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Goodwill to all Mankind. Really?


(Aleppo’s Children)
As people tear open their presents on the morning of December twenty-fifth, chortle over their loot, the things they didn’t really need, or complain they didn’t get what they wanted, or they spent much more money on their family, than their family did on them, and an argument breaks out, or they take another pill for their hangover, or shout at their children to shut up, I wonder how many will stop to count their blessings, stop complaining, and think for a moment about the children in Aleppo. Think for a moment that they will not be waking up to presents, toys, stockings stuffed, stockings flowing over, and spilling candy on the floor. No, these innocent little ones will be waking up to rifles crashing. They will be waking up to bombs falling. They will be waking up to death.

As people sit around the family holiday table, a table groaning, a table threatening to collapse under the weight of gravy bowls slopping brown turkey gravy over the sides every time they are moved, bowls of mashed potatoes and mashed yams glistening from melting butter, bowls of steaming vegetable, other bowls heaped with three kinds of stuffing, pineapple glazed ham, waiting for the turkey , a twenty-five pound monster to be carved, will anyone stop to think for a moment about Aleppo’s Children. Will anyone care that they are not sitting around a table groaning from the weight of food piled on top. Will you, or you, or you, or will you just say, pass the turkey please, and begin stuffing your face with a turkey that was stuffed only a few hours ago, cooked to a golden brown for your pleasure. As you heap your plate again and again, as you stuff your face and your stomach until it hurts to move, will one thought, will just one stray thought be for Aleppo’s children.

Oh how they weep,
as bombs
fall on the street.
How deep they cry,
as they watch
their family die.

They cower.
They shiver.
They weep.
They cry,
and then
they too die.

Who will
weep for them?
Who will weep
for Aleppo’s children?

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They Didn’t Come Home


We have allowed the torch of freedom, a torch that once was a bright unquenchable flame, a torch that withstood all that evil despots and dictators could throw upon it, the torch passed on by dying hands, passed on by failing hands to sputter and dim, to fade, fade until it is no more than a weakened glow, until it no longer shines in the dark, dark night, and lights our way forward.

What would they think, all those young men that died in the great war to end all wars, the ones that stormed the beaches of Normandy, Italy, of Wake Island. Iwo Jima, and so many other places, the ones that spilled out their life’s blood into the thirsty sands of North Africa, and hallowed with such a great and final sacrifice every place they fell, if they could see and hear how we behave towards each other today.

They did not lay down their lives for us so we could be at each other’s throats, no they did this so we would have a free choice when it comes to electing a government. Remember, remember, these young men were Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, Liberals, socialists, and they gave up their futures, their lives, not just for the ones that believed as they did, but for everyone, including you, and I.

It is for them, for their sacrifice, for their lives, lives cut so short, that I make this humble offering of these verses I have written. Verses that I hope, that I pray will make you forget for a moment your differences, and remember how much we owe them.

Play the Pipes Softly

The mist is gathering
in the high hills,
rolling in,
rolling in from the sea.

It spreads deep,
like a bedspread
of velvet,
over loch,
over burn.
over heather,
over you,
and over me.

So play the pipes softly,
soft as the mist
that is deepening
in from the sea.
Play them
at the going down,
going down of the sun.
play them
until the gloaming
fades fast away,
play them,
until the day is done.

Play them for the lost
and the lonely.
Play them for the soldiers
who die in every war.

Play them until
the sky starts to weep.
Play, as you’ve
never played them before.

Play them until
the sky starts to weep.
Play, as you’ve
never played them before.

Keeping Faith

I’m careful
where I tread,
for I’m not here
to disturb the dead.
Instead,
I’ve come to honor those
that now forever lie
in Flanders Fields
beneath the silent sky.

As I walk between the lines
of crosses,
weathered by the frost of time,
I understand why the torch
must now be mine.
The one passed on
by dead, cold hands,
so many years ago.

And in my heart and mind
I promise to keep faith
with those
that forever lie
in this hallowed place,
where crimson poppies grow.

When the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month finds us where ever we may be, we stop and remember, remember those that didn’t come home, then we toss away our poppies, and go back to hating each other. I am appealing to you to think of those who have died in so many wars every day for the rest of your lives, because if it was not for their ultimate sacrifice, you would not have the opportunity to exercise your democratic right any day.

Please share this post with everyone you know, and ask them to do the same.

A House Divided


A cold wind is blowing, blowing over towering snow topped mountains, across the breadth and depth of the prairie lands, sweeping through the eastern seaboard, chilling everything in its path, from the Canadian border, to the Gulf of Mexico, stealing away hope, peace, common sense, kindness, love of neighbor, reason, with every puff of its bitter breath, and leaving hate, despair, anger and rage in its wake.

