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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rabbit Nerve and Silent Stars

There was wonder once, in the silent beauty of stars

When butterflies were new to us and gossamer dandelions

We touched the tortoise shell of life with trembling smiles

Our days were slow and thus so armored and protected

We knew the kitten’s fur and the down of baby chicks

But did not understand the wide-eyed nerve of rabbits

We could never catch the goldfish swimming in his bowl

Until we learned to use a net to capture and control

While plucking flowers bright in color we saw them wilt

We never dreamed we could be caught up like them

We tried to save the baby bird whose rapid heart trembled

In our palm like our lip with tears as he slipped away

Things fall from the tree of life and go unrecovered

They are simply not able to fly to the nest again

On Sunday we went to church and learned the golden rule

Then life became learning as we started our days at school

We were taught the same as every other child

We were molded to become citizens and students

We learned patriotism and how to pledge allegiance

We became parts of a group bigger than ourselves

So when the teacher spoke, we never questioned

If anything was truth, we took it for granted

The adults had all the answers that ran the world

They understood the wide-eyed nerve of rabbits-we were afraid to ask

We knew everyone could be trusted absolutely

Why would anyone hurt who knew the golden rule?

Then we fell in love and thought our hearts were broken

And we began to question if everyone thought we were fools

Years passed and we were surprised our hearts healed

But we looked at our scars often and cautiously

We looked at others and began to wonder if they felt

The same as us and lost a bit of what to feel

We lost all interest in the stars for music and friends

We were social creatures finding our place in the group

Like a herd or pack or even a flock; we learned formation

We learned how to scatter and how to leave the weak behind

We fell in love again and again- but a little less each time

We expected our hearts to heal and grow tough like tortoise shell

We were fast and reckless but we built our walls to last

And we took comfort that we were thus protected

Then one day our world was shattered- our dreams scattered

We were broken-hearted again and left alone

Our tears remembered the little bird and how it died

And as we cried we wished-oh how we wished- it could have flown

We began to think about the weak we left behind

We learned regret and sorrow and it perplexed our minds

As more years passed we put aside our wild and reckless habits

We began to contemplate in earnest-the wide-eyed nerve of rabbits

Gray hair and wrinkles came- we traded our jobs and cars

Some of us changed our names and wives or went to drugs or bars

Others went seeking the golden rule- wondering still if they were fools

But we found wonder once…in the silent beauty of stars

© 2011 Fabian G. Franklin

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Dogwood Tree

Beneath the speckled canopy
Of bright-leafed layers dancing
In early morning breeze that stirs;
In sunlight soft romancing

The underbelly umbrella green; here
Hummingbirds whisk and twitter
Stopping long enough to feed
On a container of sugar water

Hornets and yellow jackets feud
Above bright plastic flowers.
Table manners; greedy and rude,
Endure into the evening hours.

Ruby throats and emerald greens;
Through twisting branch’s thatch
Dart between the dogwood leaves
To hold a fencing match

Above on a higher branch there sits
The home of worm hunting Robin Red Breast
A woven nest of broken twigs
Where tiny heads are now visible

Tiny mouths gulp towards the sky.
Mother and father with dinner swoop in
In answer to the hungry cries
And feed their little children

Adolescent rabbit hops in the drive.
He stands with ears erect; alert.
At the slightest motion he scurries back
Across the gravel and through the dirt

The greedy, the humble, the meek and the proud
All gathered like drops from a summer cloud
While I contemplated the mystery
And philosophy of the dogwood tree

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Gathering

French Champagne at 3 A.M. with the ghost of Jean Lafitte
He hangs his sword upon my chair and cordially takes a seat
Poe and Dickens grace my step at quarter past the hour
Timid Emily; Belle of Amherst arrives in white with flowers

The Bronte sisters come to call and sit with Miss Dickinson
A knock brings transcendental poets Thoreau and Emerson
Jack London follows with a bottle of John Barleycorn
Then C.S. Lewis; pipe in hand; a gentleman to manor born

Not far behind; Mr. Tolkien; the mystic fantasy prophet
Telling tales of Middle Earth and creatures he calls Hobbits
Rudyard Kipling now arrives via my invitation
He hated to leave his India but joins the conversation

Caravaggio brings some paintings that were lost at sea
The former Knight of Malta drapes his sword across his knee
Knowing the temperament of the two; as host, I collect the blades
But in gentlemanly gesture; from both, a bow is made

Lafitte makes some remark of Italy’s taste for war
Caravaggio returns, “The French know not what canvas is for”
Bemused, Lafitte replies, “I’ve used all mine for sails.”
“And mine for masterpieces” the painter quips and spreads his tails

And so till dawn the guests arrive like Mary and Percy Shelley
Mary reads from Frankenstein and then we fill our bellies
“A goose that would have made Scrooge quite proud!”
“The nose of the Boz knows”, then Charles asserts aloud

Poe, in deep and morbid thought exclaims, “We all are dead!”
No such rubbish and fantasy, not here; as you share my bread.
“But it seems I’ve lived before”, London says, “I’d make a bet.”
“Quoth the raven, “nevermore” but you live on as yet!

You spirits are my muses who gather here tonight
All chivalrous and talented, inspiring by the lamplight
“Well spoken intellectual, recall the sun rose clear.”
Thoreau thus spoke and Emerson joked, “It seems we too my dears.”

At this; the ladies giggled, and Emily said to me.
“I know how a wave must look; yet, I’ve never been to sea.”
Lafitte here offered to take her, upon his ghostly ship
But when again I looked around, her presence from our group had slipped

And so they faded; one by one; each with apparition smiles.
London was the last to leave, saying, I hear The Call of the Wild.
And as the sunlight filtered into my bedroom this morn
I was surprised to find two swords and a bottle of John Barleycorn

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Must Write Of Love

I must write of love today though I feel no romance.
I must write of bravery and hope there is a chance.
I must kindle friendships remembering what they’re for.
I must count my blessings although I’m ragged poor.

I must write of peace today and sweet serenity.
Even as the dogs of war come snarling after me.
I must call you brother regardless of your skin.
I can’t let petty prejudice defeat my soul and win.

I must believe there is a God who listens to my prayer.
I must have faith on bended knees that He will hear me there.
Oh, Lord of heavens and the earth, my humble spirit calls.
You knew my soul before my birth, tear down these fortress walls!

