Saturday, November 30, 2013

Orange Crocus

Color Splash Rose

Painted Daisies

Painted Daisies - watercolor

Friday, November 29, 2013

Travels With Terry

A few more of my favorites.  Take a trip in Terry's world of words.


On a fine summer day
In a land far away
A gumdrop galleon
Set sail on a chocolate sea
Its rice paper sails
Caught nor’easter gales
And followed a course due east
It finally moored
In an icy fjord
Surrounded with frothy whipped cream
The ship’s captain was adorned
With a gingerbread horn
And white britches that were double seamed
He left his great ship
And took a short trip
To see his majesty the king
The king met the captain and crew
Served them peppermint stew
And a desert of peppered ice cream
Their visit was done
At a quarter past one
Just in time for crumpets and tea
Then with the setting sun
Their next trip was begun
To the land of the lemon drop tree


Just beyond the setting sun
Across a white-capped sea
We sailed 'til day was done
We drank the evening breeze

The rising sun warmed our decks
The west wind filled our sails
The people ashore turned to specks
As we caught the eastern gale

In the north the shining sea
Took on the look of glass
We were sailing fancy free
With our colors atop our mast

We’d sail forever, if we could
As if the sea would never end
In our vessel made of wood
Just you and me, my friend


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
Of the new coming of Judgment Day

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


Ethereal climates bid me leave
Celestial boats to sail
In a basket heavens weaved
With a comet's luminous tail

Travel the black night void
Follow the bright North Star
Dodging the floating asteroid
To the end of the Dipper far

Sail the lone basket vessel
Through the depths of eternity
Carrying cargo most special
Through the ancient starlit sea

Watch the planet’s cordial stance
And their moons playful turn
Watch the heavens alive with dance
What wonders there are to learn

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More Prose to Tickle Your Toes

Today's submissions.


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


A Welsh beauty named Arianrhod
Placed first at the Eisteddfod
The poetry of this Celtic Goddess
Was rife with song and words so modest

The Welsh Bards and Minstrels danced
While Arianrhod sang and pranced
Tankards filled with Llangadog ale
Enhanced the Bards’ lusty tales

The Welsh maids carried their ale
In verdigris covered copper pails
When Arianrhod’s tankard was low
Her face shined with the warmest glow

The festivities lasted all night
On till the morning sun was bright
Arianrhod sang and pranced
While the Bards and Minstrels drank and danced

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Poetry Contest

A while back I was prolifically writing what I call poetry (loosely defined, of course).  I was never trained or schooled in the art and frankly had no interest in it until an Australian group called the "International War Veterans Poetry Archives" (take a look at it if you get a chance, they are host to some talented writers) published one of my productions on their site and bestowed one of their writing awards on me.
Not long ago I received an email from a writing group I never heard of before advertising a poetry writing contest with an attractive first prize (however I can't remember what it was).  I investigated and discovered that they wanted me to pay them to submit entries in their contest.  I am just conceited enough to think that they should be paying me.  So, I didn't enter the contest, but I did pick out a few pieces that I would have submitted had I entered.  I thought that I would post one or two of them each day for the next few days.  They are the ones that I think I like the best - but you be the judge.


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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Remembering Dak To, Forty-Six Years Ago

Remembering Dak To, November 1967
  • Major General William R. Peers
  • 16,000 men
North Vietnam & Viet Cong
  • General Hoang Minh Thao
  • Tran The Mon
  • 6,000 men

Battle of Dak To - Background:

In the summer of 1967, the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) initiated a series of attacks in western Kontum Province. To counter these, Major General William R. Peers commenced Operation Greeley using elements of the 4th Infantry Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade. This was designed to sweep PAVN forces from the jungle-covered mountains of the region. After a series of sharp engagements, contact with PAVN forces diminished in August leading the Americans to believe that they had withdrawn back across the border into Cambodia and Laos.
After a quiet September, US intelligence reported that PAVN forces around Pleiku were moving into Kontum in early October. This shift increased PAVN strength in the area to around division level. The PAVN plan was to utilize the 24th, 32nd, 66th, and 174th regiments to isolate and destroy a brigade-sized American force near Dak To. It was believed by the PAVN command that this would lead to the further deployment of American troops to the border regions which would leave South Vietnam's cities and lowlands vulnerable. To deal with this build up of PAVN forces, Peers launched Operation MacArthur on November 3.

Battle of Dak To - Fighting Begins:

Peer's understanding of the enemy's intentions and strategy was greatly enhanced on November 3, following the defection of PAVN Sgt. Vu Hong. Alerted to each PAVN unit's location and objective, Peers' men began engaging the enemy the same day, disrupting the North Vietnamese plans for attacking Dak To. As elements of the 4th Infantry, 173rd Airborne, and the 1st Brigade of the 1st Air Cavalry went into action they found that the North Vietnamese had prepared elaborate defensive positions on the hills and ridges around Dak To.
Over the ensuing three weeks, American forces developed a methodical approach to reducing PAVN positions. Once the enemy was located, massive amounts of firepower (both artillery and air strikes) were applied, followed by an infantry assault to secure to objective. In most instances, PAVN forces fought tenaciously, bloodying the Americans, before vanishing into the jungle. Key firefights in the campaign occurred on Hills 823, 724, and 882. As these fights were taking place around Dak To, the airstrip became a target for PAVN artillery and rocket attacks.

Battle of Dak To - Final Engagements:

The worst of these took place on November 12, when rockets and shellfire destroyed several aircraft as well as detonated the base's ammunition and fuel depots. In addition to the American forces, Army of Vietnam (ARVN) units also took part in the battle, seeing action around Hill 1416. The last major engagement of the Battle of Dak To began on November 19, when the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Airborne attempted to take Hill 875. After meeting initial success, the 2/503 found itself caught in an elaborate ambush. Surrounded, it endured a severe friendly fire incident and was not relieved until the next day.
Resupplied and reinforced, the 503rd attacked the crest of Hill 875 on November 21. After savage, close-quarters fighting, the airborne troopers neared the top of the hill, but were forced to halt due to darkness. The following day was spent hammering the crest with artillery and air strikes, completely removing all cover. Moving out on the 23rd, the Americans took the top of the hill after finding that the North Vietnamese had already departed. By the end of November, the PAVN forces around Dak To were so battered that they were withdrawn back across the border ending the battle.

Battle of Dak To - Aftermath:

A victory for the Americans and South Vietnamese, the Battle of Dak To cost 376 US killed, 1,441 US wounded, and 79 ARVN killed. PAVN casualties are estimated between 1,000 to 1,445 killed. The Battle of Dak To saw US forces drive the North Vietnamese from the Kontum Province and decimated the regiments of the 1st PAVN Division. One of the "border battles" of late 1967, the Battle of Dak To did accomplish a key PAVN objective as US forces began to move out from cities and lowlands. By January 1968, half of all US combat units were operating away from these key areas.

Vietnam War:  Battle of Dak To
by Kennedy Hickman


Blue and Violet

Blue and Violet - watercolor

Friday, November 8, 2013

Urban Whitetail

This urban whitetail buck was lounging
in my back yard yesterday - I was impressed
with his size; he looked as big as some
big mule deer bucks.