It seems as if a great evil sword, wielded by some giant maniacal hand or a scythe held fast by the grim reaper has divided America in two, split the peoples of the land into left and right, without hope of any common ground. The great experiment in a republic, in a democratic way of life has become a house divided. Not since the civil war has there been so much bitterness, so much vitriolic rhetoric hurled at one and another.

To my mind, a politician is supposed to bridge the abyss, reach out across great chasms, unite, not divide, bring together not separate, but in this election year, the two candidates warring for control of the White House have done the opposite. Instead of discussing the issues of the day, instead of coming up with a workable plan to deal with climate change, unemployment, with the fading middle class, they seem more at ease in telling everyone why they shouldn’t vote for their opponent, instead of giving anyone a reason to vote for them.

The one thing that worries me, is if America falls from its place in the world, falls from grace, the rest of the countries will go down the drain with it.

A house divided
cannot stand,
for it is like
it was not
built upon a rock,
but instead
placed on a tiny
spit of sand.

When the storm
gathers it’s might,
and great waves
come crashing,
come roaring in
upon the shore,
the house divided,
will be
a house no more.

Oil


Oil
greases the wheels
of industry,
fills the pockets
of the mighty,
stains the earth
with blackness,
takes you to
the store.

Oil,
sun, and wind.
Wheels turn,
and pipelines grow.
A spider web
of steel,
welded together
with sweat and tears.

Protesters march,
but the oil still flows,
for our life
has become one,
with this
black, ugly gold.

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The Streets of Chi Town


Cocaine, death cold, and snow white.
Blood streams hot and rose red.
Young folks are lying in the gutter dead.
The streets of Chi Town are running red
with the blood of its children.

Callie at fourteen, is a woman grown.
She used to have a man of her own.
Now her man is shot and gone,
because of the bad thing he went and done,
and now she has a baby on the way.

A dirty ally was Callie’s wedding bed.
Now she’s just another mother that’s unwed,
because she never listened to a word her parents said,
and now the streets of Chi Town are flowing red,
with the blood of its children.

Her young man was just starting to shave,
but now he’s lying in a cold lonely grave.
Young Callie is trying the best to save
a little money for her child.

Being a street walker in the night
can never make anything right,
so she deals a little of the death white,
knowing that it’s not all sweetness and light.
However, there is no other game to play,
because her belly is growing bigger every day.

Because there’s a baby on the way,
she has become a ganger’s prey.
In her dreams, her man is still around,
instead of lying dead like a hound,
in the cold and bloody ground of Chi Town.

Her man James put the blankets on his own bed,
and now his lying cold and dead.
The streets of Chi Town are running red
with the blood of its children.

After dark in Seneca park
looks like all the cops have fled,
and the streets of Chi Town
are running bright red,
with the blood of its children.

The gangers own the town at night.
The drugs they sell are a blight.
Sapping the will of any who’ll fight,
and those that stand for something right,
end with an alleyway as their burial site.

The ghetto streets are a war zone.
A wooden box is the war lord’s throne.
His warriors are less than half grown,
but their faces are well known,
in the ugly streets of Chi Town.

Old folks huddle in the dark,
listening to guns go off in the park,
and pray to make it through the night,
pray to live until the morning light.

Young James was killed in a drive by.
He never had a chance to say goodbye.
Callie watched without a tear in her eye.

She couldn’t take the time to cry,
because its dog eat dog,
and only the strong survive.
She knew she had to stay alive.
Selling drug is hard way to survive,
but that’s the only game one can play
when you have a child on the way.

A young woman with child is lying dead,
two bullets in her pretty little head,
and the streets of Chi Town are running red,
with the blood of its children.

Cocaine, death cold and snow white.
Blood streams hot and rose red.
Young folks are lying in the gutter dead,
and the streets of Chi Town are running red
with the blood of its children.

There Always is Tomorrow


Little waves dancing inward across English Bay, driven by a westerly wind slowly fading into another night, or perhaps by an incoming tide, lap at the toes of my scuffed running shoes, seep in through cracks and crevices of the rubber fringe meant to keep my feet dry. In reality, wet feet are not such a bad thing, after all, they and my socks are in desperate need of a good washing. If I only had little soap, I could do a proper job.

Eyes, eyes weary from too many sleepless nights, scan the glinting water that stretches out from the sandy beach where I stand, out, out, out towards the far horizon, and for a moment my imagination travels thousands of miles across the rolling Pacific, past Hawaii, past the Marshall Islands, past Japan, to the mysterious shores of China. I think, no, I hope, that an oriental beauty, with seductive eyes, and a voice that angels might envy stands on the opposite shore, calling out to me. But the hope fades, and the taste of sea air on my tongue, the tangy odor of salt in my nose drags me back to the reality of the day.

