The day he died the colors shone
As all nature brought him home
More vibrant than they'd recent been
They celebrated Russell's return
Husband, Father, music man
outdoorsman and teacher too,
As full as any life could be
Yet -as all do- done too soon
Sadly, he is leaving us
as autumn blazes on the land
where He hunted fished and trapped
and soon will finally rest at last
A frontier man centuries late
His heart and mind were nourished by
the falling leaves and winter snow
and spring rain and summer bloom
As a sportsman is want to do
He kept his fishing holes away
also, where the buck would be
On November's starting day.
With guitar and Saxophone
he filled all hearts with music
playing where folks went for fun
to celebrate and party on.
Teaching was his special gift
sharing learning with the young
years on years, he taught around
while living up at Rolling Ground
Mr. Gilbert, Mr. Gilbert came the hey
Happy children on first day
Well, as happy as a kid could be
When summer fun was far away
Through the years thousands learned
of Mr. Gilberts thoughts and truths
hopefully saving treasured pearls
to use them well in future years
Thousands multiplied by ten
Mr. Gilbert helped understand
That life is more than just fun
We all must care for everyone.
So today, goodbye we say
sending Russell on his way
Passing to the other side
Where we'll all meet him by and by
BL Oct 22 2023
a poem by Adam Hanft
It is always the same way,
that after the armies have
settled into their homes and
the borders are shifted their
one lame mile
that talking rises that they
have found the little girl.
It is so, they have found her in a
tongue-tied corner of the woods,
and they have learned from
the palsied woman who lives with
her son by the bridge how in a
tantrum of strength she rose
to the window and saw
when the soldiers came they
killed the Mayor's little girl.
And so it starts, how the child
was gathering sunshine in her
rainbow creased dress when she
in another town, by another bridge
the girl was sleeping in the grass
when they came and that her
smile stuck to her lips while the sky
clanged and beat around her.
And now all the schoolchildren, so
scrubbed and solemn in rows are
standing as the Mayor, with
his one good arm,
drapes a few flowers on the brick and
wooded monument that stands next to
the bridge and a
Hundred years from the window of the
old woman who first saw the
glinting helmets and heard the
halfhearted scream roll
into the grass.
Essay on Friendship
by Stephen Dietz playwright of the Lonely Planet, a play about the AIDS plague.
In the midst of a world that is too big and fast, a world where information
rules like a dictator and news travels like a virus, it is easy to be overcome by the
hopelessness of the world and the helplessness of we its keepers. What impact
can we hope to have? What traces will we leave behind?
History is not the story of grand acts and masterpieces. History, instead, is the
inexorable accumulation of tiny events- footsteps and glance, hands in soil,
broken promises, bursts of laughter, weapons and wounds, hands touching hair,
the art of conversation, the rage of loss. Historians may focus on the famous,
familiar names- but history itself is made, day after day, by all those whose
names are never known, all those who never made a proclamation or held an
office, all those who were handed a place on earth and quietly made a life out of it.
So what do we affect during our time on earth? What, ultimately is our legacy?
Our legacy is our friends. We write our history onto them, and they walk with us
through our days like time capsules, filled with our mutual past, the fragments
of our hearts and minds. Our friends get our uncensored questions and our yet-to
be-reasoned opinions. Our friends grant us the chance to make our grand,
embarrassing, contradictory pronouncements about the world. They get the very
best, and are stuck with the absolute worst, we have to offer. Our friends get our
rough drafts. Over time they both open our eyes and break our hearts.
Emerson wrote: "make yourself necessary to someone.” In a chaotic world,
friendship is the most elegant, the most lasting way to be useful. We are, each of
us, a testament to our friends compassion and tolerance, humor and wisdom,
patience and grit. Friendship, not technology, is the only thing capable of
showing us the breadth of the world in which we live.
The Most Beautiful Place
On that farm,
that marvelous farm,
sits a swing, sits a cow,
sits a pig,
sits a horse,
sits a dog,
sits a mouse,
sits a cat,
sits a hen,
and on the
the whistling wind
on that happy
farm in Wisconsin.
