Friday, July 24, 2020

Quarantined

Behind closed doors, and yards-cum-moors,
We haunt our grim redoubt.
We feed our fears, while bored to tears,
And dream of getting out.

We fill our sink with time to think,
But passion plugs the drain.
Our space gets filled, as pressures build,
The whole house feels the strain.

As mem'ries jog, the catalog
Of grievances expands,
'Til the terrain cannot contain,
The rage and reprimands.

We pace the floor, ready for war...
Will someone cop a plea?
Will someone wise apologize,
And set the captives free?

To live life well, we must not dwell,
But forgive and move on.
We all have debts, and sad regrets,
For love and life are one.

Mick McKellar
July 2020


Trying to stay safe and secured from the corona virus has its own dangers. We rely on time alone to relieve the pressures of constant interaction. Like it or not, we all keep score.

Mick

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Anemoi

Aeolus, your kin wreak havoc herein,
They argue and battle across our isle.
The season of Zephyrus can’t begin,
While Boreas blows down hill and defile.
Till gone when Aurora calls him back home,
The languorous zephyr grows lazy, warm;
Welcoming Notus to gather and roam,
His desiccated sirocco to storm.
Summoned in Exodus, evil to bring,
A harbinger of disease and of blight,
Wild shrieks and soft whispers of Eurus sing,
Accompany Notus to Autumn’s night.
This chorus of voices, this gallery
Of gods, sing of life and of death to me.

Mick McKellar
July 2020


The howling winds and crashing thunder overnight brought to mind the battles of the Greek wind gods over the islands in the Mediterranean sea. Lives of islanders and sailors alike were thought to be controlled by the battles of these blowhards.

Mick

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Unseen Battle

His battle scars ranged wide and deep,
Haunting every thought and dream.
Oft fighting demons while asleep,
And once again, with dawn's first gleam.

Essentially, he lived alone;
His family were all afraid.
It seemed he never could atone,
For awful statements that he made.

He wandered lost in visions wild;
In dreams of darkness, death, and war.
He struggled, helpless as a child,
Amidst the scents and sights of gore.

The anguish of bleak memories,
That tortured him within his head,
Seemed fated ne'er to grant surcease,
And made him wish that he were dead.

The doctors gave him many pills,
They said would drive the dreams away,
And staunch  the shaking, and the chills;
Ague that filled his ev'ry day.

The medications fogged his mind;
They made him careless, distant, bland.
He missed the message to remind:
To wear a mask or wash a hand.

Too soon, he had a rasping cough
And fever, something gone amiss.
As if his demons weren't enough,
He'd met his viral nemesis.

He lay inert, his face unseen,
Behind the plastic tubes and tape.
His life's breath came from a machine,
His eyes taped shut, his mouth agape.

Within his coma, in the dark,
He heard a strange and welcome song,
Sung by a man, tall, gaunt, and stark:
Compelling him to sing along.

The Minstrel dressed in green attire,
He smiled a smile both broad and kind.
"Come warm yourself by my small fire,"
He called, "and ease your weary mind!"

That night, in ICU they said,
The staff reported what they'd seen:
Before the veteran was dead,
A flash of brilliant emerald green.

Mick McKellar
July 2020


I can only imagine how busy The Minstrel must be these days.

Mick

Monday, July 13, 2020

Midday Amber

Caught in midday amber,
in liquid fire from our star,
I sat in sunlight this afternoon,
and the sun didn’t run away.

Its tongue licked scars on my arms and legs.
Its glance knew joy in my bones.
The molten tears each sunbeam cried,
washed ice from my wintry heart,
soothed softly the iron ache,
of winter’s grip on joint and thew.

I soaked in sunlight,
adrift on golden waves,
as silver seconds rolled away.
I sought safe, shady harbor,
in the shadow of redoubt.
I prayed the ever-present beast
dreamt on, and noticed not my sin.

Mick McKellar
July 2020


Those of us with Graft versus Host Disease -- a side effect of a stem cell transplant -- are supposed to avoid the sun because its welcome, warm rays can damage ravaged skin and trigger various forms of skin cancer. A visit on our deck captured me for nearly 10 minutes in golden warmth.

Mick

Monday, July 06, 2020

Great Dream On A Great Lake

As I watched the lake resplendent,
And the sunset burnished waves,
My dream skipped independent,
Of how a proper dream behaves.
It touched the cold, dark vastness,
Swiftly leapt into the sky,
And burst free from the fastness
Of my heart -- without goodbye.

