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21.7k · Nov 2016
Morning Rainbow
Robert C Howard Nov 2016
A halo of transfigured light.
     spanned the hills and autumn gold
of scores of aspen groves
     basking in the morning sun.

But what is this thing we call a rainbow?
     For all our science talk of vapor,
refraction and angle of the sun
     we surrender still in willing captivity
to its beauty, mystery and myth.

Rainbows beguile by their fleeting rarity
      as ephemeral as life itself -
temporal blessings suspended in time
      unintended and undeserved,
spectral bridges between here and there -
       between what is and what should be.
15.5k · Dec 2013
Sacred Calderas
Robert C Howard Dec 2013
Above the caldera at Yellowstone,
a brittle soil-rock crust
caps a lake of liquid fire
with only fumaroles and roiling geysers
to slake its upward ******.

A single heedless step is enough
to breech that mantle's fragile seal -
spelling death by fire
to any hapless soul
who fails to guard his steps.

Fragile calderas also roil
buried in dark crevices of our psyches -
brewed of failures, slights and fears
dissolved in fiery pools
of self-consuming misery.

To dress and salve our wounded souls
we plant fertile gardens of reconciliation
with beauty, trust and charity
and kneel to gods of grace and solace.

But a despot’s practiced eye
knows how to tap our fragile crusts,
releasing acrid lava flows
from pools where fear and rage reign hot,
and reason has no district.

Friends and siblings - my flesh and kin,
this world is ours to lose or save
so let us seal well our Sacred Calderas
from bitter foes that stalk us from within.

July, 2006, revised December, 2014, 2015 and 2018
Robert Charles Howard
12.1k · Sep 2014
Sunflowers (Haiku)
Robert C Howard Sep 2014
Yellow horizon
Sunflower fields gently sway
just beyond the crest.
10.0k · Aug 2013
Dolphin Ballet
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
A graceful water weaving dolphin
swirls wakes of gentle waves -
a white, silver blue phantom
shimmering in the noonday sun.

Piercing the surface,
she dances an aquatic ballet
of corkscrew pirouettes
and majestic somersaults.

Diving beneath the spray
she churns her engine upward -
soaring through the flaming hoop
to the "oohs" and applause
of a throng of short-sleeved hominids
bleachered beyond the rails.

Plunging into quiet depths,
she lingers for a moment
perhaps to recall the fresh sea air
and the borderless waters
in the golden days before the ships came.

*January, 2007
This poem is included in my book, Unity Tree available at and will be included in a textbook in the International Primary English series published by HarperCollins
Robert C Howard May 2017
Through an open window, I hear
      the Big Thompson's steady music
drifting up from the valley below.

May breezes and gentle rains
     coax the snow-capped peaks
to surrender their alabaster cloaks
      downslope into gathering streams.

Silhouetted by light from the waxing moon,
      a cinnamon bear lopes along water’s edge,
pauses for a draught and meanders on.

A bull elk newly coifed with velvet antlers
        folds his legs beneath its belly
and kneels into grasses beside a tranquil pond.
        while the Big Thompson rushes on.

Spring beauties, calypso orchids and geraniums  
       shake off their winter's sleep and
dot every vagabond trail and verdant hill
        while fresh new leaves adorn the aspen boughs.

The Big Thompson inexorably presses on
        bound for rendezvous with time and space
and tumbles into the always patient sea.

© 2017 by Robert Charles Howard
8.0k · Sep 2018
Harbingers of Autumn
Robert C Howard Sep 2018
Prophesies of impending fall
     creep stealthily over the Great Divide.
Gold-green Aspens shiver in the breeze
     like leagues of fibrous wind chimes
serenading the mountain slopes
     with aires of shimmering gold.

A few distant bugle calls echo
     across the Big Thompson valley
as bull elks warm up for the autumn rut.
     Sudden early gusts of frigid wind
bring waves of sleet and snow -
     in tune with the turning polar axis.

The greater chill is soon to come.
     The animals know it as do we.
Bears bulk up on grasses, roots and berries.
     Elk and deer drift down from the heights
To show their young the ways
      of the plains and river valleys.

We pull our sweaters on
     and toss another log on the flames
and greet the harbingers of approaching fall
    creeping stealthily over the Great Divide.

September, 2018
7.3k · Jul 2015
Monet's Harbor Sunrise
Robert C Howard Jul 2015
A small skiff drifted in the harbor
guided by the eazy oars of a fisherman
standing in the hull to better view
the shimmering reflection
of the orange circle hovering overhead-
dancing with the gentle waves
in the morning mist.

Monet had to name it something
so he called it what it was:

          "Impression, soleil levant."

A critic, wanting poison for his pen,
seized Monet's title to squeeze
a lethal dose into the radical veins
of the artist and his fellows of the gallery

          (Renoir, Pissarro, Cezanne).

With scathing indignation
he dubbed the lot of them,

           "Mere Impressionists."

The label endures (minus one word)
but how many recall or care to know
the righteous critic's name?

*November, 2011
Included in Unity Tree, published by Create Space available from in both book and Kindle formats.
5.4k · May 2014
A Song of the Rockies
Robert C Howard May 2014
The Rockies sing to us at sunrise

      when crystal snow-capped peaks
chant iridescent matins to the dawn,
      the dawn of a fresh new mountain day.

Luminous pastel clouds
     hover across the horizon
painting the hills and valleys below
     in mysterial shades of
lavendar, amber and rose.

The Rockies sing to us at daybreak
      when every crest and vale
unites in raising anthems to the dawn,
      The dawn of a bright new mountain morn.

Forests and fields awaken.
      A bull elk grazes by an alpine lake.
An eagle soars through the morning mist
      over rainbows of Indian paintbrush.
A hilltop lake spills over its rim
      and cascades down the *****
etching serpentine streams in the valley below.

We can hear the mountains singing.
      In every creature, ridge and flower
They bring to us their jublilant songs
      of wilderness, wildlife and wonder

We can hear the Rockies singing.

      The mountains sing forever!

*June, 2009
Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace -
5.2k · Aug 2013
Covered Bridges
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
A bridge is a curious thing to cover.
mile after mile of naked road -
then a wooden box over stream or ravine.

Why not cover the road instead
leaving the bridge unclothed?
But where's the charm in that, you say?  

So perhaps it was fashioned for Currier and Ives
or to embellish the music
of iron shod hooves on oaken planks.

Or maybe was built as a kiosk
for fading feed and carnival posters
and jackknife glyphs of amorous initials.

No, all our covered bridges, imagined or real,
guide our passage over deadly waters -
holding us fast on the road
and safe from drowning.  

