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1d · 28
The Bright Side
What is so bad about
staying hunkered down
at home? We've still got
our cell phones and
Television!

I was not that fond of
going out or people even
before the pandemic hit.

Are we so spoiled and selfish
we can not adjust for the common
good? Stay home people, toilet
paper is not that important a
wet wash cloth works better.

Improvise, Adapt and Overcome!
Do the smart thing stay
put and stay well, help
each other out when you
can, even a face time call
can help a loved one or a
friend.

A wise old Tibetan Monk
once told me,
"If upon your journey
by chance you step into
the defecation of a Yak,
cleanse your sandal and
continue your journey."
The old world version of
"**** happens" I assume.
Mar 8 · 613
Morning reflection
The early morning scent was of newly
damp earth, fresh rain and evergreens,
Drink it in old mother Earth, dress
yourself in multi shades of new green.
All life here lives within the benevolence
of your grace, and at your pleasure.
Let us be good and worthy tenants,
able stewards deserving of your
gracious bounty of life gifts.
Without Earths bounty we are nothing.
This pandemic may well be a reminder
of that simple truth.
Feb 4 · 203
The Old Café
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 down at my table and we talk a while,
It's 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,
it's 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 is always good, but it's the
comforting embrace of familiarity and
simple warm 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.
Dec 2019 · 747
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 · 401
Watching
Stephen E Yocum Nov 2019
Through the window I watched them
as they moved about doing their chores
in the Fall sunshine, my son the patient
leader instructor, my two grandsons,
sixteen and twelve, the oldest almost in
many ways a studied man, the other
thankfully, still a delightful child, him
doing exuberant dance steps from one
place to another even while pitching hay
to the cows, making fun work of all tasks,
as little dudes will do.
While musical beats spilled out from the barn,
as mixed Rap and Country sounds ensued.

In all a most pleasant satisfying
scene to behold and no place at all
I would rather be.
Little precious snippets in time, mental
photographs recorded and shared.
Nov 2019 · 1.8k
The Remaining Tomorrow's
Stephen E Yocum Nov 2019
The dog 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 gentle message being,
"Time we go to bed" old 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 habits.

The dog sat upon his bed close to where the old man
slept, 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, as always conveyed
and mutually affectionately received. Love as real as any.

The man climbed aboard his 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 tomorrow's.
Sep 2019 · 624
The Drums of October
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2019
The drums of October announce
the annual opening of the war,
as booming air cannons roar,
battling the descending hoards.
A seasonal invasion, attacking
from out of the air, robbers
and greedy thieves of wing,
Ravens, Crows and Starlings.
In their vast multitudes,
nearly darkening the sky.
Ravagers of the vines,
competing for and feasting
on the soon to be harvested,
tender grapes of Pinot Noir.

Fruit orbs destined never to
be hand picked, bottled, grace
the inside of a delicate stemmed
glass, or the palate of a human being.

The birds, connoisseurs of the grape
too, I assume. Who's to say who
deserves them the most? A disputed
question for sure. As it shall be again
next year.
The Bane of existence for the
vineyards in the hills around
my farm, every year air cannons
boom out to try to hold the invasion
at bay. Only partly succeeding.
The starlings even stay late to feast
on the grapes before migrating South.
Twice I have witnessed their massed
departure, thousands bunched in
tight formation, moving as one,
a remarkable sight to behold.
Aug 2019 · 1.1k
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 · 656
Jerry
Stephen E Yocum Aug 2019
He was a run of the mill
Black and white cat,
a kitten adopted out
of 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 barn.

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 him 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 foot. 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 · 874
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
keeping 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.
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, paining her dues I guess.


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 · 931
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 · 1.1k
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 · 1.6k
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 · 946
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,
The ancient tribes knew this.
How is this fact not crystal clear
to the modern, so called educated we?
Apr 2019 · 534
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 · 933
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 · 1.3k
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 · 1.4k
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 · 7.2k
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 · 8.4k
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 needs of 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 · 10.8k
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.
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 · 18.6k
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 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 · 1.3k
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 · 8.4k
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 · 3.4k
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 · 1.0k
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.
Jun 2018 · 2.0k
Rain
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2018
The aromatic scent
of Fresh rain falling
upon dry earth,
is the essence for
the continuance
of all life itself.
No other primal ethereal scent
is sweeter or more reassuring.
It lasts for scant minutes but
is recalled forever.
May 2018 · 2.1k
Taken
Stephen E Yocum May 2018
I dreamed of him again last night,
of how he always made me smile.
Over eight years a family friend,
his daily antics always on display,
morning and afternoon walks and talks,
his joyful baths in his small pond while
he playfully bobbed and dove beneath
the spray of my garden hose.

