Monday, December 22, 2014

A Hermit's Christmas

A Hermit's Christmas

All alone I listen,
To the empty dark.
Though the snow may glisten,
Winter seems so stark.
No one stops to tarry,
At my recluse door;
Visitors are wary,
So they come no more.

Watching winter’s progress,
Through a pane of glass:
Nature’s frozen excess,
Studied like a class.
TV tells me stories,
Internet tells lies,
Muse my inventories,
Learning to be wise.

Safe inside my refuge,
Days fly swiftly past.
Fearing I’ll become Scrooge,
Christmas comes at last.
Soft at first, I hear it:
Voices on the air,
Lauding Christmas spirit,
Sing everywhere.

Lights glow in the gloaming,
Sparkle in my eyes;
Specks of starlight roaming,
Through the crystal skies.
Suddenly I’m flying,
Through the ether, cold.
Filled with joy, I’m crying,
Tears of gleaming gold.

All the hearts below me,
Smile as I wing by.
Captive soul now set free --
Heaven in a sigh.
Suddenly my spirit,
Carols to the night;
All below can hear it:
Christmas song in flight.

Mick McKellar
December 2014

I fear becoming a hermit as I remain apart from groups of friends during the flu and cold seasons. Christmas comes to the rescue, letting my spirit take flight.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Green Trees

Green Trees

The twinkle and flash of Christmas tree lights,
Leap through the darkness of cold winter nights,
Piercing the crystal of clear icy air,
Leaving bright brilliant trails everywhere;
A dazzling holiday feast of delights.

The ornaments hung on limbs glow and gleam,
And dance in the grandeur Christmas lights beam.
Each one a memoir of glad memories,
Stirring such happy yuletide reveries,
They softly beget a delightful dream.

Yet all of the twinkle, the lights one sees,
Through crystalline windows with practiced ease,
Dance on naturally lush tapestries,
Framed by organic, verdant fantasies:
The beautiful backdrop of lush green trees.

Mick McKellar
December 2014

In all the wonder of flashing lights and sparkling ornaments, sometimes we fail to appreciate the beauty of the tree.


The Taste of Dreams

The Taste of Dreams

My mind savors the flavors of the night:
To taste the darkness, bitter and spicy,
Soft, caressing my palate precisely,
Now made mellow by the absence of light.
Crave a nibble, a sweet to nosh awhile,
Or feast of fancy to sate a vast void?
Seek a reverie, fantasia employed
To enchant a dream, perception beguile —
Peppery, piquant, giving fulsome zest
To fanciful fare, prepared to extremes,
Exclusively enjoyed in lavish dreams;
A bounty apportioned for but one guest.
A nightly repast that’s just what it seems:
The flavorful festival of my dreams.

Mick McKellar
December 2014

The banquet of my dreams can sometimes leave me with mental indigestion and a bad taste in my memories.


Friday, December 05, 2014

The Gull of It All

The Gull of It All

A parody of E. A. Poe's The Raven

In the UP Winter dreary, while I shivered, cold and bleary,
Reading many a dim and spurious meme of Facebook lore,
While I pondered Christmas wrapping, bored to tears and almost napping,
I heard someone grossly rapping, rapping Christmas tunes and more.
"'Tis some young singer," I muttered, "rapping songs that I adore-
                Turn it off, I'll hear no more."

Oy! I barely can remember, it was bleak in last December,
The still ghost of dead November lay in tatters on the floor.
Eagerly I wished for sunlight;- vainly hoping that the sun might
Move the clouds aside and shine bright- bright upon my bedroom floor-
For that rare and radiant sunlight which the angels must adore-
                Gone from here for evermore.

Then a glimmer, sad, uncertain peaking through my bedroom curtain
Thrilled me- filled me with such frantic tremors never felt before;
Shock me now, to start the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some dim sunlight entreating entrance at my bedroom door-
Some little brightness entreating entrance at my bedroom door;-
                Just a glimpse, and nothing more."

Presently my heart beat stronger; sinus rhythm growing longer,
"Come,"I cried,"Forget the monger, truly your attention I implore;
But that awful Christmas rapping, bothered me as I was wrapping,
And so nearly almost napping, napping on my bedroom floor,
That I scarce was sure I saw it"- here I opened wide the door;-
                Just a flash, and nothing more.

Deep into that whiteness peering, long I stood there eyes a'tearing,
Doubting, daylight dreams no Yooper ever dared to dream before;
But the bleakness was unbroken, and the houseplants all were croakin',
And the only word there spoken was the shout, "Hey, close the door!"
Then I whispered once an echo, murmured back, "I shut the door!"-
                Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into my bedroom turning, toes and fingers cold and burning,
Soon again I glimpsed with yearning, something brighter than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is brightness at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what that light is, and this mystery explore-
Close my eyes for just a moment and this mystery explore;-
                Is it sun, or something more?"

Open here I flung the curtain, and though totally uncertain,
There I saw a shaft of sunlight as in history books of yore;
When a seagull came a'flapping; perched on windowsill and crapping;
On the roof below my window, screamed at me and crapped some more-
Perched outside my frozen window just next to my bedroom door-
                Perched, and crapped, and nothing more.

Then this rat with wings so craven sat there like a image graven,
By the artisans of carving down upon the tourist shore.
"Were thy feathers washed and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no Raven,
For the grim and ancient Raven wanders on the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy common name is on the Lake Superior shore!"
                Quoth the Seagull, "Pottymore."

