rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “Poetry”

Buddy Poppy

 

BuddyPoppy_COB_Rotated

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

That poem reminds me of my youth. Growing up in East Texas, we observed most all things patriotic. I had many small town “little boy” jobs. Mowing lawns (with a boy-powered push mower), selling newspapers, you name it, I did it. One job I remember was selling Buddy Poppies, the paper replica flowers that the Veterans of Foreign Wars sell to raise money for disabled veterans. These were to honor our fallen soldiers. And at that time the focus was on WWII men and women.

Somehow I cannot visualize myself being in a war. I did spend a few years in the U.S. Navy; however, it was not during a period of American involvement in conflict. Honorably discharged in 1960, I spent the bulk of my military service aboard the USS Oriskany and the USS Hornet, both aircraft carriers. I married in 1959 and made the transition to civilian life upon my discharge. A few years later, America became involved in the Vietnam War.

But raising a family was my first concern and while my allegiance was to my family, I have always been conflicted about not serving during that period of time. Even today, I feel a deep regret for not stepping up to the plate. I feel sorrow for those who had the unpopular task in the Vietnam era.

My father-in-law was a combat veteran during WWII, serving in the SeaBees and among the first to venture onto the islands of the South Pacific, fighting battles and building airstrips. He was very private about his time in the service, but was among the many who received accolades for his time in the military, unlike the Vietnam veterans. I suppose this is one reason I feel a kinship with those who did.

Many returned home to an unpopular welcome. Derided and made to feel ashamed of their service. No other service to our country has ever been placed in that reasoning. Over 58,000 American men and women lost their lives during that conflict, and at the time those who survived were made to feel ashamed. That was a disgrace then and now.

Monday, May 27th is the day we observe Memorial Day this year. It is a day of remembering and honoring persons who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The burden is upon you, the America citizen, to remember and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country. Don’t disappoint me. Remember and respect all who did so. They served with distinction. And to the Vietnam veterans, I especially thank you for your service. I apologize for you taking my place.

Maybe I can find a Buddy Poppy to wear this Memorial Day. I do remember.

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Christmas Eve, 1892

I have spent a lifetime cultivating friends.  It has been a gratifying experience on my part. I hope it has been for those who have befriended me. At this time of year, we are inclined to recognize the sincerity of friendship. I would love to list each one individually, but I could not possibly single out any one person for to do so would overlook someone and that would clearly not be my intent. So, allow me to use this platform as my way of saying Merry Christmas to all my friends of today and those of years past and to all my family members.

Times have changed so much and so fast over the years. I do not send out Christmas Cards as I once did. I suppose social media has a lot to do with that. But with the technology of that medium, this will serve as my Christmas greetings. My family is scattered and grown with grandchildren of their own. Each family celebrates Christmas in traditions and customs of their making. However, the custom and tradition of family love is inherent in each. I love my family and support each as we welcome the celebration of the Christ Child.

From time to time I dabble in Cowboy Poetry. This is a poem of such in recognition  of the celebrated Child.

It was Christmas Eve in eighteen ninety-two
when the crusty old cowboy come riding thru.
the years ain’t been too kind to his wrinkled old skin
but that wasn’t stopping his toothy old grin.
He was wearing his frazzled and moth-eaten old coat
with a dull-colored scarf wrapped ‘round his throat.
under his coat he wore an old woolen shirt
thread-bare ‘round the elbows and covered with dirt.
His legs was all chafed by the rough leather straps
of his battered and weathered scruffy old chaps.
His tattered old hat barely covered his wind-reddened face,
wrinkled and wearied by a tediously…backbreaking pace.
His worn-out old boots had known much better days
When they weren’t stuck in the stirrups rounding up strays.

Ain’t been no easy years for this doddering cowpoke
For he’s played out his life mostly hard up and broke.
Been riding the range for most all his existence
Depending on nature for all his subsistence
Too many Christmases have passed him on by
But this one seems different yet he can’t figure why
May be he’s thinking it’s the end of his ride
And there’s a few things in this life he ain’t never tried.
Like hearing a preacher tell and discuss
’bout ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
Or hearing the story of the birth of Christ
Born in a stable under the Daystar’s light.
This old cowboy ain’t figured it out just yet
But when it finally comes ‘round he won’t ever forget.

Now he’s close to the end of this rough cowboy life
And he’s tired of the anguish, torment and strife.
But he ain’t never stepped foot inside of no church
So, he’s got no sense about where he should search.
But the voice in his mind kept telling him ride,
Keep riding cowpoke, the Lord will provide.
So, the crusty old cowboy woke up before dawn.
This was the day before Christmas so he kept riding on,
for there was a particular… place the voice said to be
and he needed to be there… on Christmas Eve.
He rode into town feeling so distressed
When a stranger asked him, “would you be my guest?”
The crusty old cowboy felt a sense of relief
As the dark-headed stranger shared his belief.