Circumstance can hedge a man till he sees no escape.
And rob a woman’s morality as real as any rape.
And even though the wrong’s not theirs; lower them to the dirt.
Then, in throes of agony, they cry out in their hurt.

So I must speak of right today through tears began by wrong.
And though my soul is suffering, I must search for song.
I must swallow fear today along with tears and sorrows.
I must forget my past regrets with plans of new tomorrows.

I must conquer pride today and reach out for your hand.
I have stumbled along the way and need your help to stand.
I will write of hope today in the midst of my despair.
And to the cynics I will say, I bravely dare to care.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I have no friend or family
And I was born alone
Trials and trouble I have seen
While searching for a home

I found no place that I belonged
No one has understood
A single bit of verse or song
My life has done no good

When I reached out to others
They smiled and turned away
My sisters and my brothers
Presumed myself the same as they

I know there have been other
Discarded bits of stardust
Suffering and starving
Portraits of tortured artists

Hemingway’s favorite shotgun
Van Gogh’s Pistol glistening
Plath with her head in the oven
Still they are not listening

We have no friend or family
No place to call our own
Only burdens we have carried
To our graves and borne alone

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Silent Song of Falling Stars

How brief the moments of our lives; our petty jealousies and fears
How frail the ties that bind our love; steeped in joy and lost in tears
The heart does not age but remains the same as our frail form retires
It was only yesterday; and now the passing years have made us liars

The man in the mirror; I know him not; where there should be a lad
With dirty cheeks and mischievous eyes looking somewhat like his dad
The moth still flitters round the lamp; the warmth of imitation light
But when the switch is turned and black; then, he retreats into the night

Into the lonely hours then; where once a baby’s cry was heard
Among the laughter and shaking hands; there, passed life without a word
Before he learned to whistle tunes; so many were the songs he knew
That he could not keep track of them and then, the dances were too few

Now the crippled steps he takes in memory mock him as a fool
He should have danced; he could have danced, but now the songs are fading too
The meaning of life was whispered clear on moonless nights between the stars
Deaf in wine; he refused to hear, and now the lights have traveled far

You sisters of the Pleiades; safe from the grasping of Orion
Like savannah grasses where, in wait; there lays the hungry lion
Immortal daughters, shine your lights, as my light fades in me
I do not know by mystic rights, if I, a slave or prince should be

Soft; the song is muffled now, the drum beats steadily desperate
The flow of blood is colder. How… I wish…but it is too late
Life is a dream within a dream of some mad and sleeping god
And we relive his life for him through histories both far and odd

How long the suffering of our souls; where empty hearts are met
How great the tragedy of our roles which we play in sad regret
The ageless heart is lost in dreams where happy children laughed and played
Now; ghostly shadows run to corners of minds where muted pain is stayed

Thursday, June 2, 2011

To the Muse

Before her alter the poet brings
Written verse and singing strings
To woo the wells of paradise
Painting scenes which so entice
The oracles which prophesy
To separate the truth from lie
Taking thus the muse as wife
He dedicates his love and life

To fair Euterpe sings his song
Cleansing all the world from wrong
With music and the poets pen
Her honor thus he must defend
She has granted audience
To troubadours and others since
Yet he basks within her light
And knows he is her favorite

Inside his spirit soars and lifts
Till heavens voice her precious gifts
And raining down upon his heart
Swells again till words impart
Both to master and to sage
Bright visions of the coming age
When the weak have swooned and fainted
There will lie the canvas painted

Everything within his heart is
Offered by the humble artist
Whither tales of love or truth be
lies the beauty of Euterpe
Undisguised or masked by ruse
All is prized to please the muse
Through his wisdom or his wit
In every word that he has writ

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day at the Amusement Park

Fathomless gentle mother rolls sighing to the shore
Whispering the histories of things that are no more
Coral and shell are mixed in glittering snowy sand
Terns on matchstick legs retreat the foaming land

Black bulk of horseshoe crab lay; lifeless alien form
Airy driftwood twists its way from far electric storm
Delicate periwinkle pink; the shade of mouse’s ear
Lies beneath grey seaweed combed from mermaid’s hair

Rumbling roar that moves the mass; imitates the heart
Embryonic pulse reminding endings where they start
Beneath the waves, all is bright; eyes rise above to see
Azure above the rolling green stretching to eternity

Far, the pencil line of land; dots move along the beach
Where burning tourists march the sand; lotions and oils in reach
Their blankets spread beneath umbrellas; imitation shade
The sun is scorching on the waves, shining on my head

I laugh and dance and leap with joy before the ocean god
Joined by friends and family; all members of my pod
I hear the earthly creature’s children screaming out in glee
As I chatter back to them, I know that they have seen me

We come here every morning and fish till it grows dark
Protecting human friends that swim from eager hungry sharks
This is our entertainment too; the electric connecting spark
We watch from pools of pristine blue the human amusement park

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lessons from the Choir Loft

A songbird woke me at three in the morning
In the pitch black smallest hours he sang
He warbled his chirps and twitters till dawn
I was so amused that I could not complain

Not a nightingale or whippoorwill; this
He roused the neighbors who turned on their lights
And as day began to sift through the trees
A chorus began to share his delight

It was clear he could not wait for the morning
Bound by the joy of sheer existence
At the top of his voice he sang until dawn
Perhaps thinking he brought it by mere persistence

And who am I to argue his logic
If indeed he had that thought in his mind
Enough beauty can certainly bring light
Enough light can open the eyes of the blind

So what if I am deprived of a little rest
At least I was entertained by the concert
In the dawn I spied him not far from his nest
I pulled on my boots and buttoned my shirt

As I walked out to listen to the Sunday choir
I found my own joy in my morning search
I whispered forgiveness for the early hour
And cathedral mountains became my church

Thursday, May 26, 2011


The rasp of a beetle against a window glass
Turned the sleeper in his fitful dream
The night was heavy as honey; thick as sorghum
And sooty syrup filled his lungs with charcoal

The stomach seethes with eager embers
When every breath is a fan to the flame
Skin hangs clammy cool against bones
The sickly boiled flesh is wrung to drain

Flame burns in the whiskey forge below
The sleeper groans in crushing pains
Someone is stacking stones on his mortal form
He lies pinned in the agony of suffocation