*March,  2007
Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace -
4.9k · Dec 2013
What Sort of Lean-to...?
Robert C Howard Dec 2013
What sort of lean-to
is habitat to your humanity?

Is it an apartment, bungalow, flat ,
or a cozy cape cod
or perhaps a suburban ranch?

What sort of lean-to
provides those inches and flames
that shield you from
hypothermia and death?

Is it a Georgian Mansion by the sea
or cardboard boxes stacked
beneath the interchange
on the far side of town?
(How many lack even that)?

What sort of lean-to's
will suffice
to shelter the family of man?

*December, 2013
4.8k · Aug 2013
Out of Chaos
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
Shall we pause to consider
the shudder of a butterfly's wings
that sets the hurricane spinning
or the descent of the final raindrop
that breaches the groaning levy?

Shall we ponder the moment before
a chorus of "maybe's" morphs
into the vain eloquence of history?

Roiling in the broth of chaos
a cluster of causes startles the surface -
unfurling a queue of effects
that dot the timescape
like rows of teetering dominoes.

Typhoons twist villages to ruins,
armies rise to victory or
succumb to the despair of defeat,
or a medical miracle is born
from the agile mind of a doctor
conceived in a Chevy's back seat.

So here we stand on the ridge of time
ourselves both caused and causing,
cradling the sphere of chaos in our hands -
uncertain what effect will be our being
after all our causes are enumerated.

Time will surely tell - as soon
as we tell time exactly what to say.

*August, 2013
Included in Unity Tree, published by Create Space available from in both book and Kindle formats.
4.5k · Aug 2013
Missouri Triptych
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
Western Sources

Mist, rain and snowmelt gather
And soak the Montana crests.
A trio of rivulets carves the slopes,
Grow to rivers that braid into a single course
And the Missouri is born at Three Forks.

Shoshone and Hidatsu rest from the hunt,
Kneel and cup their hands
To raise life giving liquid to their lips
While horses bow beside them
Bellies filled with the refreshing waters.

The river flows north dividing the tall grasslands,
Plunges over the cataracts at Great Falls,
Churns on the rocks below
And drives inexorably toward the sea.

*Mandan and Sioux

Soft flute sounds drift from the Mandan village
Intertwining with the riffling music of the river.
By its banks a coarse French trapper roasts a rabbit
To share with his Shoshone child-bride.
Sacagawea sings softly beside him -
Charboneau's son stirring in her womb.

Sioux warriors on horseback
Stand guard by the shores.
How many travelers have passed?
How many are yet to come?
Beyond the rolling hills
A buffalo stumbles and falls
Pierced by Lakota arrows and spears.

Boats in the Water

At *River du Bois
where the Missouri
Collides with the Mississippi,
Forty men slip into boats and take to the oars
To interpret Jefferson’s continental dream -
Their keelboat laden with sustenance,
Herbs, weapons and powder.
They carry trinkets to dazzle the natives
And cast bronze medals to give them
Bearing images of their "Father in Washington"
That none had asked to have.

*May,  2004
4.5k · Feb 2019
Robert C Howard Feb 2019
Morning Rainbow

Myriad prismatic crystals,
     refract the morning sun-streams -
painting layers of spectral arches
     across the misted horizon.

Eyes turned to the western skies,
     we suspend our meteorological selves  
acquiescing to miracles unveiled before us -
     un-beckoned and scarcely earned,
proffering thanks for the radiant epistle
     of healing, hope and promise,
artfully encoded in transfigured light.

Synthetic Refractions

A luminary ballet takes center stage
    when synthetic refractors come to play:
crystal pendants bathe our foyers
      with dazzling swaths of color.
Hazy coronas encircle streetlamps
      discovered by headlights through the fog.
A science class prism slices light rays
     into pre-ordered spectral strata.

If the sky denies us a rainbow,
     we can always fashion one of our own
and we do!

Spectral Sound

Before there was music,
     bird songs brushed our souls
and the murmur of woodland streams
     held us captive by their banks.

Soon we learned to sing and tint the air
    With prisms of wood and wire and metal
and to color soundscapes in our spirits
     With songs of wonder, joy and longing.

Before there was music,
     bird songs brushed our souls.

Robert Charles Howard, 2019
This is a rewrite and expansion of a prior poem called Morning Rainbow. The poems are design to go with an original piece for solo flute also called Prisms.
4.5k · Jul 2016
Pennsylvania Barn Raising
Robert C Howard Jul 2016
They gathered by Williamson Road at sun-up
      from neighboring spreads across the Tioga valley.
They came with carts laden with lumber stacks -
      with saws, adzes, hammers and sundry tools.

They gathered with the homesteaders bond.
      to co-build their neighbor's' dreams.

Sweet music of community echoed off the hills.
     Chisels clanged into rock, shaping the foundation,
saws sang into boards to frame a timbered skeleton.
     The staccato syncopation of hammers fastened walls
that soon would shelter plowshares, stock and grain.
      A smithy leaned over his fire and forge -
chiming iron into sturdy latches and hinges.

     Children scurried about mixing squeals and laughter
with exuberant fetching and lifting whenever called.
In two short passings of the sun the deed was done
      and a handsome new barn, decked out in a wash of red
was silhouetted tall and proud against the fading light.

Homesteaders gathered at a celebration table
      to share a hearty meal adorned by the music
of fiddles, grateful smiles and easy laughter.
Then one by one they steered their wagons home
      gazing back at what their labors had wrought -
knowing to the depth of their communal souls
      that we are more together than we are apart

Listen up, America!  This is the music of community.
      We are more together than we are apart.

*© 2016 by Robert Charles Howard
4.3k · Aug 2017
Sam's Watch (1915)
Robert C Howard Aug 2017
When the arc of his watch hands  
reached the top of the hour
Sam pushed the throttle forward.

Engine 138 thundered
out of Blossburg station
like an iron dragon
breathing smoke and steam -
whistle shrilling over the Tioga valley.

Powered by coal
the train carried coal
to the waiting city of Elmira
where Sam would press his mother's hand -
perhaps for the final time.

The wheels churning iron on iron
across Pennsylvania farmlands,
turned like other wheels before
moving settlers west
to break its ready earth -
wheels beneath his grandfather's oxcart
turning toward Lycoming's verdant hills.

New wheels now carried America
to urban landscapes
drawing us like electro-magnets
to streetlamps - factories - dry good stores -
new crops for a modern age.

Elmira’s silhouette expanded on the horizon.
and Sam pulled the train in on time -
brakes screeching through billowing steam.

