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Poems From the Porch 41

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

Is your glass half-full or half-empty?

Is your glass half-full or half-empty?

Optimism vs Pessimism

Saying 2020 has been a challenging year Is an understatement. COVID-19 of course is front and centre of the news, and that is understandable as it has basically affected the whole world. Then there is the Black Lives Matter movement and protests over police brutality, deep political division and unrest, natural disasters such as bushfires, and the list goes on.

I personally thought 2019 had been bad enough and was hoping for 2020 to be better, but it hasn’t really delivered. We have lost two dogs, Ginger and Omo, and one cat, Basil, this year. At least no human family members or friends have passed away, but it is still hard. That said, it is really up to us as to how we handle the “bad” along with the “good.” After all most of what has happened is out of our control, so we just have to ride the waves and hopefully be still standing on the other wipeouts allowed.

So, no matter how tough things get we have two options..optimism or pessimism. I’m choosing the first one. How about you? I am sure everything is going to improve and we will come out of this year stronger, more resilient, and best of all, more united.

Welcome to my soapbox..oops, I meant “porch.”

Please write a poem on ageism--the undeserving discrimination we, the beautiful elderly endure. Thanks!

— Dora Weithers

Aged Lives Matter!

“Always respect your elders,”

a rule my parents taught.

How often is this rule obeyed?

Today, it’s almost naught.

The elderly have done their time,

they’ve worked hard all their life.

Most went without to raise their kids,

life was a two-edged knife.

Most Asians do respect their aged

but in the West, we don’t.

It seems there’s more concern today

of pandering to the young.

Finding a new job’s difficult

for anyone right now,

but if you’re over 55

the chance is more remote.

“Experience counts” they used to say,

But that is now a defunct term,

Youth and enthusiasm are sought.

“On the job, they’ll learn.”

Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.

— David Bowie

I remember, years ago,

Riding on a train or bus.

The young would stand and give their seat

to the old, there was no fuss.

Some nursing homes are worse than jails,

the food they’re served is slop.

It’s like the aged just parked to die.

Low standards must be stopped.

So many issues grab the news,

transgender rights, and race attacks.

But elder abuse still goes unchecked,

it just slips through the cracks.

Black Lives Matter, yes they do,

but I hope the world can see

elder abuse is not okay

For Aged Lives Matter too!

Image by FuSuSu . from Pixabay

Image by FuSuSu . from Pixabay

We have just acquired three lovely chickens, white with random black dabs of feathers. So how about a poem about hens?

Also, I'm re-potting some plants that grow so quickly I'm having to give cuttings away. A poem about plants taking over in some way would be fun.

— Ann Carr

Hens of Mine

I have three hens,

Brook, Snow, and Night.

They get along,

and never fight.

The three of them

are different breeds,

they free-range

for bugs and seeds.

Each morn I open

up their cage,

they rush to the porch -

cat food’s the rage.

I’m sure they think

they are cats too,

feathered feline,

kit-chicks too.

If I didn't start painting, I would have raised chickens.

— Grandma Moses

I don’t mind if

they have a snack

as long as they

give me eggs back.

The hens are always

fun to watch

as the forage around

the garden plot.

There is a pecking order,

Brook’s acts like she’s the cock.

but Snow and Night aren’t worried,

they’re a happy little flock.

They are curious

of all that’s new,

and know they’ll never

be in a stew.

Lantana ~ a Plant Out of Control

Creeping Lantana’s a noxious weed,

At least so in Australia.

No measures seem to halt its speed,

This pest from South America.

Though it grows clumps of pretty flowers

Attracting butterflies and birds,

It’s leaves are very toxic

To sheep and cattle herds.

It’s spreading infestation

Can be blamed on birds and man.

Its thickets are impenetrable,

And five million acres hectares spanned.

Lantana: Image by Paul Diaconu from Pixabay

Lantana: Image by Paul Diaconu from Pixabay

It grows in many habitats,

Like dry hillsides, shaded gullies.

The only animal that can eat the leaves

Is the small black swamp wallaby.

It smothers native bushland,

Competes with grazing pasture.

Lantana’s spread is out of hand,

Controlling it’s a failure.

Even foreign animals

Like rabbit, fox, and toad

Have devastated our wildlife

To claim a new abode.

Plants and animals introduced

Have had a dire effect.

The native Australian ecosystem

Deserves much more respect.

“Your "Seven Deadly Sins" made me think of the "Five Deadly Venoms", which was a hip-hop album in the 90s. On that album there's a track called: "Puppet Master". So, here's a topic to write a poem about: "Puppet Master"

— Mr. Happy

Image by Stain_Marylight from Pixabay

Image by Stain_Marylight from Pixabay

The Puppet Master

The Puppet Master pulled the strings,

The wooden puppet danced.