This was no human being,
a handsome Mallard Duck instead.
The self proclaimed King
of our barnyard clan,
always strolling and patrolling the
grounds, waiting for us, quacking
his greetings, excitingly flapping
his flightless wings at our approach.

His loneliness petticoat showing, he
followed everywhere, seemed to live
merely to be in our company, eat corn
from our hands, living precious minutes
of needed shared congeniality.

Two morning ago he was not there,
we searched and called his name
but he had completely disappeared.

A coyote perhaps, or bird of prey
our King taken and gone away.
Our lives are diminished by his loss,
Though only a bird, he was our
dear companion, a convivial friend.

I dreamed of him again last night,
of how he always made me smile.
Today I mourn his loss.
A tribute to a noble foul, if ever there was
one. Friends come in many forms and hues,
if one cares to see and embrace them for
who and what they are.
Mar 2018 · 768
Divisiveness
Stephen E Yocum Mar 2018
Divisiveness is a sword wielded by a leader fool.
The people suffer while the leaders rule and huge
profits for them ensue. A game as old as when
human man did first rise up to stand, within his
own small clan, picking up a club to strike down
his fellow man.

Thousands of years gone by and we have learned
nothing new, still the leaders rant and we implode
and like addled sheep too easily led we march out
to our own inevitable slaughtered end.

Kings and Despots rule for their benefit not ours.
Divisiveness is but one of their deceitful tools.
Divide and concur is the rule.
Jan 2018 · 1.4k
Upon The Gate
Stephen E Yocum Jan 2018
Once I was young and strong,
Consumed with compelling
desires of Horizon Lust,
traveling forth long and far.

Time and age has intervened,
now I stand alone and wait
high above on the city gate,
Silent sentry to all of those young
lives that venture forth to explore
horizons of their own, and those
weather beat ones like me
returning to rest and remain.

Accepting as I must, that I shall
never again roam too far afield  
from my place upon the gate,
Content with a life well lived,
to languish now upon this place.

Horizon Lust is for the young.
Oh, if only we possessed our
acquired wisdom of age
back in our youth.

Now a heart and mind
full of memories along
with a tranquil place by
the home fire hearth is enough.
Though I would not be
who I am, with out pushing
out to discover what's there..
Nov 2017 · 691
Swan Song
Stephen E Yocum Nov 2017
Four years of pleasurable reading
and writing here on HP.
Cyber friendships offered and cherished.
Life beckons and I heed the call.
Time to move on, new adventures
and pursuits await.

To all of the gifted and wonderful
writers I have come to call friends,
thank you for your poems and the memories.
Cyber hugs of affection and appreciation to all.
SY
No noticeable illness, no hurt feelings,
Just too little time for other things that
need doing. I may not respond but I
will look in from time to time.
All you poets, keep your flames of
self expression alive and burning
brightly.
Oct 2017 · 427
Hugs and Kisses
Stephen E Yocum Oct 2017
My Grandson is now ten and
growing like the proverbial ****,
but still young and sweet enough
to yet sit upon my knee,
to share moments of joy
and reflection, or for me
to tell him a story.

He still giggles when I tickle him,
and thankfully he's not too old to
give and receive hugs and kisses.
Best of all he never fails to tell me he
loves me whenever he arrives or leaves.
Grandchildren are a blessing and our
one compensation for growing old.
Oct 2017 · 611
Whispers
Stephen E Yocum Oct 2017
Half sleep whispers in the night,
faint yet stubbornly persist.
Words fully formed of
encouragement and regret.
Always in concert with the
background pendulum beat
of a relentlessly ticking clock.
Our lives never as precious as
in those waning years when
time is no longer our friend.
Tick-Tock, tick-tock.
Sep 2017 · 359
Dreams
Stephen E Yocum Sep 2017
I dream dreams of places
I have never been,
Of people I've yet to meet,
Of songs I've never sung,
Of horizons I've not yet crossed.
Every morning I awake with
a smile of hope upon my face.
As my dreams are an invitation
to all that waits.
In our dreams we can be anything,
go anywhere, never age,  
travel the globe and beyond.
Dreams are our inner being's
desires kicking our outer selves
in the backside.
All journeys begin with a dream.
Jul 2017 · 2.1k
Of ships and families
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2017
She was no saint, no wonder woman and yet
my mom possessed some of those qualities.
A strong sweet person, with a loving heart.

