December 29, 2009

Snow Bound

Snow Bound
By John R Greenwood

Red toy
Rests patient
Mired in
Deep winter white
Spring-filled child
Soon to return

Sleepy wheels
Frozen in time
Peek out cautiously
Hesitant to play

Snowbound toy
Seems happy to nap
Sipping solitude
On December’s
Damp day


Submission for Poetry Jam

December 25, 2009

Christmas Wishes

"From our home to yours"

Christmas Wishes
by John R.Greenwood

Ice crystal cold
Crackling fire
Families scatter
To gather close

Soggy wool mittens
From snowball fights
Hang on racks
Of wooden dowels

Ham filled platters
Tease a hungry boy
Rippled chips
Candy bowls

Young ones kneel
In seas of wrap
Christmas sounds
Balsam smells

Kitten swats a
Swaying bulb
Cinnamon scent
Jingle Bells

Cookies, cakes
Family, friends
Twinkling lights
Ginger bread

Heartfelt wishes
To you and yours
Hug the children
Forget the chores

Peace on earth,
Good will toward men

J.R.G.Christmas 2009

October 18, 2009

Back Road Joy

Back Road Joy
By John R. Greenwood

Twisting pavement
Old heavy trees close at hand
Hang shrouded branches
Over shadowed turns
Flowing gently
On September’s
Sunny day

Farmhouse nestled
With stacks of life
Piled neatly or not

Old sheds sag in
Backyard corners
While dogs bark softly
To freshen passing ears

Rusty tractors ache
Given to weeds and
Sumac blankets
Weary and wrought
Of long days gone past

Woodpiles rot under
Tattered blue tarps
Abandoned wagons
Left helpless
No load left to carry

Cold creeks gurgle
A sweet quiet motion
Moss smell hovers
And peeks through trees

Time seems sleepy
As you pull to roads edge
Sit quiet
Take a moment
Drink back road joy
Warmly in

(Written after a ride in Washington County)

August 25, 2009

Boys of Summer

Boys of Summer

Four through seven
The wonder years
Peach-fuzz heads
Sun ripened ears

Favorite t-shirts
Sneakers, hats
Great Escape dreams
Wiffle-ball bats

Running through sprinklers
In the woods on a hike
Fishing with Dad
Riding your bike

Day Camp stories
A million times told
Boy pranks and boy jokes
That never grow old

Tree forts and climbing
From dawn until dusk
Hot dogs, ice cream
Sweet corn to husk

Sunburn and Band-aids
A weekly event
Lemonade-stand profits
Have all been spent

When the summer of boys
Finally comes to an end
The memories left
No millionaire could spend



Window (A Sprint)
I love a picture window.
I love a white window.
I love replacing a broken window glass.
I love washing windows
I love looking out a picture window.
I love looking in a store window
I love climbing in a window when I forget my door key.
I love the word window and I don’t know why?
Window (Next Day)
As I awoke the next morning I instantly answered a question I had asked myself the night before, “I love the word window and I don’t know why?” I now knew the answer to that question. I love the word because I survive on introspect. I am always searching for something, a treasure, a sign, a clue. It is in everything I write. It is in everything I do. I continuously look in and out of life’s windows. It is a spirit sustaining drive that engulfs my mind. It is a hobby with no true cost, although it can take a toll on your heart when you are looking in to the window of your life or someone else’s and the picture is sad or disturbing. It may be illness, financial difficulty or the loss of a loved one. Windows do not always have happy views. If you embrace that life is going to happen with or without you, windows can help keep you alive.
If I need to breathe, I can open a window. If times are sad I can close the window, draw the shade and make the room dark for a brief moment. Seal the view; remove it for just a minute. Give myself time to regroup.
J.R.G. Summer of 2009

This was a writing exercise from Old Friend from Far Away (The Practice of Writing Memoir) by Natalie Goldberg

August 03, 2009

Alabaster Boxes

Alabaster Boxes

Do not keep the alabaster boxes of your love and tenderness sealed up, until your friends are dead. Fill their lives with sweetness. Speak approving, cheering words while their ears can hear them and while their hearts can be thrilled and made happier by them. The kind things you mean to say when they are gone, say them before they go. The flowers you mean to send-use to brighten and sweeten their homes before they leave them. If my friends have alabaster boxes laid away, full of fragrant perfumes of sympathy and affection I would rather they would bring them out in my weary and troubled hours and open them, that I may be refreshed and cheered when I need them. Let us learn to anoint our friends beforehand. Post-mortem kindnesses do not cheer the burdened spirit. Flowers cast no fragrance backward over the weary way.
-Author Unknown

July 25, 2009

Window open
Faintly seen
In foggy distance
Eyes strain
Cupped hands
Around them
Try to focus
What does the sign say?