His wife, Jenny and his sister's Sam
came in a horseless carriage
with Zoe, Marie and Edward,
children now grown at their sides.

They all gathered by Hannah's bed
now approaching her final hours
soft voices and fragile smiles
cradled the truth beyond all telling:

Time, ever advancing
like the hands of a fine old watch,
holds us all in its circling sway

© 2006 by Robert Charles Howard
4.3k · Oct 2015
Give us Shelter
Robert C Howard Oct 2015
Three parts treasure hunter
to two parts scientist,
the archaeologist
with picks and brushes
sifts through shards and ruins,
echoes of ancestral time,
burning for answers:

How on earth did we manage
to carve out shelters from the crust
tilting the scales
of survival in our favor?

A cliff house here, a cathedral there
a village by the river
chronicling our escape from
the shadows of pre-recorded time.

We wonder where they all went
and why they vanished, but the real question
that haunts our paleolithic selves,
is who are we and where are we going?

*October 30, 2015
Pleased consider checking out my book,  Unity Tree - available from in both book and Kindle formats.
3.9k · Apr 2016
Soul Flight
Robert C Howard Apr 2016
in memoriam Woodrow (Woody) Rifenburgh*      

The soft purr of a Piper Cub
drifted over Italy's southern hills.
Soul stirred by the landscape’s song,  
the young army pilot gently spoke.

“It’s mighty peaceful up here.”

Touching wheels to the tarmac,
Woody shed his flight suit
for an engineer’s desk
and placed a viola beneath his chin.

For three score years
Woody molded horsehair and wire into string song
steadying the orchestra’s midriff
with the vibrations of his spirit.

On Christmas Eve he played for the coming child,
fell stricken and flew his last flight
on instruments at Memorial.  

Early New Year’s morn one could almost hear
the faint soft purr of a Piper Cub
as it banked to the right around the moon
and merged with the waiting heavens.
This poem was written for a dear friend who played viola in the Belleville Philharmonic and other orchestra.  In WW2, Woody flew reconnaissance missions in Italy.  He graduated from Purdue University in engineering and worked for decades designing pipe line systems for Laclede Gas.
3.9k · Jul 2013
The Fly on Einstein's Wall
Robert C Howard Jul 2013
If I could be a fly on Einstein’s wall
I’d buzz about from chair to curtain
watch him check out plans and gadgets                                            
and scratch remarks on his papers.
When the clock edged to noon
his stomach would growl,
he’d fold up the prints and say,
“It’s a relatively short walk to the café.”

With Albert out I’d take the run of the place -
practicing banks and dips and vertical lifts.
I’d munch on scraps of Brie and fowl
left fused to the edge of his table.

When the tumblers turned
I’d buzz back to my wall, eager to witness
whatever this sage would chance to say.
He’d go to his desk to file reports
and stack them neatly into a tray.

Without warning he’d rise from his chair
scattering papers across the floor.

“MASS AND ENERGY ARE ONE, ” he’d shout, -

I’d buzz and swoop and fly circles and loops
and taxi in on his collar.
I’d beat my wings to cool his brain.
But wait…Whose voice do I hear?
Oh, it’s you gentle reader.

“Stop, hold it right there, ****** pest!
It couldn’t have happened that way!
Have you no shame or respect for God’s truth? ”

But I’d stare you down with my compound eye
and scornfully twitch my wings.
Consider this, troubled sir,
you’re the one scolding a talking fly.

*July, 2006
Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace -
3.7k · Aug 2013
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
Robin hums as she tends her garden
while birds perch all around
waiting for rustling seeds
to fill the slender columns.
Humming birds hover  
to sip sweet nectar mixed for them alone.

On concert nights her voice takes flight.
and fills the hall with her radiant soul.
On quiet mornings
graphite joins with paper
and a flower's form and meaning
are captured by her vision.

A friend fallen ill or reeling from loss
receives her gift of comfort words
and a card or meal soon follows.

Grandchildren rush to greet her
and happily fill her arms.
at night they cloak themselves
In love quilts sewn by Grandma’s hands.

If you want to learn how love abides
or long to know its fullness
follow my Robin for a day
Her gift is in the gifting.

*July, 2006
Robin is my best friend and partner and oh yes, we've been married for 26 years.
3.7k · Aug 2013
Terror in her Eyes
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
Sacagawea's Capture*

As I strolled the Knife River trail
a dust cloud swirled and fell
and earth lodges appeared by the score
extending from the path to the river banks.

Hidatsa women sang at their chores,
        husking corn -
              beading moccasins -
                     scraping a buffalo hide.

A band of hunters dismounted
and released their ropes -
dropping two deer and an elk
by the hanging rack.

Triumphal shouts from the river
turned all heads to the shore
where warriors, returned
from Shoshone fields,
lashed up canoes and dragged
their human spoils up the rise.

Several squaws reached out
from the gathering crowd
seizing two of the squirming children.

A Shoshone girl with terror in her eyes
cringed as a warrior raised his arm.
"No, tell your Hidatsa name!"
Sobbing she choked through broken tears,
"My name is Sacagawea."

I bolted to breach the walls of time
to face death in her defense
but a new whirling cloud intervened.

When the dust fell away
all the lodges had vanished
with all the Hidatsa villagers.

Kneeling down to the Dakota grass,
I caressed a circular hollow
etched deeply in the silent earth.

August 6, 2010
Lewis and Clark wintered in the Mandan Villages along the Missouri River in present day North Dakota in 1804.  The Knife River flows into the Missouri River just a couple of miles downstream. Several tribes lived together for their mutual security.  The scene in this poem happened a few years earlier.   The French Canadian trapper, Toussant Charboneau, either bought Sacagawea or won her in a card game.  She was pregnant when the Corps of Discovery arrived and Lewis helped "midwife" the birth of her son, Jean Baptiste Charboneau.

When Lewis and Clark found out she was Shoshone they hired her and Charboneau to help negotiate for horses to cross the Rockies.  As luck would have it, the Shoshone Chief that had the authority turned out to be Sacagawea's brother or cousin (the Shoshone language used the same word to define both relations).  Sacagawea's presence with the Corps of Discovery probably saved the expedition from annihilation on several occasions.

The Hidatsa's at Knife river and in other communities lived in large circular houses framed out in tree lumber. The open circles inside were hollowed out into crater-like depressions. Today, the hollows from their houses dot the landscape like the surface of a golf ball.

Knife River is one of the most moving sites I have ever seen or expect to see - ever!!
3.7k · Feb 2015
K.C. Snow Globe
Robert C Howard Feb 2015
The griffin outside my balcony
squinted and shook
flipping Kansas City
upside down and back.

