Monday, December 31, 2018

Greatest Challenge

The sun and the moon, the stars in the sky,
Silently watch our small lives in their wonder;
And hardly notice an age going by,
Taking no notice of rain or thunder...
The battering storm, the flooding of soil,
Sings a cry of terror, a bloodless shout --
And unheard among the carnage and spoil,
The gasping sigh of a life snuffing out.
Tenacious, we struggle, weather the gale,
Climb from the mud with both patience and grace;
And face to the wind, unwilling to fail,
The universe watches the human race,
As into its greatest challenge it delves:
A terrible foe: we battle ourselves.

Mick McKellar
December 2018

As the year rolls out, I wonder if we realize who we will battle for the right to exist.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Keweenaw Carol

I sing a carol of Keweenaw,
I dance alone in my mind.
Never, not ever may I withdraw,
Silently seeing the silence I saw,
Feeling the fun that I find,
Dancing alone in my mind.

I mine a myriad of milestones,
I lay awake in the dark.
Heir to stale air filled with homophones,
There to steal steel from their two bones:
Gladness and sadness give spark,
Just to walk and to talk in the dark.

I'm a glad river of memories,
I smile to purvey pure daylight --
Sparkling and rippling through evergreen trees,
Diamond dust shining on cold winter breeze,
A dose of delight in silence so white,
An antidote to long, lonely night.

A reminder that joy is so near,
I carol that Christmas is here!

Mick McKellar
December 2018

I sing songs in my head. And the best part? In my head, I'm always on key!


Friday, November 23, 2018

Holiday Holloways

The path for my heart through the holidays,
Though oft-traveled and shadowy haunted,
Has branches diverging a thousand ways,
To discover bright havens less vaunted.
From the quiet and peace of solitude,
When the snowfall chimes loud on the window;
To the warm, loving glow of gratitude,
When friends and family let their love show.
Though I stroll in peaceful contemplation,
And relive the fond sojourns of my youth,
My joyful heart leaps in celebration;
Yea! I am joyous and mirthful, forsooth!
Follow quickly -- for I have a head start --
Down the happy holloways of my heart!

Mick McKellar
November 2018

Alone is not lonely, and quiet is not sad.


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Being Seasonal

I love the crunching of the frosty snow,
And the nip of the wind upon my nose,
Snowflakes that follow wherever I go,
And even the weight of warm winter clothes.
The old fashioned music that warms my heart,
Is much older than I can remember.
Yet, it seems reborn from the season's start,
Till the blest twenty-fifth of December.
Though "holidays" start earlier each year,
And their main focus is on gift giving;
There's a simple rule to which I adhere:
Christmas season starts after Thanksgiving!
A day to give thanks for our kith and kin.
One for the Child with no room at the inn.

Mick McKellar
November 2018

With media and stores driving our holiday expectations, it seems we are losing the meaning of the words we sing and the words we say.


Friday, November 09, 2018

A Christmas Casserole

Stave I

As I sat here weak and weary,
Pondering stories dark and dreary,
I realized something about Fred.
My story offers no reprieve,
If it doesn't lead you to believe,
That like a doornail, Fred was dead.

My scary Christmas story starts,
With the master of the stingy arts,
One, Ronald J. Drumpf, Esquire.
Who, once for just the insurance:
Two thousand pounds and seven pence,
Set his mother's house afire.

Full seven years since Fred's demise,
Ron sat with bloodshot, bleary eyes,
Gazed at reports his staff had sent.
He tried to read the tiny words,
'Bout caravans and fighting Kurds,
For he was now the President.

He called upon his chief of staff,
A general -- it made him laugh
To make him just an errand boy.
He told him to go fire a guy,
Who didn't bow when Ron walked by --
Another career to destroy!

He'd finished with his toilet time,
And heard his Rolex softly chime,
He must go to his residence.
For working, even on his ass,
Was far below the upper class,
And duty was a pestilence.

He took the elevator up,
On three Big Macs tonight he'd sup,
While watching a big TV screen.
But on the shiny lift doors bright,
Appeared a very scary sight:
Old Fred's face could clearly be seen.

The apparition gave him pause,
And even startled him, because
"Hi, ya sonny!" the face said.
He choked and mumbled, "That can't be --
My father cannot talk to me!
I buried him cheaply -- he's dead!"

The lift doors opened quick and wide,
Fred's face split, and slid aside.
And Ronald stumbled coming out.
The Secret Service grabbed his arm,
So that he should not come to harm,
He shook them off with just a pout.

The guard stepped back, out of the way,
And stood there, with the Big Mac tray,
Waiting, his eyes shining bright.
Without a smile, a nod, or jokes,
Ron took the tray, some Diet Cokes,
And said, "I don't need you tonight."

He shambled into his bedroom,
As quiet as an empty tomb,
And slurped the first of many a Coke.
Until he heard a sloshing river,
And smelled a stench that made him shiver,
It gagged him, and it made him choke.

His bloodshot eyes both opened wide,
As closet doors just slid aside,
Hip deep in muck, in walked old Fred!
He smelled so bad Drumpf nearly fainted,
An odor he had not acquainted,
Slowly all around him spread.

"Do you know me?" asked the ghost.
"Hi, Dad..." Drumpf said, well, almost --
"Are you in Hell, now that you're dead?
This looks like something I could take!"
Fred laughed at him, "I'm on break.
Else, I am standing on my head."

"Because I know this waits for you,
In fact, you're at your neck in goo,
I came to offer you a chance.
So you don't have to follow me,
My friends will visit, spirits three.
Each one requires a cash advance!"

A gong sound made old Fred just scream,
As he was swept up in vile stream,
And something turned him on his head.
Slowly drained that noisome mess,
And dragged along, under duress,
The last he saw of daddy...Fred.

Stave II

Drumpf sat down hard upon the floor,
His bone spurs ached, he was so sore,
That even food and TV lost their shine.
As he wondered "What's the time?"
He heard a distant, wicked chime,
And then came an annoying whine.

