Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Editor's Corner

By Mary E. Adair

February 2022

"February, a form pale-vestured, wildly fair.
One of the North Wind’s daughters
with icicles in her hair.“
--Edgar Fawcett.

Our shortest month of the year, but one that is the recipient of many titles to garner attention for some activity, or group, or product, or remembrance-jogging tribute. More, I believe, than the number of days in the period even when it occurs in Leap Year. Of course there is also Valentine's Day, but this year, perhaps because of the health risks of the Covid-19 Virus and its various variants, people are avoiding affectionate displays. Poor Cupid must search dilligently for amenable targets. So this is almost the only place in our February publication where you will see it, but I can't resist wishing each of you a Happy Valentine's Day!

We greet a new columnist, Danielle Cote Serar whose "A Mother's Lessons" has good advice for everyone. Being a mom herself she seeks lessons from life to help ensure a happier as well as more efficient way to cope, physically and spiritually. Her first column is titled "Agape Love."

Judith Kroll cites some wisdom gained from her grandmother in "On Trek." Dayvid Bruce Clarkson's "Reflections of the Day" discusses serendipitous happenings. Thomas O'Neill reminisces about the Chinese New Year celebrations back in 2014, before Covid restrictions.

Mattie Lennon's "Irish Eyes" also has a reference to Covid in one of his book reviews under his subtitle of "After Closing, Clar Cemetery and Kavanagh." Marilyn Carnell declares "I Am An Immigrant" then explains in her "Sifoddling Along" that she refers to having moved away from Missouri.

If one is longing for something new or different but sufficient funds may be part of the problem, Pauline Evanosky's column "Woo Woo" features a discussion about "Manifestation." She admits it can be a lot of mindful concentration.

"Cooking with Rod" is the only mention of Valentine's Day (besides this column) as he plans to prepare M's Chicken-Tortellini Al Fredo, a delicious recipe his wife devised. He declares it is a family favorite. Meanwhile, she has been busy writing her "Armchair Genealogy" column, chasing and verifying sources for the DNA Glossary information she promised our readers.

We are blessed with poetry submissions for our first issue of the new Volume 25, and your editor even composed "My Chariot" for her oldest daughter Kathy's birthday. We have two by Harmony Keiding, "Can You Not Understand" and "Like A Seed." One poem "Rain" arrived in our Mailbag with name undisclosed, and it is thought provoking, so it is included. We have one poem from John Blair, done primarily in the triplets styling, "The Holly As Tall As The House."

Bruce Clifford's three poems are "Can't Do This Again," "Shiny and Blue," and "It's Too Far To Reach." Bud Lemire's poems, also three of them, are "The Upper Peninsula Of Michigan," "My Name Is Covid," and "Never The Same." Bud adds illustrations to most of his poetry submissions, many that are his own photography.

Walt Perryman, our poet who often performs at Lukenbach, shows these three, "Gauging Time," "What I Know and Don't," and "How To Wear Your Cowboy Hat." Dayvid Bruce Clarkson, one of our columnists, also does Haiku and other styles of poetry like his "Noble Heart" in this issue.

The article "Lost Love, My Greatest Heartache" is by your editor's sister Melinda Cohenour who also does the pencilstubs genealogy column. Our mother, Lena May Joslin Carroll is the subject. and her pic with the article shows her in Phoenix admiring the Bougainvilleas from the patio.

She died in March 2010, when she was 91. No one knows how much I miss her and her comforting words and advice, received as often as not with the intention of doing it my own way, only to find her way would have served me better. This is a pic of her watching me at the computer back in the mid-80s.

We depend on Mike Craner, the backbone of this eZine which was co-founded by him and your editor. Mike keeps this informational and entertaining publication viable. Much love and appreciation to him and his wife Susie, every day. Thanks, Mike, for everything,!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at www.pencilstubs.com and also in the blog www.pencilstubs.net with the capability of adding comments at the latter.

Armchair Genealogy


By Melinda Cohenour

DNA: A Glossary of Terms


One can Google "DNA Glossary" and be provided a plethora of sites offering the definition of terms used when discussing or studying DNA. That, in my estimation, is both a wondrous thing and a stumbling block. Why? Well, the wonder is that so many sites are available and each offers tons of terms. But for those of us who don't seek a degree in DNA Scientology, there's simply too much data.

Perfect example: facts provided in large mass merely comprise DATA. Those datum must be organized and massaged and reissued as INFORMATION in order to provide clarity on any subject.

Therefore, for the purposes of this column your author has attempted to organize the defined terms in a logical fashion. I have not discovered a Glossary of terms for DNA that is not presented in an alphabetized order. Personally, as a newbie DNA-phobe (define that, Internet!), I need to look at structure and use before I even know which of the hundreds of terms I need to look up. (By the way, MY definition of DNA-phobe just means I yearn to comprehend enough to tackle the DNA Matches Ancestry provides me without constantly needing to stop and GOOGLE. Ok, I confess. I have a greater and broader interest in DNA that encompasses a fascination with its many uses, new discoveries and advances, as well as my use of DNA to try to solve the mysteries encountered in building our family tree.)

The intent of this Glossary is to build our understanding from the core out. A basic oversight of how we're made, from the tiniest inner particle to how we comprehend how our DNA Matches occur. Bear with me. This is not an easy task but my intent is to keep it as simple as possible while including essential information.

DNA GLOSSARY - In Logical Order

A genome is all of a living thing's genetic material. It is the entire set of hereditary instructions for building, running, and maintaining an organism, and passing life on to the next generation. The whole shebang.

In most living things, the genome is made of a chemical called DNA. The genome contains genes, which are packaged in chromosomes and affect specific characteristics of the organism.

Imagine these relationships as a set of Chinese boxes nested one inside the other. The largest box represents the genome. Inside it, a smaller box represents the chromosomes. Inside that is a box representing genes, and inside that, finally, is the smallest box, the DNA.

In short, the genome is divided into chromosomes, chromosomes contain genes, and genes are made of DNA.

The word " genome " was coined in about 1930, even though scientists didn't know then what the genome was made of. They only knew that the genome was important enough, whatever it was, to have a name.

SOURCE: http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/resources/whats_a_genome/Chp1_1_1.shtml#genome1

GENOME: The genome is the entire set of genetic instructions found in a cell. In humans, the genome consists of 23 pairs of chromosomes, found in the nucleus, as well as a small chromosome found in the cells' mitochondria. Each set of 23 chromosomes contains approximately 3.1 billion bases of DNA sequence.

SOURCE: https://www.genome.gov›Genome

I've chosen to build from the smallest box up while leaving the complexity of DNA and RNA for last.

