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Saturday, April 29, 2017

April 23 – Pastoral Hymn


Prints of this picture are available at http://glennsackett.com/

April 23 –  Pastoral Hymn

O’ Father I have heard Your voice
In the stillness of the night.
And at Your feet I’ve learned to love,
To ever do what’s right.

Father I will lift to You
Each wounded soul you send
That I should be Your loving hands
Your goodness thus to spend.

O’ Father I have seen Your face
In wind and waves and sun,
And on the wide and rolling plain
And mountains where the rivers run.

Father I will bring to you
Each lost and weary heart
That I should find along my way
Your love to each impart.

O’ Father I have touched the streams
Of mercy from Your hand
And caught a glimpse of majesty
I cannot understand.

Father I receive from You
All that my heart can hide
And in the shelter of Your love
Forever I’ll abide.

© 2017 by Tom King

Friday, April 28, 2017

April 22 - Research Assistants


 

Research Assistant


Rats
Enjoy
Short but an
Exciting life
As tools of science
Relishing their part in
Cooperating with that
High science and researchish stuff
And contributing to the steady but
Slow but inevitable progress that
Science enjoys thanks to thes exploitation
Imposed upon our small furry friends the dormice
Silently and patiently running those mazes and
Taking medications meant for much larger creatures than
Are they themselves and who fancy that they are better looking;
Not little mammals with ugly tails who cannot talk back to us
To tell us that perhaps they aren’t very happy to be tested so.

© 2017 by Tom King

April 21 - Earth Day


Earth Day Founder Ira Einhorn

Earth Day

What fun we’ll have today. A grand old
Excuse to get back to nature, kick up our heels
On what once was Lenin’s birthday, but now a day
For making people feel guilty about their SUVs.

I remember that grand first Earth Day,
Founded by two senators one Democrat
And one who was Republican.
And a psychotic hippie environmental activist.

Who beat his girlfriend to death, composted her,
Then ran for Europe where they’re more progressive.
We don’t talk about that these days.
Instead we carry on about settled science

And how wonderful it would be if we had
A global government with environmentalist teeth to make
Developed nations, that Bill Nye says should be like Niger
Where they emit less carbon and sixty-one percent are poor,

Where they have the highest infant mortality in the world,
And live 18 fewer years than the rest of us.
And are miserable, dying, exploited, and despairing
Living worse than animals do on an American farm.

So we sing about a future, bright with gulags, tyrants,
Death, poverty, and disease in equal measure.
Misery for all for what we’ve done to the great rock
We Earth day celebrants anthropomorphize as Gaeia.

….And worship with sex, drugs, rock, and communism.

 ©  2017 by Tom King

Saturday, April 22, 2017

April 20 - Wonder





April 20 – Wonder


I still remember that sense of wonder
I had as a kid growing older.
I remember the feeling of joy that came
With each surprise that we stumbled over.
We came equipped with it, like socks.
That keep our feet warm, wonder keeps,
Our hearts warm and ready to burst,
With the joy that both laughs and weeps.

For those of us that nurtured wonder,
Taking it out ever once in a while,
For the occasional outing in the wide world,
Wonder grows stronger each mile
That we travel till the road turns gray.
In our journey down life’s byways and lanes.
We may grow slow and weary with time
But wonder still with us remains.

© 2017 by Tom King

Friday, April 21, 2017

April 19 - I Do Not Age




I Do Not Age

Merlin the Magician had the right idea;
Deciding to age backwards each day.
As he explained to the Wart, "You see I do not age..."
Fingers steepled, "I youthen," he'd say.

So when I was sixty I decided  that I
Like the wizard would put age on the shelf.
No more getting older year after year,
I'd just start getting younger myself.

But now that I'm going on fifty-seven again,
I think the rest of me might just disagree.
My hip thinks it's ninety four, perhaps ninety five
My knees tell me they're near eighty three.

My shoulder says it's almost hit seventy-two.
My pancreas?  It's eleventy nine.

My back, though, for some reason, oddly enough,
Seems it's going with me back in time.

So now I'm a jumble of parts disconnected.
My hair has gone white since my youth.
You'd think it would bother me aging this way,
But I'm okay with it to tell you the truth.

