Writing In Retirement Blog

Humor for Thanksgiving

Sometimes I am in a silly mood and have to write goofy stories. This is one of them. I suggest you read it out loud making the indicated noises – makes it even goofier than the written word.

The Strange Case of Tom and Tilly Turkey

The following is the Barnyard Investigation interviews’ actual transcripts concerning the disappearance of Tom and Tilly Turkey on November 25th. The lead BDI (Barnyard Detective Investigator) was Maxine Moo, helped by the special agent Billy Bull.

The first witness to be interviewed was Gilbert Goat.

Maxine Moo (MM): “Good afternoon, Mr. Goat. I’m sure you are aware of why you …”

Gilbert Goat (GG): “Oh, I am very aware of why I am here. Something Baaad had happened to Tom and Tilly. I knew as soon as I saw the blood on the stump in the barnyard later in the day that something very Baaad had happened to someone…”

MM: “Yes, well, Mr. Goat. What I’d like to know is when did you see Tom and Tilly last?”

GG: “Well, let me see. I guess it was the morning of the 25th. I’d noticed that there was a lot of activity going on at the Farmhouse. Mistress was even late feeding us, which isn’t like her. There were all sorts of wonderful smells wafting out from the Farmhouse kitchen – apples, which we got some scraps from when she did come to feed us.”

MM: “Yes, yes, go on, but when did you last see Tom and Tilly?”

GG: “Tom came out first from his nighttime coop. About ten minutes later, Tilly waddled out – between you and me – she had put on quite a few pounds recently. Of course, Tom was always a rather hefty guy, but he too looked a bit paunchy that day. If you ask me, I think it was because Mistress had been giving them extra corn in the last month. Anyway, Tom was strutting around muttering about how he had a baaad feeling about the coming days.”

Billy Bull: (Low voice) “A Bad feeling? Did he tell you why he felt like that?”

GG: (Looking at Billy Bull with surprise and then turned back to Detective Mooo.)” He said something about a platter and gravy, but I had no idea what he was talking about. Tilly was her usual silly self, searching the ground for any stray specks of corn that might still be eaten. She was clucking on about how Tom always thought the sky was falling.”

MM: “Go on – what happened after that?”

GG: “That was when Mistress came out to feed us goats. I don’t recall seeing Tom and Tilly after that.

MM: “Alright, thank you, Gilbert. You were very helpful.”

[Gilbert leaves muttering about the Baaad things that surely happened to the Turkeys.]

BB: “Well, boss, what did you think of that? Tom had a hunch that something terrible was going to happen that day.”

MM: “Let’s see if Peter Pony can shed some light on what happened to the Turkeys.”

[Peter Pony was led into the interrogation stall, and Billy Bull started his questioning]

BB: “How old are you, Peter?”

Peter Pony (PP): “Twenty- two years old. Lived here all my life. Know everyone, Seen everybody.  Nothing gets by meeeh (neigh).”

BB: “What can you tell us about the disappearance of Tom and Tilly Turkey?’

PP: “I had slept in on the 25th because I … well … I was kicking up my heels the night before, so I was late going out to the corral. It was then that I saw the Master coming out with his ax. He stood there in the Turkey coop yard, sharpening his ax. I knew then that someone was in Big Trouble.” [PP paused here to shake his head. He gulped and began again.] “Anyway, the Mistress came out then and started nagging on him to ‘get it over with.’ She needed to get the ‘Birds de-feathered if the children were to have Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow.’ Well, I had heard such talk before, and I decided to make a run for the pasture as I didn’t want to be around anymore. I took off for the pasture, and as I did, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Tom and Tilly rushing about in their enclosure looking very upset. I never saw them after that. They just disappeared.”

BB: “Thank you, Peter, for your eye-witness account.”

PP: “Like I said, nothing gets past Meeeh. [Neighs]”

MM says, “Things don’t look good for the Turkeys. We have one more eye-witness, Robbie Rooster. I’ll see if I can round him up.”

BB answers, “He’s probably strutting around the yard in front of his girls. He’s such a show- off.”

[The interrogation resumes after 10 minutes when BDI Moo returns with Robbie Rooster strutting proud as a peacock into the stall.]

RR: “I know what happened to those poor birds. I saw it with my own eyes,” he crowed  Er-er- aroo as he paced back and forth in the room.  [Er-er- aroo]

MM:” Please, could you sit down and tell us what you saw?”

