Selected Poems
by Ray E. Gessler



Today I'm leaving on a trip
	to a place I've never seen.
My transportation's waiting,
	just my old and slow machine.

But it will get me there and back,
	of that I'm very sure,
Without the time and hustle
	that most travelers endure.

I haven't quite made up my mind
	today just where I'll go,
To a warm and distant lively place
	or a land where life is slow.

To Ireland, Paris, Spain or Rome
	or a South Sea island beach,
The big decision rests with me
	since they're all within my reach.

For now I'm on the internet
	with the whole wide world to see,
I can do it at my leisure
	and economically.

You see, I now can go to lands
	to which I've never gone,
So if you'll please excuse me
	I'll turn my computer on.



I've come here with a story which I'm obliged to tell,
Of love and understanding and sympathy as well,
And when I've finally finished I think that in the end
You'll learn the definition of the common word, a "friend".

Some years ago an incident occurred to cause me grief,
A loved one died as all must die, but that thought was no relief.
Now many cards and letters came in the customary trend,
With names of people that I knew, 'cept one just signed, "a friend"

But this card was much different, not the usual store bought kind
Like the thousands more just like it in most any store you find,
The paper was from a notebook, cheap, ruled, and torn in two,
With pencilled, neat but misspelled words, with punctuation due.

The grammar was atrocious but the loving thought was there,
As it offered me its sympathy and ended with a prayer
That I might find some solace till the day my grief would end
And my teardrops fell like raindrops at the signature, "a friend".

I reread the card intently until the final word
As with  puzzled frown I wondered if my inner thoughts were heard
And answered by a stranger, one on whom I could depend,
A true unselfish sharing one, a wise and honest "friend".

Now every day I scan each face I pass by on the street
And wonder if that one's my "friend", so every one I meet
I try to treat with kindness and so doing not offend
Unknowingly, unwittingly, my undiscovered "friend".

And yet I often wonder if that "friend" was from above,
The One to teach me quietly the benefits of love.
To teach me what I should have known but didn't comprehend,
The world would be much better if we called each other "friend".

I used to be self-centered, only thinking of just me
Until that mystic card arrived with love and sympathy.
And I have since discovered, to cherish till the end,
The most important gift received, love from an unknown "friend".



I wished that I was able, to buy her mink and sable
And  give her gold and silver jewelry,
Buy her most expensive frocks,  give her many high priced stocks,
And a mansion fit for all the world to see.

A personal maid for her and a nice mature chauffeur,
Plus a cook, a butler and a gardener too,
And I'd give her without measure anything to give her pleasure
'Cause for her there's nothing that I wouldn't do.

I'd take her on some trips in the most expensive ships
To Tahiti or some other south sea isle.
And I'd spend my leisure days in so many happy ways
Just basking in the sunshine of her smile.

	* * * * * * * * * *

I told my wife my wishes as we was doing dishes,
She turned to me, a smile upon her lips.
As normally her fashion, she kissed me with a passion,
With soapy hands grasped tightly round my hips.

She said, "Oh, you silly ass, if I wanted wealth or class
I'd have married some tycoon or movie star.
And I never tried to hide that I was satisfied
Just loving you exactly as you are.

Now put in it's perspective, if wealth was my elective
I'd probably not be better off  but worse.
For most furs are now taboo, only cloth coats seem to do,
And being rich is often just a curse.

Now I would probably grumble when the market took a tumble
And paper profits were no longer green.
And fashion would require that I often hire and fire,
But to me this act would just be too obscene.

If seasickness was the goal, I would play a perfect role,
A green faced tourist hanging o'er the rail,
So I beg you please excuse, I could never take a cruise
For just the thought of sailing makes me pale.

So you see when all is done that the riches I have won
Are not the kind you take down to the bank,
But instead are all a part of the joy within my heart
And for this I have no one but you to thank."

	* * * * * * * * * *

Now I finally realize that I had a greater prize
Than the weight of gold or jewels that others bore.
For like manna from above,  I'd received the gift of love
From the one and only one that I adore.