A ship is lost at sea in still doldrums
No wind stirs to fill her ghostly sails
She sits frozen as dark-finned shadows circle
Patience feeds the faceless scavengers

The dragging of chains across a wooden floor
Precedes the sliding bolt of a mammoth door
The sleeper struggles with his fear of death
Listening, he hears the draw of raspy breath

A ragged inhale brings rattles but no relief
The exhale is not his; it comes from somewhere below
Beads of sweat pour to his soaking pillow
To his terror he realizes the sound of bellows

A flash of flame envelops the dreamer
His eyes burst open in yellow light
A solitary bulb hangs from the ceiling
Sixty watts of hell in a sultry summer night

The Lucky Optimist

Bending over a field of clover
Counting petals over and over
Searching for his four leafed luck
Into a buttonhole he might tuck

I present the incurable optimist
The wisher of fate innocuous
Bearer of all good tidings and glad
Looking for hope as if he were mad

It matters not if he finds the thing
I am certain he’ll go on searching
It’s in the way of the optimist
Not to give up before success

Still he gives all the credit to luck
But now in the field he’s been stuck
For the better part of half an hour
Counting clovers and picking flowers

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Patience is the advantage of old folks and fishermen
It is a forte not to be taken too lightly by any as well
If a person can wait without allowing petty distraction
There is life to be caught by the slippery shirttail

Things seldom turn out according to our plans
The plans of others and things unplanned are always cropping up
The schedule and the itemized list are the vex of man
Things forgotten are always at work in the tumbling tines of karma

So there we end up; speared like kabobs with no escape
Headed for the fire to be cooked for good or ill
And generally muttering like the fox about sour grapes
As old chef time prepares to sauté us on the grill

But the patient know that this too in time may pass
The patient are not distracted by facades of wealth and fame
Because there is no telling how long a fad or a man may last
And they have yet to feel the scorching of the flame

The exercise of discretion builds muscles of morale
But not the type one usually earns at the gymnasium
Confidence that is bulging is generally an act of denial
But patience is an attribute of old folks and fishermen

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Adventure in the Storm.

Adventure in the Storm

He stood upon the wooded hill; eyes squinted against the falling snow
Staring with longing and hunger at the farmhouse far below
The smell of meat and burning fat was faintly discernable on the wind
His nose twitched and his belly growled as flakes drifted through barren limbs

He saw the big black ranch dogs; Newfoundland, by the looks of them
Drop-tailed and worried he backed into the pines; careful they did not see him
He is familiar with the rifles of the ranchers and this particular breed of dog
They are every bit as big as him; he paws the snow and settles in by a hollow log

The gray and silver folds of his winter coat make excellent camouflage
He thinks and ponders about the smoke, the rancher; the rifle and the dogs
A storm is moving in and blue-black clouds herald the threat of more snow
Through covering shadows he can see lights below inside the frosted windows

When he was young and running with the pack he was adventurous and bold
Now own his own, it was stealth and cunning; not valor, that let him get this old
In the middle of the night; the storm raging, the rancher brought his dogs inside
Carefully he crept; inch by inch, forever vigilant, slowly down the mountainside

A cache of ham was hanging in a tree, tied securely to a higher limb
The rancher was smart and cunning too; but maybe not as smart as him
Methodically, he set about his work stopping only to rest or to listen
He pawed the snow until he felt dirt, then alternated, changing his position

The drifts were up to seven feet and he packed them solid with his heavy paws
Standing on his wolf-made mountain, he jumped and sank in teeth and jaws
Rocking his weight with the weight of the ham, the frozen limb began to crack
He quickly released it and let it fall; barely missing his shoulder and back

Quickly now, gnawing at the cords that wrapped his sweet and smoky prize
Inside the house came the creak of floorboards, he glanced up with knowing eyes
The rancher had heard the limb break and was coming out to check his cache
His rifle in hand and dogs at his heels; he couldn’t believe he’d met his match

A fifteen foot high ridge rose paw-packed around where his ham had been
His tedious knots were chewed clean through and the wolf? No sign of him.
Safe in a stone outcropping; high on a lonely hill, he gorges himself with pleasure
Dangerous work but the night is still as he enjoys the taste of his treasure

Thursday, April 28, 2011

If I had Rome

If I had Rome to call my own;
And the ornate dome of the Pantheon
Caesar’s palace would be yours
With vaulted ceilings and marble floors
If Athens and Parthenon in turn;
Your face would adorn every Grecian urn
You would be most by Athena blessed
As priestess of her house and guest
If I had Paris, you’d have the Louvre
For you, the Eiffel Tower I’d move
Or if I owned London; then Big Ben
Would wake you up when I tucked you in
Double-decker busses; a fleet you’d rule
For a little girl to ride to school
If I found the lost city of Atlantis
And raised it from the deep Atlantic
You could be queen and I; your fool
Would give you the world’s biggest swimming pool
But all I have is this pen of mine
And scribbled rhymes in simple lines
I’m sorry that I don’t have Rome
I can only offer this little poem
But with a love you can believe in
Pure as angel’s love in heaven;
The place you gave me from the start
The very first day you stole my heart
When the doctor placed you in my arms
And I fell bewitched by all your charms
No city of angels could replace
The dimples in your cherub face
And the greatest treasure I’ve ever had
Was to hear you call me “dad”

Saturday, April 23, 2011


The tree of life is Eternal
Though many winding courses travel
Among its branches and through its roots
All things are intertwined and irreversibly linked

Time and space are neither linear nor lonely
They are the life that drives the tree to leaf
We bud but for a moment brief
We wither and we fall

Among the sacred roots we are absorbed
And our lives become the nourishment
Of every history and future
All that we love and everything beautiful

Roots sunk into the foundation of the universe
Push branches high into the heavens; growing
The universe is expanding and we with it
Our knowledge transcending into the divine

When we reach that sacred Nirvana
We will be as delicate birds set among the branches
Singing the creation of the world;
Part of everything; now blessed with wings to fly

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The line is cast in waters of hope
Failing to obtain the goal; cast again in faith
The Fisherman is patient
He needs nourishment for his soul
There is comfort in this recreation
There is peace of one who waits
To improve his situation
He may change his station or his bait
But seldom is his creel without
Upon returning home
He seldom harbors any doubt
But waits for fish to come
My soul is like the line cast out
In hope that harbors little doubt
Cast again by love within
I am a determined Fisherman

