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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,

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Gondwana Land on July 11, 2020:

Hello Anya, thank you for reading.

John Hansen (author) from 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 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 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.

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

What can I say Shauna? Your Insightful comment humbles me but makes my day. I thought that Lady Liberty photo pretty powerful but sad too. Thank you as always.

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

Aww Linda. Ok, you don’t have to select just one. Being so involved with cooking I imagine a sense of smell is very important to you, and yes, I read about its strong association with memories.

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

Thank you as always, Demas. Much appreciated.

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

Hello Paul, thank you for following this series, I look forward to writing it each week. Hope your weekend is going well. Stay safe.

Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on July 11, 2020:


manatita44 from london on July 11, 2020:

Beautiful first piece and supported by amazing stones! I, too, would love a porch like that. Alas!

You started well and stayed with one smell. A clever move, in the light of both number of words and time constraint.

Your contribution to my request was going in the right direction. Feels unfinished, hurried, or maybe I was really becoming one with it. A 'tad' too short. I like that you touched on the virus, though and had a picture of a fiery inferno at least.

Your last poem was as it should be. Excellent but naturally different. Peace.

P.S Other readers if you are reading my comments, will see you guys tomorrow, God's willing. Shalom!

Ann Carr from SW England on July 11, 2020:

These are all superb. I particularly liked the 'Common Scents' (very clever!) because you mentioned just about every favourite smell of mine. Cut grass, lavender.....

Congratulations on your new granddaughter; what a blessing that is!

Keep writing on the porch, John! Your standard is flying higher and higher. I hope you're going to make all these into a published book...?


Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 11, 2020:

I loved each of these poems but "The Wry Smile" was a perfect ending bit. That dog smile was perfect! I agree with Lorna. You should have your own unique niche on HubPages.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 11, 2020:

John, you have outdone yourself with this collection. I don't know if it's the freedom to venture out to see family and your grandbaby (congratulations on that!) or nature outside of your property opening your mind and letting your muse run free, or what - but this is a spectacular edition of Poems From the Porch!

I couldn't vote because I love all of them. I absolutely adore what you did with my suggestion. You touched on so many of my favorite smells and your personal photos really brought the poem to life.

"Acts of God" broke my heart when I saw Lady Liberty under water with smoke coming from her eternal flame. That shot is so representative of what is happening to America and the world in general. It was a proverbial slap across the face and needs to go viral.

Your poem, "The Wry Smile" is amazing. Why have you kept that to yourself for so long?

"The Need For Structure" has such a powerful message. Society is made up of individuals. If each individual creates structure of morals and mores, society will blossom rather than spew toxicity.

Outstanding Porch session, John!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on July 11, 2020:

John, please don't make me select just one. I like them all. Scientists have determined that, unlike our other senses, the sense of smell is unalterable, and can trigger strong memories.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on July 11, 2020:

As always, just as always: great!

Paul Neglia from Poughkeepsie, NY USA on July 11, 2020:

Excellent poetry again John. I am really enjoying these. The flow is great and the content is really well coordinated and presented. Nice work.

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

I am so glad you always like my poetry, Pamela. I try to keep them diverse f possible. It is only a coincidence if they are in related topics. Have a great weekend too.

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

Haha Bill, I had to use that dog pic for ‘That Wry Smile’ and thanks for the suggestion, “renovations.” I think ‘A Bat Out of Hell” was your most recent request.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 11, 2020:

It is hard to pick the best poem but I guess the sense of smell was a favorite for me. I like the four poems very much and I like it when the topics are very different. I don't thibk I have ever read one of your poems that I didn't like. Have a nice weekend.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 11, 2020:

The photo of the dog grinning is a classic, and the smile was my favorite.

I don't remember if I made a request recently. If not, here it is: renovation!

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

Thank you as always, Umesh.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on July 11, 2020:

Well composed. Interesting poetry.

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

Good to see you Li-Jen. I am glad you enjoyed these, and appreciate my sense of humour. Take care.

Li-Jen Hew on July 11, 2020:

Hi Jodah, interesting collection of poems. All very different from each other. The topics are challenging and you give them a personal touch with your sense of humour. Thanks for sharing.

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

Eric, I guess I should have added “all of the above” as one of the choices in the poll obviously. Thank you for your constant encouragement.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 11, 2020:

Smells, Acts of God, Wryness -- how could you miss the mark, well John Hansen never does. Is it legal to have all of them my favorite. Oh yes and pics and song fit wonderfully.

Thanks for a great start to a day.

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

Thank you JC. Your comments are always most welcome.

JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on July 11, 2020:

Excellent writing John.

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

Always good the see you visiting the porch, Lorna. I think that dog photo does the trick at grabbing people’s likes haha. Thank you for your generous comment. Oh how I wish HubPages would grant me my own niche site...that is called “wishful thinking.”

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

You seem to always be one of the first to read my posts, Rosina. I appreciate that and your kind words. I am happy you enjoyed ‘The Sense do Smell.”

Lorna Lamon on July 10, 2020:

Another very unique collection John and all very special. I am finding it harder to pick a favourite, as they all have a special message. However, your poem 'That Wry Smile' hit the mark. How could I resist that photo. Hub Pages should really give you your own niche for these wonderful collections. Take care John - until next time.

Rosina S Khan on July 10, 2020:

This is a wonderful collection of poems, John. But I loved "The Sense of Smell" the best. Of course, most will agree with you regarding your choice of smells. Keep your poems flowing because we all enjoy them.

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

Hello Audrey, yes, I thought that pic funny and suitable to accompany the poem. I think about writing a book of poetry every day. I will eventually get around to it. I wrote an eBook of my early poetry from HubPages but it wasn't very successful. The other site I founded "The Creative Exiles" published a hard copy book of poetry in which I have 10 or 12 poems.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on July 10, 2020:

I laughed so hard at the dog with the wry smile. Perfect picture to accompany your poem. I enjoyed each one and my favorite is, of course, "The Wry Smile."

Have you thought about writing a book containing a collection of your poetry?

Thanks, John

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