Saturday, April 30, 2011

We'll Sleep Tomorrow

We'll Sleep Tomorrow

Hold my horse, dear Nina
He’s choked by the sun
All day we been fightin’
And I’m tired of the run

The gold handled saber
Has blood on the hilt
The blade, it shines
Like the day it was built

The muskets weigh heavy
On the shoulders of Abe
We’ll sleep tomorrow
In a shallow mass grave

Hold my horse, dear Nina
I’m parched by the sun
My ears are ringin’
From the noise of the guns

The road runs crimson
With the blood of good men
No wagons to carry them
No comfort from friends

Friday, April 29, 2011

In Our Era


Puffing on a maduro cigar
Two fingers of whisky down
White lightning in a mason jar
Finished, with a grimace and a frown
Fights and booze and worn out shoes
Wasted our fragile youth
We were angry then; with wicked pen
We had a conviction lost in use
We drank our way through each day
We needed no excuse
Then one day; it all went away
We were older; and of no use
Now we talk; don’t walk the walk
No one cares if we’re tight or loose
It’s what we did; in our era kid
Let’s proclaim our life a truce


I think we should call this photo Dolly Madison.  Grandma Denise dressed our granddaughter Madison in this 1700's style outfit.  It's the same outfit Grandma Denise made for Madison's mother, Heidi,  for the 1976 Bicentennial.  Our schnauzer "Buster" is watching from behind her:



As the moon splashed through the trees
Shadows danced on shimmering leaves
A performance with no encore
Each movement repeated; no better score

Quietly we watch once again
What a picture we could pen
If only the words we could find
To describe the beauty on which we dine

The moment has passed before we know
Fleeting and gone; no words to grow
We’ll watch again for something new
We’ll wait for dawn and morning dew

Perhaps now is not place or time
To put the beauty to words and rhyme
We’ll put it in our mind for today
The beauty will return on a different day

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Make Believe


We know it’s only make believe
But it’s there our heart’s relieved
All the places you have seen
You find yourself in between

What is real and what is not
An elusive goal you have sought
Keep your busy mind occupied
Remember all those things you tried

Be honest as the day is long
Keep yourself healthy and strong
Remember fantasy is yours alone
Do not share with those you’ve known

Make believe is yours you see
Be whatever you want to be
But remember always who you are
Don’t be afraid to raise the bar

Wednesday, April 27, 2011



Now I’m older, I can’t recall
I have no memory left at all
Every day someone I see
Is always someone new to me

It’s a shame we end this way
Getting worse day by day
What a shame we grow old
There is no reverse I am told

A vibrant soul I used to be
Had never known misery
Now I have need to pause
Just to see what is and was

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Diggin' For Gold


My gold poke’s flat
It has no weight
I got no bills for foldin’
If I dig to hell’s hot gate
The wife’ll still be scoldin’

What’s the use to dig all day
And spend all night a drinkin’
The old girl will have my hide
And a piece of her mind, I’m thinkin’

Life’s too short to work so hard
When the payload is never close
The old saloon’s a friendly place
Full of poor old down home folks

My gold poke’s flat
It has no weight
I got no bills for foldin’
If I dig to hell’s hot gate
It’s to the devil I’ll be beholdin’

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Ride


The story starts at least in parts
On a hot Fourth of July
It was rodeo time, when beer was prime
And peanuts cost a dime
A strawberry roan had set the tone
For the buckingest bronc in line
Lonesome Ed and his brother Fred
Had entered for the longest ride
The strawberry horse had set the course
And threw Ed before he tried
The cowboy next was also vexed
And fell ass over the horses behind
Two more got kicked through the door
And swore they’d tan his hide
But now it was Fred came out of the shed
And climbed on the roan this time
He set his spurs deep in the fur
Of the side winding fish belly horse
The roan took the first dare
And with four feet in the air
Twisted full circle and landed in dirt
Fred grabbed his hat gave the horse a pat
And spurred him deep to the muscle core
The horse was now sore and headed for the door
Of the arena on the rodeo grounds
The ride was done and Fred had won
But now he couldn’t dismount
They went through the door
Fred’s head on the floor and his feet high in the air
The roan didn’t even stop for a mare
They headed across the prairie at a slow canter and lope
Fred learned to ride from the belly side
And became the brunt of rodeo jokes
The horse was sold for a pot of gold
As rodeo stock he fit the mould
Ed left the game someone else could tame
The sunfishing white bellied roan
Fred tired again weeks later it’s said
But his ride was so slow he was dead
Ed and Fred it’s said left the circuit and wed
Twin strawberry blonds instead