Something will give out one day in the future
Or maybe one day in the past.
Whichever way it's going what expires the first,
Should still last just as long as it lasts.


© 2017 by Tom King

April 18 - Dam It!




Dam It!

Beavers have the right idea.
The water's moving too fast?
Need a place away from the wolves?
Got a stream?  Well dam it!

So your life is out of control,
The pace is too fast.  Need to slow it,
So you have time to think before acting? 
Got life rushing by? Well dam it!

© 2017 by Tom King



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April 17 - Rent-a-Grandpa



As a kid, I had grandfathers - some good, some not great.
But I've wanted to be one since I was twenty.
So I saved up some bits of my youth for the day
I'd have grandkids and great grandkids aplenty.

We had three of our own and we thought that should do it
To insure our descendants continue to breed
A generation or two at the least, but it seems,
That grandkids weren't something we need.

So I'm a cranky old geezer with a garage full of toys
I've left my canoes and my paddles behind.
My fishing pole's somewhere in Texas without me,
My sailboat's a memory that drifts 'cross my mind.

I'm a grandpa without any grandkids,
Got no one to teach funny songs to.
Or bounce on my knee. I can't tell my stories
To some kids that I actually belong to.

So, I just look like a grandpa, I've got the white hair.
I know all the grandpa stuff I need to know
So, I'm available to rent, just send your kids over.
I've toy soldiers and will tune up the banjo.

 © 2017 by Tom King



April 16 - Experts























April 16 - Experts

They say children are born innocent and pure.
Children are perfect and sweet they assure.
“They” being ever
Those who have never
Had kids of their own to endure.

 © 2017 by Tom King

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April 15 - Taxable


 April 15 – Taxable

Always someone has a hand in your pocket
These days it’s everywhere you go.
Whatever you do, someone wants a piece
Of what you spend, do, or see, or know.

We’re treading water like the ship’s gone down
And we’re cast in the sea like lost sailors.
If we’re fortunate to have a lifeboat that leaks
And we’re reduced to being full-time bailers

What joy ‘twould be to float through life,
No suffering bureaucratic predation,
I’m afraid though we must all wait for Heaven,
The land where there’s no more taxation.

© 2017 by Tom King

Monday, April 17, 2017

April 14 - Eggs as a Movie Metaphor


 Eggs as a Movie Metaphor


Ever noticed that in all those old movies
Romance is not physical but its chemical
And love is never seen on the old silver screen
Only hinted at in messages subliminal

It’s always an evening together - a quick supper
They’ve always got eggs cause they’re sensible.
Then away fades the picture, the rest left to conjecture
Classic film love-making is always subliminal.

So to make censors and audiences happy,
Directors use eggs, both suggestive and sensible -
The old fertility symbol, as metaphor is nimble
And keeps the film clean and presentable.

© 2017 By Tom King

Friday, April 14, 2017

April 13 - Beneath the Darkling Sky


Beneath a Darkling Sky.

Whenever I find a patch of water
   I look for something to float upon it.
Those two things together and
   A sun to shine down on it.
Perfect plus a summer breeze
   Waves chuckling against the hull
As I press my boat along
   Beneath the darkling sky.
Still there’s always light ahead,
   Reflected in river, lake or pond.
Always there’s some brightness,
   Calling me over and beyond.  

© 2017 by Tom King

Thursday, April 13, 2017

April 12 - Last Summer's Flowers

































Last Season's Flowers

At the end of summer we dug holes along the driveway
And dumped the withered remnants of the flower pots
Into those little graves with a splash of fertilizer
And then abandoned them for the long cold winter.

Now spring is coming on and the little darlings
Have popped their heads up from among the foliage
Decorating the verge with color all on their own
No longer potted pampered plants all sitting on the porch.

I suppose one day we too will find ourselves dumped
Into holes along some quiet drive, left resting for the winter.
Till one day we pop our heads up from the greenery
And show the world some color, able to manage on our own.


