Category Archives: poetry

Rebuilding

The retaining wall that keeps the yard from flowing downhill into the park and down to the creek, is now growing back upwards, visibly straighter and better grounded than it was before.

In his poem “Mending Wall”, Robert Frost suggested that the wall dividing his property and the neighbor’s property is constantly falling down and requiring mending. He gets together with his neighbor and they replace the fallen stones, mending the wall between them. And then the neighbor says the oft-quoted line, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Ironically, the neighbor is not saying that having a wall between them makes them better neighbors. He is saying that their friendship is built on mending the wall together.

And so it is with me and number two son as we labor together to straighten the foundation stones and replace all the heavy stone bricks that we had to remove to get to them. It is hard work, slowed by heavy bricks, one arthritic back, multiple rainy days, cold weather, and fatigue. But slowly we have problem-solved together, discussed the state of the world, and mended the wall. We have also mended our working relationship as father and son. A good wall makes a stronger family in the Frostian sense.

And so, I have come to see how life imitates art, and work begets poetry. A little sunshine creeps back into the picture when you engage in a little rebuilding.

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Filed under commentary, family, irony, metaphor, philosophy, poetry

Idealism

Idealism (a poem)

When I was but a stupid boy

I had a stupid thought

That if you told a story well

And that story was easily bought

That you could save yourself from hell

If the story was rightly wrought

And the telling would end in joy.

………………..

But when I was an awkward youth

I tried my tale to spin

And awkwardly my words went wrong

And my story failed to win

And readers sang that critical song

And laughter crept right in

And my steering was not strong

My story was uncouth.

……………….

But as a mostly mature man

I tried to tell the truth

And live my life by a mature code

And profit from lessons of youth

And composed a much more stable ode

That rhymed while showing tooth

And defended my small abode.

I executed my story’s plan.


Finally, I wisely became real old

And I warily and wisely began to lie

I made of life a serious joke

And ate my small piece of the pie

I laughed and watched the faces in the smoke

As the fires began to die

And I made the point as I wisely awoke

My story is now told.

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Filed under autobiography, commentary, humor, irony, metaphor, Paffooney, poem, poetry, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Dr. Dinkleblatter’s Diagnosis

I went to see Dr. Dinkleblatter…

Because I wanted to find out what the hell was the matter…

He said, in a way that was rather unkind…

“I’m ninety percent certain that you’ve lost your mind!”

Of course, I went home and was really quite shaken.

I was halfway convinced my poor mind had been taken.

And halfway convinced that I would be disgraced…

If it only turned out that my mind was misplaced.

So, I searched the whole house, and to my utter relief…

In my underwear drawer under white cotton briefs…

I found my old journal with cover dark brown,

And there was my thinking all quite written down.

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Filed under autobiography, humor, mental health, Paffooney, poem, poetry

How the Story Ends

fox1

How the Story Ends (a poem of sour grapes)

This is how the story ends…

When fox plus grapes make themes.

It tells you all the grapes are sour…

So give up on your dreams.

 

But that is not the fox I know…

At least, not how it seems.

The fox who knew the little Prince

Knew love will live in dreams.

 

The fox I know would think of ways

To live and work in teams

He’d find a farmer, kind and large,

And share with him the dreams.

 

The fox would learn to plant and grow

Grape seeds in warm sunbeams,

He’d tend and also harvest

And then he’d have his dreams.

 

And so, when thinking the story ends,

And not accepting themes

Remember that stories never end

If you don’t deny your dreams.

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Get Up and Do!

Theodore_Roethke

It is daunting when bad fortune comes in waves, drowning us in debt, suffering, disabling illness, financial reversals, and so many more things I have been through this last year personally, so that we want to lie down and never get up.

But, I am not dead yet…  and there is poetry to be lived.

I say that as one of the world’s fifty worst poets who ever lived.   (In my defense, I am a humorist, and I write bad poetry on purpose.)  My inspiration for the living of poetry comes from reading and living good poetry.   I live because there is poetry by Walt Whitman.  Of course, also Shakespeare… whoever he really was.  And I understand that much of what I have learned in my brief and stupidly-lived 61 years comes from the poetry of the visionary poet I pictured above.  Do you know him?  If you have never read his poetry, you haven’t truly lived the poetry you need to live.

This poet taught me that “Being, not doing, is my first love.”  Of course, if I am satisfied with just sitting on my bed and “being” through most of my day, I will starve to death and not “be” anymore.  But he has taught me that what is essential is already within me.  There is wisdom and power in Uncle Ted’s poetry.  (Yes, I know I am not really related to him, but that’s only physical and overlooks the spiritual.)  I must partake of it to live.

Lovely bliss quotes Theodore Roethke Quotes

If you are bored by poetry about plants in a greenhouse under bright lights, or you can never understand what the poet means when he says, “My father was a fish”, then you need to practice reading poetry more.  You don’t truly understand what poetry is, and what it is for… yet.

quote-i-learned-not-to-fear-infinity-the-far-field-the-windy-cliffs-of-forever-the-dying-of-theodore-roethke-44-38-26

marilyn

And I am sure you have probably concluded from all of this that I am a fool and a bad poet and I have no right to try to tell you who and what a truly great poet is.  But, fool that I am, I know it when I see it.  It is there in the verse, the hideous and horrible… the beautiful and the true.  And if I know anything at all worth telling about the subject, it is this; Ted Roethke is a great American poet.  And he writes poetry that you need to read… and not only read but live.

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Filed under artists I admire, commentary, insight, inspiration, poetry, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Foopty-Hoodooloo

Ima mickey33

I’m a Mickey, yes, indeedy…

Foopty-Hoopty-Hoodilly-Hoo!

Chicken-ninja throwing stars,

Hit their targets thrown from Mars…

Foopty-Hoodilly-Hee

And when the pandas drive their cars,

Their tire treads are candy bars!

Take that truth from me!

Animal Town212

Foopty-Hoopty-Fiddly-Ho!

Being a Mickey is a rabbity thing…

As if it were Bugs who taught us to sing,

And unmusical music we all start to bring…

Because we use only the words that we know!

Foopty-Hoodilly-Fling-a-ding-Ding!

castle carrot

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Chances Are…

Postable Paffoonies

Chances are… I could wear a foolish grin, like a Johnny Mathis Moon in the sky…

I could waltz… all alone in a dark room, never seizing on the chances to fly…

But there’s a time… meant to let the summer in…

And love songs… all make me wonder… Why?

Silly, I know.  But silly and surreal is how I go, how I deal with the time.  A song in my head leads to rhythm and metaphor and rhyme.  And it takes me from old winter and the waning of the moon… to the silly month of June… And my dancing shoes were never quite so spry.

Chances are… if you really read this, you will know I am depressed.

My life is all unfairly messed.

And I barely can get dressed…

To go tripping cross the floor, dancing awkwardly toward the door, ’cause I’m in need of so much more.

But in a poem I find it… the very reason that I rhymed it… like the crooning song that’s stuck in my old head…

I will catch it, and I’ll bind it, like a fool who hopes you’ll find it, and the treasure will be revealed before we’re dead…

Chances are… that you hear that silly tune, as it reels across the page in silent spread.  And the song will slowly stop, as I dance a final hop, and the answer is brightly shining in my head.

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Filed under Depression, feeling sorry for myself, finding love, healing, humor, magic, music, Paffooney, poetry