Friday, December 27, 2013

Winter Lullaby











Winter Lullaby

Be safe and secure,
Though the night whispers warning.
Our love will ensure,
That you need fear no fright.

     Refrain:
     The angels way up high,
     Watch you all through the night;
     As the cold winter sky,
     Glows with brilliant starlight.

Just close your sweet eyes,
Free from worry till morning;
When the dark starry skies,
Brim with bright golden light.

     Refrain:
     The angels way up high,
     Watch you all through the night;
     As the cold winter sky,
     Glows with brilliant starlight

A soft blanket grows,
Fluffy deep snow, white as cream,
To safeguard your repose,
And your warm winter dream.

Mick McKellar
December 2013


I wish you could hear the music in my mind.

Mick

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Quiet Time











Quiet Time

So softly, sadly, Christmas day flowed by,
And passing, whispered a contented sigh.
It left behind a human heart aglow,
With all the memories it could bestow.
Distant loved ones talked of mundane matters:
Daily routines, grand plans left in tatters,
School days, work days, all about the weather,
Games they played, and fun they had together.
I steel myself, to face a silent night,
A quiet time, away from Christmas light,
And snuggled warmly in my bed, it seems,
I'll sleep in peace and love in Christmas Dreams.

Mick McKellar
December 2013


I pray your Christmas was as wonderful as mine.

Mick

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Dreams











Christmas Dreams

The silence of this blessed night,
The touch of snow, so soft and white,
The gentle warmth of love's embrace,
Fills my heart with healing grace.
When echoes of the angel choirs,
Cross centuries hushed  awe inspires,
And soft, sublime, celestial streams,
Caress my humble Christmas dreams;
My soul soars swiftly, taking flight,
Quick borne aloft on golden light.
I mount the sky above all lands,
And brush the stars with outstretched hands.
Tis then I sing, joyous, extol,
The touch of God upon my soul.

Mick McKellar
December 2013

I wish you all a peaceful, joyous, and Merry Christmas.

Mick

Monday, December 23, 2013

Heavenly Guest










Heavenly Guest

A brittle, chill blanket shrouded the night,
Cloaking a soon-to-be mother, adrift
In a vast ocean of brilliant starlight;
Bearing the Almighty's most precious gift.
Long was your journey, to Bethlehem town,
Though heavy with child, you have traveled far;
To a small stable, and weary, lie down,
Under the aegis of the natal star.

Mother, O Mother, how long did you ride,
To find simple lodging, and blessed rest?
Enter your refuge, to shelter inside,
And welcome God's son, our heavenly Guest!

Deep in the cool, blessed darkness of night,
Long before earliest breaking of morn,
A stable awash with celestial light,
Heralds that Jesus, our Savior is born.
Glorious voices dance through the dark skies,
A chorus sublime, echoes joy and mirth.
Shepherds, uplifted by angelic cries,
Know joyful wonder and true peace on earth.

Mother, O Mother, how long you did ride,
To find simple lodging, and shelter blessed,
Where you and the Son of God may abide,
While angels and shepherds praise our sweet Guest.

Mick McKellar
December 2013


Merry Christmas!

Mick

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ages I Have Been

Before the fall...









Ages I Have Been

I feel it all, when I recall
The details, where and when;
The rise and fall, the short and tall,
Of ages I have been.

It's strange, but true, that my world view,
Began down near the floor.
As children do, I upward grew,
And waited to see more.

Until a night of pain and fright,
Brought knowledge, dark and fey;
When painful plight brought raw insight,
And childhood fled away.

Through youngling years, whose loves and fears,
Left me nowhere to hide,
I lived, sans tears, among my peers,
An old man trapped inside.

I strove, meanwhile, an old man's smile,
To hide beneath veneers.
Mile after mile, the long trial,
Filled intervening years.

Now deep within, the verdict's in:
I cannot disavow
Without chagrin, I've always been,
The age that I am now.

Mick McKellar
November 2013

Many years ago, I asked my mother if I was a serious child. "Serious?" she said, "You were positively grim. You were born an old man." She was almost right. It required a terrible accident at age 1 1/2 years to turn a teeny toddler into a tiny gaffer. Suddenly upgraded from naiveté to reality, I became the grim nipper. Guess I haven't changed, much...

Mick

The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.
-Madeleine L'Engle, writer (1918-2007)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sub Rosa










Sub Rosa

The advent of instant social networks,
Foreshadows slow death for privacy;
When miscreants, even ignorant jerks,
Gain intimate knowledge of you and me.
In wrong hands, my online profile becomes
A grave weapon of perilous power,
To stretch my identity till it thrums:
Screaming chain on a sudden-dropped bower.
In my search for simple ways to prevent,
Being part of online curiosa,
I find that false trails might best circumvent
Scrutiny -- leave the real me -- sub rosa.
"Think you know me?" becomes my battle cry,
"When I fill in your forms, I might just lie!"

Mick McKellar
November 2013


Online, it seems everyone wants a piece of me: my full name, my address, my phone number, my e-mail address, my age, etc. Want to read an article? Complete the registration form, sign in, and let our cookies track you! Although I would never advocate lying as a policy, in my early years as a writer online, I discovered the value of maintaining various noms de plume. Mick McKellar, E. McKellar, Jr., Maudit Cybercurmudgeon, and The Midnight Poet, helped Elwin McKellar keep personal and professional life separate.

Mick

Friday, November 15, 2013

Taste of Ashes






Taste of Ashes

My life's one long emergency,
Rushed to hospitals and clinics.
I crash and burn repeatedly,
But rise again like Phoenix.

Although I leave something behind,
In each of these fiery crashes:
A bit of heart, of soul, of mind,
I retain the taste of ashes.

And though I like my steaks well-done;
Cooked at leisure, eaten in haste;
I take no pleasure, have no fun,
Enduring that faux-charnal taste.