Held my breath as this ungainly fowl began to speak so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was cursed to find a seagull near his bedroom door-
Bird or beast on sill so near his chilly bedroom door,
                With such name as "Pottymore."

But the Seagull, sitting lonely on the windowsill, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a slimy feather fluttered-
Till I winked and softly muttered, "Other birds have flown before-
In a moment you will leave me, leave that spot so near my door."
                Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by the word so harshly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Learned from some unhappy neighbor whose loud voice and swift-thrown caber
Or a broom swung like a saber till his cries one burden bore-
Till this deadly dirge of Hope that makes of speech a mindless bore
                Of 'Never- Pottymore'."

But the Seagull sitting, staring, perched on windowsill uncaring,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned chair hoping just to block the door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I took breath and smelled the stinking
Of the raw bird poop, and thinking what this ruinous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
                Meant in croaking "Pottymore."

Then I sat with shallow breathing, evil smells around me wreathing,
From the fowl whose yellow orbs calmly eye'd my bedroom floor;
This and more I saw while choking, gasping and wretchedly croaking,
On the cushion's velvet lining that the sunlight gloated o'er,
But that velvet violet lining with the sunlight gloating o'er,
                Birds shall touch ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, stench derived from wretched censer
Swung by evil pets who often tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "though God hath sent thee- and by these travails has bent me,
Respite- respite and nepenthe, from a new fragrant encore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget your vile encore!"
                Quoth the Seagull, "Pottymore."

"Rodent!" said I, "thing of evil! - rodent still, if bird or devil! -
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this frozen land enchanted-
On my home by ichor haunted- send me fresh air, I implore-
Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!"
                Quoth the Seagull, "Pottymore."

"Chicken!" said I, "thing of evil! - chicken still, if bird or devil!
By what that Heaven sends above us- by that God that I adore-
Tell this soul with shallow breathing if, within that ordorous wreathing,
It shall gasp a sweet breath taken when I open up my door-
Gasp a rare and sweet breath taken when I open up my door."
                Quoth the Seagull, "Nevermore."

"Be that word your sign in leaving, bird or fiend," I shrieked, and grieving-
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Lake Superior shore!
Leave no more poop as a token of that digestive tract broken!
Leave me or you'll soon be croakin'!- quit the window near my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and shade my window nevermore!"
                Quoth the Seagull, "Pottymore."

Now the Seagull, isn't flitting, isn't sitting, isn't sitting
On the window sill so near upon my bedroom door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon dead, not dreaming,
And the sunlight o'er him streaming throws no shadow on the floor;
I shot him through the window open, open near my bedroom door.
                Shall he potty? - nevermore!

Mick McKellar
December 2014

Although I rarely write parody, this one was just too much fun to avoid.


Monday, December 01, 2014

Winter’s Light

Winter’s Light

The steely wind which howls its icy blast,
Against the weathered walls of our old house,
Cries havoc in a voice from winters past;
Then whispers like soft footfalls of a mouse.
The sun, a pale white lantern in the sky,
Whose gauzy light relieves the leaden air
But intermittently, and with a sigh,
Tries desperately its faint warmth to share.
As dancing snowflake shadows seek to weave,
A web of tarnished silver colored glow,
A pearly curtain teases it to leave,
Behind a soft cascade of blowing snow.
I’m dreamy with soft sounds and softer sight,
Of winter’s sighs and cries and gentle light.

Mick McKellar
December 2014

Winter, bleak and cold, has its own delicate crystalline least when it is not too dark to see across the street…


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Touch of Peace

Touch of Peace

Sometimes I close my eyes and feel the peace,
That permeates our home on winter days,
And though it seems the snow will never cease,
The silent blanket smothers my malaise.

My life path on occasion has been rough,
Though with help, not insurmountably so.
Prayers of friends and family were enough,
To see me here, my safehouse in the snow.

By looking back, I see I must let go,
Of all the strings I used to tightly bind
To me, the hopes and dreams I tried to grow,
And set them free, their own life paths to find.

In solitude, I ponder thanks to give,
Though fame and success quite eluded me,
For friends and family, and time to live;
I’m grateful for that living legacy.

I sense the slowing of life’s mighty wheel,
Days grow shorter and the nights grow colder.
I live each day, prepared for when I feel,
God's gentle touch of peace on my shoulder.

Mick McKellar
November 2014

Once again I’ve been reminded of the delicacy of my health, and in the silence of late night, put to work pondering my fragile legacy.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Merry Mind Music

Merry Mind Music

The ebb and flow of words that dance and sing,
Upon my daydream river’s closest shore,
Sparkle just when the sands of thought they bring,
Ascend to form bright crystal songs that soar.
I see and hear their meteoric rise,
The chiming of their lucent silver notes,
An orchestra of sound in midnight skies,
As prancing points of light through star-shine floats.
The wintry words of wonder sing a song,
Of glad thanksgiving and of yuletide cheer,
To make my spirit yearn to sing along,
When Christmas comes to visit ev’ry year.
The music in my mind lets me enjoy,
These bright and merry songs of Christmas joy!

