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Nevers Dam: The Other Side
As we walked down the boat ramp
On the Wisconsin side
And saw the sign that said, ‘Nevers Landing’:
Where was the platform
On the Minnesota side
that we had stood on so many times
looking at this spot
wondering what it was like over here
and why couldn’t we see it?
And we heard the voice of a lady
walking up behind us
with a seven year old boy
She was counting
. . . 27,28,29,30. It’s only 30!
She said to her son
She was counting the slats on the ramp
I’m not sure if slats is the right word
Cement rows? Ramp steps?
And then she looked at us
I was pleased that she was so generous
‘Yesterday the water was only up to 36!’
So the water had risen that much only since last night!
We looked and saw that
Many of the bases of the trees were under water
And the river seemed to be flowing very fast.
Since she was so forthcoming with this information
We asked her if it was possible to see the platform on the other side
And she pointed up the road and told us that
“only half a block”
I felt it slightly ironic that she was using city terms
in this natural area
away was a path you could walk out to a point and see it easily
You could walk straight there
but not with this flooding
So we thanked her and soon found ourselves on a
similar to that which we’d walked on several times on the other side
Was this one engineered, as well?
we’d never have had a clue that it was there
except for the advice
of a mom we had never met before.
there it was
we saw the platform
familiar and distant.
All the way across the non-Jordan river.
It was equally as impossible to get there
now that we were here
As it was to get here when we were there.
Over at my other blog, I just posted a list of poems from this blog that were all of the same type: Specific and detailed descriptions of places our family has been to on vacations with commentary on how these spots affected us.
Written Exactly 10 Years (and 4 days) Ago.
And yes, this is Doggerel.
. . . And yes, this is cheesy.
I want you to know that I mean what I say,
When I say what I say almost everyday.
(So as you can see in the way that I write,
these words are a poem, too corny, too trite)
The words that I speak of are three: “I love you.”
The words that I speak of are clearly not new.
So perhaps clarity would help to reveal,
my thoughts to you and help you to feel,
What I know.
“I love you” here means that a good husband should:
(A husband I am; I’m not sure about ‘good’)
Give his wife hugs and kisses each time he comes home,
And, more often than in a once a year poem,
Give her verbal messages and spoken caresses,
And show that he means every word he expresses,
With unselfish acts causing her peace to grow.
‘Least that’s what I think those three words mean and so,
Here I go:
You give me peace; yes, I’ve said that before,
But it is the truth and its true even more,
Than the days I first said it back in ’91.
You take care of our home, you take care of our son.
With such skill that I doubt not a thing that you do,
Nor your love, nor your song, nor your pleasures, though few.
It’s ironic then that you lack your own peace,
I hereby pledge now to help it increase,
‘till you smile.
My problem is that I forget what you need.
You need me and my time and my feelings decreed,
You need me to want to spend much time with you,
You need one to encourage your pleasures (though few)
You need one who will help to make your pleasure great,
You need a leader to initiate,
Can I do it? I don’t know, but I will say I’ll strive,
And I’ll always stay with you down each road we drive,
And I’ll say once again so that you know that I do
Really, really, really, really, really love you.
Behind the Cascade Lodge Restaurant
A unique place in the world – My boys and I stand at a point.
I look ahead and up at the steep stairway,
Moss covered wood railing
Uneven steps that lead to the bright sunlit trees at the top of a ridge.
that we are about to go up.
I look behind and see the creek
A pleasant, trickling stream flowing
Water that has come from deep inside the thick north woods forest
And is heading into the great lake
I look to my left and see a small wooden cabin.
With a chimney
And a few small windows
I look to my right and see the back of a restaurant.
We are above it, so we see mostly roof.
We see the exhaust vents from the kitchen
The back of this building is flat and dark
But one might ask – what is the poignancy here?
And sir, my answer:
Looking ahead, I see steps that will be a happy challenge
for a three year old to climb
and for a six year old to count
and for a five year old who can’t wait to look down from the top of the ridge.