To cleanse my palate of that mess,
I find that I simply must go
Savor the flavor of success,
And devour my life with gusto!
Mick McKellar
November, 2013


As day 998 since my blood and marrow stem cell transplant dawned, I reflected on my long list of emergencies and flirtations with the hereafter. Each time I relapse (or collapse), and claw my way back to what passes for normalcy in my fragmented life, I am left with a bad taste in my mind — a bitterness that lingers until I remember the simply joy of waking up each morning — until I remember to savor life.

Mick

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Firefly at Dusk










Firefly at Dusk

Tiny stars that float and flicker,
In twilit dervish dance so brusque,
Only daydreams perish quicker,
Than firefly flashes in the dusk.
High above, the stars, eternal,
Flickering, though their lives endure,
Keep their silent watch nocturnal --
Bright chroniclers of time's grand tour.
In their long view of creation,
Do souls continue burning bright,
Or flare, brief illumination --
Just firefly flashes in the night?

Mick McKellar
October 2013

When I walked out our front door this morning, I was greeted by Orion and stunned by the majesty of the early morning sky. I wondered: If the stars are watching us, how must our brief explosions of life on this Earth appear to their ageless eyes?

Mick

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Dance of Days











Dance of Days

A-shimmer in the wintry morning light,
Ephemeral mist drifts on icy air.
Warm, humid, human breath shines rimy bright,
The touch of warmth no longer barely there --
As delicate mist shadows on the snow,
Caress the canyons riven through the drifts,
And tiny shadow dancers soft and slow,
Flit silently cross crevices and rifts.
My days seem as translucent as the mist,
Of life's breath crystallizing in the sun:
The diaphanous wraith, by Jack Frost kissed,
Becomes a ghostly veil to jump and run.
My own luminous shadow skips and sways,
An eerie evanescent dance of days.

Mick McKellar
October 2013

As day 960 since my transplant drew to a close, I was thinking about how swiftly and delicately the days fly by. The image of warm breath misting in early winter morning sunshine jumped into my mind.

Mick

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Snow Shark











Snow Shark

I'd go out walking after dark,
And never once feel insecure.
I imagined a great snow shark,
Made my safety a sinecure.
I'd stride as if I owned the road,
Just taking my shark for a walk;
Invisible -- it never showed --
While hiding that twas all a crock.

Although the shark remained unknown,
I knew its aspect could cause dread;
My guardian was wholly grown,
To roam dark places in my head.
I learned that bullies would think twice,
If I'd pretend I had a guard:
Impervious to snow and ice,
Invisible, but strong and hard.

These were skills that I had to hone;
It doesn't work if you're lazy.
But bullies may leave you alone,
If you're a basket of crazy.

Mick McKellar
September 2013


Okay, I know this fantasy sounds a bit crazy, but there is a kernel of truth. I found that bullies in school would leave me alone, if I acted as if I had nothing to fear. After a while, they were no longer scary and dangerous, just annoying and dangerous (like heavy traffic or thunderstorms).

Mick

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chimera











Chimera

A thought intruded, suddenly,
While gathering wool, sipping tea,
And gazing inward, I could see
I wasn't me, entirely.

A river red and blue, it flows,
From top of head to tips of toes.
Yet ev'rywhere the river goes,
Its misbehavior often shows.

It knows a secret, wild and fey,
That makes it act in a strange way:
My life's blood, as blood tests betray,
Contains my brother's DNA.

I may not appear differently,
I look the same; I look like me.
Yet, me, myself, and I agree,
I'm not myself, entirely...

Mick McKellar
September 2013


939 days since the blood and marrow transplant, and I am still not used to the knowledge that, essentially, my brother's blood flows in my blood stream.

Mick

Friday, September 13, 2013

Senses

My mom, my dad, and me...in 1951.
Remembering my Mom (September 13, 2013):

Today would have been my Mom's 83rd birthday. She died in May, 1990. I miss her everyday. This is the poem I wrote upon her death and read at her funeral:






Senses

I see in my reflection, clear,
The image of your face.
I glimpse your shadow, standing near,
In each familiar place.
Your perfume permeates the air,
When sudden, I take note,
And lingers long and gently there,
On letters that you wrote.
When injured, or when feeling sad,
I feel your soothing touch.
And smells of cooking make me glad
I loved your food so much.

Now, late at night, when silence reigns,
I hear your voice again.
I know that after tears and pains,
Your flame is gone - your warmth remains.

Mick McKellar
( written upon the death of my mother, May 6, 1990 )

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Summer Symphony










Summer Symphony

I dreamt all adrift in the warm/cool shade,
Softly relaxed in an afternoon haze,
My backyard transformed, now a shining glade,
Where wind shadows caught my wondering gaze.
The breeze tickled leaves and tossed limbs around,
As it capered and cavorted in glee,
It's soft susuration the only sound,
Except for the hum of a bumblebee.
The sky sang a deep, rich, blue melody,
As the earth roared harmony, velvet green.
Bright clouds led a daring counterpoint, free
To join the green choral polyphony.
Blue sky melody and green harmony,
Blessed my eyes in visual symphony.

Mick McKellar
August 2013


When summer finally arrived in the Keweenaw, I had to spend a few hours dreaming in the shade of our porch swing...at least when the bugs allowed it.

Mick

Sleep in Thunder











Sleep in Thunder

I dreamt that I walked far beneath the earth,
And wandered caverns enormously old,
Through cracks that would barely permit my girth,
Surrounded by shadows silent and cold.
I felt the weight of the rocks overhead,
And touched the face of the gathering gloom.
Yet, although the earth is home for the dead,
I did not succumb to fear of the tomb.
I met myself in a saturnine shade,
Waiting for me in soundless composure.
He showed me the fog of fear I had made,
And brought me peace with whispered disclosure:
A clear mind tears deception asunder,
And a quiet conscience sleeps in thunder.

Mick McKellar
August 2013


I read an Old English proverb late last night before I retired. Somehow, it insinuated itself into my dreams. The proverb says: "A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder." How it got from there to wandering caverns deep and dark and cold, I haven't the foggiest...

Mick

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Spark and the Song






The Spark and the Song

Jehovah was sitting alone in the dark,
And He was so bored He could cry.
So He snapped His fingers, creating a spark,
Which floated before one great eye.
Because He'd created the very first light,
He thought to Himself, "Goodness Me!"
And channeled a tiny bit more of His might,
To make something else He could see.