© 2011 Fabian G. Franklin

Government Accident

Words subtle as a car crash
Jagged metal and broken glass
Smoking engine sound of sirens
Spilling blood and gasoline

Can’t U turn with steering busted
Junkyard dreams dented, rusted
Drunk driving drama; bourbon breath
Under influence of life and death

The government of our society
Has failed the test of sobriety
No future for elderly or poor
Just crush them down a little more

Politicians going nowhere
Conversations but they don’t care
Sobriety tested and put to blame
Government wreck bursts into flames

No tickets for their total lost time
No sentence from these guard rail rhymes
That jumped the curb and hit the sign
Reading STOP as the poet scribbled these lines

Saturday, April 16, 2011



Brick red dust; fine as powder rolling over the fender of a 55 T Bird
Georgia summer clay cracked like the hymen of a virgin in the back seat
A musky aroma hangs around the rearview with fuzzy dice and shades
Desperation is the order of the day but delivery comes only at night
Black leather jackets and white tee shirts; the contrast of night and day
Innocence wrapped up in angst; feeling tough and ready to play
The peas are all picked in the purple field but the flowers haven’t come to pod
Dreams are somethings that are accepted as real like rock n roll and God
Keys in ignition of a 68 Boss Mustang; engine rumbling like a gurgling ghost
Georgia summer clay soaked with the rain of the times and its tears and war
The air is like the steam inside a pressure cooker and there’s no “pop off” valve
The police are the enemy of freedom when that freedom is freely expressed
Peaceful demonstrations depicted as riots with rubber bullets and tear gas
Experience wrapped up in the mind and memory; the protectors betray.
Fighting a war nobody is for is their way to say the people have no say
The kids are all picked out of our neighbor’s homes and the harvest was ripe
They had begun to speak of revolution! But the minds that came back were quiet
Today he walks but he doesn’t drive. He walks with a limp from a shell
Georgia summer clay hot as any sunny day he can remember since then
The radio speaks unrest from every corner of the world and he can feel
He can feel everything changing again; he fears evil change this time
Armies of silent people in black clothes watch civilians now…no protests
He’d seen innocence turn to experience but this was something more advanced
The National Guard is not at home where it should be guarding the nation
Subterfuge wrapped up in media packages; sold as propaganda to the masses
They have begun to talk revolution again; look for the concentration camps

Friday, April 15, 2011

Understanding Beauty

The beauty of the rose is in the bud
Fresh is the flower being born
The scent of youth is strong and good;
Sweet as the dew of a summer morn

The beauty of the leaf is in the fall
When colors burn in fiery blaze
Orange and yellow; crimson all
Mellow; the ending of its days

The beauty of man is flower and leaf
Newborn babe and ancient wise
Beginning joy and ending grief
Innocent and knowing eyes

We are fragile as the flowers,
Stronger than the mighty oak;
In our sad and lonely hours
Words of love and faith are smoke

Let us comfort one another
Like infant held in wrinkled hands
Brother, sister, father, mother;
Spring and autumn on the land

Burning leaves and budding blooms
There is beauty in the plan
Old age for youth is making room
And Mother Nature understands

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Pregnant pain gave birth to addiction
Swollen up and swallowed up by herself
Need put iron shackles on her feet
Braded brass pins with hopeless hammers

Outside the stone cell, freedom danced in flowers
But the walls seeped lonely ache from within
A squirrel hiding acorns dug between the cracks
And buried a treasure in long forgotten soil

Little light fell through the bars; broken on the floor;
The ashamed sun came but for a few moments
But roots sunk lower to find rain beneath the stones
Then, like all things green, a living stem rose secretly

Photosynthesis showed baby pictures of life
And the pain longed to be pregnant again
She built a cradle of hope with nothing to fill it
And then mourned her abortion of love

Silent rage burned away inside the stones
Melting them like wax and winter snow
In the hope of different, the same was abandoned
The shackles of addiction were broken

She could barely crawl but soon could walk
Blinded by sun; the confusion too much to bear
But she remembered the cradle and brought it out
It came with a whimper and a tear

Flowers were blooming again that year
She filled the bassinet like a basket with petals
And the colors joined to take wing as butterflies
Freedom flittered and danced and she followed

When freedom was full, she gave birth to joy
Swollen up and bursting with her baby boy
Forgiveness put booties on his feet
And baby lamb’s wool lulled him to sleep

Prison melted into the past; in its place, a tree
The seed had come to fruition at last
The limbs stretched forth to grasp the sun
And on each branch hung golden poetry

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rain on Main

The tortoise shell umbrellas spread like gospel tents
Against the drumming rain and sailing mournful wind
Huddled shadows; turned up collars braced into tinsel-tiny
Pearls; each spherical world; a sea of wayfaring minstrels

Tambourines rattled down puddles; gurgled in gutters
Danced on windowpanes and slid down shutters
Across vaulted awnings of coffee shops and cafes
Rivulets of silver wound through dirt of an ordinary day

And all the busy people with briefcases under overcoats
Were frightened of the water army; a billion droplets strong
They could find no place for music in their souls; a saddened note
Where the rain, like pain, is feared and has no place to belong

A madman; soaked hair streaming down his shoulders
No hat or spring loaded dome of protection held in hand
Grasped above his head a gray newspaper unfolded
And skipped across brown potholes; laughing as he ran

Thursday, April 7, 2011



We are children of earth and water;
Born of fire and sky
We recede with the ocean’s ebb
We swell with fury in the tide
Countless grains of brine washed sand
Often find communion
Partaking of the Creator
To fashion and form unions
Structures indivisible;
Bits of sand and salt and shell
Containing lives of memory creatures
That we become as well
I would not leave you abandoned
Would not see you cast out; apart
Though I am nothing more than man
I offer these with my heart
These little pieces of stones;
To remind you of the ocean’s flow;
That the tide pulls not one heart alone
But each part in all; when beckoned goes
I will see you on some distant shore
And we may share a naked sunrise
Opening a heavenly door
Opening our weary eyes
Being part of one another for the first time
Seeing through our inward eye
Where earth and water children go;
Born of fire and sky.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

