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This is the limerick and poems page of Val Kolle!

My own limericks (in Norwegian ...) you will find here.

Her name is in full Valerie Jean Kolle. She's got her surname Kolle from her great-grandfather Christian O. Kolle, who was born at Norderhov. Val writes a lot, very often close to the limerick form, but often in her own limerick brand. And she likes to write small sagas in the limerick style. On this page you'll find some of her poems.

Here Val has made a limerick about her father, who is of Norwegian ancestry. He makes delicious cakes decorated with Sugar Shamrocks, Leprechauns, and Pots of Gold Chocolate Coins. The recipe must be a poem, too! There once lived in Fargo a Laddy,
Whose birthday was Isle of Eire’s St. Patty.
Although Norski by trait -
Irish cakes were his fate -
Labeled 'Artie O’Kolle'; my Daddy.

There once was a toddler named Charlee
Whose dad liked to watch Guthrie and Farley
She’d squeal, clap and giggle,
Walk and crawl with a wiggle,
As her grandma rides up on a Harley.
Val is a girl with many interests. She signs this limerick Granmaval - "that was my License plate last year", she says. License plate? you ask. Check the last line - Granmaval (= Grandma Val) drives a Harley Davidson!!! Yes, the Editor hears astonished gasps and envious sighs in the background from people who aren't aware that American girls of Norwegian descent are pure dynamite!

Now to one of her multi-limericks. This one contains seven verses, and she has named the poem "7 Wonders". It's written to her childhood friend "Kooks" on her 47th birthday. "Kooks" is one of seven siblings, and Val has made a limerick for each of them. May we call it a collective 'rick? Or perhaps a childhood-rick? Anyhow, Val shows that it is possible to write limericks with themes above the waist.

There once was a young gal named “Kooks”
Who loved sharing stories of spooks
And played a card game called “Spit”
Where on the sidewalk we’d sit
As our shouts of excitement drew looks.

The youngest was nick-named sweet “Lysel”
Whose bleached pony resembled a “Skunk-tail”
She loved to bowl and to play
By the beach and to pray
That the dreams of her life would prevail.

She had a young brother named “Nubs”
‘Cause his hair was shorn shorter than stubs
A fallen angel for the Nuns
As they’d frantically run
To the priest for their “little lost cub.”

“Mikey Mouth” loved to hunt like his father
And found life in Fargo merely a bother
He flew up to Alaska
Many miles past Itasca
And was joined by two sons and their mother
Another sister was sometimes called “Blabs”
She liked to party and avoid friends who were “Crabs”
Her pals Lou and Annette
Were the best friends she had yet
As they hung out drinking Frescas and Tabs.

An older sister we once called “Shazam”
Was a “tom boy”-- “‘cause that’s who I am”
And to our astonishing wonder
Settled in a world of “Down Under”
With the Aussies eating Pomegranate Jam

“Bobbie Jean” was the first to take flight
As a stewardess into the night
With the spunk of their mom
And sharp brains from beyond
She conquered the world without fight.

This time Val moves into a new literary terrain with this story in three stanzas. There we find a couple of lines with double meaning, but the last line reveals that this isn't a story about a random "hello and goodbye". The poem tells about the big and life-long love. The editor became misty-eyed during the reading ... I once met an all-nighter named Fritz,
I felt hopeless the first time we kissed
Through his trade he’s a roamer
Yet, when his bat hit a “homer”
I knew I was in for a 7-night blitz.

Nicely-built with solid, mean muscle
From his head to a firm-sculptured bustle
His tan chest heaved and glistened
His bronze arms moved like pistons
As we danced to the 2-Step and Hustle.

Even now I thank Heaven
For each night blessed times seven
For no man could compare
To the bliss he brought there
To my soul — he’s the mate I’d been given.

Americans like travelling, and they have a big country to travel in. Here Val tells about quite a journey. The Editor had to put his National Geographic Atlas on the table a follow the route that Val and her three kids (ten, eight and three years old at that time) drove across the continent. Somehow this poem reminds the Editor of Paul Simon ("America"), Woody Guthrie ("This land is your land") and John Steinbeck ("Travels with Charlie"). Yes, Americans like travelling - and make poetry out of it!. Val calls this poem A Traveling G'limerick.

I once drove a blue Subaru 5-speed wagon
Crossing Rocky Mounts like a cowardly dragon.
On level land - such a lady
Year and speed matching ‘80
Surviving a trek which became worth much in braggin’.

I loaded bags, an old tent, and a cooler
At the end of the ’88 school year.
Kyle, Kevin and Kaira
Still young kids in that era
Joined me with joy and “No Fear”.

We reached Teddy’s Badlands for a sun-setting view
Slept in a Miles City Motel for the start of day Two
The first range danced like clouds
Wearing bright snow-capped shrouds
As I climbed down-shifting my stubborn and reluctant ‘Ru.

Like an Angel “Our Lady” with love guarded over us at Butte
Reassurance from above - we’d survive our long route
We loaded up on provisions
Praised awesome views we envisioned
Souvenirs became treasured like the young desperados’ bagged loot.

We skimmed across the pan handle
In the twilight of a flickering candle
Spent a night in Coeur d’Alene
Till Day 3 when light came
Then we crossed Washington State at an angle.

Our next “mapped-out” destination
On our quest across this great nation
Was the bay Puget Sound
And capital grounds
Of Olympia, with much fascination.
We spent a day full of play at the ocean
Running, jumping waves in their hypnotic motion
First time beholding this sight
Of the mass and the might
Of the Pacific and it’s endlessly, infinite notion.

We saw Seattle’s great needle
Thread the sky as a wheel-topped steeple
Took a ferry
To San Juan isles’ sanctuary
Where we camped, hiked and met various people.

Turning East-ward we spied on fields of bright flowers,
Bold peaks with cascading mountain-size showers.
The Grand Coulee dam,
A gold nugget scam,
As we pressed further for many long hours.

Before two more days turned to dark
We reached Yellowstone National Park
Pitched and slept in our tent
And the next day was spent
On to “Old Faithful” and “Mammoth Springs” we embarked.

Our final night was in Minot
‘Cause I figured we were there so - “why not?”
Wash our clothes and get rest
Freshen-up-that was best
And leave early homeward before temps grew too hot.

Now my kids from that trip have grown up - quite a bit
They love to travel both downward and up - not just “sit”
Across the states and to Italy
Crossing mountains and to the sea
Like their mom-discovering sites became their tea of cup
- and that’s it!

There once was a doctor named Emery
Who will always remain in our memory
For when Josh spoke of a “bat”
The kind doctor (named) Pat
Listened and treated the young boy like family.
Val writes this about the background history of this limerick: "I gave this limerick last “St. Patrick’s Day” as a “thank you” to my son’s doctor who treated him, possibly preventing an outbreak of rabies." I guess this verse took care of two important tasks - putting an unpleasant incident into lines to be remembered, and giving the doctor an extra (and tax-free!) payment.

A limerick can be used to expressing everything from simple puns to elaborate word-plays, from carefree nonsense to deeply felt thoughts. Looks like Val was sitting in the last corner when she made this 'rick, "written on “one of those days”, as she says. The last line sums up what most of us feel today. Sometimes I feel like the “Tidy Bowl” man,
Drifting on blue water in the tank of a can,
Swirling along the parameters of the bowl
Destined to be sucked into the whirlpool’s hole
Dealing with more “crap” of the world than a body can stand.

To my Ancestral homeland I must say,
“I missed my luncheon for Syttende Mai!”
The ladies at church to my quest replied,
“We were done serving at 1,
and there’s only one more piece left of pie!”
No more samples of cinnamon, sprinkled, buttery Romegrot,
No crumbly, crisp cones of Krumkakke yet to be sought,
I must find another way to honor my heritage today,
although my work provided me with a meaningful alibi.
Val sent this poem on May 17th, showing the editor how Americans of Norwegian descent celebrate this day. Rømmegrøt and krumkake - odd combination, but absolutely Norwegian food. Not lutefisk, of course, that's a Christmas meal, not May 17th. The interesting thing is that these simple Norwegian dishes have acquired symbolic value for our relatives "over there", giving them links to a distant country and at the same time making it's culture less distant.

Val says she knows that these poems are not limericks, but the editor answers "so what? - no problem". This time she has submitted a poem about "my one and only experience of hunting", as she writes. She obviously had only a passive role in this history, and her sympathy is clearly with the pray - a doe. But wait, Val adds something which shows that she has a more practical or culinary approach to hunting: "We also combined her meat with pork for sausage and had some deersteaks." Sounds very tasty! As we drove round and round -
narey a deer was to be found.

I drove ahead and sat as a "post"
They did the walking; they did the most.

The experience of hunting I'll never know -
they aimed; they shot; they killed "my doe."

Out of the treeline she darted out -
desperate as the rifles shout,

Her spirit escaped as her carcass lay
The hunters gutted their defenseless prey

Her doeskin which shielded her from the Northland's weather -
sold for mankind's gloves and leather.

A ring in his hand: a heart on his sleeve
bestowed upon his future wife,
Crushed, disappointed: watching bereaved
the diamond's shimmer shattered in strife,
As she jetted away on a silver bird,
He never forgot her parting words,
Piercing as a knife: in shock he received
"Thanks for the memories, and have a good life!"
Someone has said that all writers draw on their past and present life - conciously or not - when creating poems or fiction. Some conceal the autobiographic stuff more or less cleverly, other let bits of their life and pictures of their dreams show up in their writings without blushing. Which group does Val belong to? Well, at least her poems seems to be made from authentic experiences, like this one - about two people who have come to a crossroad with no common ground beyond it. Sad, but so are most un-happy endings.

This time Val has something to celebrate, and to make the occasion perfectly clear she adds: "Good job, Dr. Kyle Joseph Roos!". She calls her poem a gradlimerick, and it certainly resembles a true limerick, but not the indecent kind. Wait a minute, there are more to celebrate than a grade: You may spot a "boy meet girl"-story and also the result of it, now three years old. All in all, a typical Val poem – "a slice of life", as P.G. Wodehouse called one of his short stories. My son Kyle has now reached a horizon,
As a Doctor of Pharmacy NDSU Bison.
He tried being a UND Fighting Sioux,
Then to Florida he flew, for a year maybe two,
Returning to Fargo to meet Jaci, his love and liason.

Throughout his studies he became a new daddy,
A role he welcomed whole-heartedly and gladly.
Charlee Jean grew to be three,
With much support from Jaci,
And the studies resulted ... not too badly!

Now as we gather here to give cheer,
For this family we all hold so dear,
We say, "Well done! We're so proud!"
And, "Congratulations!" out loud,
For we want the whole wide world to hear.

Johnny Holm did the Dirty Bird the night I turned 18,
I was a lifeguard, a looker...but not a beauty queen,
Bucknite at the Starlight
Party in the Moonlight
Carmikes, music, movies on a Giant silver screen.

Tossing Frisbees at Gooseberry Park
Midnight swimming after dark
Bikini Biking
Skinny-dipping on a Lark.

Our youth was swept away in college
Amazingly absorbing knowledge
Between the seasons
For countless reasons
We passed the tests and gained an edge.

Now that time has come and gone
Johnny Holm with friends play on
To Baby Boomers,
And late bloomers,
With daughter Jordan and her song.

Val calls this a lyrical limerick, and lyrical it is. She has a great gift for putting old memories into new verses, giving her readers vivid pictures of years gone by, without being too sentimental. A non-American may not understand every idiom she uses, but reading poetry is always a hunt for hidden meanings. If a poem says everything "loud and clear", then it is a shallow poem. But Val lets us guess and wonder.

Val loves writing poems and she loves people, so she writes a lot of poems about people she loves. A few days ago she sent a collections of "loving poems", most of them about friends who had passed away. This kind of orbituaries resembles some of the old broadside ballads – "skillingsviser" in Norwegian – that informed the audiences about dramtic happenings. Val's poems, too, contain a lot of drama, but mostly she keeps her pen in a low-key mode.

No more comments from my side – read them in undisturbed silence!

Val has colorized this old photo of the three siblings Warren, Mary and Harold. You'll meet Mary and Harold in this poem.
(Mary passed away last March 2006 —
she enjoyed 3 reunions with her brother,
Harold, who passed away January 2005.)

"Tribute to Mary"

Nearly a teen, as she helped when her mother bore
A child with blue eyes that reflected the sky.
Schoolwork set aside with each household chore,
She boiled his diapers and hung them to dry.

She helped with his seizures the best she could try,
There was never a time for the young girl to cry.
He became her son, a "golden child" in her care,
Without needed supports to keep him with her,
He became too much of a burden to bear.

The mother had moved him to an upstairs apartment
Where an office was situated below.
There was a man with a boy who gave him such joy,
And told him stories with "Angelic glow."
Safe, secure in his lap, he slept and dreamt of a life
Where the man, like a father, would take him in tow.

Unfortunate for this child, that was not his fate.
His sister wrote letters, but the plea was too late.
A system too large and too rigid to give any grace.
The young child was moved to a very large place.

An older brother became a father too young,
His child and young bride were moved far away.
He visited not knowing their last songs had been sung,
As he left for the Service, the boy's life turned more grey.

In a final attempt the sister and mother drove up hoping to take him away,
From the large institution the nineteen year old was forced to stay.
They bid tearful goodbyes and as theirs pleas were again turned away,
Unaware of the future that was yet to come into play.

Just before the untimely accidental death of the mother,
For some unknown reason, she passed word on to the older sister and brother,
That a letter from the large place was said to have arrived,
Stating the nineteen year old had supposedly died.

The letters stopped coming and dreams took their place.
The hope made him run, but the years took on a slower pace.
An old man moved out of the very large place.
A lawsuit opened doors so all of the people could have their own space.

The old man told of a family he had been trying to find.
It had been years, but he missed them, and they had been gone for such long time.
With help, he searched in his Archives and within just a week,
He listened to his sister on the phone she did speak.

Time flew, an old man walked up to his sister,
She hugged him so strong as he reached up to kiss her.
She held him back for a moment to search for his eyes,
She remembered the blue that reflected the sky,
For family melts years lost when love mends its ties.

Val J. Kolle

This person passed away 2 weeks after his close friend above – last February.

His Friends Called Him “Butler”

With eyes magnified with thick bifocal glasses
He carried himself more assured than wealthier classes.
With aides to assist hearing in both of his ears —
The man showed us wisdom with each passage of years.

He’d point up to Heaven to ask all who would hear —
When he would join Jesus, his mother, “Lassie”, and ask,
“Are there televisions up there?”

He loved Waltzes and Polkas of accordion players;
Lawrence Welk, Jimmy Jenson from the days
Of vinyl records and players.

He would ask everyone, “Do you know what my favorite thing is to eat?”
Then he’d start to converse about a man in California he flew down to meet.
The answers were “Pizza” and “Mr. Bob Barker,”
The “Pizza in the Hotel Room,” and the show —“Price is Right.”
To Butler it was just yesterday that he took that flight.

Butler bowled, played Bocce, enjoying many “Special O’” sports.
He competed more years
Than the ages of pro-athletes who play on the courts.

He rode to Evergreen United Methodist Church on a bus,
Where he would teach everyone about his friend whom he called “Jesus.”
He, Harold, and friends looked forward to
“Potlucks” and community fellowship --
Participating, listening to the sermons, messages, music and worship.

More highlights took place at Thrifty, Duluth, South Dakota,
And the Senior Citizen’s Center —
Where he worked, traveled, played Bingo, and found more friends
Each time as he’d enter.

For friends called him “Butler,” and now —
We celebrate the lives he fulfilled.
Whenever we faced stress he’d smile,
And we all hear him still
Quote “Don’t Worry; Be Happy,” a phrase he alone could re-coin,
Causing our tensions to melt,
As our smiles, and our sense of joy would rejoin.

With perfect hearing, he responded to the sound —
As the Lord called out, “Erwin Butler, Come on Down!”
Good deeds were tallied beyond seventy-eight years of his age.
Butler saw Heaven clearly as he danced up and shook Jesus’ hand
Upon a brightly lit stage.
The wheel of his life spun to one hundred percent;
A number given to Butler on how his life had been spent.
The showcase was a trip up to his mother, and the treasures of Heaven.
The Lord said,
“This is now yours to enjoy for the Eternal Life you’ve been given.”

Val J. Kolle
February 11, 2005

This person passed away last August.

Cherish the Moment

A jewel of a lady with a soft-spoken way,
Eyes that sparked with her smile as we listened closely —
To hear what “gems” she’d reveal in all that she’d say.

When I first met her she still lived in Fargo and worked at DWAC,
She’d already lived quite a life —
Of which she fondly looked back.

She was closest to a brother, who remained a constant friend all her life.
She recalled a large family, the farm —
Which she had loved throughout all those good times and strife.

As she traveled out West to Medora and its beautiful hills
Far from the Red River Valley, in contrast so flat —
Upon the question of who sculpted, carved, and created such beauty, into the landscape,
Alice claimed, “I did!” so assuredly and so matter-of-fact.
To this day, whenever I travel through that region and back,
I’m reminded and almost believe the reply that she spoke,
For she had said it so brightly and so calmly—it hardly seemed like a joke.

Alice loved going for vacations, seeing “Annie,” and the largest American Mall,
The simple pleasure of “new shoes”, and such sights, and I also recall
How she thought we should move into, stay, and live forever in the hotel,
How she thought the night lights on the buildings of the city were so pretty and swell.
She expressed gratitude all of the way home to us with her hand resting on my shoulder,
Saying,”Thank you, so much, ladies!” over and over.

Yet, Alice lived “in the moment” for when she was back at her home,
You’d think she had just stayed there, as she claimed,
Like she’d never been gone, nor had she roamed.

We will all really miss our dear Alice—her smile and her wit,
How all the times she had fallen, and how it didn’t stop her from trying —
Not one bit.

She appreciated all that everyone did for her — of that we will cherish,
She made working and caring for her, and being friends with her,
And our memories of our time with her,
Extremely wonderful, and forever enriched.

Val J. Kolle
August 7, 2005
This person passed away last November.

“Allie” – a name she recalls, “They used to call me when I was a very, little girl.”

Just yesterday, a fine, eloquent lady
Celebrated her age, an elegant “Eighty.”

She graciously joined other “Octogenarians”
As she smiled with a sparkle and a grateful glance,
Walking, cautiously forward with her light-footed prance.

Her father was a minister of Lutheran regards,
So she has high morals of spiritual standards,
And her Norwegian heritage is reflected in her inflections of words.

“Fancy-work” is the name she gives to her embroidery with a needle.
Her memory is sharp as a tack, going back, from now to the cradle.
She’s a prize-winning baker, and a sweet-hearted hostess,
As she serves “sot suppe” and “romegrot” into bowls with a ladle.

She has sisters and friends who grew up in the days —
Of tea parties, church gatherings, and Bible Camp plays.

Most of the ladies—they still keep in touch.
When their group gets together it is never too much,
Sharing memories of their families, topics, and teachers, and old “such-n-such,”
How “so-n-so” always fixed “such a fine spread” and delicious lunch,
They’re longevity is a Blessing and the years aren’t a crutch.

So, I wish, “Congratulations!” to an excellent lady,
Who is still spry, young and vibrant at the grand age of 80!

Val J. Kolle
April 26, 2005

The following were written for staff of whom who we lost to cancer.

David’s Soul

Little children climbed up on his lap to whisper their wishes for their gifts to be placed under their tree
A camp counselor mentored more children each summer during his vacations when he was still healthy and free.
He enjoyed watching his children, and grandchildren, their activities, their accomplishments, and hockey.

His sense of humor grew more alive as he met challenges in his health and well-being.
“I Feel Pretty!” from West Side Story became a theme song with attitude he unabashedly started singing.

Once, when I was lunching out with a couple of ladies to Santa Lucia,
He stood up tall in his overalls, slightly used, which were frequently worn,
His broad smile, even brighter than the top of his head recently shorn,
Announcing, that he was joining us, followed by a play-act of rejection, and “See ya!”

As I returned with the ladies, I told him his attire would have actually fit in,
For a toddler in overalls with a head lacking hair, resembling him,
Was with a family, at the restaurant, as we dined there within.

I know he was worried and wanted to grasp any possible Hope of a chance,
But no matter what, you knew, whenever he looked at you -- you could read in his glance,
That whatever his future was going to be -- he accepted God’s plans,
His Spirit was strong enough to face it all -- and dance.

Val J. Kolle
August 3, 2005

The Silver Lining

Oh my, we will miss you — our dear, sweet Mary.
Your heart was so full, it poured out loving memories for all of us to carry.
Everyone’s life you have touched feels more important because of your gift.
You've added to our lives, with you -- our spirits would lift.

Each and everyday, as I would walk away
I would think with a smile of all of the wonderful things you had to say
Embellishing your words with your kind and gracious way
How happy you helped people feel throughout some tough and difficult days.

You had a strong sense of inner peace of which I will always admire,
For your faith in God helped you meet any challenges in your own life that may transpire.
You were so proud of your children and their younger generations,
In this world of constant change you endured everything with such patience.

I cannot express enough to all that you have given
To the lives you have touched through the years of your "Earthly" living
Yet, I know there was always a space reserved up in Heaven
For the “Angel” we’ve known and will always believe in
As we strive to remember your words and the manner with which you spoke them.

Thank you, Mary, for being our friend
Your love has sent ripples which will never end,
If Heaven had an e-mail I would add “We love you” and push send.

Val J. Kolle
"Bluebird of Happiness"

Verona once asked me, "I wonder what kind of poem you're gonna write about me."
I told her that I would write something very special and as precious as she.

How she loves to plant flowers in a garden to bloom --
And how she chose flowers to decorate her room.

How much she enjoyed visiting her old church, her sisters, family, the farm and her friends.
How she treasured her lost loved ones with a fondness with their passing she'd send --

Greetings to Heaven as she spoke up at each of the services of prayer.
She spoke "from the heart" for everyone to listen to her as she'd share
Her blessed, fond memories and how much she cared.

For she saw what each friend had brought into her life --
Yet we all saw how her heart and her love brought countless rays of
sunshine throughout their years of strife.

I cannot finish this poem without mentioning the many talents God gave to her --
Such as; the music she played on her keyboard which she had taught to herself "by ear,"
And her collages she pasted on shoeboxes and in cards in her own personal way --
As she clipped pictures of whatever she saw would fit in with what she chose to say.

Sometimes when asked a request she would say, "Oh, I suppose!"
And sometimes she'd smile and giggle at something clever she knows.

Sometimes she would shrug her shoulders while looking at her hands and
her fingers bejeweled with bracelets and rings,
As she shyly listened and spoke about bothersome things.

There is so much I admire about you, Verona
It is difficult to express everything about your persona.

I will think of you at times when the birds sing in the trees
Every March and when the flowers and blossums sway in the breeze,
As I sip Cappucinos and hear some whistling or singing one of your favorite songs
Because all of these things I took notice of as you survived, persevered, and stayed strong.

Valerie J. Kolle

Take Me Home

As Aunt Muriel describes her parents' stay
Falling in love with the ocean ... its crashing waves' spray
Hawaiian breezes and palm trees' sway
The freshness of fruit and floral bouquet
Leaving for the Dakotas ... saddened, as they went away.

In their house in Buxton to the South and West
Lay a large shell we'd hold to our ears upon Grandma's request,
"Do you hear the ocean?" she'd ask and describe the rest.

As Grandma Gena rose on Heaven's gilded trail,
Grandpa Melvin begged, "Tie me to the airplane's tail,
No more winters of snowy, icy gales,
Take me home to Paradise's songs and sails!"

I believe that Aunt Muriel is giving us clues
Of her wishes to go back to Uncle Louis.
She loves listening to records from old Norway
Yet she dreams as the Hawaiian records play,
Saying, "Do you hear the ocean? Please listen and stay!"

She wishes to go back to where her heart has been beating,
Where she traveled on the Lurline as a young bride,
               now old with Earthly days fleeting,
To the Isles to receive an Orchid lei with a
               "Welcome Back Home!" greeting,
To be closer to Louis, her love, for their Heavenly meeting.

For my Aunt Muriel
Written July 4, 2007
From her niece Valerie Jean Kolle
If you shall write about people you must be able to read people. And if you're going to write about close relatives, then you'll have to be very keen-sighted and also feel a lot of empathy. Val certainly scores high on both counts, so I'm sure that aunt Muriel took this poem to her heart. Also note that Val spent time writing this poem on July 4. That's her kind of fireworks!

This poem arrived many months ago, but in a busy after-vacation period it didn't make it to this page. Now, at least, its "time has come to shine", as Paul Simon puts it in "Bridge over Troubled Water". And here is something I can't explain: In some way or other Vals poem and Paul Simons text seem to be connected, like two spotlights illuminating the same drama. Anomaly

Almost named "Melody Jule"
A showgirl stripper who dropped from school.
Feather prancing,
Belly dancing,
Spotlight illuminating a life darkened and cruel.

Given name "Valerie Jean"
"Goody two shoes" squeeky clean.
Sunday school,
Glaedig Jul,
Rebeliously divorcing the life it gleaned.

Naming her sidestepped prismatic dreams
On a tightrope with vicarious lean.
Life recycling,
Held in the crevace of a rock between.

In the midst of her Christmas preparations Val took a break to mail over two poems to her Norwegian publisher. As usual she writes about people she has met, and sometimes she sharpens her pen. She says this about the poem to the left: "This was written a few years ago for a "Scrooge/Grinch" type of person I once knew." Yes, we can easily understand that! The poem to the right belongs without doubt in the opposite corner. What a contrast!


A chunk of coal is all you get
To warm your toes while you sit.
A chunk of shiny, dark black coal
To warm your cold heart and your soul.

A chunk of coal adding weight to a stocking
For generosity simply lacking.
Reciprocity works two ways--
Getting, giving, receiving, presenting praise.

So pick up your stocking and inwardly gaze
Towards a lump of coal inside where it lays.
This shall not arrive to you as a surprise
A gift inside--you could never surmise.

So upon the eve of our Savior's birth
Move toward enlightenment, wisdom and mirth.
Forget not the gifts He has shared with us all
And the gifts we should share with each other; both meek and small.

The things that you hoard for whatever intentions
Stand in the way of God's blessed redemption.
Selfishness, greed and hurtful attitudes
Bring condemnation--not self-latitude.
Therefore a chunk of coal hereby shows gratitude
For gifts you have given so equally bad and crude
Portraying behaviors so sad and so rude.
You heed not withstanding your brethrens' advices.
You fall spiralling helplessly to your own devices.
If you smugly continue this path despite warnings and pleadings,
You will be betrothed with an epitaph reading,
"He followed his smirk all the way to this grave--
Here lies a jerk--he became Satan's slave."

P.S. Here is the chunk of coal that I gave.
"To Keep an Angel"
By Valerie J. Kolle 4/9/07 Easter Monday

It's hard to keep an Angel
Grounded here on Earth,
Touching many lives each year
Following the celebration of his birth.

With each step which he had taken
Like a feather with a purpose,
With each foot he'd forward lift,
His tussled hair, his freckles, his smile,
And his uniquely falsetto voice...
To each of us...they were his gifts.

It's hard to keep an Angel
Grounded here on Earth
His short time in our presence
Showed us all...his precious worth.

In Memory of our friend, Durand.

Val must have finished her Christmas preparations very early this year. Before the editor of this page could see the end of his pre-Christmas tasks another mail arrived from our trans-Atlantic poet. Please read along, the editor has much to do right now and must leave his office chair for a couple of days.

Angel Revisited

God spoke again to his young Angel with a talent of sculpture and art,
“I have another assignment I’d like you to start.
Remember how we brought together a couple named Lisa and Brett?
Their hearts had been broken and their prayers need to be answered yet.

I had given humans choices and the rights of ‘free will’
So the baby you had helped create for them was not able to be with them still.
Your talents are so wonderful and your results so angelically sweet
I am requesting of you to assist me with a baby girl for the awaiting parents to meet.”

With tears, the Angel again researched focusing on features of the babies on Earth and above,
Thinking, I’ll work on this diligently and fulfill all their wishes for a baby for their hearts to love.
The Angel knew time was important, as she heard so many praying with their heartfelt pleas,
For with each day, week and month, she witnessed the prayer network of friends grow and increase.

I know what they wish for—this girl must be born knowing her role,
Looking into her wee eyes everyone will see
A reflection of wisdom that appears to be
Derived from a maternal and grandmotherly “soul.”

The Angel brought together features of a chin with a miniature tuck in the middle,
Diveted lips to smile with her softly dimpled cheeks,
Tiny manicured fingers, and eyes for her to open and seek,
Lots of hair with soft curls, a nose—this wee one--finely sculpted—will be made dainty and little.

God was much pleased with the Angel’s likeness for the baby, so he added this Blessing:
“Lisa and Brett—for this Angel’s gift, Ella Rose,
Which was the name the future parents will give her without guessing,
It is the name in their hearts and in their minds which they chose
She will drift down on a feather from her young Angel’s wing
I will Bless her life and her soul, the Heavens will send lullabyes and sing,
And the Earth’s church bells will start swaying; sending their chimes in a jubilant ring.”

A young woman who heard of the heartbreak of a childless pair
Knew the child she was carrying was her gift to share,
An amazing young woman who let the couple experience Ella’s arrival on Earth,
Her first breath, her first cry, a miraculous awesome, wondrous new birth.

Another Miracle happened at that time and location
Another Birth-mom who had also given a couple the gift of a child
She spoke of her experience; she visited the new Birth-mom, and smiled
Perhaps God had placed her to be there at that moment and add her Blessing to baby Ella the Angel and God’s newest creation.

A Constellation of Prayers recently arrived up to the young Angel in Heaven
Thankful prayers for the beautiful gift Lisa, Brett, and the Birth-mom, Sarah, were given.
A new life, a new child who will bring all of us peace, hope, joy, and great cheer,
As the Thanksgiving and Holiday Season draws near.

Val J. Anthony
October 24, 2006

At the end of 2008 Val told the editor about her start as a writer of poems, and mailed over two lines of it. Some months later her mother Vivian recited to her the two last lines, so here's the full original poem: Mother bakes and doesn't measure,
but when I eat it ... it's a pleasure.
It mostly works with cherry pies ...
I think she's very wise.

After that she made her debut eight years old in "Sir Vet", a newsletter from the Veterans Administration Center in Fargo, where her mother worked:

At Work in the Hospital

Mother works until it's done
Working, working, having fun,
Working, working, that and this
Doing things she'll never miss,
Doing things every day,
Telling patients what she has to say,
After mother's done with work each day,
She tells us what the patients say.

And here a poem from the more mature poet, written for her youngest son – everyone pleasy sit down for a history lesson:

Joshua’s Tree

I never had an interest in History
Until I studied Family Genealogy.
I have traced several lines of Ancestry
Plus, I’ve found many generations in my son’s descendency.

The furthest back of the Keeneys, we usually get
Is “Sir Thomas,” a Scot, made a Baronet
In the 1500’s by a king named James
Then fled to Holland when King Charles came.

In the 1600’s, a son, John and wife Sarah Cheever were next in line.
They settled in a place called Salem
Where some Keeneys lived in a time
When the “Witch Trials” upset this haven.

While in England, John’s son Alex had married Alice Gates.
Their son, Joseph, a mere baby, landed in the future United States.
Joseph wed Hannah Hill, naming the next son after his father.
Another Alex took his place in the line we continued to gather.

Next, were Thomas and Josh, sons of Alex and his wife Eunice House.
Thomas fought three years in the American Revolutionary War.
Settling in Pennsylvania and New York,
He married Miss Mercy Lamb, a “feisty” French woman as his spouse.

1776 brought the birth of Thomas the Second and our Nation.
Tom Two married Miss Anna Parshall,
Who brought 7 children plus twins, Elisha and Elijah, to his parcel,
As he fought in the “War of 1812” at his station.

Miss Lucy McArthur married Elijah the twin,
And in 1862, their son, Alex, found the Civil War to join in.
Gettysburg wounded him a year later in the fight,
Hospitalized; until he returned to his wife, Becky White.

Next, came Ezra and Minnie Brown;
Minor and Suzie Vargason;
Followed by; Grandfather Wayne with Emma Anderson.
Wayne joined the Navy at age 19. As a young man
He fought during World War Two on a ship in Japan.
Which brings me to the last, so far, of everyone,
His dad, myself, and Josh Keeney, my son.

By Valerie Jean (Kolle) Anthony
April 14, 2005

Most people take hundreds and more pictures of their children and grandchildren, and now in the digital age several thousands. The old paper prints were put in a drawer or glued into traditional photo albums, which collects dust in a book shelf. The new digital images fill a pc, get burned on a dvd or are uploaded to an Internet album – which get fewer and fewer clicks. I suspect we can formulate a law here: The more pictures you take, the less they will be looked at. Now, Val catches the precious moments in another way – she writes a poem. This is to her first-born Grand-daughter. Some say that a picture tells more than a thousand words. Not true. Some well-put words say more than any picture can do.

You look so familiar to me; "First-born" of my "First-born", Charlee Jean.
I agree, as your mom says, "You're the most beautiful girl!" she's ever seen.
Your dad says, "When you were born, it was like witnessing an indescribable dream!"
Until the first breath and first cry; I recall very clearly how upon his birth, that moment did seem.

If Heaven lined up all of the babies born in the world,
There's no doubt you would have been chosen as "our little girl."
You have aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and a brother who all give you their "Love,"
"Best Wishes and Blessings" from their friends, plus the Angels and the Lord up above.

You are the perfect result of a "perfect" blend
Of the recipe of ancestors from which you descend;
Your creativity, your intellect, and personality will be exclusively your own;
Embellished by the influences of the world you'll be shown.

You'll always have family to guide and protect you even after you've grown
Into a young lady in the future; you won't need to face life's challenges entirely on your own.
When that time comes in your life many of us may no longer be around,
But our spirits will watch and pray for you even when you may think you're alone.
The memory, the warmth of our love, our hearts, and our hugs will still about you surround,
To bring much success and happiness; as the laughter and joy of your friends and family abound.

