Poems

My collection of original poems

Silent Words—a poem

Sometimes I sit and listen,
silent words touching my soul;
a wisp, a whisper, words floating by,
silent words making me whole.

An inner calm washes warmth
through my inner being.
I listen and hear
as silent words bring peace,

Knowing you are there,
I yearn for more…
and hear answers in the wind,
in a song birds singing,
cattle lowing or even a baby cooing.

I see your smile
in the glint of another’s eye,
a rush, a sigh…
I reach out and you’re not there.

But is that true?
Maybe I’m just not listening,
to your silent words,
Silent Words that make me whole.

© 2012 Rich Weatherly

February 21, 2012

§

Early 1940s
Just Married

Spoken Words

Mother’s words calm a worried child,

Words of hope and joy outlast the latest toy.

These words are like waters,

Flowing from a mountain stream;

Where child can hope and child can dream.

A whisper, a laugh, a tease or a cheer,

Moments remembered, so cherished – so dear.

§

When doubts bring fear of monsters out there

Reassuring words from Dad say, “No need to beware.

You are with us child and that’s all that matters.”

Ghost and goblin, vampire and bat;

Nightmares and terrors, so what’s up with that?

A firm and calm voice so steady and true,

“Daddy, I thank you for just being you.”

§

When you feel discouraged, your friend says, “Just do it.”

You doubt and withdraw. Some will say I just blew it.

Friend urges, cajoles — knowing what it’s about.

They bring it on when you are all doubt.

You think and ponder and they must be right.

With message so true & your interest in view,
they know you better than even you do.

§

Not all spoken words are so good and so true.

Rants from a mad man who hated the Jew—

His ravings drew many, though stormy— untrue.

Detestable tirades yet many he thrilled,

For them did it matter, he wanted them killed?

That’s why we fight; stand up when it’s right,

Strength against strength with all of our might!

§

Spoken words guide us and show us our path.

For good or for bad, we hear them each day.

How do we speak them and what do we say?

Spoken words matter, let’s show all the way.

A way that is just and faithful and true,

One that works right, for me, and for you

To show others honor a life to renew.

Rich Weatherly, February 29, 2012

§

Small Town Homecoming

A month ago this small west Texas town
with a single crossroad and railroad track
looked empty and barren
except for Mary’s café and a small Czech bakery.

Faded letters on abandoned red brick buildings
hinted of better times long ago.
Wind tossed tumbleweeds danced along dusty
cobble stones, gone as soon as they came.
A spiny-back lizard scurried over crossties
and vanished behind a weathered log.

A little more than a year ago wildfires raged close by;
racing down from the ridge west of town.
Now a mosaic of white ash on gray scorched earth
mingles with black barren mesquite tree skeletons.
This near ghost town was almost lost to conflagration.

A few days ago I sped down the lonely road
past fields green from recent rains
to this little town with its six man football team
for a homecoming celebration.

Like butterflies from cocoons
cheering crowds lined streets while
proud parade participants jostled in queues
waiting for the grand marshal to wave them on.

Mounted riders waved to smiling faces and cheering friends.
Riders sat on saddles gleaming with silver Conchos
sitting tall and proud as hooves clip-clopped on cobble stone streets.

Out came motorcycles side-by-side,
boys on bicycles, tractors, golf carts, atvs and lawn mowers
and the procession inched on.
Along came cheerleaders in pickup trucks tossing beads
horded by bystanders who waved for more.
Next came, old cars and new cars, fire trucks and a stagecoach.
The procession inched on.

Last in line was the 1st Cavalry detachment,
its mounted soldiers riding two-by-two,
their captain led the way—
young men wearing wide brim hats,
blue shirts, gray trousers and black boots.

After the parade everyone moseyed
over to the town pavilion where
folks were meeting and greeting
recalling memories from long ago.

Barbeque, potatoes salad
and iced tea nourished those gathered
while talk returned to stories
of those who have passed on.

After hugs and handshakes
and encouraging words
the crowd dissolved
leaving a near empty town.

Mary’s Café siphoned off some
while kolaches at the Czech bakery drew away others.
Traffic trickled to an occasional passing car,
and the regular rumble of a passing train.

©2012 Richard L Weatherly

§

 

A Tribute to August, from “The World According to August — One good friend,”
by Sandy Westendorf

§

Poem for an Autistic Child

To soar on wings of eagles

to glide along the glade

to bounce and jump and whirl and twirl

to dream and search and sway.

He has so much in common

with you and me you see —

a bright and charming sweet young boy

who senses all with clarity.

To hear, to see and touch and smell,

he takes all in so well,

his self expression is unique

his feelings hard to sell.

We might whisper, he might yell

but one can never tell.

He likes himself and folks like him

and that works out quite well.

August has needs and we have ours,

life comes with give and take ―

love and comfort, peace and joy

needs all share, so we partake.

A smile, a doubt, a look askance

a wave, a nod, a sigh —

He needs hugs and love at times,

same as you and I.

He gazes on the sights nearby,

is stirred by beauty there.

A swan takes flight, a songbird sings,

if only he could fly.

Unspoken words may bite his tongue,

but thoughts within belie.

A word from Mom, a smile from Sis

unspoken things give him answers to why.

Show him love and friendship now

his joy you’ll never miss.

  Don’t ever leave just stay nearby,
he just might make you cry.

August is a special child

and August needs a friend.

August is a special child

And August is my friend.

a poem by Rich Weatherly, October 7, 2011

For more information about autism and “The World According to August – One Good Friend” by Sandy Westendorf  refer to http://purplebirch.com/books.html   .

Sandy managed a team of behavioral specialists and is the mother of an autistic child. According to Sandy:

Every child is unique; the extent to which they are affected is also individual. If you are not living with autism, it is easy to miss the child and only see the diagnosis.The aim of this book is not to speak to autism as a disorder or to define it; there are many excellent references which address those specific topics…

The book was written in an attempt to demonstrate, although outwardly,
these children may appear different; but inside—where it counts—they
are the same as you or me.Children with autism love, have an ego,
feelings which can be hurt, a sense of humour, and even a mischievous side.

I heartily encourage you to support research into autism by purchasing this book.  A percentage of the proceeds will be donated equally to support Canadian-American Research Consortium (Autism Research) and the International Society for Autism Research.

§

 Infamy– a dark poem on inhumanity

Above, Kevin Carter’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1993 photograph of starvation in Sudan. Top, some of the text of Alfredo Jaar’s work, which is based on the photo.

Infamy is my interpretation of the photograph above. It does not represent my typical approach to poetry. I found writing on this subject to be an unpleasant experience. The poem addresses, what I believe, is the cause of much of the suffering in North Africa. It was written as a contest entry, the rules of which, prohibited rhyming.

Infamy,Participants and witnesses to tragedy, all

Vulture – servant of the powerful, Tent– shelter for those who could help but don’t, Child – our object of compassion and Carter – Do we thank him or pity him?

Vulture

Gods of greed

saté their thirsts

on ill-gotten gain.

Brokers of souls

barter lives to soothe their guilt…

a guilt that seldom fades.

Serving corruption,

they slake dry throats

with blood from silent sacrifice.

Their altars appease

acts of genocide—

or so they think.

Memorials to evil

overlaid with childrens’ flesh,

Tyrants trampled posterity

with famine fed horrors;

thieves of life and love.

Vulture servant,

devours child’s last hope –

dashed on a bed of clay.

Tents

Will sheltered sycophants

ever fight?

Talking heads, poison pens,

jellyfish hordes swarm,

they talk, but never act?

Their poison spreads

on rivers of dust,

bold ones who pay

for rights to remain,

cozy with death and destruction.

Tribute to power brokers,

lenses fog

with funeral pyre smoke.

They cower,

detached of soul

hearing sounds of feedback,

microphones of phony fantasy.

Peeking through slits —

“Move on now,” their only cry;

too many little ones

fall to eternity,

their deaths only a memory.

Child

Carry on Little One.

You are ours still

while you have breath.

Hope dangles on threads;

we demand to know why.

Governments won’t do it.

Will you hang on?

Little by little we will try:

Sight with compassion,

ache for answers

and implore

while others turn

and walk away.

What do they see?

Child far from throngs,

they fail to count the need.

Blindness gives bliss.

Your gift

of precious life lies

in our hands now,

and stirs upon our soul.

Separated by time and place;

May our gifts,

not come too late!

Kevin Carter

My child on canvas,

anguished little one.

I prayed for a world

with no suffering.

That budding bastions,

bring relief;

aid to add flesh

to skeletons of hope?

