Lesson Learned

A house was not a home without animals. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

My neighbor got a flock of ducks;
Six, to be exact.
Two were white and four, brown.
I confess, I was gobsmacked.

Every day as the clock chimed three,
The ducks emerged outside.
Where they lived the rest of the time
I never learned (though I tried).

They picked and scratched at stuff on the ground;
They stretched their necks and wings.
Where was their water, I often wondered;
How did they know these things?

One day they ventured into my front yard,
And Monkey had a fit.
They couldn’t know he’s a herding dog,
Bred to chase a bit.

But Monk could only watch them strut —
His back yard is entirely fenced.
And one day, to my complete surprise,
A truck pulled up and commenced…

To load the pretty ducks all up
And carry them away.
Sold, or given, to a nearby farm
Where they’ll have room to play.

The truth is, my neighbor confessed,
Ducks make a lot of poop.
And having to clean his yard every day
Was worse than banishing the group!

Note: The best I can tell, this poetry form is in common meter — alternating iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter.

The Sky

A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all — he’s walking on them. ~Leonard Louis Levinson, author

Always hanging over us
Breath-taking views
Cloudy occasionally
Downpours, too.

Ever changing appearance
Foggy mornings with dew
Generously providing
Healing for our moods.

I often glance upward
Just to see the skies
Kind of a pasttime
Looking at the sunrise.

My search is rewarded
Now with this scene
Of sunlight diffused
Prisms that gleam.

Queer the fuss we make over
Retrograding Mercury and
Sporadic solar eclipses
That prompt us all to look

Upward until
We realize that once again
Xtremes of nature

Yell loudly while the commonplace
Zips along unnoticed.


Note: This is a poetic form known as the A-B-C Poem. First one I’ve ever tried, and it was harder than I expected!

Jawbreaker Sky


Spend time looking up.
Nature changes clothes often.
If you say you’re too
Busy to see pinks, golds, greys,
You’re just too busy indeed!

Note: Jawbreakers, or Gobstoppers to my friends in the United Kingdom, are pieces of hard candy that dissolve into different colors the longer they’re sucked. Far too hard to bite into, they’ve been a children’s favorite for decades.

Form: This is my first Tanka. The photo is one I took near sunset recently.

On Blooming…and Planting


Every year you appear as if by magic.
No one planted you, no one tends you.
Still, there you are, your star-shaped petals
Of saffron outlined in purest of snow
Reflecting the radiance of the sun itself,
While an explosion of spiky, hairy leaves
Sprouts from earth lending its encouragement.

So, too, some humans who never stray
Far from womb or hearth while others brave
New environments and untried experiences.
Bloom where you’re planted, or stray afar?
Both have their appeal, so long as you bloom
Wholeheartedly, for as long as you can,
Wherever you find yourself planted.

Note: These dainty perennial wildflowers are known as Yellow Star Grass, part of the Lily family, and are native to nearly every county in Illinois.

Flower? Or Weed?

Look at us, said the violets blooming at her feet, all last winter we slept in the seeming death but at the right time God awakened us, and here we are to comfort you. ~Edward Payson Rod, American Congregational preacher


Some would call wild violets pretty
With their heart-shaped, waxy leaves
And their delicate purple-hued blossoms.
Others insist they’re nothing
But a weed, a nuisance, a pest
That screams for chemical intervention
Or a shovel for permanent removal.

But isn’t it really all in the viewpoint?

Those who see this plant’s beauty must be
Optimists, searching for the good in all
And seeking, often find exactly that.
Those proclaiming it a worthless annoyance
Just might have scales covering their eyes.
They view the world in opaque tones and expect
Perfection that’s never attainable on earth.

Isn’t it really all in the viewpoint?

Maybe at times we’re all like wild violets.
We portray ourselves in the best possible light
And hope, by persistence, to live long enough to matter.
When others point out our flaws and proclaim us a bother,
We wither and sink into shadowy oblivion.
Shouldn’t we, like the violets, thrive despite obstacles?
Rail against the naysayers and their name-calling?

Isn’t it really all in the viewpoint?

Note: Wild Violets, like those pictured above, can be a homeowner’s bane if allowed to grow and spread indiscriminately. Removal can be challenging, especially for those unwilling to apply chemicals. But for the determined, there are organic methods available. Do you consider wild violets to be beauty or beast?

Dazzling Golden Beauty


Resplendent in your dress of gold,
Lifting your arms to the birds of the air.
Tall and proud, stunning and bold,
Never a worry, never a care.

Oh maple tree touched by the sun,
Are you aware that one day soon
Your leaves will drop and you’ll be bare?
That snows and bitter winds will come
Bringing silence and quiet as winter’s tune.
Do you know, or do you care?


Note: This is written as a Horatian Ode, a poem with meter and rhyme, praising a person, animal, or object. The “object” is a Sugar Maple photographed in late afternoon sunlight.

The Queen


We call her The Queen
And rightfully so.
She sits atop her throne
Growling orders to her minions.
Barking demands,
Snarling commands.

The weak-spirited acquiesce
To her desires,
And they admire
Her confidence and purpose.
The strong-willed balk
And blatantly gawk

While, scepter in hand,
She rules the land
With an iron paw.
Getting her way
Through force and might
Or tears and spite.

She’s The Queen, you know.
She thinks she has a right to crow.

Ostentatious Display


Standing majestically apart,
Swaying to and fro in the breeze,
Adorned with regal robes and a stately face.
Demanding attention, if even a glance, from one and all.
Showy today, then too soon he departs
To return next year, if he pleases.
Some accuse him of being a flash in the pan.
I contend he really has no choice.


Note: I think this is a form of poetry called an Octave. It contains eight lines.