The House on Ravenhill Road


It stood fifty years without paint
The siding was rotted and gray
The light through the windows was faint
The furniture was threadbare frayed

The laughter it held once is gone
But the voices linger at night
Whispering of days in the sun
And children’s playful delight

The couple that built the old place
Have been gone some forty years
Now there is hardly a trace
Of a family’s warm love and shared tears

In the house the family lives on
Their spirits are absorbed in the walls
Only the living are gone
But the spirits still roam the halls

Sunday, April 24, 2011



The cartouche on the Mauser stock
Was from a Free State on the Veld
The Boer hidden behind the rock
Were fighting for land Rhodes held

Simple farmers of deep conviction
Fought commando style from need
Escaping laws of British restriction
To save the Dutch Afrikaner breed

The Kaiser supplied their guns
The ingenuity was theirs
Their battles were commando runs
And often engaged in pairs

The Boers never fought on Sunday
The British force followed suit
But bright and early on Monday
The Boers continued to shoot

The Secret of Life


Life is just a cul-de-sac
Comes full circle everyday
One way out, one way back
You’re sure to find your way

If you could break the monotony
If you could break the routine
If you could change the company
In which you were seen

If you could find a faster route
If you could explore beyond the box
If you could change your shoes for boots
If you could wear woolen sox

Life is just a cul-de-sac
Comes full circle every day
One way out, one way back
Full circle is where you’ll stay

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Flower Child

Flower Child

Children of the days of love
Sixty’s girls and turtle doves
Flowers in long straight hair
Flower crowns everywhere

Peace was the battle sound
Brothers and sisters forever bound
No guns or knives anywhere
Just dancing and music in the air

Who will make the bread they eat?
Who will cover their tender feet?
No one knows and no one cares
Everyone brings and everyone shares

On the other side of the pond
Real guns and soldiers bond
No flowers in their hair
Only blood and war’s despair

Most stayed for one long year
Wearing green and battle gear
Waiting for the chance to be
On a plane and cross the sea

Wearing flowers in their hair
Living free without a care
Knowing the secret that they hide
They can never in a friend confide

Now the flower child has found
To the brothers of war they are bound
Only the innocent can wear the flower
Youth and innocence war has devoured

The Garden

The Garden
In the dark rich soil of words
If you have the time
You can write a poem of birds
Or the story of human kind

Food for the soul words have grown
But food for the body there is none
In their furrow seeds are sewn
Nourished by rays of the sun

Using words that flow from a hand
That is sterile and benign
Won’t help anyone understand
What the writer has tried to divine

So in that fertile soil of prose
Use passion and feeling and pride
You can make a simple red rose
Live the life of Bonnie and Clyde

The Final Scene, Act IV

The Final Scene, Act IV

The angel knelt and held him sway
Time to join the endless day
Time to walk forever more
Leaving footprints on the celestial shore

Time to leave these mortal days
All the drama of human plays
All the ties of human bond
Freedom now, those ties are gone

The angel knelt and held him sway
Time to go; you cannot stay
Walk now, your hand in mine
Your hand in mine until end of time

Fear not the mortal end
For it is joy the heavens send
Friends and family bid you well
For with me you will forever dwell

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pioneer Home

Pioneer Home

A windmill once pumped water
In this hot and desolate place
Carried by the farmer’s daughter
To a basin in the one room place