Julia Penchaszadeh Robert
I am who I am
I am Tyler Bud Bezold
I am a person who loves adventures
Even if they are just to a friends house or a
Long walk in the woods
I am a basketball lover and player
I have a love for riding horses on school breaks
I am what I am
I am a Wisconsin lover of all of the hills, creeks,
Farm land and horse trails
I love riding horses on trails with my grandpa
And with our dogs on guard for any animals
I have always loved my grandpa and his farm
I am what I am
I am a wisher of being a Duke graduate and a NBA
Player or a graduate of an equine college to go in big shows
I still have dreams about being in a “A” show or in a huge basketball game
and making that one buzzer beater
I am what I am
I am a student
A basketball player
A horse back rider
A big believer
I am a big NKU fan
I’ve been to almost every game and some away games.
I love to watch and be in horse shows
With every jump comes thrill to me
I am what I am
I am a major believer in do what you want to do
I am a believer in being the best you can be
I love this motto “Offense sells tickets, Defense wins championships”
I am what I am
By Tyler Bezold
October 22, 2009
The maple lost its leading branch
Several years ago
The choice was cut or let it be
Surely was a scrawny tree.
Hardly it is growing now
Different from its peers
That never suffered from the loss
Of life leading bow
Out in the woods most any day
The newly trees bend down
Shaded by their stronger kin
Their fate is certain end
And oft that single fledgling hangs
By thread that sealed its fate
To never fly among its mates
Or make the journey south
And so we learned of David’s passing
No money to fix the pain
Destined for an early death
Because he had not gain.
The lover left in confusion
No understanding of her fate
To whom the loss is one more string
Of never ending heartache.
They say the gods reward these folks
But we don’t see how
It is too sad to contemplate
For us the gods endow.
The coyote caught in Central Park
Died today when the folks
In a place he did not choose
Took too long to let him loose
To Africa some hunters go
To shoot old lions in the brush
And bring their carcasses back home
To mount on their walls just for show
In Texas and other states
Hunters quail and pheasant hunt
Birds raised in pens and held on ground
Till old men can gun them down
Often when on the road
You’ll see pheasant cock display
To cars their plumage before they’re crushed
Because they were not wild raised
Man controls and man destroys
The habitat that was not his
And will not be in many years
When nature collapses our many fears
A few hundred years are nothing long
Yet in that time such wrongs been done
There may be only a few hundred more
Before were back to before.
The horses know that this March snow
Is not the same as a month ago
For there is light where once was night
And the winds from west do blow
On the hillside our cows calf
And lick their shivering new born warm
Bellowing calves last week born
Suckle happily through the storm
The wood is plastered white again
And soon the bulging buds will leave
The early robin huddles near
Wondering why she came this year
Backing into wind and sleet
The animals are content to eat
And build the warmth from chewing cud
Than have to trudge through deep spring mud
My little dog does not care
As chasing squirrel and also hare
She barks with joy to just be free
Running where she wants to be
While off away from where we live
Pain and sorrow do abound
And make our short time in the wood
A sanctuary and treasured ground
We must face the world again
But first we’ll sit upon the log
And contemplate a world of fright
As the light holds back the night
At midnight a lone cricket chirps
As walking ‘neath the Harvest Moon
We hum the old familiar tune
And feel the frost begin to form
Yesterday the forest trees
That outside our window grow
Signaled to us change had come
As they donned their autumn leaves
The cows are happily afield
Where hay so recently was cut
Finally after weeks of grass
Luxury alfalfa fills their gut
Cows are but eating machines
As farmer Pete does often say
They live to eat and eat to live
And that they do from day to day
They know nothing of the world
Beyond the fences that are home
So peaceful with their bellies full
Content and cudding as they roam
Little Pooper now alone
Every morn does bark away
The night scent coons and skunks
Have left where she claims sway
She guards the meadow ‘low the house
And hill that rises in the south
She runs to cornfield and to barn
Warning all that she’s around
The cats are happily hunting now
Mouse and rat and tiny shrew
Provide them both with rapid chase
And usually lose the deadly race
When walking o’er the well trod ground
We marvel at our luck and life
For here among our nature sound
A home away from worldly strife
Eighty eight summers Sarah’s shared
Sun and rain and coyotes call
An elder now but younger first
She weathered well the seasons all
Soon passing to the other side
As all of us must someday do
She leads us there with solemn fame
Rejoining earth from where we came
Sharing harvests through the years
Loving losing living to grow
Sarah’s embraced nature’s rules
As elders fore she’ll pass the bow
Rejoice for we have learned from her
Of wonders no one else has seen
She taught the young ones ideas true
Her charge from those now in the blue
Nature is as nature free
And travelers are but we
We share earth the Spirit’s tool
And in the end She does rule
The cycle is as always been
For that we do rejoice
We have all succored Sarah’s life
And in our lives Sarah lives.