O'er the waters of a cold sea,
On the Northwind, flies a dream,
Of a country born to breathe free,
Shining faces all agleam.
Rainbow visages are cheering,
All are standing, hand in hand,
At long last, their hopes appearing:
Equal freedoms in our land!

Mick McKellar
July 2020


Ever have a sudden daydream, a searing moment when the beauty of your surroundings draws out a deep seated dream and sends it soaring? Happens to me more often now, given the constant barrage of dreaded news about hatred, bigotry, cruelty, and selfishness. I want Norman Rockwell to come back and paint for us an America that loves again.

Mick

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Spending a Summer Day

I didn't watch the Sun arise;
I awoke as my room grew warm.
The blankets that sheltered my form,
Created a sweltering storm,
And forced open my sleep-filled eyes.

In air, treacle thick, warm and dense,
I gasped: a distressed, landed fish,
With only one desperate wish,
At once, drastic, dire, and delish:
To breathe freely in self-defense!

The terror of waking soon passed;
And oxygen-based life commenced.
As time was a-wasting, I sensed
It's measure becoming condensed,
And urgency moved me, at last.

I asked me: "What should I do
With today's teaspoon of time?"
Should I spend it seeking a rhyme
Or two, despite knowing that I'm
Old, and my "sell-by" date grows due?

The summer air whispered me true:
That sharing is love (as I guessed),
And time spent in writing is blessed.
So I cast about for a guest,
And shared my precious time with you.

Mick McKellar
June 2020


Time can't really be saved. It can only be spent wisely or wasted.  Thanks for helping me spend some precious time wisely.

Mick

Monday, June 29, 2020

A Simple Prayer

Watch o'er this heart of mine,
When night negates the day.
Let happy smiles define,
Those touched along my way.

Let empathy stay wrath,
Within my passing wake,
And may my wand’ring path,
Grant love for living’s sake.

And please, show those who hate,
The emptiness it brings.
I pray it’s not too late,
To pray for all these things.

Please let my dreams tonight,
Though filled with fantasy,
Be welcome in your sight,
And set my spirit free.

Mick McKellar
June 2020


I thought: What would a simple man pray for in these dark days?

Mick

Monday, June 08, 2020

Ever Green

Shadows wander around my heart,
and the air, heavy with Spring,
presses hard upon hope for Summer's blessings.
And yet, the setting sun's tail
laps across the lake,
to brush the shore,
caressing chilled feet
on lake-soaked sand,
and frigid fingers,
damp from cloud tears
upon life newly awakened. 
I taste again the chill bite
of Superior's breath,
as her whispers sigh
among the pine, the fir, and the tamarack.
A peace disturbed only by ravenous pest,
a-wing and thirsty for blood and sapiens flesh.

A memory?
Yes...and fond despite winged banquet guests.
An echo wrought from tattered remnants,
recent and remote.
A reveille arising
to sue for peace of soul and spirit,
ravaged and left raw,
among the scattered images
of human inhumanity to fellow travelers
on this tiny speck of blue among the stars.

I stand:
My feet awash with earth and sea,
my hands among life ever green
and touched by sky-borne dew,
my face aglow with sun and breeze,
and enraptured by the song of life,
my eyes filled with the glory of creation,
the world, the universe, and God.
I feel the oneness of us all.

Loss of one is loss to all;
None too large and none too small.
The light of life, come night or day,
We have no right to steal away.
Despite the lies the haters preach,
The light inside is same for each:
Equality, felt, heard, and seen,
Makes love among us ever green.

Mick McKellar
June 2020


A love song to life and understanding.

Mick

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Clouds Bow Down

Clouds bow down to taste the ground,
The salt and savory, sweet and sour;
The flavor of man’s touch around
The musky grass, the delicate flower.
Their misty touch remembers all,
From morning light to midnight hour.

Rain sweeps down to wash the soil,
To polish, carve, collect, and sweep.
To end its soft, relentless toil,
And fill vast basins, wide and deep.
The power of its restless flow,
Remembers all it’s wont to keep.

Snow falls softly from grey skies,
Clouds and rain are bound in ice,
To hide from Nature’s weary eyes
The unhealed scars, the painful price.
The memories of clouds and rain,
Of Earth’s enduring sacrifice.

