Poetry

History of words and phrases

Havoc:  From the Middle Age French word "havok," it was a war cry – a signal for the invading warriors to attack, sack and plunder a village.

Raining cats and dogs: This phrase goes back to the Middle Ages when people believed that cats and dogs had magical powers. Cats  were thought to have a lot to do with storms and dogs with wind.

Like a bat out of hell: Moving extremely quickly or suddenly. The phrase came into use at the turn of the century and Charles Earle Funk later theorized that bats avoid light as if it were cast by the fires of hell.

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Volume 5, Issue 22, Posted 10:19 AM, 10.29.2013

Second Sight

I look in the glass
And what do I see?
An aging woman
Staring back at me.

Where has she been?
What has she done?
Was her life full of joy?
Were her days full of fear?

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Volume 5, Issue 22, Posted 10:12 AM, 10.29.2013

A walk in the rain

The morning was a little cool and it was drizzling. Mum said, "Dress warm or the wind will go right through your coat."

I was helping to pull the wagon mostly because it was empty. The Depression was in full swing so buying a new coat or anything else was out of the question. "Where are we going, mum?" I asked. "You'll see," she answered. My birthday was next week and I thought, maybe we are going to get a present for me.

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Volume 5, Issue 21, Posted 10:06 AM, 10.15.2013

Morning coffee in the empty nest

She was wearing a white silk kimono as her soft hand slides across my shoulders as she passes me on the way to the coffee pot to get her morning cup.

We shared the paper across from each other on the kitchen table, in the cozy sun filled breakfast nook, at the "No Rush" retirement pace.

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Volume 5, Issue 21, Posted 10:17 AM, 10.15.2013

The Smell of Odor

Well, just the other morning, I went out for a jog,
Not in the best of shape, I sat down on a log.
A little exercise was all I was contemplatin'.
Never thought at 5 a.m. I'd engage in conversatin'.

Now it is important to note, that the path I do take,
Is rather remote – and acquaintances – so few do I make.
But do you ever get the feeling, that something lies ahead,
Whether it's just a premonition – or something more instead?

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Volume 5, Issue 18, Posted 10:42 AM, 09.04.2013

Soul Mate

You are my alpha, my omega.
You define me,
Refine me,
Then set me free.

I am.
You are.
My reason
To be.

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Volume 5, Issue 18, Posted 10:28 AM, 09.04.2013

Moment of Tranquility

We are all surrounded by "white noise." A cacophony of babble, racket and hubbub that we tend to accept as part of our American lifestyle. Elevator music, hip-hop radio racket. Everywhere you look, people have sound plugged into their ears, etc.

I walked out of the downtown office building along a short, tree-lined way to the parking lot. I heard a bird sing. I don't know why I picked this particular sound from all the background roar, but I did.

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Volume 5, Issue 17, Posted 10:03 AM, 08.20.2013

History of words and phrases

Instamatic: Name of a Kodak camera. Also to mean to do immediately, right now; to do without hesitation. Rocky Balboa used this term in the first "Rocky" movie.

It's all Greek to me: Is used to mean that something is completely unintelligible to the speaker. Greek being a particularly tricky language to grasp because of its different alphabet.

Throw one's hat into the ring: To enter a contest or to become a candidate for office. An early 19th-century boxing custom to show you wanted to fight. Teddy Roosevelt used the saying in 1912 when he announced his candidacy for president.

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Volume 5, Issue 16, Posted 9:31 AM, 08.06.2013

The Garden Gnome

Little garden gnome
Sitting on a shelf
Lonely little guy
Whispered take me home.

Sorry, little buddy
No garden do I own
A third floor walk-up
Is all I've ever known.

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Volume 5, Issue 15, Posted 9:48 AM, 07.23.2013

They Say

They say: Everyone calls him "Webster" because words can't describe him.

They say: He is as glum as a bankrupt undertaker.

They say: He calls a doctor when all he wants is an audience.