My father was no fool, but with mom's quite
strength and guidance he was a better, smarter
man and family leader. This fact never more
obvious than after she died at 54 and he had to
cope on his own without her. A grieving man
reduced to a child for a time. He never fully
recovered. Rational decisions eluded him.

No matter how well it's constructed,
Every ship needs a good compass and
strong rudder and my mother was ours.
My brother and I though grown and
aging men, still steer the course she charted.
We never forget those that gave us life,
molded our values and enriched our minds.
Though many years may have dimmed their
earthly image, time can not erode their
moral teachings forever etched upon our souls.
A charted course we have passed on to our
children too.

For my big brother Phil.  In lasting shared memory
of our mother.
Jul 2017 · 1.5k
The Keys
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2017
I dwell alone here,
a prisoner within
my own mind and life,
encumbered in burdensome
shackles of my own invention,
locked restraints of self-delusion
to which solely I possess the keys.
To all of us who sell ourselves
short, who give up too soon,
who hide in self imposed prisons
of the mind.
Life is what we make of it and
thus perhaps what we deserve,
unless we endeavor to change it.
For a friend, he knows I mean well.
Jul 2017 · 13.6k
Dinosaurs and Devices
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2017
I rolled out of bed
to start my day,
but the power was off
my all electric home,
as still as a grave.
No coffee, or toast.
The refrigerator not cold,
the freezer started dripping
the contents soon to spoil.

No computer, no cell phone service!
I began sweating profusely,
no air conditioning to cool me.
Not even a TV Emergency Broadcast Alert,
to release this uneasy feeling of topsy-turvy .

I drove into town seeking a pay phone,
with not a single one to be found,
gone the way of the dinosaurs,
extinct now too I assumed.

My old truck had no computer chips,
most cars did and were dead in their tracks.
I needed gas but the gas station pumps
electric computer driven, all DOA to boot.

The Nations electric grid had crashed,
blacked out, stone cold dead everywhere.
All heavenly satellites blacked out, expired.
Everything computer related (and
that is about everything), had ceased
to function as had the electronic reliant
world we had created.  

The street throngs of dazed people walked
around like zombies, clutching blacked out
dead computer devices, knowing not what to do.
Not even talking, forgotten I guess how to do that too.
As dependently defectively programmed as the useless
devices in their hands.

In a panic I did awake finding that
this scary dream world was indeed all fake,
a nightmare of fearful unconscious thinking.
My electric clock was still churning,
It's music alarm blaring,
birds outside still singing,
my cell phone started ringing,
it was merely another Robot call,
Welcoming me back to the 21 century.
Imagine if you can some man made device or solar flare
knocking out all the satellites in space and computers on
earth, then this nightmare is not so far-fetched.
I actually did have this unsettling dream. The possibility
of this reality does indeed exist.
Jul 2017 · 952
Complaints
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2017
Upon awakening I almost never,
jump right out of bed, as I once did.
Slowly I rise to sit awhile on the edge
of  my days desired intentions.
Stiffly I stand and tentatively step away
towards the bathroom to relieve my
most pressing bladder urges.

Those parts of me that do still work,
do now mostly hurt and that's for certain.
Like any other machine, my body's warranty
has long ago mostly expired.

When we old friends now gather,
rather than palavering about our kids,
our golf game, or our ******* Boss at work,
the collective commiserating talk always turns
to our individual deteriorating health matters.

How things once were and no longer are.
Our new hurts and concerns laid out in
vivid detail, what the latest tests revealed
and what the Doctor said or concluded.  
These shared aging complaints you see,
seem almost limitless and all consuming.

We become a little like a hapless clergyman,
preaching wishful consoling rhetoric to his choir.
Not one of us knows, or has the answers
to any of life's BIG questions and actually
never did.

Misery you see, does indeed love company,
talking and sharing seems to help I guess,
being the only real tonic offered or taken,
no prescription required or need be written.
For all of us, limping along through the
aging process. Nothing to do for it but
to laugh and accept it.
Jul 2017 · 825
Hard-A-Lee
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2017
Pull in the sheets,
trim the tiller,
shifting to the other rail,
light airs prevail, the
sails they luff.

