Time For Geese

With spring now officially here, it’s much easier to believe that the warmth of the summer sun is just around the corner.  I see friends and family beginning to plan their vacations and their miscellaneous summer activities.  I see the advertisements for lawn care and other outdoor goods.  Everyone’s mind is abuzz with the pleasant distractions typical of the season, but this time of year, for me, can mean only one thing: baby geese!  Yes, I’m talking about those dirty yellow balls of fluff, marching single-file behind their proud, but highly alert, parents.  In northeast Ohio, it’s mating season for waterfowl, and Canada Geese are plentiful.

I’ve already noticed them pairing off – swimming together in ponds and moseying around open stretches of grasslands (and manicured lawns), thinking about eggs and whatever else geese think of at this time of year.

If you live near Canada Geese, you may have strong feelings for them, and those feelings may not necessarily be admiration or even tolerance.  But still, you can’t deny that there’s something about their babies that can make even a goose-weary landscape artist smile. Continue reading

Tricks Of The Light

I’m cold and it’s dark,
will this night ever end?
Where did you go?  My sunshine…  My friend…

I hate this… I hate you…
I hate who I am.
I hate that I trusted you time and again.

The flash of a smile
in the steel of your knife.
Illusions of happiness – tricks of the light…

I asked for so little,
you gave it alright.
If not for the pain, would I still be alive?

heart2

Copyright © 2014  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

Happy Veteran’s Day

To those who’ve served
pledging all that you had,
this day we honor you.
The scars and wounds
that you bear alone,
they speak to lasting truth.

For you stood alone
when you took your oath
to give your all for me.
That I might enjoy
what your blood, sweat and tears,
were shed to guarantee.

* * *

Copyright © 2013 Mark E. North. All Rights Reserved.

We’ve Nothing In Common

A bright summer morn and
a warm starlit night…
Can you remember that day?
It took us so long
to see what was right,
and say what we’d wanted to say.

But there in the glare
of those carnival lights,
what started could never be stopped.
Our lips found the words
we were helpless to fight,
some spoken while many were not.

Your brown eyes were gemstones;
My heart was aflame,
forgetting all I had been taught.
But time knows the way to
put us in our place,
despite all the demons we’ve fought.

We’ve nothing in common,
you’re now keen to say.
Sounds crazy, yet something rings true.
I loved you so deeply
that I lost my way,
 yet never knew such love from you.

knifeheart

Copyright © 2013 Mark E. North. All Rights Reserved.

Keep Your Sharpie Away From My Guitar!

I play guitar and I have a number of beautiful guitars and basses in my collection.  I don’t bang them around – I treat them like Stradivariuses – and sometimes, when I sell one to fund another, I get more than the original purchase price.  Maybe it’s just my overly-protective nature, but I don’t understand the concept of autographing guitars.

That being said, I do enter a lot of contests where the grand prizes happen to be new guitars that are signed by famous guitarists.  Each time, when I see that the artist will be signing the guitar, my initial reaction is to pass on the contest altogether.  After my irritation passes (and it always does), the practical side of me kicks in and I reason that if I did win, I could sell the guitar and buy a new one without Sharpie scribbles on it.

Is this just me, or do other guitarists also find it disturbing that someone would intentionally scrawl their name in permanent marker onto a guitar that’s worth thousands of dollars? I’ve often wondered what would happen if I did win one of these and then requested that the artist not sign their name on it?  I imagine that they’d be offended…  After all, there are fans who would probably pay for one of their used snot rags.  That being the case, I suppose it’s better to just let them go ahead and deface the poor instrument, hoping that maybe someone who likes guitars with vandalized finishes would buy it from me.

For those of you who are reading this and play guitar, please give me your opinion.  If you’re among those who’d actually want the autograph, explain why. I honestly don’t get it.

* * *

Copyright © 2013 Mark E. North. All Rights Reserved.

I Saw Your Ghost Again Today

A shadow fell across my path,
as something evil came my way.
And while I knew that specter well,
that knowledge brought dismay.

For though I’ve lived in danger’s grasp,
where everything was shades of gray,
the years don’t make it easier -
a fear of you this great…

There was a time your heart beat fast -
when life and love coursed through your veins.
But Satan’s turned your heart to stone,
and snatched your soul away.