Giant flakes descended
like softest down -
coating the plaza below
with a mantel of frosted white.

The griffin is squinting once more.
Watch out; hold on tight!
Here we go again
whirling about in a cyclonic flurry
of magic fairy crystals.

*August, 2010
3.6k · Jul 2013
Human Family Picnic
Robert C Howard Jul 2013
dedicated with hope to all of us

Imagine a Human Family Picnic
where everyone shows -
from every sect and hue and nation -
gathered at a common table.

The Almighty swoops down
to speak the  blessing:
known to all from Torah, Q'uran and Gospels
and countless other books of wisdom -
author of our souls' aspirations.

After supper the Holy One
would call us to the sacrificial pyre.

      *“Brothers, sisters and cousins,
        images of your creator,
        every unholy war
        desecrates the face of God
        and there is no other kind.
        Cast your pride into the flames
        and live together in peace!”

Obediently, we'd toss our
pride into the fire,
recoiling from its smoldering stench.
The Lion would lie down to preen the Lamb's fleece
and Universal Love, released from her chains,
would walk  free in every land.

*August, 2006
Included in Unity Tree, published by Create Space available from in both book and Kindle formats.
3.4k · Oct 2018
Sacred Calderas (repost)
Robert C Howard Oct 2018
Above the caldera at Yellowstone,
a brittle soil-rock crust
caps a lake of liquid fire
with only fumaroles and roiling geysers
to stay its upward ******.

One errant step is all it takes
to breach that mantle's fragile seal -
spelling death by fire
to any hapless wanderer
who fails to guard his path.

Fragile calderas also roil
buried in darkest hollows of our psyches -
brewed of failures, slights and fears
dissolved in molten pools
of self-consuming misery.

To dress and salve our wounds
we sow gardens of reconciliation within
with beauty, trust and reason
and bow to gods of grace and solace.

But a despot’s studied eye
knows just how to tap our fragile crusts,
releasing acrid lava flows
from pools where fear and rage reign hot
and reason has no district.

Sisters and brothers of our flesh I pray
we find a holy and transforming alchemy
to convert our heat to light
and shield our sacred calderas
from enemies that stalk us from within.

July, 2006, revised December, 2014, 2015 and 2018
Robert Charles Howard
I decided to repost this poem because after scores of revisions over the years every stanza is substantially different than it was when I first wrote it in 2006.  Hopefully after 12 years, I've got it figured out.
3.1k · Jul 2014
Horizontal Transcendence
Robert C Howard Jul 2014
for Dr. Ursula Goodenougth

To better view the fairest the stars of
Genesis, Keats or Kepler,
the priests of vertical transcendence
built towers over clouds -
beyond the touch of worldly toil.

Standing below in soiled boots,
newer prophets citing
the universal brotherhood of
mitosis, chromosomes and DNA,
urge a new transcendence
spread on a horizontal plain
where bridges are preferred to ladders.

Muffled distant drums,
beating somber warnings
of poisoned waters and global heat,
summon us down
from our lofty towers of denial.

Murmuring rhythms of forests and streams
and all species of flora and fauna
line out the same life beats
as the engines in our chests.
The God without is the God within -
nestled within our nuclei.

With global death within the grasp
of our reckless finger tips,
and bullet fever
infesting our earthly villages,
are we ready yet
to yield a measure of our trust
to the healing power
of horizontal transcendence?

May, 2007
This poem is  included in a book called Wisdom for a New Era, Part II by Benjamin C. Godfrey and in the poet's book, Unity Tree available from
3.0k · Jul 2015
Grand Canyon
Robert C Howard Jul 2015
Two billion years ago
the river we call Colorado
opened a **** in the Kaibab Plateau

sculpting sandstone, granite, and limestone spectra
on the rugged canyon walls -
reflecting the seering Arizona sun.

Millennial torrents scoured the surface.
Juniper and Aspen, torn from the expanding banks,
****** into the river's red-stained vortex.

All the while the restless Colorado,
obedient to gravity's law,
scoured its bed a mile below the rim.
The last dinosaur perished - choked by volcanic soot.

Pangaea rumbled, groaned and split
and an eye-blink ago our African parents
stood to take their first faltering steps.

Their progeny crossed the Bering bridge
roaming south to build stone shelters
tucked against these canyon walls.

Did the Havasupai huddle in fright
of the jagged firelight searing the skies -
pounding the air across the hollows?

And emerging at storm’s end
did they gaze at the rainbow mist
spread over the buttes and valleys?

After dusk, with fires withering to embers,
did they rest supine,
heads pillowed on their arms,
pondering the jewel case universe above?

*November, 2006
Included in Unity Tree, published by Create Space available from in both book and Kindle formats.;=1447340098&sr;=8-1&keywords;=Unity+Tree
3.0k · Aug 2013
What the Morning Said
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
An orange-rose halo suffused
    the eastern horizon
like the birth of a fresh new world.

Our celestial furnace, still veiled
    beyond the eastern edge,
lent its glow to the bright silver disk
    still hovering in the western sky.

In the chill still of an autumn morn
    where yesterday greets tomorrow,
a sermon wrought of science and spirit
    whispered through the aether,

        "All is hope.
            All is promise.
                All is awakening,"
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
(Scene by the brook)*                                

He came seeking solace to Heiligenstadt
    and walked alone by its crystal stream
        welcomed by songs the nightingale taught.

Its cheerful waters made Vienna seem
    a distant, cool and forbidding stage
        where few would embrace a pastoral dream.

He dotted his sketchbooks on every page
    with earthen tones born of peasant heart -
        (though fare rich enough for any age) .                

He poured from the stream the fiddle part,
    and woodwinds sang with the birds in the dell -
        all "choired" together by his masterful art.

At Heiligenstadt Beethoven attended well
    and bequeathed us his golden 'Pastorale.'

*July, 2006
2.9k · Sep 2013
Beethoven and Schiller
Robert C Howard Sep 2013
Symphony No.9 in d – minor, opus 125

Allegro ma non troppo

The silence gives way gently
to quiet tremolos rustling
beneath the beckoning
call of distant horns.
A melodic cell, nascent in violins,
spirals down to the somber depths
of cello and contrabass.

A sudden cataclysm
shakes the hall like thunder
heralding our universal birth.
Gales of sonic force
splashed like turbulent waves
against the rocky shores.

Drifting sans glass or sextant
on a sea of expanding mystery,
we gaze to the heavens
in hopes for a glimpse
of our father’s aetherial dwelling.