Seeking the wind,
Cat's paws to Starboard
Hard-a-lee tacking to Port,
the breeze she comes,
boom shifts, helm heels
over, sails crack and fill.
Reef in the Jib, slack off the main.
She digs in, laying her rail
into the water, riding on the
seas thin knifes edge again,
the keel rises, steadies her passage.
We fly!

Ah, fair winds, sailors delight,
pleasant sailing, safe harbor ahead.
No greater joy than to sail and muck
about in boats on blue water.

Freedom achieved, intensely felt.
Jul 2017 · 572
A Feathered Friend
Stephen E Yocum Jul 2017
Wing clipped at birth, domestic birds they were.
Farm and spacious pen bound together six years.
She a prodigious egg layer, Don her attentive,
aggressive defender.

Daisy one day predator killed,
old Don outwardly mourning her loss
became a very different bird. All alone
for the first time in his Duck life.

We opened his gate and let him free roam.
A lonely flightless fowl only earth bound.
All aggression subsided with no mate to protect,
he became more social, needing a friend.

Crossing the yard from the barn,
when ever he may see us there.
He hunkers down in the shade
while I tend to the garden,
him like a supervisor, chortling occasional
reprimands or encouragements, I can never
tell which. All just to be close to some living thing.

He will chase after wild doves that land near by,
sadly mistaking them as perhaps a new mate, they
fly quickly away, him wondering what social Duck
blunder he might have made.

When finished in the garden, Don and I to the
barn retire, I ladle out a cup of corn for his pleasure.
Then it's back to his always open pen where his
bathtub sits, I turn on the hose and his excitement
ramps up. Excitedly he squawks and ***** his wings,
jumps into the tub, dives below the surface, reveling
in the cool spray of man made current in his artificial lake,
and with our few moments of companionship shared.
Him doing what ducks do, for a while loneliness abated.
It's almost as if I can see a smile on his pleasant Duck face.

Most days he sits close to the chickens pen, watching
the laying hens, scratching and moving within,
perhaps wishing he was in there with them.
I fear that if I open that wire door and let him go in,
that those ladies would peck him bald or even dead.

No matter how much a lonely Duck wishes he were
a chicken, they remain birds of a very different feather,
and a Duck can remain but a Duck forever.

A thing we might all remember....
Unless you think this a tale just for children,
this real life lesson example, is actually universal.
Jun 2017 · 629
Fortuitous
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2017
I've never betrayed my dreams,
           I've lived them.
Luck plays a part in
achieving our dreams,
the ignorance of unfailing
persistence also helps.
Jun 2017 · 7.9k
Personification of Love
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2017
Sincere reassuring hugs,
Touching and
being touched,
Caresses shared,
Easy laughter exuded,
Intimate whispers
of affection exchanged,
A fellowship of souls,
Sweet Companionship
spread, like frosting on a cake.
As comfortable and reassuring
as your favorite old wool sweater
on a chilly night's weather.
****** passions undeniably
wonderful, yet often those
heated flames cool and wane.
The chemistry of loving
companionships can last
a lifetime and perhaps beyond.

For CJ with great affection
and love.
Jun 2017 · 2.3k
Crimes of Shame
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2017
Bombs are falling in Aleppo,
the evil failed man that rules,
killing his own people,
Innocent noncombatants,
sheltering in their homes,
Crushed and buried in the
falling rubble of a dictator's
vengeful hate.

None but the volunteer
White Helmets digging
with bare hands to save
and unbury them, most
victims, irrecoverable pieces.

Occasionally, miraculously
some are spared and saved.  
Through these valiant selfless
efforts.

Oh Syria, you are bombed and burned,
while the world fiddles an obtuse tune
and turns its collective back on desperate
human cries for assistance.
How much is enough I wonder, instead of
impossible walls to build,or immigration bans,
why not intervene to stop the wholesale
slaughter of innocent people. ****** on
this scale unchecked is paramount to a silent
shameful approval and moral surrender.
Jun 2017 · 7.2k
New Beginning
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2017
"Thirty plus years in a
loving happy marriage,
My husband taken
by long illness
and sad ending.

Five years companionless
loneliness endured,
Now a naked man
is in my shower,
I can hear him softly
singing."

Love and companionship
can come at any age.
Rendering you both
whole and renewed again.
One line spoken by my lady
friend that caught my attention,
truth in it's meaning undeniable
and empowering. Love can come
at any age. I know all this cause
I the guy in the shower singing.
Jun 2017 · 3.0k
An Island Adventure
Stephen E Yocum Jun 2017
Gauguin or Michener
horizon lust inspired,
The South Pacific desired.
From early childhood on.
Fiji in the 70’s all alone in
A Personal journey of self
and world discovery.

