Sunday, April 25, 2010


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


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


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


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)