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Grab today…

NO POINT DWELLING ON THE PAST

Occasionally I found myself thinking about the many mistakes I made throughout my long life. I know I did the best I could under the circumstances and with what I knew then, but I certainly goofed. Finally, I realized there’s no way to change the past, so it’s a waste of time to dwell on it.

Tomorrow I may not even wake up. I’m in what the famous scientist David Suzuki calls the ‘death zone’. No point worrying about what may come then.

All we have for sure is right now so we might as well grab it and enjoy every moment possible. I’m determined to live within this plan, so I wrote a little poem for myself about it.

YESTERDAY, TOMORROW AND TODAY

Yesterday is forever gone
Nothing can change that.

TOMORROW MAY NEVER COME, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT
TODAY IS OURS TO HAVE, GRAB IT AND ENJOY

Tomorrow may never come
There’s no guarantee of that.

But today is ours to have
So reach out and grab it.

Water…

It has been raining constantly lately. I must be really tired of it. It is obviously getting to me because yesterday I wrote this very ‘serious’ poem about water. Ahem!

Water is an essential element

They say I’m 60% water
I thought it was more, still
Water is an essential element.

PERHAPS I WOULD HAVE DROWNED

If there were no water
I’d never have learned to swim
Perhaps I would have drowned.

MAYBE WE’D ALL DRINK WHISKEY

What would we drink without water?
Maybe we’d all drink whiskey
with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

WE’D FALL INTO THE FLOWING RIVER

We’d all be so drunk we’d fall
into the flowing river
On the way home.

WE WOULDN’T HAVE UMBRELLAS.

Without water there would be no rain
We wouldn’t have umbrellas
And would get soaked through and through.

P.S. I’ve been writing this blog for a long time. You may enjoy this old post, ‘Favorite Sayings’, dated June 8, 2012. Just go to the upper right where the eyeglass is and type in the name.

Patience…

I don’t recall Hans ever being angry with me, but I do remember that the poor guy was bored with some of the outings we took because of my work. Then, again, he did correct some of my expressions I’d picked up in my childhood.

I’M SURE, AT TIMES, I DID TAX HIS PATIENCE.

My mom immigrated to Canada from Russia and picked up English and French. I picked up some of her sentence structures. Although Hans had immigrated to the U.S. from Vienna himself and English wasn’t his first language, he spoke and wrote it perfectly. Let’s face it, the guy was smarter than me — and funny — and I’m sure, at times, I did tax his patience.

Poor Hans accompanied me to many events I had to cover. The other day when I found this poem and reread it, I laughed. I hope you get a kick out of it too.

HANS ACCOMPANIED ME TO MANY EVENTS I HAD TO COVER. THEY WEREN’T ALWAYS GREAT.

P A T I E N C E .

Who? Whom?

When she says ‘who’ instead of ‘whom’
I do not send her to her room,
I patiently correct her once,
or twice, or thrice. She’s not a dunce.
And tell her when it’s ‘may’ – not ‘can’.
I am, indeed, a patient man.

When she invites me to a bash
and all I get is turkey hash
and then, for breakfast, Decaf, brewed,
have I complained, lamented, sued?
Invoked the bible, the Koran?
No, I’m indeed a patient man.

When I was dragged to ‘Dead Man’s Gulch’,
that gross, dung-aggregated mulch
of cinematographic Kitsch.
Was I observed to gripe, to bitch?
No – come and go, ten blocks I ran
I am a very patient man.
By God, I am a patient man.

I AM, INDEED, A PATIENT MAN.

When she broke up my mountain weekend
when manage-editing had freakened
my well deserved week’s recreation
with job-caused crass abomination.
Did I kick her in the can?
No – I’m a very patient man.
I am, indeed, a patient man.

After the rain…

Still going through my papers. Still finding things which I find interesting.

This poem was written by a very young daughter Susan and dated 2/14/80.
I like it, although I’m sure Susan would write it very differently today.

AFTER THE RAIN

A singular droplet of crystalline water fell upon my brow,
Drawing my face upwards to see if the sky would begin to
Cry in earnest.


The heavenly shower began to pour around me;
Washing away the sins of the world in a sporadic burst of
Innumerable silver amulets.
The horizon was clothed in dismal grey as the relentless
Storm sent the nectar of the clouds crashing to earth in
Wind-blown fury.