He pondered the various ways to create,
Though certain He'd not do it wrong.
When writing upon on a completely clean slate,
One always should start with a song!
And so the Almighty threw back His great head,
Unleashing His titanic voice;
The powerful note that He first sounded led,
To the making of His first choice:

A beautiful creature, on gossamer wings,
Now hovered in front of His face.
He smiled to Himself when He heard how it sings,
As it floated out there in space.
His smile faded fast, as He listened with care,
To its now melancholy song;
And He knew that to leave it alone out there,
Would cause pain, and that would be wrong.

So He laughed and He sang another great note --
He sang a most wonderful song.
The first of the grand compositions He wrote:
Angels - a hundred thousand strong!
Then, a hundred thousand new voices now sang,
With a spirit He had set free,
And the universe He'd created, now rang
With a glorious harmony.

The music, which started a long time ago,
Grows more beautiful with each day;
And the sons and daughters of Adam will know,
Their part in the great roundelay.
The stars and the planets all beat with His heart,
And the universe wants to swing.
All creation works hard, to perform its part
With the Lord, who just loves to sing!

Mick McKellar
January 2006


I wrote this back in 2006 and sort of tripped over it this morning. I wasn't sharing my poetry widely back then, so after all that has happened in the last three years, it sang to me. I was up very late (or early) writing the first draft of this unpretentious little poem. I'm not certain what I was thinking -- writing a creation story. But here is my somewhat simple take on how, maybe just perhaps, the universe began -- not with a great big bang -- but with a spark and a song...

Mick

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

At Break of Day










At Break of Day

The foggy arms of morning caress me,
When first I venture outside my front door.
Vague glowing shadows of trees address me,
With wind-driven whispers across the moor.
The slowly retreating chill of the night,
Whose slender fingers grasp tenuously
At my face and hands, retreat at the bite
Of dawn's first rays seeking sinuously.
A touch of sun sets the ether aglow,
With brilliant warning of doom for the dew,
 And pretty promise to warm my chateau --
To lift up my heart, and my strength renew.
Silent, I stand,  to let my spirit pray,
And give thanks for my life at break of day.

Mick McKellar
August 2013


I love greeting the sun on a cool and foggy Copper Country morning. Everything glows with the promise of the approaching day, as the land wakes from the misty shadows of night.

Mick

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Reverie










My Reverie

I dreamt I sat upon a stone,
Along a dark and narrow way.
Although I walked there all alone,
Why I sat down, I cannot say.
I gazed into the gathered gloom,
My eyes in motion, endlessly
Afraid of what specter might loom...
In twilight, in my reverie.

I dreamt I slept upon that stone,
How long I drifted none can say.
I shivered, chilled clear to the bone,
For night had chased the day away.
An eerie mist clung to the broom,
Surrounding both the stone and me.
I felt watched by each yellow bloom...
At midnight, in my reverie.

I dreamt I tarried on that stone,
Til daylight could my fears allay.
And used my granite throne to hone
My nerve, to keep my fears at bay.
As daybreak banished thoughts of doom,
A sea of yellow greeted me,
With golden glow and grand perfume...
At daybreak, in my reverie.

The day-star touched my dark bedroom;
I smiled as sun awakened me,
To happily my life resume...
Abandoning my reverie.

Mick McKellar
July 2013


Sometimes, a dream is just a dream. Sometimes, it's a lesson...

Mick

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Better View


A Better View

The walls of my world are expanding fast;
The range that I rove is incredible.
My mind ventures forth through distances vast;
Capturing images indelible.
On wings of thought to the heavens I soar,
Adrift on trade winds of the universe,
And dive through blue ocean depths, to the core
Of the mysteries greater minds traverse.
Imagination transcends the grey mist,
Diffusing the warmth of my inner sky,
Allowing my earthbound soul to be kissed,
By the brilliant, golden gleam in God's eye.
My earthly spirit takes flight to renew,
Its sense of wonder...and a better view.

Mick McKellar
June 2013


When the body fails,
The spirit prevails.

As the limits of my physical world shrink, and the medicines limit the speed I can think, my imagination ventures forth in a blink, and I sketch what it sees in quixotic ink.

Mick

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mick Sempiternal











Mick Sempiternal

I am a brittle stick, hid from the wind,
A delicate delinquent in my cave,
A captive of my comfort, yet chagrined,
Afraid to live the life I seek to save.
I fear to touch another, lest I catch
A cold, the flu, or germ that does misgive.
What do I gain, if I my friends dispatch
To save my life, and then forget to live?
I ask myself these questions ev'ry night:
Is life a tangled track that must be raced,
In fear that it might end in sudden fright?
And should my death be feared or be embraced?
One fear pierces my soul -- a spectral knife:
To leave a long and careful, unlived life.

Mick McKellar
June 2013


Recently, I have been taking more chances: attending meetings, going out in public, and even walking in sunshine (for limited periods only!). Why? I live in fear that a simple virus or bacterium will once again race past my suppressed immune system, and dance the devil's disco in my odeum. But, living is about more than phone calls, e-mails, and looking out the window at the world.

Mick

Monday, June 10, 2013

Angel's Wings











Angel's Wings

I'd started to cross a street, with the light,
Having looked both ways, I stepped out to walk;
When chill intuition gave such a fright,
That I couldn't move and I couldn't talk.
I gasped at the sudden chill down my spine,
And I shivered at the sharp, frosty shock,
That a foreboding I could not define,
Somehow caused all of my muscles to lock!
An unseen vehicle flashed past my face,
Which, careening past at its breakneck rate,
Would have splattered me all over the place,
Had that cold touch not made me hesitate --
The wintry-warm feeling that God's grace brings:
The feathery, cool touch of angel's wings.

Mick McKellar
June 2013


I've felt that touch several times in the last three years. Have you felt it?