The whine grew louder, even higher,
He knew the sound -- a cheap hair dryer --
Coming through  the bathroom door.
Soon the sound stopped altogether,
Now he waited to see whether
Twas a ghost or something more.

Through the door there came, oh brother!
First one boob and then another...
Out walked Stormy -- a porn star!
"Hi there, Ronny! I've been cast:
As Ronny J. Drumpf's Christmas Past
Get up, ya schmuck, we must go far!"

You know the story of their trip:
From golden spoon to chairmanship,
Every privilege he had.
He ducked responsibility,
and played dirty repeatedly,
At business he was very bad.

They flew around the business world,
Her hair a golden flag unfurled.
As he reviewed his life's delights.
He watched his siblings lose their chances.
He watched his habits kill romances.
They even looked at Christmas lights...

Stormy said, "You're such a louse!"
And dropped him off at the White House,
Sitting on his bedroom floor.
Yawning, he just checked his bling.
He never felt a single thing...
Just a trip and nothing more.

Stave III

Stormy left ... again that chime!
And he heard loud knocking this time,
At his bedroom closet door.
As he opened it up wide,
He found Hillary inside.
"Man, your wardrobe is a snore!"

"For both of us this is not pleasant,
I'm the ghost of Christmas present,
And we have stuff we gotta do.
One big change, I said must be:
I don't want you to touch me,
So I'll just hand you Bill's old shoe."

Off they flew like Peter Pan,
Until they spied a caravan,
Camped for rest and Christmas cheer.
Happy kids and worn-out mothers,
Helping care for one another's
Kids, while momma chugged a beer.

Men were playing cards and drinking,
Some just sat alone and thinking,
How to save their families.
Hillary heard all their longings.
Drumpf rummaged through their belongings,
Seeking weapons he could seize.

They traveled through the poorest places,
Stared into the worried faces,
Of the poor on Christmas eve.
Hillary's old heart was breaking.
Drumpf looked hard for stuff worth taking,
And said, "They're losers, I believe!"

Finally, with her heart broken,
All her arguments were spoken.
She gave up her Christmas quest.
Fast as she could use her zoom,
She dropped him back in his bedroom,
And stood to deliver the rest:

Even though it really hurt,
Hillary raised up her skirt,
And revealed two creatures there.
McConnell and Giuliani,
Sat there grasping ankle and knee,
Each with glowing, baleful stare.

"I tell you: Beware these creatures,
With their white and pasty features,
For your future they will haunt!
They will draw on our resources,
Stop good plans in all their courses:
They are ignorance and want!"

Stave IV

He watched her just vaporize,
Creatures fade before his eyes,
So he slumped upon his chair.
His scream hit a high climax --
For he'd sat on all his Big Macs!
He'd fire the guard who put them there!

Christmas future came, of course:
Putin rode in on a horse,
Offering a bareback ride.
Drumpf climbed up upon his chair,
Big Mac's flying everywhere,
Sighing as he jumped astride.

Off they rode, and faced the bright,
Lovely,  golden, shining light,
Of a brilliant Christmas Day.
People rushed about and hustled,
Carried packages and rustled,
Voices happy, loud, and (ugh!) gay!

Everyone was smiling, happy.
No one's grouching, feeling crappy,
No one life was full of drama.
Happiness is what they're crying!
Love their leader: no denying,
President Michelle Obama!

Drumpf woke up tucked in his bed,
Big Macs lined up, round his head;
Wiped the sleepers from his eyes.
Ron donned his same dark wool suit,
And long red tie -- the full reboot,
And went downstairs to tell some lies.

Merry Christmas...some things just won't change...

Mick McKellar
November 2018

If Edgar Allan Poe and Michel de Nostredame had helped Charles Dickens write A Christmas Carol. Quatrains become sestets. Predictions abound which seem to be coming true...


Sunday, November 04, 2018

Together, Dreamwalking

Are you in my dream when we walk elsewhere;
We travel together the starlight sea?
Such an ethereal journey we share,
As we wander the cosmos, you and me!
We walk out of time on a distant world,
Into a novel that strays out of place;
To sail on a ship with its sails unfurled,
Crossing the infinite darkness of space.
Each faraway and exotic sunrise,
Warms my smiling face with light polychrome,
Yet alien landscapes that greet my eyes,
Still feel comforting as a journey home.
I revel to travel this vast unknown,
With gratitude that I'm never alone.

Mick McKellar
November 2018

I journey in my dreams, often to places and times that have no counterpart in our reality. In all those travels, I sense that I am not alone. Does my guardian angel travel with me, or an unknown soul mate? Maybe God is keeping tabs on me. Wow.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Hand of Friendship

He stood upon a hill and waved to me.
The first thing that I noticed was his smile,
And friendship that it offered seemed to be
What made my immigration strife worthwhile.
I climbed the hill and took his proffered hand,
I shook it, and I flashed my brightest grin.
My family was in the promised land,
And thus began our journey to fit in.
Though most of our new neighbors welcomed us,
And we worked to become Americans;
The politics became so poisonous,
That all our invitations turned to bans.
He stands upon the hill, out in the sun,
But now his hand of friendship holds a gun.

Mick McKellar
October 2018

Maybe that change is not the result of immigration, but the politics of hate and fear turning our welcome sour.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Dyson Sphere

I dreamt that I lived in a Dyson sphere,
In a time so far away,
We no longer used words like month or year;
We only knew night and day.

It didn't seem crazy, to see the land
Climb upwards into the sky;
To see mountains that had no summit, and
Never pause to question why.

Our power came down from the mountains, which
Reached to panels near the sun;
Whose traveling shadows, like a huge switch,
Made night when the day was done.

We traveled in tunnels far underground,
To go any place for free:
Sitting in vacuum tubes that made no sound,
At extreme velocity!

The oceans and islands and great, huge lakes,
Had water enough for all.
And farmers replaced what crop growing takes,
From the land inside our ball.