A gene is a small piece of the genome. It's the genetic equivalent of the atom: As an atom is the fundamental unit of matter, a gene is the fundamental unit of heredity.
Genes are found on chromosomes and are made of DNA. Different genes determine the different characteristics, or traits, of an organism. In the simplest terms (which are actually too simple in many cases), one gene might determine the color of a bird's feathers, while another gene would determine the shape of its beak.
The number of genes in the genome varies from species to species. More complex organisms tend to have more genes. Bacteria have several hundred to several thousand genes. Estimates of the number of human genes, by contrast, range from 25,000 to 30,000.

SOURCE: ibid..

A cell is the basic building block of living things. All cells can be sorted into one of two groups: eukaryotes and prokaryotes. A eukaryote has a nucleus and membrane-bound organelles, while a prokaryote does not. Plants and animals are made of numerous eukaryotic cells, while many microbes, such as bacteria, consist of single cells. An adult human body is estimated to contain between 10 and 100 trillion cells.

SOURCE: https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Cell

A nucleus is a membrane-bound organelle that contains the cell's chromosomes. Pores in the nuclear membrane allow for the passage of molecules in and out of the nucleus. (ibid..)

Chromosomes are packages of DNA found in the nucleus of cells. Humans have 46 chromosomes.

SOURCE: http://www.dnaftb.org/glossary.html

MEC NOTE: We inherit 23 chromosomes from our mother and 23 from our father, including the "X" chromosome that determines sex. See below.

Our parents each inherited half their chromosomes from each parent. So did their siblings, and our siblings, but NONE of us inherit the SAME ones; thus ensuring our unique characteristics.

CHROMOSOME: (another source)
A single continuous strand of DNA that can be anywhere from 50 million bases (chromosome 21) to 250 million bases (chromosome 1). Every person has 23 pairs (or 46 total) chromosomes — one of each pair from your mom and one from your dad. These 23 chromosomes are labeled 1 through 22, and one pair of chromosomes is called the sex chromosome, because women have two X chromosomes (XX) and men have one X and one Y (XY)

SOURCE: https://blog.helix.com/genetic-dna-terms-glossary/

MEC NOTE: Now we take up DNA definitions

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid)
DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. It is the genetic information that every parent passes on to their biological children. DNA plays a role in physical features (height and eye color), in disease (multiple sclerosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease), and even behavioral traits (risk-taking). DNA is made up of four letters (A, C, T, and G) also known as bases (see Base). You can think of DNA as the instructions that we are born with, that are in almost every cell in our body that tells our bodies how to grow and function.

The most basic unit of DNA. There are four different bases (Adenine, Cytosine, Thymine, and Guanine), and they make up all DNA. The same four bases are in your DNA, an elephant’s DNA, even the DNA in corn. The bases are what we read when we sequence your DNA, and the order of these letters conveys information that offers us insight into what makes you, you.

Also sometimes called the ‘rungs’ of the DNA ladder. The Adenine base is always across from Thymine (A base pairs with T) and the Cytosine base is always across from Guanine (C base pairs with G). This pairing system is universal — it is never broken. Therefore, if you know the base on one side of DNA, you always know the base on the other side.

SOURCE: https://blog.helix.com/genetic-dna-terms-glossary/

MEC NOTE: Following the historic process of capturing the microscopic photographs of DNA, science has steadfastly worked to understand its structure better and to use that knowledge to unlock the mysteries of the building block of life.
In order to utilize DNA, scientists had to learn to extract it. It was then necessary to determine how to prepare it to examine or "read" it. It has taken decades to advance that science from manual interpretation to computerized methods.
Only the most basic definition of terms can be included here, but in-depth exploration of any technique or aspect of use can be gained by visiting the source websites listed herein.
The inclusion of RNA here is to anticipate the query, "How does RNA differ from DNA?" Suffice it to say RNA seems to be the translator for DNA, the project manager if you will, ensuring the DNA coding is activated and carried out according to the "blueprint." It differs in structure as well, having a single spiral helix rather than the double helix construct of DNA. As RNA does not form the BASIS of our genetic creation, this shall be the sum total reference to it herein.

RNA: (Ribonucleic acid)
This flexible molecule tells the cell's protein-making factories what DNA wants them to do, stores genetic information and may have helped life get its start. More than just DNA's lesser-known cousin, RNA plays a central role in turning genetic information into your body's proteins.

SOURCE: https://www.livescience.com/what-is-RNA.html#:~:text=This%20flexible%20molecule%20tells%20the,helped%20life%20get%20its%20start.&text=More%20than%20just%20DNA's%20lesser,information%20into%20your%20body's%20proteins.

RNA, in one form or another, touches nearly everything in a cell. RNA carries out a broad range of functions, from translating genetic information into the molecular machines and structures of the cell to regulating the activity of genes during development, cellular differentiation, and changing environments.

SOURCE: https://www.umassmed.edu/rti/biology/what-is-rna/role-of-rna-in-biology/

DNA Structure - the Double Helix
Double helix is the description of the structure of a DNA molecule. A DNA molecule consists of two strands that wind around each other like a twisted ladder. Each strand has a backbone made of alternating groups of sugar (deoxyribose) and phosphate groups. Attached to each sugar is one of four bases: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), or thymine (T). The two strands are held together by bonds between the bases, adenine forming a base pair with thymine, and cytosine forming a base pair with guanine.

"A double helix has become the icon for many, many kinds of discussions about where science has been and where it's going. This really is an amazing structure. You can't stare at the double helix for very long without having a sense of awe about the elegance of this information molecule DNA, with its double helical form basically being the way in which all living forms are connected to each other, because they all use this same structure for conveying that information. Of course, this is Watson and Crick's incredible realization back in 1953, but it will stand in history as probably one of the most significant scientific moments of all time."
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

SOURCE: https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Double-Helix


DNA extraction is a routine procedure used to isolate DNA from the nucleus of cells. When an ice-cold alcohol is added to a solution of DNA, the DNA precipitates out of solution. If there is enough DNA in the solution, you will see a stringy white mass.

SOURCE: https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/2036-dna-extraction#:~:text=DNA%20extraction%20is%20a%20routine,from%20the%20nucleus%20of%20cells.&text=When%20an%20ice%2Dcold%20alcohol,see%20a%20stringy%20white%20mass.

MEC NOTE: This site offers step-by-step instructions. More information than is needed here.

Sequencing DNA means determining the order of the four chemical building blocks - called "bases" - that make up the DNA molecule. The sequence tells scientists the kind of genetic information that is carried in a particular DNA segment. For example, scientists can use sequence information to determine which stretches of DNA contain genes and which stretches carry regulatory instructions, turning genes on or off. In addition, and importantly, sequence data can highlight changes in a gene that may cause disease.
In the DNA double helix, the four chemical bases always bond with the same partner to form "base pairs." Adenine (A) always pairs with thymine (T); cytosine (C) always pairs with guanine (G). This pairing is the basis for the mechanism by which DNA molecules are copied when cells divide, and the pairing also underlies the methods by which most DNA sequencing experiments are done. The human genome contains about 3 billion base pairs that spell out the instructions for making and maintaining a human being.