I sit and watch the swallows work
To feed their growing brood
And take a minute now and then
From searching skies for food
They rest upon the rocker that
Sits at my office door
Looking down and all around
For cats on the porch floor.
For two months every summer
They work for calling chicks
The heat of day slows them not
As babies chirp for ticks
Mother brings from the blue
A white feather in her beak
She takes it to the bulging nest
Why I have no clue
Soon when the five do fly
The dogs and cats I’ll spy
So all the work these two have done
Will not be lost for our pets’ fun.
The birds will still fear hawks and crows
And coyotes in the grass
Flying they are safe from harm
May first flight not be last.
We cut the hay late in July
So bob’ o links and red wings
And other ground nest birds
Can raise their broods in peace.
And now the mother looks at me
As if to say she knows
I’m writing of her visiting
And wonderful mothering.
The lights were on at church tonight
As we passed on hapless chore
To visit friends with child lost
Whom we all will see no more.
So sad as friends from her school years
Mill about in reunion talk
One of theirs has now moved on
The first of class to cross the walk.
Another day and Hannah goes
To be with those who’ve gone before
Less tears for she was ninety three
And ready for her last journey.
One day in church there are but tears
Coupled with the young folks fears
That if to one the end has come
It has begun for more than some
Next day the church is filled with peace
For Hannah happily her life has ceased
She is with friends she did rely
Her children sigh a peaceful bye
Hannah’s buried where she lived
No more than skip stone from where born
A life she spent within sight
Of where she lays at rest tonight.
One day grief and hopeless fright
The next day death welcomed delight
One day questions never to know
The next day talk of when it will snow
The lights in church no longer shine
For dinners two the folks did dine
The family of the Rolling Ground
Has said goodbye in silent sound
There are so many quirks in life
That death is dear in certainty
So sad, so glad in two days time
Mortality once more has been resigned.
And now the snows of autumn come
And fires in the hearth we build
To warm our bodies from the chill
And light our hearts and share the dill.
Every morning as we watch
the horses graze where Smokey lays
a smile comes to our face
as horses moving through the haze
remind us of the sunny days.
We put Smokey down this year
and buried him on a crest.
No mourning as his friends move past
where he rests in fulsome grass
feeding freely without strife
those he traveled with in life.
How happy would we parents be
to so well nourish our progeny
as Smokey does so easily.
Of course we do but seldom know
because we let our children go.
We saw the oak trees from afar
First in the park they grew
And oft and on through the years
Our friendship did renew
At first we shared but a cat
The cat was black at that
And as the time passed quickly by
The loving trees reached their sky
Advice and beauty we sometimes sought
From trees so wizened and free
The trees lived in their parks delight
Built over years shared happily
We can't forget the wild home
Amidst the crumbling walls
Painstaking beauty from every chore
With grapevines sheltering welcome door.
Around us now we have them dear
In quilts and farmland home
And books and rugs and quirky desk
Their sharing lives survive
And all is as all should be
No worry that love ever ends
For in passing through the flowered fields
We all live on in friends.
August at the farm
And so it begins.