Mick McKellar
May 2020


When the snow melts each Spring, the memories of last year’s storms and activity are laid bare for all to see. Otherwise, only the clouds and the rain remember…

Mick

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Hiraeth

My heart cries out from deep within my breast,
A wailing, keening, tearing of the night,
That cries unfelt, unheard by all the rest
Who share this dawn, this soft, cascading light.
Awake at last, my soul -- bereft, forlorn,
Swift rises to the challenge of the day,
And stands, and shakes, the cost of being torn,
Homesick, from dreams of comfort far away;
From darkness-opened doors to warmth and peace,
Enough to eat, and arms to hold you tight,
And make the shooting, shouting, screaming cease.
A world of dreams that lives only at night.
A  home that never was, for which I grieve;
Perhaps some night, I'll dream and never leave...

Mick McKellar
April 2020


We all long for peace and warmth and love -- for a home to which we can return when the world beats us bloody and we need to feel safe. Some only know this in their dreams, and some leave us too soon to seek that solace.

Mick

Friday, April 24, 2020

Cracked Window

Rumbled, jumbled, ruined, and wracked,
My window on the world has cracked.
The fractures cause me to perceive,
Our home -- exhausted, I believe.

Trees are grey and air gone inky,
Our blue lake is green and stinky.
Nothing that grows is safe to eat,
And pavement buckles in the heat.

Food comes only as tasteless cubes,
Water only in plastic tubes,
And treadmills walked till late at night,
Provide the only source of light.

The air is thick with dust, a hot
Soup as likely to kill as not.
Those who work at the masters' tasks,
Are sometimes given safety masks.

The masters live in towers, high
Enough to reach the cold blue sky;
Or else they travel endlessly,
On yachts that ply the dying sea --

Consuming lives of countless poor,
The refuse of the teeming shore,
Until they, eventually,
Consume all of humanity.

Rumble, jumble, ruin, and wrack,
I fixed my window's massive crack;
But our time grows short, I perceive,
To fix the future, I believe.

Mick McKellar
April 2020


I overslept today, and found myself trapped in a dystopian dream reached through a looking glass that was badly cracked. This is my glimpse of a possible destination along our current path of unfettered consumption.

Mick

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

A Field of Flames

A field of flames shivers with tiny quakes.
Sparks suffocate and never grow older,
And the core of the Earth quivers and shakes,
As our brief fire, in passing, grows colder.
The bright human dance on this ancient globe,
Dims briefly, as vanishing points of light
Flash and demur in a cascading strobe,
Piercing the veil of encompassing night.
Though numbers are numbing, taken en mass --
No face, no voice, and therefore dismissed.
With each little spark a miracle passed;
A wonder, no longer touched, loved, or kissed.
The enormity of loss is measured,
Only when every flame is treasured.

Mick McKellar
April 2020


I remembered the sorrow I felt when a small bird flew into our window and broke its neck. A small spark of life extinguished in a moment and gone forever. Then I hear the death count from the pandemic and the enormity of those individual lives gone too soon overwhelmed me.

Mick

Monday, March 02, 2020

Pushing the Season


Late winter’s call has a bone chilling voice,
Ignore at your peril its warnings dire!
Fashion may call for a warm weather choice,
But you’ll get frostbite in summer attire.
Skies look inviting when dressed in bright blue.
Sunshine makes everything look so nice.
Remember a fact that is also true:
Blue is a color of freshwater ice.
Spring will arrive, and will melt hearts and snow.
Summer will come in its appointed time -- 
Time to wear warm weather cape and chapeau.
Why get them covered in road salt and rime?
Keep that inelegant drip from your nose:
Wear your appropriate winter-weight clothes.

Mick McKellar
March 2020

I see it every year. Folks wear shorts and winter parkas, or walk to school in a hoodie
at 25℉, pushing the season to wear more fashionable clothes. 

Mick

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Manipulator

In a well-lived life, we will bark our shins,
Stub our big toes, and jam the little ones.
We’ll collect misunderstandings and sins,
Even grow angry and laugh at bad puns.
Because we have such emotional range,
The world can make us both happy and sad.
Emotions allow us to dance with change,
And learn to adapt to news -- good or bad.
Beware the wily manipulator,
The monster, who feeds on your hate and fear
With paranoid dreams, an agitator
Who'll steal all your freedoms, all you hold dear.
Just living’s a painful enough prologue,
We don’t need the help of a demagogue!