Mick McKellar
November 2014

The complicated rhythms of the music in my mind,
Were captured by the early Christmas shows and ads I find.
Hijacked by the splash and flash and glitter that they’re showing;
I wrote about Christmas ‘cause outside it’s always snowing…


Friday, November 21, 2014

Someone Else’s Eyes

Someone Else’s Eyes

Back when I lived alone inside my head,
I gazed inward to seek that golden thread
That led to me, and yet to my surprise,
I found myself in someone else’s eyes.

Together we, traversed a living sea,
And weathered storms with equanimity.
I stood each watch and learned to improvise,
With strength I found in someone else’s eyes.

I’d constantly reveled in being free,
When suddenly, our simple we, were three.
My whole life changed when I, between her cries,
Beheld pure love in someone else’s eyes.

As each child taught me things I didn’t know
About myself, and forcing me to grow;
I learned to see beyond my own disguise,
And found my soul in someone else’s eyes.

It seems my life is rushing towards its end;
And soon I’ll spend all that I have to spend.
I see my legacy, that wondrous prize,
As memories in someone else’s eyes.

Mick McKellar
November 2014

Sometimes we have to see ourselves as others see us, or as Robert Burns wrote:

“O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!"


Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Odyssey

Halloween Odyssey

He seeped through the mists on All Hallows Eve,
A shadowy, homeless wraith on the wind:
His grasping arm, like a stick through his sleeve,
His jacket, draped on a hanger and pinned.

Though welcomed at homes with Halloween lights,
Where smiling folks said his costume was good;
He thanked them, then ate with ferocious bites.
They didn’t know he was starving for food.

He shuffled through town as fast as he could,
Stuffing his pockets and his shopping bag.
He ate more candy than he knew he should;
Often chewing so fast, he’d almost gag.

An hour later, collapsed in a yard,
The ghost of a child, small and pathetic;
Lay moaning, shivering, breathing hard,
Full of candy now, and diabetic.

He writhed on the ground, and cried to the night,
His stomach now full of delicious treats:
Why must he suffer sharp pain and fierce fright,
And be left alone on the city streets?

He was drifting now, riding waves of pain,
When he felt a hand softly stroke his hair.
A voice said he’d never feel pain again,
And instantly, he was no longer there.

A smiling old man in odd looking clothes,
Was singing a song about life and death,
About secrets of life nobody knows,
Without stopping, even to take a breath.

He took the man’s hand and stepped through a door,
Where he met his mother, he knew had died;
Looked back at the shell, where he lived no more,
And for a second, he silently cried.

The Minstrel stepped back and he sealed the door.
He knelt by the body so still and mild,
Then he sang a prayer for the homeless poor,
And the tragedy of a starving child.

Then he prayed that this sight would do its part,
When viewed in the glare of the morning sun,
To change even one indifferent heart.
Then took out his phone, and dialed 9-1-1.

Mick McKellar
October 2014

Not all that is sweet is good for you, and costumes often conceal dark truths.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Master of the Deck

Master of the Deck

Now warm within the confines of my home,
I shiver at the long remembered chill
Of wind, which stirred my backyard sea of brome;
Which touched my beating heart, and always will.

I stood my watch upon my deck, adrift
Amid the shifting swirls of midnight mists.
Dim moonlight touched my face, a silver gift,
Awakening a dream that yet persists.

Upright and tall, the master at the rail,
And captain of my stationary ship,
I navigated, certain we would sail,
Until we silently docked in our slip,

The flexing of the deck beneath my feet,
The snapping of the silver sheets aloft,
The thrumming of the lines made my heart beat,
As counterpoint to sighing breezes soft.

A street lamp, now a gleaming barbican;
Whose tower watch, alerted by my sails,
Sounded a horn -- from misty minivan,
Unraveling the threads of dreamy tales...

I summoned Dante back up on the deck,
And slowly I unhooked his cable tie.
I turned back once, to ponder and reflect
On reverie, and sadly said goodbye.

Now warm within the confines of my home,
I shiver at the long remembered thrill,
Of voyages, where dreams let the heart roam,
Where old souls sail away, and always will.

Mick McKellar
October 2014

On one recent evening, as I trod the boards of our deck, surrounded by thick fog and faint moonlight while Dante completed his late night duties, I was carried away upon a sea of imagination. Captain of my fate and master of the deck, I navigated toward a distant light on a fortified seawall...until a minivan honked on the next street, breaking the spell…


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Humble Pie

Humble Pie

The gurney was narrow as a park bench;
It rattled and shook with bumps on his drive.
One nasty pothole gave his back a wrench,
But served to remind him he was alive.

His eyes were dazzled by ambulance lights,
As EMT's lifted him in the back
Of a van, full of beeping, blinking sights;
Counterpoints to the night’s velvety black.

An hour before, he was watching TV,
Silently slouched on this favorite couch.
Mouth full of popcorn, a glass on his knee,
He sprawled and he growled, the consummate grouch.

He cursed all the challenges of his life,
He blamed his whole family, one and all.
He even cursed his long-suffering wife --
A curmudgeon with a clarion call.

Family members ignored him, of course.
So tired of years of verbal abuse,
Delivered full volume, without remorse,
They despaired of ever reaching a truce.

Tonight was definitely different,
A change in the weather brought them around.
The storm in the living room went silent,
Except for whimpers and a choking sound.

His popcorn was scattered everywhere,
He was on the floor and was turning blue.
They entered the room, and they just stood there,
And watched, like they didn’t know what to do.