So, now, through the birth of a new generation,
I've been transformed into a "Grandma;" my new life's station.
"Welcome to the world, Charlee," God's newest creation.

For my first grandchild, Charlee Jean Roos,
On her "1 week" birthday, March 21, 2005
From your grandma, Valerie Jean Kolle

Love, Grandma Val 3.21.2005

Here is one of Val's lighter poems, in form as well as in content. She uses the same rhyme sound in every line, but manages to save the climax for the last line. Not an easy final effect to achieve! This poem is written for Lisa and Brett,
Who knew it was true love the moment they met.
With engagement official the date was soon set.

When the church's goal of completion would not be met,
Lisa was somewhat disheartened but not true-blue Brett.

"I'll marry you anywhere!", her fiance exclaimed, "Do not fret!"
"Who cares if the church is not ready, yet!"
"We will wed at St. Mary's with no further regret!"
"We'll dance at the Eagles the entire first set."

"Don't worry—our love is much stronger—on that you can bet!"
"I'll love you forever, dear Lisa, my pet!"


Once the candles were lit –
The ceremony went smooth –
The couple was hitched, (amid)
Whispered prayers sent to sooth.

The groom
From his heart
Of his love did he sing.
The bride wept tears of joy
As they exchanged each a ring.
Brett and his bride, Lisa, danced
As if they took flight on an angel's wing.

The rain melted away; the sun rose in the sky,
Foretelling to each where their future will lie.
Full of hope, understanding, one cannot deny,
They share a love that will last, grow and not die.

"Read on", Val says, and the names show that this is the same wedding – chapter two. In the last four lines Val does it again: The same rhyme all the way down, but this time with a more serious last line.

This poems reminds me of Doris Day and "Que Sera, Sera", also called "Whatever Will Be, Will Be". Val has the same questions when thinking of her little relative Ruthie Abigail Walker. Or perhaps Ruthie wishes to be like her Great-Aunt?

Dear Little Miss Ruthie Abigail Walker,
Are you quiet and shy, or are you a "talker"?
What are the thoughts that cause a wee one like you to smile while you dream?
Do you see hummingbirds, rainbows, the sunshine, or little fishes in a stream?

Will you be a "tom-girl" in t-shirts and jeans, or wear delicate dresses of lace?
Will you sing pretty songs and dance, or snowboard along a snowy, white mountain face?
Are you a future teacher, an actress, a public speaker?
A writer, a poet, or an antique seeker?

Have fun exploring what catches your curiousity and interest,
The wisest words to recall are, "Whatever the test –
Remember, you are loved, always try your best,
Say your prayers, let the Lord do the rest,
Follow your heart, and your life will surely be Blessed."

With love from your Great-Aunt and your Mom's Godmother,
Valerie Jean Kolle, February 18, 2005

The title of this poem made me wonder – Where have I heard these words before? At last I got it: Val has made a pun, and the original is of course "putting Descartes before Horace". A well-known phrase in the English speaking world, I guess, but requiring this comment for other readers. But the poem itself needs no explanation: The romantic soul Val has again been to a wedding and got poetic inspiration there!

The Cart Before Horace*

For Derick and Camille, on the day of their wedding
Written in church, as you were nervous and sweating.
An event culminating after a dozen of years –
It finally happened – "You got it in gear!"
Your family and friends wish well greetings and cheer,
While we are all gathered together in here.

An understanding pastor of trends did he speak,
Of marriages, relationships; both stong and weak,
The timing of his services, the flowers, during a busy Easter week.

Dylan and Kaylee; ages seven years and one,
Looked on with smiles during vows and the fun,
As their mom and dad were joined in a union; the ceremony was "done."

So, Camille, "It won't always be easy to be a Mrs. Anthony.
Just let him think your ideas are his as you say, 'Yes, Dear!' and 'Thanks, Honey!'"
For you've already added two branches and are now part of the tree –
So now that it's official; we welcome you as you join the family.

From the "Other Mother"
Val J. Anthony, March 26, 2005

*The church and service took place in Horace, ND.

PS: Val informs me that the pun was a double one: "Also The Cart Before Horace is a pun on putting the Cart before the Horse defined as having children before marrying." I'll keep it in mind!

Aaah – childhood playing lessons! As a former leader of a little school brass band I know exactly what Val is talking about: All the practicing without any noticeable progress, and then giving up in despair. But I think Val regrets that she gave up the Alto Saxophone. It could have made her the President of the US ...


At twelve, I played a second-hand antique, tarnished-silver Alto Saxophone.
I lugged that clumsy, black leather case back and forth from school to home.
With high-pitched squawking agony of a Canadian Goose,
Combined with deep bellows of a raging, monstrous Moose,
I softly blew, "I Love You Truly," trying to tame that rebellious horn into more moderate, melodious tones.

For a year, I struggled with wooden reeds, flats and sharps,
Fingering notes, practicing alongside clarinets, flutes, trumpets and harps.
Encouraged by my mother,
Teased by my brothers,
Divorcing the untamed musical beast, I bid, "Farewell, you're not for me, let's depart!"

Occasionally, I come across some musical instrument books, and at the pawn shops on hooks,
I give the assembly of gleaming saxophones of brass and polished silver second looks.
As I listen to a former president's musical love,
And at church, as I enjoy a jazzy, sax improv,
I think, perhaps I should have given more time to my instrument and less to my books.

Valerie Jean Kolle
February 24, 2009

Here Val touches a theme seldom found in poems today: The Vietnam War. Once there were protest songs, now it is reflections on episodes in the tragic war that began half a century ago and ended in 1975. For those who don't know the American abbreviations – POW-MIA means "Prisoner Of War – Missing In Action".

"Capt. David P. Mott, 5/19/72, POW-MIA,"
Shot down in Vietnam half a world away.
Was he alive?
Did he survive?
Embossed on a bracelet for a teenager to pray.

The name etched into the teen's thoughts of more
Questions which continued of a soldier's fate since the war.
Newspapers revealed
Survival through perils afield,
Also, yielding a Homecoming Celebration ... then no more.

Three decades later, on a Vet's motorcycle run to an Old Soldier's Home,
Unveiling a Replica Memorial Wall sent to roam,
Accompanied with images and folders
Containing files unfolding fates of the soldiers,
Revealing their stories in somber tones.

An internet search a few years later replayed ...
The name, the story of this soldier in fuller detail displayed,
A brief retrospect
To bring honor and respect
For the brave soldier for whom a teenager had repeatedly and faithfully prayed.

Valerie J. Kolle
March 21, 2009

As I've said before: Val likes to write about people. Here she is summing up her brother Ron's carreer on his retirement – or is she using the opportunity to dig up some childhood memories? Both, I guess.

Ron's Retirement: A Rhyme
By: Valerie J. Kolle, June 2, 2006

Who'd a thought that this blue-eyed brother of mine with a face full of freckles –
Whose younger years were spent laughing at antics of Heckle and Jeckle –
Who enjoyed watching Wagon Train, Westerns, and Rin-Tin-Tin –
A Boy Scout, who grew up camping and fishing, and wood-whittlin' –
Who rode an Ebony Schwinn with baseball cards clipping on the spokes
Who was a story teller who had memorized a myriad of jokes
Who played Checkers, Chess, Whist, Gin Rummy, and Merry Widow,
Yet, if he wished to play Monopoly, I'd always say, "No!"
For the "Champ" would buy property on every row
I knew before starting or setting up the game—would begin
I knew the results were predictable and always the same—he would win.

One day, he was a teenager, a lifeguard, with, sun-guilded hair –
As he donned a Safari hat sitting up high in a stilted poolside deck chair –
Going to "Buck Night" at the "Starlight" with a van full of friends –
From "Mod Squad" to Rock concerts to the 70's Disco trend,
The fun seemed too quickly to come to an end.

As a young man he sought a career on the good side of the Law
He tested with high marks so whoever hired him evidently saw
His potential for duty as an uncultured Diamond, unpolished and raw.

Who knew he would ride as a Dakota State Trooper braving all kinds of weather –
Till his hair ashened to gray—as his skin wrinkled to age-toughened leather?

I am proud to say "Safely" he is retiring on this day,
For that is how his path was with each beat of the Highway.
Like a Guardian,
He devotedly served all of us living up to the duties involved in the role,
Countless lives have been affected since that dawn when he first drove patrol.

This is a more complex poem. It tells a story about – no, I won't interpret it for you. Read for yourself, many times, and make your own understanding of the story it conveys. By the way: Val tells me that this poem is connected to "Tribute to Mary", so scroll upwards and read that one again.

Warren's Song
By Valerie J. Kolle
Completed April 11, 2009

It was so hard to say "Good bye"
And watch my wife, our children, and their children cry.
As I entered the Gates of Heaven in the sky
I began to hear my mother's lullaby.

"Someone is missing," I told my mother.
"Where is Harold, my little brother?"

"I am so sorry, Warren, for the secret, even after my death, I still hold,
There is no excuse, except that in those days of old –
You listened to the Doctor's of such places, towards the families, as they told,
'Just move on,' which I know now was so heartless, so cruel, and cold."

I reviewed Harold's life since the day we last parted,
How he had tried to find his family, running away,
Only to be found and returned each time he had started,
How he never gave up hope as he knelt down to pray.

I saw him, where he had moved with his friends, and the staff who loved him,
Hearing his hopes, dreams, and prayers as his mother and I hovered above him.
The church where he worshiped and greeted all who came near him,
A gentle old soul, whose charm and whose sweet-hearted nature endeared him.

We really should find some way—somewhere,
To find an answer to his dream and answer his prayers.
Mary and my family should meet him and show him we care.
Mother, we can help build the pathway from Harold to our family still there.

Into a website for family roots, Warren's daughter, Pam had arrived,
Looking for data on her father and the family from which he had derived,
Eventually, receiving contact from a Social Worker who revealed that her uncle was alive.
Until that moment in time, no one in her family had known that her uncle wasn't gone –
Her Uncle Harold—had survived.

In a window of time, Harold was indeed reunited –
With Mary, Warren's family and generations delighted.
He was able to receive the answer to all of his prayers –
Before he and Mary climbed up to the Celestial stairs.
For upon the last Earthly departure between Harold and Mary –
Mary bid Harold a "See you" of hope for him to carry.
No "Good Bye's" or "Fare-well's" were given –
For she knew that their next meeting would arrive in Heaven.

Climbing up the stairway with Mary along,
Harold heard the sound of a lullaby grow louder and more strong
Discovering the spiritual melody of their mother's and Warren's Song.

Here's another side of Val's talent – putting memories of yesterdays travelling and landscapes into words. She also makes a very true observation: After many years we're not allways able to keep dreams and reality apart. Train of Thought
By Val J. Kolle

I can't seem to shake the continuous motion
I wake up at night and the illusion won't fade
The sliding and gliding of a locomotion
My house has converted to the image I've made.

We spent our vacation in a journey of calm
Plains, rocky mountains, smooth deserts, from pine trees to palm.
We swept by and slept by four nights and two days
Meandering through tunnels, half a continent each way.

I still hear the whistle and clicking of the train on the track
I feel the swaying and rocking to one side then back.

The sunshine and lights flash past my eyes
The lakes, rivers, and streams glisten and rise
Amid white water rafters, kayaks, and fishermen flies
The visions were truth; the memories now lies.

Reality can seem—more like a dream
Now—the enchanting calamity
My dreams confuse reality.

A Poem for Parker

I didn't know until you came along
How much it meant to me to become a "Mom."
My first child, the grasp of your wee hand as it reached and held strong,
Touching the place reserved in my heart to which you now, and forever, belong.

In life, I've experienced so many losses and such wondrous joy
But never, as wondrous as, the brief life of our perfect, little boy.

Meeting, marrying your dad, joining together all of our families and friends,
Sharing with them the hope of a new life from Heaven God did send,
Carrying you and caring for you was for me the beginning of a new trend.
I felt such an intense bond of love for you
that even with your passing on to a new life in Heaven won't ever end.

With each celebration through the years yet to follow
I'll always share my world with you with a touch of sorrow.

With every child I perceive, and each child I may bear,
Through my eyes, my heart, and with each of my prayers,
Every experience, the sites, and the sounds of this Earth with you I will share.
I've heard time passes quickly in Heaven, so please remember, "I care,"
And look forward to some day when we will all meet you there.
"I love you, Parker!"

By Valerie J. Kolle
December 22, 2004
Val says about this poem: "This was written for a young mom whose baby had passed away after a brief 15 minutes of life. Based on the Love Expressed by his Mother, Erin." I don't think any other comments are needed here.

This poem is written about human beings who got a much longer life than little Parker, and who used their life to produce other lives – they became fathers. But Val aimes higher than writing a traditional Father's day greeting. She points to the real meaning and deeper joy of being a Father. Anyone blushing?
Father's Day

It doesn't just occur on the "greeting card" holiday.
They don't have to be a "birth-dad" for the honors to be issued their way.
It takes so much more,
For a man to score,
As a true role-model and mentor receiving high honor and praise.

Men who are listening, holding a child's hand while walking down a darkened hallway...
Towards the sunshine, a guardian crossing along safeguarding a walkway.
A baby's first dance,
A smiling glance,
Unconditionally giving to a child looks of pride and praise with after day.

An uncle, a brother, interacting, teaching as they have fun times and laughter as they play.
Letting a baby learn to climb and crawl all over him as he lays.
Playing in the water,
Nephew, niece, son or daughter,
Times which drift past too quickly as families separate moving on their way.

A grandfather reunited with a son and grandchild after a series of years.
A simple walk with a wagon, a train ride, fishing, fond memories embellished with tears.
A baby who's new,
A toddler who's two,
Etched moments frozen in a vision fading to a distant time of thoughts as they blur.

Father's Day is any day where the moment is cherishable.
A "Father" defined as anyone who is memorable,
To a child's life,
Impact to survive,
Timeless, brief or lengthy, yet positively and enduringly influential.

Valerie J. Kolle
June 16, 2009

On a vacation trip driving through our long country I received a couple of poems from Val. One of them made me wonder: "How do I code this in the html language?" There are three align options for each line – left, center and right, but none of them could produce the right effect. However, after several hours more behind the wheel an idea struck me. I had to – no, that's my little secret. You can se the result below, not a hundred percent perfect, but "the central message" is at least fairly readable.

Our Little Sister

not so long
a baby girl with
and strawberry-blonde
appeared, in our fami

a time

our next little g

a new little sister

soft as a whisper, we think we'll
she has c
which will n

since this ne
"little bl

three gir
each s

the little imaginative things the
they bring into

Skin so fair
Y show.

Very much later
Irl with darker hair unfurled

Keep her!
An unexpected twister,
R be the same

Essing" came.

Ls —
O unique in their own personalities
Very talented gifts,
Each day, and with each of

Y say, and with each little challenge —
Our lives
Uch an awe-inspiring and gratifying lift


Composed by Val J. Kolle
March 22, 2006

The other poem Val sent during my vacation trip doesn't belong to the summer. Val says it's "seasonal to Oct 31", and then the raders will guess what she's writing about: Hallowe'en

Stiffened zombies unwavering eyes
Venomous bats locusts flies
Spiritual gusts (in)darkened skies
Witches warlocks shrieks and cries
Devilish demons "crypt"-omized
Virtual bedlam undisguised
Hallowed evening the name belies

Search swiftly all you candy-crazed fools
Seek refuge in your homes and schools
Fright among this parade of ghouls
(This)untamed night proclaims "no rules"

There's much music in Vals poems – in the language and in the rhytm. This poem almost cries for a melody, with two singers and perhaps a choir to perform the song.


His plea:
Firewater... Oh God! It's so foreign!
My life with you had become an oxymoron.
Inhale, breath in, as the liquid heated
My crumbling life with you, was all defeated
Your bridegroom unleashed like a gypsy in a bottle
Poured in a glass you chose to ingest and coddle

Her responce:
Oooo, fiery water wash through my veins
Carry me off this world of pain
Work your magic, lift me high
As I drift upward to a celestral sky
Dancing , spinning, swirling in my brain,
I love the's so insane!

I would have walked through that fire with you.
I would have crossed a high-wire line for you.
If you would have released that whisky hold on you.
And lived it through...and lived it through.

His plea:
Face down, you greet the concrete base,
Cuts, scrapes, shattered glass break across your face,
Divorce was a simple, smooth way for you to exit this place
For your life's committed to bottle-strewn disgrace
For me, it began with my feelings exchanged in embrace
For you, it was a lie, an episode, an interlude, a brief phase
Between your true love of the bottle and its warm, enticing craze.

Her responce:
I slipped, I know, now I feel so bad,
I'm not the woman you thought you had,
I've fallen and I can't get up,
I just need another sip from that cup,
To get me through another day.
I'll try again, I'll try, I'll pray.

His final verse:
Those fancy bottles they advertise...
Are demons riddled with cloaked disguise.
Fiery, red-eyed dragons intense heat which fries...
Your senses, your feeling, your ultimate demise.
Your name in the paper surprise,
Misjudgement, twisted metal, innocent victims' cries,
Wherever you're at...I hope you like it better in paradise!

I would have walked through that fire with you.
I would have crossed a high-wire line for you.
If you would have released that whisky hold on you.
And lived it through...and lived it through.

Missing Mina

There is a place reserved in our hearts
For a friend none of us saw depart.

It is filled with the shyness of her laughter and her quiet demeanor,
Her caring, her belief in her Blessed Redeemer,
The love for her daughters, their futures, of whom she treasured most dear.
She carried on faithfully with a trust in her Lord to help
          Carry her burdens, guide her choices, and to comfort all fear.

In our hearts we must all hope, believe, and pray
She is held in His care throughout these long nights and days.
Whenever we light a candle of hope, or see the stars as we gaze,
We will always remember how she touched all of us with her gentle listening,
          Her guidance, and her loving, caring ways.

We miss her
We all love her as a sister
There is a place reserved in our hearts for a friend whom we didn't see depart.
We yearn...for her safe return, yet, in many ways, she never left our hearts.

Valerie J. Kolle, November 22, 2004
Val often uses alliterations, especially in the title of her poems – for instance "A Poem for Parker" and "Ron's retirement", and in this one. But form elements is just a minor part of her literary baggage. This poem is an example of what could be called her main theme: Thoughts about and feelings for someone who isn't here – missing someone, in this case Mina.

It is never easy to sum up Vals poems or necessary to do that. She often writes fables, as the poem below, and through the fable she conveys the reality to the reader. A philosopher has said: Good fiction (or was it art?) is a lie that is true. Val is of course far from lying, but she writes really good and true poems – that's my point.

Tate’s Angel

God spoke to a young Angel with a talent of sculpture and art,
“I have an assignment I’d like you to start.
Remember how we brought together a couple named Lisa and Brett?
They’ve been praying for a baby and we haven’t answered them yet.
I would like you to use all of your talents to help me create
A sweet natured baby boy for them whose name will be Tate.”

The Angel looked around at all the babies in heaven,
And noted their features she liked which they had been given.
She also reviewed all of Lisa and Brett’s prayers and requests
And began to sculpture a baby who melt their hearts best.
Curley dark ringlets crowned the top of his head,
Little ears to hear lullabyes as he’s brought to his bed.
Sparkling young eyes to “take it all in”,
A distinct little crease in his round little chin,
Soft lips framing his mouth topped with a divot above,
A smart nose, and two cheeks for their kisses to love.
The rest of the baby she left up to God
He accepted the angel’s likeness with a smile and a nod.

“Now” he said slowly “we need to find a way to help bring the baby to Earth.
We need a young woman to help out with his birth.
She must be loving and caring and willing to share,
This beautiful child she will be placed with to bear,
And willing to give him to others to love him and raise him in their care.”

As the time for the baby’s birth was soon drawing near,
The Angel watched with excitement and a little bit of fear.
For another baby was almost a part of their lives,
Yet God said, “Be patient for my plan, I truly feel for their strife,
Their hearts may be aching and yearning from the recent ordeal
But their faith is strong enough to have patience to continue and heal
Especially when they travel up to gather the child who will truly be theirs
Created by God and an Angel to answer to their prayers.”

Val J. Anthony
March 8, 2006

The story in the last poem continues below. Read on!

Twice Blessed
by Val J. Kolle
written 2/25/2008

"Hi!" to my birthmom,
"I'm Ella," and my message is this:
"Thank you,to my Birth-mom, for Madeline, you know, my new baby sis.
We are the happiest family on the planet Earth. Because of this,
I love you so much...and I'll blow you a kiss,
From Madeline and me to express a tiny token in comparison to your shared gifts
Beyond any treasures of worth...for our bliss."

"I know our Mom Lisa and Dad Brett will always feel Twice Blessed by the sacrifices you have made.
You will be in our hearts and our family like an angel whose bright halo won't fade."

"I'm so excited to think that I get to grow up with a sis...
To share secrets and giggle at the joys we'll make sure you won't miss."
For you've shared us with Lisa and Brett from day one,
So we'll be sure you're included in all of our fun!"

"For God has graciously sent you as an angel into our lives,
Making sure you had a heart so loving and giving in this Blessed sacrifice...
Of sharing your girls, that's us, Ella and Madeline,
Not once, but Twice Blessed for all future time.
For bearing us and loving us so much...that you were willing,
To enable Lisa's and Brett's lives to be touched with more meaning and strong faith fulfilling."

"I'm so young, I can't express with enough words, yet my feelings are there.
I know how wonderful you are and how much you care...
To bestow upon me a little sister to share...
And someday I'll tell you how much I think, 'Yes, Life is fair!'
I'll thank God for the best Birth-mommy to be born from, anywhere,
No one else...could compare!"

Love, Ella

In this poem Val tells us about a former client of her, a man without family contacts. She was able to locate his brother an cousins, and he obviously got a richer life by her help. First a couple of cuts from his obituary:

Lawrence Fredette, 92, Wahpeton, ND, died Wednesday, September 9, 2009, at St. Catherine’s Living Center, Wahpeton. The Funeral Service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, September 15 at St. Catherine’s Chapel with Rev. Dale Lagodinski as celebrant. Visitation will be Tuesday one hour before the service. Interment will be at Riverside Cemetery, Wahpeton.

Lawrence had interests in bowling, horse shoes, volleyball, basketball, listening to music, card games, going out to eat, and enjoyed going out for walks. More recently he enjoyed working on crafts, bingo and movies on television.

And then the poem:

The Cross on the Hill
By Valerie J. Kolle
September 10, 2009

I'll never forget when I first met,
The gentle man named Lawrence Fredette.
He welcomed me with, "Well, hello, my friend!"
As if we had known eachother from time's beginning to end.

He reminded me of an older relative of "Harrison Ford."
He had the actor's twinkle in his eye which I had always adored.
Lawrence would sneak off to his room and return with his treasure,
A yarn-threaded canvas each unique in a value which could not be measured.

His greeting gave me motivation to become worthy of his view of a "friend."
As I worked with him, and sought for him cousins with their greetings and photos to him they did send.
He was unique in his identity, self determination, with a feistiness which sheltered his kind heart.
A plastic-canvas Cross on a hill above random furrows of yarn from "my friend" is my most cherished art.

Val must have a bottomless chest with poems and a wide collection of relatives and friends to write poems for. She even includes children not born yet, as in this poem:



Little one; we’re waiting and hoping;
We don’t yet know your name.
Our hearts and our home are ready and open;
Yes, we love you already; we both feel the same.

We don’t know if you will be a boy or a girl –
Blonde, brown or auburn hair; straight or with curls;
Blue, hazel or brown eyes or possibly green –
You’ll be the most beautiful child in our eyes whom we’ve ever seen.

We’ll rejoice in your laughter; wipe all of your tears –
When the storms come along; we’ll hug you and comfort your fears;
Celebrate your triumphs; as you grow more wonderful over the years.

If you falter; we’ll teach you God’s grace from above;
Share rainbows, flowers and butterflies, and all of our love.

Welcome Home, Little One!

Val J. Kolle
Originally written February 14, 2005

Very often Val adds a little postscript telling her readers about the background for the poem. Look below this one, and you will find a key to the poem.


Thank you, Birth Mom

We hope you will always know what a “Blessing” you are in our lives
You are an answer to our prayers we patiently met with great strife.

We believe God guided you while you chose us ... yes us, to love your child
Out of all of the people anxiously waiting to become parents in this world

You and your family
Have now and will always be
Another branch added to our tree.

In your future, as you fulfill, each of your dreams,
You will be reminded, with an unfailing gleam,
How, with a bond as strong as any “Sister”
Now and forever expressed in each prayer we whisper
You shared your little loved one
Your precious baby with us ...
A child, who will live with us
As our daughter or our son
A little baby whose life’s journey has only begun.

This child will always know and feel your love
Because he or she will always see a picture of you
On our walls, like an angel, smiling from above.
We will share all of the triumphs with you ... every first step of the way
On our child’s continuing journey ...
Who you are ... your dreams, your yesterdays, and today.
Our child will be “lucky” to be always sharing celebrations with praise
And those special occasions and future days
Which, will compare with no other ...
Those wonderful days
Meeting and visiting with a “Beloved Birthmother.”

(This is based on the feelings of your baby’s “Adoptive Parents”)
Val J. Kolle Originally written January 30, 2006

Is it possible to read and remember a person from a thing that he or she owned and used? Most people can't, but Val has this ability to interpret the smallest clues and get a very rich meaning from them. Read it slowly!


Grandma Gena's Cane
By Valerie J. Kolle
September 22, 2009

A simple knotted, wooden object
To unobservant eyes
As I behold my grandma's cane
Her spirit still survives.

A nail had once protruded
Where the core was chiseled in
Along an icy, snow-strewn pathway
An ice-pick tip to assist her walking then.

A weathered tip all chipped and roughened
Deep cracks extending up
Twin shallow grooves surround the bottom
Remnants of a metal hanger...cut, twisted and tucked
Encircling the precious wood a thumb's width apart
Like shiny ringlets crowning her Blessed, loving heart.

Dozens of tiny notches extend along the shaft
From prying stubborn objects or shutting off a draft.
Chips along the handle, branded spots torched and burnished in
Remind me of her woodstove as she stoked the flames of fire within.
Warming the toes of her grandkids as they crunched their breakfast toast.
Serving up her family with mashed potatoes, gravy, and a tender, meaty roast.

Her hand held a history very much the same
As those reflected in her weathered hard-worn cane.
Pioneering parents' daughter surviving blizzards in a frigid, windswept wild,
Reciting poems a young Gena had memorized as a child,
Digging potatoes from the rich, black ground,
Canning produce in the fall,
Fanning harmonica hymnal sounds,
Connecting countless switchboard calls.
Cuddling and comforting a newborn baby's cry,
And waving her soldier sons "good bye!"

I clench the handle with my fist...the grip's a perfect fit
My thumb rests above the bend... I feel her presence as I sit.
A simple knotted, wooden object
Across my lap it lies
Grandma's spirit is still surviving
And her memory never dies.

This time Val has sent a real tongue-twister, at least for a Norwegian. I tried to read it aloud, but gave up after some lines and studied the rest of the poem in silence. But Val obviously has a more gifted tongue. She adds this: "Read this after my presentation in class in grad school...".


Albert Ellis
Valerie J. Kolle
October 13, 2009

Albert Ellis' life was wrought with sarcasm, doubters, lawsuits, and adversity.
His thoughts were not based on delving in and nor dissecting a person's neurosis based on a diagnosis of one's history.

Focusing instead on the current behaviors embellished with irrational beliefs and cognitions,
Then teaching one how to deal more effectively with a new change from traditions,
As one's life "moved on" with subsequent challenges and transitions.

The orthodox psychoanalytical scholars didn't believe in Ellis' "quick fix" cures,
Believing their therapy was only effective if one was counseled intensely for several years.

Bi-polar, Neurotic, Erotic, Psychotic.
He sought a person's current "reality" to see how one ticked,
Rather than standing with an assumption of a need for a cure, thus indicating one's thoughts and feelings were "sick."

Early on Ellis was open-mindedly ahead of the experts of our nation,
Challenging a new acceptance of each unique person's sexuality and orientation.

Ellis continued his work on up to his nineties as his legacy still grows and lives on,
Outlining methods "Easy as ABC" like the words of a song.

Evidence of his writings, essays, scenarios, and extensive followers are found through worldwide websites at will,
He instilled influence on a reality-based talk show host celebrity whose stage-name's Dr. Phil.

I'll let Val introduce this poem: "Written for someone who was suffering depression following a surgery. He recovered and enjoyed life again, including a long desired vacation to visit his sister's family in California — a story similar to his friend's experience."


Our "Gentle Giant"
By Valerie J. Kolle 3/11/05

He is a man lead from his heart,
Who knows the importance of this gentle art.
His large stature acts as an illusion,
Unlike his quiet demeanor, and tenderness of movement.

He has shown us all how strong he has felt
As with each loss of "loved ones" his heart and spirit melt.
So we strive again to bring him back into a new time,
Where his eyes regain their spark and shine.

A familiar face and voice, stories and names, songs, favorite shows, or a prayer,
He looks up and around again to see who's there.
"Welcome back, Gentle Giant!
You are a Gem; so genuine, so pure, and so rare."

This is another Val. At first I wondered: What has happened? Where is her usual "feel good"-poetry? Then a new email arrived: "I wrote this several years ago." That answered my questions. Read on:

Sad and Angry Games of Harm
Valerie J. Kolle

It appeared to start out with “love and affection.”
Time twisted each expression into “hate and aggression.”
How can one predict such destructive obsessions?

To the world he was a mentor, a teacher, a “Chtistian” ... ”somebody nice.”
A man sought for his devotion, listening, and dispensing of advice.

He professed to be both trustworthy and kind,
A “peaceful creative” to those who were blind.
To disclaim such a image brings others to find
His retort, “she is merely out of her mind.”

How can he hate a small child with such intensity?
Undaunted determination and destruction ... how can he?
These irrational actions ... make no sense to me.

He claimed to be truly led by a God of graciousness,
To justify how he controlled, subdued, and obsessed,
Demanded, demeaned ... I must confess ...

I truly do not believe that God would give him the right to arm,
Nor place our lives in peril with Sad and Angry Games of Harm.

My child and I are finally safe and alive.
Life is a blessing…we know we will survive.
With faith, peace and love we’ll gain strength in our lives.

I pray that will enlighten and be of some use
To bring hope to the victims of violence and abuse.

Here is a typical "Val poem": A portrait of a nice person, written in a nice way by a nice person. Is this poem too sentimental? No, just full of honest feelings.

Love's Reflection
Valerie J. Kolle
March 9, 2010

Whenever I think of Mary Ann and her collection,
Of her friends and dolls; their imperfections,
I'd try to see through her eyes and see her love's reflection,
And I would see how she'd see each of them without bias or rejection.

For her unconditional love came so naturally.
She gave each of her friends and family,
Undying love, sweetness and strength in her loyalty,
As they faced challenges with impending fraility.

She looked out for her family and her friends,
Even when faced with her own frustrations,
Mary Ann understood as she worked on becoming more patient.

For she truly in her whole heart and being,
Wished to be good and faithfully seen,
Even when things didn't always make sense to her,
She looked towards happiness without great fear.

Mary Ann fully loved and appreciated us all,
And the adventure of her life's journey, its summits and falls,
I saw it reflected in her eyes towards us and her collection of dolls.

This is close to be a limerick, hadn't it been for the two long lines (number three and four). Instead Val uses those lines as vehicles for a couple of her clever rhymes – destiny/best in me, and the poem more or less sums up Paul Simons "Still crazy after all these years" in five short lines.

A month after I wrote this Val added a second verse, a sequel, she calls it. She leaves the reader wondering about what happened – is it the same meeting or a sequel? Anyway, that's one of the things good poetry shall do: Make us wondering.
I once met a charmer named Shawn.
We visited with laughter till dawn.
He spoke of his travels and destiny,
As he succeeded to bring out the best in me.
I walked away, he drove off, and was gone.

I've learned it can truly be dangerous,
To fall prey to a stranger's lust.
I denied him the act,
as I left still intact,
"Sorry, you're worth less than
a tumblweed's windswept granger dust!"


I once met a gentleman named Randy,
With kisses sweeter than sugar-dipped candy.
He danced a steady, strong lead,
Like a well-bred stallion steed,
And, I'm still hooked from his wink sent to land me!

Although his tools are kept readily handy,
There's no rekindling of embers with Randy.
Just a phonecall away,
Keeps an ebbtide at bay,
A receded shoreline to this day remains sandy.
At first look these two verses are limericks, but if you read them you'll find that they are very unusual limericks. Instead of writing harmless fun Val uses her limericks to express much deeper feelings and to tell a more dramatic history than other limerick writers dare to do. You'll also have to read some of the lines more than once to get the real meaning – or different meanings – that Val has put there. Poetry limericks, or perhaps poetricks?

Here's another of Vals "greetings", as I call them. They may also be named "well-wishings". These poems are optimistic and filled with hope, and some may say that the future for certain won't be that fine. So what? If all the optimists in the world became quiet, then we would live in a colder and grayer world. And, to make my point clearer: Optimism breeds optimism. That is Vals gift and message to Isabella. Isabella "Emma" Lynne,
Your innocence is so genuine.
Your Brother Aiden, and your Mother Jen,
Best wishes and kisses to you they send.
Your Uncle Jimmy, and Grandma Cat,
Wish you the best, and all of that ...
A dozen dresses of lavender and pink,
Blue jeans, t-shirts, and jewelry links.
Explore and let the world be your toy,
Have happiness, love, and a lifetime of joy!

5/23/2010 By Val, for my friends and their new baby.

Another 1 Bites the Dust!

I once met a broker named Rockwell,
Who apparently knew how to trade stocks well,
Bragging up his fine name,
Monetary gain, was, for sure his main game,
"To get to me you must do much better than talk well."
Interesting combination! A limerick with a "Prince spelling" in the title, which is borrowed from Queen, and a typically Val content. I wonder if the mention of his fine name in the third line has something to do with Norman Rockwell. But he wasn't a broker. He made very popular paintings and illustrations.