Small particles drawn from a neutron star,
Helped provide our gravity.
This happened outside, and it was so far
That I never got to see.

I dreamt I was there for about a day --
And a life, that felt so right,
When something suddenly pulled me away,
And I night...

I'll never forget my other life, when
I felt only joy, not fear.
I humbly pray that I can try again,
My life in a Dyson sphere.

Mick McKellar
October 2018

I dreamt this last night, and it was so vivid, so real -- that I had to tell the story. The sight of a lake bigger than Superior rising into the sky, arching into a vast distant haze is something I can never forget -- even if only a dream...


Friday, October 12, 2018

A Near Binge

My attitude of gratitude has dimmed.
Its gentle glow and glimmer can't impinge
Upon the gloomy path of ennui, trimmed
With comfort foods on which I like to binge.
The cookies whisper from our cupboard shelves,
That calories leak from the broken ones,
Also, because these treats are made by elves,
There is no fat in sweet cinnamon buns.
Though spicy salsa makes chips taste divine,
And crunching sounds are pleasing to my ears,
I only eat a few, so it's benign:
Containers promptly sealed with bitter tears.
So I can truly claim, I don't collude
With sweet and salty, crunchy, tasty food.

Mick McKellar
October 2018

News is nearly always upsetting these days. Fears, hopes dashed, the inmates are running the institution -- so I seek solace in unhealthy, and therefore tasty food. But, I have it under control...I really do.


This is Just to Reply

I have read all
the words
that you shared
on my screen

and which
you undoubtedly
left there
on purpose

Forget them?
they were too painful
so tart
and so cold

Mick McKellar
October 2018

P.S. WCW -- I stole your plums...


Saturday, October 06, 2018

Vale of Tears

When life becomes roughly assailed by fears,
And wanders too close to the vale of tears;
My only recourse is to find, at length,
A forgotten reserve of inner strength.
I look to my family, those I love
More than myself, loving far and above
Any remorse or regret I could face,
Should I choose to suffer loss in their place.
In those dry, barren hours spent alone;
When the fearful aching reaches to bone;
When I cannot help, but to count the cost
Of wand'ring alone in the desert, lost:
I let my fears go, make solace my goal,
And let my tears flow, to water my soul.

Mick McKellar
October 2018

Bits and pieces. Scraps of an old poem, abandoned during the chill darkness of an early winter morning. Vague fears dancing in semi-lucid dreams. All of this resonated with the palpable fear of losing something precious.


Thursday, October 04, 2018

Sole Survivor

I wander along through the misty night,
Aware of the darkness, but little more;
Embracing the shadows, avoiding light,
And pushing my indigo mood before
Me, as a snowplow clears a path through white.

Tonight's white is billowing clouds of black,
Charcoal, and soot-colored frigid, frore fog -
Caressing my face and stroking my back,
The touch of a lover, sharing a jog
Through a soft-clinging pitch-black velvet sack.

I journey alone in my shadowed flight,
Through a world of dimly-sensed phantom life,
Which distant, veiled, leaves my precious sight
Impaled by sombrous obsidian knife.
I'm the soul survivor of endless night.

Mick McKellar
October 2018

We are indeed the sole survivors our darkest journeys through Stygian gloom and darkling worlds, hidden from all...hidden even from ourselves -- soul survivors.


Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Walk the Dark Dream

We walk the waking dream -
Dark night and endless day,
Where gifts along the way,
Are seldom what they seem.

Our tenuous controls,
Of life's most precious threads,
Reside within our heads,
And reach not to our souls.

For sleeping mind plays tricks:
Like dreams of punting on
The River Acheron,
And swimming in the Styx...

Wherever we may go,
Upon that inner shore -
What we cannot ignore,
None else can ever know.

For in that waking dream,
On paths in darkest mind,
The truths we think we find,
Are seldom what they seem.

Mick McKellar
April 2008

Found this poem lurking in a forgotten directory with a couple of other poems from a darker time in my life. I was struggling with class discrimination and an urge to seek acceptance in a world that viewed me as unworthy.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018


I shutter my eyes as I slowly rock,
Under a ceiling of mellow haint blue.
Porch prophet, oracle, taking my stock
Of legion stories that claim to be true.
Poling my jon boat through sloughs of voices,
Teeming with phantoms of misadventures,
Haunted by spectres of bungled choices,
Shocked to see ancient blunders...with dentures!
Sunlight refuses to pierce through the gate.
Darkness and mist wail long poltergeist screams;
Shattering peace in robust waves of hate,
Frightening hearts and destroying their dreams.
I lose no sleep over what I can't do;
I am but a sojourner passing through...

Mick McKellar
September 2018

How many, I wonder, are in their rockers -- surrounded by signs, totems, and symbols that make them feel safer -- yet they are so shattered by the fierce hatred and calumny of recent events, that they have checked out, waiting to simply pass on. It is tempting.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Not About Me

You want to save the Earth,
With all the things you do.
You fight for all you're worth,
But nothing works for you.

No one answers your cries.
Nobody hears your pleas.
Your passion almost dies,
While you beg on your knees.
With ev'rything you do,
Why doesn't it ring true?
Because it's not about you.
It's not all about you.

I'm sure they all hate me.
They talk behind my back.
I listen carefully,
At ev'ry little crack!

No one answers my cries.
Nobody hears my pleas.
My spirit almost dies,
While crawling on my knees.
With ev'rything I see,
Why can't I be carefree?
Because it's not about me.
It's not all about me.

No one listens to you.
No one listens to me.
I can't tell what is true;
I can't trust what I see.

No one answers our cries.
Nobody hears our pleas.
The message in our eyes,
Demands swift aid for these
With ev'rything to lose.
Why are we not the news?
Because it's not about us.
It's not all about us.

Mick McKellar
September 2018

Do the words I type into social media pages change any minds? Do my opinions make any difference at all? Why do others so patently ignore me? Maybe -- it's not about me...