From my Chair

My mind reaches back to the first drops of rain on a deserted dirt road
Where a barefoot boy stood before a wooden bridge
And scuffed his calloused soles against the red and pungent dust
The mountain laurel was in bloom and the blackberries were ripening
His dirty white tee shirt and ragged jean shorts were stained with adventure
Pockets bulged with pebbles or marbles; wooden thread spools that
Had just a bit of thread left on them
He used them to tie the June bug’s leg and made a toy from his efforts to escape
With a jackknife the spools could be notched and threaded through the center
A few broken matchsticks wound the rubber band drive
And it would tumble awkwardly across the hard wooden floor of home
Homemade whistles, wooden swords and daggers were all products
Of the genuine Barlowe pocket knife he received for his eighth birthday
He’d saw another kid break his handle throwing his at a stump
He vowed never to treat his own treasure so recklessly
Walking back from the creek; a mile up the road, he would be soaked
By the time he reached the back door but there was a rack of clean towels just inside
He only had to be sure not to stain any of the “good towels”
But he disliked them anyway; they were all fluffy and soft
Along the route he caught a box turtle trying to cross the street
He brought it home and kept it in a shoebox until his father made him turn it loose
The scent of honeysuckle was wafting through the pines
As lightning bugs competed to see which ones could turn on their back porch lights
before the final rays of amber faded from the west
He had caught a fish last week in the creek but it died in the wash pan aquarium
The spring lizards and crawdads were the real trophies to be had
Spring lizards were excellent bass bait and he was always hankering to go fishing
His dad had a boat he’d built himself. It was a big green square thing
But it was floatable; had a four horsepower Johnson outboard and was watertight
Enough of the right bait and a Saturday trip to the big river might be begged
He stopped to grasp a snapping beetle and held him tight as he popped
Soon bored with the beetle, he caught a huge grasshopper that kindly spit
a full mouth of “tobacky” juice right into his hand. Yuk, he hated that.
I watch him for a long time; see his air of self-importance and command.
This is a world he knows and understands; he even knows its monsters.He has seen the copperhead sunning and the cottonmouth swim right up to the bank
One morning he met a bobcat on his frozen walk to the outhouse
But it is a world with friends unequaled…Choya; the loyal German shepherd
And Pokey…the slow but reliable Yorkshire Terrier….and of course Judy.
Judy was a blue tick hound that would howl like a roasted banshee at the sight of a coon
A coon in the day times is best to avoid because they can carry the rabies
I watch him dry his hands and feet on the stoop before going inside
I see his mother; a slender brunette beauty of a woman, strip his shirt away
“Go peel them shorts off and put on some dry britches boy”, she says.
And I try with all my might to hold on to the smell of the rain on the road.
But it slips and fades with the boy into memory
And the man left thinking is unimportant without command
He does not know this world at all
He sees a man in a blue smock approaching his wheelchair.
“It’s time for your medication, Mr. Franklin.”

Hard Scrub

There is rage beyond the rain
But there is peace in quiet
The mountain is still this morning
But it softly whispers of the rage

There was lightning in the night
Cracking jagged whips of fire
That turned the maple’s faces white
Now birds sing quietly to the dawn

The hard has worn the morning tender
The rough rubbing of the fearful night
Now the sun will bake day clean and
We’ll see what’s strong enough to survive.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Vibrations from between his legs
Voice raw and intrinsic power
Urged like a horse at the starting gate
Uttering a low and guttural growl

Gloved hand on the right rubber grip,
Left finger hooked as thumb pins the clutch
Steel toed boot rests on peg
Tip tripping the gear into first

Pulling away, hears the gravel crunch
Under the heavy rolling tires
Turns back the throttle and squeezes the clutch
Engine answers with warm desire

Fourth gear echoes a melodious hum
As asphalt miles fly by
The world is a prairie in a cowboy’s dream
Before there were fences and wire

The wind cuts deep into laugh lines worn
Around the odd traveler’s eyes
Oh, and it seems like he was born
With steel and thunder between his thighs

One great beast; this man and machine
Set out to conquer the world
Passing the vistas of gypsy dreams
And longing glances from glamorous girls

Through farmlands and desert, by seashore and shop
He leans in the hard curves of life
The cement of cities can’t make him stop
Or the fields when the harvest is ripe

His eye is tuned to the gauges and mirrors
His heart; with the pounding of iron
Between his two wheels life looks much clearer
Than the dirty world with its grime

Yet even steel ponies must rest in the barn
When the tired old biker is spent
But he’ll dream tonight in his lady’s arms
Of when he’ll go riding again

The First Step

The first step is often the most difficult
Falling can add injury to insult

It takes a leap of faith to fly;
From a trembling limb to say goodbye

Love can sometimes stretch our wings
And prepare hearts for dangerous things

Stepping out on faith; into the blue
Be careful of the step but be brave too

Fields at Dawn

Leaning against the corral gate
My collar turned against the wind
I await the exit of the clouds
The anemic sun’s strengthening

Winter fields shiver in February cold
Bleak grey skies rise to blue
Last spring’s promise; lost and old
Dreams of summers past fade too

Frosted grass surveyed by cows
Which only stand and stare
Into the chilly morning breeze
As if the sun were there

Chestnut horses snort their steam
Galloping from highway’s edge
Frightened by a semi rumbling
Across the steel and concrete brid

Bloodless morning; no rosy cheeks
In heaven as red as my own
Glistening snow on distant peaks
Shines silent over fields at dawn

Crows caw across withered stalks;
Sheaves of corn husks tied for fodder
The queen of frost beckoning, lost
In the wind for her crystal daughter

Ice princess answers; biting my lip
And earlobes with her playful sting
Without my notice she quietly slips
Between the layers of my clothing

I walk down to read the Fahrenheit
On the barn it reads twenty degrees
I wrap my jacket around me tight
And hear the sighing of the breeze

Cold air filled with the threat of snow
Embers glow on the hearth at home
Crackling sleet bites at my window
Crossing winter fields at dawn

Life is a Long December

Life is a long December
When the nights are cold
And arms are empty
Years just go by passing

Without a woman’s touch
A man can turn to stone
Within, an epitaph; carved,
Lived and died, alone

It is a futile thing…
To try to share one’s soul
It is most unappreciated
And never understood at all

The butterfly cares not
Whether we find it beautiful
Nor does the rose
But man is vain as a peacock

He must have the universe
His way or no way at all
There is much darkness
On the way to touch a star

When the night comes
I’ll walk beneath the street lamps
Along the sidewalk
And count the lights

Left on in bedroom windows
Yellow lights of love
In family houses
And lover’s apartments

But away from the lights
I see heaven more clearly
A hundred billion lights
Twinkling in the dark

Something familiar there
Alone among the stars
Calling out my name
And my spirit reaches

Is it cold in outer space?
Are you warmed by yellow sun?
How will I find your galaxy?
Can I hold you in my arms?