Val is very productive these days, finding a lot of opportunities to create a poem. This time the opportunity is a wedding, which calls for another poetic form than a limerick, and of course another set of feelings! Kuncle's Abby

Congratulations Abby & Kevin,
So glad your marriage
Was sent to us from heaven.
We survived the weather on this fine day,
I guess it helped for us all to pray
For your happiness & blessings of family,
And a future of blended harmony.
I'm so glad to finally have another daughter,
Thanks for bringing your vows to the altar.

Love you lots, Val J. Kolle June 11, 2010.

In the last days of June a stream of limericks arrived from Val, all of them in her new line – "poetry limericks". They also have a common theme – meetings, not of the "happy end" type, but more in the "I have learned" branch.

I met an accountant named Larson,
Who wished to spend time in my car some.
He'd just attended a wedding,
On a football's turf setting,
Perhaps sober he'd be a fine person.

I turned him down on his request repeatly,
Driving off disappointed a defeated he,
Had a quick hug and a kiss,
Beyond that he'll sure miss,
Standing tall I self-respectfully treated me.
In these two verses Val tells about an encounter with a man with Swedish roots, apparently, not because he is a little drunk, but because his name is Larson. Poor Larson, being an accountant he should have foreseen the deficit on his account with Val.

Is this a saga or just three separate limericks? We'll never know, I guess, and that's what lifts them above the main stream limericks. Val spices her five-liners with keen observations of human nature, at least of the male type. In addition, she's in command, or is she? Read closely the last limerick. But she leaves it open, the reader shall have to wonder. That's exactly what good poetry shall do. I also met a welder named Skee,
A cute, freckeled fisherman was he,
Even though I adore him,
I just choose to ignore him,
For we both wish at this time to be free.

I had a sweet visit with biologist Steve,
He had both looks and brains up his sleeve,
He'd broken up much too recent,
To be available and decent,
With a phonecall he chose to answer and leave.

I met my new neighbor named Brad,
My goodness, what a muscular, masculine lad,
Perhaps there's some hope there,
Either way I'll just cope fair,
If we click I'll be careful yet glad.

Now, what is this? It looks like Val tries another literary form – the tall story. Davy Crockett and Paul Bunyan, step aside, here comes a dude named Steve! But even in this setting you'll recognize Vals usual rhymes and long meandering lines. Interesting effect!

Written by
Valerie J. Kolle
Some nights at the “Dollar”
there’s a dude named “Steve,”
Who claims,
“I drifted to this town on a tumble-weed!”
“I grew up on a prairie-dusted track of land.
I’ll return when I retire to help out my ol’ man.”
As he drew in a puff and let out an exhale,
He reminisced briefly about this fine tale.
“When we were kids, at Christmastime,
My dad gathered tumbleweeds with a lassoed line.
Then, he’d start drawing the weeds in a circle in the dust,
Plus, he’d stack them up in a tall cone for all of us.
With buckets full of water, he’d splash cascades on the weeds,
Till they dripped into a ‘chandelier’ full of stalactite-like icicle picks.
Next, he’d weave through the stack, with colorful lights forth and back,
Until, it was all lit like an icebox full of fruit-flavored, Popsicle sticks.
With the Spring-time, the crystallized mass disrobed its cloak made of ice,
And my ol’ man, ever so gently, unlaced the corral made of lights.
At last, with a his determined boot, push, and shove,
Assisted by dusty bellows which blew, scooped, and swept down from above,
Rolling freely, the tumbleweeds seemed to instantly disappear in the wind,
With greetings to the vast, open prairie like long-lost, old, vagabond

Raisin cream pie

I met a Norse pilot named Dusty,
Who's a bit older than me yet not rusty.
A Vietnamn vet,
Drives a vintage Corvette,
An aerial duster, fire fighter who seemed trusty.

We shared a table at a local diner.
His manners couldn't have been kinder.
We shared my shrimp and his pie,
Then we left saying, "Good bye."
We each drove off in the night feeling finer.
This is a theme that I like to make a text on myself: A short meeting, a pleasant conversation, after that good bye and "feeling finer", as Val puts it. Such meetings are the spice of life that make the main course more edible!

Another meeting, perhaps several meetings, or maybe more of them later – who knows. Val keeps the reader guessing this time by not telling everything from start to end. As a matter of fact, she doesn't even make it clear where the story starts and where it ends. She's forcing us to fill out the story during the reading. Very interesting. The Hummingbird and the Eagle

I recently met up with my friend, we'll call Blaine,
In three years I have yet to complain,
Sharing so much in common,
An unusual phenomenon,
Perhaps, in some ways we're both slightly insane.

For sanity's so over-rated,
Especially in lives we've created,
So let's enjoy fun either way,
Great companions to this day,
A fond friend to which each we've been fated.

I can't help but miss him in his absence,
When our visits evolve further in past tense,
Till upon our next meeting,
The time we shared goes on fleeting,
'Cause what we feel while together make such sense.

On a whim, we drove down to the 70th annual bike rally,
Among the Black Hills in the Sturgis, South Dakotan mid-valley,
We chose fine artist's needles and ink,
Without thoughts, hesitations or blinks,
I guess, we're now "tattoo buddies" at this time extraordinarily.


While thinking back of Stephanie,
These thoughts embraced her memory,
A message for her friends and family,
For her mom and sister Kimberly,
Saying,"Thank you all...
You gave my life its quality!"
"So much much fun...
My dreams came true...
Because you loved and cared...
For the home with my sister I shared...
For my life and my hopes renewed...
I must say, 'Thanks for Quality and the Good...
My memory is my wish for my gift to every one of you! '"

There are deep friendships and there are superficial friendships. Quality belongs to the first, definitely. Nowadays one can read news about people caiming to have ten thousand friends – on Facebook. Fine, but which class of friendship do they belong to? Maybe Vals poems can learn us about the deep and meaningful fiendships that change people in a positive direction.

We've often seen it on television, in movies, even in comic strips: Four couples doing intricate movements, almost as ritual and incomprehensible as scricket for a Norwegian, in other words – a square dance. Val has made a poem version, but one suspects she has a deeper meaning with her verse: "an' away you go!". Just have a second look at the last line! Dancing "Square"

The rhythmic ebb and flow...
Of a rustling, ruffle show.
A kaleidoscope of checkered colors...
Swirling, spinning, symmetrically.
Pound to the pace of the dance's caller...
"Aleman left, an' do-si-do!"
"Swing yer partner, an' away you go!"
Promenade in step to the harnessed holler.

Two poems arrived with a day between them, but there's a lifespan between their themes. The first one is formed as a memorial, the last is a welcome cry to a new member of the family. Val knows how to give every aspect of life her own unmistakable treatment – kind words and a sentiment or a feeling to remember.


From Val(entine)
January 7, 2011

Our dearest friend, Buddy, has touched all of our hearts.
He hung through the loss of his friends as he saw them depart.
He knew they were all waiting for him to join up with in heaven,
And he shed a tear for every friend he’d been given.

Although he couldn’t always hear what we all had to say,
He never forgot to tease us or show us a greeting for each day.
When I was challenged with a motorcycle to stride,
The jokester would raise up his hands as to rev up my ride.

“You were the only person that I’ll ever know to this day,
Who flew down to Vegas, not for the shows, to gamble, or to play,
But to go bowling in an alley like it was any other old day.”

During the most serious of meetings,
He’d form the most, funniest faces in greetings.
“Oh Buddy, none of us ever know how long we are destined to be here on earth,
We always remembered you in our minds on the day of your birth.”

Once you were taught something you never forgot,
You were the best “Buddy” that this world ever got.
You showed us how to care, and we all loved you a lot.

Layla Joy

Mom, Dad and big sister Charlee Jean,
We know you were planning the most beautiful wedding to take place this year,
Yet somebody knew you had one more special little guest who wished to be there.
It was her turn to arrive and join in the scene.

When you think of it all don’t you agree that the wedding will seem,
So much better with Layla as a wonderful part of the dream?

She is truly the answer to all of your family’s wishes,
With fine, little fingers and a smile so precious,
From the crown of her head to the tips of her toes,
Tiny feathered eyelashes and a beautiful nose,
She’ll have a big sister to guide her wherever she goes.

Isn’t it amazing how a child is created,
So perfectly beautiful and uniquely stated?
Her birth was a blessing which we all celebrated.
Some gifts arrive when they’re meant to while some other plans waited.
Welcome home Layla Joy Roos!

Love from Grandma Val, and your whole family, 9/26/2010.

Val have a word, a line or a poem for every occasion – birth, birthdays, meetings, marriages, illness, departures, and of course the final goodbye. There are allways people at the core of her poems, and she never degrades them. In almost every poem she tries to lift someone up, not by painting them better than in reality, but by pointing to something uplifting in connection with them. This is a typical example:

Our hearts and prayers are with you Gene,
Through this difficult time it may seem,
Like ‘oil and water’ brothers don’t always get along,
Yet high and low notes blend into the best melody and harmony in a song.

Remember the good times your whole family shared and survived,
As brothers and sisters through the rough times of your lives.
Remember also, the joyous times at the cabin in the woods at the lake,
And the memory of a Disney World Florida trip in the past you did take.

Someday, Gene, the aching in your heart will slowly be replaced,
Through all of our prayers and through the works of God’s grace,
With the flashbacks of those happier days, with thankful thoughts and praise,
For you will remember those times with a song in your heart, and the shining sun’s rays.

As a soft, summer breeze blows the air through a curtain,
We wish you the best, Gene, of that you can be certain.

From all of your friends and family.
January 11, 2011
Valerie J. Kolle

This one, too, but here it is a dog that gets a memorial from Val:


A couple guys decided together that they wanted a pet,
They were told of a female Sheltie pound puppy which they could purchase and get.
Before long the dog became a vital part of the home,
The members of this “family” with this pooch for countless walks they would roam.
Amazingly, whenever un-anticipated seizures would occur with one fellow,
This dog would sense and start barking for staff before he could yell, “Oh!”
They named her “Dolly,” and her heart and her spirit would mourn with each loss,
As the next person in line would become her new caretaker, her “master,” and boss.
Unconditional, positive regard, patience, and love were lessons she had brought to us all,
Never learned from a textbook, at a college or school,
Instinctively, she was the best counselor and companion into 608 that ever did fall.
For we won’t forget our sweet “Dolly” as she forever reigns in our memories
Of the ways which she “ruled.”

Valerie J. Kolle

Here's Val in one of her light-hearted moments. I guess many of you have seen this show and recognize those feelings that Val puts words to.

We love the show Extreme Makeover Home Edition,
Watching homes evolve with each community’s transition.
We watched eagerly with great elation,
As you travelled throughout our united nation.
So much excitement brought forth toward futures of joyfulness,
While both families have faced challenges with renewed “Hope”-fulness.
Thank you to and from the Fargo-Moorhead community,
Volunteers who worked alongside the crew with heart-felt unity.
We will never forget the climatic reveal when ...
We shouted, “Move that Bus!” on 10-10-10.

Written by Val J. Kolle 10/10/10

Poetry very often use metaphors and comparisions to convey the message behind the words. Here Val uses this technique in full. (One detail: For a Norwegian it is touching to see Hardanger mentioned in an American poem, especially for one who descends from Hardanger!)

Just as ...

Just as the pedals pump floss into yarn through an antique spinning wheel,
Just as the sea-sawing motion of a sewing machine’s treadle moves thread through the needle,
Just as the Grandfather’s clock’s hands move around a face as the scenery revolves,
Just as the furrowing field of stitches in a Grandmother’s crocheted afghan evolves,
Just as the craftsman intricately carves into wood on a spinning lathe,
Turning delicate grooves into precious, pillar-candle stands which he made,
Just as a baptismal font where an infant in a hardanger gown is Christened and bathed,
Just as glimpses of past, cherished memories as with photos both fade,
Blessed lifetimes of experiences which to us all on this Earth lovingly God doth gave.
Before an eternity in paradise which God’s son and our Savior to us all He did save.

Valerie J. Kolle

If you scroll this page from the start you'll find that Val has written a lot of obituaries or poems remembering someone. Here she turns the spotlight on herself and reveals a lot of her dreams. Usually her poems end with an uplifting line, but this poem has an unusual ending.


When my spirit is finally set free
Don’t gather ‘round and mourn for me.
Before I enter those pearly gates
I’ll flit around all fifty states.
I’ll streak past Hawaii to the “Land Down Under”
And travel from the first to the seventh wonder.
Searching around the Norwegian fjords
I’ll dance to musical renditions of ancestral chords.
Don’t bury the body that trapped me so long
With earthly traditions of mourning and song.
Let my ashes represent a freedom newly born
Blowing uplifted not bound nor forlorn.
I’ll no longer have worries that ruled me from birth
Nor life in a world based solely on monetary worth.
It won’t take me long to fly up to the heavens above
To welcome the warmth of God’s spiritual love.
The only treasures I will miss on this earth as I leave
Will be the children, their futures, of that I would grieve.
I would want to give freedom, happiness, and the love of God to all of them
Not hunger nor suffering brought to the children by the rulers of men.

Don’t mourn when my spirit is finally set free
Work towards bringing better lives to the children than the earth gave to me.

Valerie J. Kolle 10/04/04

Adventure 9/20/2011

There's a true-hearted trucker named Thomas,
Who said, "I'll meet you in Vegas, I promise!"
So she took the first flight,
And he was such a delight,
That when he'd text to go steady she'd respond, "Yes"
Here Val is back in mid-season limerick shape. I often envy people writing in English their creative freedom in creating rhymes: Thomas – promise – respond, "Yes", something like that breaks several rules in Norwegian writing, but is fresh and witty when Val does it.

We know that Val writes lyrical poems. She also writes lyrical prose. Here are two texts:

Freebird (a short sweet bedtime story an adult) 9/17,2011

Once upon a time there was a bird. He had the most hand some plumage and he was most proud.
His mother loved hime dearly and loved to watch him soar freely.

As the male bird matured he met another ladybird and a nest was built. The male bird was by nature a free spirit
and still loved to soar upward to the clouds high above the earth looking far and wide at the mountains and lakes.
The ladybird didn't want this freedom so she ordered him to get his beautiful wings clipped. He grew nervous and sad,
dreaming of the days of freedom. He wanted to be loyal but his true nature was to fly. Eventually he met a hummingbird
who showed him that he was not wrong to feel the desires he felt by nature and God and to forgive himself. This he did
and once again he could proudly and freely soar, and he lived happily ever after.

The second one she simply calls "Another short bedtime story in two lines..."

Once upon a time there was a man with a good heart which yearned to be healed until he met a lady who had known what it was to survive.
Together, he and she took a journey so they could learn to live happily ever after.

Two poems arrived shortly after another a couple of weeks ago. The first one was written "by a classmate of mine from high school who happens to be 100% Norwegian", Val writes. Here it is:

Had an intriguing visit with a Norwegian the other night, by golly,
Then read some limericks about things including a dog named Dolly*,
Hangin' out at the Dirty Bird, tossing frisbees at the park,
And doing other wacky and crazy things on a lark,
With hopes of another visit with this Norwegian, I send out this volley.

By RA 10/19/2011

The next poem is unmistakingly written by Val herself, and the poems taken together look like the first rounds of a match or a playfull fight. Stay tuned, as they say!


I'm sending the next volley on this limerick life's journey being...
As we continue our friendship, it turns out we could've had another beginning...
While attending a high school as classmates in seventy-four,
Parallel existence oftentimes crossing a floor, shadowing through a shared exit door,
A visit intriguing? Yes, our Nordic eyes of green...could have met many previous moments before we began of each-other visually seeing.

By Val 10/29/2011

Then came two new poems from Val before 24 hours had passed. It seems like a drama is unfolding on this page, or is it a saga? A drama ends, a saga goes on and on ...

From the times we both recently spent and gave,
If my life is to flourish, this next volley I'll save,
I've so little money of which to give,
Yet, such a fulfilling life I live,
We'll still remain friends, dear, "be safe, and be brave!"

In future times in a future meeting,
I'll respond in a friendly and kind greeting,
Our current unfortunate fateful timing,
Requires too much tweaking and priming,
And my opportunities are way too rapidly fleeting.

I'm not sure if this poem – which arrived at Nov 11 – is a new chapter in the saga above. Val often makes her poems "open", therefore the readers have many mind paths to choose between while reading them.

To Save the Life of a Friend

On 11/11/11, Veterans Day, I began I hope a most wondrous thing,
I spoke from my heart to pray and sing,
Joining with all of the countless voices,
For a new best friend to make tough choices,
To make a new, better beginning I hope of everything.

A couple of days before Christmas, on the darkest day in the year, Val sends this poem, which removes the darkness better than any Christmas tree:

Welcome! To all of our family and friends from me, Charlee, and my little sis, Layla

Welcome! To all of our family and friends from me, Charlee, and my little sis, Layla,
In celebration of Mommy's and Daddy's wedding at this New Year's Eve Gala.
You might wonder why Mommy and Daddy waited so long.
Layla and I got to dress-up all fancy and dance to the music and songs.
You'll get to see us in all of the photos and videos, as the New Year unfolds and the old one is gone.
So now and forever our family is strengthened and bound.
Sure, it has been a long time to get here, but Mommy and Daddy have together found,
That they both know it was much more fun to wait and have us girls around!

Valerie J. Kolle 12/22/2011

And two days later ...


Love is not just there then not,
nor does it just suddenly appear. Love starts out like a golden spade. It starts out slowly, like a garden being tilled or a house being built.
The seeds in the soil and the stones of a foundation are gently placed. The garden is watered and nourished, and the young plants
rise up and seek the sunbeams which shine down upon them from above. Mortar is sculpted between the stones to further strengthen
the beginnings of the structure. A small fence is placed around the garden to provide protection from predators. A floor is interlocked
edged with baseboards and quarter-rounds. Trellises and supports help to hold and guide the plants as they grow. Framework is lifted
into place and rafters are formed. The garden is weeded and flowers are fertilized and some of the fruits of the garden are harvested
for nourishment and shared for brotherhood. Windows are placed to let in the sunshine and bring the beautiful views of the world
into the shelter. A tree may grow in the garden, with deep-set roots and branches spreading and swaying outward and upward in praise.
A stone fireplace and mantel bring warmth, and ambiance. Walls and a roof protect the interior from the harsh elements and storms
of the seasons. A garden gate and a door are in place to further welcome those who are filled with goodness and faith, and to screen out
the others who are influenced by disrespect.
That is how love is. That is how love is built. That is how love is.
That is what love is to me.

Valerie J. Kolle, 12/24/2011

A new year has arrived, and along with it a new poem from Val. It is an obituary, written two and a half years ago, showing Val from her warm and reflective side. As a matter of fac, I don't think she can be cold and cynical!

A Friend named Farrah

I admire you Farrah, your beauty, your courage, my friend.
You shining smile, your sweetness,
with your "passing on" will not end.
You are an "Angel" to all of us, you lived a life you will continue to share.
I bring forth the feelings of the world in expressing how much we care.
You were so loving, so selfless, as you showed a belief held so strong and so bold.
You left us a legacy from your life which forever and truly be a love which we always will hold.

Valerie J. Kolle 6/26/2009

A couple of months have passed without new texts or photos on my website, due to a computer crash. In the meantime Val has mailed a new poem:

Love Foreboden

Why is it that I feel most connected,
While with all others I remain rejected?
A chemical attraction,
And a loving distraction,
Magnetic temptations mirrored and reflected.
The form is limerick, the content is far from that. But then Val likes to make contrasts of this kind.

Here Val tries a new line: Poems for children, one for Christmas and the other for Easter. You've got competition, Lewis Carroll!

Children love tall tales, especially when animals turn into humans and humans turn into animals – nice animals, of course! And what could be nicer than the Grandma/reindeer combination?

My kids' grandma was a reindeer

My kids' grandma was a reindeer,
Dressed for Santa Christmas Eve.
Her nose was red 'cause of the blizzard,
As the snowy wind blew in her face.
(And from the brandied eggnog which she'd laced!)

My kid's grandpa couldn't find her,
Till the bells rang out on Christmas Day.
For when the mall's doors were closing,
Santa and his elves began to play.

Mrs. Claus took off with all the presents,
Flying 'round upon the sleigh.
Making sure that all the children,
Got their toys that Christmas Day!

Grandma stumbled in the kitchen,
As the taxi drove away.
Her reindeer tail caught in the doorway,
Her reindeer horns were torn and sprained.

My kid's grandma was a reindeer,
And her life was forever changed.
Yah, our poor ol' dearest grandma,
Ne'er quite seemed the same again!

By Val J. Kolle 11/1/11

Easter Bunny Grandma

Our poor Grandma needed dollars,
So she put aside her pride,
Bills were piling up down in the holler,
Just as the Easter Eggs were getting dyed.

Grandma dressed up like a big fur bunny,
Wire-rimmed specs upon her face,
All the kids thought she looked so funny,
Spilling jelly beans all o'er the place.

Grandma bent right on over, reaching down to scoop them up,
As for the furry pants, they tore and split,
Poor ole' dear sweet Grandma slipped then, "whoop!"
Landing cross-legged on the floor to sit, and quit.

The Mall Cop, he had to help to get her--
Up from sitting on the floor,
Grandpa rode up with a quilt and scooter,
To wrap and ride Grandma out the door.

Grandma felt all sad and toasted,
Yet she'd been captured on a DVR,
And on "you-tube" she was posted,
"Hit" so much she's now a Star!

Valerie J Kolle, 3/20/12
Another Grandma fable, but in a very modern setting: Now you can watch her on Youtube!

This poem has a long history of revisions, thumbs up's and thumbs down's from Val. She felt it was too negative, too brutally honest, too – well, anyhow, at last she gave a final "Yes". Afterwards she'll travel through some Australian desert, but that's another tale, as Kipling said.

I ask,"What if the shoe was on the other foot?"

Oh right, you told me from the start,
That you had a broken heart.
Yet, you sought me, enticed me, and drew me in,
I treated you like a royal, fragile King in glass.
You said, "Don't go on that path of caring,
Don't fall for me 'cause I won't be a friend in sharing."
Mutual communication; day and night, photos, voice mails and greetings,
Texting, laughter, loving, and midnight meetings.
You said, you hadn't been out there seeking,
One night stands with flirtatious speaking,
Tied to a spouse of lying and cheating,
You wished to be free despite misleading,
Mistreating our new friendship we had been building,
Our short-lived encounter's glistening guilding.
Bluntly and suddenly, "Don't text me or talk, or communicate,
I just wish to find myself, I'll tell you that straight.
Just chill till we meet, 'cause it's just for a while,
I don't want to have to explain should we reconcile."
Emotionally withholding, you told me from the start,
Continually foreboding, "Don't open your heart."
You had spoken, about a numbness and of anger inside of which you couldn't depart.
Well, then,
Sorry about all that, and what could've been.
I'm a person who's tough in a way,
Yet, if people stray, I go away.

Valerie J. Kolle 1/25/2012

And here is a very personal greeting from Val:

"Happy Birthday to Josh"

"Happy Birthday to Josh, my youngest son,
My car over-heated so it can't be run,
Love you lots, Josh, from ev'ryone.
From early dawn to the setting sun,
Hope your day is filled with fun.
My car won't fire, unlike a gun,
The shop says my car's done,
Soon, but it'll cost $264-1-1,
I'm so proud of you, 'Hon.'
Now, this poem is done,
Love, Mom XXOO..."

Posted on his FB timeline, March 26, 2012, 9:47am.

– followed by an even more personal and very eloquent message to a friend, not named but much loved:

For Now

For now, you are the best reflection,
Of deepest regard, in a loving connection,
My truest lover, my best friend,
We converge, without envisioned end,
Fondest memories, a perfect day, flawless, with unbridled direction.

For now, our love is grasping the depths of our hearts,
Like a fistful of lightning clasping the sky in a jagged, earth-shattering arch.
Unexpected, refreshing and true,
Uncontrived, enmeshing and new,
Dynamite blasting, sculpting the mountainous cliff into the gems of our love from its start.

For now, we know not where the path of our love is leading,
Yet, as sure as the farmer's field is cultivated each spring with the new seedlings,
Our love will grow,
Of that we do know,
And the sun will follow the rain with a rainbow and its bright rays needling.

Valerie J. Kolle
April 21, 2012

Here's Val in a lighter mood – or mode – in new surroundings, at least. If you have trouble understanding the language in this poem, try speaking it instead of reading it. Then you suddenly will be back in a cinema, watching a vintage movie set in the late 1800's. A very amusing effect, but still a love story underneath. Bit o' Hill-billy

We're so crazy 'bout each-udda dat's fer sure,
Jes' like da fishes to da fishin' lures!
Unda' a blanket o' stars so brite,
Shaded by da pines 'tween a moonlit nite,
Let's jes' cuddle up togeda' 'n see what occurs!

Kissin' n a-huggin' n a-luvin' by a mount'n stream,
Da lake reflectin' da sky's moonbeams,
Quilted, floral hills,
Nature's paint'd stills,
Be my only darlin' forev'r 'n yer nightly dreams!

Val 5/11/2012

Violets are red roses are blue

Violets are red roses are blue
I get so mixed up when I'm with you
Love ya,
This one is very funny! Being a Norwegian I had to read it twice before I saw what Val has done. Do you see it?

A witty and pointed limerick! Poor guy, I guess by now he's laying on a psychiatrist's couch pouring out his inferiority complexes. Sad. I once saw a J. Cash impersonation,
With a guy whose Harley I rode on occasion.
He liked to email not text,
Was confused and perplexed,
When faced with a woman whose brainwaves still function.

Long Ago Forgotten

My mind takes over my broken-down heart.
Again, I find myself alone, as I depart.
I'll miss my friend as he falls in line...
With other loves I've lost through time.
In all my wanderings I've yet...
To find my love who'll stay and set.
Tears fall again without shame nor regret.
"Go further on!" my mind helps my healing heart forget.
Here's Val in a sentimental and reflective mood, but with an optimistic note in the end.

Mark the title! Of course, Val hasn't written a poem discussing Darwinism, but she's telling a little story about what allways happen to a relationship between two people: It evolves. They change, they adapt, and after a while both are different from what they started as. Evolution

He's dispensing directives of delusions of such,
Romantic dreams of secretive seclusion, and touch,
Her role; as yet obscure and alone,
Like a down-trodden step supporting a throne,
As he foolishly "plays house" for "status quo" retention of much.

Bound by the fears of slander, desertion, and loss of property,
He remains devoted and in a dual-faced sovereignty.
She tries to remain strong,
For now, but how long?
She must stand up for her worth, and unyielding iniquity.

Val has been on a walkabout, as I think they say "Down under", and she certanily has picked up a lot of impressions along the road - and filled a long line of limericks with them. I guess she a lot more of building ideas for poems now. A journey like this must be a real eye-opener and mind-opener.

"Memory Quilt" Limerick
For my Penpal Libby

Maccas/Mickey-D's, KFC, and John Deere,
America's Country and Rock Classics, on the radio, I hear,
Yet, on the left, I ride,
Steering wheel; other side,
I'm confused at times, on whether I'm there or here.

A while ago, I hopped on a jet to Melbourne,
Quittin' a job to see, listen, and learn,
A culture and language,
In an "emptied nested"-age,
Seeing a "Land Down Under?" Hey, kids! It's my turn!

We were North-eastern bound, that day,
As we hopped a Ferry in Sydney Bay,
At ten, I dreamed,
Yet, it seemed,
This was a world much too far away!

We ate "French Fries," to Aussies known as "Chips,"
And fresh, "poached" Lobster, as it melted between our lips,
We toasted to the moment,
At Denny's Seaside Restaurant,
As we watched sailboats and sea-bound, freighter ships.

The jazz and folksy tunes of voices sing out, along,
As gum trees line rolling hills of the country-side in song.
The Australian signs announce,
words of places, I can't pronounce,
The foreign birds glide in flight and 'roos (like deer) gracefully hop-along.

Near Torquay, we saw a surfer, "Point Danger," and felt an Antarctic gale,
We honored in memorial five decades since the loss of six "Red Sales."
The dads, husbands, brothers, and sons of the R-double-A-F,
The families who loved them as they left,
For the love of their country and sacrifice, in sovereignty, to each of the pilots, I tip my hat, salute, and hail!

Together, my friends and I will fly to Darwin, in the north,
Experiencing the poverty and riches of East Timor.
The poverty of health,
The Timorese people; to me define wealth.
Their hearts, their hopes, their dreams define the young country's worth.

I left Fargo during a humid, heatwave of 90 degrees,
To Melbourne, in the crispness of their winter and an ocean breeze.
First time; below the Equator,
And, my pen-pal, Libby, meeting her.
For my 56th birthday I decided, that this moment, finally, needed to be seized!

Footprints in the sand at the bay in Geelong,
Sounds like the words that turn into lyrics of a melodic song.
We grew up in our letters,
Enriching our lives each for the better,
Why, in God's world did we wait so long?

Raising our children, school and careers,
Our lives continued to be busy as parents for years,
While our children were growing and active,
Cherishing those times in which we had lived,
We are both at crossroads in our fifties, and changing our gears.

We spent a day in a Gold Rush town,
Seeing life in the 1800's, as we walked around,
An old-fashioned photo was taken,
Decades dealt in the making,
As we dressed up with fans, feathers, and gowns.

Minneapolis, Denver, LAX, Beijing, and Shang Hai,
Onward to Melbourne, I lost a day while I flied.
From East Timor,
To Singapore,
Through South Korea, and Texas, In September, I will say, "See Ya!" and "Well Done!" instead of "Good Bye!"

From your pen-pal, Val
August 5, 2012

P.S. And, yes, we will again share a visit over a "cup'a" someday!

Here are two poems from Val in a reflective mood, not playful five-lines limericks this time, but long and flowing lines. However, even if she writes with almost free line lenght and metrics she still uses rhymes to add weight to important words. Don't be surprised if she also tries more rhyme-free verses some day!

For Your Loss

As I commemorated a ceremony at a remembrance day,
I heard someone express her personal loss of that day.
Not knowing her father as she grew up as a child,
A difficult life; unreconciled.
Had she listened, she could have heard,
She's not alone in her loss that had occurred.
See that man with the smile and a twinkle in his eye?
The loss of his brother, from within, the child still cries.
See that woman, looking strong with pride,
She was once a hopeful bride.
She alone raised three children, holding the loss inside.
See that lady with the heart of gold,
She lost her partner as she has now grown old.
The parents have since passed on, who had lost their sons,
They aren't here to express, "You were not the only one!"
No, it's not a wedding for which we gather, today,
Yet, our common bonds were welded together, as we say,
"The RAAf is one family, and we all feel the loss of these men,
Yet, we celebrate their strength, and their courage, without end.
They lived their dreams flying o'er us in the sky,
We honor their memories, and their legacies, which will not e'er die."
Think of how these fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands we've lost would've wanted us to live,
If they could've had all of these years with us to experience, to share, and to give.

Valerie J Kolle 8/15/2012

"Carry On"
You met life early, on your own,
Joining military forces, a young woman moving from home.
Driving jeeps...then, you met a pilot, Reg.
Serving your country was your mutual pledge.
For both, his love of flying and country, he was duty-bound,
The height of his dreams, he limitlessly found,
His legacy, will forever be around.
Yet, Noreen, you "carried on,"
As a rock, solid and strong,
Standing proudly, by your girls, All those years long.
Your spirit, your strength, instilled success in their futures,
As teachers, and a nurse, their careers you helped to develop and nurture.
Your character, your resilience which you held steadfast inside,
They'll see in their Mum, always and forever with honor and pride.
Therefore, these birthday wishes, in your twilight years are bestowed,
With utmost gratitude to you, as, in their hearts of you, forever, they hold,
And, with each new generation, in the future, your story will be told.

Valerie J. Kolle

Congratulations, Val!

South of the Sun

I was South of the Sun, when my grandson was born,
Little, "early bird," on an August morn,
You couldn't wait, as they had predicted you would,
So far away, wishing to be near you, as I knew I should.
There will be plenty of those times, I hope, when I return,
When I can hold you, and hug you, of that I yet yearn.
Welcome, grandson, you're my first little boy,
In the next generation, and of this decade, to bring, a newly-born joy!

M.C.R., 8/28/12
By Grmaval 8/31/2012

Val has an amazing vocabulary, and this time she plays with words, in the way children love to do. It's not so easy as it looks!

A Child's Rhyming Words

A rainbow, and a boat, which Noah built, are both an "ark."
The noise of a dog, and the skin on a tree, are "bark."
When the sun sets at night until morning, it's "dark."
In olden days, and when the angels sang, people shouted, "Hark!"
An adventure, as well as, our state bird are called a (Meadow) "Lark."
And, a place to hike, camp, picnic, and play is a "Park."
Finally, and most importantly, something special, and significant, and you, are both named "Mark."

By Grmaval 11/04/2012

These two poems arrived with the following note attached: "Two older poems". Older? Her first poem arrived here March 31, 2005, and on September 17 the next year she got her own page on my website. That was the day before she wrote the first of her two "older" poems! I don't know how many years Val has been writing poems, but if you look higher up on this page you'll find "At Work in the Hospital", written when she was eight. There must be many more rhymes in her drawers ...

Isabelle's Gift

One of the last times we met she was encircled with joy and uplift.
It was her birthday month and her bright-eyed smile was to us all her fine gift.

She was being serenaded by Kroshus with his keyboard filling in for his Krew.
Taking it all in, she wasn't sure what to think nor quite certain what to do.

He sang, "Isabelle, Isabelle, she's my gal!"
"She looks so pretty, and ain't she swell?"

Isabelle smiled enjoying the musical attention
Her coy smile responded with kindness to the loving affection.

She had known my name in greeting soon after we first met,
Yet it was her smile with her eyes and pursed lips that I won't forget.

When she moved to St. Catherine's where she received such great care--
We always heard it reported how she was doing and thriving so well there.

