"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Helen Keller

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The Call of the Wild

By Robert W. Service:

Have you gazed on naked grandeur
Where there’s nothing else to gaze on,
Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore;
Big mountains heaved to heaven,
Which the blinding sunsets blazon,
Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley
With the green stream streaking through it,
Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence?
Then for God’s sake go and do it;
Hear the challenge,
Learn the lesson,
Pay the cost. Continue reading

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Normandy Beach

Tears never fail to meet my eyes when before this beach I stand,

Where turquoise and navy waters meet a soft, stone-strewn sand

The eyes see far and only grace,

But somehow beauty is not out of place

With tragedy its friend

For here, the turning of the war began.

Thousands of young met a bullet demise, a shrapnel surrender,

Waves are foam white today but then, they were red.

Like gleaming white crosses on immaculate green grass

Standing vigil for the fear unseen, 

The sadness with hope;

A light in the dark.

This beach once was the theatre of a dance, 

Not of art, but of blood.

They died for you, they died for me;

They died for the world and for the word: FREEDOM.

The young sacrificed their lives that I might have one, and a chance for greatness

And I thank them, my silent friends,

As silent as the wind they sing


With tears I crawl down

Into bombed-out German bunkers,

Reinforced concrete with holes as big as death

These dark rooms call out Enter, 

Feel the fear that was here.

Feel the fear and the life, and the death, of those here,

Who cried for their mothers, a woman, a beer,

They were young

They were scared

They became men for they had no choice,

And then they died,

Never tasting mother’s soup again.

They died on this beach, by the thousands,


I will remember your sacrifice, and

I thank you with tears

What words cannot express.


Et par le pouvoir d’un mot, je recommence ma vie. Je suis né pour te connaître, pour te nommer: Liberté.  Paul Eluard

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L’Amour et La Loire

Laughing at French drivers we cruise

Eating pastries so cheap (hey it’s not Paris),

Rum cakes so strong I gasp

Strawberry tarts so fresh I sing for more

Soft eclairs stuffed with chocolate so rich

It could buy a chateau.

A fuzzy ball of meringue,

And a shiny rectangle of custard.

We drove along sharing this our lives, our pastries

In the Loire Valley

Passing soft pastures and peeps of castles,

Of mansions, of chateaux, of the future

I glimpsed it here,

A reflection along the slow-moving Loire,

Our hearts were open

Along forest grounds we walked with our royal dog,

Through thick trees and bushes of labyrinths,

Copious gardens of roses and a field of four donkeys (who loved a good scratching), into

Caves full of wine and a chateau full of time, of the past, of queens’ sighs

Open bedrooms of big white flowers

Their smell floats through gilded corridors

Past copper pots and boars heads,

Velvet walls and kings’ beds,

We walked, we floated, we drove, we lived

Here in the Valley of la Loire, we lived.

Twilight set in by a tiny chapel

The Renaissance Man is in

Reflected there, in the river, we lived…

…and then drove on.

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San Francisco Road Trip Poem


I went to San Francisco with no flowers in my hair

With all the beats inside my head I really didn’t care

For miles and miles my car did drive

Thirteen hours on Highway 5

You might ask why oh why did I

Take a trip for just one night?

‘Cause life’s a blink and I might die

Before I get another try

To dance and jam and rock and such

With the Glitch Mob, baby,



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Rue Mouffetard Market, Paris

On my street they sell life,

Prices written in chalk on small black boards

Every day (except Monday)

The wares are laid out,

Polished and placed next to shiny ripe eggplants and crimson apples

Stacked into produce pyramids

Bought by the handful of eager pedestrians

Sandwiched between smelly mold-covered goat cheese (the best in France)

And rolling by bottles of gem-red wine

Here is where life does its dance

Pain d’épices and piles of spices

Near the butcher who thinly slices

All sorts of collections of lamb, beef and rabbit

The fishmonger piles it

On top of the scallops and urchins

It’s nestled between pink roses, blue daisies, and orange sunflowers

But smells sweeter yet than that

This life walks slowly, listening

To the rush of the fountain

Feels soft angora sweaters

Gazes over tables piled high with 4 euro handbags

“Mirabelles! Les plus belles!”

Every day (except Monday)

They sell life on my street

But you can never buy it.

Rue Mouffetard, Paris

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Rouen, France: An Ode to Joan of Arc

Here, in the Old Marketplace of Rouen, Le Vieux Marche;

Today living and thriving, full of flowers and fountains,

Children laughing, dogs barking, tables stacked with regional specialties (that’s pressed duck in blood sauce and sheep’s knuckles to you),

Just a few steps from the old pagan clock, a fat medieval masterpiece,

Clicking its way through hours, weeks, moons, to the tune of purse vendors, glass hawkers, gold sellers,

Under leaning, creeping houses of sherbet colors, on a narrow street of wide cobblestones,

By the crumbling cathedral bombed by the Germans (or was it the Allies?)

It impressed old Claude anyway,

More moving for me, the Plague Cemetery,

With carvings deep in dark wood for “eternity,”

Of skulls, bones, shovels, coffins, and such,

The dance of the macabre (black cats would agree)

Yes, this was the best of Rouen for me; the Death,


Here in Le Vieux Marche, in 1431,

A young girl was burned and not by the sun,

But by the Church she believed in, she fought for and bled for,

She kicked out the English and united a France,

But she spoke straight to God and wore men’s pants!

So this warrior woman, just 19 years old,

Was auto-da-fe where tomatoes were sold.

Joan of Arc, you have my heart;

Your voices were your truth,

Coming from deep inside of you,

Your actions were true, and your death was a lie,

You’re a hero to France, and for you,

Rouen sighs.


Rouen is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Normandy, sitting on the banks of the Seine river just a couple of hours north of Paris by rail or car. The half-timber buildings overhanging the narrow streets create a village feel straight from the Middle Ages, and you find yourself looking around for peasants pulling carts and yelling “Bring out yer dead!” The Plague Cemetery is a thrilling example of a medieval ossuary, and the Astronomical Clock on the main street in Rouen has not stopped moving since 1389. The Cathedral of Rouen was studied by Claude Monet who painted the church at different times of day in order to capture the effect of light on perspective, long before the building was bombed out in the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II. Joan of Arc, along with many other innocent human beings, was burned alive at the stake (auto-da-fe) in the middle of the Old Marketplace.

You can still see the remains of the rock wall which sheltered the market stall from the flames.