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Jun 9 · 145
A Perfect Day
The descending sun turning sky and white clouds
to yellow gold, evening shades pulling the
reflected glow down behind the hills, into the sea.
The low amber light spilling across the valley floor
casts muted textured shadows, the loveliest light
of the day.

Doves were still calling to one another, perhaps
discussing where to bed down for the night.
Peaceful voices of reassurance and calm that
always makes me smile.

In an hour, darkness will intercede, the clear
heavens will radiate and sparkle, stars much
brighter with but a diminished crescent moon
for competition.

In the coming darkness the night music of
crickets and frogs will begin to serenade
and as I recline in my comfy porch chair this
seductive creature orchestration, may induce
early slumber, difficult to evade.

But then what better way to end a nearly
perfect day?
Today I turned 76 years old, a bit of a surprise even
to me. Spent the day with my family, watched my
youngest grandson play in a school Baseball game.
Enjoyed a fine family dinner, cake for dessert.
Watered my garden and played fetch with my dog.
Now as I sit and observe in repose this gift of nature,
I am a truly contented man.
(Written on the 15th of May, not posted until today.)
Jun 3 · 326
Reflections
The bent old man limped
out upon the wooden pier.
The day was bright and clear,
he had fished here for over
75 years, a high mountain
lake he revered as both boy
and man.

The sparkling clear water was
like looking down into a mirror.
To his own reflection staring back
up at him, he softly uttered,
“I used to be someone,
but not anymore.”

No one was around to see him go,
or hear the splash that took him low,
deep under to his own desired ending.
Time and age humbles all.
To be clear, he did not stumble
and fall, he dove head first.

To any concerned friends
that read this, this is not a
pre-ending of life note,
merely the musings of
feelings and thoughts
that aging people have.
As for me, I am just fine.
May 4 · 441
Trading Places
For most of my son's life
I was his teacher,
Now as an adult man
my son is teaching me.
Life is a revolving wheel,
it turns for us all.
Accepting the changes
that is the challenge.
Mar 19 · 228
The Little Lion
He stalks and low crawls across the space.
Eyes wide and focused upon his prey,
a millions years of instincts throbbing
through his brain and sleek body.
His toes and claws flex with the coiled
anticipation of a hunter predator.

In a sudden burst of energy and blinding
speed he launches his attack, at the last
moment I pull up on the bait and he springs
three feet high into the air front claws extended!
For the next fifteen minutes the three month
old still a kitten, and I engage in our twice a
day ritual dance, a sparing inspired and facilitated
by a little feathered stuffed toy blue bird on a sting,
and I the puppet master.

His resolve is limitless, he will never quit, in
pursuit he springs and jumps circles in mid
air until I eventually end the affair for his own
good, when he begins to pant mouth open.
Then it is cat nap time. Sometimes for us both.
The Christmas gift kitten from
my children, bringing joy and
laughter long after the Holladay
event. My old dog loves the little
fellow too. I penned this for my
grandson Cooper as he loves to
watch that cat chasing and jumping
for that bird toy too.
Feb 28 · 170
The Ice Storm
The darkness is not frightening
it enfolds, shrouding everything
even me. I had all but forgotten
it's feel. The silence, the thoughtful
contemplation.

Four days and dark nights without
electric power, or water, layered in
the grip of an ice storms power.
Trees, plants and fences, everything
encrusted in thick coats of ice.
Power poles and lines toppled and
snapped. Hundred year old trees
uprooted, falling upon homes and streets.

How many times have I still flipped
a light switch or tried to flush the
toilet, all to no avail, how easily our
all electric lives can disappear, cutting
our dependent umbilical cords to all
technologies that we take for granted
until they disappear, living by faint light
of hearths fire or candles glow like our
many times removed ancestors did long ago.  

Cold food and cold rooms, huddled
by the fireplace for every bit of warmth
it offers. All in silence but for an occasional
crackling sparks from the fire, my own
audible breathing, the snoring of my old dog.

Inconvenient yes, but usefully instructional if
we heed the message, even rather peaceful too.
We seldom miss what we have until it is gone.
Less we forget, it is mother nature that is in
charge here. We can but dance to her tune.
The great Ice Storm in Oregon 2021.
In the end we lost some trees but nothing worse.
But many other folks were not so lucky.
Feb 27 · 438
Warm Comfy Places
I peck the keys with one
finger of one hand as the new
Christmas kitten lays content
and warm curled upon my
chest and folded into the crook
of my left arm, his purr motor
at full rev, this his preferred napping
perch whenever I sit at my computer,
little hedonist that he is.

And who am I to object to these
moments of shared warm affection?
It takes longer but I am
getting pretty good at
one hand one finger typing.
Jan 19 · 560
Shining Moments
Not unlike needed caresses or gentle kisses,
the morning sun did bathe my upturned
face in needed glow of restorative warmth.
An encouraging respite after weeks of clouds
and cold rain to lift my flagging spirts,
supported and enhanced by the celebratory
songs of a plethora of birds, all this perhaps
the shining moments of glory in my entire
self isolated day.
One day out of the 322 days, 7,728
hours of my self isolation time served.
Doing time having done no crime.
With more to come, when one must
seek out those special simple uplifting
events. These little moments in time
that can feed and nourish our souls,
maybe even keep us sane in this time
of plague upon the land.
Jan 12 · 147
Life is Brief
When did I get so old?
In my 20s, 30s and 40s I had life
by the tail, active and productive,
breaching horizons and
accomplishing significant things.
Thought I had all the time in the world.

In my 50s I could still run the track,
bench press 225 and make love with
all the passion of a younger man.
Old age was never on my mind.