SOURCE: https://www.genome.gov/about-genomics/fact-sheets/DNA-Sequencing-Fact-Sheet

Autosomal, Mitochondrial, and Y-DNA: The Three DNA Tests Used by Genealogists
There are three sources of information in a DNA sample. Y-chromosomal DNA (Y-DNA) is present only in samples from males and gives information on patrilineal descent. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), present in both male and females, gives information on matrilineal descent. Finally, autosomal DNA (atDNA) gives information on both matrilineal and patrilineal descent.
The signal of shared ancestry seen in autosomal DNA is highest in close relatives, but dilutes quickly so that by 5-7 generations of separation, it is difficult to distinguish exact relationships other than shared ethnic affinities. Thus, autosomal DNA (atDNA) is best to help identify ancestors within the most recent 5–7 generations of a family tree.

MtDNA and Y-DNA tests are limited to relationships along a strict female line and a strict male line, respectively. mtDNA evolves rapidly whereas Y-DNA (and atDNA) changes much more slowly. MtDNA and Y-DNA tests are utilized to identify archeological cultures and migration paths of a person's ancestors along a strict mother's line or a strict father's line. Based on MtDNA and Y-DNA, a person's haplogroup(s) can be identified. (A haplogroup is DNA or Chromosomal segments derived from a group of people who share a common genetic ancestor). The mtDNA test can be taken by both males and females, because everyone inherits their mtDNA from their mother, as the mitochondrial DNA is located in the egg cell. However, a Y-DNA test can only be taken by a male, as only males have a Y-chromosome.

SOURCE: https://guides.loc.gov/genetic-genealogy

A genetic marker is a gene or DNA sequence with a known location on a chromosome that can be used to identify individuals or species. It can be described as a variation that can be observed. Wikipedia

A centimorgan is a unit used to measure genetic linkage. One centimorgan equals a one percent chance that a marker on a chromosome will become separated from a second marker on the same chromosome due to crossing over in a single generation. It translates to approximately one million base pairs of DNA sequence in the human genome. The centimorgan is named after the American geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan.

SOURCE: https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Centimorgan

Shared DNA segments, also referred to as 'matching segments', are the sections of DNA that are identical between two individuals. These segments were most likely inherited from a common ancestor.
DNA segments can be found on all of the 22 autosomal chromosomes. The segment length is determined by the centiMorgan distance between the first SNP and the last SNP. The longer the shared segment is, the higher the probability that it was inherited from a common ancestor, which means that the two people are genetically related.
All 22 pairs of chromosomes add up to a total of about 7000 centiMorgans. Half is inherited from your mother, and the other half from your father.
You can use the following range of average values as a reference for the length of shared segments between you and your relatives:

Identical twin: 7000cM
Parents: 3350 - 3600 cM
Full siblings: 2300 - 2900cM
Grandparents and aunts/uncles: 1300 - 2200cM
First cousins: 600 - 1200cM

Keep in mind that the above values represent average ranges. In some cases, matches can have lower or higher centiMorgan values.

SOURCE: https://faq.myheritage.com/en/article/what-are-shared-dna-segments

SNP: What are single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)?
Single nucleotide polymorphisms, frequently called SNPs (pronounced “snips”), are the most common type of genetic variation among people. Each SNP represents a difference in a single DNA building block, called a nucleotide. For example, a SNP may replace the nucleotide cytosine (C) with the nucleotide thymine (T) in a certain stretch of DNA.
SNPs occur normally throughout a person’s DNA. They occur almost once in every 1,000 nucleotides on average, which means there are roughly 4 to 5 million SNPs in a person's genome. These variations may be unique or occur in many individuals; scientists have found more than 100 million SNPs in populations around the world. Most commonly, these variations are found in the DNA between genes.
They can act as biological markers, helping scientists locate genes that are associated with disease. When SNPs occur within a gene or in a regulatory region near a gene, they may play a more direct role in disease by affecting the gene’s function.
Most SNPs have no effect on health or development. Some of these genetic differences, however, have proven to be very important in the study of human health. Researchers have found SNPs that may help predict an individual’s response to certain drugs, susceptibility to environmental factors such as toxins, and risk of developing particular diseases. SNPs can also be used to track the inheritance of disease genes within families. Future studies will work to identify SNPs associated with complex diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

SOURCE: https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/genomicresearch/snp/

An example of a SNP is the substitution of a C for a G in the nucleotide sequence AACGAT, thereby producing the sequence AACCAT. The DNA of humans may contain many SNPs, since these variations occur at a rate of one in every 100–300 nucleotides in the human genome.
SOURCE: https://www.britannica.com›science

This Glossary barely skims the list of words, techniques, scientific procedures, and other terms associated with DNA. As evidenced by almost daily news of the use of DNA miraculously extracted from stored evidence bags to solve decades old rape and murder cases, DNA is Big News. In years past, methods used to extract DNA were so elementary they quickly destroyed the source item being tested. Thus, Law enforcement hesitated to put the evidence at risk of loss.

Advancements in technology have resulted in a replication method that can utilize a minute sample and create exact copies, much as a photocopier can shoot out identical versions of a document. Now there is a way to, in reality, preserve that DNA evidence forever. The combined use of DNA matchups on testing sites and classic genealogical research with a touch of logical detective work has resulted in hundreds of rape and murder cases being solved. The same methods have also brought about identification of Jane and John Does - those unidentified victims whose bones have long resided in coroner's storage areas awaiting return to their grieving relatives for proper burial.

Most of my readers seek a better understanding of what their own DNA test results mean. They seek to understand the unfamiliar jargon that accompanies their results, therefore helping them to place their cousins in their tree with a clear path back in time to their common ancestor. Some, like your author, have tried for years to solve mysteries ... Who were my first husband's biological parents, my children's grandparents and how far back can that line be proven?

It is my hope my readers will find this Glossary helpful and informative, whatever their needs might be. Be sure to explore the source websites for amplification and in-depth understanding of terms that excite or intrigue you. Another way to do Armchair Genealogy!

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Cooking with Rod

By Rod Cohenour

During the wintertime, hearty meals such as soups, stews, and plates of pasta really hit the spot. One of my favorite gambits, of course, is the use of a variety of pastas with Al Fredo sauce accompanied with tasty morsels of meat such as Italian seasoned chicken mixed with cheesy tortellini. Here's my sweet wife's quick-to-the-table version. Try it. You'll like it 

This dish can bring smiles to your sweetie on Valentine's Day. I plan to surprise my honey by serving her own great recipe. The whole family will cheer ...it's a favorite! 

Bon appetit~!