From the big island of
Viti Levu, embarked
By native small boat, fifty
miles out to the Yasawa group.
Reaching tiny Yanggeta, with 300
souls living close to the bone,
No Running water, or electric spark
glowing. Bright stars shine at night
no city lights showing.

Unspoiled Melanesian Island people
Meagerly surviving only on the sea
and a thousand plus years of tradition.

I welcomed like a friend of long
standing, with smiling faces and
open sprits. Once eaters of other
humans beings, converted now to
Methodist believers.

Their Island beautiful beyond belief,
Azure pristine seas in every direction,
Coral reefs abounding with aquatic life.
Paradise found and deeply appreciated.
I swam and fished, played with the kids
and laid about in my hammock, enjoying
weeks of splendor alongside people
I came to revere, they generous and loving
at peace with themselves and nature,
Embracing a stranger like a family member.

My small transistor radio predicted a big
Storm brewing, of Hurricane proportions.
My thoughts turned to Tidal Waves  
coming. The village and all those people
living a few feet above sea level.
I tried to express my concerns to
My host family and others, getting
but smiles and shrugs in return,
Spoken communication almost
Nonexistent, me no Fijian spoken,
Them, little English understood or said.

It started with rain and strong winds,
Worsening building by the minute.
The villagers’ merely tightening down the
Hatches of their stick and thatch houses.
Content it seemed to ride out the storm,
As I assumed they always did.

Shouldering my heavy backpack
I hugged my friends and headed
For high ground, the ridgebacks
Of low mountains, the backbones
Of the Island. Feeling guilty leaving
them to their fate from high water,
Perplexed, them ignoring my warnings.

In half an hour the winds strong enough
to take me off my feet, blowing even from
the other side of the Island.
On a ridge edge I hunkered down,
Pulling a rubber poncho over my head,
Laying in watershed running inches
Deep, cold rain cascading down the
slopes to the sea below.

The wind grew to astounding ferocity,
Later gusts reported approaching
180 miles per hour. Pushed me along
the ground closer to the cliffs edge
of a 90 foot plunge to the sea below.
Holding on in the mud with fingers
and toes.

For three hours it raged, trees blowing
off the summit above, disappearing into
the clouds and stormy wet mist beyond.

A false calm came calling, unknown to me
the eye of the Hurricane hovering over the
Island, as I picked my drenched self up
and returned over blown down trees and
scattered debris to the Village of my hosts.

Most wooden structures were gone or caved in,
The few Island boats broken and thrown
up onto the Land. Remarkably many of the
Small one room “Bure” thatched huts still stood.
The high waves had not come as I feared.
Badly damaged, yet the village endured,
As did most of the people, some broken bones
But, thankfully, remarkable no worse.

Back with my host family, in their Bure,
new preparations ensued, the big winds I was
informed would now return from the opposite
direction, and would be even worse.

For another four hours the little grass and stick
House shook, nearly rising from the ground,
Held together only by hope and ropes laid
Onto roof beams held down by our bare hands
and some good workmanship two years prior.
Faith and old world knowledge a wonderful thing.

Three days past the storm and no one came to
check on the Island, alone the people worked to
save their planted gardens from the now salt water
contaminated ground, cleaned up debris and
set to mending their grass homes. The only fresh
Water well still unpolluted was very busily used.

With a stoic resolve, from these self-reliant people,
life seemed to go on, this not the first wind blown
disaster they had endured, hurricanes I learned
came every year, though this one, named “Bebe”
worst in the memories of the old men of the island.

On the fourth day a young boy came running,
Having spotted and hailed a Motor yacht,
which dropped anchor in the lagoon on the
opposite side of the Island.

I swam out to the boat and was welcomed
aboard by the Australian skipper and crew.
Shared a cold Coke, ham sandwich and tales
Of our respective adventures of surviving.
They agreed to carry me back to the Big Island.

A crewman returned me ashore in a dingy.
I crossed the island and retrieved my things,
Bidding and hugging my friends in farewell.
I asked permission to write a story about the
storm and the village, the elders' smiles agreed,
they had nothing to loose, seemed pleased.

One last time I traversed the island and stepped
Into the yachts small rowboat, my back to
the island. Hearing a commotions I turned
seeing many people gathering along the
shore line of the beach. I climbed out and
Went among them, hugging most in farewell,
some and me too with tears in our eyes,
Fondness, respect reflected, shared, received.

