Afternoon on a Hill

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.


I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.


And when lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down.

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

City Trees

The trees along this city street,

Save for the traffic and the trains,

Would make a sound as thin and sweet

As trees in country lanes.

And people standing in their shade

Out of a shower, undoubtedly

Would hear such music as is made

Upon a country tree.

Oh, little leaves that are so dumb

Against the shrieking city air,

I watch you when the wind has come—

I know what sound is there.

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

The House with Nobody in It

Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track

I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black.

I suppose I’ve passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute

And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it.

I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things;

That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowing’s.

I know this house isn’t haunted, and I wish it were, I do;

For it wouldn’t be so lonely if it had a ghost or two.

This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen panes of glass,

And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass.

It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines should be trimmed and tied;

But what it needs the most of all is some people living inside.

If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid

I’d put a gang of men to work with brush and saw and spade.

I’d buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be

And I’d find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free.

Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window and door,

Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in the store.

But there’s nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone

For the lack of something within it that it has never known.

But a house that has done what a house should do,

a house that has sheltered life,

That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife,

A house that has echoed a baby’s laugh and held up his stumbling feet,

Is the saddest sight, when it’s left alone, that ever your eyes could meet.

So, whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie track

I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back,

Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen apart,

For I can’t help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken heart.

— Joyce Kilmer

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star!
How I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the glorious sun is set,
When the grass with dew is wet,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle all the night.

In the dark-blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark
Guides the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star!

–anonymous

The Lamb

     Little Lamb, who made thee
     Dost thou know who made thee,
   Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
   By the stream and o’er the mead;
   Gave thee clothing of delight,
   Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
   Gave thee such a tender voice,
   Making all the vales rejoice?
     Little Lamb, who made thee?
     Dost thou know who made thee?


     Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee;
     Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee:
   He is called by thy name,
   For He calls Himself a Lamb
   He is meek, and He is mild,
   He became a little child.
   I a child, and thou a lamb,
   We are called by His name.
     Little Lamb, God bless thee!
     Little Lamb, God bless thee!

–William Blake

A Rain Day

It pools in the garden
and trickles down the driveway
drowning up earthworms
dripping from window frames

A bike in a puddle
near a baseball in the mud
Yesterday’s playground
turns to today’s flood

The young one peers
through the curtains and the trees
longing for a sunny day
for riding bikes and skinning knees

An ocean is drier
than this soggy morning,
the young one ponders,
as water keeps pouring

Hey there, kiddo,
Mother soothes,
Want your galoshes,
and your raincoat, too?

–Albert L Swope

The Rainbow

Triumphal arch, that fills the sky
When storms prepare to part,
I ask not proud Philosophy
To teach me what thou art.
Still seem, as to my childhood’s sight,
A midway station given,
For happy spirits to alight,
Betwixt the earth and heaven.


— Thomas Campbell

Trees

     I think that I shall never see
     A poem lovely as a tree.    

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
     Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

     A tree that looks at God all day,
     And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

     A tree that may in Summer wear
     A nest of robins in her hair;

     Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
     Who intimately lives with rain.

     Poems are made by fools like me,
     But only God can make a tree.

— Joyce Kilmer

The Days of the Month

A short poem from a book of poems called “POEMS: Every Child Should Know” by “The What-Every-Child-Should-Know-Library”.  This is a song and memory aid for children, which I remember from my youth and which I thought was still useful today.

Thirty days hath September,

April, June, and November;

February has twenty-eight alone.

All the rest have thirty-one,

Excepting leap-year—that’s the time

When February’s days are twenty-nine.


–By anonymous

The Field Of Honor

The Field Of Honor

Today was a good day
because we’re still here.
None of us has become a statistic
in our hometown newspaper.
None of us has turned into a knock
at a loved one’s front door.
Simply because we made it out alive,
today was a good day.

Today was a good day
because I have no wounds.
Better yet, no bullets blew by,
no scope pointed on me,
no near miss,
no ready, aim, goodbye.
Today was a good day.

Today was a good day
because I slept through the night,
and a good night’s sleep at that.
There was no watch to take,
no explosions breaking through my dreams,
bursting me awake.
In fact, I didn’t dream.
And because of that,
today was a good day.

Today was a good day
because I’ve had something to eat.
I’ve had three full meals (plus snacks)
of food that I chose, food that I wanted
because I knew it would taste good,
food that I could prepare or buy
to make me feel good. I ate it and
today was a good day.