M's Chicken-Tortellini Al Fredo


* 2 pkgs. Three Cheese Tortellini pasta (22 oz. each)
* Water as required per pasta preparation directions
* 2 jars Al Fredo sauce (19 oz. each)
* 3 lbs. chicken tenders
* 2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
* 1 Tbsp. Basil (dried)
* 1 tsp. Red Pepper flakes
* 1 tsp. Black pepper, ground
* 2 Tbsp. Parsley (dried)
* 1 bunch green onions, bulb and leaves, slice in rather small pieces
* 1 tsp. ground Nutmeg

    1. Prepare chicken tenders. Whisk together Italian seasoning, basil, red pepper flakes, and black pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Rinse and pat dry chicken tenders. Add to spice mixture and evenly coat all pieces.
    2. Put tenders on a baking sheet or broiler pan. Place pan on middle rack in oven. Broil a few minutes until golden brown on top. Remove pan, turn each tender, and return to oven. When the second side has browned, the tenders should be cooked through. Timing depends on your oven.
    3. Cut cooked tenders as necessary to a uniform size of about 1" to 1.5".
    4. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Tortellini does not usually take much time. My pasta was ready in three minutes. Use a large stewpot as you will be adding chicken and sauce.
    5. While pasta is cooking, heat the Al Fredo sauce in a saucepan. Stir in nutmeg. Heat over medium heat and stir often to prevent scorching.
    6. Drain tortellini, reserving a cup of pasta water. Add cooked chicken tenders to a large stewpot. Add heated Al Fredo sauce.
    7. Add green onions, tops and bulbs, and dried parsley. Gently stir chicken tenders, tortellini, and sauce so as not to tear pasta.
8. Over medium heat, allow the dish to blend flavors for about 5 minutes, making sure pasta does not overcook. If Al Fredo sauce is too thick still, add reserved pasta water in small increments of a Tablespoon at a time. Milk can be used but should not be added cold. Heat about a half cup in microwave, adding in small increments.

Serve. Delicious with a crisp salad and a crusty Italian loaf heated in your oven.

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Woo Woo


By Pauline Evanosky


I did not know that manifestation was even a thing, much less part of what I needed to learn to get into the Woo Woo part of life.

It started innocently enough. We were poor. This wasn’t a sudden sort of thing. We’ve always been sort of ordinary and in this lifetime poor. Not put-cardboard-in-the-bottom-of-your-shoes poor, but not having everything you want the minute you want it. Which, probably, is most anybody these days.

In any case, our cars got old and we would patch them together with chewing gum and paper clips. Nowadays I don’t think you can do that and from what I’ve heard when something goes wrong with modern cars it can get expensive pretty fast.

It was in the early days of my searching blindly for what I didn’t even realize I wanted to have or be that I came upon the book, “Creating Money” by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer. It had been recommended to me by one of the spiritually questing authors I was reading. In those days I did not know anybody who was doing the same sort of spiritual questioning I was doing and so the quest I was on was, necessarily a lonely one.

I said to my husband, “I want to buy this book, ‘Creating Money’. He pointed to the bookshelf behind me and said, “It’s over there.” Now, if that isn’t a sign from the universe, I don’t know what is.

I was amazed. He said he’d gotten it a few years before. So, I set to reading it. Incidentally, I lag behind my husband in the spiritual questing department. I’ve long held the belief that we knew each other in other lifetimes, though I couldn’t say it was anything other than a very strong feeling. I knew within minutes of our meeting that we were destined to be together. In fact, that Thanksgiving when I went home for school break (I was in college at the time) I told my mother that I’d met the man I was going to marry. I told her he didn’t know it yet, but that was how it was going to be. I don’t remember what she said but as of this writing, we have been married 46 years.

I never did finish reading the entire book. My stance on this is that you really only ever need to read what you need to read to get the gist of something. That’s where the phrase Jack of all trades and master of none comes from. Same thing with the computer programs I use. I learn just enough to get what I want. It’s always been fascinating to stand behind somebody who is working on an Excel spreadsheet and see what they are doing. Inevitably, you find out some fancy keyboard shortcuts. I was also one of those kids who read the dictionary at lunchtime. Nerdy comes to mind.

In any case what I learned about manifestation is that you need to become emotionally involved with whatever it is you want whether it is a degree or a thing. You think about it. You talk about it. You surround yourself with pictures of it. You read about it. You write about it. You get every cell in your body, if you can imagine that, to point toward whatever it is you desire. Yes, it does sound like obsession, but at some point, you let it go.

Remember what buying a car is like? It doesn’t have to be right off the lot new, just new to you. Suddenly you are seeing blue Fords everywhere. Just like your car. You never noticed them before, but it seems like there are cars the same color and the same model of the car you have just acquired everywhere you look. The funny thing is that they have always been there. You just hadn’t noticed them before.

You direct your attention toward whatever you want to have. I don’t know what the time limit is for the intense concentration part is. I didn’t get that far in the book or I just don’t remember. I did it with a piano. We didn’t have room for a piano. We certainly didn’t have the money for a piano. I didn’t even know how to play the piano. I just really wanted one. It took some time. I found the Roland piano I wanted, just like Paul McCartney had. I had a picture of it on the wall of my study. Eventually, my husband brought one home. He’d gotten it for half price from a music store.

If it is a skill you want to develop you will begin to see books about the subject, or classes you might take.

I suppose you could even concentrate on having a clean house, though I have deliberately not even begun to think along those lines. I would caution anybody against doing that. You just might end up remodeling your living room.

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By Thomas F. O'Neill

In February, back in 2014, I attended a Chinese New Year celebration here in China. I have been living in China since 2009, and I would like to share that new year experience with you.

Many foreigners living in Suzhou, China, enjoy the experience of going to Shiquan Street. It is due to the many western bars and restaurants there. I spent a portion of the Chinese New Year in 2014 at a trendy place called Jane's Pub Bar, but unfortunately, she sold the establishment in 2017, it is now an Irish pub that becomes jammed packed on St. Patrick’s Day, but I will leave that for a different column.

I was not aware that on the Chinese New Year in 2014, a huge firework display would go off in front of Jane's Pub Bar to usher in the new year. I got more enjoyment from watching how excited the locals got when setting the fireworks off. I quickly pulled out my BlackBerry phone to capture part of the moment on film.

We Americans rely heavily on public safety, so seeing the fireworks going off while the street was still open for traffic was pretty alarming. No one seemed to mind, though, and we enjoyed watching the night sky light up with booming bursts of exploding energy.

When the show ended, and the smoke cleared, a beautiful Chinese woman ran up and gave me a big kiss and yelled, "Happy new year, Tom." That was quite exhilarating, too, and since that moment, I've become a huge fan of the Chinese New Year.

This year 2022, marks the year of the water tiger, and hopefully, the tiger will scare away the COVID 19 virus and bring some normalcy back to the world; we certainly can use more normalcy no matter where we live.

