Sunday, July 31, 2011


Saint Peter and Satan, they say,
Had a big disagreement one day,
And their tempers soon escalated;
Each thought the other should fix
The gate by the River Styx,
Which kept their domains separated.

As he spoke in the red telephone,
Saint Peter, in menacing tone,
Told the Devil his patience was waning;
He said, "I guess you're the sort
That has to be taken to court,
That's my only recourse remaining."

The Devil cackled with glee,
He said, "You're gonna sue me?
Just how do you think you can do it?
Consider a minute or two,
Because, I think, if you do,
You'll find there's a little more to it!

"If you threaten invasion of Hell
By force, I know very well
You might raise a great army of warriors;
But when you say you will sue,
That's a horse of a different hue.
Old boy, you don't have any lawyers!"

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Editor's note: "Nobody is happy about the weather all the time," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. "Some complain about it more than others, and everybody comments on it when they can't think of anything else to say."

Whatever the kind of weather
You'll seldom hear me complain;
It makes no difference whether
It's a blizzard or mid-summer rain.

Or when the north wind is blowing,
Cold enough to tingle your spine,
Or sleeting or hailing or snowing,
With me, the weather is fine!

If the mercury goes above ninety,
And it's muggy and humid today,
No matter how droopy I'm feeling,
I'll declare the weather's okay!

I don't prefer lousy weather,
Could do very well without it;
But since I can't have my druthers,
There's no use to holler about it.

Snowing, blazing or blowing,
In Summer, Winter or Fall,
Whatever kind we are having,
It's better than nothing at all!

To the Man who creates the weather,
I say, "You're doing just fine,
And I won't complain about your work
If you don't complain about mine!

Hominy Grits (1986)

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Editor's note: "Positive thinking is a powerful weapon against the encroachment of senior debilitations," Dad wrote as the introduction of this poem. Amen to that, but I'll be the first one to add that the older I get the harder it is to do!

The bitter pill of growing old,
I'm sure you've heard it said,
Is really just a state of mind,
It's only in your head.

Father Time exacts from all
A toll, but it appears
Some maintain the glow of youth
Into their senior years.

I understand this premise,
And I'm willing to concede
A youthful way of thinking
Helps to keep you young indeed.

Observing different ways of life
Would lead us to conclude
How well you handle growing old
Is in your attitude.

Your friends may all assure you
There is little cause for dread
Of growing old, because it's
Altogether in your head.

But when they put it that way,
Somebody's kidding you;
Take it from your Uncle Slim,
It's other places, too!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Editor's note: "Your assets are listed on one side of the sheet, and your liabilities on the other," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. "I guess you're not supposed to add them together."

My banker said he'd like to have
A statement, up to date,
So he could see, in black and white,
My true financial state.

The numbers didn't seem to make
A bit of sense to me;
I didn't have a bottom line,
As far as I could see.

To solve the whole dilemma,
It was clear the only way
Was to give the whole kaboodle
To the local CPA.

How that fellow pawed the dust
Was something else to see;
At handling figures, he could make
A monkey out of me!

He noted what my income was,
And showed how much I spent;
He spelled it out, precise and clear,
Where every nickel went.

He showed a right substantial sum,
There on the bottom line;
But then, he went and spoiled it
With that ugly minus sign!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Editor's note: Since many folks are enjoying picnics and cook-outs in honor of Independence Day this weekend, I thought this poem would be appropriate. Nothing, I hasten to add, has ever tasted better than fresh-from-the-coop chicken fried up in a pan by my mother -- dad's "Lucy" -- even though most times I had to help her scrape off all the pinfeathers first (dunking the bird in a bucket of boiling water and then adding a little elbow grease usually did the trick)!

They call it Southern recipe,
They call it finger-lickin';
I guess there's fifty-seven ways
For fixin' frying chicken!

Some brown it on a griddle,
After they stew or bake it;
But no one fixes chicken
Like my mother used to make it!

Half a dozen spices,
Or eleven -- doesn't matter;
Mom used salt and pepper
In a milk and cornmeal batter.

The bony parts are useless,
Mom never even fried 'em;
Now they sell 'em anyhow,
But try their best to hide 'em.

The wishbone's non-existent,
And the thighs are abrogated;
The breast is subdivided,
With the ribs incorporated.

That chicken used to have a tail,
Protruding out behind it;
And I suspect it's there somewhere,
If only I could find it!

You can use a pressure cooker,
Or you can broil or grill it;
But don't tell me you fried it
If it never saw a skillet!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)