I opened Sunday's paper and was sure surprised to see
My name in print on the front page as plain as it could be.
The item stated frankly, "Johnny Jones has done all right.
He had the winning ticket in the lottery Saturday night".

The article also mentioned I was now a millionaire,
An independent wealthy man without a single care.
It then went on with flowery words that set my heart aglow.
Where their information came from is one thing I don't know.

I barely finished reading this when the phone began to ring,
And party after party had the same sad song to sing,
"I'm poor and homeless, sick and cold and sure could use some dough,
So please send me a little cash, a hundred bucks or so".

By afternoon the doorbell rang and people by the score
Began to gather on my lawn, I counted thirty-four.
The same old story, share the wealth, was on everybody's tongue
From churches, charities, salesmen, and people old and young.

When darkness fell I thought relief would surely be in sight,
But everyone stayed camped outside throughout the long, long night.
And Monday was no better, I had not a moments peace,
And I was sorely tempted to finally call the police.

What happened late that afternoon seemed really very weird,
The phone stopped ringing and the crowd just suddenly disappeared.
Later that night as I relaxed I learned the reason why
The crowd had suddenly up and left without even a goodbye.

For in the evening paper in a corner on page three,
Condensed in just a single line was an apology.
It offered this correction in type real hard to see,
"It's John E. Jones, not Johnny Jones, who won the lottery".



I went to bed last evening with my muscles tense and sore
From working long and hard all day as I had done before.
But as I lay there sleepless came a sound that I abhor,
Coming from the bathroom faucet
	Was a drip, drip, drip.

I thought perhaps I could relax and doze off counting sheep
But when I reached six hundred ten I still was not asleep.
The constant dripping was enough to make a grown man weep,
While the leaking bathroom faucet
	Just went drip, drip, drip.

Now I can fall asleep real quick, or so I thought at first,
But as I lay there sleeplessly the darn sound just got worse,
And I thought that hellish noise would surely make my eardrums burst
As the darn old bathroom faucet
	Kept on drip, drip, drip.

So I got up and with bare feet I tiptoed cross the floor,
And cold and tired as I was I gently closed the door,
Then scurried back and climbed in bed as I had done before
But the blasted bathroom faucet
	Still went drip, drip, drip.

I hid beneath the covers but the sound came loud and clear,
So I got a couple cotton balls to stick within each ear.
Now it filtered out most everything but the sound I still could hear
Of that damn old bathroom faucet
	Going drip, drip, drip.

Now the constant water dripping was making my life hell
For I knew that I was losing sleep and perhaps my mind as well.
So I did the only thing I could and moved to a motel
And let that damned old faucet
	Just go drip, drip, drip.



I planned a great Thanksgiving feast, with a motive I'll confess.
I had some highfalutin friends I wanted to impress.
T'would be the mother of all feasts with fascinating food
And a glass or two of vintage wine to really set the mood.

The turkey would be far and wide the largest I could find,
And I would complement the bird with food of every kind.
There'd be chestnut stuffing as of old, with taste that can't be beat,
And mashed or riced potatoes, more than anyone could eat.

The gravy would be rich and brown, with giblets cut up small.
And candied yams for those who chose to sample, one and all.
Squash mashed with cinnamon to please, butter and brown sugar too.
With a lovely green bean casserole to add contrasting hue.

And there'd be salad fit to please the palate of a king,
And fresh hot buttery rolls of course, the customary thing.
An orange and cranberry relish or a fancy relish tray
Would add some spice to this grand meal on this Thanksgiving Day.

I'd make coffee of a special kind, both plain and caffeine free,
And a nice hot pot of water too for those who just drink tea.
Then, I'd top it off with pumpkin pie and whipped cream, the real stuff.
Or a dish of peppermint ice cream for those who'd had enough.

When the planning was all finished and I totaled up the bill
I found I'd have to mortgage my whole life, and then until
The dream wore off, and sanity again returned to me,
I registered at a local Church where a turkey meal was free.



If I have an appointment to be there at eight,
Why, leaving at seven, am I still always late?
And at a grand party with more people than chairs
Why is it me that must sit on the stairs?