In my 60s I could still walk without
a limp, climb medium mountains
and date woman 20 years younger.
Trying to ignore my bodies ever
increasing aches and pains.

In my early 70s, old age descended
upon me like some pernicious thief,
diminishing and stealing my physical
and intellectual strengths.

And yet at 75, in my minds eye,
I still think and feel like I am 25,
or so I try to delude myself.
Though my physical body does
stubbornly, remind me otherwise.
Dating women of any age is definitely,
completely off my mind. Preferring a
single man's life of unchallenged tranquility.

In the sum total of a persons allocated
few decades of life what remains are
wonderful vivid memories, of love
given and received, of children born,
and of natures beauty seen and felt
from climbing lofty mountain peaks.
Of a life lived that seems all too brief.

Make no mistake, life flies by like a
speeding commuter train on a one
way track, with absolutely no return
tickets being purchased or issued at
any worldly price.
If you don't believe life is
too short, just ask me and
I will tell you different.

My long term memory
is fine but try as I may I
can not recall what I had
for lunch yesterday, or
dinner either.
Dec 2020 · 139
Mad Kings and Fools
Stephen E Yocum Dec 2020
Nero fiddled while Rome Burned,
the fires set at his bequest. And
Trump plays golf while no one
steers our Ship of State and
thousands of Americans die from
his wanton dereliction of duty,
lacking even an once of human
empathy or concern. A common
trait of Mad Kings Dictators Fools.
Trump knows he lost the election,
he is just running his last great con
on his brain dead believers, the forever
Snake Oil Salesman picking the pockets
of his faithful follower rubes, to pay his
mounting debts and feather his nest.

In these two self anointed emperors
I can see very little difference, one
just as evil and bad as the other.
up date 1/6/21
Now like Nero,
Trump will try
to burn his Rome
down as well. That
is what Mad Kings do.
Dec 2020 · 152
Remembering
Stephen E Yocum Dec 2020
Sitting for an hour by
his bed watching him
deep in slumber,
so peaceful, so still, a
little blond haired boy
with a glistening tiny
trail of night drool from
his angelic mouth coursing
down one pink cheek,
generated no doubt by
his gentle snoring.

His every breath heard
and registered, as if they
were magical gifts to us
both from another realm.

What Childs dreams
must he be having?
What green fields does
he run with that spotted
old dog of his, who licks
his face clean of ice cream
or peach juice and never
leaves his side. Who fetches
a ball for as long as his little
boy will throw it.

Everything about his
Childs face makes me
smile. He turns six next
week, oh my how these
years have flown by.

My son, I never thought I
could love anyone as much
as I do you. As much as I
forever will.

There in that darkened room
a cold chill of momentary fear
ran through me, and I asked
myself, "Can I do this?
As a single parent, can I
raise my son all alone?"
Dec, 2020
Thinking back looking at old
photo albums, remembering
my little boy, 45 years old now
a wonderful grown man, and a
father, and still my best friend.
I hear from my daughter in
law he still drools a little in
his sleep. And snores much
louder. My fears back then
were for not. We successfully
raised each other.
Dec 2020 · 307
The Drum Beats
Stephen E Yocum Dec 2020
Returning from the grocery store,
my only trip out in weeks,
I passed by our small town's
High School, all pandemic
deserted and shuttered now.

Slowing, I stopped my car,
taken by momentary joyfulness,
out there in bright blue Band
uniform on the football field,
a single drummer marched
all alone,

Her enthusiastic snare drum  
echoing out stirring, lonely
rhythmic staccato sounds.

This solitary stalwart drummer
practicing in the rain, rehearsing
skillful steps and robust drum
beats, until she gets the call.

Remaining ever ready when
normalcy reluctantly comes rolling
back around. Where marching bands
and football players once again tread
upon this nearly hallowed ground.
Hope lives within us all,
this dire time too shall pass.
Nov 2020 · 417
Then and Now
Stephen E Yocum Nov 2020
I was once a Wolf and
ran free in the woods,
Now I'm a tired old dog
that hides in the barn.
Such is the way of aging
and change.
Knowing one's place
Is a necessary perspective.
And the barn provides a
sense of serenity not always
found in the woods.
Sep 2020 · 215
Lost Tranquility
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2020
No sunshine in two weeks,
a smoky shroud has descended
upon the land, the tomatoes
turning black on the vines. I can
not see beyond 100 feet, colors
of green disappeared, all is brown
or yellow, ash is gently falling like
bits of grey snow, the air outside
dangerous to breathe, smelling of
wood smoke, reeking of the burned
up hopes and dreams of my neighbors
less than twenty miles away.

Each day the smoke colors change,
red, brown, orange, yellow, eerie
unnatural day time colors, at times
darkness like night at mid day. The
winds have gone and the smoke
has become a choking noxious fog.
This must be how the dinosaurs died.

The news says we have the most
dangerous polluted air quality in
the entire world. Wearing a mask  
even inside my closed shuttered
home. Taking pandemic "self isolation"
to a whole new level.  

I dreamed last night of deep
blue skies, untainted air,
walking the orchard with my
dog, the sun and a smile on
my face. Upon awakening the
reality shroud of smoke remained.

They say some rain might
fall this week, that wind
from the sea will intervene,
blow the smoke East, restoring
the colors of the sky, the sun
and land, breathable air.