Molto vivace

With hands intertwined,
we dance in a ring
to the capricious airs
of the laughing gods
with Zeus himself on timpani.
So pass the wine and kiss your neighbor
and fill your glass to the brim!
For today is yesterday’s morrow
and tomorrow’s history.

Adagio molto e cantabile

There is no greater and more healing light
than the candles that shine
in the eyes of a friend
or loving spouse -  
tenderly lighting our paths
through the storms and fogs
that cloud our lives.
Peace abides in a friend's embrace.

An die Freude

Against raging storms of
strife and sorrow.
we hear a healing voice
A calm cello hymn -
that migrates up to higher cords
of violas and violins -
breaking into joyous song
sung by trumpets, winds and drums.

Casting all shrillness of discord aside,
a baritone lines out Schiller’s ode -
and sings of Elysium’s daughter.  
Quartet and chorus enter in
proclaiming hope for the human family,

A tenor raises a stein to valor
in the company of his friends.
The quiet pulsing of horns and winds
ushers in torrents of ecstasy.
Arms clasped in communal embrace,
we gaze to heaven on bended knees
then rise with a majestic fugue
that illuminates our souls
like a blazing Alpine dawn.

In a cyclone of passion,
Schiller's words and Beethoven's notes
entreat us to restore
what custom has rent apart
that each of us may live our lives
as brothers in heavenly sanctuary.

May 25, 2007
2.8k · Aug 2013
Garden of Glass
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
honoring the glass artistry of Dale Chihuly

A rainbow of serrated globes,
Friends to the water lilies,
Floats in a sculptured pool.

A surreal yellow glass Medusa
Woven through a white crescent trellis
Gleams in the midday sun.

Choirs of chrysanthemums
Sing with multicolored flora
Blown from molten soda, lime and sand.

Sheltered in a geodesic tropics
Orange herons stand on legs of glass
Amid living palms, bamboo and wild orchids.
Towering blue spires
Lift skyward out of the soil
While butterflies dance
In the misty veil of a waterfall.

Nature and the shimmering world within
Happily converge in the florid vision
Of an effervescent man with a patched eye -
A man called Chihuly.

October, 2006
This poem was inspired by an exhibit/installation of Chihuly art at the. Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis. Many of the works Chihuly created for this show remain as permanent adornments of this wonderful garden.
Robert C Howard Mar 2014
homage to Wallace Stevens

I - My Focus pistoned up the rise
      and all at once, the Rockies -
            silhouettes against the western skies.

II - On the road to Boulder
      a pleated ridge crawls north
            like a blue whale bound for the open sea.

III -  Appalachia's intoxicating verdure
      never fails to induce in us
            a certain mellowing of the spirit.

IV - You 'conquered' my North Face, did you?
      Why, I should skewer your arrogant ***
            like a holiday lamb culled for the sacrifice.

V - Lewis and Clark looked west
      surveying the Bitterroots' frigid expanse.
            Farewell Northwest Passage!  

VI - Pueblos stranded on Enchanted Mesa -
      their rock stairs crumbled to the valley floor.
            Should they dive to their death or starve?

VII –Touristas at Big Bend Park
      wonder at its pastel window -
            its romantic haze a toxic gift
      from stacks across the Rio Grande.

VIII – The once mighty Ozarks humbled by age,          
      dwarfed by the youthful Rockies.
            Listen up, youngsters, your time will come!

IX – We de-bussed to seize the dolomites
      with our hyper-kinetic shutters.
            Pausing for a draught of Italian air,
      I felt the whack of an Alpine snowball.

X - Before Oregon's crater had its lake,
      the mountain scorched the village below.
            Today its azure waters preach only serenity.

XI – Looking down from Shissler peak
      to the golden meadow below
            where the elk herd calmly grazes.

XII – Do mists veil the Blue Ridge Mountains
      or are there really no mountains at all -
            only clouds decked out in mountain attire?

XIII – They say that peaks more steep than Everest
      soar up from the ocean floor.
            Who will scale their sunken heights?

May 28,  2010 – Boulder Colorado
Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace -
2.7k · Nov 2015
Footsteps in the Snow
Robert C Howard Nov 2015
for Robin

On that frosted January day,
     you and I hiked north
along the Mississippi shore
     on a trail marked well before us.

Footfall tapestries etched in snow
     wove tales of assiduous commerce
of hosts of fur-cloaked cousins:

the playful step-slide gambit of an otter -
      rabbit paw tracks by the score.
A bald eagle soared above singing ripples
      in quest of a mid-day meal.

The distant staccato cadence
      of a pileated woodpecker
          echoed off the limestone bluffs
on that January afternoon.
     Dusk-light washed the western sky
          in pastel gold and crimson hues.

A coal barge heading south
     thundered against the floes,
scattering ice across the channel,
     then vanished beyond the bend.

And we like bargemen at their tillers,
     set our southward course
retracing footprints in the snow -
     back to the world of clocks and enterprise.
January, 2011
Please consider checking out my book,  Unity Tree - available from in both book and Kindle formats.
2.6k · Sep 2016
Brave Rodeo Clown
Robert C Howard Sep 2016
Clem, the rodeo clown
wears a bold painted smile,
a bright plaid shirt and bib overalls
with cuffs too short for his legs.

Between the rides and roping -
Clem banters with the emcee,
wheeling off groaners and
scrambling in and out of his barrel-
playing the air-headed bumpkin.

But Clem is nobody's fool;
when that gate opens, his real work begins.

Bull and rider explode from the chute
and the game is on.
The cowboy weaves and writhes to stay on top
for that eight golden seconds
that will earn him his pay
against a half ton of feral energy
stomping and lurching to fling him to the earth.

With eyes as keen as a hungry hawk,
Clem tracks every buck and lurch
for any peril sign - and then it happens:
the rider is hurled airborne,
landing inches from the driving hooves.

Clem seizes the cowboy with
a linebacker's grip
and swings him safely over the fence
as wranglers speed the bull from the ring.

The show goes on and Clem
has plenty more jokes for the crowd
who knows he's never a barrel of laughs
when a rider's life is on the line.
2.4k · May 2016
Each Be Other's Comfort Kind
Robert C Howard May 2016
for Ashley and Trent

Joyous tears lie just ahead,
for Trent and Ashley
will seal their love today.

Pipes, strings, brass and voices
will soar beneath
Saint Peters towering nave

and we'll rise as one to affirm
their pledge of love and faith.

They met in band at Belleville East
and always seemed to know

that on some spring morn in June
they would stand at the altar
to vow their lives to constancy.