The floor was dirt baked hard
And the walls were squares of sod
Only the roof was nail and board
The slab door was hinged with rods

The shelter for the horse and cow
Was dug on the side of a hill
A few chickens, a bore and sow
Scratched for grain that may have spilled

This was home to seven
In the twenties homestead rush
To them Montana was heaven
Even in the snow and muck and slush

It was a happy home to all of them
That one room homestead shack
They kept it clean from stern to stem
They slept on fresh straw from the stack

When money was there and they could build
They kept the one room shack
As a monument to a family skilled
Knowing they never would go back

Thursday, April 21, 2011



I shift my gaze to the silver mist
And the full moon’s yellow cast
The water is glass and barely kissed
Forming a ripple from the breath of Cass

Her beauty is legend; this little Scot
Red locks on this Scottish Lass
Her eyes are green as emerald cloth
And sparkle like dew on grass

She chooses not one love of late
She loves them all for now
Maybe someday she’ll choose a mate
I know I’ll be skipped somehow

For now I’ll drink her teasing beauty
Her reflection in the lake
Cass has made it her solemn duty
To give them all one date

Dream Time


I watched dawn’s fading crescent moon
And the night’s last twinkling star
The light blue morning had come too soon
When the night’s long journey seemed so far

The journey was a book of dreams
Dreams are the opiate of the night
They’re both good and bad it seems
But they always run from morning light

Would that the night go on and on
Let the dawn be many hours away
For only at night dreams are drawn
They fade away in the light of day

If we could choose the length of night
If we could pick the dreams we see
We would welcome dawn’s blue light
And know the night has set us free

Wednesday, April 20, 2011



The fabric of emotion is flannel, I think
Tailored for warmth and color
A fabric woven of feeling and drink
Confusing and transcending the scholar

Emotions and logic are of different cloth
Their fiber is opposite to begin
They repel each other as pride and sloth
But both can be patience worn thin

Emotions care not for virtue
They only see color they choose
Their morals are questionably true
And often respond to bad news

Managing our human emotion
Must begin on the weaving loom
Addressing early the commotion
May mean changing our tune

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Aunt Grace


In the cool of the eventide
After Sunday’s stifling meet
We pile in the Ford and ride
To the depot; a train to greet

Aunt Grace has come to stay
Until the summer comes to end
Aunt Grace is always kind and gay
She’s the little ones’ best friend

Her Sunday picnic basket
Is chalked with chicken fried
If you want from her, just ask it
With a smile she’ll certainly comply

Grace is our mother’s sister
And they look so much alike
But Grace never had a mister
She was single all her life

She’ll stay until school begins
And fall is in the air
She’ll patch our scraped shins
And braid the girl’s hair

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Flower Garden


Sweetly lingers the lilac
It has married with the wild rose
A perfume made in heaven
Pleasing the winter starved nose

Smiling petunias fill the air
With a perfume all their own
Daffodils trumpet a royal fanfare
Guarded by rows of marigolds

The rose queen is before her court
Wearing a crown of morning dew
She listens to the geraniums report
Speaking of a rose prince of royal blue

The flower garden is in full bloom
Advertising bright color to the bees
Bees know fall will be here all too soon
Now they pollinate the flowers and trees

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Boat

The Boat

I watched, curious, with abandoned care
As he counted each and sorted in pairs
Every last one he blessed with prayer
He meant no malice to those who dared

Question the size of the boat compared
To the number of animals he locked in there
It was a land bound boat that caused the stare
No water for miles; the land was bare

We watched with knowing smiles and sneers
As animals of all kinds were housed in tiers
Finally the boat was loaded; ready to steer
He said open water soon would appear

We laughed and waved to the crazy old goat
The man who built a land locked boat
How would he know if the thing would float?
Laughing, tears in our eyes and lump in our throat

The rain started early that day
We thought it would grow crops to stay
In days the crops were washed away
For forty days it stayed that way

