Observation Series #2 - Poetic comments on everyday happenings, sometimes with a political or moral comment. To read Series #1.

          A Knock on the Window

          Saturday was my poetry day,
          Where poets gathered from across the state
          In the library next to Rose Park,
          Though in March not one in bloom.

          The muses were in rare form
          As magnificent floral words,
          Some in iambic pentameter, rhyme, and free verse,
          Filled the air.
          Laughter and applause
          Were also on the venue.

          Upon leaving, the rains fell,
          Not in droplets but buckets,
          Making for an especially miserable exit.
          Even the mad dash to the car
          Could not save one from the drench.

          Enclosed now in the steel cocoon,
          Sealed off from the pelting rain,
          Relief crossed the face
          And relaxed the body.
          Pulling out,
          The car ready to head homeward
          To warmth and shelter.

          Without warning,
          A pounding on my window,
          “Please! Please!” came the cry.
          “Help me!”

          In my face a woman stood begging,
          Soaked to the core.
          Her blue down coat, glistening from the rain.
          The drawstring hood tied tightly,
          Revealing only the oval acne scarred face
          Contorted in desperation.

          “I need to get to the shelter.
          $3 will get me in for the night.
          You can call to see that I am not lying.
          Please help me!”

          All the glorious words
          Heard only minutes ago
          Evaporated into the reality of life
          And the struggle for survival.

          Unable to turn or escape,
          I peered into the face of desperation
          Like one never seen before.
          Words I have so often heard,
          “But for the grace of God go I”
          Flooded my mind
          As I reached out to help.

          Days have passed,
          But that face still haunts me.

          Comments: Yes, I helped her to get to the shelter for the night. Yet on the way home I thought with shame of the many times I have brushed off the panhandlers with disdain. I soothed my conscience with comments that they would only waste the money. Besides, they needed to get a job. Yes, even subconsciously there may have been the superior feeling that I was somehow of greater worth in God's eyes. But as I read the sacred texts of the major religions, those thoughts do not ring true. Instead, they speak of our responsibilities to others. Jesus, whose life and ministry is honored today, dedicated his ministry to touching those most in need.

    A Life Snapshot

    A child’s cry is heard
    ....above the Pacific waves.
    Underneath a Banyan tree,
    ....shaded from the intense sun,
    ....mother and grandmother
    ....cradle and console.
    The beach and mountains
    ....serve as a background tapestry
    ....to this all too human scene.
    Soon, the child quiets
    ....and only the sounds
    ....of the ocean remain.

    Comments:: I was on a Maui beach when I observed this small human drama.

            The Paramedic

            The sleet continues to fall.
            Sirens blare,
            .....barely able to stay on the road.
            What awaits when we arrive?

            I have trained so long.
            I’ve seen and heard so much.
            .....The mask of death
            .....The first breath of life
            .....The last words uttered
            .....The first words to the newborn

            Some days I cry
            .....and on others rejoice.
            For I care.

            What awaits when we arrive?
            Whatever, I will be there.

            Comments: This was a commissioned poem for a gift to a paramedic. A simple tribute to those who our lives may depend on someday.

    What Story?

    The two hug and kiss
    .....warming those around.
    The exchange
    .....obviously, too familiar.
    What untold tale explains this rendezvous?
    Each is through security
    .....before the embrace occurs.
    Actions well-hint
    .....that the event is so timed.
    Are they lovers
    .....headed for a clandestine tryst?
    Or, perhaps married
    .....coming from different directions
    .....to rekindle the flame.
    Whichever, their day promises warmth
    .....far greater than the frigid air outside.

    Comments: Another airport event that intrigued me.

    Bless the Children
    The youngster’s hands in the air
    .....the shoulders swaying to the music
    .....pigtails moving this way and that
    The choir sings on
    The congregation sits so staid and motionless

    .....except for a few discreet tapping of fingers
    Soon great-grandmother spots what is happening

    .....and begins to move with the child
    I laugh in celebration

    Comments: One Sunday in church, I observed the young girl, perhaps four or five, moving to the music. When great-grandmother joined in, a huge smile crossed my face. I have a feeling that the Creator also smiled.

    Untitled series of shorts
    The bowl* rings
    I ride the waves to infinity

    referencing the sound from a Tibetan prayer bowl used during meditation.


    The brisk wind
    Bends the waving palms

    The early morning sun
    Casts distinct shadows
    Across the white sand

    A lone gull dances
    Soon joined by others

    Anchored amid the white caps
    Bobbing boats await
    The return of their crews
    And a more soothing lullaby


    So cool, so fresh.
    The water enters every pore
    ....washing away the fatigue,
    ....awakening the inner soul,
    ....spreading healing, sensual warmth.


    The dark bittersweet chocolate
    ....explodes the taste buds.
    The crunch of the peanuts
    ....expose and intermingle with rich flavors.
    A just reward following an invigorating ride.


    Paths cross and intertwine
    ....in this mysterious journey.

    On rare occasions,
    ....a light brighter than others
    ....attracts beyond explanation.
    All one desires is to feel its warmth.


    The haze of summer
    ....is not yet here.