We all knew it too and today
we would be no other place

for hope unbounded rules the day
and echoes in our grateful hearts.
Another refugee poem from Poetfreak. The title is from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins called At the Wedding March.
2.4k · Nov 2015
Elements of Antiquity
Robert C Howard Nov 2015
Earth (Pangaea)

Pangaea heaved and shifted
beneath the fire-storm sky.
Colliding plates and spewing mountains
shook, roared and thundered
under the brutal chaos
of torrential cataclysms.

In time she yielded her ire
to millennia of pacific rains -
her severed crust
set adrift across the oceans
like gigantic earthen rafts.

Jungles sprang up and terrible lizards
came, grazed and left their bones.
Forests, grains and multifarious beasts
grew and perished in accord
with their past and future destinies.

So here we are - earthbound,
tossed from our mothers' wombs -
fated to live and breed
by the grace of miracles
far beyond our ken.

Beloved mother Gaia,
from whose dust we are raised,
nurture and sustain us
and sing us to our mortal sleep.

2. Air

Air - earth's miracle brew of
     oxygen, nitrogen and all the rest
          meted out in perfect harmony.

Air - silent and still on a moonlit night -
     driver of sheeted rain on window panes -
          and winds that shake the trembling aspens.

Air - author of land and ocean squalls -
     bringer of that ominous pallor
          that presages a tornado's furor

Air - invisible aerial highway
     for majestic eagles and turbo-jets -
         medium of rhetoric and symphonies.

Air – window to the cosmos
      and our fragile life–giving broth -
          unwitting conveyer of toxic alchemy.

Keep watch my sisters and brothers:
     the air we breathe is what we make it
          or rather what we let it be.

3. Water

Water like a capricious deity
     wanders through time and topography -
     cherished and cursed for
     what it gives and what it takes away.

Gentle rains and strident gales
     sculpt rivers and streams
     through forests and plains
     bound for union with the open sea.

Diurnal tides ebb and wane
     at the whim of the charismatic moon.
     Ice mountains advance and retreat;
     rock-strewns moraines left in their wake.

Turbulent currents
     soar over jagged cataracts,
     spraying pastel prisms
     across the misted valleys.

Beneath our all too fragile skins,
     secret sanguine rivers navigate
     our veins and arteries
     bathing organs, limbs and sensors
     with curative balm and sustenance.

Wellspring of all elements,
     fill our daily ladles
     and grant us the will and empathy
     to bequeath the same to our progeny.

4. Fire

Two hundred million years ago
our Paleolithic cousins
seized branches from a burning forest
and stepped into a bold new world.

By the glow of fire-lit caves,
and the scent of searing venison,
they gathered wits and tools
to craft shelters and weaponry.

Their children's children would design
forges and furnaces, factories
and build engines that run on fire.

But their anxious siblings in despair
snatched lightning from the sky
and twisted by fits of anger pride
made also muskets, missiles, bombs
and nuclear Armageddons.

Loki, god of nobler flames
open our blood-stained eyes
and show us the means
to stay our arson lust and
abide by the light of reason.

*Revised and integrated version, December, 2015
These four poems are aligned with a set of piano preludes of the same title completed 12-21-2016. Here is a link to the music
2.3k · Jul 2013
Mightiest of Swords
Robert C Howard Jul 2013

The crystal awaits the perfect slant of sun.
The world turns just so and refracted light
Hurls a color blaze against the wall.

So it is when a long awaited word
Forms on the lips of the wise.


In the fire of conflict,      
Words fall to the floor like mounds of charred flax.
Red–faced saints gather clumps to themselves  
To spin into finest thread for self-flattering raiment.


When pain burrows deep in the marrow
Where words cannot assuage
A gentle touch can bleed some out
And channel hope back in.
No words can spell a kind caress.


Beware the charismatic
Carrying a jar of poison pills!
Cover your glass when he passes your way
Or he’ll slip one in unawares.


Absurdities and failures are the stuff of jokes.
Long live non sequiturs and double entendres!
We love a clumsy tumble into the drink
As long as nobody drowns.


Of course you can!
I place my total trust in you.


Mister Frost's words never made a wood
Or caused a harness bell to shake.
Even so I’d travel many miles
To see his imagined snow accumulate.


My cat, Zoe, never says a word to me!
He doesn't have the tongue or lips or larynx for it.
He cannot fit his paws around a pen.
His brain’s too small for metaphors.

The gift belongs to us alone.
To craft words to build or **** or heal.

Forgive us Zoe for doing little with so much.

July,  2006
2.3k · Aug 2013
Lame Deer's Vision
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
High atop the mountain
a boy crouched alone in the vision pit – waiting.
Raising his red stone pipe to the four directions
he sent clouds of willow bark smoke
skyward toward his ancestors.

Naked beneath his star blanket he wept a man’s cry –
crying for a vision to come
that his people might live!
Chanting with eyes fast shut he waited and prayed.

First came the cries of the wind,
then the whisper of trees.
Birds swooped and circled about him.
He shook his rattle crying,
“Tunkashila, grandfather spirit, help me.”

A voice spoke in the call of a bird,
“Your sacrifice will make you
Wikasa Wakan, medicine man.
We are the winged ones and we are your brothers.”

In a swirling cloud his great, grandfather came and spoke,
blood dripping from the hole
where a white soldier’s bullet had found his chest,
“You will take my name, Tahka Ushte, Lame Deer.”
The new man on the mountain rejoiced.

Quietly entering the vision pit,
kind Old Chest placed a hand on Lame Deer’s shoulder,
“Four days have passed, it is time.”
and led Tahka Ushte down to the valley.

*June, 2006
Included in Unity Tree, published by Create Space available from in both book and Kindle formats.
2.0k · Aug 2013
The Master Weaver
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
In the calm still moonlit night
      she silently wove a silken tapestry -
          spinnerets spewing slender strands
      light as air but strong as Kevlar.

A silvery armature spanned the trail
    clinging to trunks and branches.
          Rappelling down from its pinnacle,
      she fixed radii to her deadly wheel.

Spiraling in from the outer ring
      she knitted her way to the center
          to await the tell-tale shudder
    of a fly or moth flown into her snare.

She took no note of the hiker
      paused alone on the trail -
          transfixed by the dew laden spiral
    shimmering in the rose-glow sun.

It mattered not to the spider
      that a man would find her work pleasing
          and it mattered not to the man
    that the web was not woven for art.
Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace -
1.9k · Aug 2013
Medicine Wagon
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
I’d jump at the chance to ride shotgun
on Henry’s medicine wagon
rolling from city to village
hawking 'Stickin’ Salve' and 'Oil of Gladness'.