Still, I’ve not seen you for so long,
the years, like memories, tend to fade.
You weren’t real, I tell myself…
It was your ghost I saw today…

* * *

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

As Long As We Both Shall Live

Once upon a warm, sweet night,
twenty years ago today,
we danced and held each other tight,
and started on our way…

Without much thought of anything,
but love’s immortal touch.
Your kisses gave my heart its wings.
I’d never loved so much…

We promised never to let go,
in sight of God and man.
With trust so deep, I couldn’t know,
how fluid were the plans…

For though we sang of lasting bliss
and love that could not die,
forever became tedious
and spoiled the lullaby…

Had love been real and bound our hearts -
a true and living thing,
there’d still be journeys left to chart
and love songs left to sing…

But here we are – we’re strangers now,
with nothing left to share,
just echoes of those shattered vows;
sad whispers in the air…

* * *

Happy 20th anniversary, Babers…
Wherever you are…

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” ~ Mark 10:9 (NIV)

* * *

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

Empty Hands

Imagine two old people,
walking hand in hand,
their love so strong it’s passed the test of time…

They should be you and me, Love…
Wasn’t that our plan,
so long ago when dreams were still alive?

We talked about forever,
back when our love began,
and every moment found our hands entwined…

Yet after all these years, Love,
those words proved so offhand.
I reached for you, but found my hand declined…

* * *

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

I’ve Read The Book – I’m More Sophisticated Than You

I’d wager that after reading that title, most of you will know exactly where this post is going.  Why do I say that?  Because like me, you’ve probably experienced it firsthand.

Just mention that you’ve watched the latest movie or television show, and as surely as you breathe, someone will chime in and say, “Well, I think the book was so much better.”  Whether their intent is to demonstrate their sophistication, or just to let everyone know that they’re literate is hard to say.  To these individuals, our enjoyment of the video production of the book is a less-than-cerebral indulgence born of ignorance, or maybe sloth.  But simply reading a book, Continue reading

Without You

You’ll enjoy this, I was thinking,
as I called you on the phone.
But as I finished dialing I remembered you’re not home.

We’d always shared our lives
and all of those silly inside jokes.
But learning you could care less is what really hurt the most.

Baby, you’re not there and you don’t care
if I come home or never do.
You’re somewhere else with him and I’m here without you…
Just knowing that you’re out there
sharing what we used to share,
is slow but surely tearing me in two…
And I wonder what I’ll do to make it through…
Without you?

notes

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

Jagged Little Pieces Of My Heart

Be careful, my love,
the pieces are sharp.
Just leave them alone where they lay.
I’ve already tried,
to gather them up,
and look at the price that I’ve paid…

There’s blood on my hands;
they’ve cut me apart.
More wounds that won’t heal, I’m afraid...
No, don’t touch the shards
of my shattered heart.
There’s been enough blood spilled today.

* * *

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

Since You Were Gone

I waited forever, after you had gone,
hoping that you’d come back, and tell me you were wrong.
But time went by and you just moved on.
And so the story goes, since you had gone.

Those days lasted forever, after you had gone.
Trying to remember, if I’d done something wrong.
But words were few since you knew all along,
how the story’d end, once you had gone.

I waited forever, after you had gone.
And now you’ve come back, to tell me you were wrong.
But time went by and I finally moved on.
Now I’m with someone else, since you were gone.

notes

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

Hearts Can Lie

“What makes you think that you loved her?” I’m asked,
and always the same is my reply:
“I know that I did, because I still do.
True love never dies…”

“But she said she loved you,” they’re quick to remind.
“And now she’s gone, can you explain why?”
“She never loved me, or else she would still.
Her love was a lie…”

knifeheart

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

Life, Part Two

An original work of flash fiction (100 or fewer words)…

“We can’t even be friends?” he asked, the effect of her newest change of posture hitting him like a heavyweight punch.

“No, it’s too hard,” she replied.  “You keep being nice to me.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean –“

“It’s too late!” She interrupted.  “My mind’s made up.  I have a new life now and you’re not part of it.  Those years were fun, but now it’s time for ‘life, part two.’  Isn’t this exciting?”

As tears blurred his vision, he stole one last glimpse of her beautiful brown eyes, and then she walked away, stealing his life…

* * *

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

Dark Night Of My Heart

Entombed in the night where the dark like a veil,
covers my body so cold…
Dread dreams do alight for my soul to assail,
dealing out torments untold.

