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Poems From the Porch 30

John is a nature and animal lover. He now has five cats, three hens, and various backyard visitors.


Thank God For Nature

Welcome to the 30th anthology in the Poems From the Porch series. I can't believe how much has happened since I started this in September 2019. Imagine that, a little over seven months ago, and no one had heard of the Coronavirus or Covid-19. How different things are now.

Fortunately, a number of countries have begun to see the curve flatten and a decrease in the number of new infections. This is leading to a cautious easing of restrictions. Here is Australia, schools are planning to reopen this month across the country as well as some businesses that have been closed.Touch wood there is no spike in covid-19 infections, anywhere, resulting from this decision.

One positive out of all this has been the decrease in pollution in cities around the globe. Nature is just carrying on as usual and in some cases, wildlife even re-emerging in places it hasn't been seen in years, due to lack of human activity. It is good that, even while stuck at home, many of us can still observe our backyard visitors (and that's the title of one of these poems.)


Kyler J Falk

"Perhaps on the next go around, you could write one about the first beautiful girl/handsome man/both that ever caught your interest and all the emotions and sensations that came along with that profound experience."

Thanks for the interesting request, Kyler. I resurrected my very first schooldays crush for this poem. I hope you like it.

When did you first fall in love?"

"I think, I first fell in love

when I was in fifth grade

with this boy who kept his glass ruler in the sunlight

and made rainbows on my desk with it.”

— Saiber, Stardust and Sheets

I Couldn’t Even Say “Hello”

When I first saw her I was speechless,

I couldn’t drag my eyes away,

My mouth just wouldn’t form the words

That my mind told me to say.

I wanted to attract her too,

But that was just a dream.

I couldn’t even say “Hello,”

She struck me dumb it seemed.

I told her friend I liked her,

Scroll to Continue

Asked could she pass it on.

She told me, “John, there was no need,

She’s known it all along.”

My stomach jumped into my throat,

The butterflies went wild.

Is this what love is really like

When you're no more a child?

Eventually I asked her out,

We went to a school play.

And when she kissed me on the cheek

It was a special day.

But, puppy love, it rarely lasts,

Infatuation fades in time.

But, my first love’s remembered here

Captured in this humble rhyme.

Young love

Young love

Peggy Woods

"Have you done a poem about swans? They are such beautiful birds. The birds that are the usual visitors to our backyard birdbath (another topic, perhaps) are bluejays, doves, robins, cardinals, mockingbirds, and sparrows. I once saw a woodpecker there. Squirrels hop up and also take a drink. It is a place of much activity!"

No, Peggy, I have never written a poem about swans. There is a first time for everything though, so I have now. The one about backyard visitors follows right after as well. Birds and nature are always welcome themes.

Being born in a duck yard does not matter, if only you are hatched from a swan's egg.

— Hans Christian Andersen

The Swan

A most majestic bird, the swan,

Slow moving with such grace.

If elegance is judged at all

The swan would win first place

No Ugly Duckling (a Haiku)

Gracefully swan glides

With its neck curved like a bow

No ugly duckling

Australian black swans

Australian black swans

Backyard Visitors

Those of us who live in houses

Welcome them each day,

Those tiny backyard visitors

Who come to eat and play.

The location that we live in

Will determine who we see,

As do bird feeders and fountains,

And some protective trees.

In my Australian backyard

We see pigeons, crows, and wrens,

Peewees, sparrows, magpies,

And our own three resident hens.

When we lived out “in the bush”

On our Cackleberry Farm

There were kangaroos and wallabies

As they felt safe from harm.

Tame birds sing of freedom. Wild birds fly.

— John Lennon

Some folks, they have possums

Or pythons in their ceilings.

You may prefer these guests removed,

But please don’t hurt their feelings.

If you’re north of the Equator

Your guests may be diverse,

Woodpeckers, cardinals, and jays,

And squirrels, some people’s curse.