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Volume 5, Issue 15, Posted 9:52 AM, 07.23.2013

History of words and phrases

Break a leg: To wish an actor prior to his going on stage to "break a leg" is a well-known practice. Germans enlarge on the malediction, wishing him to break his neck as well! It's said to bring him luck and make sure that his performance will be a success.

Fiasco: It can mean failure or a type of bottle. In Italian, the word is used to describe a type of bottle with rope around  the bottom. The French use it to mean a humiliating failure.

Grand slam: Think this word comes from baseball or tennis? You would be wrong! It was first used in the card game Contact Bridge.

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Volume 5, Issue 14, Posted 9:54 AM, 07.09.2013

They say

They say: George Washington explained our flag's features to the people in stirring words. "We take the stars from heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty."

They say: Justice is blind. This is an ancient principle. The Egyptians, who applied it literally by their courts, would meet in a darkened chamber to make it impossible for a judge to see and recognize the accuser, defendant or witnesses.

They say: No one can boast of his modesty.

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Volume 5, Issue 13, Posted 10:40 AM, 06.25.2013

Good Things

Warm apple pie

Holding hands

Cold beer, hot day

Scratch an itch

Field goal to win

Pride in your children

Anonymous good deeds

Sharing

A no-hitter

Happy endings

Filet Mignon

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 10:49 AM, 06.11.2013

History of Words and Phrases

Cute as a button: To be charming, pretty or attractive in a dainty way. The "button" referred to here is actually the flower bud on a bachelor's button.

Cock and bull story: A rambling or incredible tale; a tall story invented as an excuse; lie. In 17th-century London the stage coach stopped at two inns: The Cock and The Bull. The waiting passengers would exchange stories and jokes.

Kitty-cornered: A colloquial variation of cater-cornered, meaning "diagonal." This French word was in use as early as 1519.

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 10:47 AM, 06.11.2013

Mother and Daughter Reunion

I was three cars back from the big yellow school bus when the two large caution lights, like dragon eyes, started winking and the red stop sign by the driver's window popped out.

Oh no, stuck again as the miniature people dribbled  off. A small blond girl half-skipped up her driveway towards her waiting mother.

Mom placed a wisp of her blond hair behind the child's small ear as they met. Her child, as the Irish say, was "safe home."

A mutual hug; the child's arms around her mom's waist, mom's more of a "bear hug" – backpack and all.

They turned, hand-in-hand, headed for the house, school day events to review.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 10:10 AM, 05.29.2013

White Bird

He swooped down
To visit awhile
Regal plummage
Delights my eyes.

Bright white feathers
With a touch of tan
His ring of feathers
A perfect crown.

Those piercing eyes
Look through my soul
His eyes as dark
As newly mined coal.

He shook his head,
Ruffled his feathers and
Swayed side to side
Then began to glide.

He soared air bound,
Dipped, cried out
As he disappeared
Into the space
I call memory.

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 10:30 AM, 04.30.2013

The Seagull and the Tree

My father was Jonathon Livingston, the renowned seagull. He made famous the saying "The gull sees farthest who flies highest."

I asked my mom, "How come seagulls don't land in trees like other birds? Those birds seem happy. They and their friends gather in the trees, sing with each other and sometimes eat fruit from the trees. In fact they enjoy trees so much they make their homes in them!"

My mother shuffled her web feet and said, "Son, some things are not meant to be."

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 10:33 AM, 04.30.2013

Stirrings

About this time I begin looking foward to the coming spring. Anticipating the stirrings, the buds about to blossom, the start of new life cycles and the earth full of promise as things begin to warm.

They say to keep your eye on the Weeping Willow – It will be the first to bloom. Another early entry are the crocuses, aggressive as they punch through the crust of snow to wink colors on a background of white.

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 10:38 AM, 04.16.2013

They say...

They say... "April is a promise that May is bound to keep."

They say... "Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush."

