Are They Still There?

Young, I lived the harmony of innocence,

heard stunning things, beheld new wonders,

built fleeting empires in the clouds,

felt the freedom of sailing ships on the wind.


Immersed in the serenity of a pond at sunrise

I felt strength in the pinks, oranges, reds . . .

Awed as they awoke the world to the glorious

splendors of nature’s gifts.


The taste and smell of freshly baked bread

Slathered with churned butter, cool from the spring house

And homemade may haw jelly, from wild fruit

Make my taste buds yearn for its return.


I remember holding acorns, listening

As they told glorious tales of the ages.

And I remember hearing raindrops sing.

Oh! What wondrous sights they have seen.


Mature, I reflect on those wonders,

with love and joy in my heart.

At peace with understanding of my life,

I ask, “Are those things still there?”

My Spirituality

When I was a child, my mother insisted I

Accompany her to church every time she attended.

At first, I did not mind for there were kids like me,

With their parents, and we had fun playing.

As I got older, I began to question

Some of the things I saw and heard.

They were patiently explained as things of faith.

But sooner rather than later, faith did not square

what I was being taught. When I got old enough

to make my own decisions, I quit going with her

and ventured forth into the world in search

of my own spirituality. One thing I learned,

‘No place is the work of the devil more apparent

Than in the division of men who say they oppose him.’

Short Pants

I don’t remember my exact age, maybe  three, four,

but I do remember that I was still in short pants.

I was on the dirt road, in front of our house

Playing like I was a soldier.

I vaguely knew the boy,

probably a friend of my brothers I surmised.

He took my hand and led me toward

a nearby house, inside to a bedroom.

I remember the room well. The bedspread

was white with tiny pink and yellow flowers.

And the wallpaper was hanging down in one corner,

Like an elephants ear.

Suddenly, he was on the bed with me,

his hand up my pants leg, touching me.

Alarm springs up in my mind.

I struggle against his damp,

sour-smelly body as he fondles me.

There is shouting.

It is my brother.

He picks me up, leaves the house,

and takes me home.


So precious that moment

When I learned to see!

The magic world of my mind

As I ventured forth.

In short pants

I went to play in our back yard.

Who knew the wonders it held

For a child like me.

There I found imaginary playmates.

We ventured forth to discover

Something magical

At every turn of our heads.

Each flower, every weed

or blade of grass

Held some new mystery

Revealed some new song

Oh what joy

When I discovered tiny creatures

Who dwelt within the borders of this

Undiscovered land.

Bugs and worms going

About their business

Seeking food and shelter.

Eat, hide or be eaten.

Each day, rain or shine,

I marveled at who and what

Came forth, depending

On the weather.

In the wet, I first

Heard the voices of the rain frogs.

Little green fellows with sticky feet,

Singing their songs of joy.

And once the rain had stopped

The birds came to sing and hunt,

For the wiggly, tasty things – dinner.

Season after season, I ventured

Into this land of discovery,

Until one season

I had no interest in being a child.

During years past, one by one

All my mysteries were revealed

And new mysteries came

To replace those in my back yard.

Now I seek answers to these new things,

Chasing loud cars

pretty girls.

But ever so often

I pause at my back door

To look and smile

Remembering my land of discovery

I Remember

It was hard, damn hard, being from Texas where someone,

not even a Texan, had killed JFK. He was my hero,

my reason for joining the military.

Now here I stood, at rigid attention,

in the crisp cold air, tears on my cheeks.

When they ask for volunteers in my military police company

At Arlington Hall Station, I felt compelled, by duty and

Love of my country to step forward.

My attitude, If you don’t love it, don’t feel honor bound to

serve your country, when asked, leave.

Leave now. I’ll buy the ticket.

Yes, I still remember that morning so many years ago.

I remember the solemnness of de Gaulle, six and a half feet tall,

standing beside Selassie, five foot two.

And John-John, with his small American Flag, saluting.

Here I sit today, some fifty-three years later,

enjoying the freedom we all enjoy.

And every single day since ‘the day,’

I say a simple prayer because that

Eternal Flame burns in my heart

Just as it does at his gravesite.

The Hippie

Beads, long hair, bell bottoms

so colorful I glowed in the dark.

Rebellion at every turn,

searching for I knew not what.

All I knew was that I was not

my father, nor older brother.

I loved them for sure,

I was cut from a different cloth,

So my mother said. But I was

rushing too fast into the future,

To hear or understand their

warnings and comments.

Throw into the mix a recent

failed marriage, and alcohol and drugs.

I did it all, tried it all, but the only thing

I brought forward from those

Troubled days were a well-abused body

And my love for the music of the era.

Looking back I wonder how I survived?

However, here I am, feeling every bit

of those days.


Looked in the mirror this morning,

studying the face who starred back.

Old, wrinkled, and a smile – no,

More a smirk,

Wondering what I was doing.

Then I looked directly into the eyes,

Falling, falling, deeper, Until

I began to see

ALL the things these eyes had witnessed.

Good, indifferent, bad,

It was all there, looking at me,

Looking back at me.

A Friend In Need

Like rain drops falling from the sky,

they appear at my house.

I’ve looked at my door,

To see if there is some special mark,

Like the hobos of old made

For friendly stops

Of course, I find none, knew I wouldn’t,

they know just the same.

A friend in times of need lives here.

Some are just passing through,

Others, too sick or too tired, stay.

With that special vision they have,

cats know where a friend lives.

Those that stay I rename with

One they reveal to me.

I give them all the same middle name – Lucky.

All their needs are met, by me and by the vet.

I provide unconditional love and peace,

And the vet, she does her thing too.

Sometimes they linger and grow healthy,

other times they just linger for the hospice.

Either way, I love them all,

And they respond in kind.


They are so new, and they all look alike.

This is mine, mmm, yes, one, two, three, four!

Fourth house from the end, across the street

From the big drainage ditch – my new playground.

I can smell the woods beyond

with places to run and hide.

And hear the buzz of insects

And songs of jays and mocking birds.

I can smell the ditch too, sloped banks of clay

give it an earthy smell, so nice!

I see the picnic park and playground

At the end of the street.

I bet those city kids wished

they could live is such a swell place.

And just out the gate, a country

store and gas station. Wish I had a dime

For a soda and moon pie.

Let’s see, 5 soda bottles will do it.

Have to start watching for them,

so I can treat myself each day.

As I lay on this thick carpet of San Augustine grass

I know it will make an excellent football field

For a pickup game with all the kids around.

Gee, wonder what else I can find

in this new place?