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Truly Incognito

Though many daily mount the stage to plea,
With evidence and facts held high in hand:
They will look, but I know they will not see.
They will read, but they will not understand.
As stories are distorted round by round,
As false facts fill the bloated media,
The whisper/shout of lies makes epic sound-
Bytes drive us to support acedia...
Yet, sparkles of our banter on the page,
Attract the restless prides of roving eyes,
Whose fearful minds soak in a bath of rage;
And what rage can’t deny, it just defies.
I ponder it all as a simple sleuth;
And wonder, will we recognize the truth?

Mick McKellar
September 2018

So many claim to speak the truth, but they can’t all be right...can they?


Tuesday, September 11, 2018


I gazed upon the countenances of
Our faces in our church this Sunday morn.
Our voices floated, raised in songs of love
Above the nave, the call to save, adorned
With wonderful glad words, soared as the flow
Reluctantly crescendoed in the air --
So solemnly -- with care both soft and slow...
That joy got scared and went to hide somewhere.
God, who gave us joy and mirth and laughter,
Must have wanted worship to be gladsome.
Maybe we don’t have what we are after,
Or maybe we said “No thanks, I had some…”
If joy was in the room, even traces,
I think it would have shown on our faces.

Mick McKellar
September 2018

It was a moment frozen in time. It overwhelmed me. I looked about me as I listened to the slow, sonorous music of the Mass and many voices raised in Alleluias. But all the faces were stone sober, solemn, almost somber. It was the kind of disconnect that burns itself into your memory. Words of joy from austere faces -- a curious mystery for certain.


Saturday, September 08, 2018

Too Tired

I greeted this morning's sun with a smile,
And wanted to dance because I felt great.
Dressing, I hummed an old tune for a while,
And hurried downstairs for my breakfast plate.
Tea was delicious (I made it myself).
My cereal bowl rang out, like a bell,
When my fav'rite cereal on the shelf
Clattered into the small ceramic well.
As I plied the sea of milk with my spoon,
I surveyed my tablet for the day's news.
Saw crises galore, and it's not yet noon;
Each writer berating the others' views.
I turned it off, and the silence was great!
It's morning, but I'm just too tired to hate.

Mick McKellar
September 2018

Some days, I refuse to turn on my tablet while I'm eating my breakfast, because the news is going to be divisive and hateful. Some folks are talking about working together, but most often they're politicians blowing smoke or someone selling something. It's easier to plow through after my tea (or coffee).


Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Civics 101

I treasure my sepia memories,
Of correspondence both civil and bright,
When citizens exercised liberties,
And friends disagreed, but they didn't fight.
Last night, I lay in the dark and wondered:
What happened to simple civility?
When was our rationality sundered
From us? And I whispered, "How can this be?"
The grey-water dawn brought me nothing new.
My whispers at midnight etched no progress.
Our unspoken questions still echo through
The tragically empty halls of congress.
Whether cross the aisle, or across the seas,
It seems that we only see enemies.

Mick McKellar
September 2018

I learned to debate in high school. We didn't make up facts. We didn't brag about our bank balances or IQ-levels. We didn't start or finish debates by slinging dirt on our competitors. We argued points and facts, often fiercely and with finesse. But we were civil and sometimes even were friends.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Resolute Narrative

Would the you I met have meant something less,
Had I met you in a different time?
Would the you I met make my life a mess:
In an abyss, with a mountain to climb?
Would the you I met have meant something more,
Had I met you when I was much older?
Would the you I met have opened your door,
Or left me outside to languish, colder?
Perhaps we met at a moment ordained;
Written in history, destined to be.
Much more would be lost, than anything gained
By tampering with our biography.
If we changed our story...our history,
You wouldn't be you -- I wouldn't be me.

Mick McKellar
August 2018

A friend was wondering what would happen if he met some folks earlier or later or not at all; perhaps wishing to be a different person.


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Stolen World.

It's not just the darkness of the expanse,
As the nights pass swiftly on silent wings;
The stars dance, and offer a steely glance,
While the west wind whispers and hums and sings.
Rivers of velvet, deep blue and dark grey,
Soundlessly seep into shadows a'borning;
Slowly they pool in each corner and bay,
Settling down, to chill till the morning.
Gravely, a mantle of black mystery
Drapes the lugubrious landscape with care,
Drawing a mist over all I can see --
Telling my mind there is nothing there.
The magic of the mysterious night
Steals my world, as it vanishes from sight.

Mick McKellar
August 2018

Past midsummer, the days are noticeably shorter and the approach of night is quicker and more pronounced. It feels like darkness is ascendant and it is stealing my light, my world...


Thursday, August 16, 2018

My World Inside

My birthworld challenges my right to live;
My right to strive for wholeness and breathe free.
It swallows all the substance I can give,
To patch the brokenness inside of me.
My imperfections live so deep within,
It seems at times they hide inside my mind,
And in a world where diff'rence is a sin,
I ache to grasp what solace I can find.
I watch my world break families apart;
I see the remnants left behind in need,
By those who value profit over heart,
Who live but to consume; who worship greed.
I forged a stout redoubt to shelter me:
A world I built inside my poetry.

I built a world where all are free to thrive,
Where no one takes your family away,
Because they fear your battle to survive,
Might cost them profits on some future day.
A world where sunlight streaming to the ground,
Might find itself upon a solar pane,
And drive a rush of energy around,
To cleanly power lights, a car, or train;
Where education and healthcare are free,
And each of us is equal under law.
Although the system works beautifully,
It seems so distant from the Keweenaw.
Yet, I feel none can ever vanquish me,
Because I live inside my poetry.

Mick McKellar
August 2018

Can we live in multiple worlds at once? Sometimes, you just need to go to a world where things work like they should.


Friday, August 10, 2018


A beginning is just can't last.
A stone is long gone, after you've thrown it.
A moment disappears after it's past.
The first time, once past, is yours, you own it.
Innocence gone will be gone forever.
An occasion missed is gone with the goods.
Laughter, once done is coming back -- never.
Trust, once abandoned is lost in the woods.
True love, once spurned, can be never the same.
A word can't be unheard once it is said.
Cruelty practiced is always a shame.
And people who die will likely stay dead.
Life moves too quickly, blink and it's over,
Remember these things you can't recover.