The boat he built began to float
We tried swimming to cross the moat
The water too deep and wide you note
He sailed now; his full laden boat

The rest you know from history
The boat found land eventually



Dazzle was born Cree Métis
She married Pascel Garneau
Her brother was John Baptiste
He married Della Sue Nado

Dazzle was the matriarch
She bore a boy and seven girls
She labored from morn ‘til dark
Her family was her world

Pascel was gone herding sheep
While Dazzle kept the farm
Worked all day with little sleep
But she managed to keep her charm

Métis Ridge towered above their place
The children were all schooled at home
A big happy family in a little space
Their home until the children were grown

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Bird House


Of the seven sides
Six were wide
And the seventh
Was short and narrow

A gambrel roof
A cross hipped goof
Covered all eight
Of the seven sides

Just a little house
Made for a mouse
But it often housed
A sparrow

The carpenter was five
When he built it inside
With a hammer
And a can of nails

Apple crate wood
It looked as it should
With white paint
Stored in a pail

Can you draw?
The house you saw
And do you think
The walls will fail?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Peaceful Day

Peaceful Day

A peaceful day came my way
Right in the thick of thin
I was only stacking hay
Ah, life was good back then

The morning was all sunshine
All nature was tough with dew
There was no mountain to climb
Just simple chores to do

The meadowlark sang a morning song
The finches chimed in too
All nature seemed to get along
There was serenity in the sky so blue

The world seemed to say: "take your time"
Enjoy all you have right now
Leave contented fruit on the vine
Live life in the here and now

(c)8/8/10Terry Sutherland

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Le Roi Soleil


The majesty of Roi Soleil
Forever lights the sky
Burning bright for all to see
Warming earth before the night

Le Roi Soleil demands no bows
No curtsy does he need
His court is the infinite sky
Only daughter earth to feed

Le Roi Soleil warms his servants
And demands no payment in his realm
He has no queen for royal observance
He stands alone at the helm

He hides at night; his back is turned
He gives freedom to his court
But in the day he surely returns
And warms again his night chilled court

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please, — you can never have both. Between these, as a pendulum, man oscillates. He in whom the love of repose predominates will accept the first creed, the first philosophy, the first political party he meets, — most likely his father’s. He gets rest, commodity, and reputation; but he shuts the door of truth. He in whom the love of truth predominates will keep himself aloof from all moorings, and afloat. He will abstain from dogmatism, and recognize all the opposite negations, between which, as walls, his being is swung. He submits to the inconvenience of suspense and imperfect opinion, but he is a candidate for truth, as the other is not, and respects the highest law of his being. ------------------Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once in a Blue Moon


The moon glows a ghostly blue
Softly dims the evening light
The sun has set and lost its hue
Its orange fades from sight

May’s second fullest moon
Shines the brightest azure light
A lover’s light where couples swoon
In a cool wondrous springtime night

Only once in a full blue moon
Where couples fall in love
Spring has come none too soon
Promising starlight from above

The full blue moon has done its deed
It has filled the night with romance
It has the song of love it needs
For the ritual springtime dance

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Traveling Band

The Traveling Band



He threw his arms into the air
In frustration and defiance
How could they act with abandoned care
When he was so compliant?
He paid them for fifty years
Never wavered in their thirst
Now it was mans worst fear
The IRS be cursed
This fifteenth he forgot
A stamp
When he dropped it at the post
Now they want penalty cash
To mail it from the coast
He said, “No, not this time
I’ll pack it up
And I’ll send it out by boat.”
The IRS said “No,
We prefer it sent by plane
And this time don’t forget
An airmail stamp
Or we’ll do all this again”
(c)Terry Sutherland7/13/2007(revised 4/11/2011)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Good Old USA


Just the tiniest bit of hope
Was kindled by her voice
The words she bravely wrote
She carefully arranged by choice

Ya got to show them all your mettle
Ya got to turn your insides out
Ya got to simmer the boiling kettle
Ya got to put them in a route

Then the hope transformed
To the objective realized
The alliance she had formed
Had reached higher than the sky

Ya got to show them all your grit
Ya got to hang on the entire ride
Ya got to show ‘em you won’t quit
Ya got to show ‘em all your pride

She’s a country we all love
She’s the good ol’ USA
We thank the stars above
She’s our country to this day

Saturday, April 9, 2011

When I'm Old and Gray


When I’m old and gray and gone away
Will you walk my dog; will you stray my cat?
Will you dust my clothes and crease my hat?
Will you do all this when I’m old and gray?