As the skiff rowed away  halfway to the ship,
the Aussie mate made a motion with his eyes
and chin, back towards the beach.

Turning around in my seat I saw there
most of the island population, gathered,
Many held aloft small pieces of colored cloth,
Tiny flags of farewell waving in the breeze
They were singing, chanting a island song,
Slow, like a lament of sorts.

Overwhelmed, I stood and faced the shore,
opened wide my arms, as to embrace them all.
As tears of emotions unashamedly ran down my face.
Seeing the people on the beach, the Aussie crewman
intoned, “****** marvelous that. Good on 'ya mate.”

Yes, I remember Fiji and Bebe and most of all
I fondly remember my Island brothers and sisters.

                                    End
Two years later I returned to that island, lovingly
received like a retuning son, feasted and drank
Kava with the Chief and Elders most of the night,
A pepper plant root concoction that intoxicates
And makes you sleep most all the next day.

My newspaper story picked up by other papers
Galvanizing an outpouring of thoughtful support,
A Sacramento Methodist Church collected clothes,
money and donations of pots and pans and Gas
lanterns along with fishing gear and other useful things.
All packed in and flown by a C-130 Hercules Cargo plane
out of McClellan Air Force Base, U.S.A and down to Fiji,
earmarked for the Island of Yanggeta and my friends.

On my return there was an abundance of cut off
Levies and Mickey Mouse T-Shirts, and both a
brand New Schoolhouse and Church built by
U.S. and New Zealand Peace Corps workers.

This island of old world people were some of the best
People I have ever known. I cherish their memory and
My time spent in their generous and convivial company.
Life is truly a teacher if we but seek out the lessons.
This memory may be too long for HP reading, was
writ mostly for me and my kids, a recall that needed
to be inscribed. Meeting people out in the world, on
common ground is a sure cure for ignorance and
intolerance.
May 2017 · 410
Like?
Stephen E Yocum May 2017
What is it with this millennial
generation and the ones that follow,
Kids of seven, to thirty seven
that can not seem to formulate
a simple spoken sentence without
starting it with "Like" and ending
it with another quizzical "Like"?
Is it a verb or merely punctuation?
Or just an annoying affectation?

Like what the hell?
Like I just do not like get it!
May 2017 · 437
A Hitch in my Getalong
Stephen E Yocum May 2017
I used to walk without a limp,
now it seems I possess a set,
first one leg, then the other went.

Then there are those day
or night urgent bathroom
calls, bordering on mini
bad disasters. Now that
never used to happen.

Even passing a little gas,
has become a risky business.

Up at least twice at night,
to pacify my bladder.
But thankfully so far,
my sleep *** Alarm
is still in working order.

I'm starting to suspect
that adult Depends may
be getting a little closer.

There are things I enjoy in this
human aging process, however
the annoying list of the above
items, are obviously not among them.
I jest a little, it's laugh at ourselves
or get depressed. It's all part of the
process. Going with the flow so to speak.
May 2017 · 406
Throw out the Clown
Stephen E Yocum May 2017
Amen to that, be gone you fool,
back to your ivory, gold plated,
tacky palace condo in the sky,
with your iron curtain mail order
bride, dumb and dumber sons
and the allegedly quite embarrassed
by their father, attractive daughters.

The wrongly booted former
head of the FBI, Sir James
may hold the iron truncheon needed
to batter down the House Of Trump.
Sir James the hero deserving of our
respect and lasting admiration,
the man that may free our nation,
from the fool that would be King,
the imposter sitting on the throne
of the Kingdom of America,
a clown not fit to rule, more fittingly
cast as the lowly Court Jester.

The wheels of reason and justice
will be slow to turn and no doubt
Trump will do a good deal more
tap dancing on his own male member,
to shock and amuse us and of course
continue to scare the living hell out
of the entire world.

While giving the press field days of
never ending "Special Breaking News
Reports" to frighten and blow our minds.

Yes indeed, the Circus has truly come
to town, and the petulant corpulent clown
with the orange fright wig and baggy suits,
he's the star attraction in the center ring.
He lacks a funny repertoire of "Clown Stuff"
but he sure can lie, and his slight of hand
and patented brand and ******* walk and
talk is completely beyond historical compare.

Hurry, hurry, hurry folks, step right up
and get your ticket, the Circus is in town
and sadly in full public view.
Intended as humor, a satirical look at
politics and our sorry State of Affairs.
We need to laugh or break down and cry.
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