© by Tom King

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April 11 - Some Light Wants Letting Out



Some Light Wants Letting Out

Some light wants letting out
Of all the gentler hearts
Scattered amongst us all
Humankind’s better parts.
Lying like little diamonds
In the dark, patient every one
Waiting to show some sparkle
Reflected in the coming of the Sun

 © 2017 by Tom King

April 10 - These Trees are Not as Old as Me


 














These Trees Are Not as Old as Me

We're surrounded by a stand of mighty Douglas Firs.
I felt I was walking in a forest of ancient trees.
Towering overhead, blocking out the sun,
Their tops swaying in a breathy morning breeze.

I had it all in my head, I imagined those giant sentinels
As they look from the ridge down to where Native villages dot
The valley below, smoke curling from their cooking fires
The evening meal simmering in the village cooking pot.

So when a big one toppled to the ground, riddled
By woodpeckers, cut down sawed up by some guys,
The neighbors hired to take it safely to the ground.
If fell my lot to chop it into firewood where it lies.

Eagerly I counted up the rings so clearly on display,
I expected to count for a while, but it was not to be.
I counted once, then unbelieving twice and thrice again.
And to my dismay the fallen giant ain't but forty-three.

Why I've underpants as old as that. What a disappointment,
To discover all my ancient trees are but children next to me.
I suppose I shouldn't romanticize the plant life like that.
Lest the harsh light of truth deflate my wildwood fantasies.

And I wonder in all the time they've been here,
Growing firm in place these mighty massive trees,
I wonder what my rootless wanderings have cost
And have these old trees grown up more than me.



© 2017 by Tom King

Sunday, April 9, 2017

April 9 - A Grief Observed

Micah at Galveston beach
To his mom he'll always be like this - four. To me he is 28 and my friend































It's been eleven years and a bunch of weeks
   Since I lost the son who had at last,
Become my friend in the days before he died,
   All that father/son stuff finally gotten past.

Grief's a different thing observed inside
   The griever; not at all what you expected.
Time does soften it a bit, but does not
   Wash it all away and clean; the pain rejected.

Not a day goes by I do not think his name or find
   Some trace, some thing about which he used to care
His drawings, journals in a box, a picture lying 'round the house 
   His drawings, even the old shirt of his I sometimes wear.

In his mother's mind he's always four years old.
   To me he's twenty-eight, six-four, and just become my friend
It's different how we each remember him, but we do.
   He's alive inside our grief with us, a pause but not an end.

Micah wondered once if someone would remember him
    If he were gone, I think he sensed his time was brief.
I could tell him now that he is remembered every day,
    With joy, pride and love, and even still a little grief.   

© 2017 by Tom King

Saturday, April 8, 2017

April 8 - A Sabbath Nap



A Sabbath Nap

Today I had it all planned out, I would build a fire
  Listen to a Sabbath sermon on Youtube
      My favorite pastor too and then I'd take a little nap.
          I even covered up the attic squirrel we'd caught last night to keep it warm.

But...
  The dog we're babysitting woke me up
     Decided we needed to play ball right now
          Outside in the drizzle and she dropped a soggy tennis ball
              Into my lap and barked into my ear.

Later this morning, after our ball game, I thought I could
   Still get in a quiet sermon and a doze for an hour.
       Maybe I'd read a bit, have a sandwich and some cold iced tea.
           I made decaf tea in anticipation - no caffeine to disturb my nap.

But....
   Then the ambulance came and with it 5 burly firemen
       They checked her out and said the wife would be okay
             Some kind of stomach problem; probably should see
                 Her doc sometime next week or so. Then, I released the squirrel.

After noon I walked the dog down to the mailbox
    It's a quarter mile from the house a healthy stroll
         No mail yet, so then we threw the ball till she got tired and hid it
             And I went inside to prop my feet up in my chair.

But....
   It was lunch time by then and I hit the freezer and the microwave
       I accidentally made the spicy one first time - no dice,
           So I made my Sweet Baboo another milder one and set aside the Cajun chicken.
               Then checked the dog who was by now napping peacefully.

So this afternoon, I ate my spicy lunch then settled back
   With a warm stomach and a glass of decaf tea.
       And as I finished up, I check to see that all was well
           And began to close my eyes, my blanket warm about me.

