Monday, July 14, 2014

Waiting on the Train

Waiting on the Train

Two gentlemen: 
one in tie and grey suspenders and crisp white hat;
the other in blue overalls and crumpled fishing hat 
and holding a smooth, wooden cane in his hand;
sit, laughing and happy, in the front porch swing.

They keep company with a gentle, white-haired lady,
prim and proper in her Sunday best,
relaxed in her rocking chair,
passing the time on the front porch,
while the scent of honeysuckle drifts on the breeze. 

All conversation comes to a stop 
when the 3:15 comes roaring by,
just a short distance away 
on the tracks at the edge of the lot.
They feel the vibrations through their feet
and up through their bones.
They wonder who is on the train,
where they are going, 
and how their lives are about to change.

She holds up her index finger in a "just one minute" wave.
The trio nod and smile at each other. 

When the caboose rattles by 
and carries the last of the roar away with it,
the exchange of words and stories continues.

Some of us wait for the trains to pass 
so we can tell our stories in the quiet.

Others of us are caught up in the rhythm of the noise,
embracing it and singing along with it, 
as we jump on the train and ride to the next station.

                                         *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I recently visited our local art museum where in one room they had a display of photos of trains. One particular photo caught my attention. It really appealed to me, and it inspired me to write the above poem.You can see the photo and read a little about it here. On the site, you can click on the photo to enlarge it and get a better view.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Big Zoo Dance

Big Zoo Dance

Have you ever been there?
Have you ever had a chance?
Have you ever seen the animals 
at the Big Zoo Dance?

The ring-tailed lemur
listens to the big jazz bands.
He does the swing step,
complete with jazz hands.

The jellyfish love 
as they gracefully float and turn.
 Do you want to waltz too? 
You can do it...
just watch the jellyfish and learn!

You wouldn't expect the grim turkey vulture
to dance around a lot,
but you ought to see him flap his wings and strut
when he does the Turkey Trot.

The orange fin clownfish, 
with its stripes of neon blue,
twists and turns along the coral reef,
while dancing the Electric Boogaloo.

The big old bear dances and prances
to a rocking Twist and Shout.
He puts himself in such a spin,
he has to sit the next dance out!

The penguin dances to Puttin' on the Ritz,
and maybe he looks a little funny,
but in his fancy tuxedo suit,
he gives Astaire a run for his money.

The Lion King says to his Mrs.
"I won't dance with you."
So, she refuses to talk to him
and mopes around, feeling blue.

Have you ever been there?
Have you ever had a chance?
Have you ever seen the animals 
at the Big Zoo Dance?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Two Views

Two Views

Every night on their walk,
she looked toward the sky
at the house sitting high on the hill.
It looked out over town
and beyond to the lake.
Seeing it gave her a thrill.

She wondered who lived there.
What was it like?
Did they enjoy the view?
She knew the inside had to be grand--
a fanciful dream come true!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Every night she looked out
after her dinner alone
from her house sitting high on the hill.
She'd see a young couple on the sidewalks below,
and she'd remember her walks with Will.

Now she rattled around 
in the house all alone.
Will was gone, and their children were grown.
She wished she could go back
to relive those walks.
Those days were so grand!
...If only she'd known.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Sidewalk Stories

Sidewalk Stories

Traces of yellow chalk dust--
remains of a hopscotch game.
 One, two, hop, jump.  
Pick up the stone.
Play with a friend,
or play alone.

Uneven concrete, 
cracked and lifted by gnarled roots 
in the shady spot under the old elm tree,
where walkers trip or stub a toe,
and roller skaters fall
and scrape a knee.

Lovers stroll
 as the sun sets.
"Hold my hand.
Come walk with me."
She leans into his shoulder.
He rests his cheek against her hair.
Such a thrill to hold her.
A day, such as this, 
he thought he'd never see.

Two elderly sisters,
arm in arm they walk along,
one keeps her balance with a cane.
Both widowed and left behind,
trying to fight the loneliness,
just holding on, trying to stay sane.
They fill their days with emptiness,
wondering why, wondering when.
So many questions still remain.

An exhausted mom
pushes her baby's stroller,
hoping the motion
will lull him to sleep.
He nods off and drops his pacifier.
It's surprising 
as we walk along;
the things we find,
the things we lose,
the things we keep.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Snow Leopard's Lament

Snow Leopard's Lament

Most walk right past me
though I'm right here in plain sight.
They glance my way
and then look away.
Do you understand my plight?
No one speaks to me! 
No one! Not one word!
I'm never noticed, never seen,
never heard.
I'm here in the shadows
in the grey and the black and the white.
I'm not trying to hide,
and I promise I won't bite.

(Unless, of course, you are a bird
or some other tasty dish
like a rabbit or a goat 
or... perhaps a fish.)

This is a picture of a snow leopard that I saw at our local zoo. This is a color photo, although it looks like a black and white. I was impressed with how well this animal blended in with the rocks and landscape around it. At first glance, I thought there were no animals in this area of the display. Once I saw it, I thought it looked kind of lonely, so I tried to imagine what it might be thinking.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

You Can Call Me Cuddles

You Can Call Me Cuddles

My ears are small.
My nose is wide.
I have squinty eyes,
big webbed toes,
and wiry-bristled sides.

My cousin is a guinea pig,
but I'm MUCH bigger than he.
My body's like a barrel.
There's no bigger rodent than me!

I lay around on the ground
and eat lots of grass and fruit. 
and though YOU may not think I'm cute,
the Mrs. thinks I am.
In fact she's in love with me.
She calls me her Old Whiskery Ham,
and I call her my Dear Sweet Pea.

When I saw this Capybara at the zoo, I recoiled a little, shuddering and thinking about how much it seemed like a giant rat. Right after I snapped the picture above, a little girl who was maybe four or five years old came up, saw the animal, and squealed, "Oh, he's sooo CUTE! I wish I could have him as a pet!"  Her mother and I exchanged amused glances. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fed-up Flamingo

Fed-up Flamingo

Distraught and beady-eyed,
the shy, fed-up flamingo
frowned at her image 
in the water down below.
"Why me?" she cried,
 as she peered and sighed
at her backward knees
and purple-webbed toes.
"I hate being a flamboyant,
fluorescent freak.
How I wish I could be sophisticated,
elegant, and sleek.
I just want to hide!
There's no chance of that, 
everyone knows,
not with these garish wings, 
pink feathers for clothes!
Oh, if only they could be shiny and black, 
refined and glistening,
like the ravens and crows!"