Monthly Archives: August 2011

New World Friends

Emily Dickinson Using Facebook?

This new world is far from that which Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson once knew.  I wonder if they would have incorporated the wonderful new things of technology into their poetry, like the overpowering realm of Facebook and cell phones (had they existed then).  

Walt often wrote about the contemporary ocean vessels of his day, which were cutting edge at the time.  Likewise, Emily wrote about horses and carriages, the modern day equivalent to our own automobiles.  So I think she did incorporate some of the current technology into her poetry.  Today we envision Walt’s ships and Emily’s carriages as quaint.  Perhaps future generations will see such references to the technology in our lives as quaint, or perhaps things like Facebook will eventually fade away into obscurity leaving our future readers unable to understand it.

In any case I think Emily would have used Facebook profusely as she corresponded with her friends.  Although she rarely ventured out to meet them face to face, she was fond of writing letters with them.  So that’s why I wonder about it.

A few weeks ago I sent a “friend request” to a lovely and very published poet on Facebook and later I was away from home when my cell phone buzzed.  Pushing a couple of buttons I discovered that Facebook sent me a notification to explain that my new friend accepted my request!  I was excited and when finally returning home I composed the following poem in honor of her.   I don’t know if generations 100 years from now will understand the references, but I think most of us can.  I hope you enjoy my little poem.  I wrote it with the spirit of Emily Dickinson flouncing around in the back of my mind, thinking that this is how she might have written a similar poem in her day.  Thank you for visiting.

New World Friends


The morning simmered the glistening dew,
returning it’s angelic luster to the heavens.
And the bees
played in threes
round the lilacs in dozens…

There my heart laid amidst the blooms,
the springing day and sprouting shrooms,
when my pocket buzzed with such unrest,
and saw you accepted my friend request….

So I left that garden to find another beauty,
as a matter of loving duty,
to thank the delicate heart who found mine
seeking friendship for all time…….



© 2011 John Richter

A Dog House Cat-Head Funnel

Recently I made a new friend of a very talented, very comical poet. When I navigated to his Facebook page I noticed that he kept as his profile picture a photograph of one of his cats, who must be suffering from some ailment because it is wearing one of those funnels over its head that veterinarians put there to keep them from scratching themselves. In any event, I find those funnels completely hilarious, especially on cats. So in my humorous stupor I felt like composing this whimsical short poem to my new found friend as a show of kinship.  So I hope that if you find this page that you will enjoy this little off-beat piece.  If not, then I hope you will take a moment to tell me why….  Thanks for visiting……

A Dog House Cat-Head Funnel

I saw the dog house
while rowing down main
in my pancake boat.
It was kind of soggy,
the dog house, I mean.
And it wouldn’t float.

The dog had to be
somewhere, didn’t he?
And I found him there.
He ate a hole
in my pancake floor.
Syrup was everywhere!

Silly dog. You can’t
eat the pancake boat!
I’ll have to row faster.
But heavens no!
That stupid dog just
turned to alabaster….

Well that’s just great.
I’ve got a foot of syrup
and he gets to just sink.
What am I to do?
Think, think, think….
Oooooo! Hit another link!

Now I see a funny looking cat
with a funnel on his head.                                                     
I want to throw popcorn in there.
Life is like a string of popcorn.
It’s always funnier when you throw
it into a cat-head funnel.

That didn’t rhyme.
But it’s still funny.
I tracked syrup on your carpet,
and it’s runny.
Now that’s not funny.
At all.

Have you seen my pills?

Do you think we could fill
that funnel with popcorn
before he could eat it all?
And just see his little whiskers
poking out through them,
like a little popcorn ball?

Let’s put some syrup in there too.
I think your cat ate my pills man.
Did he just wink at me?
Ok, where is his right ear?
It was there a minute ago.
Is his name Evander?

© 2011 John Richter

My Tender Waves

Very recently I spent a day at the Pensacola Beach with my grandchildren, Graicyn, Knighten, and Phanton, whom I have never met before. I can’t imagine any more words added to this introduction could help you have a better understanding of the emotion that inspired this poem.



My Tender Waves

Fathoms, Fathoms, waves break the sandy shore,
Crystal clear to blue to green,
As they did 10,000 years before.