We’d ride into Elmira’s County Fair
and set up over by the lake.
I’d fix old Diamond a pail of oats
and draw her a bucket of water.
while great, great grandpa
squeezed on his Union coat
and arranged his potions on the shelves.

Henry’s voice would boom
across the water like a megaphone
and people would gather close -
lured in by the old codger's
hypnotic banter of miracle cures -
and perilous Civil War battles.
He’d swear on his mother’s lumbago
that 'Stickin’ Salve' works just as fine
as the lead and powder
he’d fired at Cedar Mountain.

The folks would shake with mirth
whenever he bellowed,
“I’m Henry Howard from Bunker Hill -
Never worked and never will."
Women would tug their husband's sleeves
and they’d bring me pennies and dimes.

After dusk we’d tally the coins
and latch down the wagon for the night
then sleep side by side on the grass
beneath the New England stars.

At sunrise I'd wipe his brow -
to ease him gently back
from the thunder of enemy shells
still firing in his restless sleep.

We'd cook up some bacon and biscuits,
hitch Diamond up to the wagon
then head south through the rolling hills
along the Tioga valley.
We’d breathe in the fresh country air
and tip our caps to the farmers.

If Henry would come to tap my shoulder
some promising morning in spring
and whisper "the wagon's hitched outside,"
I’d go in a Tioga minute.

*December,  2006
The story is fantasy but Henry was not.  He was my great, great grandfather and fought for the Union in the Civil War and really did have a medicine wagon.  My grandfather loved to tell stories about Henry. I am SOOO sorry I never met Henry which would have been really tough since he gave it up in 1899.  I am sure he had a great line of bull and I am doing my best to carry on the family tradition.
1.9k · Jul 2014
Slicing a Banana
Robert C Howard Jul 2014
I sliced a fresh banana today
          alone at my kitchen counter.

I drew a common table knife
         and carved a slender yellow disc
that lingered on the blade.

The next disc drove it off the knife
          and down to the cereal below.  

Soon the banana was all partitioned
          and the Cheerios mostly masked.
I popped the heel in my mouth.

  Childhood memories crackle
          like a radio slightly off its station
                and I can almost hear mom
         talking softly as she slices -

   I am barely listening.
         My left hand holds an imaginary banana
               while my right hand maneuvers
         a non-existent knife.

How strange the knife I held so real
         yet the shade of mom merely conjured -
far too strange to truly believe.
Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace -
1.9k · May 2016
A Thousand and One Nights
Robert C Howard May 2016
Sinbad’s sea-battered ship was
poised on the edge of annihilation,
The Sultan's brow furrowed with curiosity,
then without warning
Scheherazade stilled her narrative
and lived to see the morning sun.

When the moon and stars next owned the sky,
Sinbad was snatched from the jaws of death
then the saga of Prince Kalandar
seized the king's soul with wonder
but Scheherazade left the tale unfinished
and sang with the birds at dawn.

Rimsky-Korsakoff  turned the pages at his desk -
consumed by Scheherazade’s charms
then etched his pen across the waiting staves:
The violin must weave her spell once more
and bassoon and oboe take the prince’s part.

Trombone and trumpet led the martial call
and all the rest enlisted for the cause.
Russian bravura fused with the seductive allure
of exotic tunes born of the dust on the silken road.

A sonic whirlwind filled Saint Paul Church,
as winds and tremolos grew to cyclonic force.
A wall of brass completed Kalandar’s tale.
capped by an exuberant clash of cymbal plates.

The silence yielded to tender violins
chanting a hymn to the princess in all her grace.
Tambourine and winds wove a tapestry
of her debonaire and most virtuous prince.

As the final pizzicato chord faded, the Sultan
turned to Scheherazade with tear-filled eyes
and beheld his immortal princess
and she her valiant and eternal prince
and so it would be as long as night preceded dawn.

She kissed away his tears of joy and whispered in his ear,
“My beloved husband, I will tell you stories forever.
Tomorrow you shall learn of the Feast at Baghdad.”
Another site I have posted on, is shutting down so I am moving some the poems here. More refugees will follow.
Robert C Howard Jul 2013
It wasn’t really John’s saw
that carved the branch into logs -
its blade severing rings of time.
The saw was mine but just like his.

Resting for a spell, I thought of John:
clearing his spread by the Williamson Road,
building fences, raising his barn,
or, like me, cutting wood for the hearth.

But perhaps I didn’t “think” of John at all
since he lives in each cell that I am.
He may have just stirred a little within
to recall pioneer paths we once had walked.

The long branch shortened
as John and I pistoned our arms
in unison across centuries
slicing through time and space -
stacking fuel to warm a cold winter’s night.

May, 2006
Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace -
1.9k · Aug 2013
Space - Time on a Slant
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
What if Escher had it right
and "within" is really "without,"
and stairs turn inside out
and "up" is just the same as "down?"

Imagine if you will
a "topsy-turvy" sort of place
(or is that "turvy-topsy")
where time marches retrograde
and all effects precede their causes.

I know, I know, your life is busy
but can't you drop it all for half a day
and step out with me
(with Escher at our side)?
We'll cross the edge of time and space
where an alternate universe or two
is just a dream away.

Hurry up now (or then), let's go!
We have to get back
before the sun ascends in the west!
1.8k · Jul 2022
Under Carter Lake Skies
Robert C Howard Jul 2022
for Mark Richards

It was a spur of the moment thing -    
     One message freed us from Tuesday’s calling -
The next offered a morning's sailing.  

So rather than spray water for Rocky's plants,  
     We skimmed over Carter Lake’s, crystal waves
With steady and ample winds at our backs.

Boaters and tubers speckled the waters
      While verdant foothills smiled assent
From every shore and horizon.

Captain Richards skippered his Flying Scot    
     Toward the far off shore before tacking our
To and fro way back to the mooring ball.

In years past Mark had captained the Health works    
     For all the good folks of Pennsylvania,
But this morning he guided a much smaller tiller.

So we sailed and sailed under fairest of skies    
    In a swift and charmed little craft
Mark chose to call, Spur of the Moment.

Robert Charles Howard
Robert C Howard Jul 2013
(Plaster cast at Pompeii)                    

                [THE TOUR GUIDE]

                “Ladies and gentlemen, here we are at Pompeii's
                fabled Thermal Baths where heated water was
                passed through duct work in the walls.  One can          
                imagine Nero himself stopping here on one of            
                his visits.”


Bonito stepped out of the bathhouse and looked up.
Vesuvius rumbled - shaking ash and fire skyward.
Breaking into a run he sought the south road,
glancing back anxiously at the
vast dark cloud billowing down the mountain.