But...
   I looked up to find the dog, a mouthful of ball giving me the eye.
      I talked her into another walk to the mailbox instead.
          On our way back, her humans came home, so we gathered up
             Her pile of blankets, the crate and doggie underpants.

I sat back down - I'd enter all my contacts into my new smartphone
   I figured if I fell asleep no harm, but then the ice storm started and more rain.
      I was finally done with most of what I had to do.
           And found myself once more in my comfy chair and drifting off.

But...
    There arose a roaring in the fireplace and I'd put too much wood
        On the flames and the heat had set the inside of the chimney
            On fire. The smoke alarm went off, I pulled it down.
              And sprayed up the flu with the fire extinguisher.

I've cleaned up the mess, now and the sun is going down.
   Too late for a nap, too early yet to go to bed.
      Thank you God for all my little troubles here this Sabbath day.
           It lets me know I'm still alive and useful.

No "buts" this time.

 
© 2017 by Tom King          
         

April 7 - When It All Comes Down to Numbers
















When It All Comes Down to Numbers

The longer I live it seems
The more it all comes down to numbers.
I expect some day when
We're inscribed with three sixes or a bar code
Human kind will be ready
To line up on the shelf beside any other creatures
That have managed to make themselves
Extinct or at the very least have come to latent obsolescence.
The bookkeepers will have caught up
With Earthlings at long last and overwhelmed them all
With numbered labels suitable for storage
In little boxes, cardboard, magnetic or laser-etched.
We ran as fast as we could for open spaces,
Fleeing the squinty-eyed little trolls with ink-stained fingers
That followed in our train intent to make
A cipher out of anything and anyone they can ensnare.
In webs of numbers in crisp file folders
And now they've got us electrified, datafied and labeled.
What the numbers turn out to be won't matter
Not at all, just that everybody has one - sixes in threes or otherwise....

© by Tom King

Friday, April 7, 2017

April 6 - Gifted


Gifted

We each and every one have gifts aplenty
But each of us are also gifted
With qualities that make us unique
From every other soul upon the planet.
Something God injects into our genes.
With a drop of joy, a smidgen of wonder
And an infusion of love to hold it all together.
Before we are turned loose to exercise our gifts.

 © 2017 by Tom King


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April 5 - Pockets of Resistance



Pockets of Resistance 

Out in the black and angry places of the world
Dark clouds rest on the very tops of mountain peaks
The bottom of the sky held up by ragged pyramids
To give a little breathing space for those of us beneath.

Not every one of us embrace the darkness overhead.
Some come together in pockets of resistance here and there.
Little stubborn bands of hopeful souls, all saying no
To the hopelessness, intimidation and despair.

Little pockets of light that flicker in the shadowlands
Little flames all fed by knowledge of the One
Shining still, there above the other side of darkness
Streams of light that break through from the Son.

© by Tom King

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April 4 -I ❤ Buffalo and Wolves





I ❤ Buffalo and Wolves

I know, they're really bison, but our grandfathers' name for them,
Stuck and I'm from the heartland where we've no need to prove
That we are intellectually or morally superior to city people.
We just know it and live happily in our quaint little rural groove.

Let's bring the buffalo or the bison or the American bison back
Whatever you call them and while we're at it wolves, bears and panthers
Wouldn't that be nice? And sure the Native Americans would just love it.
They're all so beautiful and natural and we city people have all the anthers.

Ever notice how many of them lisp like that; as they tell us what we ought
To do with the land our restless ancestors farmed and ranched and died on?
"I know let's put some wolves on some guy's ranch or how about mountain lions?
"I know, here's a little bit of forest by the Sabine River some bears would like to lie on.

It's funny, but you just know if a reconstituted herd of half a million bison,
Came stampeding through their communities knocking down those wrought iron gates
And trampling down the rose beds and taking baths in upscale swimming pools
That nine-one-one would be deluged with half a million angry resident complaints.

And the first time a pack of wolves set up camp in someone's yard,
Waiting to see if the lavender smelling poodle would soon come on outside,
Or the day one's toddler shouted "kitty" and toddled off across the yard
To pet the pretty panther, sitting at the end of the child-safe play fort slide.