Andy Kathy Rob and Lisa
And Michael Amy and Michael
Come to the farm and Water World
Then the Powwow and a Cubs game and then
Tyler's birthday Dave and Lisa' anniversary Viterbo Reunion,
Neighbor pot luck birthday party riding Skeeter Abigail walking
Luna and Cubby and Pooper and playing house with Bernadette and Norah
Silly Seamus and Talkative Tyler riding bikes Dave and Tyler
Cleaning the spring Kelle speaking French and riding
Her bike 100 miles with Katie while Bud and Jackie sit on the porch
Then Rich and Jay and Katie and Ally and Richie and Patrick and
Number 5 plus maybe Barb and Big Rich and we all
Go to the Crawford County Fair to see the cows and sheep
And pigs and goats and corn and eat the blueberry pie and
Then pick blackberries and get mosquito bites and all wet in the creek
And then grandpa and grandma get to rest.
All these thoughts filled our mind
As we walked to the office this morning
Smelling the new mown hay.
The chicory's up and black caps turning
So yesterday we mowed the hay
The sweet smell fills the summer air
And suggests the visit of those we care
We mow the grasses late each year
To give the bobs and meadowlarks
A chance to raise their hungry brood
And not become coyote food.
For when the rake combines the rows
To dry in sun for evening bale
Coyotes from the woods arrive
To eat any chicks still alive
Gruesome as all nature seems
The food chain does its purpose serve
There is no hapless killing here
Only food to live the year
The windrows wait in ordered lines
The hay rake circling metal tines
The swallows fly above the dust
Catching bugs for babies' sust
These few days of warmth and work
Are for putting rations by
Soon grandkids whoops will fill the air
And we will know our summer's here.
We make the hay in big round bales
And row them on the road near hill
So grandkids for the rest of year
Have a playground free and near.
And we will sit upon the porch
Rocking as our kids deploy
All is well in our small world
At least for now we can enjoy
We all should steal some time for fun
So serious we've all become
Relish now our love and luck
With family in our pick up truck.
Across the fields we slowly roll
Laughter wringing out the droll
Another year of watching deer
And sharing time with those most dear.
The mud has come again in March
as it does every year
to remind of green and warmth and light
soon to fill us all with cheer.
Last week with new born calf frozen
upon the snow/mud cattle pen
zero winds had done their work
and we were frantic to get her in.
This time of year is touch and go
for mothers dropping calves and lambs
we race the rain and mud and snow
to born them live and healthy.
It may seem strange we bear the stress
and feel triumphant when we win
since eventually most will go
to slaughterhouse and retail bin.
But our job is right now
to get them born and on a teat
and when the night the calf survives
there is no greater farming treat.
Back to our story of frozen calf
a bright idea we soon did have
we dragged the nearly lifeless form
to sauna floor to help her warm.
Carnation milk from baking shelf
heated in a warming boat
was soon forced down an anxious throat
but yet recovery seemed remote.
Wondrous strength in babies lies
for soon our frosty calf was warm
and looking round the sauna room
a place more strange than mother's womb.
Now still the mud does ooze and slurp
in every step we take
but Frosty frolics unaware
her life was saved with lucky break.
A small triumph in farming life
smalls combined help us feel fine
the cycle lengthened with our care
still will triumph in its time.
Yes the redwings have returned
and sparrows busily prepare
their nests in every cranny found
while plovers rock upon the ground.
and drabness soon will pass to sun
the season muddily marches on
man controls so little ground
It's good to have nature 'round.
Marie Ryan, RIP
Marie died in her 99th year
on a cold and dreary day
for a hard and weary life
that tested all the way.
Her lined and wizened face did tell
of years of mirth and grief,
Irish she was in birth and belief
and till death she turned no leaf.
A Gorman girl Marie was born
on the family farm,
she must have dreamed and been
carefree and had a child's charm.
In youth with sisters all around
she was the oldest one,
marrying a Ryan she moved a mile
never further from then on.
Outliving both a son and mate
and son's mate and child too,
new folks never knew her thoughts
with them words shared were few.
We live on the place she owned
for many many years,
yet she ne'er visited to walk about
maybe because of its tears.
