Poem by Thomas Moore

The bird, let loose in Eastern skies,
When hastening fondly home,
Ne’er stoops to earth her wing, nor flies
Where idle warblers roam.
But high she shoots through air and light
Above all low delay,
Where nothing earthly bounds her flight,
Nor shadow dims her way.

So grant me, God, from every care,
And stain of passion free,
Aloft, through Virtue’s purer air,
To hold my course to Thee!
No sin to cloud—no lure to stay
My soul, as home she springs;—
Thy sunshine on her joyful way,
Thy freedom in her wings!

Thomas Moore


A Poem of Hope by Longfellow

I saw the long line of the vacant shore
The sea-weed and the shells upon the sand,
And the brown rocks left bare on every hand,
As if the ebbing tide would flow no more,
Then heard I, more distinctly than before,
The ocean breathe and its great breast expand,
And hurrying came on the defenceless land
The insurgent waters with tumultuous roar.
All thought and feeling and desire, I said,
Love, laughter, and the exultant joy of song
Have ebbed from me forever! Suddenly o’er me
They swept again from their deep ocean bed
And in a tumult of delight, and strong
As youth, and beautiful as youth, upbore me.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Excerpt From
The Optimist’s Good Morning

“Climbing” Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Who climbs the mountain does not always climb.
The winding road slants downward many a time;
Yet each descent is higher than the last.
Has thy path fallen?  That will soon be past.
Beyond the curve the way leads up and on.
Think not thy goal forever lost or gone.
Keep moving forward; if thine aim is right
Thou canst not miss the shining mountain height.
Who would attain to summits still and fair,
Must nerve himself through valleys of despair.”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Good Timber by Douglas Malloch

Good Timber

The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees,
The further sky, the greater length,
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.

by Douglas Malloch


Our Attitude Makes All The Difference

Life isn’t easy. Some days it takes heaps of courage just to get out of bed. If you’re having a tough day, you’re not alone. Every person who has lived, is living, or will live has rough, really rough moments. The attitude we take to life’s rough moments can make all the difference in how we work our way through them. The right attitude will transform tragedy’s into triumphs. The following short YouTube video presents a short story using metaphors to illustrate the importance of cultivating the right attitude.

Don’t Quit – Give It All You’ve Got

I’ve always liked sports. I enjoyed the competition, comradery, and the discipline participation taught me. The athletes who participate in sporting events often offer great metaphors for us. In the following YouTube video, the athlete could have easily quit, no one would have noticed except her teammates. She could have given less than full effort. Instead, her 110% effort becomes our metaphor to never quit, no matter how dire the circumstances. The only time failure is certain is when we quit. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Give it all you’ve got.

Tell Him to Grovel

“La Flor*, you have to come out of your room. It’s not healthy. You’ve been in there all day. You haven’t eaten anything. What is bothering you.”

“What’s that? I wouldn’t understand?”

“I think I might. I’m one of the sensitive males, give me a try.”

“There are no sensitive males, what makes you say that?”

“Why should I study my species?”

“I think some males are sensitive even though you haven’t met one.”

“That includes me? What did I do? You won’t tell me? Does that make sense? It does? At least come up to the door and keep it between us. Yes, I promise I won’t look through the keyhole. Yes, I promise I won’t quickly open it. Now talk to me.”

I sat down next to the door. It was not going to be quick or easy. La Flor said, “Ray, Life is like a pizza with no toppings.”

“Interesting metaphor, La Flor,” I responded.

La Flor’s voice rising. She was settling into her onstage performance, “Life is like trying to ride on the back of a motorcycle when finally your hair is perfect and the dumb motorcycle driver doesn’t notice it.” if La Flor had a gun I think she would have started firing it through the door. Glad I didn’t write one in for her.

If La Flor had a gun I think she would have started firing it through the door. Glad I didn’t write one in for her.

“I have a feeling I know what’s happening,” I said.

“You? How could you know? You’re a man. You’re in their club.”

“We have a club?” I asked.

“Yes and no beautiful, tough, and edgy woman are allowed,” she said.

“I don’t want to be a PI anymore. I don’t have a reason to live.”

“La Flor, what is going on?”

“It’s all your fault, Ray.”

“My fault? What did I do? I only try to help.”

“You made me break up with Little Carmen.”

“That’s what this is all about?”

“Breaking up was your idea, remember?”

“It was not my idea.”