Here is a link to the fireworks display from 2014. Thomas F O'Neill celebrating the 2014 Chinese New Year in Suzhou, China in front of Jane's Pub Bar; on youtube. .

Thomas F O'Neill celebrating the Chinese New Year 2014, in Suzhou, China in front of Jane's Pub Bar.
    Always with love from Suzhou, China
    Thomas F O’Neill
    Email: introspective7@hotmail.com
    WeChat: Thomas_F_ONeill
    U.S. Voice mail: (800) 272-6464
    China Mobile 011 (86) 13405757231
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Thomas_F_ONeill
    Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas-f-o-neill-6226b018/
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    Facebook: http://facebook.com/thomasf.oneill.3/

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Sifoddling Along


By Marilyn Carnell

I Am An Immigrant

I am an immigrant. Not in the usual sense, from another country, but from another place and another culture from where I presently live in Minnesota.

I was born and raised in the Ozark Mountains of southwest Missouri, and it was the most influential part of my life. In the Ozarks, a newcomer is called a “foreigner”. Strangers stick out in the society and are usually vetted by some old-timer with the question “Who are your people?” Relationships are an important and short-cut way of deciding if the new person will fit in and what part of society they belong to.

I was identified as “Bill Carnell’s girl” most of my young life. My dad was well known in the community as the County Superintendent of Schools, so everyone knew who I was and that I was expected to be hardworking and studious.

After going to college, I became a gypsy and have moved more than 30 times and lived and worked in seven states. Each of those moves threw me into the company of strangers and each of them greeted me in different ways. I have written about the trials of getting a driver’s license (by the way both times I moved to Minnesota were the most difficult).

Like many immigrants, I was uprooted by a catastrophic event. We had lived peacefully on the banks of Big Sugar Creek in Missouri for more than 25 years when it suddenly became a roaring monster flash flood that destroyed our home. We escaped with the clothes on our backs, a bag of medicines, and my purse with a cell phone. The next month of homelessness, a second flood that destroyed much of what we had salvaged, the near-death of my husband from stress topped by an F5 tornado in Joplin, the nearest city led us to decide the only option was to come to Minnesota to be near my son and his family and catch our breaths.

I had lived in Minnesota for 12 years in the 1960s and 70’s so I thought it would be an easy transition. This time I was not cushioned by a job and a child in school to make acquaintances. We were invisible. I found that “Minnesota Nice” was best described the way pioneers described the Platte River. “A mile wide and an inch deep.” People were pleasant and welcoming, but that did not include welcoming one into their lives. In the ten years since we moved here in 2011, I have been invited into the home of one neighbor and the visit was brief. I have yet to meet a person who has moved to Minnesota who felt they were readily accepted and had a place to fit in.

As I usually did after a move, I sought a church for solace and healing. Unlike my move to central Illinois, it did not take visiting six different churches before even a pastor greeted me, I was welcomed by the first church I attended. After finding that women of a certain age were not expected to actually do anything, I came to Union where I was warmly greeted and accepted into the choir. Almost immediately I felt a part of the church community. “This is different”, I thought. “I like it here. I have a place here.”

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Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon

After Closing, Clar Cemetery and Kavanagh

"Someone once said that writers are people for whom the act of writing is more difficult than it is for others. As writers of poetry, we face an even greater challenge in that our work goes straight to the heart – of the matter and of the reader – and we can never be sure if we have hit our target. We can only write and hope.
I write from the heart and because I have no other choice. My subject matter in After Closing is both random and diverse. I hope that some of what I have been moved to write will move you too. "

(John McGrath 2021.)

Poet John McGrath has brought out yet another collection of his poems. After Closing suggests an intimacy afforded only to a cherished few. With stories and secrets to be shared, Open this book and you will be locked in, happily, with John McGrath’s memories. Recollections of his younger days, the love for his mother and father, the compassion for Johnny, and the strict education from The Master will bring you warmth, joy, nostalgia, and sadness in equal measures. Then, speaking of his sons, his grandchildren, and his friends, life’s circle turns to now. It brings you straight into the heart of this most wonderful and sensitive poet.

In the words of Barbara Derbyshire – Editor, “This collection is a fine summation of the quirks and foibles of rural Irish life, with never a boring or pretentious moment; never an intrusive fall from honesty balanced on the tightrope of poetic cadence. It is a gathering of vignettes from Mayo to Kerry via Manchester as portrayed in the emigration rituals that were the experience of Irish youth throughout the twentieth century.”

Poem from After Closing:

A Poem of Hope for an End to This
Covid Sonnet

John McGrath (published in John’s anthology, After Closing)

The world has pinned us with a warning glance,
the kind our mothers gave us long ago,
the look that was designed to let us know
that this might be our last and final chance.
So grounded, we can only hope and pray
as, day by day, we inch away from fear
and tiptoe towards a future far from clear
our wounded planet showing us the way,
that voices raised in ignorance and greed
may yet be drowned by kindnesses and care,
together we may rise above despair,
united we will find the strength we need
as, all for one, we reach beyond the pain
and dare to dream tomorrow once again.

After Closing is available from; www.moybellapress.com

* * * * *


The Irish Hospice Foundation has collaborated with artists around the country to set up creative spaces for those struggling with loss during the pandemic. Now a venue in Galway is running a weekly drop-in centre over the coming months to allow people to explore their feelings in a safe environment. In the Ean Restaurant, every Monday, the space is transformed into The Grief Cafe.

In this environment people can talk, draw and listen to poetry, exploring sadness in a gentle, creative way. Johanne Webb is one of seven artists across the country working with the Irish Hospice Foundation. "Loss is something very close to my mind and heart. I lost my mother when I was ten; I lost my best friend before she turned 20. "The pandemic saw me lose all my work and become very ill. During this time my local community rallied around and I started to think about creating a healing space where people could come to share their deepest feelings of grief and loss. Sometimes we carry around this severe sense of grief and we've nowhere to put it. "People can come in, sit quietly and read, have a chat and a cup of tea, write some poetry or draw. Some drop by for 20 minutes; some come and stay for a couple of hours. “

* * * * *


In the graveyard at Clar in county Donegal Saint Agatha’s church bell rings on two occasions at all funerals. It announces the arrival of the hearse as it comes within view of the church and is rung again following the ‘prayer of commendation’ when the deceased person is taken to their place of rest. This gesture of respect and mourning signals to the entire community that a funeral is taking place and that a moment of silence is appropriate at that time. Now the parishioners in partnership with Clogher Le Cheile have brought out a publication, In Loving Memory. This publication records the inscriptions and photographic images of the 923 headstones in the graveyard. These date from the mid-1800s to the present day. This print edition is a sequel to the online version recently completed and available at the website; https://historicgraves.com/graveyard/st-agatha-s/dg-saga

A Finglas woman was on her way to a wedding wearing a hat which was the biggest and most elaborate ever seen north of the Liffey. A young lad shouted at her, “Hey missus, don’t go near Glasnevin cemetery in case they think it’s a wreath.”

