The Family Reunion

 

The Family Reunion

The setting was an old wood framed church house.
Built by a tree on the crest of a gently sloping hill.
Its wood siding all faded and weather-worn.
The brass church bell for years had been still.

He walked up the hill to the church house.
With each step, old long-past years reappeared.
Soon in his mind, he could hear the congregation singing.
Then down his cheeks streamed the warm, wet tears.

Once again, the old song leader was his Grandpa.
His young Mama on a pump organ played.
Packed on the third pew were his mischievous boy cousins.
Standing by the back door to the music his dear Daddy swayed.

And old remembrances flooded his being.
A grand family reunion was well underway.
Hearing again the stories of King Jesus,
He couldn’t hold the tears at bay.

Then he moved from the little wooden church house.
Walked down the hill on the path just ahead.
The music and memories slowly fading in the distance.
He arrived at a cemetery with the graves of his family long dead.

There will be a great reunion in heaven in the future,
They’ll all be reunited one wonderful day.
They were all Believers in Jesus,
He’s the Light, the Truth, and the Way.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
December 2015

Picture Credit: Pixabay

 

Meet the Poets: Carl Sandburg – 1919 and 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 1940 Pulitzer Prize for History

“I make it clear why I write as I do and why other poets write as they do. After hundreds of experiments, I decided to go my own way in style and see what would happen.” – Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and another for his history, a biography of Abraham Lincoln.

Sandburg was almost unknown to the literary world when, in 1914, a group of his poems appeared in the nationally circulated Poetry magazine.

Two years later his book Chicago Poems was published, and the thirty-eight-year-old author found himself on the brink of a career that would bring him international acclaim.

Sandburg published another volume of poems, Cornhuskers, in 1918, and wrote a searching analysis of the 1919 Chicago race riots.

More poetry followed, along with Rootabaga Stories (1922), a book of fanciful children’s tales. That book prompted Sandburg’s publisher, Alfred Harcourt, to suggest a biography of Abraham Lincoln for children. Sandburg researched and wrote for three years, producing not a children’s book, but a two-volume biography for adults. His Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, published in 1926, was Sandburg’s first financial success.

With the financial success, he moved to a new home on the Michigan dunes and devoted the next several years to completing four more volumes, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940.

Sandburg continued his prolific writing, publishing more poems, a novel, Remembrance Rock, a second volume of folk songs, and an autobiography, Always the Young Strangers.

In 1945 the Sandburg family moved with their herd of prize-winning goats and thousands of books to Flat Rock, North Carolina.

Sandburg’s Complete Poems won him a second Pulitzer Prize in 1951. Sandburg died at his North Carolina home July 22, 1967. His ashes were returned, as he had requested, to his Galesburg birthplace. In the small Carl Sandburg Park behind the house, his ashes were placed beneath Remembrance Rock, a red granite boulder. Ten years later the ashes of his wife were placed there.

Source:  Pulitzer Awards 1919, Pulitzer Awards 1940, and Pulitzer Awards 1951

For more on Carl Sandburg see: http://carl-sandburg.com/biography.htm

Poem: Gone Electric

Gone Electric

Our music choice was known as folk
We all laughed at a knock-knock joke
Acoustic was our favorite sound
In D.C. The Beatles played in the round

We cried when JFK was killed that day
And why the war we asked LBJ
Newport Folk Festival was going strong
And Bob Dylan wrote our favorite song

On TV we got Lost in Space
And Ryan O’Neil was on Payton Place
Way back in ’65 the words were Supreme
And played the greatest lyricist ever seen

The times were a changing because of him
Sara Lownds never went to the gym
Just gave him three sons and a little girl
Some before, some after the tour that rocked the world

His acoustic half sounded the same
The electric half critics called a shame
As his music changed the world
Shouts of Judas started to swirl

They hated him at the Royal Albert Hall
And some were glad when he took that fall
Others thought after his motorcycle accident
That his life and career were spent.

Eight years before he toured again
Wouldn’t let the critic boss him with their pen
And his music never really would change
Though his voice now shows age’s strain

To the arenas, we still all come
And he sings never chewing gum
Just Like a Woman, Mr. Tambourine Man and Desolation Row
And singing Like a Rolling Stone, he closes the show.

