Category: Poetry

American Indian Proverbs

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” – Native American Proverb For hundreds, if not thousands of years, the indigenous tribes of North America were a vibrant,…

via Timeless Wisdom Found In Native American Proverbs — The Earth Child

The Heart Of The Sourdough

There where the mighty mountains bare their fangs unto the moon,
There where the sullen sun-dogs glare in the snow-bright, bitter noon,
And the glacier-glutted streams sweep down at the clarion call of June.

There where the livid tundras keep their tryst with the tranquil snows;
There where the silences are spawned, and the light of hell-fire flows
Into the bowl of the midnight sky, violet, amber and rose.

There where the rapids churn and roar, and the ice-floes bellowing run;
Where the tortured, twisted rivers of blood rush to the setting sun —
I’ve packed my kit and I’m going, boys, ere another day is done.

* * * * *

I knew it would call, or soon or late, as it calls the whirring wings;
It’s the olden lure, it’s the golden lure, it’s the lure of the timeless things,
And to-night, oh, God of the trails untrod, how it whines in my heart-strings!

I’m sick to death of your well-groomed gods, your make believe and your show;
I long for a whiff of bacon and beans, a snug shakedown in the snow;
A trail to break, and a life at stake, and another bout with the foe.

With the raw-ribbed Wild that abhors all life, the Wild that would crush and rend,
I have clinched and closed with the naked North, I have learned to defy and defend;
Shoulder to shoulder we have fought it out — yet the Wild must win in the end.

I have flouted the Wild. I have followed its lure, fearless, familiar, alone;
By all that the battle means and makes I claim that land for mine own;
Yet the Wild must win, and a day will come when I shall be overthrown.

Then when as wolf-dogs fight we’ve fought, the lean wolf-land and I;
Fought and bled till the snows are red under the reeling sky;
Even as lean wolf-dog goes down will I go down and die.

Robert Service

Robert Service

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Robert was a simple poet from a rough and tumble time. I fell in love with his work while a resident of Alaska and to this day consider him to be my favorite. Therefore I will start this new section with him as a permanent feature.

The following obituary appeared in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph of Sept. 16, 1958:

A GREAT POET died last week in Lancieux, France, at the age of 84.

He was not a poet’s poet. Fancy-Dan dilettantes will dispute the description “great.” He was a people’s poet. To the people he was great. They understood him, and knew that any verse carrying the by-line of Robert W. Service would be a lilting thing, clear, clean and power-packed, beating out a story with a dramatic intensity that made the nerves tingle. And he was no poor, garret-type poet, either. His stuff made money hand over fist. One piece alone, The Shooting of Dan McGrew, rolled up half a million dollars for him. He lived it up well and also gave a great deal to help others.

“The only society I like,” he once said, “is that which is rough and tough – and the tougher the better. That’s where you get down to bedrock and meet human people.” He found that kind of society in the Yukon gold rush, and he immortalized it.

I second that emotion.

The two most popular Service story poems . . .

The Shooting Of Dan McGrew:

The Cremation Of Sam McGee:

The Man

The Marlboro man . . .

The  Dos Equis man . . .

Chuck Norris . . . 

And Superman . . . 

Got together and decided when they grew up they wanted to mimic the ultimate man’s man . . . 

Donald Trump . . . 

Chasing Rabbits

“Bang, bang, you’re dead!” Tommy yells from the thick woods bordering our back yard. “Ha! I got you right between the eyes! You’re dead!”

Tommy’s laughter recedes.

“Bravo One, Bravo One, this is Delta, Over . . . Bravo One, this is Delta, over.” Again and again the same agitated voice. “Bravo one. Can you read me? Over.”

My pounding heartbeat all but silences the incessant static of the radio lying somewhere to my side. I’m trying to find the handset, trying to answer. My ears are ringing. My eyes struggle to focus . . .

‘Blood! Oh shit! What happened? Roll over. Crawl away. Move!’

Nothing works.

Blurred, ghost-like images move swiftly towards me. I hear excited, sing song voices and struggle against the panic seeking to engulf me. I close my eyes and attempt to merge with the mud I am lying in.

“Help me,” a voice moans to my left. I hear cursing to my front. The low cough of an AK47 shatters the stillness. Pleading screams followed by more shots, curses . . . more shots.

The shooting ends as quickly as it had started. The enemy melt into thick underbrush and vanish into the early morning haze.

I try to roll over . . . to escape into the jungle before they return, but my legs have detached themselves from my brain and are doing a strange mud dance of their own.

I think of my dad, years ago, laughing as Buster the old coon hound runs in his sleep by the fireplace, “He’s chasing rabbits,” dad says to me.

Tommy laughs at me lying beneath the old oak tree playing dead and pokes me with the butt of his BB gun. “Gotcha, Jimmy. Ha! You’re dead.”

Contemplation

To sit alone and look without
One finds so much to bitch about.
To sit alone and look within
One finds the pathway to begin.

To see that troubles far and wide
That always seem to be
Have greatly likely more than not
Been created solely by thee.

