Thursday, June 30, 2011

River Life


On Saturday the rain came down
We watched the water rise
The Clark Fork is muddy brown
A mad and swollen river in reprise

Eight foot banks have disappeared
The river has features of a lake
Flowing swiftly to the northern tier
Stealing everything in its wake

A house, a car, finds trees and railroad ties
They bob and roll swiftly while they float
While the cloudy dark gray pregnant sky
Offers no reprieve to the land it soaked

The spring rains fall for three more days
When the angry river finally crests
Experiencing nature’s powerful ways
And a way of life in the Rockies’ golden west

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guidelines for a Story Writer


Slightly brindled but still intact
A little clouded but not out of whack
Slightly flawed but generally right
Nothing pure just a yellowish white

Exaggerated just a little too much
Poetic license may be a crutch
Truth and fiction are carefully blended
Only knowing, when the story has ended

But what the hell; words are just words
Not like it’s intended as valuable verse
Read ‘em or leave ‘em or do as you will
Nothing here written has taken much skill

Just words jotted to fill up a page
Nothing considered being wise or sage
Just words to fill and muddle your mind
Just a few lines to waste your time

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rhythm of Life

The cadence of life
The ebb and flow
A welcome standard
A reason to know

A measured beat
No secrets it holds
The cadence of life
The story is told

The balance of time
From beginning to end
The rhythm of life
Time will not bend

All things have purpose
They all do their part
As the pendulum swings
As each beat of the heart

copyright Terry Sutherland 6/27/2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Grandson Chase on the Soccer Field

Music in the Park


When the moon tucks its chin on the edge of the earth
The stars above wink a welcome to the onset of dark
Twilight time hovers quietly waiting for the suns rebirth
We have heard the last song of the band in the park

Children’s eye lids so heavy and ready for sleep
We wait and watch quietly; no one will talk
We rise and walk quietly; our burden so precious to keep
Grandchildren in our arms we saw the time on the clock

The last song they played was quiet and sweet
The “Tennessee Waltz” gave pause to reflect
On romances and past loves and happy thoughts we greet
The songs fragrance stayed and chanced no regret

We walk with our young burdens and quietly think
What is it about the music that directs our moods?
How warm and gentle the feeling on which we drink
To nourish the soul music is the best of foods

Sunday, June 26, 2011

County Fair


Ridin’ horse music on a carousel
Cotton candy and popcorn in the air
The midway barker is trying to sell
Saturday night at the county fair

Henry put a nickel in the cally ope
The music can be heard from miles
Bill and Sue had just eloped
Sue’s father is nothing but smiles

Boys tossing dimes for a cupie doll
Their girls will carry them home
Toppling bowling pins with a soft hardball
Paying a quarter for every three thrown

Young lovers stay out 'til midnight
The night is magic at the fair
It is all such a memorable night
There is laughter and music in the air

The Future


It is the sad nature of man I think
To keep his adoration of war
To remember all the ships that sink
To celebrate the battlefield score

It’s time for man to move on I think
To escape the paradigm of now
To know that to stay on the brink
Is milking a pretty dead cow

The future is now ours to make
We can design it as we choose
Let’s come to our senses for pity sake
We don’t have to win or loose

Let’s just live our lives in peace
And forget we were ever there
Hate and aggression all will cease
Spreading seeds of kindness everywhere

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Born in the rage of the bitter North Wind
Steered by the west wind’s gusts and gasps
Wandering a prairie with no place to begin
Taking refuge together; while stillness lasts

Wandering again through a long winter storm
Tumbling always across the windswept plains
March winds welcome reluctant spring with scorn
The tumbleweed seeks shelter from the rain

Summer growth has captured the weed
Consumed and drawn to mix with the earth
Burying with it replenishing seeds
In a warm fertile bed for rebirth

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mountain Morning

Pinks and blues the painted sky
Above a majestic lake
Clouds floating miles high
Like cushions at heaven’s gate

Walking alpine mountain paths
The scent of Scotch pine in the air
Watching beavers morning baths
And the mule deer browse in pairs