                "The principal city roads were recessed
                and wagons were required to have standardized
                wheelbases and clearances to fit in channels cut
                into the stone.  Follow me please to the residential

He gained the road and his feet
pounded the stones of the “via stabiana.”
The cloud multiplied and fell on the city.
Ever deepening layers of ash clogged Benito’s path.
Heart pounding in his chest he lengthened his strides.

                “Leaving the opulent villas with their spacious
                atria, we now enter the market area where we
                shall see a display of remarkable interest.  During
                excavations, empty spaces were discovered in
                the ash deposits.”

The rising ash captured his left leg.
Bonito inhaled the fiery air and ******
forward into a burst of falling soot
but was unable to finish his stride.

                “Archaeologists poured plaster into the voids
                revealing the outlined bodies of Pompeiins
                trapped in their final moments.  Take, for example,
                this man caught in mid-step with no time
                to escape the life choking dust.”

*June, 2006
1.8k · Jul 2016
Independence Day
Robert C Howard Jul 2016
" It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews,
            Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and  
                Illuminations from one End of this Continent
                      to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
      John Adams – July 3, 1776.

Webster Groves - 2016

The Townhall fountain dances
cheerily in the morning sun.
The red-white-blue shirted crowd
rises as one for the colors.
Laughing children scramble for
tootsie rolls and sweet tarts
tossed by a strolling  clown.

         Philadelphia, July 3, 1776

        Carriages sped toward Philadelphia
        where resolute patriots
        would turn the pages of history
        and tell an unsuspecting world
        that a new nation had given birth to itself.

Sousa strains peal from the marching Statesmen,
Girl Scouts guide their well-groomed mounts -
hooves echoing through concrete caverns.
Vintage firetrucks and autos
sound their horns and sirens
as candidates work the crowd, pressing the flesh.

        Each crass insult from the British crown
        had tightened the noose on the colonial neck.
        The middle ground was soaked with patriot blood
        and revolution was the only course left.

Barbecue clouds drift over Pat and Lee’s farm
Horseshoes spin and clang and frisbees fly.
A ***-luck feast with beans and franks
interrupts the pop and glare of bottle rockets.

        One by one, each patriot quilled the parchment
        resolved to endure the costs of liberty -
        knowing to the marrow that defeat
        would spell certain ******* and death.

We reach the lakeshore at dusk -
unfolding chairs - spreading out blankets -
strains of Americana drift over the lake.
then a pyro-technic extravaganza
blazes across the summer sky.  

        Washingon’s tattered and bloodied men
        cornered Cornwallis at Yorktown.
        Then surrender - all British claims
        to American soil banished to the tomes of history.

The grand finale pummels the darkened sky
raising cheers and whistles from the crowd
Toddlers collapse in parental arms,
car doors slam, engines ignite
and head-lighted caravans, turn for home,
spiraling off in every compass degree.

“Happy birthday,” America and endless happy returns
"from this time forward forever more!”  

Robert Charles Howard
1.8k · Jul 2015
Robert C Howard Jul 2015
I doubt the humble caterpillar
has any premonition
of the glory that awaits
on her impending coronation day.  

Newly hatched, she meanders
over leaves and stalks, binging on the crawl,
in quest of the perfect hanging leaf.

Then suddenly metamorphosis
and silk is everywhere
wrapping her up like Nefertiti -
her insides churned into enzyme soup
a new essence in the making.

Shaking, writhing, a bold new self
is emerging deep within -
an orange and black-winged butterfly
waiting for that liberating hour
to shed her crumbling shell
and beat the air with new- found wings.

*July 10, 2015
Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace -
1.8k · Dec 2018
Robert C Howard Dec 2018
A lost and thirsty wanderer
          sought oasis on a parched and dusty plain
                   where spectral mesas
                merged with pastel stratus clouds -
            quivering in the summer sun.

                    A slender blue ellipse emerged
                            along the horizon's edge,
                          taunting the traveler’s arid throat.

                    Recalling child-day afternoons.
                         splashing in the pond behind the barn,
                              his legs urged toward aquatic deliverance.

                                       But knowledge seized his boots.
                                   Wary of loving a delusion,
                               he chose instead to seek a road or farm
                           or chance upon a horse-backed rancher
                                tracking down an errant calf.

                                       Still he looked back to his phantom pond  –
                                             never to know if an oasis flowed
                                                   less than an hour’s walk away.

                               December, 2018
1.8k · Apr 2015
Harper's Ferry
Robert C Howard Apr 2015
A bell tolled
through the fog at dusk
to summon passage
across the roiling waters.

Through the mist
a ferry appeared
but not the same as called -
afoul with death and sorrow.

With dread our forefathers
boarded ship and listened through
that storm filled crossing
to howling wind sung requiems
echoing from distant fields at
Manassus - Shiloh - Gettysburg.

When the gales had spent their fury
they disembarked in a new land
with both far less and more
than they left on the opposite shore.

*March, 2008
Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace -
1.7k · Jan 2022
From Many, One
Robert C Howard Jan 2022
It happened in a flash.
winding down a Rocky Mountain road,
a trio of travelers,
basking in snow-draped vistas
pulled off for a photo or two.

Their tires locked into a snow bank
and after a few futile wheel spins,
the undeniable truth sank in;
they were stuck!

In moments, the slamming of car doors
echoed across the valley,
an ad hoc community of a dozen Neighbors
formed, converged and began to dig.

After a half hour of elbow grease
amid vapor clouded exhalations
and cries of,
      “straighten the wheel,”
      “slow on the gas” and
      “let’s push together now”
the car eased onto the center of the road.

No one called "meeting adjourned"
but as quickly as it formed,
our ad hoc community
dissolved into the greater band
of good folks working together
for our mutual benefit.

E pluribus unum!
After struggling during the pandemic for a new poetry I think I have found it. This poem will be the first and title of a new poetry book designed to foster unity and healing in whatever small way I can help this happen.
1.6k · Aug 2013
Growing Season
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
for Greg Guenther

A giant pendulum in the cosmos swings
    and guides each planet on its tether
Earth’s axis tilts toward fairer weather
     And soft rains presage new beginnings.

Crocuses push the snow aside, a bluebird sings
      of light and darkness held in equal measure.
Pastel fingers on each bough gather
      as birds and beasts pursue their matings

Softened fields invite the tillers’ blades
      submerging seeds for the rain and sun
to raise into fields of corn and wheat.

The pendulum arcs back and summer fades,
    Earth's axis returns to a cooler inflection.
and farmers bow thanks for the harvest complete!

December, 2006
Greg Guenther farms his land in Belleville Illinois.

Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace -
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