The Tao Of Coffee

Two scholars spent the better part of an afternoon in a local Portland Starbucks arguing the theories of Evolution versus Creationism. Getting nowhere, they took the advice of the Chinese guy working there and decided to drive to the beach and visit a sage named Chung Lee who reputedly had the answers.

Upon arrival to his shack hidden amongst the coastal dunes not far from Astoria, they parked and started up a hill to where the old sage sat on a cliff facing the sea. After quietly approaching him the old man turned, directed his eyes upon them and asked, “Where’s the coffee?”

The two became puzzled. “Sir, One said. We were told you could help us with the greatest philosophical dilemma of our age . . . perhaps even give us some insight into the theories of which we are about to speak.”

“Yes, of course.” Chung Lee answered. “But go now, next time you come, bring me a cup of Starbucks coffee, then we will speak of your theories.”

The following morning they checked out of their motel at the crack of dawn and returned to the hill. This time One carried a large cup of Starbucks coffee. After greetings, he handed the old sage the cardboard tray and they both opened their portfolios, each anticipating a quick and decisive victory.

Chung Lee, while sipping his coffee quickly went over each theory, handed the papers back, looked out to sea and finished the coffee before beginning to speak.

“The two theories are mere disciplines, and although seemingly opposing views, upon deeper reflection are one and the same. The difference lies in your interpretation and in your desire to understand the mystery. But alas, the mystery cannot be contained within a theory, so you are both beating your learned heads against a brick wall.”

Going on he said. “Each theory is merely a doorway, and being so can never explain the goings on within the room. You need theory to find the doorway, but once opened this very same discipline becomes your stumbling block. Theory will never reveal truth, only the pathway to it.

The two looked at each other, excused themselves and walked back to the car.

“This is a wise man?” One asked the other. “”He sends us for coffee, then he comes up with this gibberish?”

“Yes, it is strange,” answered Two. “Yet his reputation is such that there has to be something we are missing. Let’s give him a chance to prove himself.”

The two went back to where the old man was sitting. “Sir, excuse us, but neither one of us understands. What are we missing?”

The old man held up the empty cup. “This cup will always contain a mystery, but as you smell of it, sip of it, and enjoy the taste of it, you one day realize you don’t really care HOW Starbucks made such a good cup of coffee, you are just glad they did. And thanks be to the mystery, as long as there are people like you seeking to understand it, I will never have to worry about getting my morning cup of coffee.”

The old man dismissed them with a smile and returned his gaze to the sea.

On The Gurney

Now you’d think a man about to die
Would have a better thought.
A prayer, a plea, a passage
From scripture I’d been taught.

A time of quiet solitude
A time of fear at least
While three grave doctors view a chart
Seek to save me from the Beast.

While Reaper stands before me
And whispers I must depart.
The only thought I’m thinking
Is how bad I gotta fart!

A VA DAY

I saw the brother in a wheelchair sitting in a corner of the room.
Missed him on first glance
Don’t know how I could have.
His eyes, locked in fight or flight, filled the room with their emptiness. (Does he ever blink?)

A sensitive soul perhaps
Unable to make the midnight blast from family farm to killing field.
Had not the bravado to shake hands with the dead
Nor shake the smell of napalm from his nose.

Taught the fight was amongst men
Hand to hand on the field of battle.
Glory…..Honor and Heroism.
No one mentioned the sight of children dying
And old women crying
And old men frying.

The brother in a wheelchair
Had a tale to tell
But it seemed that few could listen
As the truth is hard to hear.
No need.
His eyes, they told it for him.

As I passed him in the lobby
And he sat there all alone
It took me less that a minute to think this thought.
The brother in a wheelchair appeared to have been
Locked in the same thought for the last forty years.

In Absentia

Love is not a thing you do
It’s something that you wear
Thrilling when newly purchased
Comfortable once worn thread bare

This morning I donned my clothes
And walked to the beach
In search of a gift from the sea.
A memento for you.

As I stood watching the sun break the horizon
In awesome glory
I thought of you standing beside me.
But you weren’t.

Within the beauty of that moment
I stood alone
And realized how empty
And naked I am
Without your love to clothe me.

My Old Friend

How long old friend shall I be with you?
It’s been a fast and merry ride.
At times a bit too exciting
When we’ve had no place to hide.

While others, we’ve languished along the way
All peaceful and serene.
And oh the mountains we’ve climbed upon
And the valleys deep we’ve seen.

But now that the time is drawing nigh
When it’s ruled we must depart.
Now I wonder how it would have been
Had we had a different start.

But then what more than what we’ve had
What more could we have done?
To bring us yet more closer still
To make us more as one.

As I gaze upon your aged face
A face I hold so dear
I give you one last parting glance
And slowly shuffle from the mirror.

JW

Betrayal

You said that I betrayed you
I can’t tell you what that did.
Once again I’d been defeated
By my impulsive id.

So I languish here within my soul
I ache in grievous pain.
While I watch that scene before me play
Again – and again – – and again.

What could I do to break the curse
What could I do to change
That sorrow filled face
Held together by grace
What could I do? . . . please what could I do?

