show me how it's done;
They said I'd take right to it
Like a kitten to a string--
The club was made to do the work,
All I had to do was swing!

When I see the other fellers,
And watches how they do it,
It seems to be so simple
There just ain't nothin' to it;
So I gits me out a golf ball,
And I sets it on a tee:
All the time a'thinkin'
How durn easy it's gonna be.

Well, I draws back my shillalah,
And I takes a mighty swing
Jist like the fellers showed me,
But I didn't hit a thing!
Said I,
Now what the dickens,
This won't do, by gee;
No little hunk o' rubber
'S gonna make a fool of me!"
So I grit my teeth and swung agin,
But I missed it jist as bad.
I sprained a lot of ligaments
I never dreamed I had!

Driver, spoon and brassie,
And the irons, I tried 'em all;
I moved a lot of real estate,
But I never touched that ball!
Mid them laffin' wild hyenas,
Right there and then I swore
With a little fancy language,
That my golfing days were o'er.
Next feller tries to take me out
And show me how it's done,
I'm gonna grab my twelve-gauge,
And make a hole in one!

--Down Country Roads (1970)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A PROUD BUCKEYE

Editor's Note: When I was born, my parents lived on a small farm in Ohio just across the Indiana state line. Since the only hospital within many miles was on the other side of that line, I was born a Hoosier. After about a year on the farm, we moved into town (half of which is in Ohio and half is in Indiana, by the way, and we were on the Indiana side). When I was in the third grade, we moved back to that same Ohio farm. I've been a "proud" Buckeye ever since!

I write as the "Buckeye Poet,"
Spelled with a capital B;
Using a lower case letter
Would not be favored by me.

Depending on how you spell it,
The meaning will be clear cut;
Webster tells us that "buckeye"
Is the name of a worthless nut!

I'm proud of being a Buckeye,
The handle suits me first rate;
It labels me as a native
Of Ohio, the Buckeye State.

Both my parents were Hoosiers,
And that is dandy and fine;
But I don't regret for a minute
Being born this side of the line.

A capital H makes Hoosier
An honorable title today,
But "hoosier" was formerly used
In a less complimentary way.

At any rate, in the future,
When you are referring to me,
I hope you do me the honor
Of using a capital B.

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

WHAT GOOD HAVE YOU DONE?

Editor's note: "It's awfully easy to become so obsessed with making good in the world that we're apt to forget we are supposed to be going a little good while we're here," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. Somehow it seems appropriate at a time when many of us are celebrating Easter and Passover.

"What good have you done,"
I inquired of a friend,
Who is getting along
Toward life's journey's end;
"What good have you done
In the years gone by,
What for the world
To remember you by?

Now, he knew that I knew
He had prospered in trade,
And he knew that I knew
Of the fortune he'd made;
So he thought I was speaking
In jest, and in fun,
When I asked him the question,
"What good have you done?"

"What good have you done?"
My query, this time,
Was asked of another
Good neighbor of mine.
He is well on his way
Toward making a name
For himself in the shaky
Political game;

He knows all the angles
And tricks of the trade,
And he cultivates well
The connections he's made;
And he bragged about all
Of the votes he had won,
When I asked him the question,
"What good have you done?"

"What good have you done?"
Perhaps you and I
Should examine ourselves
With a critical eye.
Do we measure success
By material things?
Do we cherish the status
Prosperity brings?

Do we want recognition
For the good that we do--
A pat on the back,
And a monument, too?
Can we answer these questions
All, one by one,
And still be content
With the good we have done?

The same criterion
Applies, you see,
To my friend, my neighbor,
To you, and to me:
Man was created
The brother of man,
To do unto others
The best that he can;

No matter how lowly
His station at birth,
Regardless of what
His estate may be worth;
It comes down to this:
When life's race is run,
We're all to be judged
By the good we have done!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

THE RIB

Away back there,
When the world began,
The Lord took a rib
From out of a man;
And so that Adam
Need not live alone,
He made a woman
From this hunk of bone,
And a few other things
That he had on hand--
A gob of clay,
And a few grains of sand;
Then He added a little
Of honey and spice,
Some curves here and there,
To make her look nice;
And then, from the stars
That brighten the skies,
He put that little twinkle
Of light in her eyes;
And when she was finished,
He called her a wife,
And Adam had trouble
The rest of his life!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

COUNTRY FLAVOR

It's time for Nature's reveille call,
And we know that Winter is done,
When birds and bees, and flowers and all
Awake to the Springtime sun.