The old cowboy wondered if he could hear more
‘bout what all that happened on that stable floor.
And he wanted to know ‘bout any gifts he should bring
The stranger said, “He is the gift, He is the King”.
This old cowboy’s at the end of his rough cowboy life
He’s tired of the anguish, torment and strife.
He’s looking to finish with a whisper and smile.
Knowing Jesus is what makes it all worthwhile.
No more dust and grit to choke when you ride.
No more chasing strays and branding their hide.
No more riding watch in the middle of night
No more wrangling horses in the flickering light.
You signed on to ride with Christ the rest of your days
You’ve stood your ground and heeded His ways.

No more riding ‘crost the prairie plain
All wrapped in a poncho fighting the rain.
I’ve fixed up a camp spot high on a hill,
with bedrolls and blankets, in case there’s a chill.
There’s a campfire burning that never needs wood
A cast iron pot of beans that always tastes good.
Sourdough biscuits made the campfire way
and cowboy coffee to start your day.
And if you think you might… just get the urge
To ride the range where the rivers converge,
Then your dusty old bay is tethered near by
You can ride forever ‘neath the clear blue sky.
And the angels all gathered to sing and shout
Surely, old cowboy, you’ve figured that out.

It didn’t seem much like Christmas Eve he thought…
But his life was made new by the gift that Christ brought.
So on Christmas Eve in eighteen ninety-two
The crusty old cowboy comes riding thru
His looks had been changed from his wrinkled old skin
But there sure wern’t no mistaking his toothy old grin.
The story goes on ‘bout stars in the sky,
How the cattle are lowing but the baby don’t cry
How the bells keep on ringing the news for today
That the Christ Child was born on Christmas day
on this Christmas Eve he was feeling so blest.
This crusty old cowboy heading for a long winter rest.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT

 

 

From the Highest of Heavens

Some say we are in the Christmas season, but I say, God is never out of season. People sometimes take Him out of their box in December, put Him back in the box in January and leave Him there until Easter.
This is the reminder… as we celebrate the birth of Christ with family and friends; let us also take the time to reflect on our worship of Him throughout the year.

“From The Highest of Heavens”

“The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all”.  John 3:31
“And the Lord God Almighty said, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are too small to be among the army groups from Judah, from you will come one who will rule Israel for me. He comes from very old times, from days long ago.” Micah 5:2

In the highest of heavens,
Even, the heavens above the heavens,
The Most High sits on the glorious throne of the
Lord God Almighty.
In the beginning and from your splendid throne,
You Were…
Before the equation of time became measurable,
You were God…
Before the flawless design of endless space
You existed…
Before cosmic matter came into being
You were present…
Before God-breathed humanity was fashioned
You were…
Even before nothing …
You were…

And even before all of this, my name…,
MY NAME…! was on your lips,
And my soul… MY SOUL! was on your mind.
Love for me… was in your heart, because,
You Were…

And in that highest of heavens,
at your right hand sat your Son, Jesus,
with the Plan for my soul.
—You whispered my name, He said, “I’ll go!”

Then from that highest of heavens,
Down through the endless space,
in His measured time,
Brushing aside celestial spaces to
save humanity as the True Light…
In flesh…,through a virgin birth, He came…

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth John 1:14

Here in the month of December, we celebrate the physical birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. But today isn’t His birthday, and neither is December the 25th. For we celebrate not the day He came, but that He Came. Some ask, was it real? I say, my friends, yes, His Birth was indeed real. He is real.
Can you imagine God whispering to Jesus, the names of everyone ever created in His image? Even before the world existed?…

God whispered your name…
Then He came…

Christmas wasn’t going to be like all our Christmases before

For seventy-eight years, I have been celebrating Christmas. At my age, don’t expect me to remember all of them, but one I especially remember is Christmas, 1948. I was nine years old and we were living in tough times, not that I knew anything about that. It was said that Santa Claus was not likely to visit our house that year. Because of the divorce of my adoptive parents and the illness of my grandfather, my mother and I lived with my grandparents.
My grandfather, Papa, was suffering with cancer and many believed would not live until Christmas. My mother told me he had a disease that was infectious. That was to keep me from bothering him. I wasn’t allowed to go in his room; but I did stand at the door and talk to him. I remember Papa smiling at me between his coughing and wheezing. I always thought he would get well. Once, during that Christmas time, I sneaked into his bedroom, even though it was off-limits to me, and I told him Merry Christmas. He motioned for me to lean over closely, so I could hear him better. He told me that better times were coming, both for him and for me. I wasn’t sure what he meant, after all, I was only nine.