Looking behind, I see the lowest part of a creek
That just two days ago, my boys and I hiked up
I see rocks that we all worked together to get across
Looking to the left I see a cozy getaway log cabin
Where my wife and I have spent romantic nights
Listening to a crackling fire inside
and the trickling creek outside.
Looking to the right (Although it is not pretty to look at from this view)
I see the dining hall
where we have eaten many pancakes
my one-year-old son smiled at old ladies
who smiled back
and my two-year-old showed her pink and blue crayon drawings
to another artist, fifty years older.
And what of those near things that are out of site?
Not quite in view?
Looking ahead I think of the much larger river
Beyond the steps
Perhaps a third of a mile away
With canyons and pine trees and tall wooden bridges
Carving it’s place into the rock
Looking behind I think of the cozy main lodge
Beyond the creek
With the old magazines and pictures
And the grandiose fireplace.
And grand piano where my wife and her sister once played a duet
Looking to the left I think of the open outdoor chapel among pine trees
Beyond the log cabin
Where a family sat and prayed and sang and read from the bible
And looking beyond the restaurant to my right, I think of the great lake
Powerful and majestic
Reflecting the power and majesty of it’s Creator
Our presence here is what I tried to describe in the Georgia Hospital.
It’s good to be here.
I wonder . . .
What do others see when they come to this spot?
Night On The Sea
By Carl, Eldest Son of Jamsco – Age 9
The sea is bare,
No boat is there,
There is mist in the air,
But I don’t have a care,
You have nothing to bear,
In the open night air.
Three Amigos – starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short, is a pretty good movie throughout, but there is one scene that I really enjoyed – not for the comedy, but for the music.
At one point they are sleeping in the dessert and Martin Short’s character is having difficulty getting to sleep, so the other two (and eventually him) sing a lullaby - Arizona Moon. I really liked the melody and the sweetness of the lyrics (you want to see it?), so when I had kids I changed the words to fit our situation – this is what I ended up with.
Minnesota moon keep shining,
Through the open window there,
Six little kids, asleep in their beds,
They know that Mom and Dad are right downstairs.
Blue moonlight in the air
Little Children, close your eyes and dream,
The love of Jesus shines more than the moon,
He knows your hopes and fears,
Just close your eyes and dream, little kids,
Dream of Heaven
Blue moonlight in the air,
Soft wind blowing, through the trees above,
You’ve a big day tomorrow,
And you are safe tonight, so
Close your eyes and dream
A High School Poem, which was turned in as part of a Advanced Creative Writing project of the same title, and which was deemed ‘Excellent’ by the English teacher who, after looking at how he graded other poems that I turned in, was perhaps too generous.
Point of View
Dumplings in a blue broth disperse,
Clear mirror with white chips,
That have been scraped away
Ice begins to emerge
Cracked up – pieces of a puzzle
Solid uniform ghost against the still perfect blueness
Builds up into mountains
Covered with white sheets of cool.
The clouds come back,
And the peaks are gone.
A Post High School, Pre College Poem (indicating a selfish foolishness):
Lightning strikes the earth with a smile,
And missing me by nearly a mile,
It leaves a smoky hazy mist,
That everyone in town can see.
It brings about its death and pain,
And leaves me in this boring rain,
Indignantly I shake my fist,
Why didn’t it hit nearer me?
Another Dream Describing College Poem
And we were all forced to move,
And when we got back,
A girl, whom I had noticed before,
She had had an innocent face (no surprise there),
And she was not seen for the rest of the day.
So I must decide to search and find her
And save her,
I looked and saw a girl on ledge,
It must be her, and I rushed to help,
But at my entrance there were two others,
And she was not her.
I must have looked quite foolish.
And a walk into another world, still searching,
A world of a panther identity,
And spiders and reptiles,
Of poisonous venom,
And, for lack of vision,
Death and nothing found.
So real world search again and consider:
The teacher was not with us the whole time we were away,
Conspicuous, it might have been him,
A case of blackmail.
A new search, but, stop.
She merely had to leave for sport, no problem.
No search needed.
Oh . . . . good. . . .
So, I guess . . . neither am I.
Written yesterday – Guess where we went Thursday?