Mick McKellar
February 2020


We cause enough emotional damage just living our lives. As we grow and mature, we manage to heal and get along -- most of the time. Along comes a manipulator, one with a talent for fanning fear and hatred into unthinking frenzy. Fear is the mind killer and the captor of souls. Beware! Stop and take stock of your blessings. Clear your mind, and maybe you can see the manipulation.

Mick

Friday, February 21, 2020

Palette

A man once lived in a world of red,
From crimson shoes to red hair on his head.
He ate tomatoes, sliced very fine,
And drank only semi-dry, dark-red wine.

One day, on the border with the world of blue,
A cerulean maiden was tying her shoe.
Her azure dress caught his roving eye,
For it matched the color of her world's sky.

His bloodshot eyes met hers -- deep blue...
And in that instant, they both knew
They'd struggle to find a secret place,
For their purple passion's fond embrace.

But there wasn't any place to hide;
So they straddled the border, half on each side.
Their romance glowed with rainbow hues,
And soon they shared some gladsome news.

They loudly called to all with grins,
"We're pregnant, with a set of twins!"
Their offspring were a startling sight:
For one was black and one was white...

Each day they searched again, anew,
For harmony in spite of hue,
And lived a lesson for me and you:
They're family - black, red, white, and blue.

Mick McKellar
February 2020


I found this poem, unfinished, from March 2008. I liked its message and finished it this morning.

Mick

Thursday, February 20, 2020

What I Learned from Harry Potter

I learned that master storytellers still
Exist, and share the magic of their tales;
That simple stories, told with passion, will
Prove that imagination still prevails
Against the darkness of our modern age --
A separation by technology,
From wonders shared upon the printed page,
From truths captured in words for all to see;
That riches based on privilege and gold,
Are mirrored shadows shining brilliantly,
But truest riches can't be bought or sold --
A precious gift from friends and family;
That no one can survive alone, apart,
And magic's true source is the human heart.

Mick McKellar
April 2008


I discovered this poem buried on an old thumb drive, probably written in the wee hours of the morning and forgotten the next day. It seems somehow appropriate now. We need some magic.

Mick

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Me That Used to Be

Though I still grieve for me that used to be,
The me I am is prone to give me pause,
To stand apart, to see what I can see:
Am I "cause célèbre" or Santa Claus?
My memories have mirrors full of smoke;
My mental movies flicker and demur.
A dagger of the mind I can't uncloak:
The life I used to live has grown obscure.
Don't get me wrong, I love that I still live,
That I still have a story to be told,
That I still have a gift or two to give.
The me I am is something to behold!
I love that I'm still here and I am me,
Yet, still I grieve for me that used to be.

Mick McKellar
February 2020


Although I still struggle and fight to remain alive and adapt to my new life, I suppose it's just human nature to still grieve a little for the way I used to be.

Mick

Monday, February 03, 2020

Subtle Wind

I sometimes wonder what I’d hear,
If the hissing wind stopped blowing.
If voices whispering in my ear,
Went silent -- silently going.

What would the sound of no sound be?
Like darkness in the blackest night?
Or is it soft, dark, real to me,
Like blackest earth in deep twilight?

Just once in church’s nave to pray,
And sense the angels listening,
While multicolored light of day,
Reveals my eyes are glistening.

To offer love and silent prayer,
In plaintive voice of mind and soul,
And hear their passage through the air,
As upward they soar toward their goal.

And then, to quiet heart and mind,
Let stillness bring peace and accord;
To listen for the subtle wind,
The silent whisper of the Lord.
Mick McKellar
February 2020

I’ve never known the sound of silence because of the windless wind in my ears.

Mick

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Protest

Between the super-massive cacophonies
And Earth-shattering upheavals ,
Lies the momentary peace
When the world takes a breath,
To begin the next cycle.

I want to be the tiny whisper
On the silent wind
During that pregnant pause.
I want to ask:
Why?
How?
At what cost?
Is it truth? Is is right?
"What about me...is there room for me in your new world?"

I want to laugh at the ridiculous.
I want to cry with the victims.
I want to sing the songs of change,
And recite the poetry of remembrance.
I want to write words that encourage those
Blinded by hate, goaded by fear, and misled by liars and charlatans--
To open their eyes and really look at what is happening around them
And to them.
I want to question power and scoff at riches,
Searching for what humanity remains beneath.

Physically, I am not imposing.
Mentally, I am not a giant.
My heart has seen darkness and did not die.
I have traveled to death's door and returned.
I have something to say.

Mick McKellar
January 2020