Mick

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Saline













Saline

Twas a time the solution was the sea:
You could board a ship, leave the world behind,
And sail the great oceans, setting you free;
With sun and salty air to ease your mind.
Others claimed the answer was on your brow,
In profuse, jeweled beads of salty sweat.
The simple use of human labor, how
A man should seek what answers he could get.
Others espoused passion as the measure,
And method to find answers through the years.
The bounty for this boon, this grand treasure,
Was an ocean of sultry, salty tears.
It seems, saline solutions are the key,
To find our answers and set ourselves free.

Mick McKellar
June 2013

Our bodies are mostly comprised of water...salty water...just like the sea, sweat, and tears. Can we find our answers in the salt of the earth?

Mick

Friday, May 31, 2013

Music of My Memories










Music of My Memories

I try to throw my surplus stuff away,
Yet drift about, a silent wraith, and sigh;
For though I find new candidates each day,
I find myself unable to comply.
Each piece is fraught with memories, alive
With melodies that grasp my beating heart,
To dance a rueful, self-reproaching jive --
And all my best intentions fall apart.
As reminiscence steals my grand resolve,
And silently, nostalgia takes its place,
My plans to purge my spent surfeit dissolve,
Into an anthem time cannot erase.
I walk among lares and penates,
That sing the music of my memories.

Mick McKellar
May 2013


How odd that, just as I was struggling with decisions about what "stuff" to toss and what to keep, I should stumble on an old phrase for household goods: lares and penates -- referring to both household treasures and benevolent Roman household gods. It does seem that, sometimes, I worship at the altar of my toys...

Mick

Monday, May 27, 2013

Soldier











Soldier

An age ago, the rifle in his hands,
Spoke in righteous anger, and duty-bound
To fight for liberty in foreign lands.
Still, late at night he hears those bitter sounds.
He screamed inside each time he fired a round,
And saw it pierce a target in his sights,
And watched an enemy fall to the ground;
The vision haunting long and lonely nights.
His sense of duty led him to enlist;
His courage kept him steadfast in the fight;
He understood a truth so many missed:
That freedom's as much a gift, as a right.
He wasn't born a soldier, bathed in strife,
He became one to save his way of life.

Mick McKellar
May 2013

For Memorial Day. For all who served and all who still serve.

Mick

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pass It Along










Pass It Along

Each day I read wonderful, profound thought,
Painstakingly painted in great detail;
Epistles intricate and deftly wrought,
A breath of beauty, destined to exhale
Words that seem freely to flow from the heart,
Caressing strings of my lyrical soul,
With musical sentiments, that impart
Ardor to uplift, condole, or console.
Somewhere in the message is a request,
To "pass it along," (if I am a friend).
I rarely concede to such a behest,
Though I do not wish the missive to end.
I affix it to my passions and cares,
And then, I "pass it along" in my prayers.

Mick McKellar
May 2013

I get many messages each day, on social media and in e-mail, copied or linked from sources usually undefined, each asking to be forwarded, shared, or cut and pasted into a new message to my contacts. Many indicate that I will do this, if I am a friend of the person passing it along. Some are truly beautiful. Some are tasteful and timely. Others are biased, bigoted, or banal. Few are original with the sender.

If the message is something I find compelling, I may comment on it and I pass it along to someone who can really do something about it...in my prayers.

Mick

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Silence in My Soul











Silence in My Soul

My ears endure a rude cacophony,
Cascading in a massive wall of sound,
Until it's only noise, and suddenly,
It dominates my aural world's background.
The images emblazoned on my eyes,
By sources digital and print and live,
Comprise a complex mix of truth and lies,
Bewildering, no matter how I strive
To understand, to comprehend it all.
I inward look, and listen to my heart;
I search its wisdom, hearken to its call,
And seek the simple truths it can impart.
I tell these simple stories with one goal:
I write to ease the silence in my soul.

Mick McKellar
May 2013

At times, the sheer volume of noise and surfeit of images overloads my capacity to process it all, and my whole system shuts down. At these times, I look inward for answers and write about what I see, what I hear, what I find on that journey. The stories that comprise my poems and messages are simple. They are written to ease the uneasy silence that touches my soul when I shut out the name-calling, finger-pointing, blame-fixing, and innuendo-casting cacophony which inundates the flood plain of my life.

Mick

Friday, May 17, 2013

Islands in the Ice











Islands in the Ice

Although I thought myself an isolate,
An island in a wind-swept frozen sea,
And captive to my geologic fate,
I yearned to move about and wander, free.
The rimy current coursing 'round my girth,
Imparted false progress, as though adrift;
Yet, I could feel my feet, deep in the Earth.
Mobility would never be my gift.
Although I languished, aching just to meet
Other islands; just to touch, shore-to-shore;
When I envisioned roots, instead of feet,
Conjoined with an immense, shared ocean floor,
I saw that we are one. To be precise,
I simply had to look beneath the ice.

Mick McKellar
May 2013

At times, it seems that glaciers separate us and we have no common ground on which we can meet to share and solve our mutual concerns and common problems. Yet, if we seek deeply enough, searching our roots, we find the bedrock that connects us all. We simply have to look beneath the ice...

Mick

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sun Shimmer











Sun Shimmer

Early this morn, when my eyes opened wide,
The morning light shimmered, silvery white.
I crept to the window...I looked outside,
And shivered at a remarkable sight:
Icy white curtains adrift on the wind,
Splintering sunlight and dazzling the eyes,
Ice touching fire as it tried to rescind,
The advent of spring, which winter denies.
Dashing and swirling across the new green,
I saw denizens of winter cavort,
Sprint, scurry, scamper -- a silvery screen
To hide the new spring, winter's last resort.
By late afternoon, the brief blanket's gone,
And our march toward summer plods slowly on...

Mick McKellar
May 2013

It's May 12th and Mother's Day, so what does Mother Nature serve for breakfast this fine, spring day? Snow. As soon as the afternoon sun touched the new blanket of white, it was a soggy memory -- a chilling memory -- but a memory nonetheless.