© 2011 by Jimmie A. Kepler

The Family Reunion

Smoky Mountains - Missionary Baptist Church 3

The Family Reunion

The setting was an old wood framed church house.
Built on the crest of a gently sloping tree-covered hill.
Its wood siding all faded and weather-worn.
The brass church bell for years had been still.

He walked up the hill to the church house.
With each step, old long-past years reappeared.
Soon in his mind, he could hear the congregation singing.
Then down his cheeks streamed the warm, wet tears.

Once again, the old song leader was his grandpa.
His young Mama on a pump organ played.
Packed on the third pew were his mischievous boy cousins.
Standing by the back door to the music his dear daddy swayed.

And old remembrances flooded his being.
A grand family reunion was well underway.
Hearing again the stories of King Jesus,
He couldn’t hold the tears at bay.

Then he moved from the little wooden church house.
Walked down the hill on the path just ahead.
The music and memories slowly fading in the distance.
He arrived at a cemetery with the graves of his family long dead.

There will be a great reunion in heaven in the future,
They’ll all be reunited one wonderful day.
They were all Believers in Jesus,
He’s the Light, the Truth, and the Way.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
December 2015

Picture Credit: Jarek Tuszynski / CC-BY-SA-3.0 & GDFL [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

What If There Were No C’s?

abc-2860036_1280What If There Were No C’s?

What if there were no “C’s” to say with our A’s and B’s?
What if all the C’s went out on strike?
Tired of being seen by you and me as just average unlike the letters A and B.
Now here is how your life might be if out on strike went the letter C.

You begin your day with a ‘up of hot ‘offee while in your lap is your ‘urled up ‘at.
Then later you ‘ould take your dog for a walk
While wearing your favorite ball ‘ap to keep the sun out of your eyes
Unless of ‘ourse, dark stormy ‘louds filled the sky.

On to the park where the ‘hildren and ‘anines go to play
Where you li’k an i’e ‘ream ‘one bought from a man pushing a ‘art.
While sitting in the park table’s ‘hair you ‘arefully observe the ‘ars
Driving down the street wondering about the driver’s worries or ‘ares.

A gust of wind makes you need to retrieve your ‘ap that just blew off your head.
Your hair now a mess needs ‘ombed but instead of ‘ombing it the ‘ap you wear
The favorite team’s ‘ap does its job of hiding your unkempt hair.
And you let your dog lead you ba’k to the house.

Ba’k inside your ‘ondominium a box of ‘andy ‘alls your name.
The temptation is too hard to resist so you pi’k a ‘ho’olate that’s ‘herry filled
Get a ‘up of hot ‘appu’’ino and sit on the ‘ou’h.
Then into your lap jumps the ‘at and she quickly ‘urls up.

Finally, resting in his home he re’alls his manners,
And remembers to remove his ‘ap, and loves on his ‘urled up ‘at.
Now you know how it would be if there were no “C’s” to say with our A’s and B’s
Because you’ve seen how your life might be if out on strike went the letter C.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Written for my granddaughter Aurora
Written during November – December 2017


Note: I have had a number of people ask me to share the “No C’s Poem” I wrote a few months back again. So, as you requested, here is “What If There Were No C’s?”

We Never Lived in the Now

The Poem’s Inspiration

I wrote the below poem several years ago. I began working on it one morning after listening to my parents and their friends discussing their dreams, what they hoped to do “someday.”

All the men and women were in their late 70s to early 90s in age as they discussed their bucket lists and the future. They talked as if they had all eternity to reach their dreams.

A Composite of My Observations

The poem is a composite of my observations of the people. One point stands out. Most of the couples loved each other dearly but never reconciled their hopes leaving many of their life goals unfulfilled.

More recently with my wife’s passing away from Melanoma cancer, I have found myself being very reflective. No, I have not gone down the trail of regrets. That path is only destructive.

I have thought of some of her last words. When she awoke in the hospital ICU after two days of not knowing who or where she was and realized I had followed her wishes and told the surgeon, not to perform another brain surgery, she said, “I knew this cancer was going to kill me. I just didn’t know it would be today or in the next few days.” She added, “I’m so glad you made me take my bucket list vacation in 2016 when I was still healthy enjoy to enjoy you and the vacation.”