Of mist and haze
Covers answers

Too many pictures
To keep them straight
Who’s keeping track?
How much time
Left in the game

Two more minutes
As sleep settles in
Two more lines
To start the fire


Poem written about my search for something I can’t describe. It haunts me and exhilarates me in the same breathe. It is joyous and exhausting. It keeps me moving forward…

July 22, 2009


By John R. Greenwood

Stone Grey
Chiseled deep

American flags fade
In sun baked wind

Summer flowers
Red, white, and yellow
Urns dry and patient
Await soft Sunday showers

Visitors wander
Through neatly placed rows
Plots long forgotten

Old cedars sway with
Brown slivered bark

Young widow weeps
Quiet tears of emptiness

Lives of war heroes made short
Shadow centuries past

Songbirds sing unaware
Their sounds soothe
Hearts below

Cemetery air
Brings a silent ease
To loved-ones left

Memorial Day
Bow your head

For those lost before
Cherish life
Up ahead


July 03, 2009

If one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours
Henry David Thoreau

July 02, 2009

Inside Out

Inside out
It’s a feeling I can’t shake
Like a t-shirt
Out of the dryer
Tag out
Day in – Day out
Empty after a meal
Full before I take a bite
Sunglasses in the dark
New umbrella on a sunny day
Pedaling with no bike
Paper with no pen
Brown socks in black shoes
Bowling ball with no holes
Full sail on a windless day
Kite with no string
Inside out can’t shake it
Day in – Day out
Smiling with tears running up my face
Second day of a one-day sale
Goose bumps on a July day
GPS can’t find my way
Inside out
Day before day

JRG September 2008

July 01, 2009

Tiger's Comeback

Tiger's Comeback
By John R. Greenwood

June 24, 2009 

This is a true story. The names have been withheld to protect the participants. The following story is not about Tiger Woods, nor is it about Tony the Tiger. It is not about an endangered species, circus animal or, old family cat. It is about an Esso Tiger. This is the story of an Esso Tiger that disappeared from the roof of a long forgotten gas station in Saratoga Springs one moonlit summer night in the early 70’s. The story is about the Esso Tiger’s journey from that rooftop to a backyard on Northern Pines Rd. where it stood guard for 30 years.

Even with a missing tail and faded stripes, Esso Tiger never shied from his role. He protected and entertained two active boys from childhood to adulthood. Sadly, Esso Tiger’s job diminished when the boys grew up and moved away. Work was hard to find and his life became boring and dismal as he filled a corner in the tool shed. There he was propped uncomfortably on his broken tail and with his back against the wall. The Esso Tiger never lost hope that life would improve and a fresh opportunity would someday march his way.

Well, one recent summer day, as his caretaker for 30 years, I could sense the sadness in the Eye of the Tiger. He was calling for my attention. My life was at a crossroads and so it was for Esso Tiger. “Time to move on.” he seemed to whisper. And so, it was to be.

I dug the faded sentry from his cobwebbed crypt and placed him in the yard, with a sign that seemed quite sad, “FOR SALE”. I had placed Esso Tiger out there a few times before. In times of monetary greed and the EBay fueled collectable explosion, I thought Esso Tiger could be worth as much as one-thousand dollars or more. Now in hard economic times, light wallets, and $3 gas, Esso Tiger’s going price was set at fifty bucks. I was lovingly encouraged to take twenty-five if offered.
All alone, Esso Tiger sat out there through days one and two of his caretaker’s vacation. Depression and boredom were enemies creeping close and breathing heavy on his faded neck.

