Sunday, March 25, 2012


When I look into my mirror,
I am forced to realize
That, in any beauty contest,
I would never win a prize.

My face is not my fortune,
If it were, I'd be in Dutch,
For my financial statement,
It would not amount to much.

I suppose I could be bitter
That I'm not a handsome blade,
And my mug is not real pretty--
But I wouldn't care to trade,

For when I start comparing it
With others, down the line,
I don't see many, really,
That I'd rather have than mine!

My face, no, I don't mind it,
That's why I smile a lot;
I try to treat it kindly--
It's the only one I've got!

--Square Marbles (1978)

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Editor's note: "I guess everyone likes to put on the dog a little bit, but different people do it in different ways," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. "While some go for things as modern as next year's hat, others spend their hard-earned shekels for bits of antiquity."

Some folks like to have the latest
Style in everything they own,
While others search the universe
For older things to fill their home.
To have whatever you would like,
I must admit, is very nice;
And it's all right with me, of course,
If you can stand to pay the price.

Ancient things are bringing more
Than if the stuff were made of gold;
With prices high up in the sky,
It's worth a lot because it's old.
My Lucy says she doesn't care
For antique furniture and such,
No early period things for her,
She much prefers the modern touch.

We don't have real expensive things,
Or spend a lot to decorate
Our little home; it's only that
She likes to keep it up to date.
When something starts to show its age,
She goes and trades it in, you see;
I guess the only worn-out thing
She keeps around the house is me!

Hominy Grits (1986)

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Editor's note: "When it seems the whole world is about to cave in on you, a teaspoonful of encouragement is worth two quarts of sympathy," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem.

When the burden you carry is heavy,
And your will is beginning to wane,
And you wonder if ever the sunshine
Will come to conquer the rain;

Wouldn't it be like a rainbow,
And clear the clouds away, too,
If somebody walked up and said,
"I heard something nice about you?"

A smile, a word, or a handshake,
From someone along the way,
Could make your load a lot lighter,
And brighten a dull dreary day.

Wouldn't you find it rewarding,
When you come to a hard day's end,
To feel a hand on your back,
And hear, "Well done, my friend!"

Wouldn't it be a great blessing,
If you knew, in times of despair,
You had a friend you could turn to,
And find encouragement there?

Without a great deal of effort,
Perhaps this all would come true;
If you'd be this kind toward others,
They might be as kind toward you!

Hominy Grits (1986)

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Editor's note: "There are many ways to make money, and many ways to spend it," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. "But the time will come when you won't need it!"

I've made a bit of money,
In my lifetime here on earth,
But I don't have much to boast of,
When I total up my worth.

I've barely broken even,
And I guess that is fine,
Although there's nothing showing,
When I reach the bottom line.

Some people call it moola,
While others call it jack;
They spend it by the bushel,
And hoard it by the stack.

Spondulics, bread or sugar,
I guess it's all the same;
It really doesn't matter,
For there's nothing in a name.

Though you may call it lucre,
Or to you it's scratch or dough,
You still can't take it with you
When your time has come to go.

For when you seek admission
To the land of milk and honey,
The bottom line will be how much
You're worth without your money!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)