Now, in hindsight, I know that Christmas 1948 was a memorable one for me. I’m sure you have an unforgettable Christmas in your memory. Christmases are supposed to be a joyous time, a time for family to come together and share the joys, to celebrate the birth of Christ, and to remember the good things. Sometimes it doesn’t quite turn out that way, but then again…

You See… I Remember…

My folks didn’t want to celebrate Christmas… in nineteen forty-eight.
We had no money and my grandpa Papa, was so sick… he didn’t even know the date.
My Granny Mama wasn’t feeling well…, seems like Christmas might have to wait.
And if old Santa even came at all…, he’d probably show up late.

No…, Christmas wasn’t going to be like all our Christmases before.

No one much wanted … to decorate that year
Wasn’t going be like Christmas… wasn’t much Christmas cheer.
Then my Mama set about… to proudly trim a little tree
Thankful for the neighbor who cut and gave it to us free.

Mama wrapped her little tree… with gold and silver rope.
placed her special angel on the top!… she said, “to give us hope”,
like the angel from the Bible announcing Jesus’ birth
telling all the shepherds of Good News that’s come to earth.

I remember helping Mama… decorate our little Christmas tree.
And I remember especially…, all those joys it brought to me.
It had loads of shiny lights… that glimmered all around.
And Papa’s homemade ornaments… that almost touched the ground.

Our decorated Christmas tree… stood in its usual place.
Over by the window…‘cause we didn’t have much space
We had no chimney in our home… that Santa could come down
So I hung my cotton stocking by the door… just in case he came around.

But Christmas wasn’t going to be like all our Christmases before

I remember Mama… made her breakfast Mac and cheese
It was her specialty… we all were very pleased
I remember Papa peeking out his bedroom door
And saying maybe… Maybe Christmas might be like before

But, No, this Christmas wasn’t meant to be… like all our Christmases before

I remember Mickey Mouse… and the watch I got that year
And my cotton stocking… packed with Christmas cheer,
crammed with apples and oranges and walnuts and stuff
And good hard ribbon candy, plenty sticky… sure enough.

It must have been old Santa… who left those gifts for me,
‘cause no one had no money… and stuff like that’s not free.
But sometimes… like at Christmas… miracles do take place
And seems like miracles always put a smile on a little boy’s face.

But Christmas ‘forty-eight wasn’t like all our Christmases before.

So many years have passed since that Christmas ‘forty eight
But Miracles still happen…and that’s cause to celebrate
I remember Mama… telling… the wonder of Jesus’ birth
And Papa listening closely, his last few days on earth.

Ahhh.. Christmas ‘Forty-Eight…it came and went so quick
And Papa kept us laughing just like he wasn’t sick
Then February nineteen forty-nine, his cancer staked its claim
Christmases… ever after… would never be the same.

No…, Christmas wasn’t going to be like all our Christmases before.

Just a side note, one Christmas when our family celebrated together, I bought some cotton stockings like my Granny Mama used to wear, and I fixed each grandchild a stocking with the same fruits and nuts and stuff I got when I was a child. They thought it was funny… I smiled at the memory.
You see… I Remember… Christmas ‘forty-eight…

I’m pretty sure I know what my Papa meant when he said better times are coming.

Thank you for allowing me to share some of my thoughts with you.
From me and all my family,
I hope you have a very miraculously, and memorable Christmas.

 

LETTER FROM THE GOVERNMENT

This is not intended to be any type of political statement. I merely compiled all my tax information to send to my accountant for the preparation of my income taxes. I had this idea to write about it and it is meant to be a humorous article. Perhaps at this time of year, you may also get a chuckle from it. I hope you take it that way. Of course, if you have to pay any additional amounts, then you probably are not laughing. Sorry about that.

To the agencies listed in this poem, don’t bug my phone, don’t track my tweets, don’t publish my private information across FB or Instagram or the local newspaper. Don’t mention it to any television station and by all means do not send this viral on YouTube. Keep my name out of it. Thank you and I appreciate it.

Letter from the Government

I got this disgusting letter from the IRS today
Said I owed them money and soon I better pay
First of all, I ain’t so sure I owe them folks a dime
and what they took from me must surely be a crime.

I called The GAO about stuff their Office buys,
using all my money which ain’t no big surprise.
They offered no excuse and sent me on my way
They said that maybe it’s just time for me to pay.