It’s cold here on planet earth
Love is barely remembered
We reach for a burning star
But life is a long December

December Fire

A blanket of burning lava spilled across the hills.
It flowed into the sky and set fire to the clouds.
The boiling heavens drifted east to morning;
pink cotton candy bubbling in an ocean of blue.

The eleventh of December was bitterly cold.
The embers in the sky were deceptively bold.
The sweetness vanished before the rising sun
as burning beauty turned golden on the lawn.

Now distant purple mountains smolder.
Halos of fog surround them…celestial crowns.
The world wakes; stumbling to the highways;
pilgrims oblivious to the red fires of dawn.


Gentle mist stirring above
Tranquil floating kiss of love
Upon the frozen cheek of sky
Winter mornings passing by

Forecast rain or sleet and snow
Tell me where your spirits go
Appearing silent from the blue
Vanishing in heaven’s hue

Summer doldrums breeze might stir
Hoary tufts of rabbit’s fur
Magic tendrils disappear
Into vaults of nervous air

Anvils in the heavens hang
Purple bruises flashing fangs
In bolts electric and exciting
Rumbling thunder, jagged lightning

Children lying in green meadows
Imagine shifting animals
Fantastic dragons and unicorns
Are there by fantasy reborn

Not a place to have one’s head
Like angels for their blissful bed
Bellows of the wind might billow
Sails of rest; celestial pillows

Ethereal white; your wedding veils
Listening for the golden bells
From the sun to shine and sing
In morning like the bright dove’s wing

The black and gray of rainy days
Has sung your darker harmonies
But sweet the pink of soft reflections
Cotton candy spun confections

In my mental predilections
Make you nearer to perfection
Heaven’s curtains; cotton shroud
Blanket me with drifting clouds

Between the Lines

The most important things have no words;
the brilliance of a sunrise; the song of birds.

They aren’t often appreciated as any other;
the hard work of father; the patience of mother.

We expect them to be there and they never fail;
so we neglect them; taking for granted all is well.

Oxygen is invisible and without a sound or taste.
We discount every breath we take that cannot be replaced.

We do not count the seconds, the minutes or the hours
until we arrive at the grave in a hearse full of flowers.

Time creeps up on each of us; stealthily quiet;
it only announces itself as the hair turns white.

The body grows weak and wrinkled and frail
but passage of time is hidden beneath a veil.

Perhaps vowel and consonant sounds are not employed;
in an infants cry; in tears… a new bride sheds in joy.

These important things would seem absurd
if each had to be promptly written down in words

Eliot said he’d measured out his life in coffee spoons
I have measured mine by stars and phases of the moon

My silly lines of poetry mostly go unheard;
though sung by every sunrise and every mockingbird

Man is the Image

Man is the image of his God
A truer statement was never made
For whatever God a mans worships
He will aspire to become like.
If he worships a bloodthirsty,
Vengeful, destructive, condemning God
Then he will aspire to be the same.
Man has written that you shall fear God.
God has written LOVE.
The secret name of God is upon your heart.
There is no fear in perfect love.
A God that is loving, kind, forgiving,
patient, understanding, all creative
all powerful, peaceful and wise;
I would make my own God thus.
I will aspire to become the image of my God.
I shall not condemn.
I shall not hate.
I shall be patient.
I shall exercise understanding.
I shall forgive even as I am forgiven.
I shall love my fellow being as I love myself.
I shall respect all equally
but none more than the Creator.
I shall give thanks continually
for the blessings of my God.
I shall have peace of mind and spirit.
For man is the image of his God.

Winter Hunt

Ears like mobile radar against the setting sun
Across the snow he travels; listening
Deep in winter burrows other creatures slumber
While above; the silent white lay glistening

Pointed nose, pointed teeth; mouth like a smile
His whiskers gather crystals in the cold
Thick fur protects him across the frozen miles
As sun reflects on ice; its yellow hint of gold

He stops with radar erect; alert and excited at once
Head tilts checking the exact location twice
Head first into the snow he makes a lightning pounce
He all but disappears in a cloud of snow and ice

Scarlet droplets on the white testify success
A field rat has met an untimely demise
Clumps of loose snow still frozen to his chest
Bones crunch as Mr. Fox enjoys his prize

The Courage of a Whisper

Let me know the courage of a whisper
before it becomes a shout.
Grant me the freedom that causes no harm.

Awake in me the honesty of one without fear
who has not known prejudice or greed.
Blind my eyes to colors of skin and money.

Give to me the faith of a trusting child.
Let me know my blessings are too many to number.
Let me know I can always count on you.

Stir the glowing embers of passion in my soul.
Let me be a creator and not one that destroys.
Let me rebuild things others have carelessly broken.

Fill my mind with beauty and knowledge.
Fill my heart with love and compassion.
Let spill my overflowing spirit to everyone I meet.

Let me feed the hungry and comfort the sick.
I would be the companion of everyone who walks alone.
Give me the quiet when the world drowns out your voice.

Let me not shun the duties which have taught me patience.
Let me bear in silence with a harnessed tongue
the wrath of the violent and the ignorance of fools.

Teach my soul forgiveness and mercy.
Let me understand that justice is more equity than law.
Give me the wisdom to discern the difference.

Let me remember the tenderness of mother
Give me the liberty to be meek and unashamed.
Teach me that peace is greater than conflict.

Make my spirit strong, tempered in fires of responsibility.
Let my word be as my hand; my bond and my pledge.
Let me respect all and value every opinion but none too much.

Fill me with the meaning of life that I fear not death.
Give to me enough of heaven that I fear not hell.
Let me know the courage of a whisper.