Be proud of how all of you added to her life more cherished years
To a lady we will miss because she gave us so much unconditional love and great cheer.

September 18, 2006

"Friends First"

So rare a find...those hazel eyes;
Glimmering leaves of autumn paradise,
"Be patient, my heart...let his gentle ways
Unveil the path to future ways."

Too briefly his strong arms embrace,
My yielding heart melts as I upwardly seek his kind face.
"Too soon...hold back for another time...another place,
When we both may be consumed with love and grace."

I yearn for the time to laugh and to dance,
To hear his see his glance.
I fall for the mere hint of romance.
From my unquenched love...departs the gentleman.

From the Winter of 2002

This poem reminds me of a painting, not a specific painting, but something that Norman Rockwell COULD have made. However, Val paints with words, but the result is the same: The reader gets a picture of a real human being placed in his natural surroundings. Very touching!

Self-made Man

It had been three years since I'd heard his deep voice,
The lapse in the timing had been his past choice.
He shared photos of his impending retirement site,
Mountainous foliage with evergreens of a heavenly height.
Armed with a flatbed trailer, a tractor, and tools,
He and his best "buddy" are skilled, hard-working, and "nobody's" fools.
The slide-show on his computer showed the two warriors' quest,
Blazing a road upward in the direction which nature guided them best.
Measuring and cutting the timber they had brought,
They framed up a work-shed; the first building ever to set foot on this virgin, forest plot.
His dreams are unfolding as his retirement nears,
I looked and listened to his intentions with curious eyes and ears.
Some people talk about dreams such as this man,
A log-home in the mountains, many artists have painted such land.
They don't have the fortitude and strength, though, so very few stand...
Long enough to plan and create the vision, as I know this man can.
I have seen this man's handiwork in marble and wood,
Creating a family room as only he could.
Hardwood floors interlocked, imbedded with tile,
Interlaced with designs unique in his style.
The centerpiece; a marble-lined hearth crowned with a solid wood mantel,
Prairie views to the east, wooded river to the west,
A soft furry rug, and a cozy, leather couch completes the room best.
A room where a family can gather, visit, and rest.
The "Duke" would've agreed that the room was quite ample.
This farmer, mechanic, and carpenter is a self-made, "hands-on" man.
From humble beginnings, he reveals his story as only he can.
As many as twelve children in his family were born.
They slept in a cold, upstairs bedroom under quilts piled up and poor,
Only heated by a stove-pipe which rose up in a hole in the center of the floor.
He described how a glass of water froze,
As he reached his feet to the stovepipe to warm up his toes.
A staircase rose steeply into the corner of this room,
Their parents slept downstairs since they'd been pronounced "bride and groom."
An early memory this man nearing retirement did recall,
Was him, riding his new "Christmas" trike down the steep stairwell, and the injuries from his fall.
He purchased his current abode from his mom's cousin, and a classic red barn...
Is the only original building one can see on this farm.
He has a fine home with a deck facing the river bend,
An attached garage for his truck and classic car on the mend,
A Quonset to the north holds a combine; for additional earnings,
A windmill and a weather-vane complete the view with their natural turnings.
As he invests hard work and time and the last of his earnings,
All of this current farmstead will be sold for his future retirement home yearnings.

I shared my photos from my recent journey with this man,
Catching up with the past three years in the best way two old dear friends can.

After her trip to Australia and other countries Val has become more international in her views. Her poems reflect that, and below is an excample. It is dedicated to Lucy, but I think Val also writes to herself, as in this quote: "Learn as much as you can to fulfill your dreams, To travel the world, and go overseas." A very good advice for everyone!

Dedicated to "Lucy"

In Timor-Leste, the children laugh and smile as they play...
Soccer on a riverbed or beachfront, all dusty and gray.
They run, dance, and dive into the waves.
Beautiful children on a peaceful, Sabbath Day!

Youngsters, born in a freedom we all take for granted.
A mere decade ago, since this independence was planted.
Their parents saw a horribly tough times of fear and loss,
While Indonesia remained the country's strict ruler and boss.

Thank Heaven for the goodness of the United Nations,
And Australians who never forgot young boys who stood by the WWII soldiers at their stations,
And all of the people in the rest of the world...
Who supported the Timorese as their flag was raised and a new peaceful time unfurled.

A young mom, a sister, and her toddler stopped by the open market in Dili one day,
Visiting with an American on a three week stay.
They communicated on a September afternoon while little "Lucy" played.

Typing on their phone, a message in Portuguese,
They translated and read, "We'd like to visit America! Please!"
As the American, in her heart, "adopted" the "Timorese."
She listened and replied, advising the beautiful, hopeful, young ladies,
"Learn as much as you can to fulfill your dreams,
To travel the world, and go overseas."

In Timor-Leste, the children laugh and smile as they play...
Beautiful children on a peaceful, Sabbath Day!

"Merry Christmas, Lucy! I hope all of your wishes and dreams come true!"

Here's a proven formula: A grandchild + Christmastime = A new poem from Val. Hopefully Santa will also find an answer to that formula!

"A Two Year Old's Wish"

By Grandma Val, 12/09/2012

"It's Christmastime!" Layla said.
"I saw Santa. He wears red!"
"What did you ask for, my little dear?"
"What did you whisper in his ear?"
"I want a present!" Was all the little sweetheart had pled.

Such a simple request for Santa to fill,
The unspoiled, innocence of a young child's will,
She loves butterflies, puppies and kitties,
She draws hearts & flowers, oh so pretty,
Her trusting bright eyes see the goodness in this world still.

So Santa, when you fly with your sleigh full of toys,
For all of this world full of girls and boys,
Who seem to forget,
That it's not what you get,
But, it's the gifts from the heart that bring joy!

Val is the grandmother of three very sweet children – Charlee (the oldest), Layla and Mark (the youngest). Here they are:

This is a poem based on impressions from the funeral of an old man. Val picks one element as a recurring theme – the color of blue – and use it to literally paint a little movie of the ceremony. Cleverly done!

Country Blue

Accordion recordings entertain all as they're sweetly greeted.
Polkas and waltzes spin into congregational minds as they're seated.
Family, friends fill up the church where they're treated.
A wood-carved altar portraying Christ's ascension in a sky of pure blue.
A small, country chapel with stained-glass windows of brilliant hues.
A country-blue acoustic guitar strumming,
Songs which in my mind I still keep on humming.
Sons sing about an "Old Rugged Cross,"
Honoring their father during a service for his loss.
Standing next to his casket of a royalty blue,
It was their dad's wish to share songs olden and true.
In a field of blue the white stars are set,
Upon a triangular-tucked flag for a Korean War Vet.
Gilded-winged Angels border the altar on banners of blue,
Heralding heaven's promise anew.
A sunshiny, wintery January sky,
Tears welling up in blue eyes as they cry.
With four generations, a man's legacy lives on as we all say, "Good-bye!"

Valerie J. Kolle 1/09/13

Well, what shall I call this suit of poems, all of them written during a single day? Val calls this collection

Sites Along An Enchanted Highway West of Bismarck

It's not appropriate to write comments on each poem – just read and enjoy!


by Val J. Kolle 10/04

Brief as the click of a camera’s shutter,
Fleeting shadows cross my gaze.
A unified formation of glide and flutter,
Frozen suspended against autumn, sunset rays.


by Val J. Kolle 10/04

No man can “fence in”
      this swift, graceful creation.
He leaps to the sky
      with resultant elation.
Another awaits so she too can try
      to jump beyond her life’s current station.


by Val J. Kolle 10/04

Like 3D puzzles of pieces interlocked,
Gigantic critters, thrilled to devour the harvest wheat stalk.
Woe to the farmer, whose lifestyle depends,
On crops he can salvage and land he must mend.


by Val J. Kolle 10/04

Who could have imagined a man made of “Rough Ridin’” stuff,
Would lend his name “Teddy” to bears made of fluff?
To comfort the children as their dreams start to dance,
We fondly pay tribute to the memory of the President with the uplifting stance.


by Val J. Kolle 10/04

“Better save your metal!” warned Misses to Mister.
“Little tin brother is gettin’ a baby tin sister!”
“We’ll need tin for a cradle, as well as, a stroller,
Tin quilts and tin blankets--as the weather gets colder.”


by Val J. Kolle 10/04

Crimson cheeks beneath a headdress of evergreen
The rooster dons a collar of egg-white sheen
Lending towards feathers of a multi-hue blend
Like the leaves on the trees upon autumn’s end.
The hen and her chicks have more subtle attire
Fair khaki-like colors to camouflage from predator’s fire.


by Val J. Kolle 10/04

Wow, what a “ Whopper!”
This must be a dream.
That is the biggest Bass
In my life that I’ve seen.
They’d never believe how BIG
If this fish got away,
But, I’ll let him go and get bigger
To catch another day.

This is both Val and not Val, at least she is exploring a new poetic landscape. The poem conveys the impressions from a dream and the feelings after awakening. This creates a strange and disquieting effect – where does the dream end and where does reality begin?

A Message from a Dream Unveiled

Written by Val J. Kolle 2/18/2013

I dreamt of a room where children went to die,
To meet with a familiar child, I know not who, or why.
Who was this child so grateful I was there...
In a room with other children with vaulted ceiling, walls, and beds so vast, yet bare?

The children arose, introduced and greeted me,
I hesitated to shake their hands extended out towards me.
What fear had taken over me...
In a clearly pure, sterile world of theirs in which I had seen?

Who are they? Are they already gone from our world and waiting...
All alone in that room hesitating?
My dream ended as I had awakened...
Yet, where was this world to which I'd been taken?

I remember mosaics, and colored stained-glass windows,
Sunlight shining through the kaleidoscope of artwork shown.
Upon a tomb of Australian soldier who left this earth unknown.

Who were those children wherever they were, hopeful yet so alone...
In limbo, and waiting in a colorless, temporary home?

Their hair was short, and their eyes wide open...
What were they thinking...
And what were they hoping?
They were so quiet after their greeting with their mouths with words still yet unspoken.

There were feint smiles which showed on their faces...
In this room unlike any other places.
The image remained as I awakened...
I wrote this down, without hesitating.

I don't know what this means except that I was touched,
By those children whose spirits yearned for so little, yet lacked so much.
Was the dream symbolic of what we should give...
To children exiting our world as they cease to live?

Their room should be filled up with colors of love...
Angelic images of Heaven above!
In a world with the beauty of the people of all colors and race,
The families should be there with the warmest embrace...
And, there should be doctors, nurses and caregivers with smiles, love, and God's Grace!

This time Val has chosen an athlete and a magic moment as stuff for a poem. Of course she makes a twist near the ending and lifts the poem even higher than the glove of Mr. Kirby. You don't have to know American baseball to see her point!


Inspired by my son, Kevin, and the tear which he shed,
For Kirby, whose “whole-hearted” spirit has led
Him as an athlete, a coach, and a teacher of Phy. Ed.
A glorified name of great fame resonated in their calls
As youngsters echoed it towards their canine four-legged pals.
Etched in my son’s memory lies a moment in time which stands still,
As a batter swung boldly towards a sphere approaching the bat
Escaping release from the pitcher on the field’s center hill.
A loud crack filled the stadium, the bat dropped in the dust,
The “batter” turned “runner” as the pop-ball flew upward
In a strong windswept gust.
A mere four rows above the outfield’s wall sat my son,
Thinking, ”Oh, no! That hit is a goner – a definite home run.”
Yet, amazingly, a player, who despite a large stature, was swift,
Famed for his movements as he reached far above,
The length of his arm, extending his glove,
As he jumped, like a dancer in a graceful high lift.
As the ball traveled on, destined for the stands like a marksman’s arrow,
Kirby’s glove became the “bull’s eye” for the targeted show,
As the ball’s path was abruptly shortened, in a margin made narrow.
In this era of product endorsements, sales,
Cruel tabloids and promotions,
We’ve lost sight of our heroes; their lessons of sportsmanship,
Encouragement and true-hearted emotions.
For there will always be a cherished, indelible moment
In the memory of my son to recall –
When his hero a man called Kirby lead in the forefront of fame
For Minnesota Twins baseball –
Through the World Series and “The Game”
As an athlete who had also become a fond “friend” to us all.

Written by: Val J. Anthony, March 7, 2006

Secret Leprechaun

This leprechaun has eyes of green,
Yet, she secretly kept from being seen,
A clue, if you know it,
She's also a poet,
And, her real name is; "_______ Jean."

A riddle or a limerick? Both, of course. Need more clues? As a matter of fact, the solution isn't far away. The rhytm of the verse demands the long form ...

If you look higher on this page you'll find the first chapter in the saga of a "Self-made Man". Reading the last line in this poem you may sense a third chapter coming in the future. It certainly looks like a cliff-hanger here – no, that sounds too cynical. After all Val writes about something you'll never find in a soap opera – real human beings!

Self-made Man, Revisited

We continued to visit for a time,
And our friendship appeared to grow and climb.
He revealed his challenges as a young adolescent husband and father,
In a shunning society which in those days couldn't be bothered.
How he met the challenges with commitment, strength and worth,
Following the lives of this three daughters' births.
He continued to reveal his further challenges in this society of disparity,
Testing for a diploma, diesel tech training, working past charity.
I still admire this man, although our paths have diverged and became separate,
So suddenly, again, with my heart quite unprepared for it.
An unsolved mystery, should he ever try rekindle the embers, I may no longer let my heart be spared for it.

Valerie J. Kolle

A little poem signalling a big event: It's Spring! Val observes the geese trek now, here we have to wait two more weeks. In the meantime we can read Vals poem. Canadian Geese

The trumpeting sounds of the migrating geese in the Fall,
Forebode a Winter season, of which I dread,
Returning, that same sound, I greet with a welcome call,
As they travel Northward, in the Spring, instead.

Perhaps, someday, I'll be a "Snow-bird,"
And follow them on their way,
Or move, somewhere, elsewhere onward,
Or, perhaps, I'll stay.

4/8/2013 Val J. Kolle

With the heading "Self-Made Today 4/27/2013" Val has sent a new episode in The Saga of the Self-Made Man. Scroll upwards for the two first poems. The last lines this time pont forward to new episodes – if Val will tell us.

Further Self-Made

"Flipping" Autos with Engines Anew,
Endless Productions of Projects to do,
Free hours to Share are as yet few.
A Tractor from Youth Becomes
Through his Skills, Attention and Time Unabated.
The Metal Penetrates Him and Enters His Bloodstream,
I Wonder Still What Part of This Man's Plan Can I Possibly Glean?
Am I a Part of his Future or Am I Merely a Fool?
A Temporary Friend, Lacking Solid Assurance from this Man and his Tools.
He tells me Tidbits of his Youth, driving a small Tractor with his Brother Operating the Clutch,
Till they Drove up the Barn's Interior Wall a Little too Much.
And how the Boy Once Caught a
Pitch-Fork as it was Thrown in the Air,
Stuck as it Descended, Pinning Him in Place and Impaired.
He never Questioned For Even a Second about Life Being Fair.
Patience and Time I Hope will Unveil,
That I'm Worthy to Join Him in the Future of His Tale.

You can experience different things from this poem. First of all, you may wish to visit what Wikipedia calls "a collection of the world's largest scrap metal sculptures"; secondly, you may study a road atlas to find every place name that Val mentions; or – as I do – you can admire Vals clever use of alliteration, as in "Meandering Miles from the Mighty Mississippi" and almost all the other lines.

Highway of Enchantment

By Val J. Kolle 12/04

Wandering West of the Mini-Apple,
Meandering Miles from the Mighty Mississippi,
In a World far beyond
Minnesota's Mega-Mall,
Crossing past the Glacial Valley of Lake Agassiz,
Stretching across the Dakota's Bison and Pioneer's Plains,
Beyond Lewis and Clark's Missouri River and Byway,
South of a Lake bearing Sacajawea's Spiritual Name,
Traveling the Trestles and Tracks of a Rugged Railway,
North of the Mountainous Monuments of Crazy Horse and Presidents Past,
And a Six-Decades (Now Seven) Site of an "Empowered" Two-Wheelers' Blast,
East of the Rockies, Pompey's Pillar, Montana, and "Old West" Medora,
Amid the Crossings of Covered Wagons and Native American Nations from Former Eras,
Beneath the Path of Instinctual, Bi-Annual Winged Migrations,
Lies a Unique, Unexpected, Unusual Destination,
A Product of Great Effort and Undaunted, Unlimited Imagination...
"The Enchanted Highway!"

Now and then Val digs deep in her drawers to find older poems. This time she has sent a sweet little verse weitten in 1993 to her eight year old daughter Kaira.

To: Sweet Kaira

Here is your poem;
I just have to say---
"Have a good lunch, and have a good day!
Don't miss your bus--as you go on your way!
Study your science--go out and play!
Say 'hi' to your teacher--be sure to obey!
Drink all of your milk--and secretly pray!
Eat all of your goodies--and clear off your tray!
Best Wishes, Love, Mom"

December 1, 1993

This poem is a result of a collaboration. Val sent it with this little rhyme as an explanation:

My Coworker, Yaddi, is a Composer of music and song,
So we took turns to create this on a shift that was long.

Nice work!

Wishful Thinking

A grasp at the air, an elusive escape
I dream of an ocean and a mountainous landscape

A wisping away dare I try grasping again?
Or should I move away to new thoughts I could blend

Like the waves washing up eroding the shore
I first see my dreams but time makes them no more

So I looked to the heavens and the mountainous peaks
And I look for the sun rise where wishful thinking speaks

Are these dreams a prison for goodness sake
Or is it the foam from my latte that keeps me awake

Too much reality steps and takes hold
Sure hope I’ve done more by the time I’ve grown old

I’m spending my time thinking the wishes are locks
But maybe its reality, I’m between hard places and rocks

So I looked to the heavens and the mountainous peaks
And I look for the sun rise where wishful thinking speaks

Others I meet bring me tid bits of their thoughts they hold true
Their messages help inspire me on what I should do

Truth peers through the darkness though I still must have faith
The truth from the rod and the staff keeps me safe

I need to seek God and let go of control
I need to stop worrying and let go...just let go

So I looked to the heavens and the mountainous peaks
And I look for the sun rise where wishful thinking speaks

But I still feel the hound of the fear dogs at night
Its breath on my heels brings terror in flight

I Awake from the night in the middle of day
O God...I scream...I grasp...I pray

The dog whimpers beside me as we step into the light
He’s now a companion like an angel from the night.

So I looked to the heavens and the mountainous peaks
And I look for the sun rise where wishful thinking speaks


My latte is getting cold should I get it warmed up?
Or should I just get another cup


I want a "Fat-boy," nice and low and easy,
That I can ride when it's sunny and calm, or breezy.
I'm talking of a bike,
I know I would like,
Of which I can control to please me.
Val never forgets the limerick form – or Harleys! But watch out, there's something behind rhs prosaic talk about bikes. She's writing about freedom.

Val sent this little thoughtful poem in an email yesterday, and a few moments later came another message, "I miss my Aunt Muriel." But the poem isn't a traditional obituary – it is a very touching way of "setting words" to any loss.

One More Time

When some one is gone,
Or, after lingering on,
You wish for...
One more time.

One more time...
To pray,
To say what you had hoped to say,
That could have helped them, perhaps, to stay.

Relationship break-ups,
People passing away,
People moving, or going far astray.

Just, one more time.

The summer is almost over, the autumn will soon come – and Val is writing poems in the moonlight in collaboration with a friend. Reflections of a Moonlit Night
By Don Y. and Val Kolle

A beautiful moon out tonight –
Worthy of writing a poem in its light!
It's God's way of showing the world's all right,
At peace, held in His hands and in His sight!
In our hearts, we know that is right,
Safeguarding us through darkness with a beacon bright.

A true poet will get inspiration from almost everything, for instance from pelicans fighting for food:

Pelicans on Rainy River

Graceful creatures soar, then downwardly glide,
Connecting, with the water, they dig, skim, and slide,
Braking, with quick, sharp slices
Like hockey blades shaving the ices,
They float, with their wings tucked alongside their buoyant bodies,
Their beaks move in unison like line-dancers' choreographies.

Enter, the fisherman's catch of the day.
He tosses the sacrificial object as the hungry birds' prey.
They paddle, and curiously and cautiously move toward it,
As if to measure, and judge it consumable,
Or, "Is it too large of a fit?"

Twice-times they pondered it, and paddled away,
Finally, the foursome pounced towards the prey,
With a determined, winged, splashing, chaotic, wet spray.

Somehow, the "winning" bird scooped up the fish with his beak,
Filling up, stretching his balloon-like pouch with a visibly, elongated treat.
Weighing him down, he hunched over just to stay on the the river afloat,
A greedy and selfish, old man donning the appearance of a braggert-like gloat.
As he drifted away with his prize,
His ill-fated destiny one can only surmise,
That his appetite had ruled him more than the common-sense with his eyes.

The remaining threesome continued the actions of their choreographed dance,
Fleeing, flying from their friend's dire circumstance.
For survivors learn perseverance, and undaunted resilience,
As the river reflects the setting sun's brilliance.

Journey Toward the Living God

By D. Y. (edited by Val)

The warm glow of a campfire on a clear, cool night
With the Milky Way shining bright,
Maybe, our love will come to pass,
On the shores of a moonlit beach, at last!

With waves coming in, and moonlight shining through,
We stand in awe of what God can do!
With sparks of the campfire rising toward the stars,
We praise the Lord for where we are!

Hope lies in what He has for our tomorrows,
He answers our prayers, so there’s much less sorrow!

As we travel along life’s beautiful coast,
We think about what we love the most!
We realize our souls,
That it is not the coast, nor the waves,
Nor our desires beside a midnight fire,
But it is the Lord who makes us whole!

Montana Man

I've been texting a man in Kalispell,
Where glacial peaks jut to a sky so big and swell,
Mutual talents between us,
Miles of Train-track to link us,
The results, as of yet, I cannot tell.

Val cannot leave the limerick form, but at the same time she puts her own mark on the verses. Most limericks are closed, the last line locks the door. Val lets the last line keep the door open for something to happen.
And after some days something happened – or did it? That's the beauty with poems, they often leave you wondering and and thinking "what if"? I still love the beauty of Kalispell,
Where glacial peaks jut to a sky so big and swell,
But I'll just save my "nickel,"
From a man who's so fickle,
As the train carries me, to a station of which yet, I cannot tell.

Val tells that this poem honors a client who passed away last month.

Uncle John; His Legacy

In years past, our dear uncle was visited by our parents;
His sister and her spouse,
At an institution of large populace, void of rights, values, personal belongings, possessions,
Or ownership of house.

Our mother’s love and her family followed him to his new home, Community and church altar.
Her family’s commitment to him with her passing
Never did falter.

Our earliest, fondest, joyful and humorous
Memories are filled,
With his energy, inquisitiveness, and boundless
Curiosity ne’er fulfilled.

He knew more and cared more about our lives and our family,
Of which he filled a vital role,
Teaching patience, with his passing, our stories and adventures
With him, will continue filling a ne’er vacant hole —
Which remains in our lives and our family. For there will never be another man,
As unique, friendly, and unfailing, as our Uncle John could withstand.

Our father took notice that as each friend or family member passed —
Only up to that time did he mention them last.
We will never know if it was due to the mourning of the loss
To which he gave respect,
Or with their loss our lives and his were too difficult
For his voice and his mind to reflect.

We were taught so many lessons of life’s tolerance
By our dear uncle beloved,
For in our minds and memories—he will always be coveted.

We see him reflected in our mirrors, and in our next generation,
As he brought to our lives his influence as a caring, loving addition.

So, whenever his times comes, and he has gone on —
To catch-up with our mother, Mary Lou, Uncle Ernie,
And eventually, our father, Ron,
Watching our tomorrows from Heaven with his undying spirit and song,
We will follow his example of coping, and moving along,
Rejoicing from the experience of knowing our “Dear Uncle John”
Allowing his influence to forever in our hearts stay strong.

Written for Ron, Michael and Timothy Engel.

Valerie J. Kolle
October 11, 2005

Here is Val in one of her favorite settings – the Nature, watching life in many forms and wondering about almost everything.

Seaside Dreams; Arising

Valerie J. Kolle
October 12, 2013

A distant foghorn moans through the predawn mist,
The waves shuffle sand-dollars with a sea-foam twist,
As the tides draw the sea outward with a hypnotic draw,
The sand remains etched,
with driftwood, seaweed, shells, and a small lobster claw.
In tide-pools, the colorful sea anemones blossom like floral bouquets,
Starfish cling to the underside of the rocks, shielded from the spray,
Their shelter from danger in the oncoming day.
A hermit crab pops out of his newly, acquired possession,
Flaunting the glamourous shell in an awkward procession.
A curious puppy causes the crab to burrow under the sand,
Quickly, the pup runs towards a stick, as it lands.
Barefoot children waltzing with the waves as if in a dance,
A lovestruck couple walks by hand-in-hand, focused deep in romance.
"Fairy floss" clouds appear as the mist fades away,
Pink and blue "cotton candy" greet the sun-rays of a newly born day.
The ships, and the boats appear in a diamond-like glistening sea,
A refreshing, rejuvenating, marine-kissed, spring-like breeze,
Shakes, rattles and rolls the moorings on the docks and the branches in the trees.
As I inhale, and breathe, and take it all in, I think, "What a beautiful day to be free!"

And here's a sequel:

Seaside Dreams; Put to Sleep

Valerie J. Kolle

As the sun rose and peaked in the sky,
The seagulls went gliding along as they flew by.
The noise as the curling waves splashing along
Were like a crescendo of cymbals clashing in song.
The vagabond families pitched their tents in the sand,
Claiming their temporary pieces of land.
The sun arched across the sky during the long busy day,
The fishermen provided a lunch of frying fish filets.
The water crept inward from the depths of the sea,
The hermit crab scuttled finding peace and safety.
The couple rode horseback along the sands of the shore,
Till they reached their cottage a mile southeast or more.
After a day of running with soccer balls and kites,
Swimsuits and towels are hung up and drying for the night,
The children are snuggled up in warm, homemade quilts on a log,
While petting their puppy and their trustworthy dog.
With dried branches gathered into a circle of stones,
A bonfire warmed up the night and their bones.
Hotdogs were roasted, marshmallows were toasted...
And melted into s'mores which they shared,
With guitar-playing, singing of praises and prayer.
The wind had subsided as the trees gently swayed.
The critters of the woods are nestled away.
The shadowy silhouettes of the ships and boats,
Fade on the horizon as if on the air they're afloat.
As the sun set on the waves crimson red,
The ocean, with such splendor, drifts back into it's bed.

Here is a new episode in an old saga (see above in this page). This time the episode unfolds with the changing seasons as a very effective background. That's how real life really is!

Self-made; Seasons


As spring evolved into summer's heat,
We continued as friends to visit and meet.
He drew up his plans as the fields were furrowed with seed,
He left in mid-summer to Idaho, bringing tools, tractor, and all that he'd need.
He grated a road further along a culvert and ridge,
Towards his shack, while his sisters brought goodies for him and his buddy, thus emptying their fridge.
A hole in the mountain brought forth water tapped into a new well,
Hooking a shower to the shed, which, in the 90 degree heat, was mighty refreshing and swell.
As the crops grew in the fields, our visits resumed,
Until harvest, when the farmer's combine and time was consumed.
A dry, summer turned into a rainy, wet autumn,
We had days go by with only mere glimpses of sun.
The wood-fire hearth with it's dancing flames' a-glowing,
With a call, I would join him as the leaves became blanketed with the winter's long season of snowing.
For the friendship yet continues with the self-made man who'll proclaim,
He "cannot be tied down," yet, likes having this "gal" in his life, just the same.

Here's a very interesting poem, a time capsule showing a world that is history now, seen through the eyes of a child. It's also a new writing style from Val, an almost rhyme-free flow of words and lines – cleverly done!

During a Time of Kennedy

My cousin’s now a Grandma, yet, it seems not so long since she was born,
On that day, like no other, the day we bid “goodbye” to an era, of which, we still mourn.
A photo-cube I have displays
Six old views of a child’s day.
A gathering of a family,
Months before that day in history.
Beside the graveled driveway,
Back in that time and place,
Next to Grandma’s clothesline, on a grassy lawn,
Rested a purple, patent leather case,
Which, a “bubble-cut,” brunette Barbie sat upon,
Driving from Texas and afar,
Former Naval Uncle Mel,
Working for NASA at the time,
Had brought his Jackie-looking bride,
And baby, Cindy, curly-haired,
In their copper-finned, white walled sports car.
Cousins, Gail and Tommy, watched in an excited dance,
As their dad, Arlen, held up their expectant mother, assisting her to a stance,
“Respect” devotedly given, without second thought or glance.
Across the road,
A baseball field was active,
A travelling circus was in town.
My cousin Gail and I ran over,
Looking at the glittery rides,
Calliope music escaped the tent,
So we took a peek inside.
Me, in my “pedal pushers,” and her, in a dress,
Were brought up on the stage, and asked to sing a song,
Gail, belted out, “Jesus Loves Me,” as I shyly sang along.
The circus lady pranced out with us towards a jewelry stand,
Engraved, silver bracelets were placed into our hands.
Tommy joined us later, as we walked out of the crowd,
So many people milled about, and the noise was getting loud.
We spied a baby elephant in the shade among some trees,
The elephant ate and played for us, as we felt a gentle breeze.
As we raced back towards Grandma’s to tell them all our news,
A big, old, wrinkled, “Rosie,” splashed mud upon our shoes.
Inside, the uncles were taking turns pumping vigorously,
As the aunts kept busy filling a basin with water at her feet.
After the trainer and Rosie sauntered along, and away,
The family gathered with sandwiches, and began to pray,
We celebrated with cakes and song, for Gail and Grandpa Mel’s birthday.
After arriving home that day, I remember blowing bubbles,
Standing in a child’s world, with no worries and no troubles.

Here Val writes in a rhyme-free style which suites her words and imagery very well. There are several connections with the poem above, but also with me: The first lunar landing gave my 30th birthday an extra festivity I'll never forget!


By Valerie J. Kolle
November 25, 2013

We setup our grey, second- hand canvas, ”Elephant,” tent with its flexible, fiberglass poles
Among the whitewashed, pealing, scarred birch, and aromatic pine.
The ground, the earth, was powdery and sandy,
Intertwined with dried needles, leaves, and cones.
Tall trees, drew our eyes upward to the sky,
Until a lake appeared in an open area,
Reflecting the blue sky in the water,
Edged by a horizon of jagged forest,
Shimmering reflections shadowed occasionally
By clouds, birds, and aircraft.
A smooth-ness interrupted with ripples,
Through the hands of nature, and of man.
The convoluted boundaries of the sky, water, and land
Overlapped between the two countries
Appearing to take on a more natural flow.
We had been cooped-up in the car,
So, my brother and I enjoyed the freedom
Of running around exploring the grounds.
Checking first where the facilities were,
Then gathering split wood, pieces of shredded bark, and twigs,
We prepared our site before becoming enveloped with the darkness of forested night.
In this awesome setting, the humans began whispering,
Then, the talk became more animated, and the excitement grew.
A small crowd of campers began moving in mass
Diverging in front of a camper trailer with a small, raised shelf.
The owner had a portable black-and-white TV hooked up to a long electrical cord
Connected to a utility pole.
He tuned in, adjusted the vertical hold, wiggled the antennae, following the crowd’s input,
Until the “snow” faded, and the picture became more clear.
A reporter on the set explained and displayed the milestone, historical event which was about to occur.
Like a kid playing in a sandbox, he utilized toy models of the space aircraft, and the lunar landing module.
The older campers looked up to the moon in the sky in disbelief,
And shouted comments like: “Impossible, how do we know they are really up there!“
“It looks like science fiction to me!” “It could be just another mock-up!”
As the reporter continued his live satellite report “on air,” I watched that historical first step.
I also looked up at the face of the moon, yet, as a child, with less skepticism, I believed.

Christmas time is coming again, with all its traditions and feelings and money-spending. But Val is writing about something else in this poem, using Christmas cookies as a metaphor for much deeper realities. And look who's on the photot!

Cookie Cutter Christmas
By Val 12/7/2013

Sometimes when you see us,
You think we are all the same.
We are the "homeless," the "mentally-challenged," and you don't even know our names.

This cookie cutter comes to you,
Uniquely decorated.
We were once the children of this Season celebrated.
Like the dough this cookie cutter cut,
We were molded into the image we were given,
Sprinkled with the sweetness of the world in which we're living.
The difference lies within us all, in how we face this earth,
And the ingredients within us we were given since our birth.
The blend of which gives us all our spiritual worth.

The child who once used this cookie cutter had dreams much like my own,
Dreams of love and family, and caring, peace and hope within a home.

(click on photo for larger version)

Val paints with words – and with colors. This drawing came with a few words, "Had some fun with pastels, today". Make more fun!

Is it a poem? Or is it a prose text? Both – it's a prose poem. But is it a prose poem about a Zamponi, and nothing more? Well, look at the title, and read the text again!

Thinking like a Zamboni

When you see a figure ice skating show or a hockey game, the glazed ice is initially smoothed and cleared by a Zamboni.
This machine melts the top layer of ice as if glazing the frosted top of a baker's prized dessert.
The figure skater spins, cuts, and tears into the ice with the flat, sharpened blades and the jagged, jutting toe-picks
as the skater glides and jumps up dancing like a feathery bird in flight to the graceful rhythm of a song, with sudden stops
and pauses in between.
The hockey skater brings in a bolder, yet, just as graceful move onto the surface with the larger, curved blades of hockey skates.
There's checking, stick handling, flying, gliding pucks, and, an occasional nose-bleeding fight, often penalized while
the remaining players use their knowledge, skills, and the expert advice of their coaches and the referees to score or defend
against their opponents' goals. Fast-paced action shaves, cuts, and scrambles the ice to a snow-strewn, disheveled, carved surface,
until a break in the action releases the Zamboni towards it's circular course. Resurfacing, clearing, forgiving all of the marring
of the icy surface, as the "clean slate" is heated, melted, and, once again, smooth and clear.
Charlie Brown once said, 'There are three things in life that people like to stare at: a flowing stream, a crackling fire,
and a Zamboni clearing the ice.'

