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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.

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

The Silly Season


You never need a reason to look for the silly season. Here in the north we have four distinct seasons, and I am not talking about the hotel chain. We have, now hold onto your hat. We have spring. What a bouncy time of year it is. Some even call it the trampoline season.

Then there is summer, and as you might guess, when it comes to people in the summer, some are here, and some are there.

And then there is my most favorite season of all, Fall. Now I know it hurts when you fall, or if you fall too often, or if you happen to fall on your nose, well that is another matter, which I have no intention of getting into. But if you happen to fall on the part of your anatomy that is padded, well, until you catch your breath, you can sit and admire the beautiful colors of the leaves falling all around you.

We must not forget winter. All I can say about winter, is that it is cold. Oh it does make pretty frost feathers on window-panes.

Ah ha, I bet you thought I had forgot about the strangest season of all. Well you may ask, what is so strange about the silly season. It is odd to say the least. It can occur anytime of the year, and more than once. It never takes place between any of the other seasons, but in the midst of them. It can start at the end of spring, bounce right through summer, fall over autumn, and snow on winter. And the best part of the silly season, it can occur whenever you want it to.

So the next time you feel like singing the blues, spare the neighbors, take the hat of your cat, put it on your head, and call yourself Fred. Dance a jig, oink like a pig. Cluck like a hen. Sit in a play pen. Wiggle your toes, put a carrot on your nose.

September


September once meant the leaves turned red, and gold, frosty mornings, cool, crisp evenings, but no more. Here in Sudbury we are into the third week of September, and the leaves are as green as they were after the buds opened. There is no frost on the ground, no misty, foggy mornings.

Today if you didn’t happen to look at the calendar, it could be August, or even July, the way the temperature is. Now there is something wrong with this picture. I suppose we have only the same to look forward to. More of one season rolling into another, without any distinction.

We once had four seasons, (and I am not talking about the hotel chain) but now, but now, well it is not worth talking about.

Oh how I long
for the summer days,
and an autumn
crisp and cool,
but mankind
has done us in
by being a greedy fool.

Notes on Getting Published


The last four years have been quite an adventure, and have opened my eyes to the mine field that dominates the publishing industry. To say I was naïve when it came to having my book published would be the understatement of the century. It would be like calling Mount Everest a molehill. But somehow I have managed to stumble my way through and have ended up with a two book contract with tatepublishing.com. They are a mid-sized company based in the mid-western United States, and consist of two divisions, a self-publishing one and a no fee one, and I was blessed by the offer of a no fee contract. Why? I do not have the slightest clue.

However, with all things, there is always a caveat, big or small that rears its head. In my case, the caveat was a minor one but it did require that I spend time learning new skill sets. The caveat, hang on to your shirttails, or the nearest beer bottle, was al la carte, which meant that anything else, like a cover, or editing, proof reading, and formatting, cost.

Being descended from the Scots, on my mother’s side, when it comes to spending money, I take the time to think it over.

I have a niece that is an amazing graphic artist, and she took care of my book covers. That left, proofreading, editing and the biggest thing of all formatting, and making my manuscript ready for printing, for me to tackle.
With a little diligent research on google, I found sources for the software I required to accomplish the tasks facing me, and with a little time, cold sweats, patience, a few more hairs ripped from my head, and determination I conquered all the things standing in my way, and now I have two books published, Death Never Takes a holiday, and Keeper of the Sword.

Keeper of the Sword, book one is not officially released yet, but you can check it out by following this link, http://bit.ly/1RKy5Qh and while you are there, why not take a look around and see if you and Tate might be a good fit. I finished proofreading KOS book two last Friday, and it has been sent off.

One more thing, if any of you would like to have advice on book formatting or anything else please do not hesitate to contact me, and if for some reason you are not interested in spending the time formatting your book, I will do it for a modest fee.

  • 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.

  • Fairy Time Ball

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    “Them things in my soup ain’t no chicken or potatoes. They have eyes, and they hop out of my way every time I bring a spoon close.”

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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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