An evil grin spread across his face

And back and forth he glanced.

“I am the Puppet Master,

You move to my decree.

You’re just a lifeless marionette

That must rely on me.”

“Bow down to me you piece of pine,

You have no mind or will,

So everything that I command

You always must fulfil.”

He moved the crossed controlling sticks,

An arm lifted, then a leg.

The puppet bowed its wooden head,

But he couldn’t make it beg.

The Puppet Master tugged the strings,

His taunting turned to ire.

He yanked the sticks this way and that,

“I’ll toss you on the pyre!”

As the writer you are the puppet-master and can control everything. Believe me, that is a whole lot of fun because it aint something that's going to be happening very often in real life!

— Christopher Paul Curtis

The marionette slowly raised its head

And grinned a macabre smile,

It’s gaudy painted puppet’s face

Contorted and defiled.

Terror filled the Master’s eyes,

His mouth could spill no words.

And as the puppet sprang to life

Only screaming could be heard.

They found him in his workshop,

Sightless eyes frozen in dread,

A bloody slash across his throat,

A hatchet buried in his head.

A marionette sat on the shelf,

The strings it seems were cut.

Just a lifeless wooden doll

A craftsman had made..but!

So, don’t be quick to persecute,

Belittle or abuse.

Don’t be a Puppet Master,

Or in the’ll lose!”

Poll Time

© 2020 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 17, 2020:

Thanks for visiting the porch Brenda. Yes, it was sad to lose Basil. Having others suggest topics/titles for the poems ensures diversity. I wouldn’t choose many of these subjects myself. I think we all have a dark side, some suppress it however. I let mine out now and then lol.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 17, 2020:


So sorry for your loss of Basil...kitty's are the best.

You have certainly got a diverse set of poems here.

Aging is a common problem with nursing homes here...they definitely do not get their money's worth. It is quite sad.

The poem you wrote for Ann Carr is quite cute about her little chickens liking cat food.

The puppet master shows your darker side...I guess we all have one.

All are very good.

Have a great day.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on October 15, 2020:

This hub has a Hub score of 60...are you kidding me! What a joke.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2020:

Thank you, Ann. It is never too late. Why am I not surprised that you voted for the ‘hen’ poem? Thank you for reading once again.

Ann Carr from SW England on September 19, 2020:

I had to vote for the poem about hens but I liked them all. You manage the social issues so well within these requests of ours.

Sorry to be late to this - I don't know how it slipped through the net!

Hope you're safe and well, John.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 04, 2020:

Thank you For reading my work once again, Cheryl. Blessings to you.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on September 04, 2020:

I love your poem as well as the imagery. Especially the kitty cat.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 04, 2020:

Well that’s an optimistic view Mel..not haha. Sadly the way it is going COVID could take out half the population of elderly in type next year or so. Thanks for reading.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on September 04, 2020:

My glass is definitely half empty in 2020, but if that glass holds Moonshine, as your glass up there apparently does, then the prospects appear suddenly rosier.

Yes I'm afraid we elderly are being abused left and right, but don't worry, Covid will take out most of us in the next year or so, so there's one less problem for society to deal with!

How's that for half empty? Love your commentary.

PS: RIP Basil

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 02, 2020:

Thank you for stopping by to read these poems, Barb. I am glad that “Aged Lives Matter” struck a chord with you. It is an important topic especially during this pandemic when nursing homes And their residents are so badly affected.

Barb Johnson from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula on September 02, 2020:

Sorry you lost your pet and friend Basil. May you find comfort in the days ahead.

These poems were a great read John. Aged-Lives Matter really hit a chord though. I live my life among my elders and treasure each one. Like in many places around the world, a nursing home can well be a place where our elders fall through the cracks and are forgotten. Before Covid I was able to visit my friends in nursing homes. Here in our area they're restrictive now. Thankfully they still allow phone calls. At least my friends know I'm still thinking of them. Still I worry and pray. One imagines the worst when you can't see for yourself if your loved ones are being cared for properly.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2020:

MsDora, I never get tired of hearing that, and you are always welcome to use a verse or two from my poetry however you wish. Thank you and God bless.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on August 30, 2020:

Jodah, I'm NOT tired of saying how beautiful, relevant and inspiring are your poems. Again, with your permission, I think I'll need to quote a verse or two from "Aged Lives Matter," for one or more article on aging. Thanks, sincerely.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 29, 2020:

HI Lora, thank you for your kind words about Basil. It is hard to lose a pet who has been part of the family for that long. Sorry to hear about your dog Herbie also. I am happy you enjoyed these poems.