Another chapter in what looks more and more like a saga. There are many ways to write a novel, I think Val sooner or later will discover that she has written one – in poems.

Self-made; Spring Thaw

April 10, 2014

As winter dragged on, frozen deep into the ground,
The man still beckoned to have his lady around.
Peaceful, quietness, and
sharing through a seemingly endless, wintery season with grace,
Only one graveled road lead up to his warm-hearthed place,
Through snow-sweeping blizzards, past an oil-train stalled on the tracks,
Deer crossings, and feeding of his myriad of pie-shaped country cats.
With warm coffee, he shared photos and maps of the progress on his land,
Including, the tall pine ridge facing a ravine where his log home will stand.
A semi-loaded with lumber, tools and a tractor,
Sisters visits with food, love and laughter,
Progress shown on a skillfully built shed,
Plans going onward and forwardly lead.
The majestic, mountainous region crowned with shadowy, shelters of pine, as they skywardly reign,
A heavenly view, contrasting the flatness etched with the wintery drifts in bleak, dust-ridden plains.
Teasing, the season thawed and slowly melted in places,
Till freezing rains, sleet, and snow interrupted and pelted our faces.
Eventually, the riverbank revealed a watery edge,
With a Canadian geese pair paddling and dipping under their heads.
They slid up and stepped onto the ice,
Fanning, drying their feathery wings once or twice.
The squirrels scurried around in the trees,
The wind-chimes tinkled slightly in the faint breeze.
As the fields await their spring furrows and seeding,
Another trip westward to the man will be greeting.

And a few days later – a new chapter.

Self-made; Serenity


The snow melted, the ice drifted away,
Soft ripples curled, and gently swayed,
Water flowing smoothly, yet curving along,
Slipping, etching the shoreline, like a lullaby song.
As he tackles his tasks in his current home,
Preparing for the day he will onwardly roam.
An antique tractor, fine-tuned like a clock,
A garage organized, hanging tools, fully stocked,
Walls and ceiling, insulated and sheet-rocked,
Finished, painted surfaces, with light shades of grey,
Busy, full, ambitious working days.
Contrasted with peaceful moonlit nights,
With warmth of crackling, wood-burning, fireplace light,
Cherishing his lady with embracing holds,
Preparations continue, faraway dreams, nearer unfold.
The river is symbolic of life's bends and turns,
Life is a journey as time passes and burns.
Sometimes we ford too strongly against the flow,
If we relax, the river's current knows,
The natural, instinctive, path to go.
Like a knight on a horse with a sword and a shield,
His story has chapters yet to be encountered and revealed.

Another installment in the Self Made Saga. What will the summer bring?

Self-made; Rain

April 29, 2014

Birthday greetings! Another year has passed,
A mystery, as yet, of a future not unmasked.
During the seemingly endless weeks while spring rains were pouring,
Lack-luster days, dull and boring,
Washed-out, pitted, gravel roads, for difficult mooring,
As the time fled, my heart went on hold for safe storing, instead.
A call reconnected the two friends, again, as if no time had elapsed,
Similar, intermittent silent times had previously passed.
All it ever takes is a hold and an embrace,
To renew the future times together as we meet face-to-face.
I paused, to watch the swollen river overflowing it's banks,
Sipping coffee, we quickly bid our adieus and thanks.
I started out over the railroad bridge and tracks,
Fondly, I briefly looked back,
Then, below a neighboring farm with it's jet-black, earthen dam,
I stopped, and watched a pair of mallard ducks, as they swam.
The spring rains had given way to a glistening, sunshiny day,
The grass turned green, and most of the snow had virtually melted away.
I carry onward along the windswept way of the prairie and river valley,
I will wait patiently again, (or try to) while the days and time between our visits tally.

There was an electrician named Bob,
Who was sweeter than corn on the cob,
He had a cute way of talking,
With his heart tick-a-tocking,
He rode off to return for a job.

He'd never been in Fargo to stay,
Stating, he'd be back in just a few days,
Riding up on a Harley,
But, no further word did he parlay,
For a "traveling man" has his ways.

If you read Val's page from top to bottom you will find many themes, among them traveling. Here it comes again, and of course there is a Harley in it, too. These are symbols for freedom, I guess, at least of the free-roaming kind.

Another theme that you will find many times on this page: Obituaries. Val uses poems to paint with words a little picture of the deceased, allways with sympathy and warmth.

Do You Have The Time?

A charmer, yet honest and sincere,
The "baby" of a family of five.
So many friends and family are affected by him here,
Wishing he was still alive.

He seemed to run a race against time,
Yet, we were all unaware,
How long, or how short of a time...
God had placed him here.
He took time to be the best dad a kid could enjoy,
To get down on the floor with a restless grandchild, lulling him to a calmness and sleep with a song,
His trustworthiness gained him countless friends and coworkers with whom he'd get along,
Into this world, he showed optimism, heart and joy, as an adult "middle-aged man" and as a young boy.

Another chapter in the Self Made Saga, but not a conclusion – yet. Or, perhaps it's better with many small "happy endings" than with a big one?

Self-made; Happily Returned


A week has passed since his return,
We shared time again as I learned,
The tasks he completed in that faraway place,
Describing additions to the shed he graced.
Intently, I listened to his journey retraced,
I felt good in his arms, as we embraced.
Another annual month of preparation towards his inevitable moving,
Adding, building of lean-tos, plus, graveled roads re-grooving.
Checking costs of environmental, energy efficiency,
Solar, steam, seeking of self-sufficiency.
He called for my birthday while he was away,
Announcing, his return in just a few days.
Reassurance given that I'm his "girl",
Yet, no certain commitment as yet into his world.
As I patiently await for the unspoken words to unfurl,
I work, I play, I spin, I twirl.

Val wrote this poem August 23, 2006, inspired of a dramatic history: "This young college student left the mall in Grand Forks, ND, was killed. Her body was found in a ravine in MN. The accused had many past similar offenses. Federal laws have changed due to this occurrence."

America's Daughter

Our hearts reached out together for Dru Sjodin,
Her beautiful smile, her eyes with their wonderful gleam.
Her young life, embarking on the thresh-hold of countless dreams,
Sadly, cut short and unjustly discarded in a lonesome ravine.

Someone randomly chose to act and to interfere with Dru's life,
She should not have been witness to such brutality and strife.
We all wish we were there to protect and to shield her, yet we can only pray,
That the Angels were there with her to comfort her on that sad, fateful day.

Although Dru's life on this Earth was cut short--
Her Spirit and her Legacy in a Rebirth lives on in our hearts we report--
That Symbolically, her sad experience will save countless others from what she went through--
We Thank Heaven we have all been touched in our lives by this Angelic Daughter named Dru.

This is a poem with many levels – some visible, other you have to work hard to find, a mixture of joy and sorrow, of gain and loss. And it is a pleasure to read: The first part with long and rolling un-rhymed lines, the second part more like a refrain, a rhymed contrast with great power.


Looking at the northern horizon,
Beyond the flag, and the strip of man's concrete structures,
There was revealed a hazy, purple-grey, rolling landscape,
With a jagged shore, bordering on a pale-blue, silvery lake.
The center, extended like a waterway, infinitely blending towards the horizon.
To the immediate right, I viewed what appeared to be a rocky edge.
Such a beautiful contrast to our flattened, glacial, prairie valley!
Above all this, an early morning baby-blue sky, feathered with clouds stretched out appearing like a quilter's thin layer of cotton batting,
With enough thickness in the eastern sky to shield the rays of the un-risen sun.
Oh my! Then, I envision a snow-capped, mountain range,
Majestically, rising above a flat, empty, grassy lot, pavement, and trees, to the right side of my visual field.

Had I not seen these in reality before,
I wouldn't recognize that distant shore,
If I hadn't crossed a mountain range of frosted, winter peaks,
My mind wouldn't have envisioned that scene as it now seeks.
I know it's only an illusion, a "Mirage,"
As it fades and disappears, staying only in my mind's eye,
I silently say with tears, "Good bye."

Valerie J. Kolle
October 1, 2014

Val has met another poet and learned something from him, but at the same time not forgotten her own way of writing and her search for new ways of expressing herself. A very fine recipe for reaching higher grounds!


Duluth; our nearest sea-port,
For any sizable body of water,
Lies near our Minnesota border,
With Wisconsin, it's eastern neighbor,
No doubt, one of the greatest of "The Great Lakes"; Lake Superior.

I signed up for a conference,
Driving clear across Minnesota hence,
Through the color-rich maple trees,
Autumn, in its splendor,
Grateful, was I, to envision the moment I had seized,
"Before the snow flies" bearing down onto our colorless, bare-branched winter.

Arriving, just in time, into a world of a sloping landscape,
A world of sea, ships, bridges, and barges,
I parked my car.
I listened to a short session,
Then sat, waiting for a poet to speak,
Listening to his stories, and subsequent poems,
Of far off lands, he had once called home.
Some fleeting moments, as a parent, the loss, and the pain.
Of a walk, his Niece had taken, in Spain,
The poem he'd written, of what she'd shared,
I listened to his poems, thought of my own, and compared.
As he shared how he'd become a poet full-time,
I thought even more of this life of mine.
A poet views the world in a unique way,
I listened, and heard him express this, in his words, his way.
I was curious to hear what he had to say,
Interesting, how another soul approached writing into verse his thoughts,
In a style, much unlike my own,
Yet, in which, he so effectively had set forth, and brought.
He had mentioned his niece's moon shadow moment,
As the sun set, while I approached my homeward destination,
A full harvest moon did appear,
Greeting, reflecting, in my rear-view mirror,
And I thought, with elation,
I'm happy, who I am, to be home, again, alive, and still here.

Val goes on experimenting with rhymeless poetry, and it suits very well her theme: The breathless moment when she discovers and marvels at a stunning sight in the nature.

"Autumn Flight"

Valerie J. Kolle
October 17, 2014

Intertwined with feathery pine,
In a grey, bare-branched birch,
A pair of eagles perched.

Mirrored images silhouetted
Against a pale blue sky
Resembling a bilateral inkblot.

In an attempt to capture this unusual view,
I alerted the driver to brake,
And turn around in a "U."

We crept up slowly,
Approaching them quietly,
Preparing my camera,
Then, rolling down the window,
Yet, the eagles dispersed to the driver's hard-rock radio sound,
Disturbing their pose.

The camera's memory only shows,
A sole, free-soaring eagle,
With his regal, white head, a jagged, hooked beak,
And his majestic wings widely spread,
Tilting, ever so slightly, in a fly-by greeting,
At a distance, like an ornament,
On the edge of a dark, green branch of pine.

Here's Val in her satirical-funny corner! As a matter of fact, a lot of Norwegians would agree with her. Make it a rap, Val, this poem could be a hit even in Norway!

The Lutefisk Feed
By Valerie J. Kolle

Open the windows, open the doors,
Air out the church, "Thank Goodness," it's just once a year,
Light up some candles, bake up some pies,
Please, do it well, pray, if you're wise,
Get rid of that Lutefisk smell, I despise!
I enjoy Rommegrot, Krumekakke, Lefse, Fattigman, and Torsk,
Rosettes, Flat-bread, Tapioca in a "Sweet Soup," 'cause I'm Norwegian, of course.
But, when it comes to that jellied, buttered cod-fish soaked in lye,
I won't touch it, and "yes," many times, I have tried!
To some, it's a treat, but for me, I can't lie,
I really can't eat it, smell it, or, I'll cry.
Open the windows, open the doors,
Air out the church, 'cause it's just once a year,
Light some candles, bake up some pies,
Please, do it well, if you're wise,
Get rid of that Lutefisk smell, I despise!

End of a Saga, obviously, without bitterness, but with greater wisdom and clearer visions for the future. "Sail on, silver girl", as Paul Simon says.

"Self-made, So Long!"

"So long!" to the log-home with the mountainous trees,
"So long!" to the snow-capped peaks with their charming, fresh breeze,
"So long!" while you think about whether (or not) I'm a part of your dreams,
While my thoughts of a life with you burst apart at the seams.

I need a true love unafraid to show the world how we feel,
While you organize your next adventurous deal.
I need a man willing to get down on his knees,
While you go off elsewhere doing whatever you please.
"So long!"

By Valerie J. Kolle
January 16, 2015

Most people see a wooden spoon and use it. When it is worn out they throw it in the trash bin. Some people keep it as a token of earlier times. Perhaps they forget about it after a while. But once in a while a person uses the spoon as a door into the past and writes about it. Then the spoon has met it's poet and lives on.

Treasured Memories

Amongst my crock of utensils of wood,
There's a spoon of much wear yet good.
I've known this spoon unlike all of the others,
It is rather old you see,
It was my mother's.

This spoon stirred up many bubbling saucepans of sugary syrup on a burner,
Scooping, then dripping candy marbles in a small saucer of water.
This spoon scraped the rest of the stream of syrup into a mixing bowl of spinning, stiffened egg-whites,
Forming a meringue of marshmallowy fluff.
This spoon dabbled soft peaks onto an angel cake or pie.
This spoon stirred cookies, cakes, frosting, divinity or fudge,
And whoever helped stir was treated afterwards.
Many times, as a child, I had licked this spoon coated with chocolate or butterscotch.

The spoon is still here, and so is my mother, yet her mindful of memories are all but gone.

Another of Val's "commemorative poems" – moving and full of perspectives.

"The Man Behind the Smile"

Valerie J. Kolle

We listened with laughter as the tales were told.
From when he was young to not very old.
From a car full of frogs to a garden of tomatoes.

Along a riverbed, Through a corn field he tread,
Facing a buck head-to-head.

To all generations, there was the music he'd bring.
A virtuoso with instruments of piano and string,
Natural talent in the music he'd sing.

Cars, sports, fishing, hunting ... he was a well-rounded guy,
We miss him so much as we share thoughts together and cry,
Yet, it seems like he was only here for a little while.
So, let's honor him with a smile.

In this poem Val writes about spring – or is it about life? Or perhaps the great cycles of life? The last line opens for that interpretation, but a good poem can be read several ways.

"Buying Time"

By Valerie J. Kolle
April 28, 2015

It's Spring!
Evidence of new life surrounds us.
The leaves are shedding their shells, reaching their fresh green-ness to the sunlit sky.
Rain, sleet, and the last of the dots of snow dip down create a thin, pillowed blanket over the fresh, new blades of grass.
Newborn calves and colts enjoy the nearness of their mothers out in the pastures.
Ducklings and goslings paddle along in their wake breaking the mirrored, smoothness of the ponds.
Up from their gnarled bulbs shoot the irises, lilies, daffodils and tulips, bringing forth their colorful display.
A year is a long time for the young at heart, yet, as one ages, a year flies by in a blink of an eye.
Enjoy the precious, loving moments time brings to us!
A fourth generation begins as the first one leaves. The moment was fleeting, yet, as precious as any etched into the stone of a life well-lived.

The time: June 5th, 2015. The scene: A stave church in the US. The main characters: Val Kolle and Rick Laidlaw. The script: I do!

Wedding Week Status Updates

June 1st, the beginning of an exciting, wonderful week.
June 2nd, packing today, 'cause tomorrow, we'll leave.
June 3rd, "a road trip's in order,"
we're heading south, to the border.
June 4th, turning, at dusk, from the south to the west,
a full, red moon peaked up, over the horizon, and arose,
transforming to yellow, the smiling "guardian" guided our path, with lantern-like glows,
at midnight, we stopped, for nourishment and rest,
As we continue onward, toward our life-changing quest.
June 5th, the sun is shining, the sky is clear,
today is our day of vows, my dear.
the Kransekake is already stacked and glazed,
today is the highlight in our week of days.
your tux, shirt, and tie, my veil, jewels, and dress are set,
yes, we still have fresh flowers to pick out and get.
fixing my hair, after a cup of "joe,"
we're almost there, and yes, we don't have far to go.
we'll greet our family friends, all four, and follow the pastor through the door.
it will be the first day we will be wed of many, many, more.
"I love you, Rick Laidlaw, of that, I'm sure!"

In this poem Val remembers Jeff, a 1974 high school classmate, in her own incomparable way.

The "Soap's" Ripple-effect

Jeff's story continues for us all,
His caring influence did not "pass away" last fall.
He connected with us in so many ways,
Through Christ's work with him, we all join together in praise,
On this, one of the most beautiful of summer days.
Jeff's story that was told today showed--
The appreciation to him, as of yet, we still owed,
His memory is now ever-more so in our hearts which we hold.
Unselfishly, Jeff learned to always "Do the right thing--"
As, to our lives, our families, our friends, with His blessings to us all, he did bring.
He most suredly earned his angel's wings!

June 27, 2015 Valerie J. (Kolle) Laidlaw

This time Val writes a poem about a cousin, again pointing to happy moments in the past.

Alice's Wonderful World

By her cousin, Valerie Jean Laidlaw,
July 2, 2015

I can only imagine growing up in a house full of girls,
Playing "house," "mom," and "dress-up" with fancy hats on our curls.
Welcoming a little, baby sister---a real-live "baby girl,"
A "doll" with real smiles and giggles, "What a Wonderful World!"

As a mom, to sons and a "baby girl,"
I do know what joy was brought into her world.
"I Believe" is a song which tells of newborn baby's cry,
Of life, and looking up into the sky,

I know Alice cherished seeing her daughter walk down the aisle,
Pictures showed us whole-heartedly her feelings in her eyes and in her smile.
Alice is still here with all of us,
She welcomed everyone into her heart,
She's given us memories of which we each hold a part.

There is one parting thought I will state,
Heaven's a bit neater now that Alice has entered it's gate.

Val writes: "My Aunt Muriel passed away on her mom's birthday, July 19. 90 years old."

Muriel was always kind and sweet,
Whenever to whomever she'd meet.

There are so many fond memories which she had given,
So, in each of us, her spirit is living.

Experiencing a strawberry desert with so much pleasure,
There were little, life moments she showed us to treasure.

Whenever I see painted clouds in the sky from down here,
See beauty in mountains, lakes, oceans, or hold a shell to my ear.
Or see children, babies, and older folks which she'd see as "precious" and "dear,"
I will always remember the wonderful, goodness of "Auntie Mur!"

Hawaiian flowers say, "Aloha!"
Meaning, "Goodbye!" and "Hello!"

Ashes remain of an Earthly body for 90 years, Muriel had been given,
Yet, I envision her, I believe, sitting in a floral garden, with her easel, in Heaven.

Valerie J. Laidlaw
July 31, 2015

Here is a "classic Val poem" – inspired by nature and filled with very visual images!

Rainy Ridge

Capturing the beauty of a Montana lake, one morn,
I envisioned the rain of an oncoming storm,
The lake clearly reflected the hills in a calm, yet unaware,
Of impeding weather, soon approaching it there.
My lens, from the hilltop, captured a grandiose, panoramic view.
So here, upon this site, I now share a vision seen only by few.

Valerie J. Laidlaw 8/22/2015

This is a poem about happiness and fulfilment. Very touching and very impressive!

Transformation in Thought

A gentle breeze,
Flows through the leaves,
The bamboo wind chime,
Toggles intermittently in time.
The train whistle loudly bellows,
As the iron horse squeals,
Grinding over the rails,
Pulling endless tank cars like a tail.
A city bus screeches, stops, and kneels on the corner,
Speeding off with its passengers, both local and foreign.
A neighbor's dog barks at a rabbbit, then, at a bird,
An airplane gliding overhead is next heard.
I'm home on a Friday,
What else can I say?

I'm applying brush strokes to a clay pottery vase,
My gentle painting renews the pattern of a floral base,
Which had been etched in with a diamond tipped tool,
With its previous art now extinguished and cool.

The bird keeps on crowing outside my patio door,
As another distant bird echoes his call, flying in, joining him for more,
Another neighbor is mowing his lawn,
As a work truck speeds off, and is gone.

I get busy with housework as my project's paint dries,
The pottery looks nice in its new disguise.

I think I will like this peaceful coexistance I now have,
I'm married to a wonderful husband and dad.

As we ride to the lake, all leather clad,
Seeing ducks with their ducklings, swimming along,
And deer wading waist deep through wheat fields, as we sing a song,
As we live in our sixth decade with eachother on this earth,
Both thinking, "This is the best year so far, since my birth, that I've ever had,"
Together, we return, winding down the road towards the sunset, thinking, "Life's not too bad!"

By Valerie J. Laidlaw
August 28, 2015

This time Val tells the story in almost every line of the poem: Someone – obviously a close friend – is in pain and needs comfort. And Val gives that with her pen.

Facing Chemo

My friend, on this day,
There are so many unspoken words I had wished to say.
I cannot guide you through what you're dealing with, or help you to stay.

Money raised, a bandaid, hoping for a cure, As you face chemo, and the pain, with acceptance and fear,
I wish God could give you at least one more good year.

No, I don't have the answers, or cancer, myself, as of yet,
Nor do I ever expect to, even though many of my family members do get
Some version of this disease of which I am genetically preset.

I care, yet, I'm overwhelmed, as I am sure you are, too,
Seeing clearly your mortality, not knowing what to do.
With prayer, perseverance, and hope, your spirit is renewed,
At the sunset and sunrise of each day, you "carry on" anew.

Valerie J. Laidlaw
September 2, 2015

Pause to Reflect

A pond by the roadside, a smooth breeze...
Brushes the cattails, and leaves in the trees,
Glistening in the late summer sun,
Pausing to reflect on a first motored run,
Where the rider had set her new ride free.

Five lines and a certain rhyming pattern – is it a limerick? No, it's a little poem with a very open ending, something limericks seldom have.

Here's another not-so-easy-to classify poem. Don't let The Vintage Pup fool you – Val is telling a wider history. Vintage Pup

Another season has transpired.
The leaves have turned to gold.
Enter the winter, snow, and cold.
Will the springs on this Vintage Pup retire?

He has weathered children playing,
With their energetic rocking and swaying,
His trusting, droopy-eyed staring,
An object seemingly of much caring,
As the children return grown up,
A new generation bouncing down then up,
With little hands, and little feet,
While sitting on the saddle seat,
Of this unchanged, yet worn, Vintage Pup.

Valerie J. Laidlaw 9/20/15

Alonso Quijano, better known as "El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha" – or just Don Quixote – has inspired many artists, from painters to writers, in the four hundred years since Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra created the character. Val is another voice in this vast choir, and she sings more than one verse to his praise.

Don Quixote; Bastante Bien

If Don Quixote had arrived into our day,
And, if he decided to live here, and stay,
He would carry a fishing rod, instead of a sword,
He'd ride on a motorcycle, and never be bored.
He'd be homeless, at times, and defend all his friends,
He'd be creatively "crazy," and play randomly-unique, musical blends!
He'd love animals, dogs, cows, horses, and burros,
He'd stop bullies from bullying, and become everyone's hero.
At times, he just sit back, and observe beauty in nature,
Use a camera to capture the world, and it's creatures.
He'd be a hippie of sorts, with basic non-materialistic needs,
He'd encourage others away from selfishness, and greed.
He'd give away his last dollar,
Live quietly, and not holler.
His imperfections would be expressed with both humor and grace,
As he moves into our world, at his own, even pace,
Finding both pleasure and peace, in this high-tech human race.

Don Quixote II, Percepciones

The calamity of Quixote isn't his illusions and his quests,
He does what he does, as he thinks to be best.
The difficulties lie in our perception of him,
What he does in our reality following his own wit and whim.
We'd think that our towers and "windmills," sky-scrapers and such,
Would present to him as virtually unsurmountable to his gallantry and touch.
That our world would overwhelm him and seem to us for him as too much.
In his own world, with his buddies and friends who still "get him,"
As long as he's not a danger to himself or others, they'd let him ...
Be his own hero, as a knight, conquering those "visions and voices,"
Supporting him, and validating his choices.
The battles within him and out,
As he lunges forward, makes a loud noise, and shouts,
Remember, we are all human on this earth,
Equipped with differences to live with from birth.

Valerie J. Laidlaw 10/11/2015

This is a "classical" Val poem – nature, time lines and cycles, perspectives – and underneath hidden meanings if you read the poem well.

A Leaf in Autumn
By Valerie J. Laidlaw

The Spring's encouraging warm weather,
Prompts the leaf to unfold,
Like a winged feather.
The Summer's sunlight and rain, both,
Nourish and nurture its growth.
Then, Autumn creeps in,
With its chilly, night wind,
Severing the leaf,
From its grand mother tree,
To the cold, wet, paved ground,
Flaunting, a most brilliant display,
Of a network, in a veined, colored array,
During the leaf's final day.

More in the same vein: Here Val has visited the origins of the mighty Mississippi – and got inspiration for a poem.

A River's Natural Beginning
(Re; Mississippi Headwaters, Itasca State Park, MN.)

A soft, slow,
Filtered flow,
Over the rocks,
Where, together, we crossed,
At a river's natural beginning.
The birds upon wing,
And, the breezy trees sing,
With gentle stream's lullaby song,
As the clear water goes sifting along.

By Valerie Jean Laidlaw

More reflections from Val, this time after looking through a broken window in an old abandoned house. Nostalgia? No, perspectives.

Beyond Repair
This place where dreams were once fulfilled,
Our cup had runneth over, and gloriously spilled.
Children's play wore the grassy hills down,
In a peaceful, joyful utopia, not far from town.
Now, looking out through a broken window beyond,
We think back on our lives with memories fond.
Blemished plaster, peeling paint, a busted stair,
We don't see this place in disrepair.
The hills, trees, and grass overgrown,
This house was once a family's home.

By Valerie J. Laidlaw

A happy-Val poem: The joy of the first Christmas together, and all the nice pleasures that such a good moment brings with it!

Buffalo Plaid Christmas Eve

Our first Christmas together donning Paul Bunyan gear,
Hope Santa knows we've been good "Senior Boomers" this year!
Me, sipping Chai Tea,
And he, Pumpkin Spice,
Please Santa, we're trying our best to be nice!
My mom in her eighties gave us this advise,
"If it isn't one thing, it's two," twice.
We decided quite early on this past year,
Months prior to this Holiday time of good cheer,
Telling all of our friends and family who wanted to hear,
That we were marrying eachother, as the 5th day of June drew near.
My mom simply stated to us, "I suppose I have to give you two my blessing!"
We agreed, giving out clues towards the day of our nuptials,
Keeping others, yet uninformed, guessing.
It's been quite a journey for us towards this Blessed Christmas we are sharing,
His mom in her nineties excited that her son finally met someone to wed, of whom she finds caring.
My brother enjoyed walking the fields with us in orange, hunting gear,
Swapping adventurous stories of fishing and hunting as we each found our deer,
Also, revealed,
That they each gained a brother in the deal.
So grateful to our families, friends, and classmates who were thrilled and supportive with the news of our marrying.
Merry Christmas to all, cause this gal has finally met her Good Knight!
We feel "Happily Ever After," 'cause our lives together seem so right!
We look forward to the bright, glorious future in these "empty-nested" years which we'll have,
As a full, emblazoned Moon shines upon a Minnesotan highway path.

Small dramas in the nature, often involving birds, are common for many of Vals poems, and allways written in a language full of poetry and – yes – motion.


As the network of leafless trees' branches become frosted with fluff,
Pure, soft, flakes of snow float tenderly to the blanketed earth's stuff.
An ebony shadow against a white, wintry sky,
A "trapeze artist" balanced upon a power-line wire.
Action begins with his feathered, flapping frill,
Joined by his loud "caws," in contrast shrill,
Interrupting and disturbing a peaceful, quiet still.

A young worker carries a canvas sack of folded news, trudging along,
Dropping bundles between each of the house's doors, with a whistling song.
Daily, the bird swoops down, in an arch, near the carrier's ears,
Teasing the person of very few years.
Challenging the him (her) to duck down, in fear,
Undaunted, the worker continues the route,
As the blackbird (Crow) flies elsewhere about.

The red squirrel scolds the bird from an unsteady branch,
Then, zig-zaggedly scurries to a much, bolder, squawk-ridden stance.

Then, unintentionally, disrupting sparrows at their feed,
The blackbird cluelessly, disregards the little birds' needs,
Returning back to his perch, full of greed,
While he contentedly and noisilly munches on seeds.

This poem can be read in different ways. One is simply as a history about a chaotic auction, the other extreme is seing the poem as an allegory about the difference between price and value. They are incompatible ideas and there isn't ant bridge that can connect them. Val is absolutely on the value side!

Great-Aunt Ida's Auction

As I stood in the crowd, in distain,
Photographing, in the drizzling rain.
I saw my Great-Aunt Ida's belongings jostled about, by people strange,
Who never knew her, loved her, shared her laughter, or pain.

My mom whispered that the person who now owned Ida's items,
Only had eyes, and a heart, with dollar signs inside them.
He only cared that the stuff go to the "highest bidder,"
The people, swarmed the site, strewing the items aside, either in boxes, or in the trash, like litter,
Cleverly crafting their battle plans like foxes, and critters.

My mom watched Ida's silver-clad cake-top from the 1920's torn apart,
Nearly breaking the dolls, and my mom's heart.
My mom (and I) still envisioned the cake, as it had been,
Preserved in the curved glass of Ida's oak secretary, unopened.
Beautifully, and proudly, for decades, displayed,
Now, torn apart, strewn, and disarrayed.
The discarded cake, like a sponge, people stepped upon,
Disappeared, as my mom rescued the porcelain plate, it had sat upon, from the muddy, wet lawn.
"Keep it, it's worthless!" the auctioneer exclaimed,
As he strode on to hunt down the bigger game.
Albums of family photos destroyed by the rain,
A Norse, rosemalled, immigrant trunk, a guilded-framed painting of fjords,
My photos preserved, what others ignored.
A beaded-edge oak table, often covered with lace,
Fattiman, julekakke, rosettes, lefsa, following prayers of grace,
Her baking wondrously filled the air of her place.
A claw-footed stool we used to spin,
A piano of hymns, and a highchair her babies once sat in.
In the 1960's, she sliced up cheese which my great-grandma had churned,
Way back, as the 19th century turned.

I escaped to the attic to hide from the crowd at the sale,
And, found some vintage tin buttons in a pail.

Great-aunt Ida smiled at us through thick eye-lenses with magnified eyes,
She had hearing aids, and she was wonderful, aged, and wise.
As we played "Spill and Spell," Chinese Checkers, and Domino's,
We loved her dearly, from her permed-gray hair to her laced-shoed toes.

After Ida's sister, my grandma, Thea Mathilda, passed away,
Ida joined her remaining sister, Christina, out Washington way.

Life's not as simple now, and it never will be the same.
Recently, I found an old "Spill and Spell" game.
I cherish Ida's final letter to me to this day,
To me, she's still busy, smiling and happy, in the memories, I replay.

You'll find many mini-biographies on this page – small potraits, written with knowledge, warmth and empathy. Here's Vals newest:


Like a Sweet, Sunshine Ray,
Brought Smiles to Each, and Everyone's Day.
She Cherished Hallmark Movies, as Moments of Great Pleasure.
Spoke as Regal as a "Queen,"
Reminiscing, and Remembering,
Wearing her "Gold Crown" Tshirt from her Missouri Hallmark Museum Tour,
She was Truly a "Jewel" and a "Blessing" from Heaven,
We Shall Always Treasure.

Valerie J Laidlaw 2/08/2016

We are many – very many – who have been in the situation Val tells about in this poem. Thank you for putting words to our feelings!


I still don't remember my awaking,
The clearing of a fog, gradually dissipating.
I did remember being greeted by a friend and coworker from the past,
Recollecting those days twenty years since we had seen eachother last.
I remember the nurses, the anesthesiologist, and the surgeons,
As I was prepped with I.V.'s and needles, Then, I was wheeled through hallways, and doorways, turning, twisting on a maze-like excursion.
Sliding onto a surgical table,
Knowing that my life was being placed in the hands of others deemed more capable.
Quite a humbling circumstance,
From an experienced caretaker's retrospective sense.
I made it through the threshold, and the tunnel of a major, medical experience.
I celebrate every day, now, as I heal,
"Baby steps," realizing how strong I am,
Yet, at the same time, how weak I feel.
Grateful, as my life continues,
I do look at things with different views.
Less hurried, and much less worry,
Feeling happier, grateful, and renewed.

Val has written a very funny poem about an episode where a brave woman confronts perhaps not so funny snobbish views. Enjoy!

The Hat
by Valerie J. Laidlaw

So proudly she donned her newest treasure,
Promenading so proudly with such pleasure.
I thought, "how cool!"
Folds of black scarving formed a turban-like base,
Which beautifully framed her eyes, and eyebrows and her dimply, rosey-cheeked face!
The highlight of this amazing, millinery marvel drew the viewers eyes upward,
Roving towards a ruffled, virtual "forest" of feathers,
Flopping, floating, crazily "every-which-way" without rhymed reasoning,
And so gloriously- absurd!
Well, my mom decided to wear this new accent to her beauty,
To our Midwestern church,
Whose opinionated members were quite conservative, gossipy, and snooty.
I thought, "How fun!"
She had the best time, in church as her feathers tickled my dad's nose,
And, as she slipped into the lady's room afterwards starred down by two snobbish crows.
Coffee-time in the "Church-ladies' basement" was definitely a hoot!
The feathers flew freely onto our clothes, jackets, and suits.
Ironically, many of the ladies, although enviously green,
And, despite the drama and the spectacle of the scene,
Poured out compliments, as the church crowded giggled and cooed.
No one was showing my mom their usually snobbery, nor were they rude.
I thought, "Wow!"
I think from that Sunday onward we found,
The church became less uppity, nicer all around. Unfortunate for my mom, arriving back home, instead,
My dad told she's never to wear that crazy hat again, on her head,
So, it went back permanantly in its box on a shelf, near their bed.
Forgotten, until now.