The crispness of the morning air
The dampness of the ground
Solitude not ours to share
What a paradise we have found

The wild trout finds a caddis hatch
And the loon echoes a lonesome cry
The brown bear with her catch
Watched by the magpie in a tree nearby

The morning lake laps against the shore
And drift wood bobs and weaves
Only nature’s sounds and nothing more
And the majesty in all we see

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer on the Prairie

In the early morning hours
When all is calm and still
The fragrance of the flowers
Covers every pond and hill
Nature paints her canvas bright
When the prairie comes alive
On through a summer night
Under the prairie’s starlit sky
The prairie’s summer sun
Has coaxed the flower’s smile
And given each, one by one
A color to match her style
The honey bee works the day
Spreading pollen to the plants
To store the sun’s sweet rays
Directing others with a dance

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Traveling Salvation


On a stage of weathered planks he stood
He pounded the dust from his black frock coat
Brethern and Sistern, I’m Reverend Good
I been preachin’ afore the Good Book was wrote

With this elixir I can cure your ills
I can preach the damnation out of you
This snake oil can cure the chills
It can soften your leather shoes

Is there a sinner in the crowd?
Who’ll spend a dime for eternal days
That’s right, sinners gather round
Snake oil can cure ills and right those evil ways

Sinners, eternal life for one thin dime
Why, you’ll bust out into song
It’ll clean your clothes of filth and grime
Sinners, for a dime you can’t go wrong

Sinners, form a single line
My assistant will take the dimes from you
One bottle is good, but two are fine
Three bottles will last a month or two

Now I must follow that dusty road
I must wander for the rest of my days
I must bear this painful load
Preaching the Word and rightful ways

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Strait of Rhondolet

The Strait of Rhondolet

The simian sailor launched his boat
In a bobbing and bouncing sea
He was happy to have the dingy float
As he counted waves as high as trees

He sailed south without an oar
Into the Strait of Rhondolet
Standing at the helm on a board
He watched the sunset dance a play

A baseball cap shaded his eyes
White sneakers covered his feet
He sailed under the bluest skies
Wishing his dingy was a naval fleet

His cargo was a banana bunch
His passenger was a goat
They had banana and cheese for lunch
With rum to ease their throats

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

The Children's Hour by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
      When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
      That is known as the Children's Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
      The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
      And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
      Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
      And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
      Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
      To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
      A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
      They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
      O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
      They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
      Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
      In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
      Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
      Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
      And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
      In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
      Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
      And moulder in dust away!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Figurine


Daring and dauntless the figurine
Once a conscript of a bearded King
Standing alone on a shelf of stone
On a wall of gold behind the throne

A soldier once whose days are gone
Engaged in battle at the break of dawn
A leather helmet covered his head
His century, now a hundred years dead

In his hand a bronze broad sword
Swung with might at the royal word
A copper gorget covers his throat
Spattered with blood of soldiers smote

Daring and dauntless never to age
Free of dust by the Kings own Page
Hell stand alone a century or more
In the old castle alone on the moor

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mary Lou


Mary Lou stood six foot two
Her sister was five foot nine
She played forward for LSU
Her sister was doing time

When LSU met the prison team
Mary Lou started the game
Her sister said, “Is this a dream?
This game should bring some fame”

The score was seventy to fifty
Mary Lou had made forty points
Her sister said, “This is nifty,
But will it get me out of the joint”

The prison had lost
When the game was done
Her sister knew the cost
Mary Lou had all of the fun

Mary Lou moved on from school
And her sister’s life of crime
Now she plays professional pool
While her sister finishes her time



When the grandeur of the mountain
And the dark depths of the sea
Meet at life’s great fountain
Where spirits will all be freed

Send a signal to the sun
And the cosmos eternity
Put an end to all that’s done
And whatever more will be

From nothing we found our way
From nothing we’ll return
Their will be no more night or day
And the expanding universe will burn

When the energy is all transformed
And there is nothing left to burn
The darkness will be newly born
And forever will have its turn

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Stick Horse Squadron of Prairie Town


The Stick Horse Squadron of Prairie Town
Galloped through the hot tar streets
Not one young cavalryman wore a frown
While they charged a field of sugar beets