Mick

Shadows in the Dust












Shadows in the Dust

By tasting venom dripping from the stone,
When riven is the precipice of peace,
You curse your spirit, drifting and alone,
To dancing in the darkness without cease.
Your eyes will seek for daylight, and find naught
But slowly shifting shadows dark and dim.
The poison you ingested, only bought
A chance to shuffle dust, deadly and grim.
And should a shaft of sunlight pierce the veil,
That shields the blighted stage on which you prance,
It cannot free you from the cursed nail,
Which pins you to the floor on which you dance.
Until you can forgive yourself, you must
Continue dancing shadows in the dust.

Mick McKellar
May 2013

As I read the reports of violence and strife in the news, I wondered: Where is the well-spring of the terrible toxin that shrivels a soul and brings one to consider violence? We call acting with violence breaking the peace, as if peace is a great mountainside, the rock of ages which holds back the flood of poison which threatens our world. What would that poison do to one's spirit?

My mind's eye saw the vision above. I am still shivering, and sensing a faint taste of dust...

Mick

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Cockshy











Cockshy

We teach our children that all things have names,
And share our own labels, eponymous,
But something taints these simple childhood games:
We learn to slur and hide, anonymous.
Deep, innate umbrage seems to amplify
Abysmal, silent prejudice grown loud;
And we disparage, slander, and downcry,
When we can hide ourselves within a crowd.
The razor's edge of epithets, once hurled,
Slice deeply, biting down into the soul,
Of even tiny innocents, whose world,
Suddenly shattered, may never be whole.
And yet, the crowd, though none can reason why,
Still cast their darts to pierce each small cockshy.

Mick McKellar
May 2013

Many words in our language sound nothing like what they mean. In my ongoing journey to rediscover parts of my mother tongue (those seemingly "misplaced" in the last three years), I found the British word, cockshy. It has three meanings that evolved into the above poem:  1. the sport of throwing missiles at a target; 2. the target itself; and 3. an object of criticism or ridicule.

Also, I really wanted to write a poem rhyming anonymous and eponymous...

I wonder, if I call someone a horse's arse, is that a hippoponymous statement?

Mick


Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Sir Cavil Meets Charity Clement











Sir Cavil Meets Charity Clement

Young Charity was by Cavil beguiled;
Her white knight, (and son of her father's boss).
He greeted her warmly; she brightly smiled.
He winced, and whispered: "You forgot to floss."
Embarrassed, she swallowed her wrath, and spoke:
"I pray nothing else meets with your disdain."
He laughed lightly, as at a private joke,
And stepped back to examine her again.
He criticized her coiffure and her dress;
Disparaged decor, reviled their table,
And labeled their home a pathetic mess.
Softly, she said: "Let's go see the stable..."
Up close, she whispered, steaming his glasses:
"A stable is where people put asses."

Mick McKellar
May 2013

Please pardon my pun-ish wordplay. However, at some point in our lives, we have all met Sir Carper Cavil, niggler extraordinaire and general pain-in-the-posterior. Self-important and expert at fault-finding, he thrives on the foibles of regular folk, but fails in the rarefied atmosphere of the truly tolerant and nimble of wit.

Mick

Friday, May 03, 2013

Niccolò's Legacy











Niccolò's Legacy

Ah, Niccolò, how could you have foreseen,
The extent to which your maxims would grow?
They flourish in shadow, move quite unseen,
And thrive on the dark seeds their masters sow.
Ruthless and mean are the dogs in your pack,
Charming, disarming, and fast on their feet,
Claiming to follow a straight, moral track;
Reaching success through brute force and deceit.
Clothing their evil in moral stances,
And to placate security urges,
To secure power, not taking chances,
Exercise Machiavellian purges.
You taught them so well, it's in their genes:
That the ends always justify the means.

Mick McKellar
May 2013

Today, May 3, is the birthday of Niccolò Machiavelli. Hence the bitter tribute to a smart, but ruthless soul. It is appropriate that his name adorns the Dark Triad of personality disorders: narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.

Mick

Leviathan

It's May 3rd -- 30 degrees & snow?











Leviathan

Rimy denizen of vast halls of air,
Chilly beastie of the sub-arctic clime,
With only winter's frozen breath to share,
You have over-stayed your appointed time.
Though we love your favorite color, white,
And rainbow sun sparkling through the ice,
We tire of long and blustery, black nights,
And summer's promise held in glacial vise.
So though we dream of warm, sweet summer days,
To keep us warm during your polar dance,
You'd leave us grateful, full of joy and praise,
For your departure, giving spring a chance.
Dreading days when your icy beast comes forth,
Dire, gelid leviathan of the North.

Mick McKellar
May 2013


I looked out my window this morning, and somehow, "Winter, winter -- go away!" just didn't seem enough...

Mick

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Faithful Forensics












Faithful Forensics

Fingerprints

Examine our world with a microscope,
To search out answers too tiny to see,
And our eyes see wonders that bring us hope,
Or terrors viewed microscopically.
It's human nature to seek out and find,
Hidden concepts, circumstances, and clues:
Knowledge to help us unravel, unwind,
Gordian Knots -- why we do what we do.
Though our lens reveals that wonders abide
In our world, and acts of kindness, sublime;
Of late, we focus on the darker side,
Set on solving riddles involving crime.
And the evidence that we choose to share:
Evil leaves fingerprints everywhere...

Trace

Tools grow more powerful every day,
High-tech extensions of the human mind,
Seeking to grasp in a cutting-edge way,
Footprints and fragments and facts we can find.
Perhaps we need to look up, for a change,
Consider the beauty outside our door,
In the grand vistas of a mountain range,
And the sun-kissed warmth of the ocean shore.
As we follow the trails of evidence,
In our unending quest to understand
Our world, with the mighty tools of science,
Might we find trace of a loving hand?
When our macro-mind meets our micro-stare,
We'll find God's DNA everywhere.

Mick McKellar
April 2013

Perhaps I've watched too many forensics shows on television. The Midnight Poet woke me up early this morning with an image in my mind: Thousands of forensic scientists seeking trace evidence of an elephant's passage, while the elephant stands, undiscovered, in the center of the room.