How does the furnace know just to shut off
When I'm sick with the flu or a cold or a cough?
And why does the burst of a waterline tend
To occur in the night or on a weekend?

And why does my washer without any doubt
Always leave the pants pockets turned inside out,
Or eat one of my socks leaving one I can't match
With one of the others in the whole doggone batch?

Why does my bread just fall buttered side down
Or my toast always burn 'stead of evenly brown?
If the food boils over it's sure to be seen
To be right after scrubbing the floor nice and clean.

Why does my nose itch at a time I can't scratch,
Someone ask for a light when I don't have a match,
Or carrying something heavy with both my hands full
Find the door that I push has a sign that says "Pull"?

When I'm down in the basement the phone starts to ring
So I run up the stairs just to answer the thing.
Why is all that I hear as I answer the phone
Just the loud steady sound of the darn dial tone?

While driving in strange territories at night,
At a fork in the road should I turn left or right?
No matter which way I decided to take
The opposite one was the right one to make.

When my inlaws and I were just having a spat,
The town's greatest gossip dropped in for a chat.
When I saw on her face a smile, not a frown,
Then I knew it would soon be spread all over town.

Am I simply a loser, a guy with bad luck,
With a curse on my shoulders with which I am stuck?
Or am I as naive as I seem to be
To think all these problems just happen to me?



I was sitting at the table eating lunch where I was able
	to enjoy the myriad birds all munching seed,
when clearly to my watching eyes appeared a sight of great surprise,
	five downy woodpeckers stopped in to feed.

Now woodpeckers are not rare though I'm really not aware
	that I ever saw so many here before.
Before I even thought it weird,  two more, both hairy, just appeared
	and settled on the suets outside the door.

Now the seven at one time made a sight much too sublime
	and before I had the time to blink an eye,
the birds began to chase and fight and off they flew with all their might
	and left me with the echo of a sigh.

Now I can watch the birds all day, but seeing this I'll have to say
	I've  never seen more woodpeckers alight.
Just one or two is all I see, and you can take this tip from me,
	a view like that is one darn glorious sight.

One more bird just came in late but I never saw it's mate
	so I don't know if it's all alone as yet,
a red bellied woodpecker too, it's head of red a lovely hue,
	it's stately stance is one I can't forget.



I bought a book of classic verse and read with eyes aglow
And  pondered over famous names and some I didn't know.
I noticed one was missing though it was quite a famous name,
An extraordinary one, a poet of great fame.

His use of rhyme and rhythm was perhaps his greatest style,
Though the somber presentation surely left no urge to smile.
He wrote under a handicap few other poets share,
And every time I hear it I consider it a prayer.

It's not a very long one, just four stanzas to be sure,
But the message that it brings to us forever shall endure.
I think that it is possibly the poem most renowned
For it's one that's freely recognized the whole wide world around.

At ceremonies men will stand with hand upon their hearts
And listen to that famous poem before the action starts.
By now you should recall it for it's etched in memory,
That famous National Anthem penned by Francis Scott Key.

His poem was a masterpiece but I frankly don't recall
His next, or even if he wrote another poem at all.


		SUE! SUE! SUE! (it's now the thing to do)

My dear D.A.:
	I want to say I'm forever being blamed for poetry not
penned by me as some darned poet claimed. Now I've a mind that
you can find the louse since I have failed. 'Tween you and me
I'd like to see the lying culprit jailed.
	If you agree it's sure to me you'll find the lousy cuss
and make him pay till old and gray.
					signed: A. N. Onemus


       	MY PRAYER

My life is nearly over now and as the end draws nigh
My mind recalls the memories and joys of days gone by.
And though the years fade in the past the memories still remain
While I relive them year by year in sorrow, joy and pain.

The people that I've hurt at times, harsh words I can't recall,
Mistakes I've made I can't correct, oh yes, I've done it all.
The past I can't obliterate, nor can I just forget
That those I loved I hurt the most...for I still do it yet.