But whatever visitors you get

You’re blessed that they chose you,

And that they’re not in forced containment

Like a cage or in a zoo.

Backyard visitors

Backyard visitors

Lorna Lamon

"Hi John, If you need any more suggestions for poems could you please write a poem about overgrown ivy on an old wall in the style of Seamus Heaney. Many thanks."

Lorna, I didn't know a lot about Seamus Heaney or his poetry until I had a recent request to write a poem using his style. I am glad because it led me to researching him and his wonderful work. The following poem is the second I have written in, hopefully, similar style to his.

Romance and poetry, ivy, lichens and wallflowers need ruin to make them grow.

— Nathaniel Hawthorne

Overgrown Ivy on an Old Wall

The old stone wall silently passes time

While ivy stealthily but surely creeps,

Attached to any surface, rough or smooth,

So slow, unseen by any human eye,

Before you know, it blankets the whole wall,

We rush through life to do the things we must,

But life goes on around us unobserved.

The wall has stood the ravages of time,

Seen World Wars won and lost and many die,

But plants they too can thrive when all seems lost

And nature will reclaim its rightful place.

So, sit and contemplate the old brick wall,

Imagining how long the ivy’s grown

From when it started as a tiny shoot

To now, it holds dominion in this place,

So marvel at the patience, be in awe.

(Inspired by Seamus Heany’s poem “Postscript.”)

Ivy on an old stone wall

Ivy on an old stone wall

So Long Until Next Week

If you are a regular visitor here you know how this works, if you are new well: In "Poems From the Porch" I ask readers to give me subjects for poems they would like me to write. All poems in this series will be written as I sit on my porch and come from the suggestions I receive.

So, all requests are welcome, just leave them here in comments or email me. Next weeks poems will be for:

Rinita Sen

Greg Cain

Nithya Venkat

Li-Jen Hew

So, until next week. So long, and be safe.

© 2020 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 14, 2020:

Thank you for such an encouraging comment, Sannyasi. I am happy to hear that my poetry gives you a calm mindset and promotes knew paths of thinking. I appreciate you reading, and look forward to reading more of your poetry as well.

And yes, I will write another poem about sunflowers. Stay tuned.

Sannyasi Raja from Durgapur, West Bengal, India on October 14, 2020:

It's really a joy to read your poetry. I prefer to have a calm mindset when I read your poems because they really provoke my thoughts towards a new direction. Keep writing more in your own style which shines really bright.

And I would like to request you to give life to a poem on sunflowers ( cause they are my favourite ).

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 08, 2020:

Yes you make a good point Lawrence...without the wall the ivy would be a tangled mess. It is kind of a symbiotic relationship I guess. The Ivy has something to grow on to give it structure and the wall gains an element of beauty. Yes, that is a good subject. I will add it to my list. Thanks.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on June 08, 2020:


The old stone wall may be hidden by the Ivy, but its the wall that gives the Ivy structure.

Maybe a good poem would be about the need for structure, what do you think?

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 31, 2020:

Thank you Keysimple. Good to get a comment from someone I haven't seen before. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment.

Old Notebook Poetry on May 31, 2020:


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 24, 2020:

Thank you Alyssa. Yes, I didn’t expect this series to go this long. The Ivy poem seems to be a favourite of many. Take care.

Alyssa from Ohio on May 24, 2020:

Congratulations on 30 installments!! That's awesome! As always, I'm blown away by your writing. The Overgrown Ivy on an Old Wall was my favorite. :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 18, 2020:

Thank you Nithya. Much appreciated.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 18, 2020:

Lovely poems and the haiku is spot on. I Couldn’t Even Say “Hello”-it is beautiful, filled with puppy love. I enjoyed reading all your poems, excellent write.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 13, 2020:

Hi Devika, thank you. I am glad you can relate to these poems about life.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 13, 2020:

This is perfect and so interesting on life

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 12, 2020:

Hi MsDora. Thank you for always taking the time to read and comment on my work.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 12, 2020:

That first poem is most precious, and the others are equally enjoyable. Thanks for always sharing such excellence in poetry.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 10, 2020:

Gypsy (Rasma) thank you for your kind comment and constant support.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on May 10, 2020:

Wonderful poetry and loved them all Looking forward to more.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 09, 2020:

Thank you so much, Chitrangada. I am glad you could relate to Backyard Visitors and agreed with my opening. Have a good weekend.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 09, 2020:

All wonderful compositions, on diverse and interesting suggestions. I enjoyed all of them, with special mention of backyard visitors. This is relatable to me.

I liked your opening paragraph. Life is unpredictable, and this is the reality.

So good to see your 30th in this wonderful series. Many congratulations and wish you all the best for continuing success.

Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2020:

Thanks, John ,for writing your ode to the swan and also backyard visitors. The first love poem and the one about ivy on a wall were also fun to read. Your poems almost always bring a smile.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 08, 2020:

Ok Venkat, thanks for making that clear.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 08, 2020:

Thank you so much, Lora. We have a few lizards, mostly just skinks though. No snakes where we are now but we often did on our property. Glad he schooldays crush rekindled memories too. Cheers.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on May 08, 2020:

No, it is one single subject. My wife used to celebrate the birth anniversaries of the bird mynah, for example.

Lora Hollings on May 08, 2020:

In my backyard, my visitors are hummingbirds and lizards of all types! Sometimes we even get snakes, which are fine as long as they aren't the rattling kind. Although, we've had them too! Wonderful poems, John. The poem about the first schooldays crush certainly brought back some fun memories for me but my favorite was Overgrown Ivy on an Old Wall. Well done!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Eric, that sounds like the perfect topic not to write a poem about. I'll see what I can't do.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 07, 2020:

I need a poem about being so grumpy grouchy that I don't want a poem - Bah Humbug

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Thank you Beth. I greatly appreciate you reading and commenting.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Hi Farah, I appreciate you reading these and your comment. Glad you enjoyed.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Thank you Greg. The Ivy poem was my favourite as well. I am glad you liked those lines.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Vidya, thank you for reading. Ok I will use you suggestion in conjunction with a previous request for a similar poem.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Hi Shauna, I echo your sentiments completely. We can just hope this “time out” has let people see the error of their ways. Have a great day/night.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Thank you Venkatachari. I am glad you enjoyed these poems and the nature theme. Can you elaborate on your requested poem a little .. is that two separate subjects, pet birds and celebrations?

Beth Perry from Tennesee on May 07, 2020:

Very nice work. I especially enjoyed Overgrown Ivy on an Old Wall; well done imagery you worked in there.

Farah N Huq from Dhaka, Bangladesh on May 07, 2020:

I loved your childhood love story. That was so sweet. You are brilliant with challenges. Loved them all!

greg cain from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 07, 2020:

John - these are all quite good this week, though I have to say that "Overgrown Ivy on an Old Wall" struck a particular chord. I am most especially enamored with this line:

"From when it started as a tiny shoot

To now, it holds dominion in this place,

So marvel at the patience, be in awe."

I am, my friend. I am. Well done.

VIDYA D SAGAR on May 07, 2020:

Excellent poems John, I love birds and animals a lot. We have a feeder for birds on our terrace and feed them grains and keep water for them and quite a lot of them visit us everyday. Yes a poem on the brave covid warriors would be a good topic for the next series. Thank you have a nice day.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 07, 2020:

John, I love this week's springy, nature driven poems from the porch.

Nature is thriving right now with Mankind in lockdown. I hope the numbers can come up for the endangered and threatened species on our planet before humans are let loose to resume life as we knew it. Hopefully, we've learned something from this. However, I fear there are too many folks who don't see the difference in our atmosphere and wild habitats and will resume their destructive ways when the world is released from our current time-out.

Thank you for the joy to bring us, John!