Lora Hollings on August 29, 2020:

So sorry about the loss of your pet, Basil. What a beautiful boy he was! I lost my dog, Herbie, who was 16 yrs. old. It was 6 months ago and I'm still mourning him. I'm still quite depressed about it. Sometimes, you don't realize just how deep the emotional bond is until they are gone! He was my best friend and confidant.

I loved all of your poems, John. Aged Lives Matter is a very stirring poem. Your poem paints a very sad but accurate portrayal of what it is like to age in the West. Many people end up in nursing homes, robbed of their dignity, their humanity, and warehoused there until they die. How sad that is! And the Puppet Master was very imaginative and so well written! You did an excellent job of telling a macabre tale through poetry. Best to you and yours in Australia.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 28, 2020:

Chitrangada, thank you for continuing to follow this series and your generous comments are always appreciated. We will all get out of this stronger but when it will be over I don’t know.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on August 28, 2020:

All the poems are excellent. It’s difficult to choose one of them as a favourite.

Elderly lives matter, they are precious, they must be given due respect and care. It is due to their love, teachings and many sacrifices, that we become, what we are today.

I am sorry for the loss of your pet.

Yes, 2020 has been a year full of despair, uncertainties, anxieties and God knows, when this will be over. But optimism is the only way to deal with it.

Thank you so much for sharing another episode of your wonderful series.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 27, 2020:

Sorry about the scary puppet master, Denise, but glad you enjoyed ‘Aged Lives Matter.’ Thanks.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 27, 2020:

The puppet master gave me a fright. I don't need Chucky in my dreams thank you. I loved the ode to Aged Lives Matter. I can relate.



John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 27, 2020:

Thank you, Flourish, from Basil, he says he is in a lovely place. Thank you for the encouraging comment. As always, much appreciated.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 27, 2020:

I’m sorry about the loss of dear Basil. I hope he is frolicking now in the forever fields of catnip.

Your poems were terrific and it was hard to choose. The puppet poem was particularly sneaky in its plot and flowed well. Very entertaining.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 27, 2020:

Thank you for always reading and commenting Devika. It is greatly appreciated.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 27, 2020:

You write with a great expression. Pets make good friends and so sorry about the loss of Basil. I enjoyed all poems.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 26, 2020:

Thank you so much Chrish. I am happy you enjoyed these poems.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on August 26, 2020:

" aged lives matter " YES! after all what they've done .At least "take care of them". Thanks for sharing this beautiful poems!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

Hi Mr. Happy, it was good to receive your comment, especially in regard to ‘The Puppet Master.’ Glad it was a pleasant surprise. Yes, that quote was very appropriate I thought. Cheers.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

Thank you, Nithya. I appreciate it, and am glad you enjoyed ‘The Puppet Master.’

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

Hi Farah, I appreciate your kind and interesting comment. I am glad that you believe in caring for the elderly at home, in Bangladesh so you can care for your dad. I love keeping hens and the fresh eggs they provide. I wish I could send you some Lantana too.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

Thank you for reading these poems, Mary. I hope your dog friend Lily keeps going for awhile longer yet.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

Pamala, thank you for your kind words about a Basil, as well as the poetry. Yes, Lantana is certainly invasive when let run wild.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on August 25, 2020:

"A change of pace" is right. I had no idea what I was coming up to. So, from that Lantana plant, which has beautiful flowers I must say, to the Puppet Master was quite the jump.

I forgot all about it too so, it was a nice surprise - thank You!

Love that quote about the writer being a puppet-master. You're a good puppet master, in that case.

Thanks again and all the best!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on August 25, 2020:

Sorry for the loss of your pet cat Basil. May Basil Rest In Peace.

I enjoyed reading all the poems. The Puppet Master-a wonderful poem stole my heart.

Farah N Huq from Dhaka, Bangladesh on August 25, 2020:

Wow! Loved all of them, specially The Puppet Master. Really sorry to know about Basil. It's sad when pets pass away. My son has a hen too. It's called Chicky and it lays an egg everyday. My father has Alzheimer's disease. He can't recall who we are at times. Got lost twice infact and so we keep him under a careful watch now. Yes, you are right. Here in Bangladesh, we hardly have seperate homes for the elderly as we believe they belong with their families. As for Lantana, really? I am infact trying to grow one in a pot haha. I wish I could borrow some from you. Thoroughly enjoyed the read!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on August 25, 2020:

The poem on the aged touched me more because of my age. Death seems close, and you have my condolence for your cat, Basil. My dog friend Lily visited me twice last week. It could be her last visit given her age. It is sad to lose a pet.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 25, 2020:

John, So sorry to hear about Basil, a beauty for sure. I know that it hurts. You covered most of our 2020 bad events, and I surely hope 2021 will be a wonderful year.