The Weight of Mountains

The wind played the needles like piano keys
Sighing the whisper of the pine bough breeze
When scattered between bold arms was blue
And heaven seemed flickering music too

Here I sat on St. Valentine's Day
Watching the valley tremble and sway
My mother;the mountain, will never depart
The mountain is buried deep in my heart

Only love is able to bear the weight of mountains
Only love can turn the desert to a sea of fountains
Only heaven can paint scenes of breathtaking art
Only God can move the wind to play Mozart

Straw Man

Sledge hammer suavity; chiseled charm
Handles her eggshell ego with care
Never intending to cause any harm
Too many friendships broken out there

Dreams shatter where hearts are centered
The axe falls to the grain of the wood
Even reality gets splintered
And sharpened slivers draw the blood

The balancing act hard to perfect
Like Humpty Dumpty on the fence
Between the politically incorrect
And naïve honesty of innocence

Discretion can save life and purse
But only when it is practiced
Like lines of love so well rehearsed
They even fool the actress

White knights on chargers are so few
And far between this modern day
No heart tin men may have to do
Or cowardly lions that pass her way

While we’re on the road to Oz
I’ll sing the scarecrow’s bright refrain
I know that I’d be dangerous
If I only had a brain

Dark Prince

South American Jungle:
High up in the trees
Blood falls through
The canopy of leaves
Legs of a carcass hang
Draped across a limb
Half-eaten, drawing flies
A few brave scavengers
Move in

Silent death roams the underbrush
Padded paws with razor claws
And all the jungle world
While the killer comes round
And near
One hundred and eighty pounds of cat
This is his fourth year

The calf belonged to
An Argentine farmer
They invaded his territory
Now he becomes
The hunted
He fished this morning
But it left his belly empty
The rivers are overrun
With two-legged enemy

Solid black beauty
Sleek, efficient, calculated
He haunts the riverbank
And hunts the alligator
He also hunts
Orinoco deer
This was his domain
Till farmers settled here

He is one of but a splendid few
Destined to die
At the hand of mankind
The great jaguar prince
Has met his match
At the clearing fence
And the roofing thatch
Meanwhile his jungle
Burns away
And as the rain forest dies
He knows behind those
Silent golden eyes
Someday soon
He too must go that way

In This Alone

Hold your firstborn baby to your breast
Hold the hand of forever at the alter
In the eyes of mother, in the lap of grandpa
Here is love
Tears of joy; of pride and pain
A daughter goes off to college
A son goes off to war
Births, weddings, funerals
Times of blessing; times of loss
See the future in the faces of youth;
A senator with his crayons and coloring book
A judge in her mommy’s Sunday hat
Their clear, bright minds like virgin waters;
Full of life and free of pollution
Here is love;
In a child’s heart of innocence;
In wrinkled lines of wisdom
In visions of Eternity;
In prayers and dreams of tomorrow
Here is truth; the knowledge of God as Love
Is personal
But is this alone,
We may find perfection in ourselves.

Going on Over To Shiloh

I’m going on over to Shiloh
There’s a man waiting that I know
I met him in a dream just awhile ago
And he said his name was love

He knew everything about me
Swore he couldn’t live without me
He said there’s no reason to doubt me
I will calm the sea if it’s rough

Of course I started making excuses
I told him how I was near useless
Wanted for murder of the truth no less
And he promised me a place to hide

He called refugees by the waters
Brothers and sisters and sons and daughters
Come to the Son and the Father
And everything will be alright

So I’m going on over to Shiloh
Tell my family and friends that I know
The name of the place I’m going to go
So they won’t worry about me

Look for the Man in the shining dream
Who lives in the city by the same name
Not built with bricks by the hands of men
They can carry on without me

I’m going on over to Shiloh

Thursday, March 24, 2011


When purple morning turns to gold
And little birds begin to sing
I feel young although I’m old
In the hope the new day brings

When friends call on the telephone
Just to ask about my day
I feel like I am not alone
Hearing kindly words they say

When children smile and kiss my cheek
Because they know I love them so
I feel strong although I’m weak
Because I know the children know

When trusted by the innocent
The cynics crumble with their rules
And I defend my time there spent
Away from educated fools

When first buds burst from rosy centers
And the fruit trees flowers bring
I forget the cold hard winter
In the joy of newfound spring

Yes, the world is dark and light
Seasons pass and old age creeps
Remember morning come the night
In your dreams of blissful sleep

An infant’s cry; the sweetest sound;
The voice of happiness ever after
Looms so large that it might drown
The sound of evil tyrant’s laughter

O hope that dwells with faith and love
Restore my broken, bruised infirmity
Then God who rules from high above
Might shelter this soul for eternity

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wooden Fences

Building fences where others can’t enter
Careful of slivers and wooden splinters
Hands wearing protection; leather gloves
No gate; just a section of fenced in love

One fellow said, “You must build it from stone
If you ever expect to be left alone”
Another suggested it be made from wire
With barbs to deter any trespasser there

But, No, I said, the wood will suffice
I don’t want bloodletting sacrifice
Or anything cold when left in the sun
The wood will be fine when the finish is done

There might come a time on hallowed ground
That I decide to tear the whole thing down
Wire would be treacherous; stone would be cold
It’s not like I’m guarding a heart of pure gold

But a bruised and battered thing rests within;
A life that was shattered by changing winds
Through knotholes I see the ongoing world;
The passing cars and the pretty girls

It’s not here to protect some sacred purity
It’s simply a bit of added security
Some curious person without much sense
Is one day certain to jump that fence

And there we will be; shut off from the crowd
With no lights so bright or noises so loud
She will ask why I’d ever want to build such;
This dear sanctuary where spirits might touch

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Yesterday Thief

The days wear on like the tattered coat of a homeless man
The passing of time does little to insulate one from the cold
Torn pockets which kept saved memories produce empty hands
Or only bits of lint clinging to the walls of a worn out soul

We reach; digging deeper in the consternation of our grief
Searching for some stored equity in the balance of truth
We come to the realization that time is a pick-pocket thief
And gone forever are the secret, sacred treasures of our youth

The brown skinned boy that ran playing in fields with his friendly dog;
The fair-haired girl whose blue eyes sparkled with mischievous twinkle
Far away and surreal now; a land hidden by distant fog
Frost has gathered to the hair and the sun is stored in wrinkles

