The Oxen

This morning, while doing a whirl wind trip through my reader in vain attempt to pretend like I can keep up here with my community Lo and Behold – I find myself exploring the poems of Thomas Hardy, thanks to Interesting Literature’s “10 Classic Thomas Hardy Poems Everyone Should Read.”

I was especially taken with “The Oxen“.

Simply because, many aeons ago, when I was a small child, and family had gathered at our house for Christmas, Dad told all assembled that at midnight, on Christmas Eve, the animals talk.

He tried to persuade the adults still up and about (apparently, the fact they were still awake didn’t keep Santa from appearing…) they really ought to bundle up and venture forth to the corral/shed area, so as not to miss such a grand event.

Alas, no one took him up on it.

I have thought back through my mind – I have no specific memory of my own of that event, so either I was younger than 3 or perhaps I had dutifully gone to sleep, so Santa could arrive.

But I know it well, because it’s a story Mom shares often when Christmas time rolls around- now that Dad isn’t around to correct her version of it – which includes the side-note observation she suspects perhaps a few too many trips had been made to retrieve whistle-wetters from the beer coolers sunk in snowbanks outside –

And I dutifully chime in and add, for anyone who might not know, Dad had long ago figured out ways to solve the beer-cooling problem caused by Mom’s tendency to fill the refrigerator with enough food to feed Napoleon’s army, in addition to the expected number of guests arriving.

But now, thanks to Interesting Literature’s share – I can just about bet somewhere, sometime, Dad came across The Oxen, by Thomas Hardy – AND I still believe he, through his own spiritual journey, love of ole-timer tales, country/folk lore, had weaved together all that he knew to be true, because myth is more potent than history, to share with those he loved.

Because of him and his mother, I learned early and well, the best way to keep my connection to the divine clear and strong, was to view the world with eyes and wonder of a child – no matter how old I became.

And so, you’ll know where to find me come midnight next Christmas Eve…

(…just as soon as I find a neighbor, with a barn/shed/corral/livestock, who won’t mind my sitting out there in the wee hours of the night – I’ve tried it with Oakley – no go, not sure if I need to build a barn, or if she was just speechless over the fact I might actually listen AND understand her better…)

You’re welcome to join me – – 🙂

Hereford--300pxFeatured image of Hereford bull

(Hereford’s were Dad’s choice of cattle to have on place – though we did once have a huge, mean Blank Angus bull, that tried ramming the lil’ blue VW bug Mom and I were riding in during a flanking operation to get the cussed thing back into the proper field…where was I?)

Oh, yes, Featured image courtesy of Papapishu at OpenClipart.Org.

Writers Wanted: Peaceful Souls Need Not Apply

I’ve made some changes in my life recently.   Mostly internal changes with how I view my world, but a few relationship changes as well.   I awake each morning with a greater sense of peace and retire each night, tired from physical labor and heat, grateful for my comfortable bed and happy to fall asleep quickly.

Which is wonderful, except for my writing…

When I’m happy and content, I don’t write as much…


Nestled within my box of ‘Important Papers” is a 1984 Air Force Academy folder, gifted by a recruiter who was impressed by the fact I can do hundreds of basic math problems in 2 minutes.

It is faded and has two or three layers of tape across tears caused by the bulging contents.

My poetry.

Some was  neatly typed on an electric Smith Corona II and signed with a flourish at the bottom.

Someday, that signature might be worth something, ya know…

Others are written by hand, with the mess of shredded paper at the top, showing where the spiral rings of a stenographer’s pad was located.

Still others reside on yellow, legal-sized lined paper – borrowed from the pads my plumber dad always had stacks of for computing and calculating bids on.

I take them out every once in awhile and as I read, I’m transported to the time of unrequited love, yearnings and all manners of teen-aged mooning about.

I gave up writing poetry in my 20s as only a major, one-sided crush or devastating heartbreak from getting dumped could inspire me to write poetry.

And I just wasn’t that willing to live a life of continual drama for the satisfaction of claiming to be a poet…


In that same box are several binders full of short stories, journals and partially completed novels.   There’s nothing especially useful about any of it, but since it all fits nicely in the box I would have to keep anyways for medical files and tax returns, I haven’t thrown any of them away…at least not yet.

I had reason to be in “The Box” this past week and realized much of my most prolific writing is done when I’m struggling.   When I’m not happy with the way things are going or am questioning the common wisdom of our culture.

I also tend to not talk as much when things are going well.

What’s the point?   Everything is going along smooth, so there’s really no need to ‘share’.


And so, with my peaceful soul chugging along just dandy, the in-progress fictional novel is pulled to the top of the ‘Writing To Do’ list and I dive into a mystical kingdom of my own making …

It seems as if one of my characters is getting just a tad big for his britches, causing all kinds of rampant discontent and a war might be looming on the horizon…

Furiously, I start writing…