The youngest finally dialed 9-1-1,
Though he hesitated uncertainly.
As the others’ composure came undone,
They all began calling, frantically.

Time seemed to stop in a flash of green light,
A shadow lifted him off of the floor,
And his dying eyes saw the strangest sight,
A man dressed like no one he’d seen before.

The song the man sang seemed to clear his throat,
And air rushed in, once again he could breathe!
But he was an ornery, vile, old goat,
His temper returned, he began to seethe...

As the Minstrel’s song held his bile in check,
He saw himself through his family’s eyes;
He saw his fury make their lives a wreck,
A monster that they could only despise.

His two little children, his loving wife,
Long time targets of his tantrums and ire;
Had all hesitated to save his life,
So frightened of him, they’d let him expire.

They’d looked relieved as men took him away.
If he could have breathed better, he’d have cried,
As the anger he fed everyday,
Was lost to great sadness and quickly died.

The Minstrel, like always, had disappeared,
But his song long haunted the old man’s mind.
His family came back, though he had feared,
They’d leave him for someone loving and kind.

He learned to enjoy eating humble pie,
For the next time, they might just let him die!

Mick McKellar
October 2014

Take care to sweeten your words when you share them with your loved ones. Someday, you might have to eat them.


Sunday, October 05, 2014

Domestic Chimera

Domestic Chimera

I dread my dreams in the dead of the night,
And impossible stories they relate.
They exceed the limits of wrong and right,
And they go where they will, with no debate.

In images, bright and spectacular,
Movies in high definition unfold;
With characters speaking vernacular,
Who can’t see that I’m both grizzled and old.

In my dreams, my mind is fully intact;
My memories are completely restored.
In an instant, I can find any fact;
My brain is so quick, I never get bored.

My reverie self is both strong and quick,
I run like a rocket propelled gazelle.
I never get hurt; I never get sick;
And have a phenomenal sense of smell.

Inherited indestructible health,
Grants a legacy of long life from birth.
With a source of inexhaustible wealth,
My dream self travels all over the Earth.

My dream adventures are wild and carefree.
Well, they are, most of the time anyway.
But, things do go wrong occasionally,
Yet my nightmare self somehow wins the day.

Though all dreams must fade with the end of night,
Remembering the excitement and fun;
The domestic chimera must now fight,
His mundane, real battles under the sun.

Mick McKellar
October 2014

Sometimes, waking up is the hardest thing I will do all day.


Saturday, October 04, 2014

Twilight of Mind

Twilight of Mind

The teardrops falling from his pale blue eyes,
Leave lingering streaks down his dusky cheeks;
An echo of those falling from gray skies,
In autumn's depression, lasting for weeks.

Languishing in his midnight brown study,
Pouring over old, faded photographs,
Revisiting each, his fingers muddy
From trying to resurrect epitaphs.

Once vivid memories, starting to fade,
Dance in the shadows of his hazy past.
Those memories were so lovingly made,
It crushes his soul that they could not last.

He cries in the twilight of brilliant mind,
Lost in a fading fog of reverie.
Bright images he can no longer find,
Flicker like stars through night clouds, distantly.

A flame, solitaire, with a bright green hue,
Pierces his fog like a beacon at night.
He freezes, not knowing what he should do;
A deer, watching an emerald headlight.

A voice near as powerful as the sun,
Chases the mists of confusion away,
And he sees all his days, every one
Clearly remembered, as though yesterday.

This taste of Grace gives his spirit a lift,
Though he knows in his heart it can not last.
He thanks the Minstrel for his precious gift,
One he knows, even now, is fading fast.

His family will never understand,
A change that comes over him suddenly:
Why the man of dementia looks so grand,
While losing so much of his memory.

Mick McKellar
October 2014

An island of recall in a sea of shadowy mists is a joy that warms the soul.


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Pragmatic Speck

Pragmatic Speck

I wake each day and start my life anew,
And graze as one new-risen from the dead;
To gather all the clothing that I threw,
Upon the furniture around my bed.
My vision’s not as focused as it seems,
I grope for things as if my eyes were blind.
My mind has yet to leave the path of dreams,
Still reticent to leave that world behind.
Shaking head and hands and groaning loudly,
I struggle to achieve my waking state.
Somehow on my feet, I’m standing proudly,
Then see my watch and realize I’m late!
I let it pass, and choose a path sublime:
Remain a lost speck in the eye of time.

Mick McKellar
October 2014

Sometimes, it’s just better to go with the flow.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014



A figure grafted to a distant hill:
The lone corner post for a flimsy fence,
Is standing guard, lest the morning light spill,
Cross a sudden and nameless storm-born rill,
To cast liquid shadows traveling hence.

The rickety barrier rips the day,
Scoring gashes across the morning light;
And though it may hold winter snows at bay,
Rebuff icy gales in its wobbly way,
It’s abandoned by the retreating night.

At first, it stood stately and self-possessed,
But lately, no one makes any repairs.
It stands alone, derelict and distressed;
And as snow, sun, and showers can attest,
The sentry stands guard, but nobody cares.

Mick McKellar
September 2014

Few things look as lonely as old snow fencing, weather-beaten and in disrepair.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Stars, Out of Reach

Stars, Out of Reach

My soul may sing in the darkness,
Cleaving the black of the night;
Opening shadow with starkness,
Filling all with perfect light:

Binding the music of night wings,
Caught fondling the stars with love,
Raptured by music the wind sings,
And counterpoint from above.