* * * * *


Clare-born Elizabeth O’ Toole is 97 years old and was 95 when she wrote A Poet in the House. Here is the first paragraph, “It was a winter night after Christmas. There had been a relentless downpour of sleet and rain all day. It was bitterly cold, chilling to the bone. Hearing our car, I ran out to welcome my husband, Jimmy. In the half-dark, I nearly fell over a sack on the doorstep. I bent down to pick it up. It was soaking wet, and it wasn’t a sack at all. It was Patrick Kavanagh. ” The Monaghan poet was not just soaking wet that night; he was in a fever, coughing blood and refusing to go to hospital. Elizabeth was a fan of Kavanagh’s poetry from her school days. He was a friend of her husband, James Davitt Bermingham O’ Toole. She was reasonably familiar with the man but wasn’t all that keen on having him as a house guest. However his plea, “Please. I don’t want to die in hospital,” didn’t fall on deaf ears. She admitted him, he recovered and stayed with her, her husband, and children for six months. At times the poet, with the reputation for being grumpy, tested Elizabeth’s patience. Like the day she was sitting by his sickbed when he stared at her and said, “ I trained a woman in London once to sit at the end of my bed all night, like a Dog.” He got his answer, “Anyone who can dish out guff like that hasn’t much wrong with them.”

Elizabeth O ‘Toole liked Kavanagh. Something many of his previous biographers didn’t share with her. From her we learn of his generosity, Faith, patience with children, and qualities virtually ignored by many commentators. She says," Much has been written about Paddy and his poetry by scholars and poetry lovers. I have now decided to share my experiences of the exceptional person who left this treasured literary legacy to us.” In ****184 pages, she introduces the reader to a Kavanagh with which most of us are unfamiliar. A Poet in the House is a welcome addition to Irish literature. Published by, wwwliliputpress.ie

See you in March.

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On Trek


By Judith Kroll

My Grandma

My grandma was one of a kind. At least I thought so, thinking back on her, and her life, and my little part in it.

My dad’s mom had a lot of attributes my dad inherited. She was always up for a good laugh, and treated everyone like her true family. Memories and stories abound when I think of her, and one memory pops into my head this week. I lost my daughter in law Gwen and then This week I lost a dear friend of over 60 years. We always kept in touch, and we were part of the same graduating class. Love them both to life.

The memory was when my Grandma, whom we called mime, lost one of her sons. She had broken her leg or something and couldn’t go to the funeral. I was about 9 or 10. Everyone loved Uncle Billou, as we called him. We came back from the graveside going straight to my grandma’s home.

They set up a bed for her, in the huge living room, and I sat down, and listened as she asked how the funeral went. She smiled at everyone, and then, she was left lying there thinking, and she just burst into tears. She covered her face, with her beautiful hands that always hugged me with love. Her body was shaking the tears down her face.

This is when it hit me. She buried her first child when he was 15. He went sledding down the road. No cars then, but that one day, a car just showed up. 3 daughters passed, leaving 2 men left. My Uncle and My dad. Not counting her own brothers and sisters, parents, friends, etc. She lived to be 103. No one left except her two boys, grandkids scattered over the US, etc.

What hit me? How much strength each one of us has to bury our loved ones. Missing their smiles, their touch, their voices, their goodness. It is not easy, but we are all supportive of each other and we all feel the same pain. We truly are stronger than we believe. Love always, grieve with love, always.
Judith 1/10/22

I would like to add, when my dad passed he would send me pictures, and videos from the other side. One video was all my relatives. My mime was in the video, younger, beautiful, and had the biggest smile. All that passed for me was there. It was amazing. Ty Daddy.
Love, Judith

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Reflections of The Day


By Dayvid Clarkson


Inner Guidance

I generally have good days, I have great days, and sometimes I have wondrous days. I find my days improve when I listen and pay attention to that guidance from within. I have been practicing listening and heeding for many years now and can attest it takes practice and courage to follow that lead. It has led me, so often, to moments of synchronicity and serendipity.

I had been thinking of a Friend for the past couple of days. Shared a moment on Facebook this morning each saying we should get together. My Friend is also onto the secret of following that inner guidance. I then continued with my day. I decided to have a late lunch at Tim Horton’s. Now I don’t normally go there but I had a gift card from Christmas so decided to go. As I was about to leave I felt I should wait a bit. I paid attention and did not leave for another 30 minutes.

On arrival at Timmy’s who should be there but my Friend from earlier in the day. My Friend was sitting at a table talking to a young lady. Not wanting to disturb I briefly said hello and sat on the other side of the restaurant.

After a while my Friend, having spent the time with this young lady, came over and visited. As it is revealed my Friend had decided to go to Timmy’s and on his arrival a young lady approached and asked if she could have a cigarette. Of course, my Friend obliged. She was homeless and had come from out of town by bus. As she arrived in the south end of Nanaimo she felt compelled to get off the bus. This is not a usual stop. She went to Timmy’s. My Friend spent time with her bought her coffee and gave her a few bucks. I am sure he also shared some of his heart, his wisdom, and helped her along her life path. I am confident that she grew in spirit meeting with my Friend.

I will not even try to understand the interconnectedness that brought all three souls to Timmy’s. However, I do know we are all interconnected. I do know that the three of us listened to that inner guidance. Please listen to yours. Who knows you might connect with someone at Timmy’s Moral of the story? Pay attention, be amazed, and tell about it.

Sleep well, dream deep my Friends.

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A Mother's Lessons



By Danielle Cote Serar

Agape Love

Yesterday’s sermon had so much that spoke to me, I’m still unpacking it all. But there was one part that struck such an accord, I have to share.

The topic was agape or godly love. The pastor spoke, paraphrasing here, “If I am abiding in him, then the people that I’m engaging with I don’t judge them. I just love them. The entire reason we are here is to display the love of God.“

My mother was not only my mom, but my best friend, my confidant, my mentor and almost always my teacher. One of the lessons she instilled first by example and then by words was “our job is simple, love God and then love thy neighbor. If we can do those two things, then there is no room for judgment or hate or anger.”

I realize I may be considered a biased source, but the two things that kept getting repeated about my mother from others when she passed was “I always felt her love” and “I could be myself with her. There was no judgment.” And honestly, she embodied this. The harshest thing I ever heard my mother say about another human was their energy and mine don’t mesh and I can love them from a distance. And she meant it. She made a mistake that she never got over as a child and in that mistake, she took God’s message of love to heart.