My consciousness soon became as drenched and distraught as
The sparrow in the treetop, being thrashed about
By his maker’s own discontentment.
After the clouds had scoured the earth with efficient grace,
They retreated to their mountaintop mansion,
Allowing the sun to once again bathe the earth in brilliant,
Warming rays.


A spectrum of colours danced across the heavens
As the mist evaporated into clear, blue skies,
Reflecting the light of life in it’s entirety,
Radiance and joy were to be found everywhere:
For even in the frail web of the spider,
Translucent, shimmering specks of water gleamed like
Diamonds on a string.


Beauty was granted a chance to show full face
As the world responded to the precious gift the clouds
Had bestowed upon the earth.

*P.S. Don’t be concerned if I don’t post for awhile. I’ll be busy with other things.

Blessed are the weird people…

SON RAFI, HIS BEAUTIFUL CHANDRA, AND ME

My San Francisco kids visited at Xmas. It turned out to be a White one and Rafi, Chandra, and grandson Remy loved walking in the snow. (It doesn’t snow in S. F.) On one of their many excursions, they passed a sign in my neighbour John’s window. Rafi, of course, had to take a photo of it.


John is one of those special, interesting and multi-talented individuals who is interested in everything and everyone. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to know him, but what I like best about John is his kindness to others — including me.


I first saw John acting onstage when I was writing a column covering the arts. Aside from that his photography is so beautiful, if I had any more room on my walls, I’d try to purchase one from him if he’d sell it. What else does he do well? I don’t at all know because the guy never brags. I asked John if he had written the words in the sign below. He said he hadn’t. If you know who did, do let me know.

In case the photo of the sign is difficult for you to read, this is what it says:

B L E S S E D
* A R E T H E *
Weird People
The Poets & Misfits
T H E A R T I S T S
T H E W R I T E R S
& MUSIC MAKERS
The dreamers & the
O U T S I D E R S
For they force us to see
THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY

Happy Valentines Day…

PHOTO BY CHANDRA

We are all tired of COVID:19. We want it to go away!!! We miss friends and family we can’t see. I certainly do.


I miss my book club. I miss my loved ones. I miss seeing many of my friends. I miss being physically close to them. I miss touching them and feeling okay about it AND, it’s Valentines Day!


I even find keeping a safe distance from strangers lonely. It’s difficult to have conversations with people standing in line with you. You’d have to holler for them to hear and that’s not so cool.


But, what I miss most of all is HUGGING loved ones and friends. Don’t you??? I feel like squashing them. Have you almost forgotten what it was like to hug someone dear to you? To cuddle? To feel really close to someone? Well, here’s a little poem to help you remember:

Would you like a cuddle
with me, and to huddle?
No – not in a puddle
where ducks like to waddle
that would tend to befuddle
and leave us amuddle.

My wanting to cuddle
Is not empty twaddle,
My sentiments floodle
my heart – my cheeks ruddle,
I tremble, I shuddle –
And it all came so suddle.

By Hans Muller

Computer spell checks?

PHOTO BY CHANDRA

Christmas is in the air and before you know it the New Year will be here. I wish everyone a happy holiday season and a year free of unpleasantness.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


I haven’t made New Year resolutions for years — I rarely managed to keep them anyway. This year nonetheless, as a kindness to my children, I intend to continue culling the papers I’ve accumulated through many years of writing.


Here’s a poem a friend sent me in 1991, which I’d included in an article about our complicated English language. Spell checkers have improved since then, but beware. They can still goof.

COMPUTER SPELL CHECKS???

Eye have a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

CAN THEY BE TRUSTED?.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
Eye am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

Author unknown

WHO’S ASKING WHO?

I’d laugh until my sides hurt.

Hans was undoubtedly the smartest person I ever knew. He was also so funny, he’d have me laughing out loud until my sides hurt.


In going through my papers and throwing out thousands (honestly) I came across this poem of his and couldn’t resist sharing it with you.


Hans came from Vienna as a young adult, where he spoke German and another local dialect. He said other languages were easy because he’d studied Latin at school and Latin is the root of so many languages. But I think it was much more than that. I hope you enjoy this playful poem he wrote about English.

WHO’S ASKING WHO?

by Hans Muller

Hans could and did read several languages

All of us languish
with speech induced anguish
and parsing our sentences
gives rise to repentences.
Hence using the vernacular
looms as positively Dracular.

Much joy to many gives
The usage of genitives
and even a native
can have fun with a dative.
Then why do brains turn into sieves
when confronted with accusatives?

