Sunday, May 28, 2017

Creating “Have You Heard the Butterflies Sing?”

Butterflies are rather fragile, they have a rapid patter of wings, and they see the color red very well.

Extract from “Have You Heard the Butterflies Sing?”

“Have you heard the butterflies sing,
Rolling the quiet skies with beating wings,”

Afterthoughts for “Have You Heard the Butterflies Sing?”

One of the greatest casualties of the war in Vietnam is the Great Society…shot down on the battlefield of Vietnam.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.

Douglas MacArthur

All you have to do is hold your first soldier who is dying in your arms, and have that terribly futile feeling that I can’t do anything about it…Then you understand the horror of war.

Norman Schwarzkopf

Illustration for "Have You Heard the Butterflies Sing"

First Review of My Book on Amazon and Goodreads

"Big Questions, Little Sleep" was a window into an artist's most inner thoughts bled and expressed in relatable poetry for all to wade through.  I loved the tributes to some of the most beloved artists that have touched my own life and then flown away when the sand emptied from their hourglasses. A definite must have for any deep thinker tantalized by the illusion and cold reality of time's callous taunt. There are even more questions and expressions relating to the unnoticed world shared around us. Questions such as, "Have You Heard the Butterflies Sing?" that will make you rethink all of which you knew.  You are brought in for a moment to ponder beyond just the moment and then you are returned with a new acceptance of what cannot be neither tethered nor controlled.  This is a heartfelt journey and I hope you enjoy it. I did.

Njord Kane (Author of The Vikings: The History of a People, The Hidden Hollow, and The Maya: The Story of a People)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Creating “Tomb”

While working a crossword puzzle, I came across the word “lambent.”  Thinking it a pretty cool word, I decided writing a poem using that word would be a fun challenge.  Remembering the catacombs of Italy, where the candles flickered, the weaving began.  What I ended up producing was a poem about tombs described in a particular hierarchy.  The end of the poem closes the circle.


Indian empress
In majestic palace.
Colossal pyramids and valley of kings.
Chinese emperor 
Under protection of enormous, imperial army.
Abbeys and churches,
Splendid, kingly.
Czech ossuary,
Decorative bones create glorious ambiance.
Immense Irish mounds,
Green and grand.
Parisian and Italian catacombs,
Lambent flames of candles illuminating.
Monuments to presidents and monarchs
Visited by heads of state.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Represents otherwise forgotten victims of wars past and present.
City cemeteries,
Vaults and mausoleums dot the landscape.
Family graveyards,
Tombstones detail ancestral history.
Solitary, unmarked graves
On purpose or not.
Mass graves,
One of the spoils of war.

A small, dark grotto,
Once covered with a rolling rock,
Now empty.
Its former resident
Watches over them all
From his vantage point,
Watches over the living

And the still entombed.

Afterthoughts for “Tomb”

“Death is not easily escaped, try it who will; but every living soul among the children of men dwelling upon the earth goeth of necessity unto his destined place, where the body, fast in its narrow bed, sleepeth after feast.” 

― Unknown Christian, Beowulf: A New Verse Translation

“When Zhuangzi was about to die, his disciples expressed a desire to give him a sumptuous burial. Zhuangzi said, "I will have heaven and earth for my coffin and coffin shell, the sun and moon for my pair of jade discs, the stars and constellations for my pearls and beads, and the ten thousand things for my parting gifts. The furnishings for my funeral are already prepared - what is there to add?”

― Zhuangzi, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu

“The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds - the cemeteries - and they're a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here. Going by, you try to be as quiet as possible, better to let them sleep. Greek, Roman, sepulchres- palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay - ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who've died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn't pass away so quickly here. 
You could be dead for a long time” 

― Bob Dylan

My Drawing For Tomb:

Creating “Pusher”

I went to Colorado for the first time and visited family whom I had not seen in years.  We did lots of wonderful things and went to many wonderful places.  The trip was all too brief.  One afternoon, we walked downtown Denver.  There were lots of panhandlers.  The one who caught my eye was the man with a bucket and a sign that read “Will use this money to buy weed.”  Back home, reliving the trip, I put two impressions from the trip together and wrote “Pusher.”

Extract from “Pusher”

“The Doctor” stands
At the corner
Of the street
Smiling at passersby.

Afterthoughts for "Pusher"

Nobody dast blame this man.... For a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don't put a bolt to a nut, he don't tell you the law or give you medicine. He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back--that's an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you're finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.

-Arthur Miller. Death of a Salesman

You know the value of every article of merchandise, but if you don't know the value of your own soul, it's all foolishness.


Myself when young did eagerly frequent doctor and saint, and heard great argument about it and about: but evermore came out by the same door as in I went.

-Omar Khayyam

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Some of you will be new to me and my writing will be new to you. It's nice to meet you! Some of you are old friends and you helped me design this blog through your questions and comments about my poetry.

One of the main questions asked by those who have read my work is:

What was your inspiration?
From where did you get the idea for....?

I will, over time, answer those questions for each of my poems.

For those of you not familiar with my work, I will also give a sampling of the poem I am focusing on.

Lastly, I state in my book that Anton Chekhov said, “The role of the artist is to ask questions, not to answer them.”

So, as definitive as these poems may appear, they still leave questions, or questions on questions. 

With that in mind, after writing a poem, I look for quotes that might be appropriately linked to the theme of each poem. I call these afterthoughts because they are other ways of thinking about the topic and they allow for discussion of those answers we all seek.

As a former teacher, I believe that questions are great things and sometimes seeking the answer and developing an answer is more fun than actually getting the answer.