Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Out of Season

By Tom King

I live in the land of drizzle.
Nine months a year it's damp and my bones hurt.
It's kind of depressing but once or twice a winter,
We get snow; a fine dry powder you could probably ski on.

Never at Christmas though, but me being a Christmas junkie,
I cope by celebrating Christmas, whenever the ground is white.
It's okay to celebrate out of season I've decided.
That seems to me an important advantage of being a grownup.

I say “grownup”, but I never quite did it.
Grew up that is. I'm sixty years old and still a kid.
At least that's what my wife says and perhaps she's right.
I put up the lights and sing Christmas carols when the mood strikes me.

I sing Christmas carols in the dead of summer,
And whenever it snows, even in March or April.
Why not work up a little Christmas spirit in the off-season?
I mean why give up on White Chrismases just because the climate's weird?

I think what we need are more of us who celebrate
Peace on Earth good will toward men and wish each other joy,
Even when we're the only ones and we get the urge to sing Noel,
Because there's a dusting of snow on the trees and roofs and roads.

© 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

Falling Branches

Falling Branches

I hear them falling  as I walk;
Old dry limbs, worn and weathered
Taking that last long tumble, crashing
Down through the green canopy,
Shattering against the Earth
To be gathered up as firewood
Or kindling for the long winter
That we may sit and remember by the fire.

Sometimes it is the wind,
Sometimes they fall in a perfect silences
For no apparent cause;
The end of long careers aloft
Support for ratty nests of squirrels
Or the neat dwellings of warblers,  
Providing shade for aged couples
And dogs strolling below.

Long and useful lives spent,
The branches withhold their secrets;
Mute witnesses to what goes on below
Over which they provide
Cover from the sun,
Blunting of the rain,
Handholds for climbing boys
And soft whispers in the treetops.

As autumn deepens into winter
They fall faster and still faster
Leaving the heights above
To their younger brethren
Old soldiers dying one by one
Their secrets left unshared
Their deeds on our behalf remembered
For but a time by winter firelight

by Tom King

Saturday, November 8, 2014

An Unassuming Man

David Dwight Spencer (1958-2014)


An Unassuming Man

He was an unassuming man;
Quiet, moving at the periphery most times,
Sometimes unnoticed, but always noticing.

When something needed done,
He'd appear, toolbox in hand,
A crooked smile and easy-going manner.

A man's true heart is revealed,
Not by what he claims to have done
But by the work he leaves behind.

His handiwork remains in evidence;
Etched in wood and glass and plaster
And in the bones and sinews of his sons.

His heart remains with us a legacy,
One of the meek, who will indeed inherit,
The world made bright and new tomorrow.

He has slipped the surly bonds of Earth tonight.
He has skipped ahead in time and space
To where all Time must go to make its end.

And if he gets there just before us,
And we, at last catch up with him,
It's unlikely he will be unoccupied.

Who knows? But I expect that should
The Master Carpenter need something to be fixed,
That Dave will likely have his toolbox handy.

By Tom King
© 2014 - A tribute to my friend Dave Spencer

Sunday, October 12, 2014




There was an old man from Keene
Who showered, while the washing macheene
Made the water temp drop
While the old man, he hopped.
Takes agitation to really get cleene.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Wreckage We Survey

The Wreckage We Survey

Warm and wet the living world began,
   A tea party set, just so, for the new folk,
A garden filled with creatures bold and shy,
   Begging for attention from the gardeners.

Inexplicable choices made in the shade,
   Naked, running out among the brambles,
Farmers, now, not gardeners - their first land rush;
   Plowing all along the way, the once unwounded Earth.
The sun warms, the moon lights the night to comfort,
   While darkness growing darker, the seasons rise and fall.
And the wreckage we survey is all our own making.
   Not His. The smoking ruin, demands I pay attention.

© 2014 by Tom King

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Good Old Days

The Good Old Days

In the good old days, everything was better.
Horse didn't emit carbon to pollute the fragrant air,
And scooping horse manure out of the street
Created jobs and fertilizer for our roses fair.
      …and after a while you got used to the smell of poop.

In the good old days, food was better.  
Lots of gravy, flour biscuits, beans and lard
And fruit in season before it rotted in the pantry
And under the porch, coated in lime – potatoes old and hard
      …except when you ran out and had no cash to go to town.

In the good old days, our kids were better.
Obeyed their parents, early to rise, early to sleep
You could still beat them black and blue when needed
And make them work the cotton fields to earn their keep
      …except the ones that ran off and took up train robbing.

In the good old days, people talked more.
Usually about the neighbors who were for Sunday dinner served.
Some called it gossip, but to us it was "human interest"
And always were family traditions carefully preserved
      …like incest, child abuse, drunkenness and wife-beating.

In the good old days, we lived to ripe old age
Growing old and wise in the bosom of our kin
We lived long and useful lives in health and vigor
Village elders were greatly respected way back then.
      …of course, most of us were dead by 40 or too senile to gripe 
                   about anything if we did live that long

Those romantic good old days, when romance reigned
A young man went to see her father and bargained for his bride.
And she belonged to him along with several dozen cattle
And she worked 18 hour days, no pay and nothing ever to decide
      …except whether or not smile and bow or take a beating.

Ah, the good old days, what thrilling times they were.
Life was brutish, cruel and short and evil men were bold.
It's funny how we forget that almost half of us as children then
Never managed to grow up, much less managed to grow old.
      …except if you were rich and managed not to ever get pneumonia, 
                   typhoid measles, mumps, Spanish flu or diphtheria….

© 2014 by Tom King

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


We speak with the tongues of men,
Rough and smooth, sharp and soft,
Brusque and off-putting, smooth and welcoming
Some thoughts a simple word, some unpronounceable

Some languages belonging to families
Sharing sounds and structure
Some standing alone--no other kin,
Living in harsh isolation from their neighbors

Angels I imagine speak words
That fall like music on the ear
Perhaps that's the problem.
Perhaps we have too little music in our words.

© 2014 by Tom King