When I’m old and gray and gone away
Will you tell my story; will you wave Old Glory?
Will you sail my dory; will you ease my worry?
Will you do all this when I’m old and gray?

When I’m old and gray and gone away
Will you sing my song; will you right my wrong?
Will you make life long; will you make the weak strong?
Will you do all this when I’m old and gray?

When I’m old and gray and gone away
Will you read my writes; will you win my fights?
Will you keep my sun bright; will you weep tonight?
Will you do all this when I’m gone away?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pepper's Sunday

Pepper’s Sunday

Scoop Bishop sang base in the church choir.  For some reason, people’s looks and physical features just never match their voice.  Scoop was tall and thin.  It was always a surprise to hear the deep, deep, mellow voice come from that frail frame.  He had a conspicuous Adam’s apple that rose and fell with the notes he sang.  It was poetry in motion.  His Adam’s apple could have had its own Broadway show.  It was passing entertainment for Pepper Anderson, who was fascinated with it.  The choir sang “Amazing Grace” and Pepper watched Scoop’s Adams apple.

Eunice, Pepper’s mother, quietly bent down in the pew and whispered for Pepper to stop fidgeting.  She gave Pepper the Sunday bulletin and a pencil from her purse.

“Pepper”, Eunice whispered.  “Take the bulletin and circle each and every “O” with the pencil.”

Pepper complied while the sermon droned from the mouth of Reverend Michaels.   It took a total of two minutes for Pepper to complete the task.  Pepper handed the bulletin back with a total of sixteen O’s circled.

Pepper now noticed her shoes; white patent leather buckle shoes with just a few dark smudge marks on them.  She pointed her toes to the inside and touched the tips of the shoes together.  Then she pointed the toes out and touched the heels admiring the white shininess and reflections in the light from the stained glass church windows.  Her shoes made a noise on wooden floors when she walked and she liked to stomp while she walked to hear the echo and tap dance noise they made.  She tired of her shoes just in time for the congregation to pick up their hymnals and start singing again.  Back to Adam’s Apple watching.

She was distracted again during the hymn by the edge of her chiffon dress on her knee.  Her knee itched where the dress came in contact with it.  She scratched.  Back to Adam’s Apple watching.  She weltered in her task for as long as the song lasted.  There was still ten minutes left of the hour church service but Pepper was ready to leave.  She told her mother with words louder than a whisper hoping the urgency in her voice would hurry the process.  Eunice said, “Pepper, just a few more minutes.  Stop fidgeting”.  Pepper screwed her mouth into a frown and scratched again.

Finally the organ played and the congregation rose to their feet and bowed their heads in final prayer.  Pepper watched the people in prayer waiting for the “Amen”.  The “Amen” came and Pepper wrenched her hand from her mother’s and bolted.  She pushed ahead of the exiting worshipers.  She ran up the center aisle and out the front door.  Freedom at long last; ah, sweet freedom was hers.

Freedom was not in the cards, though.  Not for Pepper anyway.  As the exiting congregation left the church and thanked the Reverend Michaels for his fine sermon, Eunice pushed past to retrieve her errant five year old daughter.  Not soon enough.  Pepper had already cornered the two six year old, not so interested, twin Campbell boys, lifting her chiffon dress up to her chest proudly displaying her brand new pink underpants.  Eunice grabbed Pepper’s left hand and brushed her pretty blue chiffon dress back down to its normal state.  Eunice, a little red-in-the-face, smiled at the startled but knowing face of eighty year old Mrs. Hanson and rushed, with Pepper in tow over her husband who was standing with the ‘after church’ pipe smokers.