But I love the stars too deeply,
To capture their bonfires bright,
In musical aspic, cheaply,
Or expensive words I write.

Mick McKellar
September 2014

Poetry is to music as painting is to sculpture.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Reflections of Life

Reflections of Life

Hot rivers of anger coursed down my cheeks,
As I climbed from the black pit of despair.
I’d wandered about in the dark for weeks,
Consumed by the hope I’d get lost down there.

The face in my mirrors, everyday,
Grew more indistinct, as though fogged by breath;
Until my reflection just went away,
My echo suffered invisible death!

The man I had faced for all of my days,
Who grinned back from the mirrors on my shelf,
Was lost in a featureless, foggy haze;
And with him, he took my sense of myself.

Panicked, I fled to a place in my mind,
Where the silence reigned and the darkness ruled:
In the darkest hollow hole I could find,
Where panic and fear could be overruled.

I wandered in gloom and despondency,
Too angry to plead for rescue or aid;
Till a voice from shadow whispered at me,
And surprisingly, I was not afraid.

Until then the darkness was absolute.
Then my eyes detected a faint green light,
That limned a figure in a minstrel’s suit;
An emerald sun to my weakened sight,

He sang songs about the absurdity,
Of hiding from life in a deep, dark hole;
Rejecting all those who could have helped me,
And running from life with my heart and soul.

He helped me to stand again on my feet,
Then sang a tune I did not want to hear:
“To self-centered folks, the mirror’s a cheat;
Think only of you and you disappear.”

Angry, I turned and I climbed from the pit,
My face all aglow with chagrin and shame.
For I understood the full truth of it:
My friends were mirrors, my image, acclaim.

I sought my friends, asked for help and advice;
This time I listened, without being rude.
My image was back, though not always nice,
And I only reflected gratitude.

Mick McKellar
September 2014

It seems an easy thing, to find a deep, dark hole, when one wants to hide from one’s reflection in the eyes of the world.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Waking Dream

Waking Dream

In my dream, I walked among the tombstones,
Upon a hill in silvery moonlight.
My bare feet, abraded by brittle bones,
Felt pinpricks of pain in the soft, dark night.

The scent of attar assailed the night air,
Advancing in waves across the bleak lawn;
To settle in open graves here and there,
And hide in shadow, afraid of the dawn.

To honor the graveyard, the chill wind died,
Replaced by a silence that screamed of death.
Until the black voice of a nightbird cried,
The haunting wail of a victim’s last breath.

I felt the sharp chill of the tortured earth,
Opened to welcome the final remains,
Of travelers, whose long journey from birth,
Suddenly ended in terrors and pains.

Then in the deep shadows, off to my left,
A kneeling man glowed with a soft green light;
His ageless face saddened, like one bereft,
His vert countenance ghostly as a wight.

He started to sing, as his eyes met mine,
His voice as tender as leaves in the spring.
He sang a temple in which to enshrine,
The wonders of a short life, done living.

The Minstrel stood up, and he smiled at me.
He said, “You dream walk upon distant shoals;
You’ve journeyed beyond the waking life sea.
You have come to the Garden of Lost Souls.”

He told me that some who suddenly die,
Leave behind for their families no trace.
He finds these lost souls, and he helps them fly,
To a peaceful rest in this quiet place.

Then he smiled once more, and he sang a song.
He stretched forth one green hand, and touched my head.
I fell in the light and knew nothing more,
Until morning light woke me, in my bed.

Mick McKellar
September 2014

In our dreams, we often journey where we would not dare to tread in the light of day.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Visitor

The Visitor

The visitor looked shabby and care worn,
But came to see the old, unconscious man,
Who had no visitors before this morn;
Not even one call, since his stay began.

The staff adopted this silent, old swain,
In a coma, and never once awake;
And though they could not tell if he felt pain,
They tried never to cause his bed to shake.

The nurses read him newspapers and books,
And softly whispered lullabies at night.
So, concerned about the visitor’s looks,
They kept the fellow always in their sight.

At first he simply sat and softly sang,
Songs that told a story of days long past;
Sometimes his voice so sonorous it rang,
And seemed to span both time and distance vast.

As they watched, the visitor’s aspect changed.
He played an instrument so shiny bright,
They did not see his clothing, rearranged,
Begin to glow with soft internal light.

The Minstrel’s voice began to rise and soar;
Reverberating up and down the halls.
They felt his power vibrate through the floor,
And shake the artwork hanging on the walls.

Then in their minds they saw the old man’s life;
His childhood, and the time he served in war,
The tragedy that took his son and wife,
And stranded him on depression’s dark shore.

They saw him beat his demons and rebound.
They saw him work to help the homeless poor.
They saw the day that injured, he was found;
Mugged, beaten, left for dead, near his front door.

Awakened by the Minstrel’s serenade,
The old man gazed about him unafraid.
Silently limned in greenish light displayed,
His family around his bed arrayed.

The power of the Minstrel’s voice increased;
A younger man sprang lightly from the bed.
The green light flashed, the sound and fury ceased,
The old man left his body empty, dead.

Although they grieved a little and they cried,
They ne'er forgot the way the old man died.