State Fair Dining Advice
So you step out of the Food building
To the south
With what you have chosen for your lunch or supper
A difficult choice sometimes
For Large Families
Getting a whole pizza and a big basket of french fries
Your kids feet are a little tired from walking
Having seen the largest pig
and the found-garbage sculpture of a frog
and having chosen their favorite piece of art
Our eldest daughter chose the one with the cat
Having climbed the 64 foot tall DNR viewing tower
And having grinned and screamed on the ladybug ride
And you see
Even though it a weekday
A patio filled with people
(It is not huge)
Sitting at tables,
Sitting on the landscape rock walls
Sitting on the curb
And some just sitting on the patio
But do not despair
You have other options
Though it will take a short hike
200 feet, maybe?
Cross a road and continue
through the crowd at the Leinenkougal (sp?) stage
you may get a free beer sample opportunity
And cross another road
Tucked between the
Administration building and the Building labeled “Admin 2”
Look for the Snoopy on his dog house statue in the middle
Find deep green grass in shade
Or you can sit at one of the two picnic tables if you‘d rather
And sit in a circle
With your pizza in the middle
And eat in peace.
If you choose, watch the amateur talent contest
Cheer for the nine year girl who plays violin amazingly well
Let your kids run around
They haven’t been able to run much today
Or lie back in the grass
The only deep green grass at the entire state fair
Then up you go, again
The Sky ride is waiting,
And what about the model trains in the center of the agriculture building?
No, you may require a short respite, but
The fair is not made for sitting around.
Another college poem. This is a poem is about a dream that I had, a very nice romantic innocent dream about a girl who I wanted to date, but was too afraid to ask out. I was like that, y’know, chicken, uncommitting. I was just reading this for the first time in a while this evening and I was surprised to find that I have forgotten most of these details.
“Girl of my dreams, I love you” were my thoughts,
But following her around, I would not bring it up,
Until a confrontation:
“So . . .” (her)
And a confession,
“Yes. . .” (me)
And like the Beatles song,
We took a walk
Smoothly, without steps,
And then we were on a boat
And great, bright European churches
And I see a friend, and she sees us,
But passing by her out of the range of a voice,
I hoped she
(the friend out of range)
Because I could not explain.
“Ice Cream?” I asked her,
“I know of a place.”
And we went in,
And a doubt-inducing explanation unheard.
I woke up with a clenched fist.
The good news is that this dream/story has a happy ending. I eventually did gather the resources to ask her out, and now I am married to her.
Another College Poem – this one a Theological Point Poem
Kingdom Not Yet
Kingdom Not Yet
Just when I thought I understood it all, I find that
Ironies about in the fellowship I read about
I wonder. . . . perhaps I’ll read more
Christ Not Yet
Ah, I see. . . . I think.
Another College Poem. And another poem that doesn’t really apply to me today. I don’t run into people like this very much any more.
The 2, 3 or 4 decorated, go
To corrupt, to pervert simple things we know
And they say if we stay we will understand
And accept unless we are but simple men.
If you laugh or ignore then you are not wise
And you must think again, open up your eyes
And though you didn’t know you were in a test,
And you failed, try again, they were unimpressed
Our Christ Said:
‘Do not judge, lest you be judged’
This is true, more than once,
Perhaps more than once more than the Savior meant.
And besides being judged by our Father above,
If we judge, we are judged by these men without love.
So watch out and attempt to score well on the test.
If you don’t, if you laugh, they’ll inform all the rest.
I just got done reading an anthology of poems that I wrote for a project my junior year of high school. The question is – should one feel embarrassed or humbled if poetry he wrote when he was fifteen really wasn’t that good?
Here is the poem (I have edited the spelling mistake) from that project I feel most comfortable sharing here:
Our Last Chance
Hunting, Searching for the last duck.
Spot one, a dot, on the horizon
Coming straight in
Its mind set for food
Stand up aim and pull
All noise goes to your ear, Crack
The duck hesitates and starts again
Its heart skipping a beat.
You are correct if you guess that I wasn’t a very good hunter.