My gaze settles onto a little red boat skipping across the sea. Blue sails puffing out with every breath of wind, tug the craft, and the intrepid captain towards home port. The cry of gulls tilts my head upwards, and I watch the grey, the white birds wheel, dart, and dive amidst the darkening sky.

At last, at long, long last the moment I have been waiting for, the moment I wait for almost every evening arrives. I hold my breath as the edge of the sun touches the surface of the sea, setting the far horizon on fire. Purple, pink, mauve, and shades of red that only a painter can imagine streak through the gathering clouds. But the moment fades as quick as it began, until only a few dying embers glow upon the waves.

It will be night soon. I do not wish to leave this magic, enchanting place, but the dark clouds piling up like mountains promise a storm, and before it begins, I wish to be safe under my bower. A stately Douglas Fir, green, and rich, with a fresh clean scent. A tree that dug its roots deep into the bones of the earth a long time before I was born, perhaps hundreds of years before white man marred these shore with their footprints, reaches towards the sun, the moon, and the stars, with bows thicker than my waist. It is my friend, my father confessor, my home away from home, and this night like many other nights it will keep me dry.

I hurry along the path that wanders past Lost Lagoon. Any other time I would sit on the pale green bench, wait until the moon filled the world with a soft silvery brilliance, wait until scintillating stars covered the heavens with their glory, wait until swans and geese glided past my resting place on calm waters, scarcely leaving a ripple behind. But not tonight, for there is a storm coming.

Another day has receded into my memory, but no matter how dark the night, no matter how wild and cold the howling wind may grow, like all other things these too shall pass, and even though the light has faded, hope, strong and resilient fills my heart, because I know there always is tomorrow.

My footsteps quicken as my home comes into sight, and like a flash of lightning a poem floods my mind.

Do not fear the gathering storm,
or this dark and wild night,
for another day shall soon dawn,
filled with many promises bright.

Do not let hope be chased away
by the might of a growling wind,
your future will not be engraved in stone,
until your last day has come to its end.

So do not weep this night through.
Do not give into bitter sorrow.
Let your heart be filled with joy,
because for now there is tomorrow.

Freedom’s Cry


I examine my reflection in the dusty cracked mirror of the dingy diner’s restroom, in the middle of nowhere, and the first thing that catches my attention are the bags beneath my eyes. Bags planted there by too many sleepless nights, too many nights, tossing, turning, scheming, and going over, and over things that might have been, instead of the way they are.

My gaze shifts downward, downward, to the rumpled suit coat, faintly stained with egg yolks, splotches of red catchup, dabs of yellow mustard from lasts night’s burger and fries, eaten with one hand and the other on the wheel of my twenty-year-old blue ford, that now has more rust than metal, still held together by who knows what. The faded blue tie, frayed at the edges, displaying its own memories of past meals, gravy from Detroit, spaghetti sauce from Chicago, and pulled pork sauce from Toronto.

An all too real record of my constant failures, my constant lack of ever being able to hold onto a job, a constant fading of hope, that ebbs with each new stain, with each city or town I stay in or travel through. The brown pants that have more wrinkles than a hundred-year-old person are next on my list to be disgusted with. At last, my shoes come into view of my weary blood shot eyes.

The question now arises, what has become of me, what have I done to become this, to deserve this cruel, harsh fate. A thought steals into my mind, unbidden, un asked for, unwanted, “Why bother going for this interview? Even if you do get the job, you won’t hold onto it, or the company will fold up within six months.”

It seems that the sad, sad story of my life is about to be repeated once more. One more failure, one more moment of despair to be chalked up on the blackboard of life. I turn to go, and that is when I hear it, away of in the distance, wailing wild and free, calling, calling to me once more, and the days of my youth, and the poems of my youth are brought forward into my memory once more. My heartbeat quickens, my breath grows deeper, my shoulders square, and as hope once more surges through me, I recite the poem that always dispelled my gloom.

In the morning when I arose
weary from a night without rest
I heard a train whistle echoing,
and something wild
surged with in my breast.

It was like the eagle’s cry
as on the wind he drifts.
From my heart, and from my mind
a heavy weight did lift.

No more for me the nine to five.
The days of soul filled pain.
Freedom was given back to me,
by the wailing whistle of a distant train

Vancouver Rain


A sea mist,
born by
winds of the west,
soft, so soft,
that I can walk
a hundred miles,
and not
get wet,
sifts down,
sifts down
upon me,
from
the dark,
dark sky.

And yet
I believe,
it is wet enough
to hide my tears,
from those
that
pass me by.