Along with the coming of Spring are some
Of the signs of the changing scene;
Pleasing scents of the season will come
With the turning of brown to green.

I love the clean fresh smell in the air,
That comes with the April showers;
No store perfume will ever compare
With the fragrance of blossoming flowers.

I love the scent of the new-turned loam,
The gentle zephyrs will bring,
From the fields around our suburban home,
When the farmers plow in the Spring.

I love the aroma of new-mown hay,
As it cures in the Summer sun;
I love the smell as they stow it away
In the barn, when haying is done.

If country odors were all like these,
Everything would be Heavenly there;
But now and then, borne on the breeze,
Is a smell that would curl your hair!

When one of these rare odors assail
A veteran born to the range,
He holds his breath and doesn't inhale,
As he waits for the wind to change!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

THE JUST REWARD

A rich man went to Heaven,
And stopped upon the stair,
While an angel opened wide the book,
To find his record there.

He said, "This page is blank, sir,
Now, that seems very queer --
Did you do nothing down on earth
To earn admission here?

The rich man thought a moment,
As he slowly scratched his head,
And then his eyes, they brightened,
And this is what he said.

"Why yes, I just remembered,
This ought to do the trick!
I once gave a man a dollar
Who was destitute and sick."

The angel closed the record
When the interview was through,
Then turned to old St. Peter
And asked him what to do.

St. Peter stroked his whiskers,
And then said, "Very well.
Let's give the man his dollar back,
And tell him to go to Hell!"

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

I guess it's human nature,
When your race is nearly run,
To think what you've accomplished,
And how you might have done.

I could have played it smarter
Back when I was in my prime,
If I'd been more concerned about
The way I spent my time.

I might have made more money,
Stashing more of it away;
A little cushion, so to speak,
Toward a rainy day.

I could have skimped a smidgen,
Saved a dollar here and there;
Who knows, I might have ended up
A multi-millionaire!

But then, I'd face my maker
With a broken heart, I know,
For I couldn't take it with me
When my time had come to go.

So, everything considered,
I would rather not begin
To do a lot of grieving
Over how it might have been.

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

FUMBLE

Editor's note: "I'm sure a great many bridegrooms have indulged in the expectations of being the lead horse of the married team," Dad wrote as an introduction to this poem. I'm sure that's true of most bridegrooms even today -- and I'm just as sure the outcome is the same as well.

Before our wedding bells had runs,
I made a vow that I
Would be the boss, and rule the roost,
Or know the reason why.

I felt so certain things would go
The way I had them planned;
Get started right, and never let
Her get the upper hand.

Of course, I didn't think it wise
To crack the whip too soon;
There'd be plenty of time for that
After the honeymoon.

I might have been less confident
If I had only known
That she had been engaging in
Some planning of her own!

Too late, I realized that I
Had missed my only chance
For making good my early vow
That I would wear the pants.

Before the dust had settled,
I knew I'd lost the race,
For she was off and running,
Leaving me in second place.

It wasn't quite a total loss,
Nor yet a fruitless try;
I didn't get to be the boss,
But I know the reason why!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

SENSE-LESS

Editor's Note: There's no question that our five senses deteriorate with the passing of years, so it's a blessing when one of them holds up exceptionally well, Dad wrote in his introduction to this poem. I couldn't agree more!

Down through the years,
I've been much aware
Of the taxing conditions
We call wear and tear.

The way our physical
Beings degrade,
And how the keenness
Of senses will fade.

We're destiny bent,
Retrograding to dust;
Contending we'll never,
While knowing we must.

I'm no longer sharp
In my hearing and sight,
Nor do I remember
As well as I might.

But one thing affords me
Satisfaction immense--
Time has not dimmed
My olfactory sense.

So, I'm feeling thankful
And fortunate, too,
That I keep on smelling
As good as I do!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

DOING UNTO EVERYBODY

The Good Book teaches us that we
Should treat all men as brothers;
The Golden Rule to be our guide
In doing unto others.

I try to live the way I should,
And I do the best I can
To show good will and equity
Toward my fellow man.

Modern day philosophers
Expound on this as well;
In fact, nobody disagrees,
As far as I can tell.

And furthermore, they all advise
That someday we will be
Accountable for what we do
For our posterity.

All of this is well and good;
I won't equivocate;
But also, we must bear in mind
To not discriminate.