I asked her once how she did it, and her reply was simple - because I wouldn’t want someone judging me as I am far from perfect. You see she knew she was flawed. She knew she’d made mistakes. And if she were not perfect, she could not judge others. Equally she choose to love. She often would remind me when I found myself frustrated with someone’s actions - people are all connected just like the human body; it’s just that some people are like our hearts that we feel with each heart beat, others are like your big toe. You forget they are there until you stub them. It was my reminder that even when people annoyed me, I was still to love them. She taught me that while I can hate the behavior, I could still love the person.

I don’t always succeed and sometimes it’s harder than other times, but I try to emulate my mother in this. This lesson has served me so well in life. I truly hope I can be her reflection in this for my babies.

©January 2022 Danielle Cote Serar


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Lost Love, My Greatest Heartache


By Melinda Cohenour

My precious mother, Lena May Carroll, was stricken with Alzheimer's, and her loss of memory was first noticed about 1999 or so. Prior to that, we thought she had experienced a series of strokes that would leave her a bit confused for a day or only a few minutes. Gradually, over the next couple of years, it became painfully apparent that more than that was taking place.

I cannot begin to tell you how agonizing it was to have my best friend, my confidante, my adviser, my adored mother retreat from us in her mind. She often did not recognize me, saying, "You cannot be my daughter. Melinda is not fat!" She would remember things from many, many years before - a poem, a conversation, a person she did not remember as having died years before.

She never, NEVER ceased to mourn the loss of my father, who passed away in 1996. That was the one constant throughout all her days. She would ask, however, "When is Jack supposed to get home?" and bring about painful remembrances for me - and a concern as to how I should respond. I always chose NOT to remind her and bring forth a new and fresh bit of agony for her.

There were moments, sometimes a whole day, when she was completely lucid. Blessed moments when I would greedily grab time with her to share love and conversation, times when her sparkling wit and massive knowledge of things both everyday and normal or complex would make my heart sing.

Love, alone, however, did not bring about full communication. Yes, I always, always, tried to show her love. She had always been the dearest person to me, memories of her sweet attention and loving way of making my most painful wounds stop hurting, make my happy moments even more blessedly happy with her to share - but those times were increasingly fewer and fewer between.

I lost my mother many years before her death. So sorry for that. I would give anything for science to find the cure that no one else should ever have to suffer the agony of that horrible, slow, loss.


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The Upper Peninsula Of Michigan


By Bud Lemire

In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, there's so much beauty to see
From Houghton and Hancock to Marquette and Negaunee
The Porcupine Mountains, Kitch-iti-Kipi, and the ghost town of Fayette
The Pictured Rocks, the Soo Locks, many places you'll never forget
The Keweenaw Peninsula, and the Portage Lake Lift Bridge
And Ice Fishing in the Winter, is like being in the fridge

From Escanaba and Gladstone, there's so much you can do
Ludington Park, or a visit to the DeYoung Zoo
Van Cleve Park, or a visit to Bond Falls
You go, when the Upper Peninsula calls

Mackinac Island, the Bridge, and the Fort too
There's so much to see, you'll never be through
Tahquamenon Falls, and Baraga State Park
You'll be traveling all day, until it gets dark
Lake Of The Clouds, and Brockway Mountain Drive
There's so much beauty, you'll be happy to be alive

Presque Isle Park, Ishpeming, wherever the road will take you
Stonington to see the butterflies, and skies so very blue
Sugarloaf Mountain, Iron Mountain, and so much more
Beauty found throughout this land, and on every shore
The Upper Peninsula Of Michigan, where beauty is everywhere
It's great to be a Yooper, and wonderful to be living there

©Jan 25, 2022 Bud Lemire

                        Author Note:

It's great to be a Yooper and to enjoy all the beauty of living
in the Upper Peninsula Of Michigan, better known as the U.P.
Whether you are a native returning home for a visit, or a visitor
from elsewhere, it's a great place to visit.


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How to Wear Your Cowboy Hat!

 By Walt Perryman 


Excuse me, howdy, and goodbye, can all be said,
Not with your mouth but the hat on your head.

When you tip or take off your hat it has an effect,
Because that is a cowboy’s way of showing respect.

Tipping your hat to the ladies says a lot about you,
And I believe any good lady would appreciate it too.

When you enter someone’s house, or even your own,
That is when a cowboy should never leave his hat on.

Take your hat off when the National Anthem is playing.
When a funeral passes by, or when someone is praying.

How you wear your cowboy hat says a lot about you,
If you’re ever in doubt, your heart knows what to do.

©January 12, 2022 Walt Perryman

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Can't Do This Again

By Bruce Clifford

Lock down again
We can’t go back there
That space in my head
Can’t do this again
Can’t go through it again

Covid kids running amuck
Faceless wonders don’t give a buck
Running around like a solo duck
Makes no sense when running out of luck

Can’t do this again
We can’t go back to that
All the words that were said
Can’t go through it again
Can’t do this again

Here we go again
Here we are my friend
Lock it down
Say it proud
Shout it out
Sound out loud

Can’t do this again
The world has gone mad
Facing what we once had
Remembering what we once said

Figuring this all out
Make some noise when everyone shouts
There’s always a way to live without
All this panic, fear, and doubt

Can’t do this again
The world has gone mad
Can’t go through this again
Just can’t do this again

© 1/16/2022 Bruce Clifford

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Can You Not Understand


By Harmony Kieding

Can you not understand
That I had to face my Shadow before it ate me?
Before it drank me to death?
Can you not see
That a human being is an entire range of becoming
from soul to feet
and beyond that
and beneath that
And Oh yes, we are glorious
We are glorious and petty...
We are sweet and ugly...
And the petty and the ugly do not go away if one becomes an ostrich
The weakest link in the chain does not go away because its existence is denied...
When one is in exile, words become swords to face the loneliness.
They become a promise to one's self to live...
For if I swallowed my rage it would engulf me
And If I drowned in my fear it would kill me
So the promise to myself:
to write in the face of anger
and bitterness
and sorrow,
ugly and disappointed and sordid as they are...I shall live, I shall live
When one is in prison one does time
and words shape the time
take the time to feel how we feel
oh I am a lonely tree
We become afraid of another's Shadow when instead we must face our own.
©January 2022 Harmony Keiding
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My Chariot


By Mary E. Adair

(For Katheryne's Birthday)

My Mind is my chariot
That takes me to many places
My Thoughts are the horses
That gallop or slow their paces
My Dreams are the pathway
That leads me to beloved faces
That throughout my experience
Both past and present graces
My Memory through sweet or sad
From time to time just races
My Heart serves as the detective
That files within many cases
Too difficult for a mortal to judge
Yet it still reserves many spaces
For future pleasures and joys
That now are just glimmers and traces
Of arranging events in a better light
Like choosing which blooms for which vases
And though Life has become a spectator sport
I still choose to round all the bases
And if I were playing poker
I'd expect to draw all the Aces.