Priding themselves as frothy acrobats,
twisting an opaline sheen
then rolling slowly to liquid mattes.

And others themselves quite definitely shy,
inconspicuously atween
the roaring waves so high.

Those are mine, I should think of all
the waves I have seen,
the whitecaps, the smoothies, the tall;

It’s the shy ones hiding amidst the surf
to make a beautiful scene
with their incremental kerf.

If you chance upon the gulf to play,
on any given blue or grey day,
and you find the waves hiding away,
please know I have already been.
And if your thoughts should ever come to weigh
the chance of claiming that wave astray,
then I should just obligingly say,
you may have it as philipeen.

For you can never own a wave, nor anything
other than a moment, you see.
And that’s why I shall always sing
of grandkids in those waves with me.

So the waves I gladly offer you and pray
those moments with the kids shall ever stay,
knowing timid waves can’t wash them away.

For that’s the reason, my dear friend,
as the moments live forever,
that waves begin and never end.




© 2011 John Richter

Mrs. Russell

My mother was a war bride of WWII, having left her native Australia to enter this brave world of America. A mother of seven, her days were quickly filled with many things. Most of our WWII veterans are dead or dying now, and younger people can’t imagine some of the things we grew up with in the 1950’s and 60’s. It was a tumultuous time. Atomic bombs, Korea and Viet Nam. Those things will never go away. Man will always hate. Today we have Afghanistan and Iraq, But it is all tragic. The following poem is about another war bride, Mrs. Edna Russell, who befriended me in 1963 at my tender age of three. She wasn’t as lucky as my mother, in that her husband came back from the war in a box and a flag before they were able to have children. She was a neighbor who loved her lost husband deeply. My childhood would have been nothing without her. She is one of the most wonderful women who have ever touched my life.

I love her.

Mrs. Russell

A moment frozen, an aged heart,
a timeless soul falling into no boundary.
Her blue hair sparkled under her straw hat
as she poked around the rhubarb patch.
Dwarfed by an ocean of life’s wonders,
her smile roundly spilled over
the edges of this world,
its confines unable to contain
the glory of her beauty.
And I saw her smile shimmering.

A young heart, full and alive,
a quick passion, love thrived
but war tore them apart.
A hasty marriage.  A call of duty.
His mangled body fallen afar.
And so she collected the years, alone.
Poking the soil around the rhubarb.
Canning her crabapple jelly.
Visiting his grave on Thursdays.

But every day at around two or three,
she’d grab my small hand and head for tea.
Through crumpet crumbs and crumbling tears,
We spared the pain and crossed the years,
as though Lieutenant Russell hadn’t gone away.
And just for a little while
I would be her little child.
She told me stories and taught me things,
and her motherly love would tenderly bring
a smile that blessed her way.

And on each day at four or five,
we’d cross the street, her voice alive,
she’d thank my mum for hours spent
kiss my cheek, away we went.
I’m certain that in those ensuing years
to look beyond her heart’s veneers
you’d find this thought in time:
that the hours we spent belonged to her,
a lost mother’s love so dear and pure.
But really, when examined well
I let her think but always tell
her smile made those hours mine.

And mine.  And mine.

© 2011 John Richter

I (don’t) Hate You

The evening taught me well, throwing away
the fistful of fires that lined my soul like
a blackened chimney, straining out the cares that
matter, the ones that are deep, the swells
of ocean that poured into my heart the day I
found you. A twilight conversation, tossing
away my torment, using that last bit of strength to
hold my self in tact, my brittle shell nothing
more than crumbling bits of ash now that you are
leaving. And my heart tells me to pretend I don’t
care, that the world has not just collapsed upon
itself, that the sprinkling bits of stars and heavens
have not just suddenly lost every meaning they’ve
ever had. And my heart screams! Hold your head
high! my heart says. Don’t let her know you care,
the heart shrieks and it rips through me to the
bone, leaving me splayed and open, bleeding into
the trough of my own misery, while every other
part of me longs to latch onto you, to capture
you like a firelfy in a jar, to keep you in my
life forever and let the warmth of your glow
soothe me as it always has. But I can’t. And so
I toss my cares away, like pennies into the fountain,
watching them sparkle through the waves, knowing I can
never get them back, never touch them again, never
feel them jangle in my pocket. Or hear your darling
voice, or hear your sweet sleeping breath after we
talked ourselves into exhaustion in the wee morning
hours. And so the pennies just lay there, on the
bottom of that sky blue painted pool, bigger and
smaller, bigger and smaller as the waves distort
them, my emotions burgeoning with each little ripple,
each copper glance, each beat of my heart. And I
will stand straight and tall and pretend that I believe
wishes can come true. But I know that they don’t.
And neither do you. But I’ll keep throwing pennies
into this fountain every day for the rest of my life.
Because I want to wish anyway.