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on May 07, 2020:

It's a wonderful series, John, with such beautiful poems picturizing nature and birds. I enjoyed all the poems with much enthusiasm.

Can you write a poem on bird lovers keeping pet birds like parrots and mynas and celebrating their birthdays or home-coming anniversaries? Thanks in advance.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Hi Again Linda. Thank you for saying this collection was one of my best so far. That is much appreciated. I am sure you are right about nature and the back yard visitors slowly returning and becoming bolder during this decreased human activity. Blessings to you.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Thank you for continuing to follow this series, Pamela. I am glad you enjoyed this collection of poems too.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Haha Eric, I thought I was that dancer in The Devil’s Ivy. So, were you ‘the ugly cygnet’ that became a duck. Lol. Thanks for reading.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on May 07, 2020:

Thank you John.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Liz, we all need distractions at the moment. I am glad these poems provided that for you. Stay safe and happy.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Wow, Bill, your comment means a lot. I am really enjoying writing right now so I guess that is showing. “Fish in’” great choice for a subject. I’m on it.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Ruby, it is obvious that you are a lover of nature and all animals. Your garden must be absolutely delightful with all those birds and squirrels feeling welcome. Thank you for reading and enjoying my poetry. Yes, of course I will write one about the brave nurses on the front line of the virus.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on May 07, 2020:

John, congratulations on this your 30th. That's quite a milestone, and you, sir, don't seem to be slowing down. In fact, this is one of your best. The poem about that first love is so sweet.

We have always had bird feeders on our property; for a time it seemed that many of the species we had enjoyed had disappeared, but now with the pandemic, the world has become quieter and I think we are seeing more backyard visitors again.

The Seamus Heany was a beautiful reflection of his style. I look forward to next week's treasures.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 07, 2020:

This is a very nice variety of topics and your poems are excellent as usual. I enjoyed each poem.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 07, 2020:

I must of been in my cups as I don't remember being the dancer in Devil's Ivy. But I am sure that is me. That is just a Tuesday for me.

The Haiku reminds me that I was the duckling among swans ;-)

Liz Westwood from UK on May 07, 2020:

Thanks for this. It's a welcome escape from news of COVID-19. I admire the broadness of your range, each subject covered so well. It's great to look out at nature thriving during lockdown.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 07, 2020:

Your legend and audience grows, and for a good reason. You are on top of your game right now, buddy.

I've got one for ya.....fishin'

That's it, just fishin'

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on May 07, 2020:

I loved all the poetry, especially the young love and the backyard critters. I love all animals. I am an avid bird watcher and feeder. Last year I had a woodpecker come to feed, he had red hair. I have a bird bath that they all enjoy, and a special squirrel I named Squiggly. Of course my special love is the hummingbirds, they have not arrived yet, but soon. How about doing a poem about the brave nurses who are on the front lines, working so hard to save lives during this virus outbreak? Thank you for all your beautiful poetry.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Ok Eric, take your time. Better not to rush these things.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 07, 2020:

I will be back. Easy does it as all are worthy of time spent.

Ann Carr from SW England on May 07, 2020:

Thank you!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Thank you Diana, I am pleased you enjoyed the poems and the images as well.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Thanks for reading and commenting Ann. I am sure you must have some wonderful photos of the birds visiting your garden at the moment. Yes, I am sure the lack of planes flying over makes it much easier to hear the bird song, but it does seem the wildlife is becoming bolder.

Ok, your request is noted. A poem about a single flower head.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Thanks for the congratulations, Rinita. Who would have thought this series would still be going after 30 weeks? Yes, I am sure nature is one of the favourite topics among writers of most genres, but especially poets. We do have white swans here as well but apparently only the black swan is an Australian native. They are visually stunning birds.

I am glad you enjoyed the Ivy poem, and yes, you should read more by Seamus Heaney.

Diana Carol Abrahamson from Somerset West on May 07, 2020:

Beautiful poetry about wildlife, gardens and love. All blend so well together, John, thanks for sharing. Love the images too. Keep safe.

