Poetry & Prose

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

History of Words and Phrases

Happy as a clam: Actually the entire phrase is "Happy as a clam at high tide." You can only dig clams to eat at low tide!

Hangar: We know this word means a structure used for housing aircraft. Hangar is the French word for shed.

Jacket: This word was used describe a short garment worn by French peasants (jaques).

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Volume 4, Issue 10, Posted 11:06 AM, 05.15.2012

They Say

They say... "She prefers men who go in for the refined things in life – like oil."

They say... "He doesn't have an enemy. All his friends hate him."

They say... "Deja vu, French for 'already seen,' was made popular by Sigmund Freud."

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Volume 4, Issue 9, Posted 10:32 AM, 05.01.2012

Parts of the Whole

I am the one who longs to be Superwoman,
Yet plummets into despair as I push against
My true self.

I am the one who wants to travel the world,
To experience the sensation of wealth
And the hopelessness of poverty.
                                                                                                                                                  
I am the one who protects you from those
Who would harm you. I shield you from any evil
Which may be near.

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Volume 4, Issue 8, Posted 11:13 AM, 04.17.2012

History of Words and Phrases

Blood, sweat and tears: The phrase was made popular from the first speech by Prime Minister Winston Churchill on May 13, 1940.

Bone up on: Victorian Henry Bohn published translations of the classics, popular with students cramming for exams. The phrase means to study intensively.

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Volume 4, Issue 8, Posted 11:12 AM, 04.17.2012

History of words and phrases

Scofflaw: An unusual word as it was invented by a contest for a word for people who disrespected the law during the Prohibition era of 1923.

See red: A belief that a bull will run amok on seeing a red flag. Tests show that a simple white cloth will enrage a bull quicker.

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Volume 4, Issue 7, Posted 10:34 AM, 04.03.2012

History of words and phrases

Ketchup: John Heinz sold his tomato ketchup starting in 1876. It was popular in seventh-century China as a pickled, spicy fish sauce!

Honcho: Our soldiers brought the term back after occupying Japan in World War II. It means squad chief, leader and comes from the word Hancho.

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Volume 4, Issue 6, Posted 11:46 AM, 03.20.2012

They say...

They say..."She never forgets her age, once she's decided what it's to be."

They say..."You have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others."

They say..."He lights up a room when he leaves it."

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 1:20 PM, 03.06.2012

What I Know

I know today until this moment
I know yesterday and yesterday
and all of my yesterdays.
I know I live, I breathe, I am.
I do not know what the future
holds, I do not want to know.
The future will be wherever
God takes me. I will journey
until He leads me home.

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Volume 4, Issue 5, Posted 1:31 PM, 03.06.2012

History of words and phrases

Dungarees: This word came from the name of the cloth, in Hindi, of the very thick cotton cloth used for tents and sails in India.

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Beat around the bush: To approach a subject/matter in a roundabout way, indirectly. From a term used in bird hunting.

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 2:34 PM, 02.21.2012

History of words and phrases

 Mind your P's and Q's:  Take your pick of two popular derivations. 1) It stands for "pints and quarts." The bartender would keep track of customers running a tab. 2) It comes from the early printers' trade. When setting type, it was easy to mix them up and cause a typographical error.

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 11:10 AM, 02.07.2012

Hear the Silence

Silence speaks to me..............Of snowflakes tumbling..................From a winter's sky.

Of gentle raindrops.................Of misty meadows.......................A mother's gentle lullaby.

For in the silence....................Of this heart of mine....................Life can be quietly redefined.

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 10:57 AM, 02.07.2012

History of words and phrases

Back to square one: This colloquialism means to start over again. It may have come from board games that, though bad luck, you had to move back to the starting point.

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Gospel: It means "good news" from the Old English godspell.

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Volume 4, Issue 2, Posted 1:49 PM, 01.24.2012

History of Words and Phrases

New Year's resolutions:  This custom can be traced to pre-Christian Rome.  The original resolutions were mostly to be good to others. As Rome became Christian, the themes changed to prayer and fasting.

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All over but the shouting: The meaning of the phrase is that at a sporting event that is surely won, the only thing left is the crowd cheering the victory. A sportswriter, as early as 1842, used the phrase.

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Klutz: The word seems to be from the  German word "clod" or block head and Yiddish for a dull-witted or clumsy person.

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Volume 4, Issue 1, Posted 12:16 PM, 01.10.2012

History of words and phrases

Xmas: People think of this word as a kind of modern shorthand for Christmas. But in fact, it has a long history. It appeared in print as early as 1555.

Mistletoe: The early Celts' word for a twig that brought health. Stand under the mistletoe now and get a kiss.

Yuletide: From the medieval custom to drag in a large "yule log" to be the base for the huge holiday fire.

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Volume 3, Issue 25, Posted 2:41 PM, 12.13.2011

History of words and phrases

Getting down to brass tacks: In the old American country  store, the owner would put brass tacks, to measure 36 inches, in the counter top as they measured bolts of piece goods.

Inch: We know it as a unit of measurement. King Edgar of England (944) said it was the length of the knuckle of his thumb.

Dress to the nines: If you had a suit made and you ordered an expensive one, tradition says the tailor should use nine yards of material.

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Volume 3, Issue 23, Posted 4:14 PM, 11.16.2011