So when my life on earth is done and I before Thee stand,
And though unworthy, grant, I pray, a place on Thy right hand.
That I may live eternally with Thee in heaven above,
And once again united be with Dee, my one true love.

And so I pray Thee Lord on high forgive my many sins
And take me to Your heavenly home where joy and love begins.


      	MATT CYX 3RD

Christ in his mountain sermon said
Before the multitude was fed,
"Treat everyone in every way as though he was your brother.
Don't even let your left hand know
The things your right hand does, and so
Don't brag about your various alms, your charity for others".

Let it be said that I have tried
To give my gifts as He implied,
In secret, and in doing so I reaped a great surprise,
I gained in me a sense of pride,
A lovely feeling deep inside,
The joy of doing something good which no-one could surmise.

The so-called charity that's done
Is often payment bought by one
Who relishes the praise and all the honor sought so dearly.
Then he will brag and strut about
Encouraging the crowd to shout
Of what a godly man he was, his virtues shone so clearly.

But only God and I shall know,
My secret gifts will never show
Where anyone can pay me off with praises not confided.
For in my heart, as you will see,
I'm richly paid, by God to me,
With all the happiness and love my little gift provided.



A rich man who endowed a school
with a million bucks just used a tool
To avoid his paying taxes, but the public took the view
that he was very kind, in fact
they praised him for his selfless act
and wined and dined him and they put his picture in the News.

But then the News began to pry.
Before a man could blink an eye
they found the source of money was illegally obtained.
They found him guilty, but the rub,
he was sentenced to a country club,
and six months later was released to spend all he had gained.

Another thing that was not planned
His lectures were in great demand
By colleges and conventions and for meetings shore to shore.
for all the moneyed world to see
With thanks and notoriety
offers from the financial firms rushed in the open door.

Finally he was selected
by committee and elected
to a very influential spot, one of the very best. 
It was a famous cabinet post,
one where they thought he'd fit in most
For they figured gathering money was the thing that he did best.

His debt was grossly underpaid
and from it much more money made
and he became a famous man much richer than before.
And yet the do-gooders will say
Obey the law, crime doesn't pay.
Then they'll not see white collar crime in Washington anymore.




I've had a problem in the past
I think I may have solved at last.
The problem was, without a doubt,
My washer'd turn shorts inside out.

Reversing them made me annoyed,
This constant task was not enjoyed.
I thought there must be some way new
To foil this task. Here's what I'd do;

Before I put them in the wash
I'd turn them inside out, by gosh!
When they reversed I'd laugh and shout
Because they'd then be right side out.

But somehow this plan wasn't sound,
When I removed the shorts I found
No matter how they were put in
I'd have to turn them back again.

I thought it might be best by far
To  wear them just the way they are
For inside out no one can see
So no one else will know but me.

And maybe then my wash will see
That it no longer bothers me,
And knowing that it cannot win,
Leave outside out and inside in.

And if that works I'll probably do
The same with my pant pockets too,
And wear one sock, the one I find
That hungry washer left behind.

Now I may look unique it's true
But I might start a trend that's new,
And if it cures my problem, swell,
Maybe I'll make some dough as well.



One day at a bored gathering
	Resembling a wake,
I sat on the piano bench
	Which was a big mistake.

"Play us a tune", somebody said.
	"Yes, yes", the crowd all cried.
And I looked right and left to find
	A quiet place to hide.

A musician was one thing that I
	Had never claimed to be,
I could not read a single note,
	Just played from memory.

But still the crowd insisted
	And I had to see it through,
So I played "Chopsticks" flawlessly,
	My musical debut.

As thunderous applause burst forth
	I quit while still ahead.
My music talent I gave up
	To write poetry instead.



A murder was committed and a suspect brought to trial.
The claim that he was innocent his answer all the while.
There were no actual witnesses, and not a smoking gun,
But all the clues the DA had still pointed to this one.