Ann Carr from SW England on May 07, 2020:

Beautiful illustrations, John. My garden and the trees alongside are teeming with birds and other wildlife, much more, it seems, than usual. It may be that they are better heard because the planes aren't interfering or that I'm spending more time outside and just listening. But I think they're revelling in the quieter environment. Some have become much more tame too. I took some lovely pictures of a blackbird yesterday and he's singing much more lately and more loudly!

Great poems to make us smile. How about one based on just one flower head, like a massive dark red peony or a small forget-me-not? Roses are often the subject of poetry but it would be good to have something different.

Hope you and yours are keeping well.


Rinita Sen on May 07, 2020:

This edition was doubly special, first, because it was the 30th! Congratulations! And second, because it had so much of nature in it. I'd like to think it's a favorite topic among most poets. I loved the style of poetry you did on the ivy topic. I've got to check out more of Seamus Heany's work. But my favorite was the Haiku about swans. Here swans are only white. I've never seen a black swan. The picture of the Australian swans is gorgeous. As usual, you excelled at all the topics that you ran into.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

Thank you for the reminder Rosina. I did get an email notification and was about to read it earlier but was interrupted. I will check it now.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 07, 2020:

I find your words quite touching, Lorna. I am happy I could do justice to the poem you requested and I did my best to make it similar to what Seamus Heaney may have written, but of course it will still have my voice flowing through it as well. Thank you for your wonderful comment.

Rosina S Khan on May 07, 2020:

John, sorry for interrupting but I just wanted to let you know I had published a new episode (Part-8) of my story series, "Keily, the Bookworm". You will find it in my profile page. So many are not getting email alerts these days. So I thought I will keep you updated in case you missed it. Thanks.

Lorna Lamon on May 07, 2020:

I knew this was quite a task John and you have managed to create a beautiful work which reminds me of this Irish icon and yet is still very much you. I am looking at this wall which is close to the field where I live and your words have brought it to life. Like your wonderful poem it has withstood the test of time. We treasure our poets in Ireland and you are treasured here on HubPages. Thank you John.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 06, 2020:

Hi Flourish, I appreciate you saying that I captured young love well. It has been awhile since I experienced that lol. I agree, it is hard not to go stir crazy at the moment. For me, there is only so much gardening I can do.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 06, 2020:

I am happy you liked all these poems, Rosina. Thanks for reading as well as for the birthday wishes. I did have a lovely day.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 06, 2020:

Thank you Kyler, I was happiest with "Overgrown Ivy on an Old Wall" too. I like being challenged to write a poem in a style a little different to my norm. Glad you enjoyed the road I went down with the poem you requested too. I agree there is not enough innocence in the world these days.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 06, 2020:

You nicely captured young live in that poem. Well done. Hope you and your family continue to stay healthy during this time. I’m a bit stir crazy!

Rosina S Khan on May 06, 2020:

All the poems in this collection are so lovely. I had difficulty selecting which would be my most favorite. In the end I decided, I really loved reading Lorna's poem "Overgrown Ivy on an Old Wall" and Peggy's poem "Backyard Visitors".Of course, Kyler's poem is all fun and a good one as well.

By the way, Belated Happy Birthday, John. Many Happy Returns of the Day. Hope you had good times on your special day.

Kyler J Falk from California on May 06, 2020:

I really enjoyed the, "Overgrown Ivy on an Old Wall" on this iteration of the porch, John. Can't really put my finger on why, but I want to say I'm making us all the wall while the world around us will inevitably take us back. It feels quite profound, like I can feel the ivy growing through my thoughts.

As for the first love, I chuckled because I remember the days when even a hello was first done through friends. A very innocent poem, and I like that you took such a route; life can be quite vulgar and harsh and that youthful innocence where even a kiss on the cheek lights up our lives is endearing.

Another awesome set!

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