RR: “Er-er-aroo, I saw the Master do it. I was sitting atop the barn watching out for Freddy Fox, who has been sneaking around this last week. I saw the whole thing happen! Er-er- aroo First, it was Silly Tilly. Took her by her feet and slammed her on the stump, then WHACK! Snapped her head right off with an ax. Just like that, he did! Terrible, it was …  Er – er – aroo.”

MM: [Gasping.] “The Master cut off her head?”

RR: “YES! Er-er- aroo! He had a hard time catching Tom, though. Unlike his wife, he knew what was happening. He ran the Master ragged chasing after him, but in the end, he caught poor Tom and WHACK! The same fate for him as for Poor Tilly.” Er-er- aroo

MM: [Shaking his head] “Such a shame; Such a lovely couple.”

BB: “Lose their heads; did they?”

RR: Er-er- aroo “Yep, then the next day, we see feathers blowing all around the yard and the smell of apple pies and a wonderful meat roasting. I’ve had my suspicions that it’s those birds, but I never really knew.” [ Robbie resumed his strutting pacing and crowing.]

MM: Thank you, Robbie, for clearing this case up. Your story was very mooo-ving.”

[Billy Bull and Maxine Moo watched Robbie proudly sashay back into the barnyard.]

BB: Well, boss, I guess that clears up the mystery as to what happened to Tom and Tilly.”

MM: “Sad business. Sad business, but it is the way of the barnyard, isn’t it?”

BB: “Detective Moo, at least we now know for sure that there was no foul play involved.”

Detective Moo sharply looked up at Billy Bull: “Yes, Agent Bull, At least we know there was no foul play. No Fowl play at all.”

A Poem for the Times: I Wish I Could

My dear friends, I know I have been absent for the summer months. I’ve found it challenging to write due to the unrest, the vitriol of the election, the downward spiral of job loss with its consequences of homelessness and hunger, as well as the unrelenting deadly virus. What a summer! My muse went out on a walk somewhere. As I became embroiled in all the complexity of life, my brain froze, and I found sitting down to write was just too difficult. Then this morning, my muse – at a most inopportune time – whispered in my ear. What was I to do? If I ignored her, the thoughts would be lost forever. So I sat down immediately and composed this poem. Feel free to share it as long as you credit me.

I Wish I Could Send You Rain
By Marie Staight
I wish I could send you rain
To quench the thirst of your land
And all the crops and trees.
I wish I could battle the fires
To stop the burning
Of your houses, farms, and wildlife.
I wish I could send you the fresh, clean air.
The unblemished air of a controlled climate
Air to breathe without soot and toxins.
I wish I could send you food to eat
To nourish your bodies
And help you grow strong.
I wish I could plant justice
In your towns and cities
So everyone would be treated the same.
I wish I could wave a wand  to
Mend all the sick and
Rid us of this awful pandemic.
I wish I could send you peace.
A peace that quiets all the souls
And brings love to one another.
The only thing left in reality
Is to wave my magic hand
And VOTE to change all the epidemics.
God help us all if change does not come
If there is no cleansing rain
If there is no fresh air
If there is not enough food
If there is no justice
If the sick do not mend
If peace does not come.
My heart beats in panic
 Vote, Vote, Vote, Vote …


Donald’s Wall: He Finally Built That Wall – The Playpen

Walls Have Two Sides

Author’s notation: I don’t usually use this space to comment on political matters, but things have been happening that compel me to comment. This is purely my opinion and I am using my First Amendment right to express that. Please be respectful when commenting.

Well, Donald Trump finally built that Wall, but like I have been saying since that this whole Wall thing came out – Walls have two sides. That’s something I don’t think our President understood. Yes, one side keeps people out, but the other side keeps people in. Now he is finding that out. It’s sad. He’s built a Wall alright – one that keeps him IN the White House. It stretches around the very place of power that symbolizes the United States of America.

Donald’s Playpen Wall

The Playpen

It’s sad. It looks like a giant playpen made to keep this child-like President in his yard. The problem is that the toys he is playing with in his playpen are executive orders, appointments – then firings, pardons, pulling out of Treaties and agreements with the United Nations and most upsetting of all – he loves to play with The Constitution. He’s like a baby that likes to dump things out of his playpen then stand and watch what happens. Whimpering and have a tantrum when it doesn’t go right. Crowing and giggling for all to hear when he thinks he did something grand.