“Why did I not aid this child?”

Had I? Who knows…?

Would Pulitzer brighter be?

Anguish encircles my soul,

yielding to endless sleep,

to join this child in silent rest.

 Let poison spread my way.

§

†At around 9 p.m., Kevin Carter backed his red Nissan pickup truck against a blue gum tree … used silver gaffer tape to attach a garden hose to the exhaust pipe and run it to the passenger-side window. Wearing unwashed Lee jeans and an Esquire T shirt, he got in and switched on the engine. Then he put music on his Walkman and lay over on his side, using the knapsack as a pillow. Quoted from –http://www.thisisyesterday.com/ints/KCarter.html 

¤¤ I prefer to end comments about Infamy on a positive note. It is my sincere hope that readers take away a positive message from this tragedy. Relief organizations exist that support the victims of tragedy directly. CRF feeds, houses, educates  and provides medical care to children in need throughout the world. Please consider supporting my friends at http://www.christianrelieffund.org/  

§

The Poems below represent my typical approach to poetry. They tend to be reflective and a bit philosophical. Some simply marvel at the wonder of creation.

I wrote the first two poems below while attending college.
The year was 1967,
just before the turbulent times of the late sixties and early seventies.

I dedicate these two poems to lost comrades
and especially my Uncle Bob Hebisen for his
critique of Time Marches On.

 Time Marches On

Moving, pacing, racing on
can’t stop, won’t stop – why not?
Ever crowding, endless passing –
will it not stand still?
Tombs of pharaohs cannot hold it
future plans await.
Empires rise, decline and fall,
a breath withdrawn by hungry fate.
This is time
a vast domain
Infinite, perpetual
Always on the wane.

§

 

Time

Today what is it
do we know?
Today we share it
do we grow?
Today is important
most of all
Today is here
our foremost call.
One by one
our todays
add up.
Our plans today,
Tomorrows’ cup.

§

Contemplating Rest

June 2011

 


A warm summers eve
and song birds sing
calling on the cooling day.
North sky color
mother of pearl
gentle breeze presses
young foliage tips obey.
Boughs sway in gently
slow, lazy rhythms.
Relaxation, more reflection,
So many loved ones gone away.
Years gone by,
moments cherished –
a relaxing calm
brings quiet thoughts
of life and a millennium – just a babe.
Moments stir thoughts,
past memories,
of  times when dreams turned away
from mortality.

§

 Morning

July 2011

Light, gentle breeze

Morning cool belies

scorching blast

mid-summers torment

yet to come today.

Still,

 a sparrow cheeps,

cicadas trill

as a dove takes flight.

flitting toward Western sky.

bands of cirrus

pink-tinted cotton wisps

stretch

zenith to horizon.

§

 

Dusk

July 2011

Cloudless still

Red horizon grades to zenith slate

Mourning doves perch

back yard fence

a time to rest.

calls cah coo,

 Cah coo

Coo coo.

Crickets sing

Cicadas trills ring.

Sun sinks

below western sky.

§

 Inspiration from a Scottish Fantasy

 by Max Bruch **

Eagle in flight


Chords of unspoken words, a soul lifted to heights unknown.

He scatters seed, the bringer of bold ideas;

Beauty stirs the soul.

Waking at eve it calls, but morn brings gifts of love.

Stand back irreverent hordes – a fortress protects our shores.

Such beauty rides on wings of grace,

And your eagles soar.

Tides rise and fall the morn ebbs on,

Contented & warm they ride.

Noontime dazzles with light of day

Splendor and glory… radiance we must obey.

Times grow tough, waves roll and crash

Troubles all swept away.

A wash of foam brings joy:

Redemption now! No more delay.

June 12, 2011
rlw

§

** The Scottish Fantasy by Anton Bruch is a nostalgic orchestral piece with stirring violin accompaniment.
It is a symphonic adaptation of melodies taken from traditional Scottish folk tunes.
I listened while writing prose. Vivid imagery brought forth by the music inspired the poem.

© 2011-2013 Richard L Weatherly
All rights reserved.

34 responses to “Poems

  1. This page contains the heart from which you write true. A bit of magic, a touch of grace, a pinch of wisdom, makes this a lovely place. Thank you for sharing these thoughts brought to life, envisioned promise, and the music only words can sing. Very well done.