They say... "The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day."

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 10:51 AM, 04.02.2013

Mixed Emotions

You can see his cardboard sign, held chest high, as you get off the Innerbelt Freeway at the Chester Avenue exit.

All it says is "HOMELESS" as he stands there. If you get stuck at the light, he will stare at you with pleading eyes.

I can't help thinking to myself...suck-it-up, go flip hamburgers, bag groceries, wash cars, anything but begging!

As I drive away, my heart softens. The Good Book says we will always have the poor with us. Easy for me to judge. Here's hoping that the dirty Starbucks cup he thrusts at you fills with money and perhaps a little hope!

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 10:36 AM, 03.19.2013

Up For Grabs

As February ends, and turns into March,
There’s something that I’d like to say:
Winter BEGONE! With your snow and slush,
And your skies of endless gray:
Can I dare to hope that my wish will be granted?
Can I shed some layers of clothes?
I’d sure like to see some signs of Spring,
But the truth is, I suppose,
That as long as I live in Cleveland, Ohio,
No rhyme or reason or sign,
Will ever predict the weather;
Every guess is as good as mine!

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 10:00 AM, 03.05.2013

Lunch Box

It's the end of my shift as I sit  on the bench looking at my open locker.

My eyes come to rest on my old beat-up lunch box with its dings, dents and scratches.

It seems a lot like me. A union man from the "school of hard knocks."

Over the years I have suffered my share of dents and dings, but still take pride in my American work ethic.

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 9:50 AM, 02.19.2013

Little Things

The scent of an orange

Awakening songs of morning birds

Dew sparkling in the dawn sun

A baby's skin so smooth and soft

A hovering hummingbird

A faithful pal dog

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 10:19 AM, 02.05.2013

Remembered

A cold Sunday and the church-goers were bundled up.

The very old man in front of me in the pew could not weigh more than 120 lbs.

He took off his "Browns" watch cap to reveal a bald spot and some wispy white hair, from his comb-over, that floated for a moment in the holy air.

He opened his personal prayer book. It was black faux leather, its corners dog-eared by use and the gold edges of the pages had gone to mostly silver from age.

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Volume 5, Issue 2, Posted 11:55 AM, 01.22.2013

Savor the good times

Now is a good time to savor last year's best moments.

Christmas is past and it didn't matter what was under the tree, it was who was around it.

It could be as simple a moment as holding hands and feeling the calmness of a quiet day as you walked the Metroparks.

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Volume 5, Issue 1, Posted 9:12 AM, 01.08.2013

History of words and phrases

Be there with bells on: Meaning happy and delighted to attend. In the olden days, it meant your carriage would have the fanciest harness, the ones with the bells on it.

Can't see the forest for the trees: A person who is so concerned with trivial matters that he can't grasp the the big picture. The expression first appeared in the works of Christoph Weiland, a German poet and novelist.

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Volume 4, Issue 25, Posted 10:37 AM, 12.11.2012

They Say...

They say... Chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice.

They say... He is a pain in the neck, and some people have even a lower opinion of him.

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Volume 4, Issue 24, Posted 10:31 AM, 11.27.2012

History of words and phrases

Big-Stick Diplomacy: A political catchphrase that describes diplomatic negotiations backed up by the threat of military force.

Heebee Jeebies: To make a person uncomfortably nervous. First used in a cartoon in 1923.

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Volume 4, Issue 23, Posted 9:16 AM, 11.13.2012

History of words and phrases

Make the grade: Grade in this phrase means an incline or slope and one who "makes the grade" has reached the highest point and reached his goal. 

God bless you!: Goes back to the plague years of the Middle Ages, when a person's sneezes were thought to be signs that he was catching the dreaded plague.

Derriere: French for "in back of" or "behind." A euphemism for backside, buttocks or rump.

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Volume 4, Issue 21, Posted 9:52 AM, 10.16.2012

They say...