In this poem Val venture into the surrealistic and mythic world of Lewis Carrolls "Jabberwocky", bringing with her a Princess and some Vikings, making a mixture that even Disney couldn't dream up!


As the Knight, who had slayed him, was bragging,
The young Princess declared, "There's no such thing as a dragon!"
"Proof's what I need,
If it's truly indeed!
'Cause without it, the truth of your story is sagging."

"Sweet Princess, I'll get proof for your doubt-ridden bequest,
And, put all of this nonsense to rest!"
So the Knight ventured out,
Following a stiff mug of stout,
With his sword he sought out a dragon to test.

He found a village of explorers all Viking,
They found his adventure to be one of their liking,
They mapped out a fjord,
The Knight climbed aboard,
As they rowed towards a dragon within striking.

Docking at Flom, the Knight strode along, with his new Nordic team,
Upward, along a steep, mountainous, cascading stream,
Climbing up from the embankment,
Strengthened by powerful excitement,
This Knight's adventure evolved to be more vivid than dreamed.

Thunderous clouds threw bolts of lightning and wind,
Slick sheets of rain drenched the armored clothing of men,
As they trudged along,
Whistling a song,
Undaunted, those determined found more strength from within.

Finally, the summit which was icy cold, and snow-peaked,
The Vikings exclaimed, "Here lies the creature you seek!"
Towards a cave, they all said, "Behold!"
Pointing out a dragon's abode,
Then, scorching flames flew out like a streak!

The dragon arose up from his rest and he slithered,
The group shook with some fear as they shivered,
Then, forgetting the cold,
And, becoming more bold,
The Knight pulled an arrow from his quiver.

With his steady bow he quickly took aim,
Releasing the arrow below the last scorching flame,
The dragon moaned,
Then let out a shrill groan,
Lunging forward, the angry wounded creature shrieked in pain.

To the Dragon he stepped in closer to fight,
With his sword held this brave fearless Knight,
Pierced the scales,
And cut off the barbed tail,
Then, the dragon flew off in the darkness of night.

To the kingdom, the Knight, with the Norsemen, sailed back,
Holding a hugely, large duffle bag sack.
For this bag held his proof,
Of the adventure he'd partook,
For the Princess, the Knight's tale of the Dragon's tail he'd attacked.

This poem is a very happy combination: A fairy tale told as limericks. Few children have a grandma with the gifts to create this happy marriage – Charlee definitely has!

Aunee, Charlee's Butterfly

By Grandma Val, 2008

There once was a bug named Aunee,
Who hid in the leaves, in the branches, of trees.
On her wings, she had hearts,
Across the sky, she did dart,
To the window, of her best friend, Charlee.

Charlee had such a sweet smile,
So, Aunee stayed, just a while,
In the sun,
Just for fun,
Then, fluttered away, for a mile.

Aunee'd come back to say, "Hi!"
With a blink, and a wink of her eye,
Her wings, glistening like glitter,
Her antennae both twittered,
As again, to the sky, she would fly!

Aunee loved to giggle, and sing,
Shake her "bootie," and swing,
Singing, "I used to be smaller,
A caterpillar, a crawler,
Before I grew this lovely pair of wings!"

Charlee loved Aunee, the butterfly,
Watching the sky, as Aunee fluttered by,
As light as a feather,
In the nicest of weather,
Yet, as winter approached, Aunee sighed, "Bye," in a muttered cry.

Charlee never forgot wee Aunee, as her eyes teared up, and cried,
Yet, with the moon, and the stars, twinkling in the sky,
Charlee would dance, and she'd sing,
About Aunee's beautiful wings,
For friends, in their memories, stay nigh!

Here Val shares some cheerful observations on "coming of a certain age" – that is, the age of sixty, when we start turning our minds backwards in time. At least we're wiser at sixty than at twenty!

Younger Versions

By Valerie J Laidlaw

All around, I see,
Younger versions of me.
Behind glass, with auburn hair, smoother skin,
A bank teller greets me, from within.
Classic movie DVD's portray,
An era I lived in yesterday.
Farrah Fawcett tresses,
Mini gauze dresses,
"Pedal pushers," now capris,
Riding bike upon a breeze.
Pony tails, and plaited braids,
Wagons selling lemonade.
Can this woman really be,
Peering mirrored back at me?
Inside, I feel the same, you see,
I really don't feel that, so soon, it seems,
I'm going on, to an age, of sixty.

A true poet writes about everything human, from joy and happiness to the sad moments in life we rather not think about. Here Val shows herself as a true poet.

"Guardian" Angels
By Valerie J. Laidlaw

When I can no longer speak, see or hear,
When its tougher to think, or remember people which I hold dear,
When my body is tense, and uncooperative,
When I can't eat, or sleep, and my life becomes more difficult to live,
When my mind gets jumbled up, and less clear,
Please, help me, when I'm overcome with fear!
When I ache in my joints, and my muscles get stiffened or weak,
It's kindness, patience, and love I seek!
Sometimes, in my mind, I see you still as a child, my girl, or my boy,
You make me less lonesome, and you bring me laughter and joy.
Some days it might seem like it makes no difference that you were here or there,
But it does, each and every time you show me that you care.
Even when my songs and chants become shouts of pain,
I still feel the love you gave that time you came.
Even when I'm hurting, can't eat, I fight, and I push you away,
Inside, I'm confused, yet, I still believe, at times, as I rejoice and pray,
Inside, I hope to see you come back, and stay with me on yet another day.
Inside, I still get sad and cry, when you're leaving, and say, "Goodbye!"
Inside, I still need bedtime stories, hugs, and a lullaby.

Val writes, "I ordered a 3-headed Troll from Norway for a cousin, so I wrote this to accompany it." The last line in the poem refers to an important piece of information: The mythical trolls fear the sunlight – it kills them. (The real trolls on the Internet stay in the dark for the same reason.)

By Valerie J Laidlaw

Billy goats cross over a wooden bridge,
Fjords reflect a snow-capped ridge.
They say that two heads are better than one,
Decision-making, more easily done.
Three heads on a Troll are silly and fun,
Seeking mountain paths to overcome.
One, looks left, the other, right,
The center faces a forward site.
Hiding by day, and walking at night,
Trolls love the stars, and the full moon's light.

An old Val theme – travellin' – but a new season, perhaps a new bike, and certainly: A new life!

Triumphant Adventure
Valerie J. Laidlaw

Pheasants scurry, left and right,
Riding unbridles panoramic heights.
Our journey, various highways led,
Breezy bridges, hypnotic trusses overhead.
Rainclouds dissipate, south and north,
Unveiling a pale blue sky, as we venture forth.
Windy, winding, unevenly grated, steeply-descending roads,
Our packed "horses" carry on, with heavily-balanced loads.
The prairie landscape rolls, as we coast along,
Towards the "Black Hills" mountainous song.
Lakes reflect, the heavens ensue,
Our bikes ascend to amazing views.
Waterfalls cascade, visions like beautiful dreams,
A ridge-lined valley, carved by pure mountain streams.
An osprey dips down, and latches onto its prey,
A splashing trout attempts to wiggle away.
The bird soars over the biker, showing off his catch,
Flying away, a storyteller's tale, as yet, unmatched.
We watched, as a deer leaped into man's barrier fence,
Tangled, backing up, and attempting to leap, time and again.
Blue herons fishing in a stream,
Trout resting in a pool of green.
Antelope grazing.
Sunsets blazing.
Three deer leap seconds between our wheels,
Nature and man, miraculously unscathed, upon their heels.
Running now, safe and sound,
Then, homeward bound.

Paganism? Buddhism? Monotheism? A little of each, but most of all a poem about wishing one thing and getting another.

By Valerie J. Laidlaw

Sitting as sparks spit upward to the stars from the fire,
One night an Elder man spoke of his Spiritual desire.
He believed he'd return in an animal form,
A belief he'd been given since the day he was born.
Observing wildlife throughout his youth while he hunted and fished,
He spoke of the creatures he admired the most with this wish.
Wolves, he surmised moved about in their packs,
Surrounding their prey with vicious, unfair attacks.
Cougars, appeared to be rather independant, and cunning,
Stealthily approaching their prey, then chasing them both running.
For, in that moment of equal chase,
The prey has a chance of leading the pace,
And the choice of getting safely away.
The Elder had chosen the feline as his ultimate, Spiritual choice,
As the "Great Spirit" listened to the old man's harmonious, chanting voice.
When it was time for his new life to reappear,
The "Great Spirit" had chosen the deer.

Val sent a magnificent photo of the Moon, and soon after came two poems inspired by our orbital companion. As a matter of fact, these poems are far better than all the lyrics written to old tunes called something with Moon in it, so – is there a composer in the audience?

Shootin' the Moon
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Across the field, a cool breeze swept,
Sunset, midnight, while the city slept,
Southern flashes of lightning crept
Small town's horizon defining kept.

The bright, full moon smiles,
From a couple hundred-thousand miles, afar,
Interrupted only by a spattering of stars,
On a virtually, obscure, dark backdrop.
Captured, with barrel of lenses, and tall tripod props.
The camera repeatedly winks back.
Capturing the shadowy-terrained track,
Craters, and ridges of the sunlit orb,

As we were folding the tripod, and leaving,
Fireflies were shining faintly out,
Like little fairies flickering randomly about,
A sight I remember only as a child seeing,
And now, as they appeared, I was again, of their existance, believing.

Strawberry Moon
By Valerie J Laidlaw

The twentieth of June,
We drove again to a site,
On a quieter, calmer, moonlit night.
We saw our "moon shadows" laying down in the field,
And the multifaceted textures were more sharply revealed,
As we faced a brilliant "Strawberry Moon."

Not that the moon was red or pink,
Not at all, like you'd think.
"Summer Solstice" and a full moon both aligned,
During the strawberry harvest time.
So rare a happening, that it reappears,
Last time in the '60's, not until this year,
Again, much beyond my lifetime, is it scheduled to reoccur

There are many ways to keep a friendship warm and strong. Some buy costly gifts, Val instead writes poems – they are much more valuable gifts. Here is the poem she wrote to Shelley:

A Poem for Shelley, As Promised

When I first met you, I thought,
"How can anyone be born with such looks, and a heart-warming smile,
Who's read books, sings, and carries herself with such gifted talents and style,
Be so genuine and un-conceited?"
You always went the extra mile,
For your family, friends & clients,
No matter what the trial was to be treated,
Or what challenge to be reconciled was needed,
You have outstanding ellocution and insightful judgement while
making your choices,
We listen to and respect you and your opinions as you speak up for all of us and our voices.
You have so much to be proud of,
Yet pride never stood in front of...
Your tender heart and soul,
And your wonderful life's goal,
With honor, to listen to others...
About their triumphs and "bothers,"
Bringing your sunshine to their days,
As you tenderly touch their hearts and pray.
I remember, as a friend and a client had passed away,
We went to a store to choose the clothes she was to wear that day,
And the care for her comfort even in her death you gave,
As you chose for her the softest clothes in her favorite colors to wear to the grave.
Shelley, "To a beautiful person within and out,
There aren't enough words to send and shout!"
When your time to leave finally arrives,
I'm not sure if I'll be there, surviving and alive,
Yet this poem and these words will still hold true,
To tell others what an awesome friend I saw in you,
For the world, unconditionally, in all that you did and yet do.
We thank you!

Valerie J. Kolle

Val has used the summer to dive into her archives. There she found a poem about values passed through time and generations.

By Valerie J Laidlaw,

"Written a few years ago"

There was once a time in the distant past,
When another young mom shared time,
With her three young children.
A time she cherished,
And thought would last.

She rode bike, swam, danced and sang with them.
She prayed and hugged them,
And read to them,
And tucked them safely in bed.

She traveled out to Washington State, and camped in Yellowstone Park, and danced in the Pacific Ocean with them.

Time passed, her daughter became a young lady, and the boys became young men.
Enjoy your children the best you can,
For time is a factor in God's plan.

I've enjoyed being your neighbor in this brief glimpse of time.
Your young family and beautiful children brought me back in my mind,
Towards a past now engraved with photos, movies, and memoirs I find.
For my children have grown,
Now, my son is a father,
Another, is coached by his brother,
They are uncles, and an aunt, and myself; a grandmother.

Sometime, in your future,
When your children are grown,
You may come across this poem,
In your future home,
And your neighbors with young children
of their own,
May pas through your life for a glimpse of time fleeting,
As you visit eachother and exchange greetings.
Remember this phrase, and its wise meaning;
"Some people pass through our lives like never-ending streams.
Others stop and touch our hearts with a warmth that never leaves."

And this is definitely a new-written poem — short, rhytmic lines and simple, but meaningfilled images. A classic!

Sails Down
By ValerieJ Laidlaw

Sails down
Lake calm
Rain subsided
Storm passed
Sun set
Moon rose
Boat docked
Anchor dropped
Nightfall drifted in
Restfully sleepin'
Dream of a breeze,
With sails unfurled,
Gliding along,
In a brisk, blue world.

Lucky Layla, she has a grandmother called Val with a gifted pen!

"Pink Bunny"
For Layla from Grandma Val


Although "Pink Bunny" lost an ear,
To Layla, she is very dear.
Years ago, she was found,
In a shop, in "Chinatown."
As Layla hugged her, on a ferryboat,
In Seattle's river, Pink Bunny's first ear,
Was lost, and drifted away, afloat,
The story is not entirely clear.
Nowadays, Pink Bunny's remaining ear,
Is detached from her, gets lost and reappears,
On the dining room table,
Covering a railing finial,
On a chair,
Or in a basket of laundry towels,
As Layla's "Pink Bunny" slumbers deep,
In a heap,
Of pink, stuffed, much-loved animals.

A celebration? A concert? Some kind of reunion? A birthday party? Looks like all this at the same time, and it seems to be fun!

House Warming
By Valerie J. Laidlaw

Kids with babies bouncing, sliding,
Pre-teens, teengirls hanging, hiding,
Daddies, Mommies rocking, nursing,
The band sets up & starts rehearsin'
Toddlers playing dolls' hair-brushin'
Big-eyed animal toys of plush'n
Frosted cake, pudding-filled,
Home-made brew iced & chilled,
The college home team game was won
Cheers to them, bring on the fun
Stoking up the ring of fire
Hooking up extension wires
Easel, canvas paintbrush flows,
Intermingling group of people grows
Connecting to the hosts we know
Music backdrop entertains us all
"I Like You" too, their songs out call
This is a happy birthday memory day
Dancing children run and play
The sun sets as the stars appear
A bright full moon watches near
Twirling batons of fire spin
Entertaining friends and kin
Round the fire seating begins
As the early autumn chill sinks in
A warm celebrated welcome call
Thank you friends and family all!

Is this a poem about skating? No, it's about much more than that. Like most of Vals poem it is about life.

By Valerie J. Laidlaw

While visiting a former haunt of my mother's life, it is revealed,
That I can still envision her twirling gracefully upon spinning wheels.

In every little prairie town,
An indoor roller rink was found,
As my mom grew up to be a teen,
Her genuine love of skating gleaned,
Greeted by her friends and dates,
She'd lace up her leather skates,
Rocking to the radio sounds,
'50's music echoed down.

Her dreams of ever skating pro,
Slipped away as she let them go,
Her life played out a different tune.
As she married young, in the baby boom.
She loved watching figure-skaters on tv,
She brought us to ice rinks before age 3.
I remember her spinning and gliding on ice,
Undaunted, while she fell down twice.

When faced with cancer in her middle years,
She skated, bringing fun face-to-face towards her fears.
Her survival brought her back, as her talents revealed,
To the strength of her spirit which soared as she wheeled.
Eventually, her beloved wheels were hung,
Yet, she had fond memories from skating when she was young.

It seems, as her daughter, her experiences of life stay alive,
As they guide me to persevere, and be grateful to her, as I also survive.

Two closely related poems from Val, both showing her love for nature and life – and her ability to create rich visual images using well chosen words.

The Wild Rice Tree Stand; Season Opener

Glancing through a network of leafless branches,
The steady stream of the gently, curving river is interrupted
by a young doe foraging through from one muddy shore to a safer more thicketed shore.
Her presence breaks the water into a v-shaped ripple.
Ever so gently she discovers a well-worn leaf-lined path through the woods.
She stops intently staring into the blaze orange huntergal's scope,
then she turns away, fading, disappearing into the shelter of the trees and undergrowth.
She is small yet, plus the hunter only can seek a buck.
So she lives, yet another year, and another season.
The sun rises in early dawn, glistening on the river.
The squrrels scold the intruder in their trees. The birds whistle from up high.
The branches quiver in the breeze. Distant gunfire echoes out, as each of the other hunters hope to claim their deer.
The huntergal patiently awaits.

Brief Encounter

The squirrel approached with caution and fear,
The hunter winked back, as he was there for the deer.
With each chattering chirp, the squrrel's tail, he would twitch,
Until a treasure-trunk of a tree full of corn for him to steal, was revealed,
"Don't worry little furry friend. I promise not to snitch."
After a while, he snuck closer to the hunter, his newly found friend,
He sat up on his hanches, and extended his front paws,
Revealing his treasure, a golden kernel,
Which he cracked gently with his tiny mouth, puffed-up cheeks, and his jaws.
As the hunter, for a momen, he paused,
Distracted by nature, forgetting the hunt, and his cause.
An entertaining brief encounter, but, none the less, when they parted, did their friendship thus end.

And heere's one more poem about the huntergal and a doe, written in the same rich style.

Wild Rice Tree Stand; Sunset

The huntergal arrives on the eve another day.
She climbs up into a camouflaged tower,
As she patiently waits, for nearly an hour.
Across the meadow, a young doe zig-zags.
Her antler-less head barely clears the height of the grass.
Between the farmer's abandoned tractors and plows,
The opening shows the huntergal another view of the doe's full form.
The doe's uplifted ears and eyes search until she stares
Straight again into the scope of the huntergal in the still, quiet evening air.
Aware of the danger, she pivots one-eighty degrees,
Then leaps thrice-times, into the woods, with her white-tail fluttering, like a feather in the breeze.
The sun sets, blaze orange, like the huntergal's attire, between the lengthening shadows of the trees.
Two shots echo out from the north near the treestand, the huntergal's previous perch,
A text reveals that a two-prong antlered buck has gone down.
His life ended, as the sun set,
Across the rich, black-dirt, riverbed's earthen ground.

So, it was a real hunt, with a very real huntergal – Val.

Wild Rice Tree Stand; Closure

Again, I walked across the chunky, dirt field towards the tree,
Moses, the German Shepherd stayed back away from me.
Hooking my rifle to a cord, I ascended, then, after tethering my harness, I drew it up.
I engaged my gun, ammo ready, safety on,
Waiting, watching, for any kind of movement.
A small blue-winged bird hopped around, pecking at the trees on both sides of me,
Bobbing, like a drinking bird toy until he flew away.
A couple squirrels rustled the leaves,
The moon, nearly full, began to rise from the east,
The river glistened as I looked to the west, until the sun nearly set,
I almost descended, as dusk began,
The woods were still, so I glanced across the barren field.
Amazingly, along the treeline, a buck grazed,
Nearly eighty yards away, I peered through my scope,
Reassuring my gaze that he was indeed an antlered buck,
I shot and missed, he stood tall, and statue-still,
My second shot, I later learned, entered both shoulders,
The next shot hit his liver, as he lay on the ground,
I shot my final round, which missed,
As he kicked, then layed down.
I texted, then lowered my gun,
My ambiguious feelings of the hunt Intertwined,
In my mind.
A creature so beautiful, graceful and alive, one moment,
Then, due to my actions, he lay so still, without further movement.
His eyes, reflecting the setting sun,
Glared at me, sadly, as my mind fully registered what I had just done.

A very personal experience behind this poem, which is filled with gratitude. The title is well chosen!

Grateful Heart
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Years ago, on a Christmas break morn,
I awoke twice early, with my second born.
We delivered the newspapers of those days,
We looked up as the skies lit up, both amazed.
The Northern Lights greeted us with rippled, illuminated, colorful streaks,
Both of us, breathless,
Neither he nor I stopped our mission,
As neither of us could find words to speak.
Afterwards, I lay down, till dawn broke the day.
I woke up with a numbness, yet, a hypersensitive pain.
Afraid, never before had I experienced this feeling,
Unable to walk, no strength, not knowing with what I was dealing.
Scared, I called my mom who joined me to the emergency room,
A Doctor spoke of MS, lifelong "friends" reacted to me speaking of a fate of doom.
With my mom in neuropsych, a doctor spoke rudely about giving up to die,
My mom snapped angrily back to him wanting to punch him in the eye,
She knew I sought answers, to know what courses of action to try,
I wasn't about to give up, cower, take pity on myself, or cry.
I was so glad she took the time off to be there,
to drive me for my lab tests, and an MRI.
Later, after treatments, gradually rebuilding my strength,
I learned I had "Guillain-Barré Syndrome" during that time of length.
Fortunate was I, and grateful to my mom,
The one person in my life I could back then always rely upon.
Nowadays, when I know that she is suffering, yet, I am unable to hold her hand, and come help her,
It is my hope, that she feels love from my grateful heart, sent in prayers, always and forever.

Val often writes poems about journeys, and this could be a "key poem" to her poetic universe – at least this journey has imprinted very potent and seminal memories in her mind.

Aurora, Colorado; Happily Returned
By Valerie J Laidlaw

We moved my brother, towards the end of December, in seventy-three,
To Colorado, where rental places, we found to be scarce,
In accepting, a young couple, with a baby.
He'd joined the Air Force, finishing basic training, first,
As college placed second, to their need for clothing, shelter, hunger, and thirst.
On the way back, the weather grew wicked and fierce, blowing downward through the plains.
A blizzard dumped snow, and the strong wind carved massive drifts between the valleys, hills, and drains.
Herds of cattles huddled frozen together against ridges for shelter.
We crept onward slowly, driving blind, in the vicious storm's swelter.
Just in time, we approached a little town,
As the patrolmen signaled us, informing us that the road ahead was closed down.
The motels had no vacancies left to be found.
As some kind strangers led us around.
A church welcomed us, and opened its doors,
So we gracously slept, in its aisles, on the floor.
As the coarse weather subsided, and the stained glass windows glowed,
A humble caravan of cars, like gypsies, crept out, crossing a desert of snow.
The strong shoveled paths for our tires on the road,
One vehicle crossed at a time, with its load.
As we crossed further on, I sat up front with my dad,
And, I experienced one of the scariest experiences of my life, that I have ever had.
The road followed the carved path approaching a high grade,
A sharp, left turn towards the edge, steering with the wheel my dad made,
Followed by a sharp hairpin turn to the right in the groove the men's shovels had laid.
Any small slip or falter, we would've plunged over the edge of the cliff, into a ravine.
In that "slow motion" moment, my entire, young life flashed past, in that scene.
We returned up the middle of the next two states to our own,
My life, it continued, and through faith, I am now safe, and fully grown,
This story reminds me, whenever I need a lift,
Each day, and each moment, in life is a gift.

Another poem built on memories, this time from a sad moment many years ago. But Val always manage to lift the story in the end with a touch of warm feelings.

By Valerie J Laidlaw

A chubby cherub had arrived from heaven,
On my mother's birthday in February of '67.
I was ten, and, still the "baby."
Excited, for either a brother, or a sister, maybe.
He came home, after a full week's stay,
In the hospital, unlike nowadays.
Daniel Joseph, our baby brother,
I loved him, dearly, like no other,
For three days, he was home,
He cried, as he lay next to me on my bed, then...
In his crib, across the hall, his exhausted young heart had stopped, and, started again,
He lived,
Yet, the next time, and the last time, I saw him alive at all,
Was when my folks snuck me up the back stairwell, in the hospital.
My poor brother, so alone, in an "isolette,"
I felt so helpless for him, and I'll never forget.
My folks flew with him, to the cities, with the hope of fixing his heart,
After surgery, however, it had failed to restart.
Our neighbors came around, for my mom and our family, but we didn't want all that sadness,
We didn't want him to stop living, and depart.
My mom only said, "He was too good for this earth!"
And, that, "He was now an angel, again, up in heaven, like he was, before his birth!"
After that time, we seldom mentioned his name,
The photos were sealed away, and our lives were never completely the same.
Upon the birth of my first-born baby boy,
My mother's feelings flooded back with extremely, long, lost tears of great joy!
So much of the hurt of the loss of her "Danny" she had held "closed off," yet, dear,
Healed, in that moment, as, she hugged her new grandson, Kyle, who resembled, to her,
The baby, she had missed, for those many, sad, "silent" years.

Gagarin – Laika – Shepard – Grissom – Glenn – Armstrong and Aldrin; all those Heroes from the early years of the space age are gone. Val once met John Glenn, she shares that moment with us in this poem.

God Speed John Glenn

I remember when,
We saw John Glenn.
All the while,
We sat,
Cross-legged style,
On the floor of the gymnasium.
Our principal, also named "Glenn,"
Introduced him in our school "lyceum."
The astronaut told us about his orbital flight,
We were so impressed, and dazzled,
To behold such a great hero, in our sight
It was truly a "space-age" era for us "baby boomers" in the sixties.
In those days,
We had seen amazing jugglers, acrobats, and musicians,
Yet no one had left us more amazed,
As this charismatic, brave man.
We asked about weightlessness, the chimps in space,
How it felt, to launch into the outer atmosphere,
At such an unbelieveable pace.
Plus, splashing down, was he relieved,
To be safely returned to Mother Earth,
Opening his capsule, breathing the fresh, ocean air?
Yes, I remember when
We saw John Glenn,
(I was there.)

A quiet little poem resembling in tone the style (but not the form) of the Japanese "haiku" – very impressive!

Cascade, A Winter Train
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Soft, snow falls,
Cascading down in fog-like sheets,
Towards the frozen Red River.
A silver bullet glides quickly,
Over the span of the bridge,
Upon its metal rails,
Reminiscent of
The blades of steel,
Whereupon, a speed skater
Skims across an icy pond.

One more of Vals obituaries – as usual written with warmth and full of fond memories.

The Best That He Knew To Be
By Valerie J Laidlaw, 2/17/17

God blesses us all with people, in a vast variety,
A spectrum of shades and personalities,
Plus, a wide continuum of talents, and abilities of creativity and art,
Most of all, He blesses some people with a gift of a loving heart.
Gene had challenges which frustrated him, and at times, had a temper, yet, he dealt with all he faced, the best that he could.
He was a man, who tried to face life purely, to see, to understand, and be good.
He faced surgery, as strong as any brave soldier,
He faced the losses of his siblings, as he grew older,
He loved experiences, seeing a museum, Disney World, the ocean, and a zoo,
Eating out, visiting, learning, or seeing something new.
He was a gentleman, more capable of respect than many people in this world practice or do.
Gene was a man with a loving faith that was true, and real.
He was a gentleman, most of the time, always doing and being, the best that he knew to be.

This poem tells touchingly about a visit King Olav V of Norway made to the US in April/May 1968, almost fifty years ago, when Lyndon B. Johnson was President.

Royal Visit
By Valerie J. Laidlaw

In '68, "Auntie Mur," as she liked to be called...
Went uptown, where she bought us each a little, freckle-faced, orange-haired doll.

The highlight of her visit, was waiting in line at Island Park,
As the King of Norway arrived in a limo, then disembarked.
He strode along, laying a wreath
to honor and grace...
A Norwegian poet laureate's
statue's base.

Next, a group of Native American Chiefs,
Donned him with a headress to bequeath,
The King with a title; "Honorary Sioux Indian Chief."
I remember this day with the photos I've kept,
Plus, Muriel's reminiscent memories, as she wept,
From the thrill of a handshake, from the King she'd received.
He smiled towards her, recognizing her as a "Norwegian," she believed.

What I saw was:
People of both Norwegian and Native descent showed and received respect and loyalty,
In the presence of this kind, handsome, and dignified man of Norse Royalty.

A little poem containing some fine pieces of advice for making yourself a better human being.

The Path
By Valerie J Laidlaw

When life becomes difficult, try as you may,
Hope, and wait patiently, for a better day.
Whenever you're tested, before you can start,
Try to do what is best, and follow your heart.
Leave an impression of caring, as a gift sent their way,
In greeting each-other, and as you depart.

My last bikini

Fushia pink
Polka dots
Ruffled hips
Loved it lots!
It is very difficult to write SHORT. Look at all those best-seller novels – a lot of pages, but not allways quality to match. Then read this poem. In four short lines Val says goodbye to an old bikini from 30 years ago and gave it to her daughter. The poem says it ALL!

A portrait of a dog, and a poem about the relationship between the dog and its owner – Val.

A Dog's Soul

As he whimpers in his sleep,
Dreaming deep,
As he stares through the window with open eyes,
And, softly cries,
When I'm alone in the house, and take a shower,
Guarding the door for me, at any hour,
When I'm busy, at the computer, or on the phone,
His front paws reach up, reminding me, I'm never really alone,
When he lays on his back, all stretched out,
"Playing dead," as if to pout,
When he licks the air, then, widely smiles,
And helps me forget a day's tough trials,
When he unconditionally welcomes me at the door,
No matter, whether I'm good, bad, skinny, fat, rich, or poor,
I believe, my dog has a soul.

Another poem about a dog. I guess many dog-owners will recognize the experiences Val writes about here.

Each Dog has a Purpose
By Valerie J Laidlaw

My little dog has a Dachshund hide,
Plus, features from his Chihuahua side.
Sometimes, he's feisty, as a fox,
Teasing, he does playfully nip at me and box.
Yet, ofttimes, as I sit, and watch tv,
As he stretches out, he's
The length of my legs, laying across my knees.
He also loves cuddling up like a baby wee,
Yet, he rapidly speeds,
Chasing outside, after a bird or a squirrel,
'Round the shed or towards the tree,
Ears flipped back, with his spinning tail unfurled.
Yet, at night, he's a cocoon under a blanket, like a cat all curled.
Every dog has a purpose I believe,
This one saves me, through many losses I grieve.
Comforting, with a gift of love each time, which I gratefully receive.

Tempus fugit – look above to find a poem called "Wedding Week Status Updates". Here's another update, written two years later, and it really looks like a happy union!

Happy Anniversary

Sometimes, I wonder how,
How, can it be,
That, at this stage of my life,
I have found a man,
A man, so perfectly,
Well, maybe not, "perfectly,"
Yet, very "well-suited,"
For me?

It is so comforting to know,
That he stands for me,
With me, beside me,
In support of me,
Yet is "blind" to the faults
I, so quickly, and harshly,
Find in myself.
I have such self-criticism,
That, I find it nearly incredible,
That someone loves me, as he does,
Sheltering me, holding me,
Safely, within his arms,
Within our home,
And, among others,
In this world.

All along, we were usually,
Just around the corner,
Or, a few blocks away,
As time passed on,
Preparing for the right time,
For us to reunite,
And appreciate,
Who we are,
At last.

A goal, which I strive for,
In our love, I just hope, I can fulfill,
His life's dreams, as well,
Beyond the ones we share!

Below you can read one of Val's many "portraits in poetry", and there are many other examples above. This time she has painted a portrait of a hummingbird called Breezy.

Breezy, the Hummingbird
By Valerie J Laidlaw

From the day she was hatched,
Her speed was unmatched,
She'd hover and glide,
Slip up, then downslide,
Dancing throughout the gardener's flower patch.

Only cameras set on their highest speed shutters,
Could capture her tiny, feathery flutters.
Her fiesty antics, people shared,
Posting videos, as she flitted "on-air."
Stopping briefly, she'd sip on a flower, exiting quickly, "slicker than butter."

From her busy world, she perceived, a view which she alone could see,
Which was what her surroundings seemed to be...
Slower than a snail,
Or, bigger than a whale,
Swimming through the deep, blue sea.

Life is like that!

This poem can be read in many ways, from an everyday triviality to a meeting between different cultures. In the very special atmosphere of today I read it as a political message ...

Everyone deserves a smile!
By Valerie J Laidlaw

The lines were long,
Yet, items in her cart were few.
She had plenty of time to wait,
Yet, a poorly-dressed gentleman...
He knew what to do.
He offered his place in the line ahead of him,
While he pleasantly visited about family,
Good fortune, and how we were all so blessed, and lucky!
On his head, he wore a turban of a sort out of a sweatshirt,
He had an outlandish, yet cordial way about him,
Which sparked a young mother's and her curiosity.
She was dismayed at the angry, snobbish stares glaring from a businessman towards him... which she notably did see.
She checked out her items, and observed that he...
Held a small sack of produce wrapped up from the deli.
Noting the contents' cost, as a courtesy...
She left a few dollars on the counter, quite casually.

A Sonnet is a kind of poem with more than eight centuries old roots, easy to recognize by the fourteen lines in each verse. Val uses the English – or Shakespearean variant – to tell the history of her Grandmother, Thea, in two parts.

"Song of a Sonnet"
By Valerie J. Kolle Laidlaw
Abab cdcd efef gg

My Grandmother, Thea, at age eighteen,
Plainly dressed in a suit of darkened hues,
The only photo of her youth which I've seen,
From a feathered hat to button-hooked shoes.

A church-going, pioneer daughter was raised,
On a farm, among lakes, hills, and trees,
Beautiful country, where dairy cows grazed,
>From frozen winter snowdrfts to the warm summer's breeze.

The neighboring farm had a son move away,
Postcards told of Canadian homesteader's life,
From a man whom she planned on marrying some day,
She taught school as he ventured through perils and strife.

Joseph returned as his father became ill and in need,
He stayed on, stateside, married, with a lifetime commitment of love and duty, indeed.

"Sonnet Song; At Rest"
By Valerie J. (Kolle) Laidlaw
Abab cdcd efef gg

Grandpa Joe I hardly knew,
A tall, strong farmer sowing seeds,
He was already gone as I turned two,
My mother help with his final care, and needs.

Grandma Thea was petite and small,
She moved in with her sister for a spell,
Smiling, as she never complained at all,
Facing cancer and chemo becoming un-well.

