Thursday, February 28, 2013


A Haiku by Tom King

It comes in a rush.
God bathes the dusty city.
Umbrellas blossom.

EXPLANATION: In church today we were talking about how God wants to bless us and sometimes we hide from those blessings be cause we want to avoid the discomfort that might come with receiving them.  I had the city picture in my mind and I imagined a rainstorm over crowds of shoppers and pedestrians. When the rain came, the umbrellas began to pop open as people tried not to get wet. I like to raise my face to the sky and enjoy the first rush of the shower. I though about God washing the dust from the city streets and buildings with the rain. The picture of God bathing the city and people raising their protective "blossoms" just came next. I might have put this more obscurely, but the haiku form demands a very rigid economy of words. That's why haiku is such a wonderful teaching tool for poets. It makes you write more strongly and with fewer words.  The picture is of a friend of mine, Steve Marshall, a guy who knew something about rain and the need for a good wash now and again..........and for umbrellas.

(c) 2009

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

First Love

by Tom King

I loved you first of all,
Any sad experiments I later made,
I was only looking for you..
In all that wasted time
It was you I loved.
You I ached for in the night.

Did you know, I prayed for you
When I did not know
who you were or where you lived
Or what your name would be.
First love felt empty
Till I found you and was filled.

(c) 2011
Photo: Autumn 1974
Pine Forest Academy

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I Sat Down in This Damnable Chair

My Grandpa playing the harmonica - 1984
I sat down in this damnable chair
two weeks ago now it was.
I can't lie down, I don't want to sit up
It's my family that hovers over by the door
just out of ear shot
I know what they're whispering about

I hate the idea of spending money to clean a suit
They're just going to bury me in.
When they close the lid it'll smell like
dry cleaning
Not in 2 years have I worn the thing - except to two funerals
That was last fall, I didn't think about it then...
I kinda wish I could take some of the
wrinkles with me

Haven't been a deacon in 30 years or sat in church
for I forget how long now.
I wish they'd say something to me besides
No, I'm not comfortable. Would you be in my place?
Everybody whispering about burying me!
I just said it and I don't feel anything like I thought
I would when I was 12.

When I think of myself as a child I'm always 12.
Don't know why. It was a good age I guess
I was a boxer then, listened to matches on the crystal set.
Used to let people hit me in the heart, big fellows
Gonna show 'em how tough I was
I heard someone tellin' that story in the kitchen just now

My heart's finally payin' me back; givin' up on me
Just when I figured it all out.
Nobody listens, though, they figure it's pain medication.
I have! I've figured out what it was I really wanted
when I was a thick headed 12 year old.
Now nobody listens, and I can't get it out.

"Dad, it bedtime, now. How about some soup......?"

(c) 1989 by Tom King

Monday, February 25, 2013

Daisy in Distress

© 2011 by Tom King

I hardly knew how much she meant to me.
this furry dog-child curled up upon the floor.
I suppose it's cause the kids are up and grown
And little need my company anymore,
That I have grown attached;
That I find my heartstrings
Played upon when only lately such sweet music I forbore.
We have them for so brief a time, a spring
It seems, and then they slip so quietly away,
And leave a wounded heart behind to soldier on
And face the living wars and troubles day to day;
No warm breathing by my chair
No dark eyes shining up at me.
I miss her already, even though she has not gone away.
To love a thing that much, so fleeting in its passage
Whether, wife or child or friend or even hound
Lays bare the heart to wounding when the loved is lost
Or threatened even by injury or illness found;
A trip to the hospital,
An overnight at the vet,
Leaving the anxious heart to flutter and to pound. 
God in His mercy surely makes provision,
For kids and wives, beagles and hounds - a place
Beyond this life; a treasure house where loves
May be renewed. For surely in His grace
His tender heart could never bear
A love forever lost;
A loved one's shining eyes, no longer looking up into His face.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Flower Man II

Flower man stands by the stop sign
Sellin' roses two for five
We have a little arrangement
The flower man and I

 I roll up, slide down the window
He plucks out two for five
He knows I'm in a hurry
Waves as I go by

The flower man doesn't know she can't
Watch roses fade and die
She told me weeks ago
Said they made her cry

I don't know why I buy them still
Two bunches for a five
Maybe cause the flower man
Still waves as I go by.

© 1992 by Tom King

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Flower Man

The flower man who stands by the stoplight
Sells roses two for five.
I know. I asked him
  even though I'm broke today.

I want to buy some one day,
  when I have five dollars
    and can time my stop at the traffic light
      so he and I connect.

It's not just his tattered shoes and hungry look either.
I have a lovely woman at home;
  a woman to write songs about,
    and buy flowers for in winter time.

Today, I think I forged an alliance with the flower man.
He, will look different from now on standing by the stoplight.
Next time I shall not see the tattered shoes,
But I shall see the face of the flower man.

© 1991 by Tom King

Roadside Stand

  (c) 2011 by Tom King 

Up ahead... 
A breathing space beside the road, 
Heaps of sustenance, rich dirt-toned, 
Plucked from the Earth, 
Gifts to be had from the land itself, 
To those who have the strength of arm  
             ... or three dollars the peck 

Pull over... 
Walk among the over-flowing baskets, 
Find something from the place itself 
Something drawn from the open-handed Earth 
Lifted whole and good in the farmer's naked hands 
A blessing to those who will gather at my table; 
            ... a reason, now to hurry home. 

*Picture by Patricia Moore used under Creative Commons License

Saturday, February 16, 2013


By Tom King

We are made of star stuff;
Our bones of quicksilver and moondust.
In our sinews are longings
Which cannot be satisfied
On such a dusty rock as Earth;
Proof we are meant to live forever.
Evidence - a faint trail
Left upon our souls,
By Him who made us.

(c)  2009