They say... "Rain is something that makes flowers grow and taxicabs disappear."

They say... "Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work."

They say... "Don't think there are no crocodiles because the water is calm."

They say... "It isn't so much what's on the table that matters as what's on the chairs."

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Volume 4, Issue 19, Posted 10:01 AM, 09.18.2012

History of words and phrases

GROG: English Admiral Edward Vernon was known as "Old Grog" because he wore a grogram cloak in stormy weather. He started the practice of diluting his sailors' rum with water to reduce drunkenness. The disgruntled seamen named the watered-downed drink after their commander: Grog.

MOUNT VERNON: George Washington's half-brother, Lawrence, was an officer under Admiral Vernon (see above).  Lawrence was so impressed with Vernon that he renamed the family plantation, Mount Vernon.

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Volume 4, Issue 18, Posted 10:51 AM, 09.05.2012

They say

They say: "Better to beg than steal, but better to work than beg."

They say: "A fox should not be on the jury at a goose's trial."

They say: "He who is full of himself, is likely to be quite empty."

They say: "We expect our children to learn good table manners without ever seeing any."

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Volume 4, Issue 17, Posted 9:54 AM, 08.21.2012

History of words and phrases

October: The tenth month of the year, gets it name from the Latin "octo" (eight) as it was the eighth month in the Roman calendar.

Peanut gallery: The cheapest seats in a vaudeville theater. The loudest, most rowdy section.

Chagrin: From the Germanic word "grami" for sorry or trouble. Nowadays it signifies slight disappointment tinged with irritation.

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Volume 4, Issue 16, Posted 10:25 AM, 08.07.2012

They Say...

They say..."Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."

They say..."It's not how long a man lives, but how well he uses the time allotted him."

They say..."To exercise is human, not to is divine."

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Volume 4, Issue 15, Posted 10:10 AM, 07.24.2012

History of words and phrases

Chic: The word denotes an outfit, object or place that exudes sophistication and style. From the German (not French) word "schick," meaning fashionable.

Clean 'round the bend: Completely crazy or eccentric. Said to be an old naval term for anybody who is mad.

Pass the acid test:  Someone or something that has been subjected to a conclusive test. From the gold rush era as a method of testing for real gold.

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Volume 4, Issue 14, Posted 12:49 PM, 07.10.2012

They say

They say..."He's mean, selfish, loudmouthed and uncouth, but in spite of all that, there's something about him that repels you."

They say..."The phrase 'pro bono' is from Latin and refers to the work that lawyers do without payment."

They say..."He once belonged to a fife-and-drum corps. They kicked him out because he was rotten to the corps."

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Volume 4, Issue 13, Posted 9:54 AM, 06.26.2012

History of words and phrases

To the bitter end: It means to the last stroke of bad fortune. It comes from the mid-nineteenth-century nautical term for the end of a rope or chain.

Every dog has its day: Everyone will have a moment of success. Shakespeare used this phrase in Hamlet.

Haute cuisine: Originally, the phrase referred to the highest standard of French cooking, but now cooking of any origin.

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 9:41 AM, 06.12.2012

In the Meadow

She was a beautiful doe
Standing in the middle
Of a small meadow.

We looked at each other.
Cautiously, she inched
Her way closer.

I carried a chain
Of wildflowers
To adorn her regal neck.

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Volume 4, Issue 11, Posted 10:11 AM, 05.30.2012

They say...

They say..."Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year."

They say..."She never hates a man enough to give his diamonds back."

They say..."May your troubles be less, may your blessing be more and may nothing but happiness come through your door."

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Volume 4, Issue 11, Posted 10:11 AM, 05.30.2012

Missing You

Losses.
Friends vanish
Taken away on the
Wings of Angels.
How I miss you.
Caring heart,
Encouraging words,
Always.
Please know that
You will forever
Have a place
In my heart.

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Volume 4, Issue 10, Posted 11:33 AM, 05.15.2012