She carried a camera that looked like a box,
She performed intricate needlework with miniscule, pulled threads,
She played dominos slyly, quick as a fox,
She sewed aprons, crocheted doilies, and quilted beautiful bedspeads.

I have a photo of my dear, old granny in her Bunad from Voss,
As it's donned by her descendants, her legacy is honored, not lost.

What is this – a list of random words with a capital first letter? Not so fast: Read the title and then reflect on every word in the poem. Right, Val pays a tribute to Prince in a very unusual way, listing words that serves as door-openers to a great artist and his legacy. Well done!

Prince; Described
By Valerie J Laidlaw
June 30, 2017

Priceless Performer Producer
Persona Purple Piano Paisley Park
Respect Reality Records Recordings Rain
Incredible Introspective
Inspiring Inclusive Image
Nice Natural New Near
Confident Creative Colorful Colossal
Excellent Evolutionary Experience
Everlasting Eternal

A little poem about Memorabilia: Things we collect, put in drawers and forget until we need room for new Memorabilia we collect, put in drawers and ...

By Valerie J Laidlaw

Sorting thru
Nothing new
Decades due
Keeping a few
Photos & memory cues.

From here and there,
And nearly everywhere,
I'd been collecting wares,
Local Red River Valley's & Street Fairs,
Concerts, travels, & treasured looms of heir.

Selling now, just making bucks,
While buyers & dealers come 'round to pluck
"Stealing" for their fortunate "lots of luck,"
Filling their "antique" flea-market trucks,
With assorted, vintage, collectible "Stuff!"

I will feel, eventually,
As I toss & sort & sell, to be,
More cumbersome-free,
Uplifted & Free.
We'll see!

There are many ways to remember people. Val has written this little poem and made the "memory bears" from shirts that belonged to Marvin. Very touching!

By Valerie J Laidlaw

This bear is given,
To loved ones still living,
From a man named Marvin,
For his spirit shines, now, up in Heaven!

The longship "Hjemkomst" (Homecoming) vas built as a replica of the Gokstad ship, a Viking ship used as a burial vessel more than 1100 hundred years ago, now on the Viking Museum in Oslo. Since the 1890's four replicas have been built – "Hjemkomst" may be the best of them.

Robert Asp
By Valerie J. Laidlaw
September 11, 2017

A ship was built of oak from a forest of trees,
And sails tethered tightly to masts in a breeze,
What some perceived to be a foolish scheme,
Because a man had dared to fulfill his dream,
In tribute to Norse Viking ancestors who had navigated brisk, Northern seas.

Constructing his ship with a magnificent mast,
Now famously locally known, this man, Robert Asp,
Building in a warehouse in Hawley,
Despite naysayers folly,
A modern day "Noah" turning their chuckles to gasps.

As the carved dragon's head lead the ship toward the water,
Robert's face beamed brightly, much prouder than a father,
He felt so happy and alive,
Sailing on, he briefly survived,
Believing, the "Hjemkomst's" voyage, with his children, would carry forth, as a legacy, bridging the two nations, eternally together.

We've met the Self-made Man in earlier poems, nine or ten, I believe. Val calls this a requiem – she has moved on. A very touching Farewell!

Selfmade; Reqiuem "Despues"

Occasionally, phonecalls randomly ring after the years he'd departed,
Announcing his presence, interrupting my life, as I'm unexpectedly started.

He casually announces his plan to return.
To him, in his perception, there had never been any bridges burned.

His place near the river still remains unsold,
There's no rekindling embers of our past, from lost flames of long ago, now cold.

A classic barn with its old timber, as the dust settles in,
The roped swing from the rafters hangs still from within.

The beautiful, wooden-planked floors remain unswept, with a hollow, quiet, empty sound.
No more music resonates, with graceful dancers spinning 'round.

Sunshine and shadows through the window above,
Glide past, with days and seasons, unwitnessed, unloved.

The harvested logs in the mountains on a ridge overlooking a valley and stream,
Haven't been raised yet nor built, into the home of his dreams.

I'm so happilly married, and I've moved along,
Yet, for him, sadly, I'm still a part of his song.

Another old character in Vals poems. Scroll up to 8/27/2016, there you'll find more about The Pink Bunny.

Pink Bunny, Reunited
By Grandma Val to Layla

"Oh, Pink Bunny! I missed you!
I'm so glad you returned! So...
Your ears are all fixed, and you're fluffy again.
You still have some wear from the lov'n I've given,
In my arms with my hugs, I can imagine you living!"
A new zipper, ears, and a tail, all handstitched and mended,
Fluffed up face, arms, legs, old and new were all blended.
Layla's beloved Pink Bunny, again,
She survives.

In the land of Fantasy and Myths the Unicorn is one of the main characters. Also on carrousels and in childrens dreams!

Sofia's Unicorn

A favorite dream of which Sofia dreamt
Was a carrousel unicorn heavenly sent.
He had a blend of prismatic colors of every hue,
A mane and a tail blended, braided in twisted ropes,
An iridescent, sparkling, crystalline horn of hope.
Sofia had loving helpers by day and by night,
Who helped in her cares bringing her happiness and light.
Each night she'd dream of her awesome steed,
Each day her helpers sought to help her in her desires, choices and needs,
Then she'd share her dream as a fantastic story,
Embellishing the unicorn's beauty in words of grace and glory.
Unknown to Sofia a woodcarver artist created a gift,
They attached a comfortable saddle, and mechanical lift.
Sofia was so ecstatic and giggled as she had approached the vision of her dream coming true,
As she rode round and round, on the carrousel "What a Wonderful World!" played its tune.

We've mer her before – The Huntergal, one of Vals creations, or perhaps her alter ego? Anyhow, the hunting season isn't over yet!

Huntergal; A Season Begins

With another year of staying alive, she and her man drive,
Upon icy roads, with a northward, predawn strive.
Two layers of socks, thin, then thick,
"Hurry now, we must be quick!" (and strong)
Unders short, leggings long,
Strap on a knife, encased in leather,
Layer up for the windy, cold, wicked weather.
Khaki pants, headband, and a harness for hooking up to a tree,
Thick coveralls, jacket, hat, gloves; blaze orange for visibility.
Tshirt, insulated hoodie, and top,
"Sure wish the snow, and sleet, and rain would stop!
I'm cold, thirsty, hungry, and sopped."
She trudges across the overturned, moist, rich soil; mustering the strength of her legs, and the toil; which it takes,
The leafless trees and paths are powdered with fresh, fluffy flakes; which are falling,
As she climbs up a ladder to the stand sixteen feet off the ground,
She pulls up her tethered rifle, engages her first chambered cartridge, as she sits in the silent absence of sound.
The cloudy, neutral scenery, slowly adds its colors as it evolves beyond the blackness of night,
The remnants of green moss in the trees,
The squirrels and birds appear, and distant shots interrupt the silence of the earliest daylight.
Below her perch, and across the field,
Hoofprints etch evidence of this huntergal's yearly yield.
Upon descending at nightfall, and trudging back to the truck,
Five does prance across the distant horizon, as if saying, "Good Luck!"

Right, the hunting season continued the next days and produced four new chapters about Huntergal:

Huntergal; Weather-tough

Added layers of "ice-fishing" gear she wore,
Couldn't stop the bone-chillin' wind from freezing her to the core,
From her high perch up she bore
The low temps for four hours, no more.
Fingertips barely able to un-tether,
As she slipped down her rifle and descended in the awful, "un-godly" weather.
With high hopes she had trudged,
Seeking, searching for her prey which she sought.
Disappointed, yet too frozen to care,
She went home again, unaware.

Huntergal; A Perfect Shot

Another dawn
Much warmer and calm
Deer run out of the corn into the ditch and beyond,
Tracks extend all directions upon her path and along,
Evidence of the deer presence moving on.
From 6 am till nearly 10
The only movements are squirrels and birds, and then...
Just as huntergal was about to descend...
A doe meadered on a tree-lined path in the woods,
Staring straight ahead at the huntergal and her gun,
Pivoting, as the gun's safety slid to fire,
The doe leaped out northward from the tree,
Fleeing, completely unscathed, unharmed, and free!

Huntergal; The Gathering

Nearby, at a house, friends gather round,
Day one's buck with an asymetrical rack upon his crown,
With front hooves razor sharp,
Huntergal enters the warmth of the home, Inside, two dozen camo/rubber boots on the floor,
Blaze orange, camo gear, everywhere,
Warming up, exchanging tales,
The wondrous comradery entails.
After the colder, bitter, wintry day,
The weather warmed.
Driving up in darkness,
A deer ran across the road from out of the corn,
A hunting couple arrived with their 5 year old bjorn.
Their stand was like a stilted shack
Past a cemetary in a field out back.
Three hours later they tagged a buck,
While Huntergal still had no luck.
Her husband sees an old doe and her yearling. He failed to shoot.
The young family headed east,
Pulling out with their conquered beast on their truck.

Hungergal; A Season Concluded

The afternoon warmed nicely,
The forest came alive.
Canadian geese and eagles flew overhead,
A beaver crunched the icy riverbed,
A pileated woodpecker screeched and tossled his crimson-colored red head.
The squirrels carried their treasured nuts up the trees, chirping and barking,
The afternoon turned to dusk as the sky darkened.
The Huntergal again descended her tree.
She doffs her harness glad to be down and more free.
She walks by the farmstead along a deer trail
Wondering still if she triumph or fail.
She waits for her husband who has the keys.
Two deer enter the corn from the ditch and the road which she sees.
Huntergal chambers a shot just in case,
But the deer disapear in a faster pace.
More deer go into the corn as she waits.
Suddenly, at almost dusk 80 yards down to road,
An old doe stands majestically still,
As Huntergal holds her rifle and loads.
Through the scope the doe patiently waits to be killed.
Huntergal fires without bracing her shot,
The doe disappears from all sight,
As a yearling leaps across the field to the right.
As Huntergal waits for her husband and darkness falls.
Another younger doe stands, stares, turns and leaps gracefully into the trees.
A huge buck moves in the woods, turns, and grunts, angry and mean.
Huntergal's husband arrives and they walk near where she had shot.
Further, as they drive, they find the doe laying by the corn in the ditch.
She had lain down so quickly, like the light from a switch.
A huge, lady doe, the Huntergal's second lifetime kill,
Lay silently, quietly, yet, peacefully still.

Here's a new chapter in the saga abour a Princess, a Dragon and a Knight on a journey through their fantasy world.

Dragon; Further
Valerie J Laidlaw

The knight told of his adventurous journey in the form of a fabulous, fortuitous fable,
"Okay, so you brought me this proof of a dragon," as the tail slithered out onto the table.
"Oh, it's cool, you're alive,
That you persevered, and survived.
But, I want to journey along, with you, far away in this world, while I'm able."

"I want to sail all seven seas, and climb summits of mountains,
See waterfalls, brilliant, northern lights' skies, and great fountains!
I don't want to waste time in this castle,
As my hair grows into a long, golden tassel.
The damp, dreary walls of this place, to me, seem more like a prison."

He listened as the Princess continued her plea,
Evisioning all the sights of the world for to see.
"Okay, Love!" spoke the Knight.
"We will swiftly take flight!"
And for the first time in her royal, young life, she felt free!

For they hitched rides on ships, with the Vikings,
Found well-worn trails, completing vast pilgrimages, of hiking.
Sailing on wild, wet, windswept courses,
Riding tall, upon elephants, camels, and horses,
The Knight and the Princess did all this to their liking.

Eventually, when she thought, she'd seen all that she'd imagined, and desired,
Having fullfilled all of their memories, and dreams, that had transpired,
The Princess was content,
That the Knight now was meant,
To be eternally bonded (with her), on land, open seas, and skyward!

Æsop + Val = true? It certainly looks like a happy combination. 2600 years separate them in time, but not in creativity!

Crow, A Fable

By Valerie J Laidlaw

Mr. Aesop, tell me so...
Would a crow...really know?
A thirsty crow...would he know...
That with the stones he threw into, and upon their stacking within,

Displace, and thus cause a water level to rise in a pitcher, and upwards towards the rim
Within reach,
Of his "length-challenged" beak,
Quenching his thirst, with the liquid he sought,
Through such advanced reasoning and cognitive thought?

The tale...entertaining in the way it was told, its rendering of a lession of old,
Yet...of its conceptualized character of a bird...I remain...unsold.

Easter week, and two very different poems arrive from Val. The first has nothing to do with the old movie "Casablanca", but paints a picture of an old rural church, still standing, but in need for repair.

"As Time Goes By"

This monument was built by a congregate of men.
Through the plains, the bell tower's resonating call was sent.
A place of prayer, hopes, dreams, and baptismal blessings placed on babies with care,
Meals were prepared, blessed, and shared,
As the sunshine spread its light inward through prismatic glass on its believers in prayer.

Weather worn shingles and white-washed siding, once hammered in place,
Gave way to the seasons of God's given grace.

"As time goes by," generations passed onward, and away.
Yet, as its purpose disapeared, and drifted on its way,
This monument beckoned some to cherish it, and briefly stay.

To this day, the church, with mercy and grace,
Proudly and stubbornly stands in its long, destined place.

By Valerie J Laidlaw

The other poem tells about living with pets who don't understand that their owner wants some SLEEEEP!

Woes of Working A Nightshift

Pitter patter of little paws,
Clickety clack of little claws,
As I attempt to gain a restless sleep,
I'm reminded of the pets we keep.
As a vigilant guard the shepherd lies
Near my bedside he patiently cries.
The tinier dog drifts in and out,
Briefly checking his friend then about,
Till neighboring dogs howl and shout,
Beckoning our boys to nervously bark,
Pleading at the door to run and depart,
Drawn back inside away from the pack,
They run out briefly, then come rushing back.
An underlying conversation from the tv plays,
As I try to sleep upon sunlit hours of days.

The Croc & the Frogs

One little frog sat upon a green log.
"That looks fun!" said his buddies from the bog.
"I'm not a log!" replied the croc with a smile,
"Yet, you guys are cool to stay for awhile!"
Each frog helped the other up with a boost,
Till all 5 frogs sat up upon their newly found roost!

By Valerie J. Laidlaw 3/3/2018
Val writes that someone in Indonesia took a photo of a crocodile with 5 frogs on its back. It had to be a poem of that!

"En tale for loffen" (A speech of praise for the French bread) is a famous poem by the Norwegian poet Jan Erik Vold. I guess Val doesn't know this poem, but she and Mr. Vold share the love of the smell and taste and feel of home-made bread. They're not alone in that, but as poets they have their own ways of expressing this love.

Bread Day
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Every so often, as a kid, I never knew when,
I'd get up, go downstairs & go into the kitchen.
In my mom's largest, round Tupperware bowl,
There was a huge, soft-looking "belly" of dough.
She'd pinch & pull away part of the dough, as she kneaded it,
Rolling, forming a loaf in each pan & brushing melted butter on each bread, as she treated it.
Under a moist flour sack dish towel she covered the loaves, as they doubled in size,
Never measuring, yet results were always perfectly risen & precise.
As she baked these, I'd pinch little pieces into
Rectangles of dough which I'd flatten with a small rolling pin,
That upon, I'd spread with raisins, sugar, butter & cinnamon,
Rolling them up into tubes, for to cut up & slice.
I had tiny aluminium cake & muffin pans, so small & so nice,
Of which I'd bake with, filling them twice.

Whenever I come to a bakery, wherever I roam,
The aroma of fresh bread baking reminds me of home.

Rosemaling – or "Rose Painting" – is an old decorative art form from Southern Norway, brought to America by immigrants. Now it is a loved part of the Norwegian cultural heritage among people with roots in Norway – like Val.

Valerie J Laidlaw

Rosemaling, simply flows,
Like nature's flowers,
It flawlessly shows,
With flora, fauna, "S's" and swirls.
Connecting artlovers of a world,
In a poetical, musical, free-style way,
Contrasting, color-blending, sway.
Lightness, upon darkness,
And darkness, upon light.
Precisely, asymmetrical,
Yet, accented with symmetry and motion.
A beautiful reminder of a heritage from afar,
Rosemaling embellished trunks for Norse immigrants crossing the ocean.
The beauty of this art, we behold,
In centuries of cherished pieces, newly painted, vintage, or old,
Which unite and connect us with tradition,
And, fond appreciation,
Under Southern crosses, Northern lights, and stars,
Sharing images with technology, networking, near and far.

A Tall Tale or a Fable? Both, I suppose. But there's another creature behind this poem: Val's Pegasus!

Marco's Tall Tale
By Valerie J. Laidlaw

Marco lived on an isle by the shore,
He knew that with being happy, "Less is more!"
Swimming, playing barefoot on the beach,
Having his fishing boat within reach,
He enjoyed the breezes of the sea,
Living a simple life, and feeling free!

There were horses to ride,
Towards the island's far side,
The schools were the elders as tutors,
A time before phones, cars, clocks, and computers.

Marco's tale long ago did begin,
As a large, wooden crate had drifted in.
He pulled it to shore, onto the sand,
Using logs, rolled it even further, inland.

His mind, like a cloud, drifted off to his hoping,
As, in the shade, he began prying it open.
Upon hearing a soft, stirring inside,
Something moved, whimpered, and cried.

The creature looked somewhat like a horse,
Its stilted legs, and long neck stretched out with a force.
Marco was startled, and stared all aghast,
For he knew not what he saw was a baby "giraffe!"

Marco fed the strange creature, and named him,
"Stretch," while they walked side-by-side,
He groomed, bathed, then, taught him
To let Marco climb upon the creature's back for a ride.

When Marco and Stretch were seen by the youth, they were teased, for a while,
Until Marco rode proudly, with ease, and a smile,
Climbing up for a coconut, in the trees, pleasantly with style!

The Islanders still tell of Marco's tale to this day,
About welcoming talents and uniqueness in others, as the only best way!

Val likes writing sagas, and here's the next chapter of Marco's tale:

Marco's Taller Tale: Heroes

Marco's tale with Stretch was just a beginning,
On hot days, you'd see the two of them swimming.

Marco's little brother, Rico, cried out, and weepened,
As he was captured with wavy water which had sweeped him,
Quickly outward pulling him under as it deepened.

Marco hopped onto Stretch as quick as a "jet ski,"
Diving under the water, dipping and submerging, quite briskly,
Retrieving little Rico from perilous depths of the sea,
The small youth recovered quite happily!

Marco and Stretch became heroes that day,
Rewarded with Rico's laughter and play!

The title of this poem suggests an ending of the story or a mass for the souls, but tall tales don't follow the ordinary rules, I guess.

Tall Tale; Requiem

Stretch grew up as gentle as a lamb,
And tall as a tree.
Onto the beach and near the sea,
Best buds for a lifetime, living free.
Marco and his brother rode all over the isle,
This was their magical time for a while.

Sometimes, tsunamis and hurricanes blew,
All of the natives scurried, and knew what to do.
If the people were able, they climbed up to the caves,
Marco and Stretch were so helpful, and brave,
Assisting towards shelter with the many they saved.

Other times, in rebuilding the roads, and framing their huts,
Moving rocks with their muscles, and leveling the ruts,
Marco and Rico, became the leaders in their village island home.
Marco found his true love, Marlena, as he became grown.

Marco and Marlena loved traveling with Stretch on their rides,
As Marco and his bride, climbed up and astride,
Watching sunrises and sunsets with her by his side.

Val loves dragons, several poems testify to that. Perhaps this is why: They don't exist outside our fantasy, you can place them in any mythology, they can even be used as symbols for ideas and ideals – and children love them, too!

Dragon; View from Above
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Here I am,
In a cave, which my family has had, since the beginning of time,
Minding my own business, hidden away from, oh...never mind!
You know us dragons are virtually, practically extinct,
Yet, they'd never protect us as endangered creatures,
Not with these barbed, voluminous features.
These Vikings, they pretend to place us in such high regard,
Carving, and placing our image at the forward-most position in front of a barge.
Of course, I was upset, shooting flames at the unwelcome intruders,
They fought cruelly, and shot sharp swords at me, what could've been ruder?
Then, seriously, as I did try to flee, and take flight,
Into the safer, dark cloak of the night,
The knight continued to assault, and assail me,
Cutting my beautiful, beloved tail free.
A mere token to him, to show off to his bride,
But it was mine, my beloved tail, slithering inside.
Okay, so I eventually grew a new tail back,
Yet, I've had nightmares, ever since that attack,
Dreaming of more of me disappearing in the pack.

I've heard of the voyages of new, Chinese trades,
There, dragons are worshipped, and placed in the highest, and most honorable places,
And the people are loving, respectful, and gracious.
There, on my adventure, I hope to find my bride.
Doesn't anyone care about my point of view, or my side?
Perhaps others might begin to raise concerns, and questions, like, " Who knew?"
Maybe, it will help rescue, plus, save the life of a dragon or two!

A busy summer has ended, time is due for reading the backlog of e-mails. Among them are two poems from Val. The first is clearly "a Summer poem":

By Valerie J Laidlaw

A refreshing breeze,
In the shade of trees,
A jet soaring above, beyond, and overhead,
I'm swinging, and resting, on my outdoor bed.
Faraway screaming at the pool,
It's the end of June, summer school,
Cars, buses, trucks, and trains passing by,
Birds singing nature's lullabye.

The second poem starts with autumn in the first line, but read on: It is more than "an Autumn poem".

Heaven's Tears of Joy
By Valerie J. Laidlaw

Autumn leaves,
And raindrops falling,
In the trees,
Many tears,
As we grieve,
This past week.

As I lay, snuggled up,
With my pups,
I think of a wonderful lady
I have known, throughout my entire life.

With a houseful of children,
On the family farm,
Then, in town,
So much love,
Laughter, strength,
Assertiveness, and charm.
Aunt Betty was so intuitive, and smart,
She knew everyone by heart,
Their feelings, and their soul,
At home, school, and in church.

The rain represents,
Tears of joy from Heaven,
With Betty's Blessed presence,
As her loving legacy continues to live on.
Within everyone she has touched.

The Saga of Marco continues, and now it is looking more and more like a never-ending story with more and more characters, a fantasy novel that children would love to read. Next step: Adding illustrations!

Marco's Travels
Valerie J Laidlaw

On occasion, a Norse captain would arrive,
Fishersmen, traders, Chris, his brother, Paul, alongside.
They gathered spices from China, and the treasures they found,
Sailing their ship over seven times the world 'round.
Paul shared with Marco books of lands far away,
Showing African Savannas where "giraffes" galloped, and swayed.
Marco, in his heart, knew that he must bring his friend, Stretch, on a trip,
Sailing to Africa upon Captain Paulson's great ship.

Marco bid goodbye to his expectant bride,
Marlena, as she embraced their toddler child, Jose, on her side.
He told his brother, Rico,
And the others,
That before the ship he's sailing with returns,
The rains will fall, and bonfires will burn,
And there'll be many setting suns arising,
Upon the west and eastern horizons.

Shipmate Paul gave Marco a binder, ink, and pens,
Showing him how to draw, then write,
As they travelled along in the windswept sea,
Marco recorded his journey,
Then, as he began to illustrate,
He felt lonesome, yet, awestruck, and free.

They journeyed along the equator, and scraped along Asia in the Southeast,
Seeing flora, fauna, and many creatures, and beasts.
They stopped briefly in India, sharing in their guilded rituals, and feasts,
They saw the unusual apes on a Madagascarian isle,
Until they found a port, for their ship to be docked a while.
The eastern coast of Africa brought their journey onto the land,
Traveling inland, the natives were wonderful in giving a hand.
Stretch, the giraffe travelled well with Marco sitting astride,
Except, when the jungle became too dense for Marco to ride.
The paths were narrow, yet around each curve, along each waterway,
Were breathtaking views unlike anything Marco had seen up to that day.
Finally, the sky opened up onto a broad, endless plain,
With ocasional, giant trees, rivers, lakes, and less rain.
Creatures, unmatched in variety, and stature,
Roaming freely, protected from the hunt, living a life in beauty and nature.
Excitedly, Marco spied a group of giraffes, (called a "tower)
The entourage watched Stretch with anticipation,
As Marco encouraged Stretch, cried out, and then laughed,
"For the first time in his life, Stretch will fit in, With some of God's creatures like him,
I'm happy, yet sad, for like a dad, I will miss him!"
Marco watched Stretch shyly move in,
With other giraffes, towering above, tall and slim.
They nodded to Stretch and welcomed him,
Then, he galopped along, and away with them.

Marco returned on a Portuguese vessel,
As the Norsemen sailed on 'round the Horn,
Marco told of his adventures to the tribe, of the wild,
To Brother Rico, Marlena, and to Jose, their child,
Plus, to their babe named, Paula, newly-borne.
As the crimson sun slowly rose above the water in a new morn.

It's autumn, and Val's "Alter Ego" – Huntergal – has loaded her veapon while Val has sharpened her pencil. The result: Two new chapters in the Huntergal Saga, both showing that the experience and the feelings in the long run are the most valuable and important yield of the hunt.

Huntergal Returns

We drove up last week
To prepare our stands in the trees.
Our car lurched slowly in the mud,
And the engine nearly seized.

We layered up less than last year,
I still felt like an overstuffed toy bear.
The sky was calmer,
No rain, snow, or sleet,
Yet, not nearly as warm
As a summer's heat.

I kissed my husband sweetly
And I wished him "good luck."
I was ready for the adventure,
Though not as much,
As we waded onward...
Through mushy mud, and soft muck.
During this autumn, warm and wet,
The bean fields were harvested
With chunks of soil overturned.
I panted, breathing hard,
Thinking, as I trudged,
Alongside the trees,
At the edge of the field,
Wondering if all this effort
Is worth what it yields.

We each went our way,
To our stands, high up in the trees.
My boots are almost as tall,
As my calves to my knees.
The steps of the ladder,
Seemed to have grown further apart,
And my legs,
Seemed to have grown shorter,
As I lifted the toes of my boots,
To the height of each step,
Ascending to the top seat,
Dropping my bag to the ground,
Realizing I had to climb again,
As I went down to retrieve it,
Mustering strength to rise,
Up the ladder, again.

I secured myself and pulled up my gun,
Thinking, "Now,
My adventure has officially begun."
After my steamed up eyeglasses cleared,
There was a loud snorting sound drawing near.
Through the trees, I watched one approaching deer,
Which I sighted in to shoot, as two others appeared,
Distant shots rang out twice, which they heard,
Startling all three as the bounded off and disappeared.
Another shot sounds out, then I read in a text,
"One deer is down...and another" I read next,
"Come on down, the hunt is over"
I briefly felt a bit cheated, and vexed,
Yet, relieved, as we had previously agreed,
We would both succeed,
No matter the result...
Come what may.
Next year...

Huntergal; Nature's Call

A different perspective of the day,
I decided to portray.

Distracting my thoughts, above it all,
The beauty and charm of nature's call.
I meant to express this even, despite
My frustrations of yesterday
I observed so much more
In my view of sight.

It was still dark,
In the wee hours of predawn
A neighbor's lost, pregnant cat
Meowed to our front stoop,
Which it sat upon, as we left.

We drove off towards the north,
And, before our arrival
The clouded eastern sky began to reveal
A strip of orange across the horizon,
And darkness above faded into a soft blue.

Eagles and hawks were already busy
Seeking their rodent prey,
In the earliest hours of yesterday.
As we arrived and prepared
Near our friend's cars,
We could hear the hooting
Of an owl from afar.
In the darkness, at my stand,
Total silence, for a time, was at hand,
Until, a rustle of leaves
Revealed a small mouse down below,
Until it disappeared in a mossy log's hole.
Far above, in the distant, the larger birds flew,
And I heard high-pitched chirping and squawks,
>From swarms of the tinier birds,
As they fluttered, circling around.
Next, I was greeted by my favorite pal.
A red squirrel scampered up on a branch,
Looking straight at me
With his "eyelined" bright eyes.
So tiny, with jerky, quick motion,
As he flitted up, down, and around,
Jumping, from branch to branch,
Then, pouncing on the fallen leaves,
On the ground.
That was when I heard the loud, snorting sound.
Enter, the three deer, moving slowly, then silently,
Between the trees, ahead of my view.
Gallantly, proudly, sensing my presence,
Staring right towards me,
As I sited one in my scope.
As I expressed earlier, what transpired...
They became startled, as a distant gun fired,
Their bobbing, white-tails trailing lastly,
As I envisioned them, fleeing fastly.

After the hunt, we joined our friends for a lunch,
Warming up, and swapping tales with the bunch.

Val says about this short poem (or proverb): "My mother used this response – often." Let it live on!

"We'll See"

A child's dream request,
A mother's responsive bequest.

"Julenissen" is Norwegian for Santa Claus, or St. Nicholaus, which was called Nils or Nisse in Scandinavia, and he was a figure connected with Christmas Time or Yuletide – anyway: One could wish something from Santa Claus/Julenissen for Christmas present/Julegave regardless of language used when doing that!

Julenissen Wish By Valerie Laidlaw

Little me, once a year,
I change my life's role,
Following reindeer,
>From the north pole.

I might not look grand,
Being small as I am,
For the task at hand,
My young children, dear lambs.

When the sky is so glorious,
With its northern light beams,
I'm filled with your stories,
Your wishes, and dreams.

As you cherish the reasons,
For whatever beliefs your family does know,
I hope to carry forth some magic to the season,
Through the moonlit and starlit, glistening, night snow.

Handmade hearts made of felt,
With stitches so fine,
Rosemaled ornaments,
Swirling colors blended,
And brushed on like a vine,
Little dolls, and toy blocks,
Build imagination, and the mind.

Your gifts aren't so much,
Toys from the stores,
But, a soft, gentle touch,
Loving, kindness, and more.

Little as I am, in this worldly duty,
I hope all this caring and love grows,
Enhancing all the beauty,
The world, in this season, has to show.

I try to bring all of this,
In such a small space of time,
I hope I enlightened you somewhat,
Of my role, in this rhyme.

Here is a poem honoring two beings, both callrd "Sully" – the pilot who landed a passenger plane safely on the river Hudson, and the dog that guarded his master as long as he could. Both deserve this poem "for services beyond the call of duty".

By Valerie J. Laidlaw

Providence brought the name to the highest honor of service and growth,
It is not a mere coincidence, the namesake was bestowed in both.
In both; the pilot, then, the dog, "soldiers," in each, as they mightily did stand.
God provided skills and insight together, for all of their magnificent tasks at hand.

Sometimes, somewhere, someone will get the jackpot. Once in a very special eternity two will get it together.

Wish Upon A Wishbone
By Valerie J. Laidlaw

We have wished upon, and have broken equally
six times running,
The first time, we'd barely been dating a month, and, we both wished "to get married."
As we pulled, it broke evenly, right up the middle,
In this weirdly, consequential riddle.
A rare occurrence, and we were not "funning!"
So, we were quickly engaged, within hardly any time which had tarried.
All of the other times, we thought one of us would get the larger part of a break,
Yet, only even portions, in each of five subsequent trials, did each of us partake.
Sometimes, the top would shoot up, as we each held an equal, remaining branch of the bone,
Or, again, straight up the middle, breaking evenly in our newly, shared home.
Each time, we became more fearful,
As, another break ended up evenly, followed by relieved, shocked laughter which exploded by the tearful!

A poultry's V-shaped bone presents such an odd tradition,
We seek jewelry symbolic of this "wishbone" in various forms of acquisition,
Plus, we treasure greeting cards, and fabric embossed with a symbol of this object for wishing.
A sweet symbol of our bond we have formed between us, in addition,
To our love of art, nature, camping, cycling, canoeing, and fishing!

Once upon a time Chuck Berry sang "Roll over, Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the newa!" This time it is Val singing: "Roll over, Aesop, tell H.C. Andersen and the Brothers Grimm the news!"

The Little Red Hen; A Twist on the Tale
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Once upon a time, as the little red hen's chicks were hatching,
She had found a few grains of wheat, while scratching.
"This wheat should be planted!"
The little hen chanted.
So, seeking help, she began to look,
And, found a duck reading a book.
"Please, duck," she asked,
"Can you help me plant this seed?"
"Nah!" said the duck, "I'd rather read!"
Asking others, lead to no avail,
A cat chasing yarn, and a pup with his pail,
Each replied, "Not I!" with a shake of a tail.
So, the little red hen announced,
"I will!"
As she planted the seeds, alongside the trail.

Soon, the wheat grew to be tall and yellow.
The little red hen said, "The wheat is ripe, and ready to be cut,
Who's able to help now, or, am I out of luck?"
The duck, said, "Sure!" like a really, nice fellow,
For he had finished his book, and helpfully got up,
Unlike the cat, who was chasing a mouse, under the house, and the lazy pup,
Who was staring at the sunset, on the lake, as it glistened.
Meanwhile, the duck cut the wheat, with a tune, he was whistling.
When the wheat was all cut, the hen asked,
"Now who will,
Load up this wheat, and, bring it to the mill?"
"Not I," said the duck, who was worn out, and tired,
"I will!" said the cat, as the hen said, "You're hired!"
The cat liked chasing the mice at the mill.
After she loaded, and brought the wheat down the trail, up the hill,
The lazy dog, after a swim, was sleeping still.
The clock struck a bell, as it rang out, in the tower,
As the cat returned, within the stroke of an hour.
The hen was so pleased, with a sack of flour.
The little red hen asked, "Who would like to knead this flour into dough?"
The cat, remembering the mice at the mill, said, "Not I, I have to go!"
So, as she looked at the duck on the lake, the pup said, "I suppose, I will!"
So, the pup kneaded the dough, with the beat of his tail,
As the wind blew the duck, off the lake, as he sailed.
The little red hen, with her chicks, spread the dough, on a pan,
And, baked a pizza, in an oven, over a flame,
Feasting with her chicks, as the duck, the dog, and the cat, also came,
With chirping, whistling, meowing, a loud howl, and, a yelp,
Celebrating a harvest, in which they each, in turn, had helped.

(Later on, a wee, little mouse crept then, ate the crumbs, and made sure to leave a few grains of wheat for the little red hen.)