The case was circumstantial and the defense tried to claim
A stranger was the culprit, and his client not to blame.
The trial lasted many weeks and as a last resort,
In summing up, the defense then at last addressed the court,

"Here comes the guilty party", as he gestured cross the floor
And twelve sets of jury eyes were then focused on the door.
"Ah ha," the lawyer stated, "so you see you had some doubt
And reasonable doubt is surely what this trial's all about.

And since there's reasonable doubt, his honor will agree,
You'll have to vote not guilty and set my client free."
The jury was instructed on the law and then retired
To reflect upon the case and all the things that had transpired.

In  twenty minutes they returned a guilty verdict though.
The defense was stunned. "How could it be?", the judge wanted to know.
"We would have found him innocent", the jury foreman said,
Till we noticed that his client NEVER EVEN TURNED HIS HEAD!



When I was young a few years back (?) my mother used to say,
"Son, vegetables are good for you, to grow up big some day".
		(Sound familiar?)
Then she would put upon my plate a spoon of this or that,
But when she wasn't looking I'd give it to the cat.
		(Who wouldn't eat it either!)
It wasn't long ćfor I got caught and got scolded really good
And told about the poor children who hadn't such good food.
		(I said, "Then give them mine ")
I thought if anything was good for you it sure must be a curse,
Like medicine to make you well the taste made you feel worse.
		(The start of Murphy's Law)
Of course, like mothers everywhere with 20/20 vision,
She said, "If vegetables you do not eat I've made a big decision".
		(After all, who's the boss?)
One spoonful I"ll put on your plate, eat it or let it set,
But if you do not eat it then no dessert will you get.
		(Ha! Ha! Big joke!)
The first dessert I didn't get, a piece of apple pie,
Because I didn't eat my peas, I didn't even try.
		(How could my mother treat me that way?)
I went to bed quite hungry but still thought it just a game
Till the next few days I found out were dessertless just the same.
		(My education was taking shape)
No cake, no pie, no cookies, not a thing I liked to eat,
But the killer was the day she served an Ice Cream Sundae treat.
		(Who could resist it?)
So I tried a slice of carrot, closed my eyes and swallowed fast
And when it went down easily I regretted what had passed.
		(What I had been missing)
So, from then on with vegetables I'd try a taste or two,
And slowly came to like them except for a varied few.
		(Like broccoli and brussel sprouts)
A vegetarian I am not though I'm at a loss to tell
How many veggies that I eat I do enjoy as well.
		(And they are good for you!)
Since I am eating vegetables they make a tasty meal
Especially when they're being served
		with BEEF*** or PORK*** or VEAL***!



It happened that a con man once came strolling down a lane
He was looking for a sucker when it started in to rain.
He came upon a large white house owned by a rich old dame,
And listed on the mailbox, Lotta Bigbucks was the name.

"Ah, this is it," he smiling said as he rang the bell and waited.
And when a gray-haired woman opened up the trap was baited.
"Please, ma'am, I'm wet and hungry and I have no place to stay,
And I can't find any lodging for it seems I've lost my way.

But I would do most anything for a bed and home cooked meal
And in repayment let you in on a great financial deal.    
I have ten stock certificates worth a hundred dollars each
That pays fantastic interest, a gift within your reach.

Now I'll let you have all ten of them, because you are so nice,
At half their cost, five hundred bucks, and guarantee their price."
She said she didn't have that much cash kept there in the place,
He said, "A check will be OK, you have an honest face."

So she agreed and said that she would write a check next morning.
He figured he could cash it then and leave town without warning.
Next morning as he handed her the envelope with the stock
And started for the open door he suffered a great shock.

Four men were waiting in the room he hadn't seen before.
"They're relatives of mine," she said, and slowly closed the door.
"My husband is the sheriff and his deputy's my son,
My father is Judge Hardicourt --- the famous hanging one.

My brother in the corner, you can hardly see his face,
He's county prosecutor and he's never lost a case.
They're coming in to see you since you offered me that deal
For they're always interested in a speculative spiel.

I'm going to sell you back your stock, because I am so nice,
For just one thousand dollars since you guaranteed the price.
Or you can just accompany us as we go to the bank
To check its authenticity and prove it's not a prank.