For on our farm in '63
son Bill's Etta passed away
a bitter winter valentine
on her oldest child's birthday.
On that day so long ago
Death forever changed
and tragedy marked the place
where grandchildren used to race.
We met the Ryans when shock had passed
replaced by living life
and doing all the things one must
when man has lost a wife.
We hayed and milked and visited
with Ryans through the years
but Marie was never in the mix
held back by speechless tears.
She mothered all the children up
as best as she could do,
Marie the pillar we did meet
never knew her young and new
And while she's gone to better place
where eagles soar and angels sing
John Ben and Ole, Peg and Dode
still wait the mourning ring.
While robins came just yesterday
a week ago the cold winds blew
and nearly froze a newborn calf
that chose the moment wrong to birth.
Today the wet warm smell of spring
permeates our pores and sight
floating mist above the trees
still bare but budding with delight.
A world away November threatens
the birds and beasts and peoples sight,
the time of year that should bring joy
instead sparks fear and threatens night.
The leaders smartly salute their flags
and order troops to kill kindly
and wordily proclaim their truths
that nevermore can tyrants rule.
Tyrants that were just our friends
and killed the Kurds with our ascent
but made one step without our yea
and now we've said that they must pay.
And so our spring is joyless too
as many fore have also been
and will so to in future be
until real leaders set us free
To talk and talk and talk and talk
and hope and learn and listen to
the voices crying for an end
to power making might as right.
This morning from the trees we hear
the pop of limbs and snort of deer
as winter again claims the land
and takes all firmly in its hand.
The horses hobble on icy hoof
as snow packed turns to ice,
the pigeons cling to barnyard roof
waiting for the sun to rise.
Frosted fields beckon us
to wander in the diamond land
since hunting season now is past
walk we will with staff in hand.
All the trees unclothed to show
the cuts and sores of seasons past,
some strong, some weak, some firmly
planted, others leaning on their last.
Up on the knoll where cutters came
the battlefield assaults our eyes
the stooped and scraggly underbrush
mourn the mighty trees demise.
How needed was the one new house
that came from maple strong and swell
progress is the calling card
of loggers seeking trees to fell.
Artists use the fallen log
They seldom take a living tree
They understand the pact they make
To create life from death and free.
BL 03 December 2002
Farmers round have turned the ground
And let us know by plowing soil
We should move our thoughts from toil
And welcome spring's smell and sound.
The bobolink has now returned
To join the meadowlarks sweet song
While down below in beavers' marsh
The frogs sing lustily all night long.
Happily we welcome warmth
And dandelions painting gold
The land that but a week ago
Was covered with a cloud of snow.
Our little dog jumps to the sky
When after work her daily walk
Takes us to the valley creek
And up the hill where turkeys lie.
As little boys are wont to do
We tarry by the wondrous spring
That gifts us water all the day
And where our grandkids love to play.
Poppies too linger there
To clear the watercress that grows,
For water playing boys to care
And wet themselves from foot to hair.
For no matter what the age
A male can never water pass
Without some act that causes him
To tempt the fate of falling in.
After soaking our feet a while
We walk the valley to find the cows
And count the calves that now are six
And up to playing calf like tricks.
They jump and bellow with delight
As the dogs chase them round
No harm meant but just to see
How far they'll run before we sound.
No need to rush for springtime bright
Has now begun and stopped the night
From hastening walk and air delight
'Cause winter's darkness has turned to light.
BL 06 May 2002
Bittersweet the memory
Of dear friends discovering
That love in life does not mean
That joy is ever flowering.
Warm feelings ever flowing
Within a deeper mind
Remembering a freeing love
Releasing love in kind.
They never really planned at all
Is seems they just enjoyed
And the love still in their hearts
Fills the painful void.
What they sought wasn't found
For time did not allow
And now they hold forevermore
Sweet thoughts of when and how.
BL 05 May 2002
The Bower School
There ain't no gentlemen in Crowcross County
There ain't no gentlewomen too
Cause they've been raised from birth to hew
To their menfolk and be true.