I hope that's all true.
I wish not to complain, many are much
worse off than us, we still have our farm
and home. This is merely my impressions
of the now. Strange times with new
challenges to endure, changes that
make hope essential, first the pandemic
and now these mega fires.
"Climate Change" is no longer
dismissive "Fake News"!
Wake up world!
The bogeyman destroyer is here
and he is us.
Sep 2020 · 467
Isolation Blues
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2020
Being in self isolation is a challenge
for sure, seeing and looking at no one
else but ourselves in the mirror, or
talking heads on TV, it does not take
long to resent what you see, longing
for a change of scene, a breath of fresh air.

Deeply missing and wishing for real living
breathing people to see and interact with.
Even if prior to this, thinking and believing
I didn't really like or enjoy people in general.
We don't appreciate the real value in
what we have until it is taken away,
or we are told we can not have it.
Sep 2020 · 253
Comfy Old Chairs On Porches
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2020
Getting on towards midnight,
my buddy signaled time for bed,
I let him outside and joined him there,

The stars were resplendent in their
clear heavenly glow, the moon
painted back lighted silhouettes upon
the lawn and shrubs, a gentle fresh
breeze chased the remaining 90+ heat
of the day away, musically rustling
leaves of the yard trees as it passed
through headed East.

The Orchestra of  tiny creatures in the
orchard and grass, were busily playing
their rhythmic nightly concerto, in perfect
harmony,  like the very heart beat of the
earth on which they abound in their vast
multitudes, echoing their celebration of life.

The garden fountain bubbled it's soothing
water sounds adding it's voice to the pleasant
cacophony of collective night music.

I was lulled into submission as the breeze
and the mood embraced me, and fell asleep
in the old comfy Mission chair from my den.,
now relegated to porch duty, My dog resting
in that chairs twin, beside me.

Around three AM the full moon rounded the
house and peeked under the porch, lighting
me up like an impertinent cop's flashlight.
Encouraging us to move on.

Tucker and I did then retire to our beds inside ,
blissfully at peace with the world outside.

"To sleep perchance to dream" ah, but there
is no "rub" here. . . Only peace and tranquility.
Another moment in time too
perfect not to pen and capture.
Maybe not for you, but surely for me.
(and Tucker too).
Aug 2020 · 420
The little Children
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2020
A family came to our farm,
friends of my son. I had not
been around,  even seen
small kids in a long while,
from my porch I watched the
two boys under six and their
sister of three, as they raced
about the property, to the barn
to see the animals first, then
to bounce on the trampoline,
soon into the above ground pool
to cool off, splashing, playing.
Their little excited sing-song
voices like music to my ears.

I longed to get closer, to talk
to them, just to be near this
magical aura that small children
radiate, this purity of heart,
this unbridled gist for living.

Alas, needs for social distancing
got squarely in the middle.
So many important things have
been lost to this spreading plague,
most of all far too many people,
altered things and life that used to
be even for the living, distancing
us from friends and family.
Common sense requires adjustments
and adherence. Time before we
can return to our old normal ways
and life. We must all do the right
thing, even it it hurts. Until a
vaccine, there is no other choice.
Aug 2020 · 294
It's in the Wind
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2020
There is always a breeze or
wind from the Mountains East
or the Ocean West at our place.
We are in between you see.
Winds Bracing in Winter,
Welcome in Summer.
Never smog, fresh
clean unspoiled
country air, bringing
relief from the heat and
pleasant restful naps on
the porch outside.

What a fortuitous geographical
stroke of luck, I did not plan it,
it just worked out that way.
A bonus that came with the land.
Even a blind squirrel finds
a nut once in a while.
Yet another sweet moment
in time felt ,observed and
recorded. If we can not get
excited about these little
things in life then we must
be dead already and don't
know it. Happiness being where
you find it. When I brought
this property I did not know
about the breeze or wind, that
was a later discovered bonus.
Aug 2020 · 146
Life Artists
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2020
These days everybody is on display,
blogging, texting, tweeting. taking and
posting endless selfies, calling out, "look
at me, LOOK AT ME!"

Humility it seems is an old fashioned thing
of the past, in the now, where humble does
not count for much.

People starting to believe they are the image
in the fake repetitive selfies they take.
Look at me, I matter, LOOK AT ME!

An artist paints or sculps, throws pots of clay.
Shapes silver or gold into beautiful things.
Plays music instruments to perfection, using
hands and soul of creative "artistic" expression.

Perhaps it's because there are billions of us, that
people are so desperate to try and stand out, to
be seen and known for something , anything.

My mother and father were artists of a sort,
moral decent people that got up everyday and
went to work to earn a living, to take care, love
and teach their children right from wrong. Who
never asked for or took help or welfare, paid their
taxes and reframed from hurting anyone. They
enjoyed and reveled in their accomplished peaceful
anonymity, and family, that being all the fame they
needed.

I guess in a way they were "Life Artists". They never
expected or received an award for these humble skills
of being decent people and loving parents, nor did they
care one bit, or miss it. Their reward was in the doing.
"Humility means accepting reality with no attempt to outsmart it."
Author David Richo "Five things we can not change."
Jul 2020 · 141
Flames and Loss
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2020
A neighbors' barn caught fire
last night, full of newly bailed
hay, lit up the sky with yellow
glow and black smoke,
Many of us came running but
could do little but watch, it was
not a blaze controlled by a well
and a garden hose.

With a twenty minute response
time by our rural volunteer fire
department, having not enough
water in their two pumper trucks
to do much good, it burned for
hours and was a total loss.

In the morning after most everyone
had gone my stoic friend, a man
of 60 years and few words wept,
he had lost his tractor and his beloved
border collie herding dog in the flames,
Molly obviously not able or willing to
abandon her seven newly born pups.