    • I’m not sure how to respond. These are kind words. I can say based on something you mentioned on Twitter; you understand that to comprehend and feel the words you must be able to hear the musical quality and move with the rhythm and flow. This requires a good ear; the same as picking up and using Scottish brogue, the alternating lilt with guttural clicks. I’ve yet to translate that. Maybe reading Robert Burns – my hearts in the highlands.

  2. Mary McReynolds

    Such a rich viewing into your generous soul. Thank you. I love your poetry and esp. the line — Our plan today tomorrow’s cup. How very true, for good and ill.
    Blessings…

  3. Mary McReynolds

    Oops. Meant to write “Our plans today, tomorrow’s cup.” an excellent line and concept.

  4. Your elegant portrayal on how time manages to slip by in spite of our efforts is a beautiful reminder to make the most of it. It is precious, fleeting, a gift, as are your words. Vivid images are conjured with ‘Contemplating Rest’, how smooth and easy your prose flows, allowing the reader to experience that moment with you – I loved it! ‘Inspiration’ reminds me of the highs and lows of one’s life, reminding us all we can begin again with the dawn of a new day or the rolling in of a new wave.

  5. Thank you for your warm, encouraging words. Your comments convey my intent in a concise manner.

  6. Love the descriptions, Rich. Very calming. Where is this greed and avarice you warned of?

    • Lana, I suppose you deserve an explanation. Hard to explain in Twitters 140 character world.

      Thank you for your kind words. You have read words that represent my usual awe and wonder of life and blessings.
      The piece I’m working on now is a contest entry addressing deplorable conditions in 1994 during a never ending famine in the Sudan. Kevin Carter, a photographer from South Africa snapped a photo of a young black girl bent over at the waist with face inches from barren sand in a dry river bed.

      Child is in the foreground. Diagonally to the left and a short distance away is a vulture eying it’s next intended meal.
      Tents line the bed of the wadi. Carter won the Pulitzer prize for Photo journalism and committed suicide a short time later.
      See why I was so cheery. Honestly I’m outraged by the corruption, greed and avarice that create situations like this. Why has the child been left alone?

      My natural inclination is to shout my reaction. That is not the best way to address the issue. I’m working on rough edges now in an authors forum for comments and critiques. It’s on Scribophile. If you are a serious writer, feel free to join. I’ve been on it for less than a month.
      That’s the reason for my comments. No doubt there is an element of your Unseen War. I hint at but only subtly.

      If you browse other parts of the blog you will see nifty historical pieces and a short story based on an actual event. So, there’s my blog and again, Thanks for stopping by.
      Rich Weatherly

  7. I have almost forgotten how much I like poetry. Spend all my teens reading & writing poetry.I really enjoyed all of your poems. However one of them “Contemplating Rest” made my body tingle & heart stop beating. Thank you for this lovely gift.

  8. Rich,
    Your poem INFAMY has a powerful message. The photo which precedes it; is difficult to look at no matter how many times someone has seen it. Your prose is eloquent and moving. It reminds us who are surrounded with comfort and excess, too many people do not have food, water, shelter or as the little girl in the photo; a caring-hand to help her reach salvation. Thank you for bringing this subject off the back burner and into the forefront where it belongs.

    • Sandy,
      Infamy is the result of a challenge to write my response to the photo. It was one of the most difficult assignments I’ve taken and has involved numerous re-writes. That said, I’m glad the message resonated with you. My hope his that those who view the photo and read the words I’ve written, will respond in a caring manner.
      Thank you.

  9. Your words of “Infamy”, accompanied by the picture of the starving child, the vulture, & the tents, makes my heart gasp for oxygen & moves me to tears of both sadness & outrage. This picture & your accompanying poem serve to highlight multiple tragic horrors–the probable loss of that child’s life, the blatantly selfish disregard for</em) her life, & the loss of connection to both our humanity & our Divine purpose as spiritual beings that seems to have arisen from becoming overly sheltered, jaded, & ungrateful for the gifts we have been given.

    As I believe you're eloquently pointing out in your poem, it is an epic tragedy of a selfishly jaded world that has become the vulture that there were people present capable of saving that child from her fate, but were more concerned with capturing that ‘poignant’ prize-winning photograph. Unless followed by a story such as–‘Having stumbled upon this horrific scene in our travels in the Sudan & after having taken this picture, all journalistic crew ran out to save this child & get her the medical/nutritional attention she so desperately needed. She is now making a miraculous full recovery, thriving, receiving an education, & happily enjoying school.’–this picture deserves no prize.