Yea, there ain't no gentlemen in Crowcross County
But it hasn't always been so
Or that's what the old folks tell us
Yet old age softens truth, ya know.
A man's word has always been taken
To be true and just and firm
Yet yesterday and the week before
There was a new truth to learn
For they sold the school on the quiet
Or rather gave it away
And accused the folks who complained
Of not knowing the legal way.
Yet a man he stood and mourned
In words of another day
That what is legal is not always right
And morality should have a say.
And the lawyer and the chairman
They knew where justice lay
But friendship or cupidity
Caused them to say nay.
Yea, there ain't no gentleman in Crowcross County
There ain't no gentlewomen too
But then in truth there never were
So there's no reason to be blue.
BL 05 May 2002
Falling towers call old men to arms
To avenge a tragic deed
Led by those who with youthful charms
Any war they did not need
We watch in fascination every day
It's like a movie scene of old
Men riding horses in the cold
Dusty arid rocky desert far away
As real folks seek to right the wrongs
What does it mean for we
Who sit in comfort and free
To win a war we fight not for
So quick to chase a nebulous foe
Through rock and sand and snow
While mourning those who died in pain
For a scoundrel's ephemeral gain.
Where is the leadership that hopes
And cares for all mankind.
Who knows today may salve a wound
That tomorrow will fester more
BL 25 April 2002
Heard John Looker died on Tuesday
Rather, that he killed himself
Thirty-five he just had turned
When he put the bullet in his head
Two days to Thanksgiving
After choring with his dad
He went home and got a gun
And ended life in a house he didn't own.
We used to run into him at Rolling Ground
The neighborhood bar and eating place
Where neighbors gather throughout the year
To euchre, visit, gossip and eat.
Ron and Bonnie run it now
Ones a Murphy, the other an O'Donnell
Nice folks, a bit older than John
And much more successful in family things
Not rich since no one born here who stays,
Gets rich. But comfortable we think
With nice kids and a good business that
They came home to run.
Before, Wolf and Brita had the store
Foreigners from Europe by way of Madison
Who bought it from Mrs. Myers after
Her husband Bill was found dead in his car,
During a beautiful winter snow.
Wolf died too young too, soon after retiring,
And Brita now is president of the school board.
They had two good kids Barbara and Brian who left
And now come back to visit but make sure to leave again.
At night I walk o'er the rolling ground
Where my friend Bill Ryan drove his tractor.
(A farmer never walks, if he can help it;
And never sits if he can squat and spit.)
Beneath a moon so clearly blue
And bright I can see the horned owl
Catch the rabbit sitting still
Oblivious that the bird can kill
All about, nature proves
Its beauty has a darker side,
That peacefulness may be a sign
Of deeper woe and deathly time.
BL 25 April 2002
A sugar snow fell last night
To cover March's mud from sight
And paint the trees up on the hill
One last time with winter's white
Morning's sun sparkled bright
On maples surging sap to buds
Urged by warmth from far away
To fill sugar buckets with sweet delight.
The robins Saturday returned
To pastures greening in the day
And pesky starlings have already
Begun invading every cranny.
Even on a cloudy day
There is a light in sullen skies
That brightens hopes of spring's return
As soon as winter winds away
This year we built a large new pen
For mother cows to have their young
Safely away from coyote yelps
And covered from the rain and snow.
On Friday night the first cow freshened
At midnight with a mighty bellow
Which raised us quickly from our pillow
To move the new black calf inside
To our delight at morning's light
That same black cow was standing near
With brown calf suckling, while nearby
The born black calf bawled hunger's cry
The magic mystery of motherhood
Surprise old cow you now have two
One keeper for our herds future
One profit in the fall calf sale
After cleaning pen and yard
And dropping brome for mother's cud
It's off to Wall Street for the day
While newborns slumber in the hay.
BL 18 March 2002
Sam the Honey Man
Sam Johnson died last Saturday night
and all who knew him shed a tear.
We learned of his death on Easter Sunday,
a beautiful glorious day, one that Sam would
have enjoyed, especially after the cold winter.