Pepper and Eunice headed for the church basement.  It was potluck dinner Sunday.  Eunice poured a small paper cup of cherry Kool-Aid for Pepper and walked with several other ladies to the small kitchen. Pepper was on her own again.  The Campbell boys stood next to her with their Kool-Aid.  With a pair of Kool-Aid lips and a few red drops of the liquid on her chin and down the front of her blue chiffon dress, Pepper engaged the boys in conversation; “we have new baby chicks at our house”, she said.

©12/19/10Terry Sutherland


The Sunday Sermon


The Sunday sermon when I was young
Was fifty minutes from start to done
It was plenty hard for little guys
To listen long with open eyes

The preacher’s voice became a drone
My droopy eyes were not alone
People dressed in Sunday best
To go to church for an hour rest

The choir woke us with a hymn to sing
Welcome music to end the thing
I often thought it would be better
For the sermon to be sent in a letter

Now I dress in Sunday best
I really need my hour of rest
If you hear me start to snore
Just point me to the nearest door

©Copyright June 18, 2008 by Terry D. Sutherland

For All the Idioms

If frogs had wings and pigs could fly
If a leopard could change his spots
If you could give it the college try
If you weren’t running against the clock

Did I hear you dropped your hat
When Elvis left the building?
The mighty Casey’s still at bat
And the proof is in the pudding

When you hear the same old song
With Van Gogh’s ear for music
That old hitch in your get-along
Will get that gander goosing

A penny saved is a penny earned
When you’re all in the same boat
Nero fiddled when Rome burned
And that’s all she wrote

©Copyright March 28, 2009 by Terry D. Sutherland

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Let's Hop a Freight


Let’s hop a freight to hobo land
Let’s ride the rails all day
Let’s live off the fat of the land
From Maine to the ‘Frisco Bay

We’ll dodge the big Shack Bullies
And run from the Railroad Bulls
We’ll sneak a ride on trolleys
We’ll bathe in river pools

A wonderful life we’ll live
No responsibility or cares
We’ll take from people who’ll give
We won’t pay passenger fares

Whoever has a jar of shine
Or Mad Dog Twenty Twenty
What’s his is yours and mine
We live in a world of plenty

Let’s hop a freight to hobo land
Let’s ride the rails all day
Through burning hot Nevada sand
To Utah’s bright red clay

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Old Number Nine


Billowing puffs of carbon
Spewing from her throat
As she climbs the mountain
Straining, straining, straining
Then springs a fountain
On the downhill slope
Her mighty whistle dopplers
As she sounds a lonely note
Chugging slowly to her stop
At a station far remote
Steam pouring from her feet
She breathes heavily while she rests
She eats a mighty breakfast
Coal and water serves her best
Slowly her breaths increase
Under protest; her iron wheels creak
Soon enough momentum
Brings her to full speed
Her smoke trails behind her
Leaving her passage in the air
Miles of tracks before her
She follows without care

Monday, April 4, 2011



We rode the Bora’s frozen breath
With blue fingers we grasp
The bowlines for the weather leech
A spanker snapped and begin to thrash
We laid low by the mainsul mast
While the maiden, she climbed the swell
Followed the curl and broke away at last
Free sailing as she’s compelled
The Bora tames to a mistral
The maiden finally sees the sun
The swarthy sea turns azure blue
And rocks gently now the maiden’s run

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Travelers


An Imperial Pint of Trappist Dubbel
Was breakfast for the three
They traveled far through rock and rubble
A point in which they all agreed

The Monks were kind and shared their ale
They offered them a stable for the night
For in the dawn they met wind and gale
Under a Belgian sun both yellow and bright

They traveled far for two long years
Helping strangers as they wound their way
Their mission was to quell all fears
For a future with better days