In their hands were cavalry swords
Forged from the limb of a willow tree
Carrying canteens of yellow gourds
Filled with water from a muddy stream

Their wide brimmed hats were yellow straw
Their blue tunics were make believe
Their mission was to uphold prairie law
Mother, apple pie, and the great American dream

The squadron rides in the morning ‘til noon
When a mother bugles a call to mess
Stick horses now change back to brooms
The cavalryman’s scarves back to the linen chest

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

After School


On a silver screen our cowboys rode
Through canyons deep and blizzards cold
Through deserts hot and high cliffs they strode
On horses swift; with side-kicks bold
A thirty minute show unfolds
Those cowboy heroes of the silver screen
Rotund side-kicks and the heroes lean
We watched them wide eyed in every scene
Those wonderful days of squeaky clean
Hopalong, Lone Ranger, and Roy were there
Red Ryder, Little Beaver, and Tom Mix would share
That tiny TV screen the heroes would air
After school at four a neighborhood affair
Gene Autry, Wild Bill, and Cisco sometimes
Would end up in jail for trumped up crimes
Sometimes they were close to wedding chimes
At the end they rode off; headed for more suitable climes
Sometimes fist fights would erupt in the saloon
In the end the hero played his guitar and sang a love tune
At the end of the show they said, “See you soon”
Those wonderful days of cowboy afternoons

Tuesday, June 14, 2011



When I was young I knew much more
Of life and love and the glory in war
I have learned in forty years
The cost of war in lives and tears

There is no glory that I can see
You don’t have to be all that you can be
Now I’m old and I don’t know much
Of life and love and wars and such

I am wiser, I’m pretty sure
I choose peace over glory’s lure
Now I’m old and I should know
It is our job to help peace grow

There is no sin; I don’t think
To keep ourselves from the brink
Of the destruction of our nation
We should seek our own salvation

I didn’t know all those years ago
That I would see the ebb and flow
Of good and bad and right and wrong
Of a strong nation in which we belong

The need for battle should end right now
We all know our solemn vow
We are one nation made of many
We are no worse or better than any

I don’t mean we should be pushed around
I just know that peace is sound
Any reaction to hostile acts
Should be clear and based on facts

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Lady in Black


Wearing a dress of deepest black
Tall and thin and featured fine
Auburn hair tumbling down her back
Eyes deep green sparkling divine

Grace and beauty in her glide
Never a jaunty step is made
Hands placed softly at her side
A ring on her finger of gold and jade

She stands quietly, eyes downcast
Her black dress touches the floor
Her graceful hands now are clasped
As she waits quietly at the door

The door opens slowly into the light
She steps back and curtseys low
She welcomes caller smiling bright
Her flushed face takes on a glow

The lady in black welcomes him home
In the form of a spirit he walks
Every dark night when she is alone
She looks forward to their talks

At first light he fades away
The lady in black wipes a tear
Now she must face another day
Without the one she holds so dear

She’ll wear black and night will come
She’ll smile again and grasp his hand
She knows his mortal life is done
They’ll meet forever in the spirit land

Sunday, June 12, 2011



April was born in May
On a warm and sunny day
Her sister May was born at noon
On a rainy day in June

April’s brother Guy
Was born on the 4th of July
Her oldest brother Fred
Chose July to be wed

Her older sister June
Will be marrying soon
Along with brother Fred
It is July she’ll be wed

By a quirk of fate
Her sister Kate
Had an August wedding
Just when the sun was setting

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Thin Gray Line


Pencil thin, the thin gray line
That divides you from me
We will know in due time
And everyone else will see

I prefer my coffee black
You have always liked your tea
You always had a knack
To be all that you could be

Our differences will merge someday
Little difference can there be
When we learn to live and play
In freedom’s hard earned luxury

Until we celebrate the loss
Until we make the time
Many times will we cross
That pencil thin gray line

Friday, June 10, 2011

Signs of Age


Signs of aging in my eyes
Part of me I can’t disguise
You and I have aged I see
We’re feeling the pain, you and me