Sam died with little. His material estate
will be small
The bees that he loved and cared for
didn't belong to him.
The hickory trees that gave him his "crackin" nuts
didn't belong to him.
The maple trees that gave him the sap to make
the syrup to give as gifts to many of us,
didn't belong to him.
all the lands were Sam's
We will miss his "Ho Ho" at Christmas as
he delivered his gifts of candy and apples.
We will miss the sight of him,
driving by the house, surrounded by children.
We will miss a person, who in his simplicity,
and love and knowledge of nature represented
much of what we so called "new people"
find inspiring in the locals who live here.
We are sure Sam suffered in life
but he also enjoyed it well.
And, this year and every year, as we pick the wild asparagus
and find the morels, as we marvel at the sugar snow,
and the return of the red winged blackbirds,
we'll think of Sam
and thank God that we were able to know him.
May Sam the honey man rest in peace,
he earned it.
BL 14 April 1977
Now winter lays upon the land
The blanket sprayed is nature s hand
That shields the earth from too much cold
So fragile folks may venture bold
The chickadees cluster close
Beneath the elder tree below
Hung with seeds and suet fat
The field mice too, soon join the show
It's time to strap the snowshoes on
And call our little dog to heal
We'll head out to our favorite path
And wend our way to wonderland
Hoarfrost clings to tinseled trees
And milkweed wears a shiny glow
Hungry hawks circling high
Look for creatures in the snow
The coyote tracks are everywhere
Where squirrels and rabbits make their mark
That big ole buck they missed last year
Has rutted off the cedar bark
The suns so bright it hurts our eyes
As trunching over land we go
Our fortunes here for us to know
The pure white joy of winter's glow
BL Feb 2002
Indian summer’s upon us now,
with third crop hay safe in the mow.
The corn is picked and cribbed up tight.
The full moon shines in broad daylight.
For those few left who till the soil,
they’ll finish soon their yearly toil.
The cattle cud the frosted grass,
with bull calves shipped for ready cash.
The woods are bare and full of deer.
Soon eager hunters will be here,
hoping fresh snow will ease the stress,
of proving once more their manliness.
Thanksgiving is this time of year
and kinfolk choose to gather near.
Up here our kin are friends not blood,
They share our deep felt peoplehood.
So let the snow begin to fly,
and cold wind sweep away clear sky.
We’ll hunker down with wood piled high
reading saved books through longer night
waiting the redwing blackbirds flight.
Owen Flynn's Burial
They buried Owen Flynn today
On a snowy February sway back hill,
And not a tear for him was shed
Cause all his folks 'cept two were dead.
The church set there like a Christmas card.
The folks were dressed against the hard cold.
The graveyard seemed from a Dickens book
With sand and snow and a slushy look.
At least by appearances you'd have to say
The years had been hard on the people there,
The young ones gaunt and lean and old
And the old folks lookin' of stories to be told.
And yet any sorrow was strangely lacking
And missing also was love,
For there's an age you reach in life
When people say enough.
Perhaps that judgment is too harsh
For Owen had surely lived past his years
And when you've buried sons and daughters first,
For an old single man it's hard to find tears.
Then who was this man? And why were they there?
Since no one was his peer.
Well, out in the country they bury their dead
And in death everyone is dear.
The service was over and lunch would be served
As soon as Owen was in the ground
The women save one to the kitchen repaired
While the men folk moved on to the ground prepared.
The folks trudged slowly up the sand snow hill
With talk of tractors and cows and hay
The hearse, incongruous, shiny and new
Led the mournless way.
All of sudden a scream let out
Owens tombstone came crashing down
A leg was broken, a man in the grave
And Owen still waited above ground.
The man climbed out; the ambulance came
And Owen was quickly disposed of.
For that's the problem when you live past your day,
Your either forgotten, or in the way.
BL Feb 1974
Thoughts for my daughter on a friend’s father’s passing
It is my hope that I too when I leave you,
will do it suddenly, but well.
Surely a strange wish for a father.