Mick McKellar
September 2014

Although the cover of a book may be tattered and torn, the pages withered and worn, the story written on those weary pages may change your life -- and others’ -- through the ages.


Friday, September 12, 2014



Tenderly, as she’d often done before,
She sat by his bed and she touched his brow.
She couldn’t help it, she did it once more,
Though he was not there to feel her touch now.

He’d died softly, peacefully, in his sleep;
She’d sensed his soft passage, and felt him leave
A gift of love and memories, to keep
As his legacy to cherish, to grieve.

His departure was abrupt, nonetheless,
Though he’d fought and he’d rallied, once or twice,
He’d simply surrendered to death’s caress,
And left his shell empty and cold as ice.

At first, she was angry and cursed his name;
Whispering harshly with barely heard breath.
She’d cried out for help, but nobody came,
No friends or family knew of his death.

They’d lived alone and cared for each other,
Relying on pensions and Medicare.
Though they were grandmother and grandfather,
Their children no longer lived around there.

Their friends were as old and just as fragile,
Unable to race to each others’ aid;
And those neighbors who were young and agile,
Seldom helped at all, unless they were paid.

Alone in the world, she broke down and wept,
Till she felt a hand softly stroke her hair.
She sat up abruptly and her heart leapt,
Seeing the strangely dressed man standing there.

As the Minstrel sang a song of great love,
She saw that her body glowed with green light.
When her husband called to her from above,
She willingly let her spirit take flight.

Silently they walked to a golden door,
Where her husband beamed her a loving smile.
He said: “Though I never could love you more,
You’re needed back there, for a little while.”

She woke slowly, in a hospital bed,
For her children found her -- an awful sight,
Sprawled across her husband and nearly dead --
Because someone had called them in the night.

The Minstrel just watched them from far away,
Happy that family love still survives.
He knew she’d be well cared for from that day,
Her children would take her into their lives.

Mick McKellar
September 2014

In the world of The Minstrel, no one dies alone.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Calling Back a Stone

Calling Back a Stone

As wind cannot be unblown,
And wheat cannot be unsown;
Once the missile has been thrown,
You cannot call back a stone.

Noting only latest trends,
Hearing only his close friends,
Never questioning their ends;
Acts before he comprehends.

Although not the first to stoop,
He cast lot within the group,
And lost himself in the soup;
A loss he could not recoup.

Never wise, and not a sleuth,
Thoughtless, brazen, and uncouth:
The actions of extreme youth,
Without learning the whole truth.

He caused harm with what he threw;
Action he will always rue.
Though he knows the story true,
What he’s done, he can’t undo...

As wind cannot be unblown,
And wheat cannot be unsown;
Once the missile has been thrown,
You cannot call back a stone.

Mick McKellar
September 2014

The Internet and worldwide networked media make it easy to cast stones, and it seems everyone’s house is made of glass. “He” could be a “she” or a “they.” It could easily be you or me, jumping to conclusions with a pocket full of rocks.


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Heavenly Longevity

Heavenly Longevity

When I touch another, or when they touch me,
Our touch transfers love, incandescently;
It’s energy.

When I share my love most generously,
I’m not depleted by my subsidy;
It’s synergy.

When I receive love given tenderly,
I’m changed, a little bit no longer me;
It’s destiny.

When the sharing of love is sensory,
And my family is serenity;
It’s reverie.

When I finally become elderly,
I’ll take all the love when I’m history;
For eternity.

It’s a mystery.

Mick McKellar
September 2014

My day began amidst the backwash of a dream deluge. My dreams seemed to say: "When we give love, our supply is not reduced, and when we receive love, we grow -- with even greater capacity to share our love."


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Warrior’s Dream

Warrior’s Dream

Though fully asleep in his makeshift bed,
Dreaming about sleeping without dreaming;
With gray twilit thoughts running through his head,
He awoke, and could hear the clouds screaming.

The tortured day moaned bright red as it broke,
Pierced by the soft molten gold of the sun,
As the cold veil of night, rent in one stroke,
Scattered in tatters -- a new day begun.

Gathering remnants of life on the street,
His mobile home in an old shopping cart,
He began his quest for something to eat,
To feed his spirit, and to fuel his heart.

The busy city was always awake,
For city dreams are cheerless nightmares.
With no one to give, and nothing to take,
He futilely searched for someone who cares.

He drifted with the tattered detritus,
The remnants of worn-out humanity;
Unable to effectively fight us,
When we discard what we don’t want to see.

He fell to the street, against a stone wall,
His eyes were mere slits, as he tried to see
An old photograph, very worn, very small;
And cried as he gazed at his family.

Sharp memories flooded his clouded mind,
Piercing the fog that surrounded his core.
His agony leaving him nearly blind,
He staggered erect, and fell down once more.

A flash of green light touched his injured eyes,
And strong arms lifted him onto his feet.
He stood without pain, and to his surprise,
He heard wondrous singing, poignant and sweet.

The Minstrel just smiled and then stepped aside,
So that he could look across the wide drive.
His eyes filled with tears, and again he cried,
His dead family was there...and alive!

He ran to join them, his arms open wide;
He gathered them close and they disappeared.
The Minstrel knelt by the shell, cast aside,
And said: "An old soldier should be revered."

As the evening air steamed with his breath,
He held old dog tags and medals to pray:
"Though every warrior must meet death,
It should not be alone, and not this way."