He said, the barn, hay, even the tractor he
could replace, but "never my wonderful
sweet Molly girl."
Jul 2020 · 116
Feral
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2020
We've a feral male cat on our
farm, with actions and attitudes
more like a small Lion on the
prowl, He slinks and preys on
rodents and birds, I've seen him
leap four feet high, take out a
small bird in mid flight.

Like any wild creature, he is
completely indifferent to us.
He does not wait outside my
door seeking human provided
food or passive affection like
our other cats, he would rather
hunt for his earned sustenance.

He sits or lays watching, on
elevated ground or high places
as Lions on African savannas do.
He radiates an independent
regal aloofness I can only
admire and aspire to.

He is the only cat on the place
without a given name, it seemed
superfluous to his dignified and
feral nature to call him by any
silly made up human name.

Some creatures are just born
wild and should never change.
This no name feline is one of them.
His twin sister is a hunter, and
part time opportunist too,
not shy about taking food from
humans, or a scratch behind the
ear when offered. But then she
is a female that's true. I just call
out "Little Kitty" and believe it or
not, she comes a running when I do.
Becoming too tame for her own good.
Jul 2020 · 337
Turn Off The Tube
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2020
If we dwell on this mountain of
on going, scary daily breaking
news events we will be herded
like animals over an emotional
cliff, plunging down an abyss of
fear and extraneously induced
confusion into a dire collective
chasm of moral and physical
depression, perhaps as damaging
as the world wide plague itself.

Becoming a global population
infected with PTSD, wounded
casualties in the war of COVID-19.
A mountain of endless news, lies and
inaction by our National leaders is
beyond the pall of human emotional
endurance, at this point better to take
small sips rather than chugging the bottle.
Back off, tune out and consider voting
out the swamp reptiles in Washington
who put us on the edge of this cliff and
care not one **** bit about you or me.
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2020
Some, you Meet?
Some you meet are hollow,
Some have hides of steel,
Some are craven, witless dogs
While some know how you feel.
Most ambulate with caution, friend,
Tread the middle path
And then once, in a lifetime,
You’ll find that man with heart!
He’ll stand there like a solid rock
Deflect abuse and shame,
He’ll fight for trust with passion
He’s proud to bear his name.
He’ll shake your hand in kinship
And support you to the end….
That rarity in human kind,
That finding is your FRIEND!

M.
2 July 2020
Taranaki NZ
Dedicated with warmth to my very, very few, real friends.... but in particular to my old comrade in arms, Stephen E. Yocum
Written by
Marshal Gebbie  75/M/"Foxglove", Taranaki, NZ

      
Stephen E Yocum  comment/reply,
I am not the weepy sort,
but not too proud to shed
a tear when the emotions
of my spirit are moved by
family or friends, I have
known thousands of people
in my 75 years of life but very
few that I call my "Brother",
friends in a category all their
own, friends elevated to the
status of a loved family member.
That we two share this bond
of many years grants me leave
for thankful tears.

Your poem is a special gift,
thank you brother Marsh.
Jun 2020 · 503
Ending of Day
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2020
Midnight, bright moon,
breeze slightly soothing
the heat of day.
Scent of fresh blossoms
perfume strong in the
garden air.

Crickets in fine tune,
as are the frogs,
performing their endless
concert of night music.

Reluctant to let it go,
the day is ended now,
nearly indistinguishable
from the days before,
or the one tomorrow.
Retired with too much
time on my hands, days
bleed one into another.

What did I accomplish
today? Not much by some
peoples measure, not even
my own.

Spent time with my youngest
grandson, we talked in earnest
of things that mattered to
him, concerns and fears,
12 year old little boy things.
I listened, cajoled, advised,
shared some mistakes and
stories of my own youth. We
laughed, oh how we laughed.

He hugged me upon leaving
with tears of happiness and
relief in his eyes, told
me he loved me, twice.

Just a small encounter,
yet I believe he will
remember, perhaps
even be a little inspired.

For me brief sweet moments
invested, filled with precious
renderings of this wonderfully
special wholly worthwhile day,
not at all wasted, or the same.

As sleep pervades my thoughts
I will recall and cherish his laughter.
Perhaps tomorrow we will do it again.
Passing it on, to those
we love that is what life
is all about.
May 2020 · 1.7k
More Than Enough
Stephen E Yocum May 2020
Spring sun and breeze,
porch sitting at ease reflecting,
hip deep in tranquility, smiling
living well one breath at a time.
Possessing way more than enough.
It's the simple things that
make life exceptional, never
to be taken for granted.
These little moments in time.
Apr 2020 · 821
A New Reality
Stephen E Yocum Apr 2020
Oh, what I miss most
is the closeness and
touch of a human hand.
A simple thing, one we
normally take for granted,
like my grandchildren's arms
around my neck. Handshakes
or hugs in greetings or farewells
with friends, all taken for granted
for years, lost to us for now,
but will eventually return.
Mar 2020 · 908
Morning reflection
Stephen E Yocum Mar 2020
The early morning scent was of newly
damp earth, fresh rain on cedar trees,
Drink it in old mother Earth, dress
yourself in multi shades of new green.
All life here lives within the benevolence
of your grace, at your pleasure.
Let us be good and worthy tenants,
able stewards deserving of your
gracious bounty of life's gifts.
Without Earths bounty we are nothing.
This pandemic may well be a reminder
of that simple truth.
A solitary walk this morn, a true
breath of fresh air, out of my cell
of isolation, with no one else around
but a faithful dog at my side.
Feb 2020 · 315
The Old Café
Stephen E Yocum Feb 2020
It's my go to place,
has been for years,
The Wildwood Café,
serving only breakfast
and lunch closes at 2:00,
an eclectic tiny place
with a mix of old dinette
tables and mismatched chairs,
the cutlery also unmatched
and well used, some even a
little bent but no one cares
it's part of the unassuming
charm of the place. Old photos
and signs adorn the walls
and there is usually a line
of people waiting patiently
on benches outside.