For if it is I'm telling you our jail's the place you'll stay
And it will keep you warm and dry for many and many a day".
The con man took his wallet out, extracted ten big bills,
Grabbed back the envelope and swiftly headed for the hills.



A man invented a machine,
A computer with a brain,
One that could solve all problems
That a person can't explain.

He invited numerous scientists
To attend a "show and tell",
And present them with the answers
To some questions asked as well.

The first question of course you've guessed
Came from a greedy guy,
"How can I make a million bucks
From all the stocks I buy?"

The big machine then softly said,
"Now here is my advice,
You must invest in only stock
That just goes up in price."

Another question to be asked
Was practical of course,
How can you prevent marriage from
Resulting in divorce?

"That's tough", the huge computer said,
"The causes are so varied
There's only one solution though,
Be smart, just don't get married".

The final question now was asked,
"How can we prevent war?"
The huge computer whizzed and whirred,
Lights flashed an hour or more.

The huge machine began to smoke,
It's wires began to short,
And with a surge it finally
Groaned out it's last report.

"There's only one way it can work,
Treat each man as your brother,
Cast out hate, greed and personal gains
And just love one another".



Now that leaves have finally fallen and are covered up with snow,
There'll be problems when the snow melts and the grass begins to grow.
But out on my large patio are the feeders where I store
The food my feathered friends consume as they gather by the score.

here are woodpeckers and titmice, two species of nuthatches,
And the chickadees and finches are present in large batches.
Maybe a pair of cardinals will be perched upon the snow
Early mornings or late evenings as they make their presence show.

Now the birds do lots of fighting as they guard their new found meal,
As hungry birds of their own breed see the food they'd like to steal.
While birds of different kinds will feed along side one another
And share the feeder and it's seed while relatives just hover.

There is usually commotion ‘cept  at times when I am sure
A Coopers hawk is overhead which a bird cannot endure.
They then will act like a statue and a twitch you'll never see
Until the danger passes by and again they can fly free.

I could watch them by the hour as they gather every day,
Till the huge old raucous bluejays come and scare the rest away.
But I know that they'll be coming back as long as seeds remain
To flit and fly and fight and feed but to mostly entertain.

Now I truly do believe that birds were put on earth to be
God's gift of purest pleasure for the whole wide world ..... and me.



The budded trees will soon leaf out,
The brown grass now is green,
And here and there as weed seeds sprout
A dandelion is seen.

The daffodils are budded too
And soon their heads will loom
Above the dainty crocuses
Which now are in full bloom.

And next, a week or two at most,
The tulip will be king,
With heads of nodding royalty
Proclaiming proof of spring.

The birds are all romantics too
Whose love songs fill the air.
Their myriad chirps and whistles
Seems to sprout from everywhere.

The finches' old drab winter coats
Have turned to gold instead,
As if to compliment the blaze
Of cardinals fiery red.

There's much more life to see and hear
Which winter could not share,
And springtime brings a burst of life
To nature everywhere.

So, all you cabin feverites
Wake up, enjoy the view,
But don't just look, absorb the sights
As life begins anew.



My memory’s abominable, I can’t recall the name
Of one I’ve met, I soon forget, even if it’s one of fame.
An address is as bad or worse, as for the telephone,
On many a day I hate to say I can’t recall my own.

So I decided one fine day to cure this curse of mine,
And went to see if there could be a library book divine.
The librarian was a sweetheart and as helpful as could be,
She turned her back and from a rack handed a book to me.

“It’s very new, the latest too,” she said and then she pleaded,
“Return before two weeks, no more, so other folks can read it.”
The author used mnemonics just to aid ones memory,
And I could see immediately ‘twas the very book for me.

I took it home and read it quite engrossed in every word.
In it’s defense it made good sense the best I’d ever heard.
I studied it intensely and I was  greatly moved
As day by day in every way my memory improved.

The author’s name was Bruno Furst, “Stop Forgetting” the book’s fame,
And so you see it sure helped me to help remembering names.
It happened fifty years ago, if my memory serves me true,
When I returned the book I learned it was eight days overdue.