He stood guard until the police got there,
Watched as the fragile remains were retrieved,
Then he vanished into the twilight air;
Angry that nobody knew, no one grieved.

Mick McKellar
September 2014

When I read that so many homeless veterans die alone on the streets, I felt ashamed.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Life is but a Dream

Life is but a Dream

The starlight’s glance through my window,
Caresses sleepy eyes:
Colder than winter’s whitest snow,
Fire from indigo skies.

Slowly I swim to the surface,
Float on black ocean, bright
With a brilliant, starlit purpose,
A precipice of light.

Falling, I see with keen vision,
The story I will write:
Every daily decision,
The wrong steps, and the right.

I dream that my own existence,
Is a mere reverie –
A fantasy with persistence,
And what does that make me?

I wake, now a startled screamer,
Scared I’m not as I seem.
What if I am not the dreamer,
What if I am the dream?

Mick McKellar
August 2014

"Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream…"

Is it?


Be Reasonable...

Be Reasonable...

Life is sweet and must be tasted,
And seasoned with a touch of love.
Soul and savor are not wasted,
When then and now go hand-in-glove.

Past and present dance together,
Although their pas de deux is brief.
Where they meet it's stormy weather,
Prolonged exposure leads to grief.

Lies and secrets reap the whirlwind,
And truth denied gains naught but rust.
Those who dine on only facts, find
The musty taste of ancient dust.

Life is love and hope unfounded,
By the tales our senses can tell:
Belief in things unseen, grounded
In trust, drawn from faith’s deepest well.

Men of reason often plunder,
Our deepest mysteries dispel:
A universe full of wonder,
Where God and man together dwell.

Mick McKellar
August 2014

Science is wonderful, but should not blind us to the unseen wonder of the touch of God.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Minstrel’s Song

The Minstrel’s Song

Couldn't help feeling small at four feet tall,
For the other kids were a lot taller.
He thought, best they didn't see him at all,
And so he tried to make himself smaller.

But that didn't help, it made things much worse.
He had nowhere to run, no place to hide,
He felt that his life had become a curse;
Their bullying broke something deep inside.

He hated being the butt of their jokes,
Of black anger he had a full ration.
As he endured all the giggles and pokes,
Dark revenge became his bitter passion.

His school work suffered as he spent free time,
On devising dark plans in his bedroom.
He reveled in thoughts of his future crime,
Of encompassing his tormentors' doom.

His father had a few weapons, of course,
For hunting, and protection from danger.
Sharp tools for a young mind with no remorse,
Filled with hurt and pain, and fueled by anger.

Deep in the night before he launched his plan,
He lay awake as his heart grew colder.
He saw the dimmest shadow of a man,
Who reached toward him and touched his right shoulder.

A smile and a flash of brilliant green light,
Left his room fully illuminated;
Revealed a man, holding flame -- green and bright,
And who laughed at the fire he created.

The man’s costume was one that minstrels wore,
In the photos in his history book.
Then The Minstrel’s great voice began to soar,
So loudly, it seemed that the whole house shook.

As he saw his vicious plan playing out,
He saw his own face, with anger-filled eyes.
He saw bloody children scream, cry, and shout;
He felt his guns fire, he heard their death cries.

He saw himself die, shot dead by police,
As bullets tore through his flesh, he felt pain.
But the relentless vision didn’t cease,
He felt others’ pain, again and again.

He felt the sorrow that parents endure,
When lives that they treasure are ripped away.
He became a disease with no known cure,
A bleak malady that had come to stay.

He saw his parents, so devastated,
Their guilt amplified by loss of their child.
No longer victim, his actions hated,
Now forever his name would be reviled.

He’d reached the limit of his endurance,
His soul, in agony screamed in the dark.
He cried out, weakly seeking assurance,
He could turn from this path, so bleak and stark.

The bright green fire, so recently blazing,
Dimmed as the song of The Minstrel grew mild.
Sudden relief from pain was amazing;
Once again, he was just a frightened child.

Then The Minstrel sang a song of power,
Revealing the strength of his youthful mind.
He could use the skills he’d learned hour by hour,
To excel in life -- smart, happy, and kind.

The Minstrel smiled as he faded away,
The future he saw was one he could trust:
The boy would work hard, succeed from that day,
And would leave all those bullies in the dust.

Mick McKellar
August 2014

A successful life is the best revenge against bullies who seek to feed on weakness.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Walls of Heaven

The Walls of Heaven

He preached hellfire and brimstone to his flock,
Often shouting loud enough to deafen.
He boasted he’d make the Pearly Gates rock,
When he stormed the mighty walls of Heaven.

Sometimes there is a price that must be paid,
For untold years of bombastic railing.
As a flag flown too long gets worn and frayed,
His doughty voice, and his health, were failing.

Depressed and in doubt, he drifted alone,
On a dark sea of self-accusation.
Feeling the victim, each thought would bemoan
The events that caused his situation.

As deeper he plunged in the sea of doubt,
His vision grew increasingly dimmer.
The dark pulled him down, he could not get out,
He felt lost -- he was not a good swimmer.

In desperation, he screamed, thrashed around,
Silently pleaded, and prayed for ransom.
A green light carried him to higher ground,
Thinking he’d been captured by a phantom.