Best of all there is this pleasant
girl, always wearing a welcoming
smile, who seems to know us all.
She knows my order by heart,
Ham and eggs over medium,
a half ration of potatoes, home baked
slice of bread, well toasted, well buttered,
home made salsa on the side, a cup of
"hot" Black English Tea. Tall water no ice.

If I arrive between the busy times, she may
sit for a spell at my table, we talk a while,
not a big thing, just chitchat, I'm old enough
to be her grandfather, it's the dessert before
my meal served with genuine friendliness
and unforced civility, not often encountered
in these strange days and times, a slice of
small town Americana at it's best,
she and folks like her help sustain my belief
that basic human decency is far from dead.

The food always good, but it's the
comforting embrace of familiarity and
simple kindness that assures my
frequent return.
It's the little things in life that make living
wonderful, small moments in time felt and
recorded, this is but one of those.
Added March 8, guess I will not be going
there for a while. Hope it's still open
when I do.
Dec 2019 · 931
Mischievous or Evil?
Stephen E Yocum Dec 2019
It happened again today,
as it does too often.
A super sized new roll of
toilet paper unwound off
it's holder in a heap upon
the floor.

She followed me into the
bathroom and sat slyly
staring gauging my reaction.
I thought I could actually
discern a slight smile upon
her enchanting face.

What is it about cats that
makes them do that,
unroll all the Toilet Paper?
Are they merely mischievous
or inherently evil? I am in a
quandary to know the difference.
Though it's a nuisance to reroll,
it always makes me laugh.
But I never let her know that
less she be further encouraged.
I might let her sleep on my bed
but you know what they say
about cats, she might just steal
my breath in the night. Inviting
Satan onto my bed sounds like
a bad idea.
Nov 2019 · 2.0k
The Remaining Tomorrow's
Stephen E Yocum Nov 2019
The dog firmly placed his chin upon the old
man's knee, stirring him from sleep in his chair.
The only light in the room coming from the
television screen. The dog's gentle message
being, "Time we go to bed" dear friend.
A ritual event occurring more often now
and most likely tomorrow night again.

As the man slowly stood the dog pranced towards
the door, to go outside and do his required business.
The man also to the bathroom did retire, brushing of
teeth and to attend to his own urgent business.

Six years of twenty four seven companionship had
bonded them forever, each knowing the other as
only best friends or family can, both fully habituated
to the other's needs and routines.

The dog sat upon his own bed, close by to the man's
bed,  patiently waiting as he always did. The man leaned
down and took the dog's face and head into his hands,
forehead to forehead they paused while silent endearing
messages were, like every night, conveyed and mutually
affectionately received. Love as real as any.

The man climbed aboard his own bed, donning his CPAP
mask like a pilot before take off and arranged himself
in his fully-automatic-adjustable bed, then clapped his
hands twice to extinguish the lamp on the bedside table.

"Good night buddy, we'll have some more fun in the
morning." the man murmured, closing his eyes to sleep.

Another day ended as most now do, as will, all their
remaining shared tomorrow's.
Aug 2019 · 2.2k
The World has PTSD
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2019
The whole world has PTSD,
brought about by watching
far too much TV.
Normal people becoming
neurotic or psychotic
by all the "Breaking  News".

Talking heads spewing fearful
endless chapters of dread,
all with their own ax to grind
into our heads, day after day
after day until we want to scream.
Real news or fake, impossible
to know the difference.

A political landscape strewn with
landmines of division and hate.
Melting Ice, and adverse weather,
hurricanes and tornadoes devastate
and forest fires burn, as racists and
terrorists abound at every turn,
and crazy's with military weapons
killing us for sport, just to make
the nightly news, as our nation's
infrastructures crumble into ruins,
all "Breaking News day and night",
while we and the world choke and
quiver from an excessive Carb diet
of information overload, trying to
sleep bathed in bad dreams, laced
with too many strong doses of PTSD.
When is enough, enough,
the saturation point reached?
We've no choice but to disconnect,
Stop letting all that stuff into our
heads. Switch off and take a walk,
hunker down with a good book,
tend the garden, hug our kids,
learn that less is more. But make
sure come next election, there is
a Political reckoning and a White
House cleaning and fumigation rendered.
Aug 2019 · 727
Jerry
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2019
He was a run of the mill
Black and white cat,
a kitten adopted from
a cardboard box, out
front of the Farm store.

Took him home, fed him well,
he soon claimed our barn as
his own place to dwell.

Grew big and fat from eating
rat, roaming the farm from his
home in the loft.

I installed a pet door in the
garage as winter approached,
soon three Barn cats, including
Jerry moved right in, sleeping
all warm and winter content.

Jerry a Super Ninja cat,
hunter extraordinaire,
every day rodent or bird
remains laid at my door.
As Homage or proof
of his hunting prowess.
Unlike the other cats
he was indifferent to the
need of human affection,
aloof and independent.

But as he aged he was not
adverse to claiming my lap,
purring so loud other people
could hear it from a distance,
drooling while purring,
creating small drool puddles
on me before leaving.

He came when I called him,
or when I fired up the barbecue,
He was a supreme feline opportunist.

Jerry was the king of his domain,
strolling the property with regal
impunity. A feline of distinction,
Battle scared from doing his duty.
We all loved him for the guardian
friend he was.