I know my memory’s still as bad as when I read that name
But bad or good I wish I could forget it all the same.
For it’s the one and only thing I remember as before,
And I am still sure that it will haunt me forevermore.

					X (darn memory!)
					19 something



Today’s a dreary day it’s true,
No golden sun, no sky of blue,
No flower fragrance to fill the air,
No leafy limbs with trees still bare.

No singing birds to entertain,
Just beating rain on window pane.
That’s what it takes this April day
Preparing us for joy in May.



He won his race at every meet
And never knew the word defeat.
          His tombstone read
          When he was dead,
“He tied the train he tried to beat”.


A bore asked in brief conversation
If I believed in reincarnation.
          I said,"Yes! You of course
          Were the front end of a horse
And your presence is pure confirmation.


This morning as I lay in my bed
And poetry ran through my head,
          I thought I could say
          Something special today,
But I just wrote these limericks instead.


There was a drunk sailor named Lincoln
Who said as his ship started sinking,
          “If I bail fast enough
          I’ll get rid of this stuff
So I can get on with my drinking”.


When a handsome young dandy named Andy
Failed to seduce a young lady with candy,
          He said, “I know liquor
          Would work so much quicker,
But the candy was all I had handy”.


A man thinking he has Chariz,
Like a donkey who thinks he’s a wiz,
          If he don’t get his way
          He continues to bray
Like the silly old ass that he iz.


There once was an atheist named Fred
Who said as he climbed into bed,
          “There’s no heaven, I’m sure,
          But I’d hate to endure
The alternative if I wake up dead”.



I thought my life a failure, incomplete in many ways,
As I looked back at things I missed in youthful misspent days.
I thought of the adventures unfulfilled when I was young,
The long and happy tales to tell, the songs I left unsung.

My life was unexciting and unlike one’s life today,
But if I lived it over I would live it the same way,
For though I missed excitement I enjoyed the simple life,
Four grandsons, two fine daughters and an angelic wife.

I never climbed a mountain, parachuted from a plane,
Or seen it rain upon the plain, the way they say, in Spain.
I never skied the Alps although I saw them from afar,
And never did heroic acts while serving in the war.

I never went spelunking though I once entered a cave
With many other spectators, alone I’m not that brave.
And there were many mines around my city where I used
To get the chance to enter which I thankfully refused.

But many things are missing in my life as you can see
That others have encountered and that luckily missed me.
And so I’m grateful for the many things I didn’t do
Like these important escapades that I’ll point out to you.

I never had to be picked up for driving cars while drunk,
Or taken cruises worried when the customs searched my trunk.
I never was arrested so someone could go my bail,
The truth is that I never saw the inside of a jail.

I never smoked a reefer, ever tried to sniff cocaine,
Tried heroin or even crack, the reason why is plain,
I didn’t do these foolish acts as other fellows dared,
For if you want the honest truth I just was too damned scared.

These are a  few of many things I probably might have done
But if wishes now were granted I can think of only one,
I’d wish I could relive my life exactly as before,
For I was loved -- loved in return -- and who could ask for more?



A house is a structure of wood, brick or stone,
A shelter from wind, rain or snow,
A haven of safety from forces outside
Which nature is wont to bestow.

A house is all that but it’s also a store
Of things to make living well too,
With furniture, work saving devices and
The things to bring comfort to you.

But never a home will a house ever be,
Though filled with those elegant things,
Till love really pours out of each person’s heart
With comfort and peace that it brings.

A home isn’t just all the things you collect
Or treasures you buy as you roam,
It’s the memories you store in your heart every day,
It’s love that makes house a true home.



I guess I’m really not so smart, in fact I’m really dumb,
For there are many sayings told that leave my brain quite numb.
So when I wonder ‘bout some things you’ll see it must be true
That it’s my second childhood that is probably shining through.

There are some  puzzling old proverbs that have been told to me,
I don’t believe they tell the truth the way ‘twas meant to be.
‘Cause if they do I’m at a loss to really understand
Why they just never work for me the way that they were planned.