I have mood swings every day
That have nothing to do with you.
I say and do things
I wish I’d never do.
Cruel things
Mean things
Cloaked in colored garb.
A joke
A curse
A barb.

I have mood swings every day
What more can I say?

And the devil played a lively tune
And the wise man danced along
And the tune was sharp and sweet and funny
And it’s rhythm very strong.

But the devil’s tunes
They are not free
And the time will come to pay.
And unless the wise man wise’s up
it’s not so far away.

JW

Enough

I want to write a love poem . . . sweet and easy.
I want to find a way to say the golden things
The things with wings.
I want to mimic Gibran . . . and Rumi too
I want to write a love poem . . . I do I really do.

I sit at the break of day
When the hush of morn surrounds.
I think of all those loving things
where peace and love abounds.
A thought so strong it births a tear
Takes me back to a better year . . .

BUT ALL I HEAR . . .

Across the hilltops flying high
Are cries from earth
And water
And sky.

ENOUGH! ENOUGH! . . . we say
IF you wish to live another day!
ENOUGH! ENOUGH!! ENOUGH!!!

JW

Quotes From Osho

Osho is my favorite mystic, when it comes to explaining the deep things in life he leads the pack. Following are 15 of his quotes. I’ll be adding on to this list as time goes on.

1. “Love knows no boundaries. Love cannot be jealous, because love cannot possess. It is ugly, the very idea that you possess somebody because you love. You possess somebody – it means you have killed somebody and turned him into a commodity. Only things can be possessed. Love gives freedom. Love is freedom.”

2. “Remain continuously on a honeymoon. Go on searching and seeking each other, finding new ways of loving each other, finding new ways of being with each other. And each person is such an infinite mystery, inexhaustible, unfathomable, that it is not possible that you can ever say, ‘I have known her,’ or, ‘I have known him.’ At the most you can say, ‘I have tried my best, but the mystery remains a mystery.’ In fact the more you know, the more mysterious the other becomes. Then love is a constant adventure.”

3. When you don’t need a person at all, when you are totally sufficient unto yourself, when you can be alone and tremendously happy and ecstatic, then love is possible. But then, too, you cannot be certain whether the other’s love is real or not – you can be certain about only one thing: whether your love is real. How can you be certain about the other? But then there is no need. This continuous anxiety about whether the other’s love is real or not simply shows one thing: that your love is not real. Otherwise, who bothers? Why be worried about it? Enjoy it while it lasts, be together while you can be together! It is a fiction, but you need fiction.”

4. “Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it.”

5. “I love this world because it is imperfect. It is imperfect, and that’s why it is growing; if it was perfect it would have been dead. Growth is possible only if there is imperfection. I would like you to remember again and again, I am imperfect, the whole universe is imperfect, and to love this imperfection, to rejoice in this imperfection is my whole message.”

6. “If you can bring your consciousness, your awareness, your intelligence to the act, if you can be spontaneous, then there is no need for any other religion, life itself will be the religion.”

7. “Truth is not something outside to be discovered, it is something inside to be realized.”

8. “Just being alive is such a gift, but nobody ever told you to be thankful to existence. On the contrary, everyone was grumpy, complaining. Naturally, if everything surrounding your life from the very beginning goes on pointing out to you that you are not what you should be, goes on giving you great ideals that you have to follow and you have to become, your isness is never praised. What is praised is your future – if you can become someone respectable, powerful, rich, intellectual, in some way famous, not just a nobody.”

9. “If you want to learn anything, learn trust – nothing else is needed. If you are miserable, nothing else will help – learn trust. If you don’t feel any meaning in life and you feel meaningless, nothing will help – learn trust. Trust gives meaning because trust makes you capable of allowing the whole descend upon you.”

10. “Listen to your being. It is continuously giving you hints; it is a still, small voice. It does not shout at you, that is true. And if you are a little silent you will start feeling your way. Be the person you are. Never try to be another, and you will become mature. Maturity is accepting the responsibility of being oneself, whatsoever the cost. Risking all to be oneself, that’s what maturity is all about.”

11. “When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised.”

12. “Life is a balance between rest and movement.”

13. “Fools laugh at others. Wisdom laughs at itself.”

14. “All that this world needs is a good cleansing of the heart of all the inhibitions of the past. And laughter and tears can do both. Tears will take out all the agony that is hidden inside you and laughter will take all that is preventing your ecstasy. Once you have learned the art you will be immensely surprised.”

15. “That is the simple secret of happiness. Whatever you are doing, don’t let past move your mind; don’t let future disturb you. Because the past is no more, and the future is not yet. To live in the memories, to live in the imagination, is to live in the non-existential. And when you are living in the non-existential, you are missing that which is existential. Naturally you will be miserable, because you will miss your whole life.”

 

The Mission

If God sent Man out to search and destroy
Then everything else makes sense.
If Odin be He and warriors be we
And He cared not the consequence.

Then we well trained elite have skipped not a beat
As we’ve ravaged and subdued the land.
Turning flora to mud and fauna to crud
We’ve met and exceeded God Odin’s demand.

But what if this God that we cherish
Were the artist who’d just done His best
Not merely a fable that makes us not able
To see the great danger in soiling His nest?