He has scattered his playmates all through our government – the State Department, Department of Justice, Department of Energy, Department of Education, Congress et al and of course, we can’t forget The Supreme Court. He plays with them like marionettes, jerking their strings, making them carry out his child-like games which are full of bluffs, lies, and distractions, but underneath are dangerous. It’s sad. The American people long for an adult to rein in these baby behaviors. Where are they?

The Black Wall

So instead the American People took things in their own hands and forced Donald to build a Wall around the White House. Hoping to harness his powers and keep him from being even more destructive. Keeping him from destroying himself and this nation. It’s sad.

It’s ironic, isn’t it that this Wall built around the White House to keep the President in his place is Black. Black to keep the message of Black Lives Matter away from him. Black to not allow him to see the people that are clamoring for equal justice and mature leadership. It’s sad.

I hope that Wall is high enough and strong enough to keep him out of trouble and allow the American People to get on with creating “a more perfect Union.”

Comments are welcome, but I do expect you to be respectful in this matter.

Never Too Late – Thoughts on My Mother

I Missed Mother’s Day

Since the death of my Mother many years ago, Mother’s Day comes and goes and each year I think less and less of celebrating the day. My Mother’s life was precious, but her star has faded in the world. But the fact is, my Mother is always with me; her DNA influence and loving guidance are imprinted all over my life – from knowing how to write checks, my insistence to avoid alcohol and cigarettes, my love of literature, and my strong immune system – all these things come from her loving nurturing.


Memories of My Mother

Nothing reminds me more of my Mother than pink roses. She had a pink rose bush that sat outside our back door on Paulding Road. She tended that rose bush from Spring to Fall and coaxed beautiful blossoms from it. In the Winter she pruned it down and then carefully covered it to protect it from the cold and snow.

Pink brightened my Mother’s skin and made her face glow. I loved seeing my Mother wear anything pink. On her death, we dressed her in her favorite pink dress and had loads of pink flowers around her casket.

To celebrate her, a good friend bought me a Queen Elizabeth pink rose bush. I planted it in my back yard and for years I did little of the tender care my mother did. However, it flourished and year after year produced beautiful flowers. I told people that my Mother must be the one who cared for that bush because I did so little for it. Eventually, the canes wore out and the bush died so I replaced it with another Queen Elizabeth Rosebush. I do my best to care for this one, but I must admit I am not as attentive as my Mother was. Nevertheless, it still surprises me with lovely pink flowers when I need them the most. This was the case a week after Mother’s Day. I had been keeping track of my red amaryllis that come out around Easter time, but this year they were spotty in popping out. To my surprise, I opened my back-patio door and saw the rose bush had one flower and two buds on it. It needed pruning badly, so I worked on the bush and brought in the blooms and put them in a vase, and memories of my Mother came flooding back. So, I wrote a poem in her memory. Please enjoy!


Pink Roses

By Marie Staight

There sits in my garden

A rose bush with blooms of pink.

Its petals unfold in the sun without pardon.

Seeing their beauty makes me think.


Back to the days of my Mother

When she tended the pink bushes –

Roses rich with perfume like no other.

Those were the days of great wishes.


She tended me like those roses

She was the sun that made me grow

Her tears watered my sadness

She gave me the roots that kept me in tow.


Mother gloried in my victories,

Like a bouquet in a vase

Displayed to all enquiries

With a smile upon her face.


Inescapable, when my petals fell aground

She gathered up my sorrows

And pressed the petals spent around

Telling me, there would be sweet tomorrows.


Memories of pink roses on her casket flowed.

Did the pink rose bush die too?

Nay, rather their flowers ever glowed

 To live another day under the sky so blue.


I know she keeps tender watch over

My garden’s pink roses.

They pop with passion’s lesser color –

The smell of spices tickles our noses.


Today, I look upon one blushing blossom

Smiling of my memory

Of all the loving ways my Mother, awesome,

Raised a daughter in a rose garden’s nursery.


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Writing Poems Within a Poem

My Apologies

I want to apologize for my spotty blog posts, but I seem to be having plenty of problems concentrating and maintaining my focus on writing. I find I must do writing in small increments – at least until this week. I finally seem to be able to get back on track. I do hope everyone is keeping safe and well during these trying times.

