Monday, October 31, 2011

Contemplation on a Windless Night

The flagpole is a beam of light
Proudly straight and standing strong.
It breaks the dark of autumn night
Immobile for however long.
It seems to watch the graves below
And without comment stands its guard
A pious sentry of the dead,
A light, a beam, a holy rod.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dancing With Daddy (and Peer Gynt)

The little guy, while hearing Grieg,
Did ably dance and happ'ly swing
While fleeing tickling daddy trolls
In Halls of dreadful Mountain King.
The trolls they shouted for his blood
But up I scooped him and away
We ran both laughing 'round the room
And held the murd'rous trolls at bay.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Apologies to Billy Joel

In the middle of the night
I go scrounging in the fridge
Through containers of food
For a tasty little smidge
I must be lookin' for something
Something tasty I lost
But the fridge is bare
And I've already flossed
In the middle of the night.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Home Life and Chips

I am the one,
The committer of crimes
And the writer of rhymes.
I have the fun.

I ate the chips.
In vinegar and salt
And crunch I exult.
Spare me the dips.

My dear wife was peeved.
She'd hoped for a bite,
But the previous night
My magic I weaved.  [That's a euphemism for gittin' all piggy with the chips.]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


There's something just a bit off about everything.
Can a man take seriously the products of today?
Googling can't possibly be an adult occupation
But apparently it is, and holds deep fascination.
Apples all start with eyes! aies! ayes!  lower case all
Even if they are at the beginning of sentences.
Apparently Miller Lite is manly - and has flavor.
But one can be forgiven when trust begins to waver
In the face of just brute crass dumbness, no, stupidity.
Something dumb would at least be silent, not woodpeckerish.
I don't want any of it.  I don't want to be a slave.
Throw it all in the firepit and burn it right quick to save
A great many wasted hours and dollars and your soul.
It's all made to draw you in, suck you dry, exact its toll.
Good grief and by golly, though, I'm as enticed as anyone
Seeing too much of the world through the prism of fun.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Not Random

Candle offspring:
Drippings &
Smoke &

Coffee offspring:
Grounds &
Stain &

From everything comes something more
Which makes you rich or makes you poor.
It's best to choose those things so true
That you'll be constantly renewed.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Don't Touch!!

The boy in the jammers was walking one morning
And looking for trouble.  So he got a warning.
"My baby, don't touch that; Hey sonny, watch out!
Touching that warthog will cause him to shout.
And touching rhinocerii leads to some hurt;
They may be thick-skinned, but also quite curt.
And touching a lion?  Dear boy, that just foolish.
(Though thinking of outcomes might get a bit ghoulish.)
Suffice it to say, oh dear firstborn of mine,
That touching the things?  No, that isn't just fine!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Minnesota Gophers Football Limerick

When Huskers from Lincoln go forth
And meet the poor Gophs from the North
The latter will lose
And destruction ensues.
For Gophs, very little are worth.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Verbosity That Hasn't Run Amok

The End.


I think it's funny how artists say "profound" things with art.  Like I could say that this poem means that the end is really a beginning or some such nonsense.  But that would be a big, fat lie.  I just got nuthin'.  My wife and baby are home and poems are somewhere else.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

That Darn Cat

Once upon a time, there was a cat.
This cat was scoping out a deck
In some other cat's yard.
No worries.
For the other cat was small.
Oh yeah, a dish full of kibble.

[didn't eecummings say something about fog
and little cat feet
and creeping owner's of small kittens

Run!! oh my,
Head for the cornfield!! oh my,
Please no shotguns!!! oh my,

[for out of the door, screaming and bellowing,
came not a fog, nor e.e. cummings,
But W.B. Picklesworth.]

Take that you thieving cat.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Almost There

Her absence is soon to be done
And with her I'll then see my son
     Our young family
     In felicity
Will hug and will kiss just a ton.


And the boy will say, "Hey there, enough with the kissy stuff.  Chase me around or throw me up in the air."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Dearest wife,
When you're away
I feel the sky
Has turned to gray
The grassy lawn
Has gotten brown
And all the birdies
Seem to frown.
The gophers cry
And raise lament;
My heart is heavy
Like cement.


I hope my wife won't mind me posting this here.  On a side note, it bugs me when people bad mouth marriage or, more specifically, their spouse.  I hear that kind of thing at wedding receptions when people are trying to be funny.  Words matter.  Talk about your spouse with love and respect, no matter what.  Could someone give me a hand off of this soapbox?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Where's That Darn Wife? (For She Must Save Me From Myself!)

My wife is pregnant, that is sure,
But still has the look of a pixie.
And bless her heart, she's gone away,
To go to the land of Dixie.

It seems there was a wedding there
For this m'dear was required.

And so I sit in Ioway,
Ensconced (and maybe mired)
In Oreos and tater chips.
Good golly, I'm inspired.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Law

The thin and bony fingers
Of trees outside my window
Naked now for autumn
Naked 'gainst the wind
Will tremble for what's coming
Shiver in the breezes
Take the frigid punishment
As if the tree had sinned.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Alarm Clocks

There are all kinds of alarm clocks:
Little things that tinkle, great bells,
Cubes that wake you with music
Buzzing contraptions straight from hell.
Personally, I use a baby.
He's pretty regular, so to speak,
But now I'm left in the lurch
Because my boy is gone for the week.
What am I supposed to do
To return from the Land of Nod?
Maybe I'll just sleep in, leaving
Those early morning hours to God.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gene Kelly, Feel Free to Roll Over In Your Grave

I'm gleaning in the fields
Just gleaning in the fields
What a glorious feeling
With 165 bushels an acre yields....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ode to Wisconsin?