I'll treat them all the same, although,
As far as I can see,
Posterity has never done
A doggone thing for me!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

THE QUIZ KID

Editor's note: "Little boys ask questions, and little boys demand answers. The quality of their preschool education sometimes depends a great deal on the wisdom, mental dexterity, diplomacy and tact of Grandpa." I always figured Dad had our son Scott in mind when he wrote that introduction to this poem. Scott (and later his sister Christine) used to love spending a couple of weeks "down on the farm" with their Grandpa and Grandma Pickett each summer -- and knowing Scott, I'm sure there was no shortage of questions.

Grandfathers all will tell you
It's a super-human task
To answer all the questions
That little fellers ask.

Grandpa, where is Heaven,
Do they have McDonald's there?
Do butterflies have babies,
And why don't snakes have hair?

How do honey bees make honey?
And do fishes sleep at night?
He wonders why the sky is blue,
And why the snow is white.

Grandpa fibs a little bit,
Sometimes, to make a show,
For it would hurt his image
To admit he doesn't know.

And many of the riddles
Coming from thie little man,
Even Solomon couldn't answer,
But he thinks his Grandpa can!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A SMILE

Like a little ray of sunshine
On a dark and gloomy day,
A little bit of cheeriness
Will go a long, long way;
When things are going backward,
And a body's feelin' blue,
It's a most amazing wonder
What a little smile can do.

When the blahs have really got you,
And you're most inclined to frown,
You don't look very pretty
When your smile is upside down;
So brighten up your visage,
You'll feel better if you do.
What's more, somebody else may get
The point, and try it too.

So when I'm socializing,
Or just walking down the street,
I try to smile a greeting to most everyone I meet;
Though some may think I'm silly
To be grinning all the while,
I may give a lift to others
With a warm and friendly smile.

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

THE SUPER-FELLOW

Editor's note: Perhaps because of his Quaker background, Dad never felt he was better than anyone else; for him, it was do unto others and live and let live. He was a hard worker and proud of his accomplishments (and those of others), but he had little use for anyone who "put on airs."

He was quite a dignitary,
Not of ordinary stride,
And his name was quoted frequently
In circles far and wide.
Many were his lackeys,
This man of great renown,
And his wishes were commandments
To the elders of the town.

Fortune seemed to follow
Every venture he began,
For he, you see, was truly
Not an ordinary man.
But Mortal never holds back
The time nor the tide,
And so eventually, of course,
This man of stature died.

His coffin was selected
From the finest and the best.
Expenses were no object
When they carried him to rest.
At peace beneath the daisies now,
This super-fellow lies,
But he's resting in a hole
That's just of ordinary size!

--Autumn Acres (1982)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

UPS AND DOWNS

Now it has been established,
People everywhere behave
On a scientific schedule,
From the cradle to the grave.

They call it biorhythm,
And it's easy understood--
We have a string of bad days,
Then we have a string of good.

With rhythmic undulations,
Like the tide, it ebbs and flows,
Going up to reach the high points,
Then down into the lows.

Sometimes I do have good days,
When I'm really going strong,
But more, it seems, the other kind,
When everything goes wrong!

If I could change the program,
I'd be having, goodness knows,
A little less of this kind,
And a little more of those!

--Square Marbles (1978)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

FLY-SPECK PHILOSOPHY

Editor's note: This one is a favorite of Dad's sister, Olive Alspach, who's a resident of The Brethren's Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio, where Dad lived. It's a favorite of mine as well.

The Good Book tells us mortal man
Was made from common clay,
And also that in a thousand years,
To God, is like one day.

The vastness of the universe
Is hard to understand,
But every human being's like
One little grain of sand.

Contemplating all of this,
Eternity, and such,
The time and space we occupy
Just don't amount to much!

We linger very briefly,
On our way in passing by;
We cannot slacken off our pace,
No matter how we try.

It seems like only yesterday
That I was in my prime;
And now, in almost nothing flat,
I'm running out of time!

I sprang from dust, and soon will be
Returning to the same;
But though it's been too short a stay,
I'm awfully glad I came!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

RE-RESOLVE

New Year's Day has come again,
Another year is spent!
And though it's gone, to save my soul,
I don't know where it went!

It seems like only yesterday
The old year had begun,
And I made resolutions,
Just the way I've always done.

I never fail to make 'em,
If only one or two;
I feel, for self-improvement,
It's the proper thing to do.

I know I have my foibles,
And I'm really proud to say,
I lay 'em on the table,
Never fail, come New Year's Day!

It takes a little gumption,
But I'm certain, if you try,
With honest self-appraisal,
You can do as well as I.

I've made a couple good ones
For this New Year, even though
I really haven't used the ones
I made a year ago!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)