Do you remember his name? I can’t, for the life of me, recall.
She had a pretty party dress; a dolly with go to sleep eyes.
Perhaps I only dreamt it and it wasn’t real after all
Yesterday; suddenly gone, without the chance to say goodbye

Monday, February 28, 2011


I have seen the evening sun
Sink into the ocean
And rise the next day
Never quenched at all
I have known some true love
And other foolish notions
And all in all
I’ve had myself a ball

I have heard the sound
Of my daughter’s laughter
And listened to the silence
Of a snowy winter’s morn
Guess I’ve been around
The happy ever after
Left behind my innocence
The day that I was born

I should have wrote it down in song
Or stopped to take a picture
It didn’t seem to last too long
And I would likely venture
That life has wings that are unseen
And time just flies away
You wake up one tomorrow
In a dream of yesterday

I have watched the shooting stars
And wondered who was winning
In the velvet summer night
When they lit up the sky
Seen lightning flash, heard thunder roar
I’ve looked for new beginnings
So many things are out of sight
There, right before our eyes

Have you seen the coming of
The glory of the future
Like the rapture, it would not quite
Fit into your plans
But we can’t go damning love
While looking for the truth here
Better yet if we were just to
Love our fellow man

I should have wrote it down in song
Or stopped to take a picture
It didn’t seem to last too long
And I would likely venture
That life has wings that are unseen
And time just flies away
You wake up one tomorrow
In a dream of yesterday

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Indigo and Azure

Indigo and azure
Ocean and sky
Sea waves crashing
Gulls squawk by
Violet sunset
Bleeding through
Shards of crimson
Pierce the blue
The moon amused
To see such passion
Bowed his head
In theatrical fashion
Then lit his face
With candle glow
And hung; a spotlight
For the show

Based in the west country of England

Richard Palmer-Romero painted this seascape from the coast of Spain.

His landscapes, seascapes and animal portraits are quite beautiful.

This image is used with written permission from the artist.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Paradise Beach

Within the heart and mind of man
Are endless shores of shifting sand
Where frothing waves by tempest tossed
Find words unspoken; Eden lost

There at evening’s lowest tide
Wash shells of miracles not yet tried
Whose coverings were for seeds of yore
That cleansed the spirit’s ocean floor

That trials and burdens often bore
Now, one, within the silent roar
Here on shores still wet with brine
Lie dreams and hopes of other times

Where no beachcombers wander near
To save, collect or harvest dear
Memories of an inward quest
To stow within some treasure chest

But here not far from mortal’s reach
Lie pearls and riches on the beach
Pirate’s booty; silver, gold
Wealth that dwells within the soul

Bounty that would kings entice;
The sun and stars of paradise
Heaven’s glory here is told
In every story that unfolds

And here I’ve walked; a mortal man
Yet left no footprints on the sand
And seeing thus, have found it odd
To walk so close to self and God

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


He sat and sang while I listened in awe
Amazed by the vastness of his repertoire
In his gray pinstriped tuxedo singing
He set the bells of morning ringing

The sun not limiting his imitative skill;
From darkness; nightingale and whippoorwill
So many songs and he knew them all;
The wren, the finch and the cardinal

Some of the tunes were bright and gay
Echoing the brilliant light of day
While others were mournful, sad and dark
From swallow’s trill to lilting lark

The shrill piercing cry of red tailed hawk
Was followed by a seagull’s squawk
And to tell each man should spread his song
He threw in a doorbell and a telephone

I was so excited that I laughed with glee
At the myriad of songs he sang for me
A kinship I found in each note that I heard
For the poet is nothing if not mockingbird

Monday, February 21, 2011

Don't Tread on Me

Beneath the pity; before the blush;
Into poor hands few coins are pushed
The change is clearly needed bad
But coins are the only change to be had

Behind the tears; after the shock;
With brutal News at Six O’clock
Torn young bodies never older
War is the art of fools and soldiers

Rich; the house of government schemers
Poor; the pockets of poets and dreamers
I only offer to their poverty
More dreams and words of charity

Art has no value to a body ill
The glorified rich continue to kill
Iron fisted government dons lead glove
While poets and dreamers look for love

Hospitals fill with casualties
Dying of thirst to drink liberty
Crushed by the weight of tyranny
Wounded for dead democracy

It is better to live and die free men
Than serve as slaves of government
Who will serve the wretched men
That murder patriot citizens

Poets and dreamers march in the streets
Bullets and bombs will never defeat
The want and desire for love to lead them
Martyrs will die for the love of freedom

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In Motion

Day by day, soaking dark warmth from life
Musky mushroom flavor of fresh earth lingers
In the middle of night by the light I write
Clawing reality with typing fingers

Where do the children grow? I’d like to know;
So many dried cocoons but not enough butterflies
Colors dance when they are alive; all else is imitation
The artist with his sable brushes knows this wisdom

Flowers sway, children play, the sea swells brine
The stars shine, the moon glows, the poet knows
The wisdom too in words of rhyme or prose
Color the beauty but it must move to be alive

Coffee stained fingers rinsed in shaving water
Brush the stubble of sleep on an early chin
Pausing to meditate on future events of motion
Wondering at the history of life contained in them

Wiping the steam from the dream and the mirror
In the swipe of a motion philosophy fades
Day and dancing ways of life seem clearer
At least in the reflections that were saved

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Garden Friend (The Hedgehog)

Spiny little garden friend
On insects makes his meal;
Not above the occasional
Earthworm, frog or snail;
Delicious shoots of tender roots;
He’ll even eat a snake!
When you’re a growing hedgehog,
You must do what it takes!

A favorite pet of families
Who feed him nuts and raisins;
He’d just as soon
Have canned pet food;
He likes the chicken flavors!
The household cat to say hello
Stretched out an eager paw
But much amazed by hedgehog ways
Who rolled into a ball

Through tiny holes like tissue rolls
His head is always pushing
This curious little creature;
This animal pin cushion
He visits British gardens
Seeking out his diet
Though you may never see him
He’s mostly out at night

But should you come across one
Upon some rainy day
Be care not to harm him
And let him go his way
He really is quite harmless
So we should come to terms
With the friendly visitor
Who’s only after worms

About Me

My photo
Poet and musician Fabian G. Franklin invites you to join him on a poetic journey through the soul and nature.