The poems covered a nice variety of topics and I always enjoy them all. The one about age is my favorite but I think they is partially due to my age. I thought the one about hens was so cute also. I have some lovely lantana in my yard I didn't know it could be an invasive plant. They are all good, as always.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

Thank you Linda. I am happy you liked ‘Aged Lives Matter.’ Yes, Spring is on the way here. We are experiencing a cold snap this week but it should start to warm up a little after that. Yes, lantana is An attractive plant but so out of control here.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on August 25, 2020:

John, as a fellow kitty-lover, my heart breaks for you on the loss of your precious Basil. I enjoyed all of your poems, but the one I liked the most was "Aged Lives Matter." I'm there and although I know I have the love of my daughters, otherwise I feel that I'm invisible.

I had no idea that lantana is an invasive. We purchase them in pots as bedding plants and they grow as an annual. They are so beautiful, I can't imagine having to pull them up by the roots as a weed.

As we are heading toward Autumn, you are looking forward, I assume, to Spring time. Thank you for continuing this series.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

Thank you Peg. Yes, Basil was a very gentle cat and will be missed. I don’t think I have ever written a poem specifically about hurricanes, though I have about cyclones. I hope Hurricane Laura hits elsewhere.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 25, 2020:

So sorry to hear that your beautiful cat Basil has passed on to the great beyond. It is hard losing a beloved pet.

I liked all of your witty poems, but the one that touched me the most was "Aged Lives Matter!" It is probably my age speaking.

Take care. We are currently in wait and see mode in preparation for where Hurricane Laura will ultimately land. Have you ever written a poem about hurricanes?

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

Thank you, Eric, come back as often as you wish.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

Thank you, Shauna, especially your condolences for Basil. There are a few different forms of lantana, but many people plant it in their garden because of the flowers and that it attracts butterflies. If it can be contained it is ok. Some areas close to where I live it is so rampant that it is everywhere you look and it covers other trees and bushes like a shroud.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 25, 2020:

I really like age so that was my favorite. But I will come back and maybe pick another one.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 25, 2020:

First, John, I'd like to extend my condolences for the loss of your precious Basil. My heart broke as soon as I saw the photo.

As macabre as it is, my favorite poem this week is "The Puppet Master". I could feel the puppet's ire as he came to life and sought vengeance.

We have Lantana here in Florida, too. Do you know it's actually sold in the big box garden stores? As you say, they're invasive. I guess the market is capitalizing on something that grows wild and can be obtained for free.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

Lorna, thank you for your condolences in regard to Basil’s passing. He was a friend for 11 years, and I don’t know the cause of his death which is concerning. Thank you for your generous comment in regard to my poetry as well, and I’m glad you enjoyed The Puppet Master.

Lorna Lamon on August 25, 2020:

Sorry to hear about Basil the cat John. It's heartbreaking when they leave us, and he was a real beauty.

I am finding it harder to pick a favourite this week as I enjoyed them all for different reasons. However, 'The Puppet Master' was a clever and entertaining write. There are so many shades in your poems John and this is what makes them flow so well. Another diverse and wonderful collection.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

I will accept the slap on the wrist Kyler. I didn’t think “The Marionettist” had the same effect for a title as “The Puppet Master,” and it was a lot easier to write about pulling strings, than hand up the butt puppetry.

I am glad you enjoyed the tale however.

Kyler J Falk from California on August 25, 2020:

My favorite from the porch this week would have to be "The Puppet Master."

However, I do have to say any true puppet master is going to have to slap you on the wrist, and tell you that you compared a marionette to a puppet! How dare you, good sir; I say, how dare you! Everyone knows you can't call a marionette a puppet!

Although I'll never understand why, because the colloquial specification has been that marionettes are also puppets for so long now, but that is what I learned while hanging around gypsy street performers.

"It is not puppet! It is marionette! I am marionettist!"

I guess in the puppet performance world, being a marionettist is like the cultured, upscale version of its backwoods, hand-up-the-butt cousins.

Amazing twist to the tale you told, though, it really was a hard-hitting message!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

Which poem Cheryl? "Aged Lives Matter!" Thanks for reading and glad it brought back fond memories for you.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on August 25, 2020:

This poem brings back so many fond memories. Thank you for sharing your deepest feelings with us.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

Hi Rosina. Always great to see you on the porch. I am glad you liked those two and found these poems innovative. Have a great day.

Rosina S Khan on August 25, 2020:

All the poems in today's collection are lovely. But I especially liked "Aged Lives Matter!" and the "The Puppet Master". Thanks for sharing these lively and innovative poems. Loved them all.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 25, 2020:

Thank you, Bill. I shall relax on a hammock on the porch just for you.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 25, 2020:

Loved them all, of course, but Puppet Master was my favorite. Now how about a lazy afternoon, in a hammock, on the porch? Let's see what you can do with that one, my friend.

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