Arthur was a cinnamon bear; the comic of the bunch
Florian was a boy so young; barely twelve when they began
Simon was a spotted pig, he always secured their lunch
The three traveled the mountains high and through the desert sand

They told the travelers when they met
They should live a wholesome life
For in this life their course was set
They could die of old age or by the knife

Their journey ended in France at Rennes
When Arthur took on ague and died
For those few years they were friends
In each one they had their pride

Lolli Sue

Lolli Sue
Lolli Sue was only two
When she made an observation
Just between me and you
It was quite a declaration

Her brothers led the way
Lolli Sue followed behind
She had little to say
Just what was on her mind

Life would be great
Playing with her toys
She wouldn’t have to wait
If it weren’t for those damn boys
©4/3/11Terry Sutherland

Perfect Memory


It was clear to me back then
But things are fuzzy now
When you try to remember when
Things fade away somehow

I don’t remember what it was
That was clear to me back then
I think about it just because
It might remind me where I’ve been

Put a chalk mark on my mind
To see if the wheels have turned
If they have, you may find
A few things I have learned

Memories now are a well read book
With the cover torn and scarred
Maybe sometime I’ll stop to look
At the date on my library card

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Lazy Sunday Afternoon


It was early September and the yellow jackets were thick and aggressive. They demanded and took their share of the barbeque beef; cutting it quickly with razor mandibles. As irritating as they were, there were just too many to fight. It was better to move all of the food inside and abandon them to their own scraps sun baking on the patio deck.
The gala trappings from September party were left with the hornets.
It was now, after five years, considered a family tradition, this celebration. Always held on the third Sunday in September – sort of a celebration of summers end and the beginning of buckle-down-stick-to-it-iveness of school.
This was the first year Buddy missed the celebration. Cletis, who we called Buddy – a name we gave him while still an infant was in Vietnam, had been there since April and by every indication in his letters home was doing fine. He was a light weapons infantryman with the 2nd Bat, 173rd Airborne Brigade. We all missed him; the celebration was not the same without him.
Buddy had discovered early on that war was not what he thought it to be. His battalion was operating in the Tuy Hoa area near the South China Sea. So far in his five months in country engagements were sparse and mostly with under strength VC squads. Now his company served as permanent perimeter guards surrounding the forward command post compound. His duties now were watching and filling sand bags.
This September Sunday, he was filling sand bags and watching an air strike being conducted in support of some unit engaged a few kliks away. He watched this time with more attentive interest than any other time before. He watched as one Phantom dove and expended its ordnance the other was 180 degrees above with the top of the aircraft toward the ground. The jets were so fast they appeared as humming birds, it seemed, out of nowhere. They seemed so perfunctory and business like – dropping their bombs expediently without any human qualities. He watched and the aircraft were gone as suddenly as they appeared. This time as he thought of the celebration he was missing at home; he wondered if anyone had died in the strike he just watched – did they have families and friends? He leaned on his shovel and thought: “We all have our own ways to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon, I guess".

Cosmic Questions


If the earth was nearly round
If the universe was almost flat
The earth would be heaven bound
Rolling across the cosmic mat

Now there is no up or down
Any direction is always up
But the edge of universe is round
A little concaved like a cup

The cosmic bottom is convex
It stands to reason, I think
The configuration is so complex
It could drive one to drink

If the earth was nearly flat
And the universe was round
We’d find ourselves in a cosmic vat
Just floating all around

Friday, April 1, 2011


He journeyed far on calloused foot
Searching for the question: Why?
He found mans basic primordial root
Was nothing more than live and die

Still empty from the journeys quest
“There must be more”, he posed
Answer then, this last request
Is there a man who knows?

His journey continues, slower now
His question matters not
It’s only toil and sweat of brow
He drew as his living lot

The journey ended as it began
The search for the question:  Why?
For all the stars and the grains of sand
Man only lives and dies

©5/18/07Terry Sutherland(revised 4/1/11)