It has been over a month now,
Jerry has completely disappeared,
after being on the job for seven years
never straying or missing.

Taken I surmise by some predator
of wing or paw. We searched and
called but he never returned.

Life's cycle can be cruel, but it's
the order of things. My friend
Jerry cat will be sorely missed.
First my pet mallard male
duck Don of five years taken.
Now Jerry perhaps the same fate,
each a loved friend mourned.
Only animals you say, no not only.
Aug 2019 · 1.0k
Wish
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2019
At times I wish I was a
dolphin free swimming
and frolicking in the sea,
in the convivial company
of others just like me.
Free of debt or strife,
wars and the endless prattle
of human beings, who think
themselves so very supreme
over all other living things.

If only wishes could come true.
If only we Humans could
be at peace in our habitat
as other creatures are in
theirs. We giving too much
thought to everything,
while ignoring pure instincts
of our own animal common sense.
Jun 2019 · 1.6k
Finding Friends
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2019
She came to the farm a shy stray,
hid in the woodshed for days.
Food and water we left for her
kept her alive. In time though
very nervous, little by little
keeping some distance, upon
the porch she climbed.

After a month she ascended
a chair next to mine, where
in the spring sunshine we two
set side by side. Not touching
or speaking just biding our time.

One day she reached out a paw
placing it on my knee, politely
asking permission to step onto
my lap.  Her fear overridden
by the need for companionship.

She prefers to remain mostly
outside, but everyday she comes
to my door and with outreached
front paws she frantically scratches
up and down on the glass begging
to come inside.
I feed her then feeling safe she sleeps
awhile on the back of the couch,
eventually seeking gentle
permission to sit upon my lap,
on a soft blanket kept just for her.

She purrs with contentment while,
taking cat naps now and then, as I
stroke and caress her head and chin,
occasionally opening her sparkling grey
eyes to study my face, as if to be reassured
it's me touching her and that I'm still there.

In her eyes if that is not devoted love  
and gratitude I see looking back at me,
I don't know what else it could possibly be.
Even my dog is under her spell, If I do not let
her right in when she comes to the glass door
he will pace and annoy me until I let "his" cat
friend in. Our animal companions own us
we do not own them. She also leaves a fresh
dispatched rodent of some kind or other on
my welcome mat, paying her dues I surmise.


Whenever the dog and I go for a walk in the
orchard or even out to the road to get the mail
she always appears to accompany us. When in
the house, she follows me from room to room
as if to make sure I don't disappear. Lucky are
we all to have found one another.
Jun 2019 · 1.0k
The Orchard
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2019
Walked the Orchard this morn,
my dog and two barn cats in tow,
the sun brilliantly aglow,
comforting whispers
of westerly breezes,
the air wonderfully pristine'.

Sat for a while out front in the sun,
watching clouds morphing to recognizable
forms. The valley orchards and crops below
resplendently dressed in multi shades of green.
Further east Cascade Peaks remain white
crested in blankets of snow. . . Beauty all,
to humble the soul.

Home on the farm with family, is everything.
Why travel afar to lands I've previously been,
to revisit sights already seen and recorded within?

Why would I indeed, when everything
I love and need resides only steps away,
right here where the spirit of
this land dwells deep within me?

When I die, I wish my ashes spread
here among these orchard trees.
In death, nurturing life.
What stunning Head Stones
these trees will be.

Perhaps my soul will linger, forever
walking these orchard rows with
my dog and two old barn
cats eternally, faithfully in tow.

If that is not heaven what is?
Tranquility found and shared.
Another brief moment in time,
written down and recorded.
We are but caretakers for a time,
though deed in hand, no one truly
owns land, we are at best transient
stewards, hopefully leaving it better
than we found it.
May 2019 · 1.2k
Summer Wheat
Stephen E Yocum May 2019
From opposite sides
of the valley,
in straight rows
marching, the
brave lads came on,
flags unfurled and
fluttering, as bugles
and drums did sound,

The cannons roared
and smoke did shroud
the grassy killing field,

The boys cut down like
summer wheat in heaps
upon the ground.

Their Uniforms of Blue or
Grey becoming all the same,
turned to crimson Red upon
that lurid blood soaked field.
In respectful acknowledgement
of all the fallen. in all the far too
many wars, no matter the color
of the uniforms they wore.
Gettysburg; The Civil War
July 1863
May 2019 · 1.7k
A single kiss
Stephen E Yocum May 2019
Begun with an inviting smile,
Followed by hand holding
and one single amazing kiss,
opening the very depths
of passions bliss.

Passions that lasted for
weeks, day and night,
intensely ethereal.
Consumed and blissfully
spent in passions never
felt before or since,

Marriage and two beautiful
children, house with picket
fence, all beget with just one
single awe-inspiring kiss.

We stand now in Court,
bitter and numb, you get
the house, while I get to
keep paying the mortgage.

As loving parents we agree
to share custody of our kids.
While each one of us struggles
to survive the crushing aftermath
of all this.

Hard to imagine now that
all these flames of love and
pain were ignited with but
a simple smile and a single
amazing kiss.
Life and Relationships
are complicated. Do we
fall in love or does love
fall on us? Some of both
it seems.
Apr 2019 · 1.1k
Looking Within
Stephen E Yocum Apr 2019
If we must worship a Deity,
we need look no further
than the mighty mountains
around us, the glorious deep
abiding oceans that surround
us, the nurturing forests of green
that provide the very air we breath.

