Children of War

Let them know a mother’s hands
to comb out the snarls and the burrs,
to pin the bows in long, shining curls,
God bless these children of war.

Let them be poets and dreamers,
let them know peace. Spare them
the cries  of their comrades dying,
Spare them the guns’ mighty roar.

Let them be children for as long as they can,
but never children of war.

Summer Storm

Rain silvers the window,
Indigo and moonlight
swim on the pane.

We need the rain, but
hope the storm
will be a short one.

Clouds gather, frown,
then wistful
slip from the horizon…

The air is fresh and clearing
but memory of the thunder
leaves us fragile.

For Maryland

I am sitting at my ancient desk
gathering wild strawberries into tin buckets.
The memories
are bigger than my thumbs
but the poems
always seem to come out smaller.
I wish you could have tasted the pine trees
whisked about by summer winds.

Past the curtains at my window
I see them sway and bob,
those trees
five hundred miles away; 
I marvel that they’re even sweeter
than they were yesterday.

West Virginia Day

grimes goldenjpga A loyal Marylander by birth, I transplanted to West Virginia some forty years ago and now proudly claim ‘dual citizenship’.  Today, June 20th, 2017, West Virginia celebrates its 154th year as a state. The state flower is the rhododendron, the state bird is the cardinal, the state tree is the sugar maple, the state animal is the black bear and the state fruit is the apple.


Transplanted here with roots that have taken hold,
it wasn’t the apple that tempted me
nor fear of the asp that kept me from it earlier.

It seems like destiny that I should be a West Virginian
at home in the smallest county of the 35th state,
attuned to the harmony of early bird song
and a rising sun
that is sometimes slow to climb over the mountains.

Proud the history and strong the spirit
that forged pathways around and through obstacles
that would have stopped a lesser kind.

I celebrate those native West Virginians
who endured the back break and the heartache
it took to stake a claim to their spot of land
and their way of life.

There is limited space
but they open their arms to all
who understand it is almost heaven here,
especially now when the air is warm

and sweet with orchards
that wear the golden touch of God’s own hand.



West Virginia is not a subsidiary of Virginia,
and Hancock County is not a suburb of Pittsburgh.

New Kid in Town


His big boy haircut and tailored slacks
set well  atop the casually understated
Buster Brown lace ups,

His velocipede was sleek,
the first one on the block in metalflake
and the fastest too.

It was not the shoes
and the shiny cycle with tassels
that dazzled and impressed,

it was how he hid his tears
when he crashed.

Defining Ars Poetica

Though your voice is paper
and your scent is leather,
to call you silence is paradox.

You have touched the globes of grapes
and tasted wine, and even that,
a silent act, has sound.

You are more than cliché, more
than stone, more than slow erosion;
you are the moon, motionless
in constant motion.

You are palpable and parallel,
you are pulchritude and wisdom;
monarch of this kingdom,
you are a poem.


I was playing with words in this poem.
It is the shading of meaning that I’m going for
as opposed to the most common connotation.


Stanza 1. paper and leather refer to a book.

Stanza 4. palpable: so intense as to seem tangible
parallel: in this case is a likeness, a mirror

About Forgiveness (and a movie called “Over-the-Rhine”)

I have long since reached the age of serenity, wisdom, and quietude. I have reached the age, but those inimitable qualities seem somehow out of reach. Of course, I see them in flashes; sometimes I think they are here to stay but then I break a fingernail, the very one I use for hanging on.

When I was young, old people knew all the answers. I don’t even know all the questions. I have given up on ever being wise. Fortunately, my patient Father allows me to dump all my messes at His feet. He keeps me from drowning in even the roughest seas but this article is not about me.

It is about a movie…not just any movie. This was the World Premiere of Over-the-Rhine, written and produced by Mitch Teemley. I write this article not as a review but as a thank you to Mitch and his cast and crew.

Over-the-Rhine” was filmed primarily in the Over-the-Rhine arts district of Cincinnati, Ohio. It begins in a coffee shop. Ingrid, the shop owner makes mugs, runs the shop, and mothers her teenage employees. She molds both teens and pottery with a loving touch. I not only viewed the movie through the eyes of Ingrid, I became Ingrid. It was I who told Ms. Short Shorts with the mesh stockings to go change clothes.

That’s the thing about this movie; you don’t watch it, you live it. The characters are strong and vibrant. My brother,(ok, it was Ingrid’s brother) the priest, was so believable that when I spoke with the actor at the after show interaction, I felt as if I should kiss his ring. The movie will get inside you. It has moments so intense that you forget to breathe. The guard at the correctional facility gave comic relief with impeccable timing. I can see him clearly as I type this and I’m laughing again. Poor Anne Boleyn. (I won’t explain that, but you will understand at the perfect moment in the movie and you will laugh as I did, and you will feel the tension drain away, just as I did.) The teen roles in the movie are pivotal. The young heroin addict will test every fiber of your being.

There are moments of gut-wrenching grief, there are moments of rage, and there are moments of laughter. There is love. I would tell you the pain I felt when a heroin addict on a high ran down Ingrid’s son. I would tell you how much I hated what he did and how it hurt to see it, but those are moments that must be experienced.

“Over-the-Rhine” is about forgiveness. It does not just show you the way,  it takes you there.

Nota bene:
The World Premiere of Over-the-Rhine took place on June 13th at the Memorial Theatre in the Over the Rhine arts district in Cincinnati, Ohio. The red carpet opening and delectable array of magnificent culinary delights were as glamorous and gourmet as Hollywood itself. The after show interaction with cast and crew rounded out a perfect evening. It was an unforgettable event.
The movie has already been nominated for best picture, most inspirational picture and best musical score at the 2017 International Christian Film Festival. It has also been nominated for best drama for the International Christian Visual Media Association Conference in Cincinnati. Mitch Teemley’s “Over-the-Rhine” will circulate in early 2018. Ongoing updates
will be found here.