I often recall the words of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables,
"Forbid me not to go", as he, on his death bed, responded to his daughter’s plea.
My love, life is nature known.
And nature is a cycle.
As we grow we die, as we die we grow.
And as we grow older we leave to make room for our children,
for it is you who are the meaning of our lives and the world we seek.
The blessing of children and grandchildren
and brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews
and friends and neighbors and business friends who
place their trust in us, these relationships are the
stuff of our life, and also our life’s legacy.
These relationships are our greatest joy,
for they are our immortality.
And if we have done a decent job,
the world gains by our living and our passing.
For we leave our knowledge for others' potential growth.
Dying young allows us to see all our friends and
allows the family to know and share the wide circle
of those we have influenced, and been influenced by.
It brings all we have cared for and about together
to celebrate our life and love.
Death is surely an unknown, and even popes must have some
fear and questions about the other side.
Whoever in the family goes first, carries us all along,
for we all will be there soon, in the timelessness of eternity.
And in death all my dumb jokes, and dumb instructions,
and faux pas, and good and bad advice, and happy and sad comments,
will be there for you all to remember and expand and relive,
and make much more of me in death than I probably was in life.
Thank you for loving me. I will always love all of you with all my being.
The tulip lives but a week, the rose a while longer,
the oak, the elm, years on years,
and mountains through the ages.
Man creates beauty as love creates life,
and life is nature known.
Life lasts for ever and for never.
A tulip should be measured not by how long
but by how.
Tatay your smile was so welcoming and free
You taught us chess and timing too
We learned so much from your kindness
Your smiling love you shared with all
Thank you so much for caring and for caring for us
I am not.
for reality now is us.
The dreams we talked of then
were not possible till now.
And now it is too late
to dream of then and how.
We are family and self.
To live is to us
and the myself is ourself.
To dream now is to dream as us
and that dream is both
reality and love.
Yet our dream cannot be reality
unless it is us,
Now I am dying
and free to be human
for the first time in my life.
Freed from the body
for which I often compromised
The choice freely made
and to be made again given life.
As with death,
the good actions taken are often
unplanned and uncontrollable.
And so death
take me well,
Before I change my mind.
Thoughts at Christmas
To be happy is to love and be loved.
Love is both a quantity and a quality.
The more people you love and are
loved by, the happier you are.
The concept of love is personal.
It is difficult to conceptualize love,
to talk about love and to relate to love
since love is always limited
by custom and time and strength.
When love becomes personal
in its intensity for the giver
and impersonal in its direction,
love is complete.
In a place where all try to love,
love will be. For with love
as with no other emotion,
to make the effort is to succeed.
Personal love cannot be talked about
in public, in politics, or even in church.
In these places love is a concept and a hope.
The reality and humanity of Christ and Ghandi
was their personal involvement and risk taking,
their personal love given freely and unconditionally.
Change occurs with love, not dialogue.
To do, to help, to love is not for government
or organizations but for people.
To wrestle with who we are and what we are doing
is to begin to love.
To constantly question one's own risk level,
To take small steps instead of rejecting the large,
and to love,
are the requirements of being human.
To be human is the first and only concern.
To be human is to love,
and to love is to be concerned.
To limit love is to destroy love.
To direct love is to weaken love.
To love and beloved is the ultimate end
of freely giving and yet
time and our human relationships usually
prevent this reality.
BL, Christmas 2001
I saw a little boy.
He was beautiful,
as are all children.
He loved, as all children love,
He changed us,
as all children
change all parents.
Now we can appreciate our love
because we have seen ours.
Our child no longer is.
Our love is.
Our child is.
BL, Christmas 2001
Is it the damp cool smell of
the woodfire returning love
from burnt death in a speeding
of the eternal process ?
Is it the final burst of color in leaves
making their mark in a
heartless appreciative world ?
Is it the now brown thistle
floating unsure seeds as it crumbles
to rebuild the life of earth and folkkind ?
Is it the everflowing spring'
no longer needed and yet
impervious in movement ?
Or is it just being able to know
that we will not end
when the snow falls ?