Hans on one of our ‘motor’ trips which we thoroughly enjoyed

Is it HE or HIM, is it ME or I,
WE or US, SHE or HER — and why?
Is REGARDLESS wrong, IRREGARDLESS right
or are they the same — no, not quite.
When I go to bed, do I LAY or LIE?
Did they LEARN me wrong
or should it be TEACH?
I’ve got doctorates in English and Speech.

Aren’t the schools rich
in certified rules which
prescribe things grammatical?
Do I seem fanatical
if I declare that I’m aghast
finding ignorance so deep, so vast.

English???

If the abusive
of mother-tongue usage
prevails incontestably
and quite indigestibly.
I’m asking with unceasing awe:
Ain’t lingocide against the law?

I get jittery and tlnglish
speaking so-called good English,
The King’s, the Queen’s or the Bard’s
For me that is not in the cards.
What the heck — WHOM or WHO,
why don’t I just do
what Tom and Dick and Harry can,
talking simple North American.

A Man and his Tear

Life isn’t fair: It isn’t fair that my children are funnier than I am. It isn’t fair that they’re cleverer than I am and it sure isn’t fair that they write so much better than I do — and they started doing so early.

I already shared an (ahem) unforgettable saga daughter Susan wrote when she was about six, ‘A Romance’ about the Pickle and the Stick. (See https://viewfromoverthehill.wordpress.com/?s=A+Love+Story…or just click on Oct/2021 on the right of the cover page.)

Rafi wrote one at about the same age, but if Susan’s was a saga, his called ‘How did she die?’ was a tome, much too long for this post. If you want to read it you will have to wait until it is published. (Chuckle.)

Instead I’ve chosen to share the following poem written during his early university years — in about 1991.

A MAN AND HIS TEAR

A YOUNGER RAFI

By Rafi Kauffmann

Looking into a sullen eye
A moment of realism slips through
A moment of evil and self-destruction
Yet of kindness and redemption,
A tear

Sold is the innocence of youth
For a rough tempered style,
Tattered is the skin
Worn beyond its years
But still, a tear

TATTERED IS THE SKIN

Glistening with emotion
It swells but won’t fall
The impression on others holds it back

A positive sign this tear
A breakthrough well needed
An escape well deserved

Honestly it sings of experience
A living history contained within its walls
What it knows he knows
What it is, he is

WHAT IT IS, HE IS

Halloween…

When I was a child, I loved Halloween — never had a birthday party, I didn’t want one because it was like asking for presents. It made me uncomfortable.

I did, however, have wonderful Halloween Costume parties. My friends and I looked forward to them for years, and ended the evening by going out ‘Trick or Treating’.

The following poem was written by my friend Hans Muller, who never minded creating new words if he felt like it.

Halloween’s last gasp

At the un-ghostly hour of five past eleven
Seven ghosts met in a chimney, seven
A chain-clatter, bone-black, a flaccid cadaver
They commenced a ghastly, sidereal palaver.

And the seventh ghost so spake to the others,
‘Why don’t we ghosts have fathers and mothers?’
From what manner of substance are we cleft
That of loving parents we are forever bereft?’
Despondently sighing they tell their chains:
‘It is half past eleven, half an hour remains.’

The fourth ghost answered him thus, the fourth,
‘Such a thing is not true of the ghosts of the north:
In fact, they have fathers and mothers galore
Four sets of each, at the utleast four.’

Pensively brooding, they gnaw their chains,
It’s a quarter of midnight, one quarter remains.
Up spake the sixth of the ghosts there assembled
And at his gruescent words they trembled.
Amorphously, voidly, they quantrify,
They’re fourfold invisible, fourfold awry.

Fourfold they quatrivide nothingness
By fourfolded, quantrivoid, sexless caress.
There’s horrified silence but for stifled groans,
Iced ectoplasm cloaks regified bones.

Frenzedly gasping, they devour their chains,
Sixty seconds till midnight, one minute remains.
For a moment they stare at each other in fright,
Then, suddenly, disenfleshed cheek bones turn bright.
Disenlipped mouths twist in jawous grins,
Spiderlike fingers slap calfless shins,

Into depths of boundless mirth they delve
As the church bell tolls a thundering twelve
And they all exclaim as with only one mouth:
‘We’re lucky to be the ghosts of the south.’

They vanish, regurgitating their chains,
It is twelve o’clock midnight and nothing remains.