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Poems From the Porch 37

John is a freelance writer, ghost-writer, storyteller, and poet. He always tries to include a message or social commentary in his writing

My porch? I wish. Image by Louise Dav from Pixabay

My porch? I wish. Image by Louise Dav from Pixabay

It’s Never Too Late, or Better Late Than Never

Well, I am a little late publishing this collection but here it is! Sorry to keep you, my faithful readers, waiting, but life goes on and I need to fit my writing in where I can.
I am currently visiting with my son and his family in Brisbane, taking advantage of the lifted lockdown and travel restrictions here.

We felt we need to make the effort to see our grandchildren, especially the new granddaughter who was born during the lockdown, and who we hadn’t met yet (oh, and how beautiful she is!) With Victoria currently experiencing a new spike in cases and having borders closed we felt the need to do as much as we could now in case it spreads to Queensland again.

I know we are so much more fortunate to not be experiencing the Covid-19 virus to the extent that many other countries are, it is still a major concern In regard to our age and my wife’s existing medical conditions.

So, I began writing these poems at home on the porch, but have finished them off and added photos etc while I have been away. Now, here it is finally published, so I hope you enjoy this edition of Poems From the Porch.

Lawrence Hebb

“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?”

It is clearly necessary to invent organizational structures appropriate to the present multicultural age. But such efforts are doomed to failure if they do not grow out of something deeper, out of generally held values.

— Vaclav Havel

The Need For Structure

Structure gives security,

a skeleton or spine,

a followed pattern or a plan

that stands the tests of time.

Strength and support is needed

in buildings and in life.

Unless strong structures are in place,

they’ll collapse and end in strife.

Architects and engineers

collaborate on design,

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to ensure a buildings safety,

and that standards all align.

So, plan your days as best you can,

set time for certain things,

make a budget you can keep,

for serfs can’t live like kings.

Without a stable structure

You’ll have a house of straw or sticks.

Be the smarter little pig

And build your house of bricks.

Shauna L Bowling

“Let's lighten things up a bit. How 'bout something about your favorite smells/scents?”

Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.

— Oliver Wendell Holmes

The Sense of Smell (Common Scents)

It’s said we have five senses -

hearing, sight, touch, taste, and smell.

Some special individuals

may have a sixth as well.

Each sense is so important

in more than just one way,

but in this poem I’ll highlight

just one of these today.

So, sense of smell step forward,

the spotlight shines on you.

You’re sometimes undervalued

but you are essential too.

Our sense of smell: Image by Julio César Velásquez Mejía from Pixabay

Our sense of smell: Image by Julio César Velásquez Mejía from Pixabay

Partnered with the sense of taste

you add flavour to our food.

Without aroma that you give

A meal is bland and crude.

Scent, aroma, pong, perfume -

many words pertain to you.

We incorporate your usefulness

in many things we do.

I love the aroma of fresh bread,

and to inhale the clean sea breeze.

I love the smell of grass just cut,

and mature, fine cultured cheese.

The spicy smell of curry,

the soil right after rain,

herbs growing in the garden,

a steak grilled over flame.

Flowering plants like lavender

have lovely perfumed blooms.

Honeysuckle, jasmine, rose -

their scent can make me swoon.

If we sniff something rather vile

it is said to have a “pong,”

a very strong unpleasant smell.

Good noses can’t be wrong.

You help to locate things unseen,

or tell if food is bad.

Without the use of common scents

our lives would be so sad.


“Now maybe you can do something based on acts of God. Easy peasy' (Smile) Give them meaning and purpose. You have at least four major ones here in your poetry. Much Love.”

by A.P. Herbert

by A.P. Herbert

Image by Sherry Hightower from Pixabay

Image by Sherry Hightower from Pixabay

Acts of God


In legal language throughout the English-speaking world, an act of God is a natural hazard outside human control, such as an earthquake or tsunami, for which no person can be held responsible.

Acts of God ~ Poem

What defines an Act of God,

Is it destiny or fate,

Something that humans can’t control

Like tsunami or earthquake?

Does God cause disasters

Or are they chance events,

Maybe divine providence

That God just won’t prevent?

Though God may also intervene

To save us from some fate,

Like a fatal plane or car crash,

By making us run late.