The DHS is famous for the safety of the land
But they declined to help me with my simple payment plan.
They said that maybe I should call the DOC
But the DOC said not to bother, unless I pay a fee.

So I called upon the FBI to check for DNA
They mentioned I should maybe call up the CIA
The CIA then told me that my stuff is classified
Then they asked me what it was that I was trying to hide.

I hung up my telephone in case I’m being bugged
If I’m thinking otherwise, it’s possible I’ve been drugged.
It was suggested that I could call the DEA
But they’re known to share their files with the CIA.

I could keep this up all day and for many days to come
But all these folks in government, they all think I’m dumb
Like EPA AND FEMA or maybe FANNIE MAE
Then there’s POTUS and FLOTUS and of course the FAA.

And don’t forget the BEP, the most important one I know
They’re the ones responsible for printing all the dough.
Sirs, I need a little more to pay my past due tax amount.
That way the IRS can settle up my account.

ist2_5855720-income-taxes

Pete Robertson
Feb 2017

If you are so inclined you may check out this link to see where the government spends your money. It is a list of ALL (hopefully) government agencies that have a budget.I think you may be surprised at the length of this list.

http://ucsd.libguides.com/c.php?g=90902&p=584912

INSCRIPTIONS

Can you imagine sweethearts putting their initials inside a heart carving on the trunk of a tree? I believe that young people have been doing that since time immortal.  Perhaps, you have done that, etched your initials on a tree. It isn’t just for lovers. But it can be.

On occasion I confess to being somewhat of a romantic. A recent download caught my eye about writings on trees. I composed this poem for my own enjoyment and decided to share it on my website in honor of “The Rancherette”. I hope you enjoy it.

INSCRIPTIONS

Under the canopy of a weather-beaten old tree
stands an antiquated little wooden bench.
I sit serenely on this small resting place
studying the engravings on the bark of the tree.

I ponder the originality of those etchings
and wonder of the hands of these crafted designs.
It is a unique process that guides my thoughts,
mesmerized by the inscriptions of expression.

The impressive creations imprinted upon this trunk
were carved with great expectations.
It is the intuitive genius of the illustrator
to seek approval from the intended.

Immersed in the hush of my surroundings,
I am intrigued at the theme sculpted into the wood,
From my vantage point on this little wooden bench,
I derive inspiration and contentment.

My imagination runs the gamut.
Songbirds warble melodiously and pleasing.
Such creatures of tuneful sound and splendid beauty
should not remain hidden or dissuaded.

These charming feathered friends
submit that romanticism’s in the air
and from the little wooden bench
I perceive that love is written everywhere.

bird-singing

The carvings on this weathered tree of sublimity,
portray the many natures of relationships,
from the corny to the poetic to the sensual,
as I see it from my  little wooden bench.

tree-carving  Pete Robertson
i-love-you-heartFebruary 2017

The Peculiarities of Nature

I sometimes feel the need to explain myself. No matter what course of action I take, it does not always seem illuminating. I wonder if you ever feel that way.
In writing this poem I was influenced by the weather of late. Temperatures hovering in the teens and a smattering of white fluffy stuff drifting about the surface of a frozen earth. Living here in North Texas, we occasionally experience varying degrees of weather. Snow, ice, cold temps, makes one want to stay in bed. Well at least when one gets to be my age. Maybe I should not generalize.

Let me put it this way, I, at times, want to stay in bed and can’t. I find the circumstances to be exasperating. The occasions that come to mind are those in which I find myself with a serious motive for rising early. On these occasions, my desire is to stay there however, the circumstances prevent that desire.

On the other hand, some mornings I am not obligated for any particular project and have the freedom to stay a bit longer. However, I awake at an early hour and find myself unable to go back to sleep. Such is the revolving degrees of slumber and I have no solution.
So here are The Peculiarities of Nature. Perhaps you may see the motivation in this poem.

The Peculiarities of Nature

The early morning sun rises daringly
through the slits in the venetian blind.
Peering timidly from within, I resist approval.

I battle its domain;
He, not willing to retreat,
Me, not ready to abandon my comfort.

His actions imperil my sense of slumber.
As the darkness retreats, I stare helplessly,
Even as my vision flounders in the shadows,

Events of pretend still fresh
Of faraway places in my mind
I struggle with consciousness.

I feel bewildered.

I seek authority; there is none
I seek motivation; there is none.
I seek insight; there is none.

The whims of nature are tenacious.
The glimmer of his powerful rays
overcome my illusions of self-possession.

His persistence is overwhelming.
The venetian blind, raised to the limit,
my eyes are focused distinctly.