If they
see anything,
I hope
they think
that I must have
a bit of dust,
or an eyelash,
stuck with in
my eyes.

For I am a man,
and,
it would
not do,
to let strangers
see me cry.

Though it is
but little water,
it does in
truth,
soften my
loneliness,
puts a façade
upon my pain.

Street lights,
stop lights,
harsh cold glare,
are mellowed,
by a soft,
golden glow.

Jagged,
snow capped
peaks
disappear.
Grimy brick,
and stone,
melt and blend,
beneath
the weight,
of heavens
gentle tears.

I see my brief
reflection,
as I look inside
the dining room,
at happy people.
People laughing,
people loving
and being loved.

For a time,
I wish things
were other
than they are.

Because for me,
there is but
this dark,
this lonely night,
and the sad,
bitter tears,
washed away
for now
by the soft,
soft, Vancouver rain.

Fairy View Times


Yesterday October tenth our intrepid reporter, Fiorella Springyfeet, interviewed Old Granny Grindle, in her thimble out on Pepper Fern Lane.

Granny, on behalf of Fairy View Times, and myself Fiorella Springyfeet, thank you for giving up your time for this interview.
Granny: Would you like some more pepper fern tea, dearie, or a few more pepper fern tarts?
Fiorella: Uh…no Granny. My belly is near to bustin as it is. What our readers would like to know, and what I would like to know, is what made you decide to run for mayor this fall.
Granny: Run…run. Not a body tolds me I had to run for anything. I am too olds to run for anything. Besides I is always been best at flying, not running.
Fiorella: No…no Granny you don’t have to runs, I mean you don’t have to run anywhere.
Granny: But you saids…
Fiorella: I’ll rephrase the question. Why do you want to become mayor of Fairy View, since you live a way out here on Pepper Fern Lane.
Granny: I is been tolds that the mayor gets to go too all the parties in Fairy View and even else wheres.
Fiorella: You want to be mayor, so you will be invited to all the parties.
Granny: Yes.
Fiorella: Do you intend to help the residents of Fairy View?
Granny: Yes.
Fiorella: Would you mind telling me some of your plans, then?
Granny: Of course not, dearie, are you certain sure, you wouldn’ts like another cupful of tea?
Fiorella: I suppose a sip or two won’t hurt. Now, what do you intend to do for the folks in Fairy View?
Granny: Mind my own business.
Fiorella: What about fixing up the roads and a new Tooth Fairy High School?
Granny: Golly woggle, Fairy View Folks don’t expect me to do those things all by myself?
Fiorella: I understand tomorrow night is the…
Granny: It is goods you understands something, dearie.
Fiorella: What I meant to say, tomorrow night is the night of the big debate. Are you ready for it?
Granny: Yes, I is dearie. I got’s me an new fishing pole, a new line, and a brand new hook.
Fiorella: Whatever for?
Granny: For de bait dearie. For de bait.
Fiorella: Thank you Granny Grindle for your time, your pepper fern tea and tarts.
Granny: Not’s at all dearie. Not’s at all.

From the editor: As mentioned by our intrepid reporter, , Fiorella Springyfeet, tomorrow night is the night of the big debate, not the big de bait. She will be there, and yours truly, Cliamain Cloverbutton, editor in chef will be there as the moderator.

Please stay tuned for more Fairy View Times.

Westward


Westward, westward, the bus wheels sing, westward, ever westward. North Bay, is behind me, Vancouver is waiting at my journey’s end. In-between, in-between, a vastness stretches out before me. A vastness and a great unknown.

The sky is darkening now, and the bus is full. They seem to be students, but who knows, because the only thing I know is that I am standing up, and I don’t want to stand up all the way to Vancouver. Next stop, Sudbury, still forty miles away.

They start to sing, the young people that is. It is a song I don’t know, and even if I did, I wouldn’t join in, not because I don’t want to, but I can’t sing any-more than toad can stand on its head. Now my secret is out. I am not going west to be discovered as the next great singing star, or for some great adventure. No I am going west for the most basic reason, a job.

I hope we get to Sudbury soon, because my feet are getting sore, and my legs are getting tired, and I hope there are fewer people on the bus.

  • Keeper of the Sword

    It is often a simple thing, the roll of the dice, the turn of a card, or a chance meeting that can change one’s life forever. For Josh Campbell, and Morgan Connelly it was a seemingly harmless chain of events, a fight after school and performing a ritual that neither one of them believed in.

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    Full of fear and excitement Keeper of the Sword (The Sword of Kings) Josh notched an arrow to the bow string, pulled it back to his ear, took careful aim and released the shaft of death, and before it reached its target, a second bolt sliced through the dark. (To find out more, just follow the link.)
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