Or the black bear, not bright enough to recognize the river as a border,
Nor knowing that in Texas after swimming the Sabine one must
Never slap a kitty off a rail, and have it for your lunch for there'd be trouble
Cause in Texas kitty's mama's shotgun judgment is considered imminently just,

Or if we dropped the surplus predators in some West or East Coast town,
Just to give the nature lovers a little taste as predator populations do pick up,
Perhaps some folk would not be quite so ready to be occasionally eaten
By bears or hunted down by the hungry packs just to keep the gray wolf numbers up.




© by Tom King

Monday, April 3, 2017

April 3 - I Am Not a Union Man


I Am Not a Union Man

I am not a union man and I am not ashamed
It's not that I do not appreciate what union men
Have done to improve the lot of workers in the past
Midst the great onrush of the industrial revolution.

Am I ungrateful not to join? Some say it's so,
Not to join up and stick it to the corporate beast,
To join the last revolution's organized resistance
And oppose the old robber barons, long since dead.

It's always a revolution it seems, with new enemies
And new calls to join the latest collective in its holy war
Against whoever it is that has got what the revolution wants
And to bury them 'neath the stampede of historical inevitability.

First it was the primitives warring against the land
To bring it into submission and establish their own dominance.
Then a new wave of settlers whose economy soon came
To depend on driving the primitives away or to extinction.

Then it was the ranchers and the farmers with cavalry and Indians
Thrown in, leftover from the previous generation's war
Then farmers moved to cities to work in factories and shops.
Then promptly went to war with those who owned them.

Now the compilers of data and sellers of access have overcome
The factory men and unions and push them out before
The inexorable tide of computers and information and access.
The data men who now, having resisted, must soon resist something else.

What will we resist tomorrow? What's the next baron, king or prince
We will need to band together to resist, to preserve some status quo,
Sublimating our lives, our liberty and our happiness because,
We owe the old unions such a debt of gratitude for our current comfort?

For one brief shining moment in a thousand years, some took a stand in unity,
Not to preserve the collective but to set the servants of the king at liberty.
To give to men and women, not membership, but freedom to be
What they are and if they want, by choice to not be union men unless we wish it.

© 2017 by Tom King




Sunday, April 2, 2017

April 2 - End of Winter



End of Winter

I stumbled on a picture I took a week ago
While I was out walking after spending days inside;
Doing the obligatory loop around the neighborhood
To survey the aftermath of winter's final gasp.
We'd had two feet of snow upon the ground
Just a few days ago. Then the warm winds came,
Brought back the drizzle, making mush
Of all that sound-softening blanket
That had made a reverent place of our little wood,
For a day or two and kept us warm and snug inside.

Now all that's left are traces piled in chunks
Along the streets and sidewalks where
Travelers afoot and drivers wheeling along the road
Had pushed the snow up in piles beside the ditches.
A few sturdy hunks of white remain, softly sheening,
A glaze laid on by relentless mist and rain.
Green grass, watered slowly pushes up behind
The snow as it is gently washed away,
And the wood is not so quiet anymore, the birds not so reverent
And spring is here again with a frenzy of demands.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April 1 - If I Were God





If I Were God


Were I God, I would not wish
To lose a single beautiful thing
I would take them all as trophies
And when I returned I'd sing,
A victory song o'er all the beauty
That my children saved from loss
Singing over every child of mine whose art
Reflects what such salvation cost.

Were I God, each song, each painting
Each precious thing my children made
In unconscious imitation of creation
Each farmer, each gardener with a spade
I'd gather them all up and carefully transplant
Each musician, singer, poet, healer and homemaker,
Each one who rescues animals, birds or kids
Each child who is a by choice a giver, not a taker.

If I were God, I'd make the world anew;
Strip it bare and start it up again.
I'd scatter my children over every inch
To build homes and rich gardens to grow and tend
To build airy boats, to make wings to soar
Upon the seas and winds like birds all colored bright
To spread joy and wonder as their Father does,
And to drink eternity by Creation's healing light.
 
© 2017 by Tom King