Writing One Poem That Turned Into Many

I hope you enjoy this learning experiment along with me on how to go about putting together poems within a poem. My journey about composing my poems all started because April was Poetry Month. I challenged my writing group – which is all via email now – to write a poem about stars – any type of stars. It took me a couple of weeks to get myself motivated, but I began by writing out a free form verse list (of sorts) of types of stars and phrases that contained the word ‘stars.’ I entitled that poem Variations on Stars. Later I added a numerical indicator ‘I’ so that people would know that was the foundational poem for the more fleshed out poem that followed. Here is that first poem.

Variations on Stars I

By Marie Staight

Starlight, Starbright

Star of Bethlehem

The brightest star

Star of David

The gold star on my paper

Shooting star

Yellow Holocaust Badge

Bam! He saw stars!

You are the star of the show

Rising Star

Morning Star

The Great Star of Africa

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Star-Spangled Banner

Silver Star

Bronze Star

Star in your heavenly Crown

Swinging on a Star

Stars in your eyes

Reach for the stars


Expanding the Poem

After wrestling with the knowledge that I wanted to say a whole lot more about this list, I began trying to expand on each line. It was as if I was trying to write small poems within the entire poem. My first attempt was to write a four-line stanza, rhyming lines B and D. However, this attempt was terrible, and I didn’t like what I was coming up with at all.

A couple of mornings later, I was sitting in the sunshine on my patio and meditating. I was trying to keep my mind clear, but as with many times when I meditate, my mind was hard at work solving the problem of the second poem. Snap! Instead of a four-line stanza, try a three-line stanza rhyming lines B and C.  As soon as I was finished meditating, I got down to trying out this idea. The words flowed easily for about two stanzas, and then I hit a wall. To try and move on, I tried skipping over the next lines and picking out a line I thought I could expand. I continued in this manner day after day, all through the rest of April.

I cannot tell you how many times I revised and edited this second poem – it was a lot! I wanted to be precise in the words I used, and at the same time, I wanted to build strong imagery of the concept of each type of ‘star.’ The thesaurus became my friend, along with RhymeZone – a beneficial aid for writing poetry. I worked on the poem in fits and starts. I found that when I hit a snag, it was best just to walk away and try again the next day. On May 1st, I finally decided I had polished the poem enough. This second poem I entitled Variations on Stars II – Poems within a Poem.

Here is the finished poem. I hope you enjoy it!


Variations on Stars II – Poems Within a Poem

By Marie Staight


Starlight, Starbright

First star of the night

Signaling a wish tonight.


Star of Bethlehem

The wise men of the East were led,

To a baby in a manger bed.


The brightest star

In the darkest night.

Shine on with brilliant light.


Star of David

A duality of triangular steeples

Symbol of The Chosen Peoples


The gold star on my paper

So proud. For a job well done

A well-deserved home run.


Shooting star

Across the sky you bust

Leaving a trail of cosmic stardust.


Yellow Holocaust Badge

Symbol of raw hate

Forever may we abrogate.


Bam! He saw stars!

When a fist broke his jaw.

Stars! That’s all he saw.


You are the star of the show!

You make them cry and laugh

Accolades of bows, and after, autographs.


Timid Rising Star,

First to shimmer in the night

Tentative, you emit tremulous light.


Beautiful Morning Star

Lingers for its last stand,

Until the Sun takes command.


The Great Star of Africa

Royalty dons the bejeweled Crown, and takes the throne,

As light dances hither and yon from the spectacular stone.


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Emitting light rays so faraway

You make us wonder; will we visit someday?


The Star-Spangled Banner

Waving proudly above

Hands to our hearts with love.


Silver Star, Bronze Star

Beribboned medals decorating uniforms, tell

Of Valor, and Heroes, as well.


“A Star in your Heavenly Crown!”

My mother’s saying

For unrequited acts of do-gooding.


Stars in your eyes –

Hopeful for the future? Or naïve?

Or to romantic notions they cleave?


Swinging on a Star

A composition as an absurdity

But – “You can be better than you are” – not a whimsicality.


Reach for the stars!

That longing into the Universe for adventure

As far as our imagination can venture.


Stars have many meanings –

Glowing, Brilliant, Burning hot,

Glorious, the lot.


Comments are welcome.