Mick McKellar
August 2018

I saw the lists of 3, 4, or 5 things you can't recover and thought I might make a more complete list. Life is short -- live, love, laugh and don't regret things that make you smile!


Monday, August 06, 2018


As once again, I face an empty page,
I seek to vent a turmoil deep within:
A seething anger, bordering on rage;
A helpless fury, bordering on sin.
I seek to channel passion into words,
And phrases that bespeak my frame of mind.
But thunderbolts and flaming firebirds,
Can’t capture all the terrors I can find.
I revel in the vast descriptive hoard;
The rare anthology of all that’s vile.
I search among the options till I’m bored,
My zeal and fervor cooling all the while.
Before I can attack all that I hate,
My anger has a chance to dissipate.

Mick McKellar
August 2018

It takes time to write a poem. This gives me a chance to chew on the subject matter and, perhaps, bite my tongue once or twice…


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Path of Reasoning

I spun perfervid politics today;
In public voice I thought collect and calm,
A strident tone I swore I'd put away,
Exchanged to favor poetry and psalm.
I meant to walk the path of reasoning,
To share such facts and truths as I discern.
I tried to skip the piquant seasoning,
The kind that warms the heart, but leaves a burn.
But like the cook who fears his food is bland,
Though seasoned with a deft hand and aplomb;
I peppered it with ardent, hot words, and
Threw caution to the wind and pitched a bomb.
Although I meant each word of my dictum,
I should have used more care when I picked 'em...

Mick McKellar
July 2018

The politics of our current situation can bring out the sharper edge of the tongue and perhaps, generate more heat than light. I am endeavoring to reason before reacting.


Friday, July 20, 2018

Heart of Gold

A meal is a grace of Heaven on Earth;
A touch of divinity served and shared.
Food's part of our daily lives from birth,
Often lovingly procured and prepared.
To share and prepare it with a compeer,
Singing the music of hope all day long,
Fills a great empty hole within, with cheer,
Makes the dirge of living a loving song.
Those that forego tasting milk and honey,
Skipping song and cheer to remain apart,
To cuddle their gold, and taste their money,
Live luxury lives with an empty heart.
There's none so onerous, leaden, and cold,
As a living man with a heart of gold.

Mick McKellar
July 2018

This morning, I was reminded of Thorin's final words near the end of The Hobbit: “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But, sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell." Only at his death, does Thorin understand.


Sunday, July 15, 2018


He loved to wander in his memories.
Yet, often he remembered things awry.
He glamored losses into victories,
And he beat challenges he didn't try...

Folks thought him harmless, and in truth he was;
Though he might sputter, bark, and make a fuss.
He did the kinds of things a hermit does,
And lived just out of town, in an old bus.

A teacher at the school would give him food,
Gave her time to help him re-learn to read.
But local harpies all misunderstood,
And served up grist for the rumors to feed.

Once, the teacher didn't show up at school,
And wasn't home at the house where she stayed.
The parents worried, and then some old fool
Cried: "The hermit!" And assumptions were made.

A crowd surrounded the rusty old bus,
And they loudly called for him to come out.
He came out smiling and grinning at us,
Until they grabbed him and shoved him about.

He started shaking and fell on the ground.
We backed away in our horror and fear.
He died of seizures, while we stood around,
And not one of us would even go near.

The teacher ran up and took in the scene,
She knelt and cradled his grizzled old head.
The air around her began to glow green;
A melodic voice said: "Leave him. He's dead."

A tall, green Minstrel was suddenly there.
A gate to Heaven opened where he stood.
A green fire, burning, hovered in the air,
And he said: "Get up Sergeant, you’ve done good!"

The hermit's spirit, in dress uniform,
Rose and saluted us, with a big smile.
His passing sounded like a thunderstorm.
The Minstrel lingered for a little while.

Slowly he turned, and he began to sing
Of a hero, and of a broken man;
Who still loved his life and everything --
Giving all that a human being can.

"Please call the Army to bury this man --
A hero deserving more than your fear."
We said: “He'll be honored, best that we can.”
We saw him nod once, and then disappear.

The Army claimed him and some of his things.
And the rest went missing in just one night.
His stuff was gone as though it grew wings --
While the bus was surrounded by green light...

Mick McKellar
July 2018

All the turmoil and focus on foibles of fools of late, made me think of The Minstrel and a quick story brought him back to me.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Live, Cry, Laugh

Live your whole day!
Don't think about your daily worries and cares.
Your present is now;
Your past and future are the phantom that scares.
Let your heart shout -- let it be!

Cry if you must!
Let all your anguish out, and push it away.
Just empty yourself;
You will feel lighter without all of that pain.
Let your heart sing, now it's free!

Laugh if you can!
Just find the humor in your predicament.
Look up at the sun;
Smile at the joy in all of the firmament.
Let your heart laugh, now you see!

Mick McKellar
July 2018

Today is day 2700 since my transplant! I wanted to write an update, but this song of my heart, a poem, insisted on making itself heard.


Herbal Tale

I rise before the daylight streaks the sky,
And skip and jump outside upon the lawn.
The touch of fairy dew haunts me, as I
Dance with the Elder Mother at the dawn.
I share my gifts of milk and bread and cake;
Nothing is touched til I petition thrice,
And finish my entreaty near daybreak,
With breath a-fog and feet as cold as ice.
Add mint and yarrow, flower and boneset:
A simple tonic taken as a tea,
A medicine without a sobriquet,
An elderflower aid to breathe easy.
This herbal tale is, frankly, a canard;
For I can't dance outside in my backyard.

Mick McKellar
July 2018

I pictured myself dancing among the elder flowers in the dewy dawn...and tea came out of my nose.


