the inspiration behind each poem…

A Better Man

In my mind’s eye, I saw three men sitting on a bench. They were not together. They just happened to be sitting on the same bench. One was clearly down on his luck. His clothes were badly worn and he needed a shower and shave. The second man wore a caftan and sandals. He also had long, braided hair. The third man was dressed in a business suit and had a briefcase in his lap. Each of the men was of a different ethnicity.


I was sitting behind the steering wheel of my car. I had just broken up with my current girlfriend. I thought it was appropriate that rain was falling from the sky as well as my eyes.

Afterwards Audio

None Mightier Than Me

Once again simply daydreaming about how we humans are using up our planet’s natural resources as fast as we can. Everything we do is about today. Nothing we do has anything to do with tomorrow.

The Dreamer

I’m sitting in an unemployment office watching and studying everyone else wrapped up in their own little worlds. Fast forward 50 years and I see the same thing everywhere except now everyone is looking at their cell phones.

Where to Find Love

I’m trying to write a love poem to my current girlfriend. I am so stuck on her, I can’t think of anything else. It finally dawned on me that that was the very thing about which I needed to write. I needed to tell her how much trouble I was having thinking about anything or anyone else.

The Measure of Love

There is a man down on one knee in front of his lady fair. Surrounding the both of them are gift boxes. She, however, is just standing there with her arms crossed over her chest, her face turned away and her nose up in the air. Money cannot buy true love.


I was sitting in my college library, one afternoon, trying to research and write a term paper. I was also staring out of a floor to ceiling window at the snow falling outside. As usual, I began to daydream about our society’s drive for wealth and power. All the while, all of Mother Nature’s bounty and beauty is visible all about us and no one seems to notice nor care.


This is all about atomic warfare. Who are we and what will we leave behind for our descendants?

Who Can Say

Is half a glass of water half-full or half-empty? Each of us needs to make that decision before we can move along with our lives.

For Bobbie Ann

The best, most loving girlfriend I ever had. And I screwed it up every which way possible including sideways. Even my parents liked her. She introduced me to her parents as well.

Why Bother?

This is another Bobbie Ann poem we co-wrote. Actually, this was part of the final argument. I was angry and my ego badly bruised so I simply walked out of her life. She was a brilliant and talented graphic artist in love with a construction laborer trying to be a poet.

Carnival Ride

This was yet another lover for a short time. I had taken her to an amusement park. I didn’t know she was prone to carsickness and I wanted to ride in the spinning teacups. That did not work out as well as I had hoped. She stopped taking my calls after that.


Yet again, I had broken off a relationship with a woman friend. At least this time, my actions and reactions had some sense of logic about them. I had a tendency to think things thru after I had said or done something stupid. This time was no exception.

The Same Again

Some friends and I were sitting at a table in a local bar in San Francisco reminiscing about bygone good times we shared when we were younger.

The Same Again Audio

Which Way

This is pretty much my philosophy on the concept of love. This explains how to get it to grow and how to maintain it when, and if, it finally blossoms.

Through Music Only

This is more of my thoughts about how I should speak to a woman I find attractive and would like to get to know better. As an aside, notice that each line of the first verse is also the first line of each succeeding verse.

Turn Around

Malvina Reynolds and others wrote the original song in 1957. It consisted of the first and last verses only. I wrote the middle four verses to add more of a timeline to the storyline.

Your Eyes

This is a Bobbie Ann poem but she wrote it as free verse. She tried many times and many different ways to reach me to no avail. I seem to be suffering still from my insecurities and stupidity. Writing helps me see more clearly.

Live and Learn

This poem began life as a speech to a group of educators in 1954. The speaker was Dorothy Nolte. I came across its powerful message some 20 years later. I’m glad I did.


We have no choice but to grow up. We do have a choice as to whether or not we will learn from the mistakes of our younger selves. We also have the choice of learning from those who have tread this very path before us or make our own uneducated, thus more difficult choices.

Getting Even

A couple has a nasty breakup because someone was cheating on someone. The someone who was hurt figures out how to get back at the one who did the hurting. After much thought, the best plan for revenge turns out to be anonymous notes to the partner’s boss listing all the dirty deeds done. The other part of the plan is how to pull it off without being tagged as the guilty party. Damn I’m good.

Getting Even Audio

Love Lost

This is all about my ex-wife. We met and married in six weeks and then I left her six years later on our anniversary date. This just happened to coincide with Nixon’s resignation.

Like A Flower

I left my wife in San Francisco a month after I wrote this. (always liked that song) I was thinking about having an affair but I never followed thru.

An Even Measure

The original poem written anonymously in 1736. It consisted of lines 1 thru 6 plus lines 11 and 12.  I’m reasonably certain a woman wrote it for women. This may also explain why there is no author’s name. Women didn’t write for public consumption back then. If they were so bold, they would have written under a male pseudonym. It is still an appropriate message.