© 2011 John Richter


I stood there
in the realm tween dark and light
taken by the beauty of night
A door opened.
Its misty shine poured into the air
splitting shadows everywhere
Its glow stole me,
away my heart to its call.
my self in total sprawl
And I fell
my knees lit the ground
and angels sang
So I fucked them
until they screamed
and the door closed.
That’s who I am
the raper of might
the lord of hate
the beauty of light must die
by my hand
Because I am

© 2011 John Richter

The 60’s

© 2011 John Richter

Net Dreams

Story book dreams, feathered seams,
glory finds comfort by two’s;
Zeros and ones, petticoat suns,
the best of life to lose……

A talent hidden, love forbidden,
the master ruled her cave.
Come another, a wanton lover,
to free her chains, a slave.

Love chancing, hearts dancing,
admiration cloaked from view.
Her master there, a constant stare
yet her words went ringing through.

What can I say John?
Come what may John?
As the Indian rules this hour?
I feel at bay John…
To spend a day John…
outside his watchful tower…

Words would meet, singing so sweet,
but the two lives would never glance.
Hearts entwined, love inclined,
as the world saw budding romance.

But in the midst of a lover’s twist,
as danger ruled her senses,
She ran away home, to arms of Stockholm,
behind her master’s fences.

And what remains, but sorrowful stains
of words in zeros and ones.
The poems they shared, the love they dared,
– gone.

Poem Form:  Four lines per stanza – known as “quatrains”,  first and third lines have internal rhymes – (…remains,…stains),  second and fourth lines have tail rhymes or “rime couée” – (..senses,…fences).  Near the middle of this particular poem I broke from the form to add a six-line verse, also known as a “sestet.”  The last line of this particular poem intentionally breaks from the mold, rhyme and metre sequence to emphasize the absolute desolation of a lost relationship that ended abruptly.

This poem is about a love affair between two people who never met, but fell in love over the internet and by emailing each other the most beautiful love letters. It ended abruptly when she left to return to her lover.

© 2011 John Richter

Morning Death

The morning screeches
it’s talons dug deeply into the passing sun
watching sadly for the death of whatever may come
that baker, who spent his years helping neighbors
in a town so small the world forgot
him nothing more than a speck of flesh
but to those others there, a giant
the morning sees it all
waiting for death to call

His only daughter packing away
those things of his life, his love, his craft
and the morning whiles away
just watching her
a rolling pin into the box, a spatula
people coming by
the morning’s watching
and crying too

Another town, another daughter
perhaps a son or wife
bleeding inside
screaming a silent, deafening scream
packing away, away those things
their minds only seeing memories
of different suns
and other mornings
that watched us all before

The janitor’s daughter
crushed in her car
her life smothered like a candle in a jar
the knock on the door
a uniform and badge
stealing the rest of his self
only that one small part was left
but now it’s gone when the morning goes
the rest of the day, the rest of life, is nothing

Death comes, for whatever reason
the morning watches us all
knowing us each by name
loving us all the same
carressing us
watching us grow, laugh, and love
until comes that final day
we pack those things away
and the morning cries with us

© 2011 John Richter

First Death

There is a quiet here
the room sweating from the days heat
pictures hanging from the wall
how odd to see a winters pond
skaters floating round
while my life lays sweltering
in its own ruin
Yet another day

It was four years ago
maybe to the day
or is it five now?
I don’t know
the day this room came alive
trapping me here
sealing me inside its breathing walls
laughing, laughing at me

My mind no wiser today
just constantly slipping away
not really remembering
if I lived before
or if there was some door
that I walked through
to forget my life
or if it even was

© 2011 John Richter