The morning ritual is bright and cheery
and I reap the reward of full satisfaction.
Good morning, Morning!

                                                                                                                                       Pete Robertson
© January 2017

Stay warm, wherever you are.

 

Christmas Dream

I had this weird and crazy dream again,
about an old grey-headed mirthful man.
he had a hoary look upon his placid face
yet not one whisker twisted out of place.

In my dream, he called my name
Curious to know was I to blame?
He said my name was on his naughty list
This Christmas, he’s sure my house he’ll miss.

In my dream I wonder, “Just who is this guy?”
I’m pretty all-fired sure we don’t see eye to eye
There’s no naughty stuff to which I will confess
And if my name is on your list you need to reassess.

In my dream, this stout and rotund chap
has caused a bit of anguish and somewhat of a flap.
These so-called naughty things he has inside his file?
nothing more than lies and frankly…, it just makes me smile.

it’s time to put this stupid dream on pause
What’s your name? I ask, He said…, it’s Clause.
First name’s Santa”, “just to be exact
Your numbers up, your Christmas bag’s not packed.

In my dream, I wonder can I fix this matter
Maybe leave some treats on a silver platter?
Perhaps a glass of golden chardonnay
would make this awkward crisis fade away.

But wine’s not guaranteed to fix your elfin case
You’re naughtier than me, he’s not coming to your place.
‘Cause in my dream, I see the lengthy “naughty” list
My name’s erased, but your name still exists.

So, here’s a plan that might not be too weird
go sit in Santa’s lap and smooth… his bushy beard
Check out the gleaming in his sparkling eyes
And if that doesn’t work, then simply improvise.

I won’t be describing all the intricate details
I can tell by observation, your tactics did prevail
I don’t know the tricks in your repertoire.
Somehow your name’s erased, and that was no small chore.

So, it looks to be a Merry Christmas after all.
with Christmas trees decked out in shiny Christmas balls
Be sure to leave him cookies, he’ll surely wear a smile
since he wiped our names from his lengthy file.

Merry Christmas
Pete Robertson
December 2013

P.S.

Glad we made it through this year and so we bid adieu
but Old Man Santa’s list will soon begin anew
I’m starting out from scratch to mend my naughty stuff
I hope you do as well, and hope that it’s enough.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

When I was Young

 

In the past few months, I have experienced the effects of an autoimmune disease known as RA. It certainly has been on my mind lately. It is a nasty ailment, affecting many people. It is incurable, however, with modern medicines it usually can be controlled. It is said that women are more likely to come down with RA than men. I remember my grandmother suffering from the effects of arthritis. Statistics show that a descendant of one with this disease is at an increased risk of developing RA. The statistics also show that most that do have this disease are usually between the ages of 40 and 60. When I was young, I considered these people to be old. Now, I am much older than that. However, age does not factor into whether or not one acquires RA, although,  we tend to associate it with the older generation.  I will not discriminate on the basis of age as I have great empathy for all  who suffer with this syndrome as I do.

This consequence brought to my mind, the evolution of age. This poem is a reminder of that process.

When I was Young

When I was young,
I reached out
To be picked up.
and cried until I was.
I crawled
until I could stand.
Then I stood… and fell…
and stood again
and crawled and stood again,
until I could walk.
I walked
and fell and got up
and fell again and stood
until I walked again,

When I was young
I mumbled and muttered
and tried to speak
And tried again
and cried again
when I could not…,
until I could speak.
and when my words
were misunderstood,
I cried again.
until I could be understood.
and the world around me
was so small
when I was young.

Now I am old
and the world around me
has magnified
and is no longer the same.
yet I do not see clearly
and I stand carefully,
and I fall and get up
and stumble again
and cry and try to speak
and mumble and cannot hear
and my words are misunderstood.
Maybe the world around me
Is not so big after all
just like when I was young.

Pete Robertson
©November 2012

I hope you have a wonderful (and pain-free) day.

Just a Lonely Little Weed

A Lonely Little Weed

Just a lonely little weed
Swirling in the breeze
Spiraling toward the sun
Causing sniffles, if you please.

However brave and plucky
This wild plant wants to be
It causes all the allergies
That endlessly curses me.

I’d put this little weed to death
If I could but reach her height
But climbing up above the ground
Creates a bit more fright.

So I’ll just cough and whimper
Until she runs her course
And learn to keep my mouth shut tight
To keep from going hoarse.

Methinks this ballyhoo will end
In perhaps a week or two.
she’ll shrivel up and blow away
I can’t wait until she’s through.

This obnoxious little weed,
With gold upon her head
sprouting on a rooftop,
emerging from her bed.

A lonely weed

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