He opened his eyes, it was nearly dark,
He still sat on his sofa at twilight.
His fireplace cast shadows, eerie and stark,
And they danced in the emerald green light.

In his chair, a man, neither young nor old,
Sang a song that was soothing his heartache,
Dressed as a minstrel with a smile so bold,
He could feel all his defensive walls break.

The Minstrel sang about Heaven and Hell.
His words painted pictures so very real,
The preacher saw, even felt them so well,
He saw errors that he’d made in his zeal.

The pathways to Heaven are paved with love,
Not hellfire, not brimstone, not even gold.
Pearly gates are not waiting up above,
To be locked and leave you out in the cold.

The Minstrel sang on, there was so much more,
It seemed that he never ran out of breath,
As he sang the truth about Heaven’s door:
Our only doorway to Heaven is death.

Images followed of beauty and grace,
But nowhere appeared a fence or a wall.
He saw Heaven, he saw every place,
For there are no walls in Heaven at all.

Though he opened his eyes in twilit gloom,
No fire, no Minstrel, no song in the air,
As he looked around his old living room,
He could still hear and see The Minstrel there.

He remembered it all in coming years,
And though he never spoke out loud again,
His writings brought laughter and happy tears,
And for those who feared death, relief from pain.

Mick McKellar
August 2014

Walls and gates either keep people in or keep people out. Neither one seems necessary in Heaven…


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wait for Me

Wait for Me

On certain days, they barely spoke at all.
She was reticent; he was nearly deaf.
But some things never need clarion call,
They’re understood, and that was quite enough.

Married for more than half a century,
They could communicate almost by thought.
She went shopping, he slept comfortably;
What he needed, she had always bought.

Most of their best, old friends had passed away.
Their kids did not live near them anymore.
So she was caught off guard that bright Sunday,
When she heard someone knock on their front door.

She called the old man, but he never heard,
And so she opened up the portal, wide.
The man she saw left her without a word:
A guy, dressed as a Minstrel, stood outside.

His voice, a baritone, deep, crystal clear,
Announced that he’d been sent by a good friend.
Then sang a little tune that calmed her fear,
Yet hinted that some things come to an end.

She stepped back once, and beckoned him inside.
He swept by her into the living room.
And as she wondered why she stepped aside,
Shadows of passing clouds caste all in gloom.

The Minstrel knelt beside her husband’s chair.
He sang a song so sweet, it took her breath.
And then she knew her husband wasn’t there,
His nap was interrupted by his death.

As desolation closed around her heart,
She felt something deep down inside her break.
As chains that held her Earthbound fell apart,
She heard a song that told her to awake.

Her open eyes beheld a wondrous sight:
The Minstrel and her husband sang the song.
His instrument glowed with a deep green light.
They beckoned her to rise and come along.

In a moment, The Minstrel stood alone,
And smiled at one remarkable thing:
By waiting till the other one was gone,
Their love transcended even death’s dark sting.

Mick McKellar
August 2014

Together forever -- what a wonderful thought!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Acts of Kindness

Acts of Kindness

A pile of rags in the backyard shifted,
A movement that caught old hermit Joe’s eye.
He’d moaned about how last night’s snow drifted,
Deep enough to make a younger man cry.

The children in town knew old hermit Joe,
And often would help him shovel his walk.
He was kind to them, never made them go,
And he listened when they wanted to talk.

So grabbing a shovel for self-defense,
He plodded through drifts to investigate.
As he drew close to his old picket fence,
The pile of old rags stood up, tall and straight.

Twas a man whose face could be any age,
Dressed in a costume of patches and rags:
Flashing a smile any pain could assuage,
His feet wrapped in cloth and old plastic bags.

He cradled an instrument on his arm,
Extending his other arm in greeting.
Joe asked the rag man inside to get warm,
And added kindness to the strange meeting.

The rag man accepted a cup of tea,
And a slice of buttered banana bread.
They sat and chatted most amiably,
Until Joe felt something odd in his head.

The rag man changed right before old Joe’s eyes:
His rags now a coat of bright red and green,
His voice now a chorus from twilight skies,
His eyes bright as any stars he’d seen.

The Minstrel stood tall and sang songs of love.
His instrument glowed with a bright green fire.
His song told of beautiful fields above,
And Joe felt his spirit lifting higher.

Because Joe’s spirit was loving and kind,
The Minstrel made sure he’d not die alone.
Joe’s body, abandoned, was left behind.
In only a moment, they both were gone.

The Minstrel returned a moment later,
And he moved Joe’s body into the sun.
He bowed to Joe as to one much greater;
Just before he left, he dialed 9-1-1.

Mick McKellar

August 2014

There is nothing so precious in this world as kindness to children or a stranger in need.

Word Shadows

Word Shadows

Every page, a blank, bottomless well,
A snow storm of infinite depth and size,
Offers the bold many stories to tell,
But remains blank to the timid and wise.
The foolish plunge in, get lost in the white,
And struggle to find the way back again.
The daring rely on much more than sight,
Intuiting paths beyond others’ ken.
They follow shadows, ephemeral, quick,
Darting and drifting through dim, snowy light;
Capturing thoughts, each exceptional brick,
Building exciting adventures to write.
A writer dances on many stages,
Partnered with shadows from many pages.

Mick McKellar
August 2014

I've spent many hours staring into the white emptiness of blank pages, seeking shadows of the words hidden there...