    The true prize to humanity will come with a whisper when, rather than fretting over capturing the perfect photograph, people, regardless of profession, race to stop the tragedy they’re so intent on witnessing/capturing on film for the sole purpose of displaying it to the world. Put down the camera & do the right thing as whatever God you choose to believe in intended you, as a human being, to do.

    Regardless of spiritual beliefs, God/Goddess/Divine created the vulture with a purpose, which it serves, as does every living thing in the Divine circle of life. The Divine Creator(s) did not, however, create humans to fulfill the purpose of the vulture & yet–as your poem points out–that is exactly what’s taking place in this picture. The humans, simply because they can, are playing the role of the opportunistic carrion bird–a role that is not theirs to begin with–by plucking out their ‘prize’ (the picture) yet, unlike the carrion bird who will likely fulfill its role of cleaning as intended by the Divine, the humans selfishly pluck from the situation only what they require for their own personal gain, then turn a heartless, blind, & wasteful eye to the rest within the shelter of their precious tents in which they needn’t bear witness to the outcome.

  10. “Infamy”

    The Poem is not only sad but extremely powerful. I like how it starts at first slow but by the time I got to the 3rd. part my stomach was shrinking with pain & was fighting back my tears.
    I would like to know if Kevin Carter is happy & in piece.
    I think the whole poem is one big question if our “way too busy & important life” is more of value than the life of a little baby.
    The poem made me stop. Made my thoughts stop spinning & running & planning.
    The words are powerful. Everyone should read it.

    • Magda,
      Thank you for your touching words. My hope is that those who are moved by this piece find a way to respond in a caring, compassionate manner. I know that you have and I truly appreciate that.

      Thank You.

  11. Fantastic pictures, Rich. They go so well with each piece of poetry. A varied, and evocative collection of work. There’s some really effective pieces here…

  12. Stunningly poignant. Need I say more?

  13. It takes great courage to stare into the face of what our species’ inability to move beyond suffering wreaks on us all. I honor your brave poetry, strong enough to endure in its message; tender enough to survive and go on.

  14. “Why did I not aid this child?”….I’m trying to write…how these simple words made me feel…..and i have….. nothing to say….anything i say or write after that Poem…is going to seems … shallow…because the Question is still there..Why indeed?..did I not aid that Child……….Thank you Rich…….makes me question myself….S

  15. Thank You for sharing your wonderful site with me today. I especially enjoyed reading through the beautiful poetry – my favorite is “Time.” Very touching and meaningful.

    Best Regards,
    Angelina

    • Thank you, time was one of my first and still means much to me. Good thought to live by. Also very fond of Time Marches On, written about the same time. It has a lot of philosophical implications.

  16. Really liked Contemplating Rest onwards. Some excellent poetry there.

    Great work.

  17. “One by one
    our todays
    add up.
    Our plans today,
    Tomorrows’ cup.”

    A theme I hit all the time in my poetry, Rich. I really enjoyed visiting your blog. Thanks for joining facebook.com/heathergracestewart ~ I am subscribing to your blog!

  18. All I can do is thank you for these words. There’s really nothing else to say.

  19. Hi Rich, I really enjoyed reading your typical approach to poetry and all the poems that followed. Nice descriptions and images, uplifting words and not dark as the first one I read above. Although you did a good job relating the cruel reality in the poem contest. Yes writing on the subject is not only an unpleasant experience, it is perhaps an awakening to the not so great things that happen around us in life. I felt the unpleasantness too, and reading the poems that followed brought more light and smiles. I don’t know which I like best but I will go for the inspiration from a Scottish fantasy. Boldly inspiring!

    • Thank you again Nadina – Knowing you are an accomplished poet adds to my appreciation of your generous compliments. As to your indirect mention of Infamy I simply want to add that it’s one of the most difficult writing challenges I’ve faced. My sincere hope is that readers will be moved to take a stand against tyranny when they see it and to demonstrate compassion to those in need.

      On a more positive note, the poem that was inspired by Anton Bruch’s Scottish fantasy came about as a joyful response to the beauty of the performance and composition by this gifted composer.

  20. Wonderful collection of poetry- very much enjoyed my visit here

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