Then like a beacon, like an angel from above, an answer came through the gate. Not heavens gate, the gate in the arbor leading to my backyard. The angel was familiar yet not immediately recognizable. Could it be? Is it possible? Why, it sure was, it was the one responsible for sending Esso Tiger on his endless journey so long, long ago. The prankster extraordinaire with the devilish smile, and mischievous spirit, spotted Esso Tiger in the yard as he was passing by. Just as a light switched on for me when the master of mischief passed through the arbor gate, so it did for him as he drove by and saw the silent sentinel for sale in the yard. That familiar face, that memory, the laughs, the racing pulse, it all came back in a four-second-quarter-mile flash. The circle was complete. People reunited, stories retold, three ex-large personalities back on the same thirty-year-old track.

Joy comes in many forms; a new baby, a wedding vow, a winning $20 scratch-off, but this was a different joy. This was the pure joy of past meeting present and memory looking forward. Two grown men, their grown sons, a faded old tiger with a broken tail, renewed spirit and I swear, a small twinkle in his eye, refreshed and reloaded with a new story to tell.

As we lovingly placed Esso Tiger in his new caretaker’s van, the FOR SALE removed and tossed aside, a wave of happiness overcame me. This was the best start to a summer I could remember in a long, long time…

June 23, 2009

Close your eyes and look...

Close Your Eyes And Look...
By John R. Greenwood

St. Joseph’s Church, friends, sunshine and a Model A.
It was a perfect summer day. We were young and happy. Our friends were young and happy. It was a good day. The wedding mass was sweet and pure. A breeze blew softly through the same church where I made my First Communion and first confession. That old white country church was filled with youth and smiles, white rice and organ music, a summer classic in its simplest form. It wasn’t a limousine that took us to the reception it was a Model A. The ride was wonderful. The reception wasn’t at the Hall of Springs or the Canfield Casino it was at the Greenfield Firehouse. The fire trucks stood guard outside the open doors to the music filled reception hall. Aunts and uncles, friends and family, neighbors and coworkers all in their best attire eating, drinking and dancing on that sunny June day. You don’t need big expensive wedding albums for days like these. Days like these are cherished and embedded in your senses. 30 plus years later on a sunny June day with a warm breeze blowing you can simply close your eyes and relive them effortlessly and lovingly. On that day so many years ago I said, “I do.” I did and I’d do it again!


The quality of love and the duration of a relationship are in direct proportion to the depth of the commitment by both people to making the relationship successful. Commit yourself wholeheartedly and unconditionally to the most important people in your life. --Brian Tracy
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

June 16, 2009

What is youth?

What is Youth 
Author Unknown

"Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips, supple knees; it is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is a freshness of the deep springs of life. Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite of adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man fifty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years; people grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.
Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair, these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust. Whether seventy or seventeen there is in every being’s heart the love of wonder, the sweet amazement of the stars and starlight things and thoughts, the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing child-like appetite for what is next, and the joy and the game of life.
You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.
In the central place of your heart, there is a sensitive station. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, grandeur, courage, and power from the earth, from men and from the Infinite, so long are you young."         

-Author Unknown

I wish I had written the piece above. It has been one of my favorites since I found it in a long forgotten poetry book tucked away on a bookcase. It expresses my view of life about as well as anything I've read or written. I like to re-post this on my birthday and this year will be no exception. Don't fret over one more year, you can't stop it. Take what you have available in your tool kit and forge a new day filled with compassion and concern, wonder and enlightenment. Don't backup or backdown. Come at it full throttle and full force. Live it like they were coming to take it back tomorrow. Most importantly stop the complaining and start complimenting. You'll be amazed at the results. Thank you all for your birthday wishes. Now get moving.

Raining Iguanas

Raining Iguanas

Turning doom and despair
Into life and love of it
Embrace change and chance
Hug a stranger- Smile uncontrollably
Let your thoughts sing you to sleep
Quietly, Happily, Contently
Know that spirit like water
Fuels and replenishes
Heart and Soul
True spirit overcomes fear and negativity
Not easily
Eventually it wears it down
Bit by Bit
Replacing each fear and worry with
Passion and Purpose
It strengthens resolve
Brings truth to
Individual existence
Steadfast, Straight, True
Be Bold, Be Happy, Be Brave
Forge ahead
Leave a trail - always leave a trail

John R. Greenwood