Don’t put off ‘til tomorrow all the problems of today,”
Is wrong, for with a  bit of luck they may just go away.
Don’t run to catch a bus” they said, “another will come past.”
I listened and regretted it, my missed bus was the last.

A penny saved is a penny earned” is how the proverb went,
But at today’s fair market price it sure don’t pay the rent.
A rolling stone gathers no moss” another proverb said.
It may be true but even so they gathered lots of “bread”.

Aladdin left a genie out the bottle he was in,
But was a genie really in or something we call gin?
And "As you sew so shall you reap” is how the saying goes,
Though “Stitches put in Sunday you must rip out with your nose”.
                                             (a woman’s proverb?)

There’re many more that I could cite but really what’s the use
For what’s good for the gander is not what’s good for the goose.
These sayings may be true or false but I don’t really see
Just how the heck they tell the facts first hand and honestly.



The beauty of the rising sun
     announcing a new day begun,
The quiet of a summer night
     with myriad stars so big and bright,

The smell of flowers everywhere
     whose perfumes permeate the air,
The splendor a tree’s leaves unfold
     in autumn turning red or gold,

The glint of snow on mountain tops,
     the rainbow when the rain storm stops,
The laughter of a child at play,
     enjoyment on a holiday,

The pleasure of a scenic trip
     aboard a car, a train or ship,
And love, which though it can’t be sold,
     though free, is worth much more than gold.

These things I keep, and I’ll be frank,
     They’re in my heart, my Memory Bank.
And so, when I am feeling sad
     and need something to make me glad,

My Memory Bank is there for me
     to borrow against indefinitely.
No dues to pay, no notes to sign,
     the interest earned is mine, all mine,

To take out when I need repair
     to live my life without despair.
To smile when any frown appears
     and fight with smiles instead of tears.

Now everyone has memories too
     to relive as they’re meant to do,
So if you find that some fine day
     you have a problem you can’t pay,

Just do as I do, get a loan,
     and you don’t even need a phone
Your memory bank will then supply
     the loan to keep your spirits high.



Life is like a stage play that has many acts and scenes
And everyone’s an actor who must play within his means.
The play begins with the first act the minute you are born
And ends up in the final act when Gabriel blows his horn.

But inbetween the scenes all change, no two are just the same,
For now the acting’s up to you and how you play the game.
Each person plays his life script in his own respective way,
It often varies widely as it changes day by day.

The early years are crucial and most often set the stage
For everything the future holds as rapidly you age.
Your education started long before your days of schools,
You learned that life was filled with very many “no-no” rules.

And as you learned the many things you weren’t allowed to do
The right and wrong decisions were now being left to you.
You then began the contest seeing which rules you could break
The thrill of all the chances with the choices you could make.

As teens you figured you were smart, your seniors were all dumb,
Refused to really think of all the grief about to come.
But as the years passed rapidly you learned the one sure thing
Responsibility stayed with you, whatever it must bring.

You married, raised your family and worked to get things done,
You encountered many problems and you solved them one by one,
You made a lot of friends who helped make life more pleasant too,
And years passed by so rapidly, in fact they fairly flew.

There probably were the ups and downs each person finds in life,
The pains and sorrows that occur that cut you like a knife.
But they were faced with knowledge that life is no one-way street
And there are many bumps in life that everyone must meet.

But now you’re getting older and you’ve passed the autuum years
And you’re bringing up old memories of love and joy and tears.
For here’s the last act of your script, now comes the final page
As the curtain is descending and you’ll leave the lifelong stage.

There’ll be no extra encore, and you’ll take no extra bow,
For the mighty Stage Director is your only critic now.
You’ll receive an exit visa, but for now can only wait
For one-way transportation knowing neither time nor date.

Your final destination is unknown except to One
And it surely is dependent on the things that you have done.
But on the day it happens you will start a brand new page
When at last the Stage Director softly whispers “Exit Stage.”

                                   Final Curtain

© 1996-1999 Ray E. Gessler
Brought to you by Poets Collective