You said, “It’s alright,” while you pounded the nails,
sealing me off from this world.
Though tears spoke my plight they were to no avail...
’twas my heart for whom the bell tolled.

* * *

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

The Tree

An original work of fiction…

Burl watched with growing anxiety as the men made their way toward him in the cool of the morning, their voices an unwelcome disruption on the otherwise quiet hillside where he had lived his entire life.  As his neighbors whispered quietly amongst themselves, Burl’s mind raced with thoughts similar to theirs: who would be next, and how many would fall?  Only time would tell…

“Simon, why are you considering that one?” asked the man who seemed to be in charge of the group.  “It’s not much to look at…” he continued.  “Has a bit of a twist with lots of scars – and kinda scrawny too.  Wouldn’t even make a suitable handrail, if you ask me.”

“Sadly, we need one like this too…” Simon responded as he stood next to Burl, running his hand across one of the more notable of his scars.  “…thin and strong and easy to hoist.”

If Burl could have spoken to them in their own tongue, he’d have insisted that he wasn’t very strong at all.  Each rainy season was a challenge for him and there were more than a couple of times when he was sure that the wind was about to blow him down flat.  He was starting to fear that despite being one of the least of his neighbors, something about him had attracted the attention of this man.  Today, he worried, may be his last day living on the hillside with his friends and relatives.

“Very well,” the man answered.  “Cut it down and throw it onto the wagon, but keep it segregated from the others.” Continue reading

Dragonflies

Living in northeast Ohio, it’s hard not to notice that we have more than our fair share of dragonflies.  They dart around in their endless pursuit of airborne snacks, very much at home above the asphalt roadways and parking lots where I drive.  Whenever I see them, I take a moment to admire them.

Occasionally, I’ve found myself face to face with them as they’ve hovered above the hood of my car, staring at me through the windshield.  I wonder whether or not their compound eyes can make out the shape of my face through the glass, but I doubt that they’d care one way or the other – these nimble attack aircraft of the insect world are as fast as they are fearless and I couldn’t catch one if I tried.

As I observed one patrolling the airspace above the parking lot where I sat last summer, Continue reading

Better Off An Enemy

An enemy’s someone we try to avoid.
We know that encounters are painful at best.
To keep them at arm’s length is better for all…
Why subject ourselves to the stress?

Yet sometimes we’re left with no choice but to fight.
We battle for right or we fall in the quest.
To stand firm is all that we hope to achieve.
It’s business – no more and no less.

But strangely we find those who’ll injure a friend,
and bask in the thrill of that person’s distress.
It’s not for a principle they’ll raise their sword,
but rather, to hurt and oppress.

Their options are many; they’ve no need to harm,
still friendships will suffer their deadly caress.
Much better to find ourselves their enemy -
An enemy suffers far less…

heart2

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

Memories Of Warmth

Through the cold winter nights
my dreams whisk me away
to a faraway place
where the sun’s warming rays
kiss my skin once again
while my love and I play
with no fear of the chill
of those cold winter days…

snowflake

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

A Morning Prayer

A prayer before I start my day,
for this I know is true:
You’ll be beside me all the way;
Who can I trust, but You?

Those darkened days and fearsome frays
Your love has seen me through.
Though I may stumble, You will stay
and with Your strength renew.

Praying_Hands.

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

Dear Father…

Dear Father up in heaven,
please hear us when we cry.
We’re weak and small
and prone to fall
and need You by our side.

And sometimes in our sadness,
forgetting You’re nearby,
we don’t recall
the mighty squall
will with Your word comply.

So hold us when we’re lonely,
and dry our teary eye.
For through it all
harm won’t befall
those with whom You abide.

* * *

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

Icy Splendor

Why must the trees have to shed all their leaves?
This always puzzled me.
Their branches left bare in the cold winter air,
undressed for all to see.

 I pitied their plight through the long winter nights
and fondly thought of when,
their summer attire could a poet inspire,
to put to work his pen.

But when a great storm with thick ice had adorned,
the woodland limbs so dense,
and opened my eyes to God’s splendid design,
it all made perfect sense.

The sun’s rainbow light as it shone through that ice -
a million tiny prisms -
the leaves would not share if they had remained there.
Such beauty they’d have hidden.

* * *

Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.