Acts of God can’t be explained,

Why or when we live or die.

It’s beyond man’s comprehension,

But we will never cease to try.

Are Acts of Nature different

From those we blame on God

Or are they just one and the same,

Such as hurricane and flood?

Perhaps this current virus

Has a purpose we don‘t know,

To reduce world population,

Or cause progress to slow.

Then again, maybe what we attribute to an Act of God may just be an unfortunate event that is simply a part of life:

Matthew 5:45

”.. for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and senders rain on the just and on the unjust.”

But That’s Not All

Because I only wrote poems from three reader prompts this week, I decided to include one additional poem that I wrote a little while back while I was feeling some angst (yes that even happens to me at times haha) but never published: ‘That Wry Smile.”

That Wry Smile

You look at me with that wry smile,

Do you think I am naive?

I’m not fooled by your buttered words

That others may believe.

Your crooked mouth that turns up so,

A sneer disguised as grin,

As you tell me what I want to hear.

But your sincerity is thin.

I once was deceived by all your praise,

But my ignorance short lived.

I soon learned to sift lies from truth,

And how little you would give.

Those narcissistic tendencies

That were your ace of spades,

Are now revealed for all to see.

How that wry smile quickly fades.

© 2020 John Hansen


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

Hey, Chris, thanks for reading. It is good you found Acts of God interesting, and glad you like the hat. Real men wear pink!

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on July 14, 2020:

Acts of God is interesting, and I like your question near the end.

"Are Acts of Nature different

From those we blame on God

Or are they just one and the same,

Such as hurricane and flood?"

Also, I love the hat.

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

Hi Ruby, isn’t that dog cute? Yes, that porch was one we can dream about. Blessings.

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

MsDora, it is so true about smell being the most closely associated sense to memory recall, and the smell of curry certainly does it for me too. Thank you for reading. Enjoy The rest of your week.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on July 14, 2020:

I laughed out loud after reading " That Wry Smile " And saw the picture of the dog, of course that's my favorite, but I liked them all. I wish I had that porch too. Hee.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 14, 2020:

All very good, Jodah, but the common scents touched all my senses. The "spicy smell of curry" is tempting me to go eat. Excellent, as always!

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

Thank you, Nithya. I appreciate your comment and your continuing to follow this series.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on July 14, 2020:

A wonderful collection of poems. I liked all of them but if I have to pick one then it would be That Wry Smile.

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

Thank you for visiting, Denise. It is always a pleasure to receive your comment.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 13, 2020:

I loved sense of smell and acts of God. Hard to choose a favorite. Beautifully crafted!



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

Thank you so much Devika. Do like most of my writing to be inspirational and promote a positive outcome. I am happy you liked the poetry and the photos.

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

I like them all and such lovely photos. You write with a great emotion and most of what you experience and write of shows a much better outcome.

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

Wow! MizB, thank you for sharing that about The Rev. Mr. Gov Huckabee...he was really put in his place wasn’t he? He was not above the acts of God. Thank you for reading these poems.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on July 12, 2020:

Actually, I liked them all, John, but That Wry Smile was my favorite since you asked us to pick one. I really enjoyed Acts of God, too. Redneck fairy tale comin' up (you ain't gonna believe this sh*t!) It took me back to when Mike Huckabee was first elected Governor of Arkansas. I was working for the state legislature then, so I was privy to a lot of things, most of which made the newspaper anyway. The Rev. Mr. Governor Huckabee started off by trying to run the state like he ran the Arkansas Southern Baptist Convention. One of the first things he did was to declare that the phrase "act of God" was sacrilegious and that he was going to have the legislature strike it from state laws. He was informed that it was a legal term of art, and that there was nothing to replace it, and besides that they weren't willing to do so. It would NOT be stricken from the law. He found out that only an act of God could strike the phrase from the law, and God wasn't willing to do that. LOL He was governor from 1996-2007.

Acts of God, I thought came from English common law. I'm surprised that someone found it to be tragic.

PS loved the little doggy photo saying cheese!

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

Kyler, thank you for reading and I am pleased you liked “That Wry Smile” best. The reason you could probably feel the honesty and disappointment in it is that I didn’t write it from a prompt, but from my own experience and feelings at the time.