Sunday, July 08, 2018

My World

I live in a world with different rules,
Than the laws that govern your residence.
Where even the schools are okay with fools,
If their foolishness makes some sort of sense.
You can walk on the street in your bare feet,
Because residents never will litter.
If you’re private and neat, they’ll be discreet,
And no one talks about you on Twitter.
If you want to fly, it’s okay to try,
For such failures are just part of living.
If with a cry, you launch into the sky --
You will find them all very forgiving.
None will ever care about clothes you wear,
For old fashioned is evermore in style.
If your coat is worn, or it has a tear,
Then someone will loan you theirs for a while.
Sunlight is dappled by trees ev’rywhere;
Picnics and lunches aren’t ruined by rain.
There is extra oxygen in the air.
Being rude can cause you physical pain.
All the politicians, by law, are mute,
And can only campaign on Tuesday night.
By law, all babies and seniors are cute,
All children: quiet, respectful, polite.
Bosses get bonuses when workers smile;
The rich share their bounty without a frown.
The towns folk share free dinners all the while,
At shelters where food and drink “trickle down.”
“This place is too good to be true!” You say,
“And it sounds like it’s difficult to find!”
I find it, easily, every day --
For it’s in my heart, and it’s in my mind.

Mick McKellar
July 2018

Some have told me that I must live in a dream world, another reality. I must admit, I go there from time to time to escape the reality of this one.


Friday, July 06, 2018

Gems and Memories

Sometimes I dig in my old refuse pile,
The one that lives out back, beyond my mind;
Down the path past the urgent guesswork file,
Behind the blackberries so hard to find.

I put stuff there that I want to forget,
Small embarrassments and stupid mistakes:
The spilled coffee that made my pants leg wet,
Or angry ranting about stale cupcakes.

I search there at night, when I’m all alone,
For much of what’s there is just junk to me;
But sometimes I’ll find a hidden gemstone,
Or I’ll rediscover a memory.

I’ll polish my shiny, refurbished prize,
And pretend it’s new when I show you guys.

Mick McKellar
July 2018

Everything old is new again…


Thursday, July 05, 2018

Old Curmudgeons

On the back of an old curmudgeon's head,
Is a shiny spot where hair doesn't grow.
The skin is rough and a little bit red,
If you ask him why it's there, he won't know.
Old curmudgeons don't think of tomorrow,
Our far vision is fuzzy and narrow.
We carry joy in a bag of sorrow,
And a grudge in a small red wheelbarrow.
Curmudgeons ask questions incessantly,
To make long conversations unlikely.
For silence falls on the ear pleasantly,
And a wide open mouth is unsightly.
You wondered about the little red spot:
Well, the head is for real, the spot is not...

Mick McKellar
July 2018

Curmudgeons can be fun.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Gardens of Hate

I remember tending gardens of hate:
Talking trash words I didn't understand,
standin' round, lookin' down, stayin' up late --
Acting like the older kids had it all planned!

Of course, we thought we knew it all back then,
And anyone that looked like us, was "in."
Anyone who looked right...
Anyone who talked right...
And all you need is the right color skin.

Then, one night in the gardens of my mind,
I felt something grow heavy on my plate!
It slid away, leaving nothing to find...
At once, it seems, my garden lost its freight,
At once, my hateful garden had no weight!

Mick McKellar
June 2018

I remember that some of us were  never good at tending our little gardens of hate.


Friday, June 15, 2018


There’s a screaming banshee, that flashes bright
As a bonfire, with flames of red and gold;
Blinding your eyes in the darkness of night,
And with heat dissipated, leaves you cold.
Waves of emotion burst forth, asunder,
Dashed against rocky strands burdened by fear;
Roaring forth with the echo of thunder,
Splashing bystanders because they are near.
Epithet hammers beat hard on the mind,
Laced densely with empty vulgarities;
Coherent thoughts are too scattered to find,
Passion and fire blow away in the breeze.
To put your debate in certain danger:
Speak without thought in haste and in anger.

Mick McKellar
June 2018

Too often, of late, I find my own pyrotechnic displays getting out of hand.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Weather-Man

The old man sat so silent in the rain.
He smiled a smile content and wistful, free
Of worry, free of dread, and free of pain;
I wondered, would he share his gift with me?
I sat next to him, in the torrent frail,
And asked him why he smiled, while getting wet.
He grinned and told me a fantastic tale,
About the time he lived in Calumet.
He used to work outdoors in the weather --
Of course, he used to shovel lots of snow:
Fluffy, white, but NOT light as a feather,
It had a tendency to drift and blow.
“Twas shov’ling snow that made me look so old!”
He said, and laughed, a bright and cheery sound.
“The problem wasn’t work, it was the cold!”
He giggled, and he spat on the wet ground.
“I’m only thirty-two,” he said at last:
“I guess the chilly weather caused some harm.”
A shadow crossed his face, but soon it passed.
“I don’t mind this here rain...because it’s warm!”

Mick McKellar
June 2018

It’s a matter of perspective, I guess.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dancing Lights

I lay abed and watched the lightning,
Slash the sky with silver fire.
Briefly blinded by instant bright'ning,
Darkness brushed my sight entire.
As power coursing through vaulted sky,
Briefly rent the velvet veil;
With all of my might, I strained to spy
Heaven's Gates, golden and pale.
Although human eyes may briefly see,
The glow of an angel's wing,
I'll not glimpse the Eternal City,
Nor watch the golden gate swing.
At least, not yet, though I scan the skies,
Transfixed on that lucent dome --
Seeking a glance at that lovely prize,
Until I can call it home.

Mick McKellar
June 2018

Why do I love to watch the lightning? Maybe I'm trying to see into Heaven...


Monday, June 11, 2018

Dark River

Shadows of branches reach through my window,
Dance on my ceiling, dark specters of death.
Headlights induce a monochrome rainbow,
Wraith-like contortionists capture my breath.
Silent, I sit on the dark river's edge,
Watching, whispering a child's magic spells.
Worrisome wonders and simple fears, dredge
Up apparitions from deep, arcane wells.
Oh, powerful cataract carry me!
Cradle me, wash away my dreadful dreams.
Both swift and gentle may your passage be,
From velvet night until morning light streams.
River of Dreams, though a grim, eerie sight,
You carry me through to each dawning bright.