Our mother Earth is the GOD
we seek, from her all life, hope
and blessings flow and repeat.
No supernatural beings,
no off earth solutions,
this blue orb is all we need,
or will ever have, the ancient
tribes knew this. How is this fact
not crystal clear to the modern,
so called educated we?
Apr 2019 · 665
Aw, Children
Stephen E Yocum Apr 2019
In our life time
people come and go.
Our children however
come and never go.
Or so it seems.
A blessing or a curse?
You decide, for me it works.
Mar 2019 · 1.0k
Perception
Stephen E Yocum Mar 2019
Life and Time
are an illusion
only in the minds
of we humans.
All other living
things on this Earth,
pay to either, not the
slightest attention.
The human brain is a
marvelous tool, until
we over think everything.
Perhaps innate animal instincts
are better. When our mistakes
and greed lead to ruin, who
then will survive? Us or them?
Feb 2019 · 1.4k
First Love
Stephen E Yocum Feb 2019
She was my classic first love,
a 60's Gidget, cute as a button
big dimples and ribbons
in her hair. Charming and
the life of every party.
When she was happy her
whole face reflected it,
especially her smiling
iridescent green eyes.

Together we shared most of
our firsts, talked of the future
and beyond, but like all sweet
dreams, real life intervened.

Many years have passed, yet
strong memories remain and
every once in a while within
a vivid dream of deep slumber,
she and I are again sixteen,
enchanted and in first love.

Waking is always an unwanted
intrusion.
Memories and dreams, what would
we do without them?
Dec 2018 · 1.5k
Each Morning
Stephen E Yocum Dec 2018
Each morning when I open
my eyes, there they are.
Four people keeping watch
over me, an attractive blond
woman and dark haired,
handsome man and two
small boys, all smiling a
sincere new day welcome.

They are the last people I see
at night and the first to greet
me in the haunting dawn light.

I know them and yet I don't.
They are often on my mind
but my age and memories
of them have turned from
resplendent vivid colors to
fading black and white.

Sweet and gentle parents,
long passed away and my
brother now a 76 year old
man of age.

Where all those years went
I can not say, soon all the
people frozen in that photo
will permanently fade away.
The photo on the other side of my
bed is of the next two generations,
that photo impowers my hope for
future, continuance, love and pride.
Sep 2018 · 7.9k
The Dance
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2018
Visiting a friend on his Quarter
Horse farm, the day sunny and warm.
We walked out to his brood mare
pasture, the ladies were running,
awaiting and sunning, anticipation
in the air and their nervous behavior.

Noble his name, consistency his game,
a reliable aging stallion, sire to many
fine sons and daughters, years of proven
pairings, came halter led and prancing.


He had their scent and his spirit awakened,
the three ladies believed to be in season began
to snigger and whinny, their excitement growing
as the stallion entered their grassy domain,
the dance was about to commence.

The handler led the big fella' forward,
both sides began their quizzical inspections.
one young filly more aggressively willing
than the others. Noble excitedly returned
her heightened interest.

Within a few minutes Noble began to rear up,
he knew his job, his august appendage extended,
trying several times to mount his mate intended,
adrenaline pumping his back legs began to shake,
on his fourth failed attempt the eager proven
suitor fell to the ground, rolled over, paused for
a moment and struggled to stand on unsteady legs.
Appearing even somewhat embarrassed.

The mare moved aside, kicked her hind legs in
the stallion's direction, whinnied loudly and
ran away. Rejected the old stallion stood looking
perplexed, failure was something unknown to him.
His spirit was willing but his aging body was weak.
The old stud slowly returned to the barn, his head
hung low, no longer prancing.

For every time and being there is a season, aging
is part of the cycle, like this stallion, we all reach
this moment of understanding. Sometimes gracefully,
most times with stunned disbelief.

From Noble to nothing in one afternoon.
The allegorical parable here is impossible
to ignore. Unless your are twenty four.
Aug 2018 · 9.3k
History Repeats
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2018
Power is indeed a corruptive force,
Through all of mankind’s history
This has always been true.
Emperors, Kings, Potentates,
Popes, Presidents and Despots too.

Gathering near the Throne are the
Eager Courtier leeches reaching to
touch the anointed one’s robe.
Declaring their undying loyalty,
In the process selling their souls.
Their rewards, a speck of personal power,
Castles and new riches of gold.

Like their Master, the entitled ones
will lie and cheat, while ignoring
The principals of right and good.
Believing “Decency” is but a
poor man’s word, Never uttered
within the hearing of the Ruler.
Never a considered artifact of
absolute power.

The slaves, serfs, the common people
Matter not, but to serve the Ruler.
The power elite will start needless wars,
or offer up sacrificial lambs, all to distract
the unrest of the common man.
They will suppress human rights,
free speech and defame, banish
or imprison their detractors.

All merely smoke and mirrors to conceal,
Controlling agendas of personal greed.
From ancient times down to today
This cycle repeats. Now we are living
our own Textbooks history of tomorrow.

Kingdoms and Nations have perished
From this kind of poisonous corruption,
Needless to say, it will happen again.
Perhaps it already is.
Unless this write is too obtuse, We all
need to change our history to come.
Stand up and speak out and vote.
Aug 2018 · 11.1k
Reason For Being
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2018
The older we grow
the faster life goes,
priorities change
quality of living
and loving takes
precedent, over
self-indulgence
and material things.
Nothing as important
as family and friends.

It is racing now,
these fleeting days
and years, reflected
most in my grandsons
growing too soon from
children to young men.

Along with Steller parents
our little farm provides
a learning ground for the
kids, teaching life lessons
that inspire character and
self discipline, with Cows
and pigs to show at fairs,
pride earned with accomplishments
and Blue Ribbons to share.

