Sunday, October 30, 2011


Editor's note: "On winter evenings many years ago, basking in the warmth of the old base-burner in the "sitting room," two little boys were not very enthusiastic about retiring to their unheated bedroom," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. January isn't here yet, but since I'm seeing reports of heavy snowfall in other parts of the country, I figured this is a good time to remind ourselves of what it was like in the "good old days."

In our old farm house, long ago,
When I was five or six, or so,
And January came along,
And winter set in good and strong,
We hated so to go to bed,
In chilly quarters overhead;
My younger brother Frosty, he
Was two years younger yet than me.

We hesitated on the stair,
For it was mighty cold up there;
Both were entertaining dread
Of climbing in our frigid bed,
But Mother countervailed our fear
By gently nudging from the rear;
We were still reluctant, though,
Those winter evenings, long ago.

Finally, in our straw-tick bed,
With rafters creaking overhead,
Covers tucked around us tight,
We snuggled for the winter night;
And when the angry north wind came,
To rattle window sash and frame,
Little mounds of drifted snow
Appeared upon the sill below.

After snuffing out the light,
Mother vanished from our sight,
Quietly down the narrow stair,
Leaving us to shiver there;
Wrapped in flannel, at our feet,
Two flat irons provided heat;
No electric blanket, though,
Those winter nights of long ago!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Editor's note: "I guess there's nothing wrong in acting like a simple-minded idiot, if that's what you're being paid to do," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem.

A little nonsense, now and then,
Is relished by the best of men;
And very rare indeed is one
Who can't enjoy a bit of fun.

Through the ages, fools have known
A favored place before the throne;
For even monarchs like to smile,
And be amused once in a while.

Ancient peoples tried to bring
Some entertainment to their king;
And sought to add a lighter touch
By hiring jokers, fools and such.

History tells us George the Third
Was quite a crusty, sad old bird;
But had a jester on his staff,
To horse around, and make him laugh.

Queen Victoria, even she
Had not one royal fool, but three!
It took some doing to erase
That sour expression from her face.

Modern leaders hesitate
At hiring Jokers Designate;
But that's okay, for quite a few
Are in the House -- and Senate, too!

--Acres of Verse (1994)

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Editor's note: Given the economic woes of the world (and the folks who occupy it), this poem seems appropriate for this week. And given that it was written some 25 years ago, it seems the more things change, the more they stay the same!

Financial experts tell us
We should have a savings plan,
And get the thing established
Just as quickly as we can.

For, fiscal independence
Is the goal to keep in sight,
And saving on a schedule
Is the way to do it right.

You can't expect perfection,
And you'll have to understand
That things won't always happen
In the order you have planned.

I've had a little trouble,
As I realized I would,
In sticking to my schedule,
But I've done the best I could

In looking down the road a bit,
It's pretty plain to see
How my financial planning
Has been working out for me.

If I continue saving
At about my present rate,
I'll owe a million dollars
At the age of ninety-eight!

Hominy Grits (1986)

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Some years ago, when I was just
A bit a-helpin' Pa,
He used to say, "Son, measure twice
Before you start to saw."

Measure twice before you start
To saw a board in two,
It's a pretty good rule, no matter
What the job you have to do.

I've thrown away a board or two,
And, some I've had to splice;
And all because I didn't take
The time to measure twice!

It always pays to double check,
Before you carry on,
For once you've cut a board too short,
The time you saved is gone.

And so, in life, at work or play,
Remember Pa's advice,
And always, before you start to saw,
Be sure to measure twice!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Editor's note: "Every bard since Homer has composed a verse or two about autumn," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. "Surely one or two more won't hurt much."

I love the Autumn season,
When a nip is in the air;
And silver patches glisten
On the rooftops, here and there.

The frost is on the pumpkin,
And the beans are in the bin;
A bumper crop of yellow corn
Is being gathered in.

Overhead, in vee formation,
Flocks of geese are flying high,
Winging on to warmer quarters,
Underneath a southern sky.

This bright October weather
Really suits me to a T;
If it stayed like this forever,
It would be okay with me!

But I know a change is coming
'Round the corner just ahead,
And I always face the Winter
With a little bit of dread.

We can't control the weather,
But I'd give 'most anything
If we could skip a season,
And go straightway into Spring!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)