Are we wiser for our years?
Or have we just cried more tears?
We’ve lived our life right or wrong
We’ve forged a chain miles long

We don’t know when the end will come;
We only do what must be done
Today is the day we celebrate
It’s our right to be fashionably late

We have talked to death our sixty years
When we were brave and our greatest fears
Why we fought for our a noble cause?
Only to find that it never was

We marched to the rhythmic drums of war
We never knew just what for
Some of us fell never to rise
For some it was just an exercise

The greatest battle we ever fought
Was with the way we drew our lot
Life for some is cruel, I guess
That’s what I think, more or less

Thursday, June 9, 2011



Carita lived in Sweden
She was on the curling team
Her team was never beaten
It was a curler’s lifelong dream

Carita played the hog line
As close as could be played
She released the stone in time
Much to the opponents own dismay

When she used the curling brush
She stopped the stone from picking
The curling crowd was hushed
When they knew Carita was thinking

She wore a slider shoe of gray
Her gripper shoe was black
When the hammer is on the way
The game is in the sack

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An American Novelist


Undaunted by the changes made
But plagued by the ravage of time
In life there was nothing forbade
He lived it to the fullest design

He wrote with a vengeance and drive
Stories of the life that he led
A soldier and adventurer when alive
In an era of self made men

For golden years he had no time
He could never be confined to bed
Failing eye sight was the sign
He should end the life that he led

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Doing Time


Sometimes when the choir sings
Their robes rustle when they rise
The joy their tempered voices bring
When it’s time to loosen ties

Finally, signaled by their last song
The preacher’s final prayer is done
Seems the sermon was hours long
For the benefit of souls already won

The congregation stands and turns
Greeting neighbors, friends and kin
In the basement are coffee urns
When the pot-luck lunch begins

What a way to spend the day
When Sunday church is done
When you’d rather get away
And fish till the setting sun

Monday, June 6, 2011



Nevada was a cowgirl
From the very start
Her city boyfriend, Earl
Nearly broke her heart

Earl never rode a horse
He never dogged a steer
He never showed remorse
Why, was never clear

Nevada had no choice
She told Earl to go
In a clear and somber voice
She ditched the city beau

Now she has warm feelings
For a Texas Longhorn boy
He was just so appealing
He made her jump for joy

Sunday, June 5, 2011



Silver Song Birds serenade
While gauchos ride the pampas
Society ladies drink lemonade
While beer rules the campus

When will we stop to learn?
We should all be like one
We know how our butter’s churned
We welcome our new born son

Expand still our learning curve
Forget differences of past
Get man what he deserves
A life in a house of glass

Getting to know one another
Filling the void with love
Living to serve your brother
Sending the pure white dove

Cloudless skies will reign
While man’s endeavor is pure
Man will whiten the stain
And the human race will endure

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address
by President Abraham Lincoln

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.  We are met on a great battlefield of that war.  We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.  It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground.  The brave men, living and dead who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.  The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.  It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.  It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

(November 19, 1863)

Friday, June 3, 2011



Through the secular trend
Hypotheses come and go
Some are willing to bend
Some simply say no

We only hear what we want
We ignore warnings of fate
Then we have nerve to flaunt
Ideas others calculate

A tidy package it’s not
It’s pretty messy in fact
When the idea you bought
Turns and bites you in the back

Spiritualists are usually outspoken
It is what they are supposed to do
But what if something’s not broken?
Should we not break it in two?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

If by Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them:  "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

----------------Rudyard Kipling

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Greenleaf and Brown: Part 2


Greenleaf and Brown
Were prison bound
On a cloudy fateful day
They had gone through a town
Without making a sound
Dreading their prison stay
Greenleaf told Brown
“When there’s no one around”
“We’ll make our great escape”
They both jumped down
From wagon to ground
Looking for a route to take
Greenleaf the clown
Tried to outrun Brown
Who was ahead by a nose
Greenleaf fell down
While Brown got out of town
That’s how the story goes
Greenleaf is in the big house
Blaming Brown, the dirty louse
Brown is still on the run
Doing time in the skookum house
With no friend but a field mouse
Is certainly no mans fun