Mick

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bedtime











Bedtime

Sometimes, I dream of when I was a kid,
And of my world, about discovery
Of who I am, and all the things I did,
Exploring each and ev'ry boundary.
My energy seemed boundless, and to spare.
My attention was claimed by countless things.
I tried so hard to focus everywhere
At once, I swear my little feet had springs.
Then bedtime came, the toughest time on Earth;
I seldom ever went there willingly:
A dreadnought chained by blankets to my berth.
I remember what my folks said to me,
The words each parent throughout time has said:
"I'm tired, it's time for you to go to bed."

Mick McKellar
April 2013


It's funny, the things you ponder as you grow older. I marvel at the energy levels maintained by young children, and sometimes, I wish I had a little of that boundless store of vitality...just for a little while.

Mick

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Grandpa

Neil McKellar, my great,great, great grandpa
 (I think I counted enough "greats")














Grandpa

Slowly deliberate, confident, fair,
Imported, as from a long distant past;
Cherished his snowy or iron-grey hair,
At least, the little that managed to last;
Telling incredible stories at length,
Of days much simpler and slower and free,
When young kids ran outside showing their strength,
By climbing to castles, high in a tree;
Glorious stories of days together,
Playing and living and learning to be
Part of an enduring, snug, all-weather,
Shielded and safeguarded community;
Proper patriarch of our family,
We called him Grandpa, and now, he is me!

Mick McKellar
April 2013


I spent a little time with two of my grandsons tonight. As we sat down to eat, the younger one grabbed my hand and said: "Grandpa, I want to sit next to you!" That simple statement warmed my ancient, crusty, relic of a heart; put a stupid grin on my hoary, worn face; and nearly coaxed a tear from an antiquated eye. I thought of my own grandfathers and their wonderful stories. I remembered how much my dad loved being "Grumpy," and how much Marian's dad loved being "Grandpa."

It's my turn, and it's absolutely wonderful!

Mick

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chalcedony


For Marian,

When passion first flares, the cold fire of diamond captures golden promise and reflects its luminescence for all to see. Though others may observe an absence of the dazzle and flare, they only need to look deeper to see lustrous fires, banked to burn bright through darkest, coldest night.

Love is not diamonds and dazzle, it is life bringing light.

Thank you for lighting my way in the night.

Mick


Chalcedony

See the diamond's fire of so long ago,
Whose brilliant passion challenged all starlight.
Our hearts were consumed by its argent glow,
And we blazed forth, twin comets in the night.
Though years may have dimmed our dazzle and flare,
And resplendent flashes are seldom perceived,
Our cabochon ruby effulgent, fair,
Pulses with each touch of warm light received.
I'm drawn to peer deeply where blazing bright,
Time-polished, deep fires still twinkle and shine,
Undimmed incandescence, life bringing light;
Candlelight glimpsed through the deepest red wine.
Our love is deep carnelian to me;
The warm, rich lustre of Chalcedony.

Mick McKellar
April 2013


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fixing It











Fixing It

I read newspapers and watch TV shows;
I scan through the news on the Internet.
Despite all the facts that humankind knows,
We don't get along with each other yet.
We shoot and we bomb and we politic,
Then we over-analyze what's gone wrong,
Till the mirrors and acrid smoke are thick,
Till the pressure to look away is strong.
Though we tout how well we communicate,
We use our technology to smother
Ourselves with stories of anger and hate.
Small wonder we can't live with each other.
Our response is nearly always the same:
We don't fix the problem, we fix the blame.

Mick McKellar
April 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lucky Man







Lucky Man

The last few days were a blast from the past,
Re-reading some of my old poetry.
I don't remember when I read it last,
And some of it even sounds new to me.
Deep down in the words, I read hopes and fears,
I felt once again the losses and gains.
Though hearkening back nigh a dozen years,
I felt once again the joys and the pains.
A different man was writing back then,
Unaware of the challenges to come.
Twas a joy to re-dream my dreams back when,
Our future seemed infinite and winsome.
When I looked back over that distant span,
I realized: I am a lucky man.

Mick McKellar
April 2013

I've been reviewing and archiving more than 20 years of poetry, most written in the last 12 years. I'm not yet half done, and the journey has been wonderful. What a joy to revisit the Mick that was me in 2003!

Mick

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Waiting for the Robins to Sing











Waiting for the Robins to Sing

Although the calendar says it is spring,
I am waiting for this winter to end.
I am waiting for the robins to sing,
And I'm weary of the winter white trend.
When the stingy winter sun shares its light,
I must squint when I look through a window,
For the crystalline ice sparkles so bright --
Near as blinding as our ocean of snow.
Under blankets frosty, silvery-pearled,
Oh, so softly tucked beneath winter eaves,
Sleeps a deep viridian summer world:
Dreaming infant dressed with burgeoning leaves,
Waiting for the ancient sun to shine down,
And tell old Jack Frost, it's time to leave town.

Mick McKellar
April 2013

So many have said it's the year of the Neverending Winter. I must believe our summer world slumbers beneath the ocean of snow whose nearest shore, is my front door. Think Spring!

Mick

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Daylight Savings Time










Daylight Savings Time

It's an anachronistic shift of time,
To save energy during days of war.
I must ask, in our frigid northern clime,
Does it track with common sense anymore?
Though we turn on the lights later each night,
And that saves some energy, I suppose,
The tardy arrival of morning light,
Means the lights are on later, heaven knows.
Standard time's great for those early to rise,
And savings time's great for those who sleep late.
Still losing an hour of sleep is no prize,
And resetting all our clocks is not great.
My alarm clock beckons me to my bed,
For at 2 AM, it must spring ahead!

Mick McKellar
March 2013

Ben Franklin may have mentioned the idea of saving time in the 18th century, but I am certain he was referring to getting out of bed before noon, not time shifting. Adopted in the U.S. for the first time in 1918, it was a way to save energy for the war effort. Resurrected during WWII for the same reason, it has continued, in uneven spurts and fits across the country ever since. Passionate people on both sides voice their opinions, and it seems we cannot leave the beginning and ending dates alone. What I don't understand is why I feel tired the night before the time shifts!

Mick

Friday, March 08, 2013

Hostage












Hostage


So desperate to wander out my door,
I peek through window shades to watch the sun:
A warm friend I can't visit anymore,
And not the only playmate I must shun.
For other friends can carry tiny threats,
Wee microscopic menaces, unreal,
Until my wimpy immune system lets
Them teach me just how bad someone can feel.
Instead of reaching out to those I know,
I hide within the confines of my home,
Dreaming of days of freedom, long ago,
And silently I wish that I could roam.
I'm hostage to a hidden enemy,
And fear the most the things I cannot see.

Mick McKellar
March 2013

Joseph Heller wrote in Catch-22, “Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.” For me, paranoia used to be a hobby, now it has become a way of life. I swear, one of these days, I will wash the skin right off my hands. There are days I want to throw caution to the wind and just mix and mingle, but common sense prevails before panic sets in. It is then I remember what William S. Burroughs wrote in his adventure novella Ghost of Chance: “Panic is the sudden realization that everything around you is alive.” Captain Mission was talking about the jungle of Madagascar, but for me it's just home...

Mick

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Rash Behavior











Rash Behavior


Consider the constant and private hell,
State of constant irritation you're in,
Compulsion to scratch in every cell,
When a rash appears somewhere on your skin.
We're taught, as children, not to scratch the site,
(Though we ache to chafe it with all we are),
Of a fever rash or an insect bite,
For fear of infection, or worse a scar.
Yet we just can't help but abrade the skin,
With a fingernail or some other tool.
To relieve the urge, we will dig right in,
But try to scratch in a way that looks cool...
Better -- if bothered by some itchy patch,
Remember, when out in public, don't scratch.

Mick McKellar
March 2013


I had to write this one -- it was just an itch I had to scratch...

Mick

Footprints in the Snow











Footprints in the Snow


The bitterness of winter troubles me,
Although there's beauty in its starkness, white;
Summer's vibrant life, gone so completely,
Smothered by blankets of milky samite.
As desert sand drifts and buries the past,
Blizzard blown snow strolls its bright, blinding path,
Tripping and filling each crevice so fast,
It wipes out all traces of winter's wrath.
I venture out into this world gone pale,
Hearkening back to robust, younger days,
But my age fails against the roaring gale,
And I stop, transfixed in a pallid haze.
The wind whispers, "You have further to go,"
Then fills up my footprints with drifting snow.

Mick McKellar
March 2013


I suppose I have always lived inside my own head, and perhaps that explains why I loved walking about in the midst of winter's fury. My health no longer permits such adventure, but memories of donning parka, boots, gloves or choppers, and a scarf to cover my face if necessary, still surface from time to time. Revelling in the frigid ferocity of an Alberta Clipper, dancing through drifts of silvery white, singing along with the winter wind's wail, all were perfected best after twilight -- when the solitude was most profound. I was life, warm and protected, standing in the midst of frozen oblivion, surveying the Stygian shore and patiently waiting for a chance to once again conquer death. These days, I find it best to remain indoors, cozy and warm, and remember the adventures, and the always transient footprints in the snow.

Mick

Monday, March 04, 2013

Stonebridge







Stonebridge


As step-by-step a massive bridge I cross,
Dark stone spanning a river, swift and cold;
The earth-bone arch, clothed in ivy and moss,
Stands adamant as bedrock, hard and old.
I wonder, was it built, or did it grow,
To cross the water's path from bank to bank?
Or did it heal a land cut by the flow,
As runnel ribbons sliced the valley's flank?
As I stride past the mid-point of the span,
Where keystones should have held the arch in place;
I realize I tread a giant hand,
Its owner granting leave, in silent grace.
I smile, and whisper softly, for His ear:
"Without Your gracious help, my path ends here..."

Mick McKellar
March 2013


I've crossed thousands of bridges in my life, and only some of them were the work of human minds and hands: The familiar Houghton/Hancock Bridge, the mighty Mackinac Bridge, and the spans crossing the Mississippi River near Red Wing, Minnesota spring to mind. Although these grand monuments to our engineering prowess and singular vision speak volumes regarding our need to connect to, and interact with each other, they are far from the only bridges we cross in our lives.

I have crossed mighty cataracts and yawning chasms in my life, and most were the terrible consequences of life events or decisions made (or avoided). Each time, as my path ends upon the nearest bank, I find an ancient stone bridge -- an arch that is so much more than a bridge, so much greater than any span built by man.

Mick

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Caregivers







Caregivers


I've fallen in love with the life I live,
Though my words often sing shadows of pain;
Ignoring those who have chosen to give
All they can, my precious life to retain.
Though my verbal barrages, thundering,
Echo of deep-hidden pain and despair;
A voice acerbic, often sundering
Love from compassion and duty from care;
My heart feels deeply what my eyes can't see,
And my ego's reluctant to admit:
That others have given a lot to me,
So much, I can barely comprehend it.
Though I act a curmudgeon, please forgive:
I've fallen in love with the life I live.

Mick McKellar
February 2013


I admit it: I am, sometimes, a curmudgeon. What is a curmudgeon? To be accurate, I looked it up and found this definition: a crusty, irascible, cantankerous, old person, full of stubborn ideas. Just imagine this guy...footsore, short of breath, and angry. That's me on a dark day, when I grumble, grouse, and grouch about, acting the churlish crosspatch for no apparent reason.

When my CML hayride began, I had many dark days and I think I fought on out of sheer stubbornness. However, I didn't fight alone. So many prayed, sent supportive messages and cards, and helped physically and fiscally, I was overwhelmed. My prose and poetry sometimes became somber and dark. Although I remain a semi-curmudgeon out of habit; I ask for patience. I may still take a walk in the shadows, but I have, indeed, fallen in love with the life I live -- and I live in the light friends and family give.

Mick

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saving Time







Saving Time

The Footsore Fox was again at my door.
As fatigued as I have ever seen him:
His eyes, puffy, irritated, and sore,
The bright flame that burned in those orbs seemed dim.