Two days late – another college poem
And as the Light and shadows fall across my page
I outline them with my pen
With the full hopeless knowledge that after this stage
Not one, not even I will understand them again.
These are not Grand Schemes of which I write
They are notes to a significant, lines from a far state
I feel the guilt as great poets I spite
But then possibly not, since admittedly I am not great
I write of the parallel between
The very simple and the everyday
The Grand I have not heard nor seen
But these others I may display
What of me if the abstract in me
Cannot be put by me to line?
And what, if the only rhymes I see
Are too simple to be fine?
20 Years Later my answer is: Then you’re probably not that great a poet.
(Another College Poem – Actually perhaps after graduation)
So if peace were like a river,
It would always flow in streams
But even though I’ve wished to find
It’s coolness, still it seems,
That I cannot find the river,
Nor yet even shallow creek,
So I listen for the water
And I wonder where to seek.
Yet if peace were like a river,
Then the search would be no chore,
For every tender knows you tread,
Downhill to find it’s shore,
No need to follow nose, nor eyes,
Only trust to follow feet,
Then sooner now or later there,
Find waters soft and sweet.
But peace is like no river or,
I’m blind, deaf, dumb and lame,
And while I am yet wandering,
I wonder who to blame,
Myself, it is most certain
I am sure not God above,
The poet had a part there, so
I doubt his “Joy” and “Love”
Needless to say – I’d have some questions for Young Jamsco if I were to talk to him. The first two would be – What would give you peace, and Are you so sure you need it?
To which he would probably reply – Easy for you to say!
I’m curious, did anyone get the reference in the last line?
Another College Poem
The Road’s White Line
I find myself leaving the state of the sad occurrences
But not of it occurring
And as I sit facing a straight dark road
I find it difficult not to dwell on it
As I speak with two friends
Both of whom have the situation more settled than me
I find myself wanting, waiting, wishing, willing
As I find myself staring at the white line
Changing, yet constant
I find the parallels altogether too silly.
(Another College Poem – this one was originally titled “Love Square” and while I like this as a name for a poem, I don’t think it works for this one.)
Four Around a Table
We spoke no lies,
But the truth was not said
We spoke, if looks could kill
We would be dead,
She is sweet,
She is the rope,
How do I send a rope to a rope?
My Foe, on the other side
Was not my foe before.
She was put there by all of us (I did not wish it)
The eyes watch, our friend observes,
My foe observes the eyes
and smiles and cries
If it were up to my foe (if looks could kill)
I and the eyes would be gone
If it were up to me
My foe would be gone
If it were up to the rope
She would not be pulled between two
But besides that, I do not know
The eyes glint with the recognition of a situation with a non zero amount of humor.
He sees clearly.
Another College Poem . . .
Yes, Confidence, Yes
There is no guess.
Smile or Stern
And In return
A smile or “Please”
The heart that flees
Is the content one.
Take a walk
Hold her hand
But don’t ask first
Around the block
It just happens every day
Look for the Dimple
Or the Stylish Way
She comes undone
She Falls Apart
You have her heart
You now have won.
For me it never happens that way.
Still, thanks for the tips
Another College Poem
I at least partially don’t agree with it now. Or call it perilously close to a weasel way out of obediance. But perhaps that was my point.
1:39 AM 2/12/88
So would you, if Christ were sitting right here
Be doing this same without any fear
that he’d think you a fool to be watching this face
and if you had doubts he’d remove every trace
And you’d know by his voice
That you had not a choice
But to do just what he had said
Yes, Yes, I know, it’s true, I agree.
But he is not here to tell it to me
So thus I must ask myself this:
Is this face lovely?
Is this face godly?
Does this face cause you to sin?
And sir, my answer:
This face, no perfection
But with some inspection
The sin part is not brought within
And if every face, reflecting a sin
Must be removed, then look again
That other face, of which you view
Must go as well, it must go, too.
So what have we left?
We now are bereft,
Of all things that can entertain
Can we all then keep
Our dreams, yet not sleep?
I hope so, again and again
And if there’s no cure,
we’ll find out for sure,
When we’re dead, Ma’am, when we are dead