    The scent of spring
    ....is in the air.

    Thoughts turn
    ....to new beginnings.

    Comments: I hope you enjoyed!

    Father of the Bride

    A tuxedoed man walks among the crowd,
    a subtle sense of loss on his face,
    almost asking, “Can it be?”
    There is a void
    for he comprehends
    that his life has changed forever.
    His once little girl is a woman,
    a new bride.
    Soon, he again becomes
    the doting father
    shaking hands and greeting
    those who have come to celebrate
    the two lives now joined.

    Comments: I recently attended a friend's wedding of his only daughter. During the reception my eyes were drawn to him for a few moments. He appeared lost and melancholy. Suddenly, the mood passed, and he was again smiling and shaking hands. I scribbled the draft of this poem on a napkin during those moments of observation. Later, I gave him a poet print of it that included a picture of his daughter. He smiled and said that it captured the feelings he was experiencing at the time.

    Balloon Festival

    An azure intense sky with white puffs
    is accompanied by a gentle breeze,

    The sun will soon set,
    already casting its amber hues.

    With a roar! The flames vent,
    as the super heated air creates its magic.

    Every color of the spectrum
    blooms and ascends heavenward.

    With their lift off,
    so leave the burdens for the day.

    Comments: I attended my first hot air balloon festival last summer in Ashland, Ohio. (It is a yearly event.) The combination of colors, excitement, and spectacular lift-offs create quite a festive atmosphere.

    Me and Mini

    Too late for a mid life crisis,
    .Or perhaps my inner self
    ......is coming out.
    Is it the fine lines
    ......that move me,
    ......or the sensuous glow to the chassis,
    ......or perhaps the warm embrace
    ......received upon being seated?
    The total package is definitely stunning.
    Later, as we come to know each other,
    ......while traveling the fast lane,
    ......her purr is music to my ears.
    All and all, we make a perfect match,
    ......my Mini Cooper and me.

    Comments: Yes, I purchased a new car, the Mini Cooper S. What a fun vehicle it is! Most of my work that appears in the PJ is rather serious. I thought I would lighten up the tone a bit with the above poem. To the right is the new beauty. By the way, at 6 foot 3 inches, I have no problems fitting into this machine.

    A Toast to You on 2007

    Only yesterday, the hubbub surrounded
    ......the arrival of the new millennium.
    Some even predicted dire consequences,
    ......the fall of civilization.
    Well into the first millennial decade
    ......the fearsome Y2K bug
    ......is a mere blip on the screen of history.
    Instead, 9-11, Darfur, Iraq, to name a few of many
    ......have left deep scars upon the human scene.

    What unknowns will 2007 conjure?
    One can only conjecture.
    But whatever the future holds,
    ......on this New Year’s Eve,
    I wish you each a happy and rewarding 2007.

    Comments: It only seemed fitting to have at least one poem related to this special season, which includes the start of a New Year and new opportunities. Please accept this poem as my heartfelt wish for you.

    The Curse of Economy Class

    The flight is full.
    Due to an “equipment” change to a smaller plane,
    ......the computer assigns me seat 18B
    ......instead of my usual aisle.
    "This is not good – crunch time."

    Overhead bins are closing
    ......though eyes focus on one final suitcase
    ......being frantically shoved into a compressed space.
    An already seated road warrior watches warily
    ......lest his suit coat receives the gift of new creases.
    Some smile; others are amazed.
    Miracles happen – the case is in; the lid is closed.
    The warrior relaxes.

    At last, door hatches are locked,
    ......seatbelts tights,
    ......seatbacks up,
    ......safety film rolling,
    ......my knees rest against 17B,
    ......as we enter the friendly skies.

    There he sits in the seat ahead,
    ......an unknown senior.
    “Will he or won’t he?”
    ......the inward duality asked
    ......during each flight.
    My expectations are low
    ......but my hopes high.

    Soon the voice somberly declares
    ......that electronic devices are permissible.
    iPods exit pockets, and laptops flash on.
    Should I or shouldn’t I open my computer?
    There is much work to do.
    I will take a gamble
    Looks okay, “Yes.”

    “Ouch!” my knees scream
    ......as 17B’s seat goes into full recline –
    ......without nary a glance backwards.
    Curses and expletives flood my mind
    ......as my love for humankind begins to falter.
    New dastardly and shameful wishes
    ......creep and then rush in.
    Who is this ogre?
    Doesn’t he understand the unwritten rules
    ......of traveling economy?

    As I peer about through my mutterings,
    ......only 17B has his seat reclined.
    (Further comments are edited for our young readers.)

    Four hours later,
    ......they pry me out of the sardine can.
    I offer an alligator smile
    ......as 17B wishes me the best.

    Comments: If you fly at all and are not fortunate enough to fly first class, you can empathize with this poem. I happen to be 6'3" tall so I have experienced the above on too many occasions. The worst was an overnight flight from Singapore to Germany, 13+ hours. I have even had my laptop screen almost shattered due to an individual suddenly reclining with nary a glance backward. I now kindly ask the person ahead to please let me know if they plan to recline so I can close the laptop first. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this rather humorous look at the curse of economy.

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