So lucky am I having a ringside
seat, watching yet another family
generation ascend and grow,
Football and basket ball
games to attend, Christmas
morns of excited children
clamoring down the stairs,  
many birthday celebrations
with ever more candles aglow.
Memories all, retained and shared.

Perhaps the best part is,
these grandsons of mine,
still are up for hugs and
good night kisses, genuine
affection received and given.

Families are a true blessing
and a privilege, the only
real reason we are here.

All these things, remain the
sweet frosting on my aging
Grandfather's cake of life.
I sometimes wonder where
I would be without all these,  
my reasons for being?
Aug 2018 · 19.9k
Night Music
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2018
A steady cadence  
pulsing in a heart beat
like rhythm, voices
and strummed instruments
all in harmonized concert,
An orchestral multitude,
of frogs and crickets,
never tiring or ceasing,

How many must there be,
to render such a cacophony?
Sustained and loud enough
to keep city folk wide awake.

Nature's Music of the night,
should you but choose to listen.
How do they do that, all night
with absolutely no intermission?

A crescendo finale triggered
only by the coming dawn's
first light, and the boastful
crowing calls of our cocky
persistent red rooster chicken.

Where these musicians go in
daylight is anybody's guess.
To sleep I suspect, deserved
resting up for yet another
night of endless music.
Another value added feature
of living out in the country. Night
voices lulling me to sleep outside
my open window/screen.
Jul 2018 · 1.4k
Peace Found and Shared
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2018
A morning orchard walk,
myself, two dogs and
two following barn cats.
Repeated often, a shared
companionable reverie
of mutual tranquility.
An odd family of sorts,
devotion comes is many forms.
Jul 2018 · 9.4k
Seasons Flow
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2018
Spring is the awaited child,
seeds to plant, plans to explore,
conjuring promise and renewal,
That awakens our soul.

Summer inspires with long
sunny days basking in the
embrace of green crops growing,
relief from heat under leafy trees,
leisurely nights of clean skies,
bright stars on high to infinity.

Fall comes as a warning beacon,
days of long shadows,
cool nights with chill breeze,
bedecked trees
in reds and yellow.
The report of hunters guns
from the depths of the forest.

Winter's a prelude to gloom,
short days, low sun when it
appears, wind-chills that burn.
Snow to shovel, ice to befuddle.
Conjuring envy and impatience
for the return of Spring.

So the seasons flow
one into another,
while every year lived
the cycles grow shorter,
with no guarantees of
how many more may follow.
Jun 2018 · 3.8k
Everybody's world
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2018
My life is sometimes only that green
that everybody see's during the day,
and at night when you awake
with your window open wide
and perceive the fresh scent
of a brand new beginning,
with the joy it transfers to us all,
conveyed within the air we breath,
that comes only in nature we see.
Today composed by my 11 year
old grandson Cooper. A Poet in
the making. All his thoughts and words.
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2018
Two aging message senders
and receivers, circumspect
men of reflective thoughts
and words spoken, written.
Wayfarers from divergent
oceans converging.

Both Harpooners of the
unexamined life, seekers
of truths and wisdom.
Kindred spirits different
and yet the same,
A spiritual awakening,
a brotherly bond in the making.

Both touched and renewed
by a voyage taken
upon a common sea
of curious self discovery.
For Nat and his effort to cross a
continent to extend the hand
of friendship and discover "Oregun."
Jun 2018 · 1.1k
The Visit
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2018
A New York City kind of guy, to Oregon did fly.
He arrived and went to the "Departure" upper
level, rather than the "lower Arrival level,
Where he needed to be and was formally instructed.

Finally making his way down to his waiting ride,
and I, him wearing a sheepish grin and Oregon
Ducks fan cap, as perhaps a shield of safety against
redneck attack. Forsaking his usual Yankees or
Jets fan hat. A sign of respect or ****** concern,
which I am not sure. A nice gesture none the less.

As I suspected an immediate bond was formed,
two older guys with lots to say and endless opinions
to share, eager to engage. Not at all shy in any way.
We droned on for the better part of four days,
covered it all in vivid detail, he being a better
talker than listener. A changer of topics at whim,
keeping me on my toes and off center, but
still up to the challenge and holding my own.

I had filled the fridge full of food, as it turned out
almost none of which he could or would eat. Having
some ridged committed consumption restrictions.
We ate out a lot. Leaving more time to talk and talk,
and laugh out loud. If there was a subject to explore
we covered it, honest direct and in depth. No subject
off limits. No opinion collectively deemed pure *******.
We busted each others ***** a bit as boys and men
tend to do, a sign of fellowship rendered, not cruelty
intended.

By the fourth day our attentions spans and word
formulations were garbled and our minds no doubt
numb from over use. My jaw even a bit painfully
hurt. But our bond was deep veined, gown rich
with shared brotherhood. We saw some country, the
Main City, the Oregon coast and Columbia River Gorge.
Talking more than observing the picturesque scenery
the landscapes merely a moving background for sociable
verbal exchange rather than rapt attention to natures
splendor. All topical subjects and discussions that could
have been performed on my back porch, without
leaving home. We drank a few beers and some Pinot
Red and enjoyed decent food. Joined on some of the
journey by another fine poet friend. Reimer is his
name O.

All in all, I believe a fine time was had and shall be
fondly remembered by us all. Friendships formed
on a Social Cyber site can be significant, transcending
merely words typed out on a computer screen and
certainly worth pursuing.
To Nat and Steve R, thanks for the memories.
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