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

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.


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

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.

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…”


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

Heed The Clock

Tick, tock…
Pay heed to the clock…
Its second hand whispers that all things must end.
A poignant reminder that time that we spend,
is all the more precious, if spent with a friend.


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


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…


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…


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.


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 eyes.
For through it all
harm won’t befall
those with whom You abide.

* * *

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

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Just a little poem
for you, my WordPress friends.
I hope that true love finds you
and that it never ends…

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.

The Crow And The Bagel

An original work of fiction…

“Mom, I want blueberry,” Tara reiterated, just in case her mother hadn’t heard her the first three times.

“Okay, Honey, just a minute…”

Tara’s mother was ordering bagels for herself and for her six-year-old daughter.  It was a very cold Saturday morning and the two of them were shopping for a new pair of shoes for Tara’s dance recital in three weeks.

“Can we sit here?” Tara asked, obviously interested in something outside of the large window by the entrance.

“Of course,” her mother answered as she carried their bagels to the table where Tara had already seated herself.

separator1The young nursing assistant entered Charlie Talbot’s room with a smile and asked, “How are you feeling today, Mr. Talbot?” She was carrying a lunch tray and as she sat it on the stand next to his bed continued, “Are you comfortable?”

“You’re gonna kill me with that hospital food before I die from this tumor,” he retorted, only half kidding.

“Oh, Mr. Talbot,” she responded with mock indignation.  “The food’s not that bad.  I eat it myself every day and I’ve been here for seven years, so you’ll be okay.”

Working for hospice required a special sort of disposition – the sort that very few people possessed.  But Andrea loved her job and she loved every one of the patients under her care.  Mr. Talbot was actually very nice, but he had his moments.  She knew that when she passed through in another hour or so, he’d be smiling and joking with her like usual.  Deep down, he was a nice man.

separator1Sitting on a park bench just outside of the city, Avis contemplated his situation.  The weather had been extremely cold lately and with the snow cover, he hadn’t eaten for three days.  The constant exposure to the elements, along with a lack of food, had taken its toll on his body.  He was exhausted and scared and knew that if one of the city’s raptors came after him, he wouldn’t have the strength needed to flee.

“Good morning, my friend,” the angel said, appearing from out of nowhere.

Although frightened, Avis knew immediately that he was in the presence of someone of heavenly origin.  Bowing before the angel he answered, “My master, to what do I owe this honor?

“Fear not, my friend,” Nachor replied, “I have been sent by our Lord, the God of heaven and earth – creator of both you and I…”

“God sent you to me?” Avis answered incredulously.  “But I’m just a crow!  Why would our Lord send an angel to me?” Continue reading

A Flower For You

That you’ll just notice me,
I will pray with all my might…
I’m clothed in kaleidoscope colors so bright.
My finery on display
so that you I’ll delight.
And then paint myself onto your dreams in the night.

Though I’m here but a day,
all my thoughts will be of you...
The morning sun glistening in droplets of dew.
My petals suffused with
the most glorious hues.
It was for your enjoyment alone that I grew.

flower1Copyright © 2013  Mark E. North.  All Rights Reserved.

In The Shade Of Leaves

I’m just a leaf, as you can see.
Hanging from this shady tree.
If not by chance
your fleeting glance
caught sight of me,
unknown I’d be.

Yet be assured, that I know you.
I’ve seen you cheat your lover true.
Here in my shade
with others laid.
What would she do
if this she knew?

* * *

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