Don’t Delay

If you have dreams, go for them. Don’t delay. You never know when the time will run out. And maybe, like my late wife, you will have no regrets.

We Never Lived In the Now

Your face shows your age,
though your countenance is still glowing,
Your age says grown-up,
but you’ve never decided where you’re going.

You’ve grown older.
Yes, I’m older too.
The remainder of our lives is before us,
oh, what’ll we do?

What were the dreams
you had so long ago?
What was your vision?
Where did it go?

You traveled your way.
I went mine.
A history so different,
Lives intertwined.

The gray now shows in our locks,
showing how much we cared.
Your grin still lights my life,
my smile brightens yours when shared.

You lived for then.
I lived for when.
We never lived in the moment.
No, we never lived in the now.

Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Originally published in WORDS…RHYMES…POETRY & PROSE!

The poem is included in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection” available on Kindle from Amazon.

Going Out to Eat

Couple Eating Lunch
Couple Eating Lunch

Going Out to Eat

Sweetheart, do you have a preference on where we go out to eat?
No. Anywhere you want is okay with me dear.
Great, there is a McDonald’s Restaurant; they have a senior discount …
Oh, but look, there is a Subway Restaurant; I think that would be better.
Okay, Subway it is. I’ll let you off at the door and then park the car.

Do you see anything on the menu you prefer?
No. Anything you want is okay with me dear. We can share a foot-long sub.
Great, how about a foot-long Italian Meatball submarine sandwich?
Oh, but the Black Forest Ham sub; I think that would be better.
Okay, make it a foot-long Black Forest Ham on wheat bread, please.

Oh, get whatever you want dear, but white bread …
Ma’am, can you change that to white bread, please
I’d like American cheese …
Dear, Pepper Jack; I think that would be better.
Okay, make it Pepper Jack cheese.

We’d like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeños ……
Anything you want is okay with me dear, but maybe not the tomatoes and pickles …
Ma’am, hold the tomatoes and pickles, please.
What if we skipped the green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeños and just got black olives?
Okay, make it black olives and mayonnaise instead of green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeño.

Oh, maybe you should go with the light mayo; remember your waistline …
Yes, dear. Ma’am, we’ll take light mayo instead, please.
Sir, do you want to make that a combo with chips and drink?
Dear, we’ve got water and apple slices in the car. No need to splurge, but …
Okay, just the sub, not the combo.

That was a very good lunch. Thank you for taking me out to eat
Aren’t glad I let you have whatever you wanted dear?
And he was glad he remembered,
“Love is patient, and is kind;”

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Written in Estes Park, Colorado
May 2013

“Going Out to Eat” was originally published in vox poetic. Kepler, Jimmie A. “Going Out to Eat,” vox poetica, January 27, 2014, Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://voxpoetica.com/eat/.

Photo Credit: By Bill Branson (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


When I read the first draft of this poem to my late wife, I was shocked at how visibly upset it made her.

“You’re making fun of me and telling the whole world!” she said.

I was taken aback by her comment.

“I don’t understand,” I said with honesty.

“That’s what I did at the Subway Resturant at Amarillo,” she said. She didn’t smile. She only lowered her head.

It was apparent the memory was fresh on her mind.

“It’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted,” I said.

Again, she did not smile. She rolled her eyes.

“It’s not about you,” I said attempting to reassure her.

“It’s about me. Everyone will know it’s about me.”

“But it isn’t about you. Even if it were, who do you know that reads poetry?”

“So you admit you wrote it about me.”

“Sweetie, it’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants,” I said trying to reassure her.

“And you’re going to submit it for publication?”

“Only with your permission. I don’t want it to upset you.”

“So it’s my fault if you don’t submit the poem?”

This time I rolled my eyes.

She glared at me for a minute and then sat silent for another five minutes. Finally, she started laughing and said, “I guess if I’m honest wives do that to their husbands. Go ahead and submit your silly poem.”

I submitted it. It was accepted for publication. And no, it wasn’t about Miss Benita. It really is a composite of so many of the older couples I’ve seen at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted and then hands him a coupon to use.