“You sent him to that Alt Ego boyfriend stealer JJ Peterson.”

“Do you want me to go back and read yesterday’s blog to you?”

“Pour salt into my bleeding wounds. Kick me while I am down. Hold my head underwater until I can no longer breathe. Force feed me raw veggies. Is this what you’re trying to do?” she said while giving the most pathetic sobs I’ve heard in years.

“Hold that thought. There is someone at the front door.”

La Flor, all of a sudden calm, said, “If it is LC, tell him he better apologize before I will see him again.”

“Why do you want him to apologize when you want him back?”

“It’s the way I do things,” she said.

“I understand. I’ll be right back.”

I walked to the front door, the knocking more incessant by the second. I opened the door. Standing in front of me with his apron on, covered with sauce stains that look like blood, flour over his arms and face, and his hair disheveled stood Big Carmen.

Big Carmen didn’t wait for me to say anything. He started talking and jabbing his stubby index finger into my chest. I backed up a step. He took a step forward. He said, “Ray, use and me we gots to talk. You know, man to men. My boy, the offspring of my lions, he cries all the time. It’s embarrassing. I have to keep him in the kitchen and tell him to make pizza with his back to the customers.”

“Did you mean offspring of your loins?” I asked.

“No, I meant what I meant. Everybody but use knows loins is a kind of meat. You ever hears of chicken loins?”

“No, I heard of beef loin.”

“Beef loin is overrated. It’s bad for use, it gots lots of those aunti’s oxidants. I’m talking chicken loin, its rare. The Chinese use it for an afro diesel app.”

“Do you mean aphrodisiac?”

No, I means what I meant.”

“I can see where Little Carmen learned all he knows from you, Big Carmen,” I said patronizingly.

“Thanks, man. Now what’s we going to do to get these two together.”

From her bedroom, “Is it LC?”

I turned and said, “It’s Big Carmen. Little Carmen wants to get back together.”

“Is he ready to apologize and make two promises?”

Big Carmen heard La Flor. He said, “He don’t apologize, he gets to be the dishwasher this week instead of the dishwasher being the dishwasher which is a machine if use understand how I brings pressure.”

“I do. Nice plan,” I said, I didn’t want Big or Little Carmen to turn violent. I figured the best way was to try to agree with them.

“What’s the first thing, then tell me the second thing after use tells me the first thing.”

“Did you understand that La Flor?” I said.

“I’ll start with the second thing because it’s more important than the first thing, but the first thing is almost as important as the second thing, but a tad more important than the third thing,” said La Flor.

I felt a migraine coming on.

Big Carmen used his flour coated, hairy arm to brush me aside. He stepped inside and walked to La Flor’s bedroom door. He said, “This is Big Carmen, beautiful, tough, and edgy PI. You tell Big Carmen whats use wants and use gets it.”

A moment of silence followed by another moment of silence followed by five more moments of silence.

“Use okay in there? asked Big Carmen.

“I was freshening up, here are my conditions, one, no tacky white windbreakers.”

“Done. I hated it. It was his Uncle Richie’s idea. He never had a good idea since I known him and I known him since he was a baby.”

“Okay. I never, ever, ever, ever want to ride on the back of a motorcycle again.”

“What about the front, so I can clarify it for Little Carmen.”

“Not the front, side, or back.”

“Anything else beautiful, tough, and edgy PI?”“I don’t want pizza every night. You make the best pizza in the city Big Carmen, but I have to watch my svelte figure.”

“I don’t want pizza every night. You make the best pizza in the city Big Carmen, but I have to watch my svelte figure.”

“I must say your figures is good figures, but don’t take that personal.”

“No offense taken, handsome.”

“Use got good taste beautiful, tough, and edgy PI. I send out for my dinner six nights a week BTW. I’d go nuts eating my food, which is very good, all the time. Can I bring Little Carmen in? He’s in the car hiding on the back seat.”

La Flor stepped out of her room as if she was going on the red carpet. “Don’t touch me, Big Carmen. I did this for LC. Bring the boy in, tell him to grovel a bit. I like groveling.”

I need some help, Big Carmen. You have some advice for my blog readers? 

Sure ting, Ray. Heads up, readers: If your pizza don’t turn out right, call Carmen’s Pizzeria, we delivers

That’s it? That’s the best you could do?

Best I could do after the stress of helping my boy out.

* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.