Mick McKellar
June 2018

I wonder, do all children face the dark river of dreams every night?


Friday, June 08, 2018

Ivy Flowers

The ivy flowers up high in the trees,
Mark paths winding dimly through shadowed wood.
It’s simple woodcraft, and it’s understood
By one who takes time, and once taken, sees.
But the self-important seek other signs:
Arrows and bright indicators of red
Or white, written with instructions that said:
Follow the colorful markers and lines.
Though it’s convenient, it comes with a cost,
And not from the highly reflective paint,
And surely not from signage’s attaint,
But from quiet beauty and essence lost.
Take the time to hear what it has to say,
The forest will show you the prudent way.

Mick McKellar
June 2018

Beware the garish signposts others would have you follow. Read the forest and the trees, for the prudent path is there to see.


Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Broken Runner

I tumbled into a frightening dream:
My frantic feet flashing fire on the run.
My musical voice pitched in frantic scream,
In silent halls pierced by bursts from a gun.
Each door that I tried was securely locked.
The tile floor was littered and slippery.
The door to the cafeteria, blocked
With chairs and tables piled higher than me.
On, onward I ran toward the outside doors,
Where through dirty glass I saw flashing light,
That reflected on the polished tile floors...
My chest bursting open was my last sight.

I hovered, crying, and watched a long while,
The broken child body on blood-smeared tile.

Mick McKellar
June 2018

Sometimes, I wonder if my dreams are gifts or a challenge. I felt every bit of the unreasoning fear that seared through the mind of that innocent child. Running in terror and loneliness, a slim hope, and unspeakable pain...somehow, thoughts and prayers are not enough.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Watching a Fire Watching Me

My icy world must seem an endless feast
At rest, awaiting just your living touch,
To feed the roaring heart of flaming beast --
Your hunger eager to consume so much.
You peer at me with dark and empty eyes;
You cast your life light flickering around.
Yet, you must hear the hissing snapping cries,
As food and victims make their dying sounds.
I hear you breathing, needful rush of air
So balanced, with your blistering exhale.
I've felt you grow unchecked with dark despair;
I've seen you tamed, reduced in speed and scale.
And as I warmly ponder what you see,
I watch you live, and watch you watching me...

Mick McKellar
May 2018

As I was reminded tonight, we all can be mesmerized by watching a fire, whether on a beach, in a fireplace, or in a simple stove.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Welcome to Slumberland

I walk among dreamers along the rift,
Carefully sidestepping those near the brink.
Should I fall I’d set my spirit adrift,
For just long enough to panic and sink.
Most sleepers come here to ponder their fears,
Work out their problems, and probable fates.
Some smile while napping -- no agonized tears,
Others run screaming through various gates.
Many watch movies on small TV screens,
Movies that feature themselves as the star;
Yet others read their own fan magazines.
A few get lost when they wander too far.
Someday when you dream, and come here to roam,
If you see me wandering, bring me home…

Mick McKellar
May 2018

You mean you haven’t seen me in your dreams -- while I’m in my dreams? Well, after all, Slumberland is a big place…


Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Roc's Egg

The wave-swept stones beneath my feet,
Were warm from midday sun.
The lake, a smooth and glassy sheet,
Reflected rays with sudden heat,
And cooked me until done.

I wandered aimlessly along,
Near dreaming as I walked,
And hummed a tuneless, wordless song,
As light as air, for nothing wrong
Was said, and no one talked...

Twas then I heard a rush of air,
A shadow passed me o're.
When first I looked, saw nothing there,
I shivered from that urgent scare,
Alone upon that shore.

A shadow deepened over me.
A voice began to sing
A cry of joyous ecstasy.
I turned at once, but I could see
Just one enormous wing.

A feeling of solemnity,
Washed through my heart and soul.
Though I felt no hostility,
The giant bird's propinquity,
Arrested my patrol.

A message formed within my mind:
"Request, with great respect,
Please never let another find
This egg, If you'll please be so kind,
My treasure to protect?"

The Roc stepped back, her dark blue eye,
So ancient and so wise,
Looked deep inside to verify,
That I agreed and would comply.
And launched for distant skies.

She told me where the egg was laid,
And how I was to watch,
And how she would come to my aid,
Should I grow worried and afraid,
That it might never hatch.

For sixty years, I walked this beach,
I'd stop and I would pray.
Until one night I sensed a breach:
With gratitude, and one long screech,
A young bird flew away.

When after many happy years,
My life came to its end,
I left behind my loves and peers;
I shed my pains, and tears, and fears;
And flew with my old friend...

Mick McKellar
May 2018

I never met a Roc. At least I don't thinks so. I would like to, though.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Ghost Light

On silent stages, only echoes live,
And days of drama pass to lonely sleep;
Performers sharing all that they could give,
Are taking with them pieces that they keep.
They shed the stolen lives they occupied,
And served the audience the residue.
While deep in character, the part they hide
Lives on, a spark, a flame they can’t eschew.
Each thespian’s a cast, in amber saved:
A soaring company, a silent choir.
Each author’s children timelessly enslaved,
Mute retinue an artist must acquire
To aid an actor’s depth when in a play.
And deep inside a ghost light shows the way…

Mick McKellar
May 2018

A piece of every character I have ever played remains inside me, endlessly waiting on a cue to emerge and live vicariously once again.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Donald, Do You Dream?

Donald, do you dream?
Are your nights mere cloven death?
Does your soul e're draw a breath,
Devoid of greasy residues of greed?
Is there anything you need,
Aside the golden screed...where you lay?
Do you dream?

Donald, do you feel?
Is it pain that drives your mouth,
Ghoulish tirades -- your sabaoth?
Is it fear that prompts your braying?
Is your spindly spine decaying?
Is anything you're saying...touched by love?
Do you feel?