The Bucket List

In a more current chatroom for songwriters and poets, I offered up a challenge for anyone. I suggested the song title with the explanation that this was to be a love song, a country song and a quick tempo. The two gentlemen who took up the task were Pete Oliphant and Joel Aldridge. In the song version, written by me, the first verse is used as a chorus. I gave the poem to my wife on our anniversary last year.


Together Again

Although I was married for six years the first time, the last four was just a financial arrangement. Having said all that, I wrote this poem for my first wife early in our relationship.

For Betty

I wrote this poem for my second and current wife after I returned from I California. A month later, a cousin took me to a divorce party. (not mine) Other than my cousin, I knew not a soul. He left me on my own shortly after we arrived. It was a big house, live band and open bar. I grabbed a bottle and just started wandering around. I saw a man and woman standing by themselves talking. She had a bottle in her hand also. I walked over and joined their conversation. Soon after, the other man left. And the rest is history. This time it was 18 months until we wed.


I was standing in an unemployment line just watching the people around me. Back then, we waited in line to get our weekly cash. Humiliating way to run a country.

What Do I Know

Some unknown force is at work when two people greet. Something will happen when two people meet. This is what is true for me. Perhaps my pain will help others to be free.

For Lilian

A dear aunt passed away. She always had a kind word for me when most others did not. Small memories do fade with time. Those with a big impact take much longer. Even after 35 years, I can still picture her face.


My wife and I were driving north on I-95. I happened to be in the passenger’s seat. Southbound were dozens and dozens of buses headed to Washington DC to protest at the Reagan-Gorbechof summit. He eventually allowed Jews to leave Russia for Israel. The buses were the Arks.

Summit Audio

Moods Of A Lake

When I was commuting between cities for my job, I usually drove the back roads. There was a fairly large man-made pond on someone’s property. The difference in temperature between the air and the water sometimes created a mist hanging over the water. This, to me, could just as easily been a group of people standing around chatting.

Moods of Lake Audio

 Remember Me

Prior to my poem, Mary Frye published, in 1932, a very much shorter version called “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep”. Anecdotally, I’m told that even before Mary Frye, there was an American Indian chant that spoke of losing a loved one. In any case, I expanded the poem and added music.

Remember Me Audio


This poem is about a dad (not me) having a moment alone in a bar named John Barleycorn. He is thinking about his past life as he was growing up.

Looking Audio

 The Puppy Party

In Dog Fancy magazine, in 1995, Betty Follett published a short poem called “Twas the Doggone Night Before Christmas”. I lengthened this poem and set it to music. It’s the story of two German shepherds getting a jump on enjoying Christmas morning much to the chagrin of their owners. I also used the same music and melody for a Chanukah song.

The Puppy Party Audio

Kitten On The Keys

I was in a poetry chatroom when someone offered up a contest. All of us would agree on an arbitrary subject and write a poem about it within a week. The subject was cats. I’m a dog person but cats are okay as long as I can exchange recipes.

Day Has Ended

I thought this up as I slept one night. The various failings within society and all of the hotspots around the world were troubling me. Though it is written in the first person, I do not consider myself above others nor any kind of soothsayer.

Get Lost Dot Com

I did not grow up with computers. I was in my twenties when I attended the first Computer Faire in San Francisco in the early 70’s. Computers had finally left the military for the public realm. I was curious about this new “toy”. All the billionaires were there trying to sell their wares when they were still teenagers. I didn’t have the vision to understand how it could possibly help me. It was many years later when I finally got a computer and by then, the technology kept changing faster than I could afford to keep up. I am still struggling with a stupid machine that’s smarter than I am. Fortunately, it’s just a passing fad.

For Elias

When my grandson was born, these were my thoughts about the life he would lead.

Promises and Shamrocks

A fellow musician was stuck with one and a half verses and a chorus. She asked my help to complete it. I did but because she was also an English teacher, she did not like the language shortcuts I used. She took her poem back and went on her merry way while I polished it a little more and set it to music too.

Promises and Shamrocks Audio

The Fabric of Life

This is a story of a grandmother sitting, quilting, and remembering a child that lived longer than the doctors predicted. The fabric of life is literally the child’s clothing made into something else to keep the memory alive longer.

The Fabric of Life Audio

Near Bethlehem

Again, in the same issue of Dog Fancy magazine, Kent Dannen published a poem called “Sheep Dogs Carol”. This was the origin of my poem and song.

Near Bethlehem Audio


After my second trip to Alaska, I wrote this poem. The stark beauty is almost incomprehensible. I recommend visiting in the Spring. It will not be freezing cold and the mountains will still be snow-covered.


I wrote this within a few hours after driving around Baltimore City. I don’t believe it is limited to just Baltimore. I have driven in many other cities with the same lunatics.

Long Ago

I have always been fascinated by and wondered about the occasional circle of mushrooms that I come across. A leprechaun, I met in Ireland, finally explained it to me.