As he entered, he tripped on the threshold,
And stumbled wearily into my house.
He leaned on a chair, as though very old;
"So tired..." he squeaked, in a voice like a mouse.

"Here, sit in my chair," I said, "and just come
Sit down, while I brew a nice pot of tea.
Make yourself comfortable in my home."
But he stood there, as though he'd not heard me.

"We will sit and talk, I have lots of time!"
I said, and lifted his weary old bones.
It was then I heard his vest pocket chime,
And he whipped out one of those new smartphones.

I nearly dropped him, he moved so quickly,
With a growling grunt he shook himself free.
The Fox is often abrupt and prickly,
But he seldom behaves that way with me.

He stared intently at the little screen,
Then he tapped tiny buttons in reply.
But when no quick response was heard or seen,
He lowered his head and heaved a great sigh.

"I bought this new phone to help me save time!"
He cried, as he shook the shiny device.
"The salesman said wasting time is a crime,
And wouldn't a way to save it be nice?"

"He even gave me an app to record,
All the time I would save, using this tool.
He said I would never be late or bored,
And texting my friends is really cool!"

But Fox said he had friends he didn't know,
Who were texting messages, so inane
It seemed silly, but he answered them, so
The open prompt didn't drive him insane.

"I can read news and check on the weather!"
He cried, fixing me with his eyes bleary.
"My Facebook and e-mail...all together,
On one device that I carry with me!"

"And when was the last time you slept?" Asked I.
"I don't remember..." He mumbled, and sighed
Something about getting organized, by
Using the calendar app that he tried.

When he fell asleep in my easy chair,
I shut off his smartphone to let him rest.
I covered him up, and just left him there:
My softly snoring and bone-weary guest.

He woke hours later, and took his leave,
But before he left, he grinned sheepishly.
He'd opened the app and could not believe,
The time saved file was completely empty!

That it was empty did not surprise me;
You can't save time, only spend it wisely.

Mick McKellar
February 2013


My old friend Footsore Fox is back for a visit, and he brought a new toy. His smartphone was supposed to save time, but cost him more wasted time than he ever could have imagined. I missed old Fox and his sometimes companion (sometimes combatant) the Ribald Rabbit.

Mick

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dark Days










Dark Days


On dark days I wonder why I survive,
Why, though I may drift so near the abyss,
I return from each journey quite alive --
Why I come back from every near miss.
The darkness of dark days originates,
Under massive grey clouds, blocking the sun:
The shattered shadow my mind generates,
Making each movement toward the light hard won.
I can't make it back from there all alone.
I can't swim against that robust riptide.
Suddenly, although sinking like a stone,
Mighty hands lift me: a warm gentle ride.
And though I am powerless in my plight,
I once again dance in bright golden light.

Mick McKellar
February 2013

It is day 733 since my transplant, and although two years have passed since I received that most precious gift from my brother, not every day has been sweet. Not every day has been bright. I have traveled in shadow, through darkness deep and dangerous, to the very edge of life and fought against the pull toward the long sunless sleep. I came back, but not alone. Mighty hands lifted me up and powerful prayers helped carry me home.

Mick

Jack's Advice











Jack's Advice


Love and water will not flow up a hill,
Without breaking nature's most basic laws.
Though many may find this a bitter pill,
The axiom is bound to give us pause.
A gentle slope, the best plumbers will say,
Will keep things moving along as they should,
But force it to flow any other way,
You could plug the whole system up for good.
So, building relationships is the same:
Gently moving forward's the way to go;
The steep slopes of both withering self blame,
And suffocating study stop the flow.
Follow this, and your relationships will
Be as easy as tumbling down the hill...

Mick McKellar
February 2013


I am not entirely certain how Jack and Jill and basic plumbing became entangled in the back of my mind, but this bit of fun was the end result. In the unending search for profundity, one often trips over one's own clown shoes. I was just searching about in the dark, dusty attic of my mind -- and stumbled across this mathom.

Mick

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cry Magic










Cry Magic


A poet's soul has a great empty hole,
He spends most of his life trying to fill.
Yet, he has no hope of reaching his goal,
For each poem he writes empties the till.
His mind reaches out for inspiration,
And gathers whatever magic it finds,
Until it erupts, a conflagration
So bright, it must be shared with other minds.
That magic exists in the world at all,
Is a secret known and mostly ignored,
By minds so distracted and held in thrall
To noise, embraced to avoid being bored.
A poet cries, "Listen," sings with his soul,
And searches for magic to fill the hole.

Mick McKellar
February 2013

I was born with an artist's eye and the hands of a farmer. I hear and see music: grand arias I cannot sing, and wondrous, towering symphonies I cannot play. Light touches my eyes at angles oblique -- liquid velvet in myriad hues. I love to see snow dancing on the wind and to fall asleep to the rhythm of rain on the roof. There is magic in the lullaby a summer breeze sings and a siren's call in wind waves coursing through golden wheat. Eyes tell me tales and sing songs of love lost and found. Smiles light a room or hide fear and aggression. The world is a magical, musical place, if you look beyond the noise and the barricades. Light or dark, I look for that magic and share it as best my words suffice.

Poet's Prayer











Poet's Prayer


Lord, grant me eyes to see music in life,
And ears to hear colors in voices roused.
Let me taste my words before they are rife,
And touch hearts and souls where they will be housed.
Let me feel the flow of time in my soul,
And my spirit dance in the sky above.
Let me race the wind over gentle knoll,
And move a great cloud with an airy shove.
Let me bask in the joy of mornings bright,
And taste the wonder of life each new day.
Let me hear the whispers of stars at night,
And gain wisps of wisdom from what they say.
Let me climb to the top of Heaven's tree,
And catch just a glimpse of eternity.

Mick McKellar
February 2013

Do poets pray? From personal experience, I would say they must. That my view of the world differs from others is a fact of my life. A poet paints with words and finds the music in life all around. If this were not so, all poetry would be lyrics with no melody, no harmony  no rhythm. Dead words cannot bring images to life. Finding life in whispered words, soft sounds, and the touch of wind on my face and sharing that experience is the heart of what I do.

Mick