Donald, do you care?
Does Earth revolve about you?
Do you fear that others doubt you?
Is it ownership you crave?
Bricks to build your tawdry grave?
Is it pleasant to enslave...all you see?
Do you care?

Donald, do you cry?
Aught but pain bring tear to eye?
Can the agony of others touch your soul?
Is empathy unknown to you?
Can you see it must be true,
That others besides you...might feel pain?
Do you cry? you dream?

Mick McKellar
May 2018

Every night I pray / That on the next day / A mask will fall away / And a President will emerge. / I wait so patiently, / But I look up and see / Porky Pig grinning at me, / Who says: “That’s all folks…”


Monday, May 14, 2018

The Proclamation

“I want to be a writer dad!”
I once said, with a cautious grin.
“I want my words to all sink in,
Prompt the hesitant to begin,
Win the silent Olympiad!”

“My mind is full of untold tales.
I’ve poems full of rhyming verse.
I’ve pithy comments, wry and terse...
My stories fill a universe,
Where good guys win and love prevails”

“Although a brush won’t fit my hand,
A pen and paper will suffice:
To paint with light, with fire, with ice --
To sculpt the wind in Paradise,
And find true love in shifting sand.”

“My words will dance to please the eye;
My phrases wake a shut-up heart,
And take a wall of hate apart.
I’ll shoot aloft a verbal dart,
And write a life upon the sky!”

His eyes opened and looked my way.
I waited on his comment wise.
I waited as he blinked his eyes,
Cleared his throat to speak and advise.
He coughed and said, “What did you say?”

Mick McKellar
May 2018

Sometimes, you first have to get their attention…


Monday, May 07, 2018

Of Monsters and Miracles

As nature's convulsions stir our dark tea,
Brewing concoctions we best leave apart;
Lest that which destroys us be set free,
To warp our blithe spirit and break the heart.
Welcoming ghosts with the specter of hate,
Standing in shadows amidst the bleak fog,
Tempts the forlorn with vast hungers to sate,
Banishing sunlight to walk the black dog.
Revenant bright of our spirit long freed,
Miracle mirage of libertied past,
Kindle a fire in our moment of need;
Illuminate monsters before us massed.
Grant to our sovereign freedoms new birth,
As monsters and miracles walk the Earth.

Mick McKellar
May 2018

I still believe that America is a miracle. A renaissance of age-old human monsters necessitates a watch-fire to illuminate the threat.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Dream Bridge

I stood erect on an alien plain,
Gazing spellbound at a lavender sky,
As webs of stars knit from fiery skein,
Traced golden contrails of a firefly.
An azure forest was marching abreast,
In time with a thunderstorm's hue and cry;
Whilst a purple raven paced long, hard pressed
To shrewdly determine a reason why.
I shielded my eyes from the bluish sun,
Left the talking raven to chat alone...
I returned to where my dream had begun,
To walk once again into the unknown:
Climb a crystal bridge o'er a starry stream,
And follow that span to another dream.

Mick McKellar
April 2018

We can travel anywhere in the our dreams.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Starshine River

The silver of frost on the morning grass,
Brightly shines in the first light of the dawn;
Until golden sun burns silver to brass,
And to liquid diamonds on verdant lawn.
A radiant river of morning light,
Flows over rooftops and falls to the soil,
Chasing dark shadows with rapids so bright,
The glittering eddies dance with turmoil.
I long to swim in the River Starshine,
To bathe in effulgent, radiant peace;
To drink of the flashing torrent divine,
Liquid aurora of gold and cerise.
But I must remain in the dusky shade,
To watch from the banks, alone and afraid.

Mick McKellar
April 2018

I applaud the wonderful sunshine glowing outside, around our house and across the Keweenaw. Yet, once again, I am reminded by a skin cancer scar, that it’s not for me.


Monday, April 09, 2018

Nightbird's Call

In the regal silence of waking mind,
A lilting call of a nightbird unseen,
Echoes down hallways of cold Travertine,
Shocking out dust from ancient shelves behind.
Then stirring motes in air chill, still, and stale,
From alien statues tall and cold and pale,
And teasing flames of candles a'dancing.

The twilight veil is pierced afresh -- as Thought --
Afoot on slippers cracked from long disuse,
Wobbly, wizened, and wickedly obtuse,
Shuffles, stumbling from dark stacks all dusty,
Jouncing old tomes both mildewed and musty,
To blink rheumy eyes in the light gone fusty,
The source of the nightbird's call a’chancing

Thought is a codger abroad in my house.
He wanders the library halls alone,
And mutters -- his voice like cracking stone --
Talking to himself, just to gripe and grouse.
He once was quick, but crawls instead,
As though his battery was too dead,
To power this late nightbird romancing.

A nightbird’s strange call was heard once again,
Its echo alive in the dormant stacks,
Pulling old Thought from his ancient tracks,
Wincing and whining as though in great pain.
Suddenly, past him the nightbird did fly,
He followed its flight into the night sky,
Sending a new Thought skipping and prancing.

Mick McKellar
April 2018

It has been said that to know your own mind, you must spend time there. In my dreams I visit the grand library in my own mind. Since the chemo, it seems I've been more visitor than patron...


Sunday, April 08, 2018

Echo from the Past

Does an echo love its beginning sound,
Brightest noise in the silence of the night?
What power can make it travel around,
Pushing air in waves over noiseless ground;
Reflecting, refracting, audible light:
Mirrored for ears with auricular sight,
Blinded by stillness dark, voiceless, profound...

Or speak a word, to a raucous abyss
So loud, it creates a silence intense
Enough to cover anything remiss;
Swallowing howls of self-important bliss,
And the constant drumming of common sense.
Does an echo have any real defense,
Or dissipate fast as an angel’s kiss?

Mick McKellar
April 2018

When I speak these days, I feel like an echo from the past, lost in the silence of weary ears.