Today was a good day
because it’s ending in bed.
It’s ending at home,
where I can read a book or watch TV,
stay up too late or go to sleep early.
Tonight, I am home, and so
today was a good day.

Today was a good day
because I’m able to look back.
I’m able to be proud of those I’ve known,
what they’ve done, who they’ve become.
I can look back on that field of honor
and remember when days weren’t this good.
Because I can remember,
today was a good day.

–Albert L swope

Mr. & Mrs. In The Yard

Mr. & Mrs. In The Yard

My dogs and I returned from the park, all crammed into the car,
We had not been gone for long, it’s really not that far.
My dogs saw them first, and then so did I,
New neighbors had moved in, we should stop to say hi.

We tried to go and meet them, but they never would stand still.
Running this way and that, they’re mouths they would fill.
You see, our new neighbors were a pair of light grey squirrels,
I called them Mr. & Mrs., for they seemed like a boy and girl.

They’d taken residence in our largest oak tree,
And seemed to be quite happy since the rent was free.
They seemed very friendly and wanted to play games,
Even though they were driving my dogs totally insane.

Mr. Squirrel would hit the ground, which got my dogs running,
He’d lead them on a wild chase, while Mrs. Squirrel was sunning.
Then he’d run across my roof, to tease my barking dogs,
And always made things worse, when Mr. squirrel took his jogs.

Down the tree and back up again, was Mr. Squirrel’s chosen path,
Putting the dogs in a frenzy, knocking over our bird bath.
I was not sure I liked my scampering new neighbors,
Things got interesting, at least that was in their favor.

Eventually, things would settle down, and Mr. & Mrs. would just watch,
They had settled into our oak tree’s strongest hollow notch.
I could watch them for hours running to and fro,
As they were settled in, I would not make them go.

I started liking them, which surprised even me,
So, Mr. & Mrs. new residence became our old oak tree.
When thinking about neighbors, they were not my first choice,
But I liked their gentle chirping, they really had so little voice.

I watched them run and jump, then scurry and scamper,
Climbing everything in sight, they were two happy campers.
The dogs got exercise, which they badly needed,
And I was entertained, my expectations far exceeded.

If you’re looking for new neighbors, you might give squirrels a try,
They’re really quite amazing and some species even fly.
The conversations might not challenge your intellect,
But Mr. & Mrs. Squirrel we never will forget.

–Albert L swope

Down The Lane

Down The Lane
Down The Lane

Gravel driveway–
Footsteps, footsteps;
Crisp, clean air flowed through our lungs.
Reminiscing,
Laughing, talking;
Languid noise rolled off our tongues.

Light broke through the limbs of trees;
Branches rustled in the breeze.
Conversation came with ease–
Bright autumn hues were all we’d see.

Golden apples–
Footsteps, footsteps
Slowly met to harvest more.
Years behind us,
Laughing, talking,
Childish noise that I adore.

We would know just what to say
And walk that gravel path each day.
We’d play and harvest as trees swayed,
Words spun and dipped like a ballet.

Sunbeams dancing,
Fading, soft light,
As we gathered together.
Buildings crumble,
Concrete erodes;
Memories last forever.

–Albert L Swope

Roses

Forgotten Roses, bee on Rose

How many years
had he watched them,
and how many years
had it been?

He remembers
the sunbeams
streaming through the treetops

He remembers
the green growth
enveloping the scene

But he always returns
to the patch of old roses.

In full bloom,
they look like a sunrise,
hues of orange and apricot
and peach tinted petals.

The flowers return
year after year
waiting for visitors
to see their true glory.

The once bustling farm
had long stood still,
with no human or animal
eyes to see the roses.

Who else knew of this patch?
Possibly none still alive.
The boy gone fishing
year after year
is among the only
living souls
still in
on their secret.

Life Is an Opportunity

Life Is an Opportunity

Life is. Not life should be, or I wish life was,
Life happens, just because.
A wolf preys on a weakened elk, not because it prefers the taste,
But rather it is nature’s way to end the elk’s fate.

The elk provides nourishment for the wolf clan,
This is natural, it is life’s plan.
No vote is taken in the pack,
To determine the best plan of attack.

The wolves know in order to survive,
Acting on opportunity will help them thrive.
Indecisiveness would result in failure,
And failure leads to death.

If you are looking for fairness in nature, it will not be found.
If you are looking for kindness, stop looking around.
If you are waiting for opportunity to present itself to you,
It will pass you by, and then you’re through.

Look for opportunity and act without hesitation.
Seize opportunity it is the means to an end.
Life is opportunity, no room for rivals.
Embrace opportunity, for it is survival.