Tag Archives: Friendship


Oh Pioneers!  Song of the Open Road.  I have enjoyed reading these and other poems from Walt Whitman’s anthology Leaves of Grass.  Whitman shows such ebullience and enthusiasm for life, such hope for the progress of humanity.  After reading these more than once, I thought to write my own poem about this journey of life, after my own heart and style, inspired by Whitman.


Fellow traveler!
Share the road
with a vagabond?
May I walk with you
to wherever?
I’ll be glad
of your company,
to be sure!
Such a dusty, lonely road
it has been.
Look at these shoes!
The holes in the soles!
Now, they have seen
a pretty mile or two,
and have a story or two
to tell! Aye!
Hey—them is prodigious
holes of your own!
Wary that stone, now,
for tis but the tip
of a larger,
and would break your kicking toe!
Whence hail you,
if you do not mind?
It be a long way?
Aye, that be a distance!
You seek
a situation, then, employ?
Or, may I be bold,
my new friend,
flee you a broken heart?
I understand you, aye,
only too well.
Though you walk and walk,
the break follows,
and the sorrow.
You search for solace:
tis natural.
And death—
you know it?
That we all flee,
yet it follows, too close,
at times, too close,
from us taking,
left and right,
the ones we love
most. Aye. Aye.
I know it, too,
my brother….
But, my dear fellow!
The sun sets behind.
Always behind!
And on the morrow?
A New Sun rises!
To be sure.
To be sure!
Let not us part
the way we walk
for we will find
companionship in company,
in the step step step
of our direction,
in the clop clop clop
of our resolve.
The morrow
we will command!
The Heavens will send manna,
coveys of quail,
and waters
from the dry stone!
You shall see!
You shall certainly see!

Roger is the author of Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road.  The book tells the true life story of an obscure and magical farm road and its power to transform the human spirit.  The book is available in print and for Kindle at Amazon.  See Rabbit Lane reviewed in Words and Pictures.


Wood Pens by Hyrum

Hyrum (15–one of the four Baker brothers) has become quite the woodworker, taking advanced wood-shop and furniture-making in high school.  Today a good friend taught Hyrum to turn wood pens on a lathe.  Hyrum started from 1×1 square scrap lumber rescued from the trash can: cedar heart; walnut; wormy maple.  He drilled the correct diameter hole in the wood blank with a drill press.

After drilling, he glued and inserted the metal tube into the blank.  When the glue cured, he “squared” the ends with a reamer, making the blank ends truly perpendicular to the blank length.  With the preparations over, it was time to turn the wood on the lathe, transforming the square blank into a perfect round.  Using a wood turning gouge and chisel, Hyrum slowly took off the corners of the square, taking the now-round wood blank down to the desired diameter and even with the bushings at either end.

The blank cut to the right size and shape, it was time to make it shine!  First came the sandpaper: 150 grit; 400 grit; then 800 grit.  Finally, steel wool.

Then Hyrum rubbed into the wood, turning at high speed, five coats of walnut oil mixed with wax.

The finished blank came alive and sparkled with natural beauty!

With the wood finished, it was ready to be assembled with the parts of the pen kit for the final pen product.  Hyrum can’t wait to make more beautiful wood pens, and plans to show them soon on his new Etsy account.

Hyrum and I are very grateful to our friend, Paul, for teaching us a new skill.

For more Baker brothers woodcraft, see the Woodcraft page of this Blog and click on any link.

Impressions of Erda and Enterprise

I visited recently with my good friends Harvey and Mary Russell at their home in Enterprise, Utah.  I had not seen them for years.  Harvey, my humble hero, is a leading figure in my nonfiction book Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road.  Named “Many Feathers” by American Indians, Harv helped me build my chicken coop and lead me through an Indian sweat ceremony in Erda, Utah.  My impressions during the visit were poignant and bitter-sweet, demanding expression in this impressionistic poem.


Car window down:
“Is this Harvey’s place?”
A wave to drive in, and smiles:
three mechanics, brown
where I should have seen white:
lost their teeth to the chew.

Engine block rocks
from its rolling crane.
“You’re the one that wrote the book?”
“And you write poems, too?”
“Yea,” I said, “but
I don’t know a spark plug
from a distributor cap,
like you!”

That storm broke branches off
Harv’s old elm. “Shall I cut them
small for the stove, or long
for the truck bed to the dump?”
“Oh, it’s not your mess—
long for the dump.” I cut them
short for next winter’s warming.

Neighbors burning winter’s detritus,
wind-lopped limbs, old stumps.
Pleasant smell of woody smoke.
The whole family shovels
manure over the garden plot;
rich, dry, composted;
like I used to do, before.

Perfect pens for homers,
robust cocks chortling in one,
slighter hens in the other.
At 79, he still races.

“When he finally left,
he took everything, even
the lightbulbs and toilet seat.”

Worn brown leather boots
on the workbench
by the big rusty drill press,
under dust.

“Will you keep an eye on my place Harv?”
“pow pow pow!”
Ducks falling from the sky,
poached from his neighbor’s pond.

“pow pow pow!”
Geese poached from the sky.
“But I called this time;
they think they own all the birds
in the whole country.”

Old Ekins took
their guns, their geese.
One protested: “Too late:
the goose is in the oven.
Sunday dinner!”
Said Old Jim: “Not too late:
take the Sunday goose out!”

Eight hens scratch in the grass,
keep him in eggs.
Two roosters corral and crow.
Ducks waddle where they will.

The garden tool shed:
a secret privy, with shovel and hoe.
“Toss in a cup of wood stove ash.”
(The neighbors, they don’t know.)

Lilac bushes, just leafing,
a long arcing row
next the dirt drive;
promising purple perfume.

Flapjacks browned on cast iron;
butter; blueberries; pure maple syrup;
my first goat milk, creamy and sweet.

Crazy Cliff dragged a trailer house
up a Skull Valley mountain
with a rickety track hoe; by some miracle
the belcher didn’t topple over backwards.

A lightning bolt split:
two fires funneling down
to that trailer. A bomber dropped
red retardant dust,
panicked mustangs plunging through.

Mother made Mary
give away her baby;
only 15. She married
the man at 16, and met
her first-born son 49 years late.

Brussels and yams
roasted soft
in olive oil and herbs;
fresh bread and pot roast.

Third and fourth marriages
for both: married twice
to each other: “We just drifted
apart, until God brought us
back together.”

“Living with someone is just
hard, rubbing and bumping
against each other.”

“He kissed me
on the cheek.”

Harvey, Mary, and Roger

Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road is available in print and for Kindle at Amazon.




“I am worthless,” my friend sighed to me.  “Oh, no,” I urged, “you are so worthy, so deserving.”  My friend wanted to believe, but could not.  “You are worthy,” I insisted again.  This poem declares your worthiness:



rocks and ice in frozen space:


dazzling beacons of pulsing proton beams:


rainbow clouds, glowing, brilliant, birthing billions of bright suns:


gold dust, iron dust, plutonium dust, the stuff of supernova stars:


volcanoes bursting liquid stone to the skies, hot and hissing:


waters of life, boiling and crystalline, flowing, flowing:


the breath of God: