Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Old Words, New Friends

His voice crackles from its frayed edges,
And from the surge of his sputtering dynamo --
Pushing and pleading, cajoling
Old and familiar words to carry more:
To hang longer in the dusty air,
To sizzle and pop and dance
With the urges and sins of youth --
Almost forgotten, except in dusty dreams.

Savory words, gone salty and rich
With harmonies of hue and hazy shadow,
Beckon your child mind to drift and dream,
Plunge, ever-so-slowly,
Through a honey-rich patina, polished
By ageless passage and care;
To find the youthful spirits and ageless wonders
Who linger there.

Mick McKellar
June 2021

Why do old men write poems? One question. One million answers.


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Crumbling of the Stoic’s Wall

Grey stones recall the passing rain and wind.
They rest reclined on mortar, brittle bound
To brethren burked, unable to rescind
The wit and wisdom sealed them to this ground.
Through quietude, the silence of the nights;
The warmth of sunlight, dappled on their flanks;
And press of winter’s snow and cold that bites;
Long silent stones find neither praise nor thanks.
But walls are built by man, though strong and just,
And all things age as seasons shuffle by.
Time leeches life and mortar turns to dust;
The stones themselves grow weathered, worn, and die.
For all things mortal temporary be,
Except for love, which lives eternally.

Mick McKellar
May 2021

I am, perhaps, feeling my mortality this fine sunny day and wondering about the durability of what I may leave behind when I depart.


Tuesday, May 11, 2021


I found him crumbled in his rump-sprung chair,
A wizened stump comprised mainly of bark.
Bright sunlight made a halo of his hair,
His eyes like jewels, twinkling in the dark,
Under the cliff his brow hung o'er his face.
It seemed impossible that he had shaved,
A face so seamed and craggy e'vry place,
One needed magic just to get it laved.
A rumble stirred within his ancient breast.
His tree-limb arm sprung forth and grabbed my hand.
The gnarly tree unfolded from its nest,
But didn't need my aid to help him stand.
He laughed, then whispered (as close as seemly),
"I'm so happy that you came to see me!"

Mick McKellar
May 2021

The important thing is to be there.


Monday, April 26, 2021

I Tasted This Morning

Morning, though sweet, needs some salt from the night:
Mellow, astringent, refreshing and new.
Lavender sunshine births savory light,
Softly caressed by reflections from dew.
Slowly, my benighted orbs are revealed --
Starving, voracious from nocturnal fast,
Beholding a feast which had been concealed;
My eyes devour this shining repast.
Dawn tastes like rich golden honey and cream;
Sunlight is richer and savory sweet,
Misty bright sunbeams are marshmallow dream,
Blended they spin to a gossamer treat.
Spoonful by spoonful of sweet delight,
I tasted this morning -- loved every bite!

Mick McKellar
April 2021

Just waking up can be the sweetest treat of your day.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Lost Card

Ancestral voices led me on a chase,
From comfy repose to a cold, lightless place,
On a moor so ancient that none could find ,
This abyss that sequestered in my mind.

Though certain the old ones would want me found,
Would make sure that saviors abounded around;
I felt abandoned, forgotten, and lost,
Perhaps a rescue had too high a cost.

I stumbled along on a gravel path,
Through a garden's neglected aftermath,
To a wrought iron gate, with a latch gone slack,
And a glass veranda dusty and black.

The gate squeaked just once, and not very much.
The place came alive at my slightest touch:
Dust sloughed away and the glass gleamed so bright,
I needed a moment to clear my sight.

A building, so beautiful and immense,
It overwhelmed me, and it made no sense.
It stretched right and left, far as I could see,
On the lintel it read "Grand Library."

I knew right away I'd been here before;
I entered through a revolving glass door.
A crystal ceiling, mahogany walls,
And travertine floors gleamed in thousand halls!

Elated, I ran to indulge myself.
I grabbed a book from a nearby shelf.
The cover said "Dune," a favorite book,
I opened the cover and took a look...

Nearly every word had gone away!
Some pages were white, and others were grey:
All books, scripts, or poems that I could see
Were gone, were just empty pages to me.

I wander the halls sometimes in my dreams.
I wonder if all is lost as it seems.
I visit my white room when pain is hard,
And pray I find my lost library card.

Mick McKellar
April 2021

The first time I revisited my grand library after the chemotherapies was a scary dream and a sad reckoning with human frailty.


Monday, March 22, 2021


Waxing wry and dry I juggle phrases,
To communicate what my mind conceives;
From dark, heartfelt slams to empty praises,
From fiction to truth that my heart believes.
Yet our tongue is delicate, so fragile,
A phrase can shatter, or turn in your hand.
Poke becomes lunge, piercing those not agile
Enough to parry or beat or to stand.
Shattering, jagged fragments of wordsplay,
Rend and tear with mortal ferocity,
Leaving remise or feint, defense or delay,
A riposte too late -- mere loquacity.
A thought or a breath after such a churn,
May just leave our world and never return.

Mick McKellar
March 2021

The seeming anonymity and safety of social media can lead to unintended harm.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Hack Attack

Each hack breaks my will, my joy, all my best,
Lost wind tears breath from my struggling breast;
It pulls at my eyes, that can no longer tear,
And my ears hear my fears soaring swiftly near.
Raw, rasping rattles of strained, painful breaths,
Offering lung tissues solitary deaths
As they flicker and fade with each exhalation:
Curious carnage of forced expiration.
Flecks of the conquered, as expulsed issue,
Collects on the soft, white breast of a tissue.

Comes a pause, and with it a sudden hope,
That the long strangulation has run out of rope.
Hope that is dashed once again, as if willed
By a demon, the storm clouds gather and build.
Lightning soon strikes an elusive trigger.
With each round, the storm’s force grows bigger and bigger,
Till the trigger, obliterated at last,
Signals the storm has finally passed.

Mick McKellar
March 2021

Someone asked me to describe the experience of a bronchiolitis obliterans coughing attack.