©Jan 15, 2022 Mary E. Adair
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The Holly As Tall As The House


By John I. Blair

Once (it seems in another life)
We bought this house with pride,
The first house we could call our own.

In front a line of struggling shrubs,
Decades in the ground but badly chosen.
Barely hid the narrow porch.

So I yanked them out, then
Dug and dug and dug (skirting
A concrete slab beneath the soil)

And planted new beginnings,
Four hollies plus some different sort,
Encouraged them to grow, and waited.

The second choice declined the chance,
But hollies loved this place,
Loved and gained, spread and sought the sun.

Now, more than thirty years along,
Merged into a single mass,
I have hollies tall as houses.

Some day (for houses can decay
While hollies thrive and live)
House-sized hollies
May be what remains.

©2022 John I. Blair, 2/1/2022

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Noble Heart


By Dayvid Clarkson

Clinging on to sanity
Weathering the storm
The road a chaotic pattern
The path strewn with broken branches
I maneuver through the deleterious thoughts
I question the moment, every option that arises
I hear a faint whisper
The negative voices quieter
A familiar truth echoes stronger
You are sane
You are weathering the storm
You will understand the pattern
Hope is but a word
Yet a feeling better understood
By the noble heart, that is unrelenting.
©Jan 17, 2022 Dayvid Bruce Clarkson
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Gauging Time


By Walt Perryman

My morning thought about gauging time.
I'm sorry but the way I gauge, it must rhyme.

It seems to me; time passes faster with age.
This morning I will try to explain how I gauge,

When I was in school a day seemed like three.
NEXT, a day working seemed even more to me.

I retired and thought it would slow down more,
But instead, it’s passing faster than ever before.

Evidently, the less time I have, the faster it goes.
But does my time change, only God really knows.

If time passes faster means I’ll die sooner anyway,
Then God I will be thanking you faster by the day.

I know, my body and mind has slowed with age,
Folks, it’s God and not me, that works the gauge.

© January 6, 2022 Walt Perryman

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Shiny and Blue


By Bruce Clifford

Shiny and blue
Twenty twenty two
Another year gone
New days upon us

Having a last word
Facing the clock
Cutting the cord
Alongside the dock

Shiny and blue
A different point of view
Another night will pass
No time to rest

Reading an open book
What we gave and took
Looking for hope
The enormous scope

Shiny and red
Last words we all said
Another year gone
Lead the way and carry on

Shiny and blue
Twenty twenty two
A new day is here
Another new year

©1/3/2022 Bruce Clifford

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Never The Same


By Bud Lemire

After having Covid, many are never the same
It's from having the virus, it is to blame
Anxiety is one symptom, that stays with you
It's something that, you'll have to get through

Everyday life changes, and you'll have to try
A new way of doing things, to try to get by
You might even have, an overwhelming fear
It'll be hard to focus, nothing will be clear

The symptoms may vary, with everyone you know
You carry them with you, wherever you go
You'll need to find a new way, to stay calm and tranquil
You have the power, and you have the will

Take it step by step, don't push too hard
Slow and easy, you've just been scarred
You're doing your best, to remain sane
Covid hit hard, and it's affected your brain

Sometimes you'll find it, hard to think
You'll find you're off balance, and out of sync
Others don't understand, what you're going through
Unless they had it, they don't have a clue

©Jan 22, 2022 Bud Lemire

                         Author Note:

I'm a Covid survivor of the first wave of it. I'm
still feeling after-effects of having it. They seem
to come and go, so I take it slow. If you saw me,
you might not notice I had anything wrong with me.
I deal with it every day. I keep getting out, with a
mask on, because only by continuing doing what
I've always done, can I continue to be who I've
always been. I take each day slower, I take it step
by step. I don't want your pity. I just wanted you
to know what people are going through. With
Omicron, there are even more symptoms.


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By Mail Bag

Finally, rain falls,
Yet too short.
I missed the sun,
But, not that much.

I love the rain,
The grey fog
The dampness it puts on our hearts.
The darkness.

I crave the darkness.

January 2022 Unclaimed ©Pencil Stubs Online  

Like A Seed


By Harmony Kieding

(Sometimes when I AM in the center of myself)

A Song comes to me
That I'll give back to Thee
My whole life long
Forever in a song
Like a Seed from a Tree
From a Seed,
Forever falls away,
It's just a game you play
And your reason and rhyme
Will all make sense in time...

©January 21, 2022 Harmony Keiding
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What I Know and Don't


By Walt Perryman 


What I know and don’t know.
I don’t know if I know what I don’t know.

So, I am not sure if I know what I know.
I wish I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

But if I knew what I didn’t know, I’d know
. I don’t know if I’ve ever known, I don’t know,

So, if I can’t remember then I will never know.
I can’t remember what I know that I know.

If you remember what I knew, let me know
. I know you don’t want to know what I know.

If you do, don’t ask me, because I don’t know.
You’ll know the two of us that will never know

I really hope you have a good day, though,
This I know.

©January 5, 2022 Walt Perryman

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My Name Is Covid

By Bud Lemire

My name is Covid, and I'm out to get you
Many of you don't even have a clue
I've taken lives, and I'll take even more
The variant has made me, nastier than before

For the unbelievers, I'll show you how
Without a mask or vaccine, I can get you now
I'll make your life, a living hell
With a ventilator, as a friend as well

I'll make you so sick, you'll turn more than green
What I do to humans, is really obscene
I have no mind, so don't try to think
I'll make it very hard, for you to drink

Get a vaccine, and a booster too
Then maybe, I'll go easy on you
If you neglect me, like so many do
I'll make you feel, much worse than the Flu

I'm nasty, and I know how to win
I know exactly how, to make your head spin
If you're sick, I'm the one to blame
So don't think, this is some sort of game

©Aug. 24, 2021 Bud Lemire

                           Author Note:

It's not a game. The virus is alive and it
might even infect a family member, a close
friend, or someone you know really well. You
can be stupid, and not wear a mask or get the
vaccines. Or you can be smart and wear a mask
and get the vaccines. Your fate is in the choices
you make. Mask and vaccine is the right choice.
Do it now, before it is too late..


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It's Too Far To Reach

By Bruce Clifford

I’m touching the sun
Am I the only one
The strengthening of a dimming light
Curiosity of a cosmic flight

I’m going for broke
Am I the lonely joke
The mediocrity in a distant void
Curiosity wings deployed

It’s too far to reach
It’s so out of reach
It’s too far to reach
It’s so out of reach

I’m touching the moon
Am I on a balloon
The radiation in a dimming night
Broken wings as the day takes flight

It’s too far to reach
It’s so out of reach
It’s too far to reach
It’s so out of reach

We have so far to go
We reach for the glow
It’s too far to reach
It’s so out of reach

I’m kissing the sky
Am I not knowing why
The energy of a fading light
Darkness of moonless night

©1/7/2022 Bruce Clifford

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