Kyler J Falk from California on July 12, 2020:

"That Wry Smile" was my favorite poem this week, John, because I could feel the sheer honesty and bitter disappointment in it. I think we can all relate to that taste, the taste of betrayal and resentment, and that when it comes along even once it is far too much to let the heart handle it alone. People will always have two, three, even one-hundred sides and very few of them truly honest, kind, and worthwhile for us.

That poem represents the statement I was told once, "You need to recognize short-term gain over long-term consequences, and always opt to eliminate instant gratification you cling to in favor of immediate comfort," and has given me much to think about in these times of self-exploration.

Keep up your awesome poetry, and don't let the many faces of those around you get at your heart for too long!

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

Hi Venkatchari, I appreciate your opinion and will consider reworking Acts of God to include some positive examples as well. Glad you enjoyed the first two.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on July 12, 2020:

Nice poems, John. I enjoyed the first two poems with much appreciation. I love the smells of that freshly cut grass and the soil after a spell of rain. They are so much amazing.

Regarding acts of God, your approach was tragic. Acts of God can be happy and pleasant also in many cases.

The fourth one is a real-life realization that we come through often.

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

Thank you Jason. Much appreciated.

Jason Nicolosi from AZ on July 11, 2020:

Excellent set of poems. They were all a pleasure to read. Nice job John.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 11, 2020:

Flourish, thank you for your suggestion to add a poll. It was a good idea and I’ll consider what other improvements I can make.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 11, 2020:

I like the addition of the poll and discussion thereof. Sometimes it’s really hard to choose a favorite. Sometimes it’s the topics that head you in a great direction or in one that isn’t a favorite (just speaking personally). You’re really good at this and getter better all the time.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 11, 2020:

Lora, thank you for reading and for sharing about your childhood and the lemonade stands.

Home made lemonade wasn’t a big thing in Australia but I remember my sister and I setting up a lemonade stand once because we always saw US shows on TV with kids selling it. I think we sold some to neighbourhood friends and our parents.

I look forward to writing a poem about it. Please stay safe in these troubling times.

Lora Hollings on July 11, 2020:

Although these are all wonderful poems, John, my favorite is "The Need for Structure." That is true for our own lives as well as our society being able to function well and help us to fulfill our own unique destinies. I really liked "That Wry Smile," too. Great addition. I couldn't help but think of someone in my family that it so aptly describes. I love that photo of the dog! Congratulations on your new granddaughter. A real gift during such hard times. The U.S. leads the world in the number of covid cases. And the state I live in is the number one state in the U.S.! It certainly makes you appreciate the miracle of life even more and treasuring each moment with our loved ones. With all the hardship that this virus is causing, I hope that it will leave us all appreciating what we have, more, and the realization that we all need to set our differences aside and unite to bring solutions to our most pressing problems- and building a society that can withstand such volatile times.

I requested a poem about lemonade in your last edition. I wanted to add that when I was very young, I can’t remember a summer when my sister and I didn’t have a lemonade stand or one of the neighborhood kids down the block had one. There could even be as many as 5 stands going on simultaneously. But, who cared because we would all patronize each other’s stands and, in the end, use our money to buy more lemonade to drink or with the little amount that we would earn, buy penny candy at the local five and dime. But we certainly had a lot of fun. I never see children selling lemonade any more, especially now. It’s kind of sad. A tradition from a bygone era.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 11, 2020:

Hello Anya, thank you for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 11, 2020:

Thanks for your comment and critique, Manatita. That is always welcome and appreciated. I’m sorry you felt “Acts of God“ unfinished, or rushed. Maybe you are right as it wasn’t singled out as anyone’s particular favourite. I will ponder it and see if I can come up with a couple of additional stanzas.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 11, 2020:

Hey Ann, thanks for the encouraging comment. Glad I covered your favourite smells in the ‘Common Scents’ poem, and yes the new granddaughter is a blessing, as are the other grandkids also. A published book? Who knows, but hopefully.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 11, 2020:

Thank you for being a regular reader of this series Peg. I hope HubPages are taking note of you and Lorna haha. Maybe the wry smile dog will sway them.