If I didn't have oatmeal
     My life would be fine.
The lack of the mush
     Would not leave me cryin'.

If I didn't have walnuts
     I'd handle that chore
By eating more almonds;
     That's what they're for.

But life without bratwurst?
     Now there's a bleak thought.
What would I do then?
     What could I plot?
Perhaps I'd be forced
      To sit there and rot?
Oh perish, oh perish
     Oh perish the thought!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Good Grief This Is Bad

What a fearful image there
Atop the water tower.
Seems an artist got a thrill
From painting someone dour.
There he was, in black and white,
Clint Eastwood looking sour.
Least it wasn't Sonny Bono
Decked in flower power.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Reply

"Jesus was a socialist" I heard a hippie say.
"Yes he was" I quick replied, "And rainbows oft are gray.
Snowy fields are burning hot and horses love to fly
Babies all play basketball and snoops don't love to pry.
Jesus was a socialist if words mean other things.
But Lenin's not an astronaut
And pigs still don't have wings."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Preparing for Baby

Abigail, our little girl,
Who's coming this Noel,
Is having clothes picked by her mom
(They're pink, oh can't you tell?)
And then there's bibs, and books, and hats
So much to give our dear.
But love's the thing and kisses too
(But very little beer.)

Friday, October 7, 2011


This harvest time
The wind blows strong,
And earth lies hard
And sun shines cold.

A man is dead
For whom we long,
And though it's true
That he was old,

Yet death is never
Welcome here
With its dread gifts
Of hurt and fear

Death is still
Our enemy,
Fruit of wickedness
You see.

And so we mourn,
And so we cry
That our dear friend
Has had to die.


It seems to me that we rush past death and fling ourselves at comfort.  Or worse, those who mourn have tawdry bits of comfort flung at them.  What is wrong with mourning?  What is wrong with living through a rare moment when everything isn't going to be okay and the world's foundations quiver?  We live life half in a dream, hiding and escaping from so much that is true.  We put lipstick on death and pretty dresses, pretending that we are choosing it because of its salutary qualities.  Steve Jobs said that death was the best invention because it cleared out the old and brought in the new.  Which is all well and good if death is taking anonymous lives to renew abstract life.  But it is not so.  Death tracks down those whom we love, one by one.  The wretched fruit of Eden tracks them down and taunts us, "Put a pretty bow on this if you like.  I am devouring the one you love.  And one day I will come for you too.  Just you wait."

But what about the comfort and hope of the resurrection?  What about death as servant of eternal life?  To this I say that Jesus didn't leap from the grave on Saturday.  The miserable weight of wickedness and judgment hung heavily around their necks for a time.  They felt the reality of what is true: death steals and destroys and punches you in the gut so hard you don't know whether or not you'll be able to breath again.  When Jesus rose, the message was not, "See, death isn't so bad."  He did not tell us to make our peace with the age old enemy.  No, he brought the fight down into the depths of hell and he killed death.  And only then, after death's defeat, was he raised.  Death, therefore, has no power over those who have been joined to Christ's death.

So what do we do on days like this?  What do we do when death has claimed another?  We certainly do not pretend that it is okay, as if death might be endured.  No, we mourn as if death has stolen all that is good and right in this world.  We mourn because our father or mother or sister or brother or husband or wife has been taken from us forever.  And then, we go and we hear the promise.  And then we listen to the promise death has been swallowed up in victory.  This promise makes no sense when we have hidden death in lipstick and dresses; it makes no sense when we have told ourselves that death is a good thing; it makes no sense when we lie to ourselves saying that grandpa is playing cards in heaven and watching us with a smile.  To those who have neutered death to avoid feeling the horrible weight of it, this promise of Jesus Christ makes no sense.

And so this is why we shouldn't leap towards comfort.  No, let dreadful death and its effects have their say.  Let death speak to you about how all life ends in death.  Let this wickedness speak its name.  And in the midst of this awful reality Jesus Christ arrives.  And with him, and in his name, rebuke death itself.  Don't dress it up and make it your friend.  Rebuke it.  "You have no power over Earl.  For he has died with Christ and he will surely be raised with him according to the promise.  You will have no power over him.  Go back to Hell."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Absolute Gibberish" or "The Darn Room Was Hot and I Like Fun Words"

When one is ensconced in a room with some others,
These others some dozens, all tightly packed in,
One wonders what wont would want heat to continue
Not cool the room down so that comfort might win.
Perversity surely, if not a malfunction
Of freon based systems intended to cool,
Perhaps it is better I speak with compunction
Lest HVAC professionals think me a fool?


I like mine twisty
With dollops of horseradish.
But golden aren't bad.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What Would a Bogey Be?

When driving along in the car,
With places to go that are far,
     The crux of the matter
     Is Benjamin's chatter.
Enduring is more or less par.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bear Thoughts

If I were a grizzly bear, nasty and mean,
Growling and snapping and venting my spleen,
Ulcers would probably plague all my days
Making me cranky and even more crazed.
Were this the truth I would hate to be me,
Hate the unhappiness, yearn for some glee.
Thankfully I'm not a bear of that kind!
I'm just a Kodiak; pay me no mind.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Favorite Things

Hot cappuncinos and whipped cream on mochas;
Chilled Dr. Pepper and iced Cola Cocas;
Corvette convertibles, red without dings;
These are a few of my favorite things.

Packers from Green Bay and books without pictures;
Lawful inhabitants, days without strictures;
Steak that is rare with a side of some wings;
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the Dow drops,
When the Prez talks,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.