In Vals words: "My Cousin Marty died in his sleep age 55 years. He had our Hettervig farm and two sons." As usual,a touching obituary from her:

He Always Wore Overalls
By Valerie J Laidlaw

He rarely wore anything else, as we all knew,
The person, casual, in both attitude and attire, he was true.
A farmer's cap, all worn and old,
Tshirts, plaid flannels, and thermals, for the cold,
Donned with weathered, work-worn overalls.
>From a jovial, crew-cutted toddler, an unleased bundle of energy and life,
Into a man, then, a father of two grown sons, who worked and became much like himself through it all.
Although in his heart and his soul, he was ready, so soon, he was called,
Even though his father, lived into his 90's, as a farmer, his mentor, and best friend,
Teaching, a work ethic of farming, which was carried down from generations before, as they broke the rich, black soil in their hands.
Farming, with the rough elements of both nature, and man,
As they cherished and worked, with God's land.
Marty lived with faith and integrity, as our cousin, brother, neighbor, same as always, just because...
It's who he was.

Yes, spring will soon be here – birds are flying northward, people are putting the winterwear away, but the best proof: Val is writing poems!

Spring Migration
By Valerie J Laidlaw

stupid birds
what do they know
coming back now
they must think
it's Spring
don't they see
it's not here
by a long shot
poor things
don't they know
we still have
piles of snow
to melt down
on the ground
I hear them
telling us
we're wrong
as they fly by
that Spring is coming
after all

Priya's Carousel
By Valerie J Laidlaw

One foggy, misty evening,
At the foreshore of Geelong,
Priya walked up, in her sweater and uggs,
With a Saint Bernard puppy who loved people and hugs.
Nearby, a one-man band marched around and along,
Playing a rhythmic, circus song.
Priya danced up to the carousel,
Hoping to choose her favorite pony,
Yet, due to the time of the day, the weather, or both,
It was closed down for the night.
Priya, gazed at the carousel, in the misty, evening light.
Instead, she chose an ice cream cone, with its sweetness and delight,
Knowing, she'd be back someday, when the weather and the time was right.

TTT means "Things Take Time" (Norwegian: Ting Tar Tid), at least when you have to do everything without any assistance. Such as writing a 400 pages history book (and turning 80 midworks ...). Enough excuses, now for the backlog of "other things", such as Val's poems. Here we go:

Honoring Derek for Julie
By Valerie J Laidlaw 

Within a mere three years, I understand,
How wonderful life can be like to meet and marry your best friend!
To share over three decades, it must have been...
An incredible journey, amazingly blessed!
A joining of families and friends,
Whom he saw as one and the same,
With a heart of overflowing acceptance, 
Kindness, sweetness, joy, humor, and love!

From May 29, 2018

A Different Kind of Love Story
By Valerie J. Laidlaw

Sometimes life seems like a fairy tale,
Where a perfect soulmate comes along.
Romantic enchantment, laughter entails,
As they dance gracefully,
To their favorite song.

A beautiful couple enjoying each day,
With the sun, as it shines, anew.
Cherishing their together times,
Whether long-lasting, or few.

Soon, as their vows were promised,
Among family and friends.
Their union was blessed, with songs,
Plus prayers, in a magnificent blend.

The sweetest children,
Little, angelic blessings arrive,
Reminding us, of the best gifts,
God gives us to cherish in life.

A different kind of love story,
Not measured by years,
Yet, with faithful bravery,
And strength, among fear,
As well as, the precious memories,
Of laughter, love, and tears.

When Pluto Was Still A Planet

While visiting cousins, Jimmy, Judy, Joel & Janet,
We were invincible, imaginative, and dynamic,
Just kids on our bikes, riding along,
Feeling safe, singing a song,
When Pluto, we believed, was a "planet."

By Valerie J. Laidlaw

My grandma had a plastic, cuckoo clock,
Upon her kitchen wall,
It worked much like expensive ones,
When we heard the small bird's call.
I had purchased a colorful, wooden one,
Which was carved in Germany,
At an antique store in Madison,
And, had paid quite a pretty penny.
Thinking of Gepetto,
In the story of Pinocchio,
I had given it to an older friend,
As he moved away to go.
I requested of him to hang it up,
So, whenever the little bird
Popped out with his beak,
And, "cuckooed" hourly,
He'd think about his "crazy" friend,
Whom he'd no longer see.
Since then, I've seen two other cuckoo clocks,
One, very much the same,
As the colorful, wooden one,
Which I had given away.
The other, is a richer wood,
I have bought for just a song,
It will remind me of my grandmother's clock,
Much like the other one had,
Yet, like its current owner,
Is long gone.

And so, for the first time in Literary History: Norwegian Haiku!

Six Misc. Norse Haiku
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Dried cod soaked in lye
Buttered jellied stinky fish
Not my loved dish

"Lefsa" Recipe
Rice boiled tators
Blend butter cream salt sugar
Roll thin, fry, enjoy

"God Jul"
Wee Jule Nissan
On candlelit reindeer sleighs
Northern lights glisten

Ole & Lena (said with Norse accent)
"Ole" says Lena
"Vee vill sail, bring da goat...
Ta Minnesota!"

"Norse Nonsense"
Uffda, fee-dah, fem, shoe,
Norske, a tusen takk to you,
Varun ungen, you!

Floral swirling, dots
Variegated blend, painter's
Decorative style

Flashback of a Former First Date
By Valerie J Laidlaw

We had met for a brunch at Shakopee,
Me, and that arrogant person with "OCD."
The service and food were great,
But, I can't say the same for my date.
I also saw symptoms of PTSD,
But that, in others, never bothered me.
It was his demeanor, his attitude,
Of priviledge, and entitlement,
And, "how rude!" he was,
As, he nearly plowed down,
A lady, and her kids on bikes,
As he spun into a "u",
Turning his bright,
Supersized, bumblebee 'vette,
And, even before, I was able to escape,
He blared his horn,
As, he almost bumped into, and scraped,
A young man, while walking his pet,
On the crosswalk,
Of the parking lot's

My feelings and thoughts,
Were of fear, and frustration,
Yet, I had escaped,
Recognizing "red flags"
Of the curtailed relation,
To such "gracious" relief,
And, "blessed" elation!

Beers on the Deck
(Written for my youngest, adult son)
by Valerie J Laidlaw

Twisting caps off,
"leinie" beers,
his chiweenie jumps up,
to lick his ears.
Dusk appears,
with biting mozzies,
near my aussie,
who aims, tracks,
and, repeatedly,
snaps his jaw,
then, flits his paw,
at the flying bugs.
As we look up, and watch,
a scattering of clouds,
passing by,
with a fading wind,
on a navy blue sky,
we think of winter,
coming back, again.

A Brief Nautical Tale
By Valerie J Laidlaw

There once was a Scotsman name Duff,
Who sailed swift, stormy seas in the rough,
He eventually landed,
On Superior's beach, sanded,
'Cause life without love can be tough.

Tillie waited nearly her whole lifetime for a mate,
While searching, she had too many troubles on her plate,
Always helping others,
Plus, her sisters and brothers,
Till Duff came by and swept her out the gate!

Here are more chapters in the Huntergal Saga:

Huntergal Returns, Stepping Out
By Valerie J Laidlaw

For months, then weeks, I tried to find a way,
To put into words, my final say,
Then, came that "opening day."
But, alas, I was "duty-bound,"
The huntergal inside, was found!

The day arrived before the sun,
The earth was still a shadow, as we begun,
The hunting totes were reopened, again.
A thermal layer, thick stockings, then bibs,
A fleece sweatshirt, a harness, boots,
A knife in its sheath, strapped on a belt,
Extra ammo in a wallet, gloves, a hat,
And a blaze-orange jacket to top all that.
A small, nylon, orange, drawstring backpack,
Which once held my passport, while traveling abroad,
ID, deer license & tags in two small, red folders,
I'm ready to roll, but I feel like such a clodd.
We left, only 5 minutes late, but that's not bad,
As we ride in our Trailblazer, a half of an hour,
Then to 4-wheel, we switch,
As we roll alongside, in the ditch.
"We are here," and it's still dark, as we park,
After loading our Winchesters, we disembark.
I trudge on the road,
Then, clumsily, slowly, with all of my gumption,
I tried to turn back around...
As my legs, feet, and hips refused to function.
I was breathing so heavily, and strong,
My husband, frustrated with my lack of speed, trotted ahead, and was gone,
Through the pain, between breaths, my mouth and my voice whispered complaints,
Yet, in my mind, I tried to sing a song,
Since, I no longer had a choice, but to go along.

Huntergal Returns, Climbing Up
By Valerie J Laidlaw

I located the "tin hat" marker down on the ground,
And, set it up in a bush, near a tree, recently cut down.
A thick shadow still covered the forested riverside,
I found the ladder, and prepared to climb, as I tethered my gun, alongside.
Climbing with layers of clothing and heavy, knee-high boots with thick toes,
At the platform, I held tight, stepping up with my right,
Then, resting for a moment, I pulled on my left knee with all of my might,
Then, with a final thrust of energy, lunged forward, up on my knees,
Sitting up in my perch, like a crow's nest, up in a tree.
It wasn't as cold, as previous years,
Where a biting, north wind brought my eyes to frozen tears.
The darkness evolved into a more colorful day,
Little, dark mice crawled out from under the maple leaves, and began to play,
Then, they hid, while the Squirrels scurried around, on fallen branches,
In the trees, a dozen tiny birds surrounded me,
Chirping, flitting about, checking out me, their new discovery,
After they flew away with their cheerful song,
Up the riverbank, small, yearling deer stumbled along,
Too young, too small, and too far away,
For the huntergal to shoot, on that day.
We met our friends for lunch,
Exchanging stories among the bunch.
The brother's son, a year older chimed in on the fun,
The grandma was so excited, as her daughter, the sister, was expecting a little one, another grandson.

Huntergal Returns, In a Box
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Returning, the weather changed to a windy, wet sleet.
So, I decided to move Southward with less strain on my feet.
Alongside a road with a wide, open field,
Above the stream's bank, where a stilted box was revealed.
Covered with camo, plus, sheltered more from the wind,
With a makeshift houseladder, and a busted deskchair, within.
I scanned the scene, with much pleasure,
This was obviously more suited to me, in my leisure.
I watched a squirrel, as he filled his mouth with his treasures,
>From the edge of the field, scurrying, circling, from branch to branch, tree to tree, to a log with his hoard,
As entertaining as he was, I was not a bit ever bored.
A couple, orange dots appeared at the end of the tree line southwest, till they grew into hunters, climbing a tree.
They stayed, as two flocks of geese flew by, With a break of blue, in the clouded sky,
One flock had an gathering of at least...
A couple hundred geese flying in a "V."
A helicopter, flying overhead, from the south, northward, sped,
I waved, as a beacon of light flashed downward, as it left.
Softly, snowflakes floated down, covering the scene,
Like a blanket of white cotton, so pure, and so clean.
Two does slowly moved, from behind a bush of grapevine,
To the open field, near a post, to graze upon, for a time.
My shot was clear as I stood, and peered in my scope,
Yet, it was much further away, than I had hoped.
I pulled the trigger and shot, and both does looked around, as in shock.
One limped off the field, as the other followed, with a trot.
They both went behind the grapevine, as I tried another few shots,
I texted, so my husband would know my next thought.
I climbed slowly down, and walked toward the spot she had last stood.
A trail led the way to the old cemetary, by the southeastern woods.
Within the gate, my injured deer stood sideways stone-still, and tall,
As if she wanted to see the huntergal, who had shot her with the crackling, gun's call,
Then, she bolted to the woods, seemingly undaunted,
Where her upturned, white tail did a final leap, and, in my mind, it still haunted.
I found her laying on the ground all still, and with a faint smile,
And, just stood watching the beautiful creature of God, for a while.
At that time, little woodpeckers started tapping branches of the trees surrounding her,
As if to say, she's gone, yet "life goes on."

Huntergal Returns, Majestic
By Valerie J Laidlaw

I walked away from the fallen doe beside the graveyard, towards the gate,
And, within three yards, a fully-racked buck walked by me in a proud, majestic state.
I slowly pulled my spandex scope cover off, as he turned his gaze towards me,
Then, he bounded beyond my sight, hiding within the border of trees.
I went back to my box again, till the sky grew dark to the west.
My husband, also shot a deer, and searched in the dark to find out where it rest.
Our friends completed their processing, and helped to load both deer.
Our fridge freezer will be filled now, yet, I'm still not in a mood of cheer.
Yet, relieved, as the job of hunting, to me, is now, done for another year.

"Runway Bride"
By Valerie J Laidlaw

$75 back in the mid-seventies,
The dress was bought at "DeLendrecie's."
A veil with glued-on rose laces & pearls,
Sewn to a band by a nineteen-year-old girl,
Set upon layered, "Farah Fawcett" curls.
White platform sandals,
A diamond ring on her hand,
Mint-green spandex dresses sewn,
For her two, best friends,
With matching belts and bands on floppy hats,
Mint green sandals, dyed to match,
Golden lockets, given as gifts,
Preserving the date,
Engraved for each sis.
A dozen years, till '88,
Was the length of time, it lasted,
Yet, with three children, forged,
It'll ne'er be part of a past ta' be blasted.

A lacy top, with a big, shoulder pads,
A satin skirt, with matching "China Girl" shoes,
Curly bangs, and a single french braid,
A second proposal, and vows were then made.
Seven years which ended in 1998.
A youngest child was part of that fate.

Another dress, made of "Battenburg" lace,
Hand-stitched with white linen,
A beautiful veil, with fine grace, added,
Matching dress, also made, altered,
For a new, young daughter.
If she had truly known that man,
She would'n'na' bothered.

Moving back, up to Fargo,
She had met her next suitor,
Four and a half years into a job,
She became a commuter.
A braided, pearl band,
Atop thick-permed, golden-blonde curls,
A soft, pale yellow dress,
Which crisscrossed in back,
A long, tapered skirt,
And, a glistening, shear shawl,
Covering her shoulders, on top of it all.
A couple years later, not failing to fall,
Too late for the bridal, beckoning call,
As the groom sought his 5 o'clock alcohol.

Despite all of this, she hoped, and she prayed,
For a positive future to be outlined, and layed,
As she met a man with a much, higher standard, and grade.
For their lives took so much time,
To determine, and reward them their fate,
"So, hold your head up, while you seek love, as it is never too late!"

A yoke stitched in Hardangar, and attached,
To a cream-colored satin dress,
With a linen-wrapped floral rose bouquet
Which all matched,
Solje jewelry added, topped up with a crown,
The earrings, from "Nottingham, England," the groom had found.
A Norway flag tie, and a rose boutonniere on his lapel,
Wed in a Stav Chapel, with family, friends, and a lady pastor,
The late 50-year-old couple sure photographed happy and swell!
So, blessed be their union, and let's wish them well!

Another Grandson
By Valerie J Laidlaw

When your chubby, round face smiles back at me,
What do you see?
Ryan, you are still just such a wee baby!
You are so mellow, unless, you are hungry, or sleepy,
Your noises, and emotions, burst out, and you are so crabby!
You, like me, just want to be,
Comfortable, well-fed, and free,
As music, and song, with a welcoming, soft melody,
Becomes, to us, the best-suited company.
Additionally, you are the wonderful, little someone, who basically, and fully,
Complements, and completes our family.

Belgrade Minnesota has World's Largest Crow. Here you can read Val's tribute to this magnificent bird:

World's Largest Crow
(Just a Silly Poem)
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Who'da known, I'dah...
Go ta' Minnesota,
Ta' see a crow...
Tha' size of a dinosaur, yeah?
Uffda! Yah, u betcha!
Don't-cha know?
I sure did!

A Tourist's Memory; The Surfer
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Far beyond the shoreline, and across the bay, we enjoyed a view of the Sydney city skyline and airport on the horizon,
as we stopped at a cafe for coffee, and grilled sandwiches of tomato, ham, and cheese.

Further along, we met up with
A wet-suited surfer,
As he strode to the beckoning shore.
Layered with repetitive rows of white waves curling towards him,
He joined his bobbing buddies in the water. They each took turns paddling out
To catch the waves, standing up,
Wiggling with the motion,
“To each their best,”
Until the water won the challenge,
Tipping the front of the board,
As it sprung in the air,
Depositing it’s rider backwards,
Into, and under the victorious,
Unconquered, wave.
A short-lived victory,
As the mighty wave dissipated,
Fading, and succumbing to the shore.
The surfer, undaunted,
Re-joined his friends in the search,
To catch the most challenging wave
To "ride out!"

After the challenge,
With a warm shower,
And a beverage,
The board leaning against a stucco wall,
The wetsuit draped over a rail.
Sitting, on a deck with a view,
Facing, a darkening, blue sky, and sea,
The surfer awaits another day.

A Hug
By Valerie J Laidlaw

I started to put my velour robe on,
Inside out.
And, thought, "It's like a soft, warm hug!"
Inside out.
And, I thought of little, tiny Mary, who wore her socks, under dainty, patent shoes,
Inside out.
She didn't like the roughness of the seams.
And, how Patsy liked sleeping on a couch which "hugged" her better than a bed,
So, in her room, we moved a couch, instead,
To help her "in her dreams!"
Funny, how certain little things remind you of the "sweetness" of a person, and stay,
Plus, how much I loved them as they went away.
Memories still come in to play,
Inside out.

We'll be very glad when it's over, perhaps we'll also forget too early how life was during the Corona pandemic. Copy down these poems as a way of remembering. They're important!

By Valerie J Laidlaw

I went for a walk to help strengthen my knees,
I noticed the first buds coming out in the trees.
A few folks were out walking, here and there,
Leading their dogs, each leashed to a pair.
Emptying, boxing, & cleaning up the garage,
A senior Dad working with his grown sons,
Spring cleaning during a "lockdown,"
Later, to be rewarded with food, then more "fun."
Two toddlers on a sidewalk, getting fresh air and some sun,
A solitary adult swinging alone at a school,
A person talking about how this virus is so crazy and cruel.
A man sitting in his yard with a cigarette to smoke,
A meandering postman pulling mail from his tote.
A bike rider, and a jogger going out for a run.
Week-long warriors cleaning up in their yards,
Finding time enough during this pandemic is neither difficult nor hard.

Caring Hearts: For All of Us
By Valerie J Laidlaw
March 30, 2020

No one is immune from this invisible virus.
We cannot see if it is present among or inside any of us.
We hear how quickly it kills, and how long it stays on objects.
The tough who recover, and those whom the healing rejects.
Washing hands, staying home, distancing from others,
Heart-worn doctors, caretakers, nurses...young fathers, and mothers.
This is a battle, and we are all soldiers in this pandemic war,
Against an indiscriminate virus which acts upon us, both near and far.
Globally, there's a curve, or a wave,
Which sadly, builds, then subsides, as we all attempt to save,
As many people as we possibly can,
We bravely place our hopes into everyone's hands.

Shopping Behind a Hand-sewn Mask
By Valerie J. Laidlaw
April 11, 2020

At home,
I had been sewing,
Playing "YouTube,"
And, in my mind, singing along,
To one of my mom's favorite songs,
With Doris Day singing "Qué será, será!"

I had realized that I did need to venture out,
After weeks of isolation, safely hidden,
A short distance, which I had ridden,
For several months, that seemed eons, ago.
I parked in the familiar lot, in the unfamiliar.
The cartpusher had a triangular bandanna,
Across his face, his fight against pandemia.
None of the usual greetings were exchanged,
As I was funneled in.
Pulling a wipe from the dispenser,
Three slipped out dripping antibacterial chemicals,
Which I sloshed over the handles of my hosed-down cart.
Signs referred to measured out 6-foot distancing,
Pleas for safe, essential shopping were displayed,
As the "worker bees" kept open their doors.

Some of this community respect the virus we are trying to "flatten,"
Others refuse to think that anything dire will happen.
The same ones who ventured out at all hours throughout the night with their babies and toddlers in trolleys,
Now, crowded and wandered in a store with their vulnerable children, unprotected in this "folly."
My heart reached out to those innocent, little ones which I wished I could shield and protect,
Against all the possible suffering in this war pandemic.

Grateful, that my grandchildren were safely quarantined, nestled in their homes,
I quickly gathered the few items which I needed to buy,
Leaving, my strong, fearless, former coworker briefly exchanged a quick nod of greeting towards me with her eyes.
Directed to the left, I shuffled out with my cart,
My mind then sang, "Love is a Battlefield!"
With Pat Benatar, as I departed.

The Covid-19 saga goes on ... and on ... and on ...

Current State of Being
By Valerie J Laidlaw
April 17, 2020

During the week of 911, during a phonecall, inquiring about flights,
The lady on the line made a statement so decisive and right,
"There ain't nothing for certain anymore!"
It showed how our country had been rocked to its core.

Currently, previously uncharted in our lifetime,
Political leaders, uncertain of the impact,
In a less populous state,
There was a recent, sad fate.
A huge, viral "clustered" outbreak in a pork processing plant of workers, with their contacts evolved,
Affecting a whole chain of farmers, grocers, consumers, and the whole spectrum of people involved.
Closures change daily, affecting all of us, record numbers of unemployed, shortages growing in essential supplies,
With this weird, new reality, we wonder, what kind of world is it in which our future lies?
We are never an island in this world of humanity,
Trying to make sense of this recent insanity.
Cautiously, we carry on, technologically connecting to our loved ones at hand,
Cherished images of grandbabies, puppies, visualizing virtually as we explore faraway lands.
I'm reminded of words in a previous poem which I wrote,
"Reality can seem ... more like a dream
Now ... the enchanting calamity
My dreams confuse reality."
Presently, befitting my feelings with this quote.

Caring & Carrying On
By Valerie J Laidlaw
April 26, 2020

As the morning dawn keeps rising,
So do the numbers, locally and globally.
As we listen, we wonder, what's beyond the next horizon?
More cancellations of our rituals and routines,
While protestors confront the restrictions, and cause havoc, and scenes.
States and city government each make their own rules,
While children stay safe at home apart from their activities and schools.
Exposed workers grow in fear, waiting and hoping,
Plants close down, sanitize, restructure, and many may too quickly reopen.
Creative people carry on, playing, exercising, and teaching,
From their homes, the media finds safe ways of outreaching,
On line, from empty churches, and in drive-in parking lots, religious leaders keep preaching.

It seems like not so long ago, as a newlywed couple,
My husband and I had reached out, hugging both of his sons,
An unfamiliar gesture to them, which we had recently begun.
Hugs had also extended towards our moms, my children, grandchildren, and the rest of us all.
Now, with isolation, distance contacts, texting, and calls,
We are saddened, disheartened as we witness everyone's overall human contact befall.

The suffering and losses are unimaginably great,
With stories of survival which are touching our hearts,
Recovery is longterm, and will ultimately take,
Enormous hope, patience, cooperation, and caring,
With each of us helping, to the best of our abilities, on our share, and our parts.

Thank You Minnesota!
By Valerie J Laidlaw
April 28, 2020

Monday morning, "Get out of bed!"
"Go on a daily walk, instead!"
My cardinal showed up, again, my friend, scarlet red!
A pair of Mallards, flew overhead,
Such a quiet walk, as I listened, and cleared up my mind,
Appreciating nature, as I tried leaving worries behind.
Calling my mom's care center which has been closed off from visitors,
I made a plan of dropping off a tote, and purple violas, for her.
Leaving those with the nurse at the door,
I decided to drive eastward, a little bit more.
As I headed towards a tourist's lakeshore.
I drove through the quiet streets of downtown,
Where, a handful of businesses were open, yet, the majority were shut down.
Only a few souls walked through the park,
Briefly, a couple had submerged in the cool water, on a lark.
Typically, the shoreline and the water is packed,
Boats bringing skiers, fishermen, and tourists outward and back,
On this quarantined forenoon, the lake, and shoreline, were completely bare,
Except for a man and his dog, walking the length of the sidewalk, while I was there.
A few birds appeared, bathing and pecking through debris on the shore,
The scene was so quiet and still, and haunting, and no more.
As I drove homeward, I saw a series of majestic, white swans,
Between towns and farmsteads, on lakes and on ponds.
Although it was nice to get out from being house-bound,
It was sad, in a way, seeing what I had found.
The stillness and quietness, when no one is around.
Children playing, laughter, and the absence of sound.

"20/20 Hindsight in 2020"
Valerie J Laidlaw
May 6, 2020

Covid-19, sadly,
Is spreading out, badly.
Many people are concerned, safe from harm, and want to be healthy,
Others, are upset with businesses shuttered, and monetary losses among the wealthy.
I've always been told when a finger is pointed,
The remaining ones point back.
With overall pleas, unfulfilled supplies, needs, and safeguards in lack,
As the pandemic spreads, and numbers of people affected stack,
Who's the victim, or the fool, when policies slack?

Hindsight is 20/20,
In the year 2020,
Yet, we aren't beyond all this enough to get a good perspective,
Until, years from now, when we are fully retrospective.

By now everybody need a break from the corona pandemic. Why not turn to the nature?

nature's respite
by valerie j. laidlaw
may 7, 2020

drinking a morning coffee,
the warm sun shining down,
kooper keeps on howling,
he misses his little buddy,
across the other side of town.

beyond the rain-soaked deck,
the lawn's a softened green,
with the treebuds rinsed off in the rain
the leaves unfold, again.

between the branches,
a squirrel is haunched,
nibbling on some bird's feed,
as he coyly munches on.

the squirrel scolds a black bird,
a banter, back and forth, is heard
the squirrel crawls, down from the shed,
then, back up on a tree branch, instead.

the ducks and geese fly northward,
the birds whistle their morning songs,
a neighbor tries mimicing the melody,
cheerfully, whistling along.

the sound of a far off jet plane,
and, the grinding of a train,
briefly, remind me of mankind,
until nature calls me back, again.

Mother's Day Musings
By Valerie J Laidlaw
May 10, 2020

A pair of geese with their goslings,
Near the nursing home pond, grazed.
Sparrows baby's nested in a metal-capped chimney,
As they did in prior years, and days.
The Cardinal Red with his mate appeared,
Too brief for the shutter's encapture.
In a pine tree, the Blue Jay sang a simple, unique song,
Alerting listeners of his presence, yet too soon, was gone.
Adding to our collection of natural things,
A Blue Heron arrived fanning the sky with his outstretched wings,
Against the paleness of solid, white clouds,
He looked so brilliant, and majestically proud.
Our resident, red squirrel appeared a little less agile,
As she nearly missed her branches,
She still climbed, reached out, and jumped,
Successfully, taking her chances.
Munching on the tree buds, she appeared more chubby,
As her pregnancy showed advances.
The prize of the day, went to a tiny, bright yellow bird,
As he waited, and watched the photographer stand near him.
He jumped from the tree to the cement, with less than a foot between them.
He flew next to a bush, with branches and sticks.
The photographer noticed, the bush was too thick,
Yet, the little bird next flew to a tree, and danced on a branch,
As he posed, he gave the photographer a final last glance.
So, the camera focused, and its shutter went "click."

Traditions are part of our culture. They last many generations, they connect people with common roots – and they consist of small things that make up something big and positive in troubled times.

Syttende Mai
By Valerie J Laidlaw
May 17, 2020 (updated)

To my Ancestral homeland I must say,
"I missed my luncheon for Syttende Mai!"
The ladies at church to my quest replied,
"We were done serving at 1,
and there's only one more piece left of pie!"
No more samples of cinnamon, sprinkled, buttery Romegrot,
No crumbly, crisp cones of Krumkakke yet to be sought,
I must find another way to honor my heritage today,
although my work provided me with a meaningful alibi.

Additionally in 2020...

Another year has passed us by,
We're safely tucked away with choices of pie.
Plus, waffles topped with cream, and berries in sauce,
Kranskakke, krumkakke, sweet soup and lefse,
Despite all our trials in this year, and the cost,
Our Norwegian traditions can never be lost!
While technology connects us, and brings us to a virtual "fiesta!"

We live in troubled times, and Val shows with her poems that she is an engaged witness. This poem is a comment to a recent shocking incident. Read the last line carefully!

By Valerie J Laidlaw
May 27, 2020

I'm sad.
Children see too much injustice, today.
Power is a priviledge.
Power is not to be taken to an inhumane level.
It is scary to see how this happens.
It does not need to happen.
Please, protect and serve,
With love and compassion.
I am glad to know there are some, or most, people who do.
We are all in this world together with empathy and compassion for a person who cried out to our common humanity, beyond the inhumanity shown to him.
A film speaking, pleading, and crying out for someone rendered silent will live on in our memories.
In our hearts,
In our souls,
All lives matter!

In this new poem Val makes her message very clear. Some will label it political art, but it really is humane art, showing how human contact kills prejudices.

"Black Lives Do Matter!"
By Valerie J Laidlaw
June 9, 2020

In the late '70's, way back,
I lived in Decatur, Illinois,
Raising "tow-headed" boys,
In a near Southern town, mostly Black.
My older boy, was in years only two,
He'd greet all who he'd see with a friendly, "How-do!?"
His Kindercare teacher, who was black,
Loved all the children in her care, and they truly loved her back!
My husband's coworkers, I loved them all,
And, as I worked in an uptown card and candy store,
I was aware that the children, who were white, usually begged and fussed for more.
The beautiful children who were black,
Were respectful,
Their parents were loving,
And guiding,
Utilizing the social experience as a mentoring situation,
Throughout their brief visit with me at the store.
They all taught me, and educated me about their culture, and who they were,
Treating me unconditionally with love, caring, and more.
Yes, I do believe, "Black Lives Matter!"

Maybe this is a good outcome of a trying time: We learn more than before to appreciate The Human Touch, as The Boss sings.

Grmaval's Visit
By Valerie J Laidlaw
June 11, 2020

It had been months...
Sitting in a driveway, six feet away,
I watched my chubby, baby grandson,
Asleep in his stroller, yesterday.
His little bare feet, and cute little toes,
Then, awakening with his eyes, his ruffled hair, his nose,
His cheeks, and his twin-tooth grin,
I had all I could do to not reach out, and hug him,
And, his dad, my son, as I surely do love them!
Then, when his big brother energetically appeared, running outside,
Then, riding around, on his bike,
Showing me his new skill of laying tire treads, and skidding,
Then, locating his pogo stick, he jumped up and down on the pavement,
And, made a verb of "counting while pogo-ing,"
Then, waving "bye," as he disappeared, just as suddenly, into the house,
I wished I could just go up to him,
So, he could be embraced, re-assuring him,
That, all of this "abnormality" isn't how I feel about him,
That, I'm not rejecting him, as it seemed,
I'm just following the "rules of distancing."
So, although I've been cautiously "quaranteened,"
I want all of them to stay healthy, as I possibly can guarantee,
As we wait, impatiently, for all this to just go away, so we can all be safe, healthy, and feel free!

There are certain similarities between tornadoes – twisters – and pandemics – for instance The Corona Virus: We can't control any of them, our best strategy is keeping together, hoping for the best, and learning some lessons for later outbreaks.

Tornado at Trowbridge
By Valerie J Laidlaw
June 15, 2020

As we quickly
Were ushered into the main hall,
We weren't informed as to "why" at all,
We were told to bring our flashlights,
Plus, anything else
We'd need throughout the night.
We were entertained
By our camp counselors.
We all grouped together Until, we all fell asleep,
Hunkered down.
Not a word was spoken
About the weather,
Any outside turbulence,
Lightning, or thunderous sounds. Back then, no one had cell phones, internet,
And, at the camp, there were no televisions,
And, only the camp employees had radios,
Plus, access to an "emergency use only" telephone.

In the morning, we woke up
To torn down trees,
A small cabin blown apart,
And, the dock was all twisted,
Around into a randomly-stacked,
Nonsensical pattern.

Later, our families told us how worried
They had been throughout that night,
As a tornado moving towards us,
Had been spotted.
A tornado warning had been issued,
Claiming it to be within range
Of our campground's site.

Nowadays, we all have access to radar, news,
phones, internet, in "real time,"
As it happens.
We aren't innocent, naive, or sheltered, as we were on back on that night,
Even as informed as we are, at a very young age,
We still have a need to be able to trust, and hope that those who are in charge will keep us healthy, and safe,
Especially, as unsettling things have become currently in our days.

Val has weaved a poem around a Baby Quilt, covering a half century or more, stretching across most of the US and touching a lot of children along the road. Fascinating story!

"Life of a Baby Quilt"
By Valerie J Laidlaw
July 4, 2020

Lovingly-stitched little squares,
In a diagonal pattern, with
Gingham, textured, stripes and dots,
Farm, and circus animals,
Was sent from a friend in California,
To a mid-century, midwest "baby boomer" baby,
Who was Minnesota-born in Fergus Falls.
From there, it was passed
Onto nephews in the '70's,
To an Air Force brother in Idaho,
Which he used next, as a back curtain,
In his "hippie van," until it was retrieved,
For my son in Wisconsin, when Elvis died,
As a beach blanket, on Lake Michigan's sand.
Re-lined, rejuvenated, and repaired with
"Winnie-the-Pooh Hundred-Acre Woods"
Fabric as backing, cushioned with
A "J.C. Penney's," pastel-yellow,
Thermal, baby blanket, bound with
An "80's" mint green satin,
In Illinois, then, moving back to Fargo, again,
When son #2, and a daughter were born.
A third son played on it in the 90's,
Photographed with his 8-year-old,
Big Sis giggling by his side.
Then, a grandaughter arrived,
As the millennium turned,
From there, it is feared,
With all of the moving,
And sorting, in turn,
The baby quilt,
Disappeared, yet,
It's memory's
Still "burned."

A touching tribute to a wise woman!

By Valerie J. Laidlaw
July 10, 2020

Thinking back on the many conversations with my mom,
I realize where so many of my thoughts, actions, and feelings come from.
A response she had said before Alzheimer's and Dementia had taken over her subsequent years,
During a visit with my mom, quite a while back in time,
I knew she faced more challenges, yet her abilities for the most part were still fine.
Since my mom had retired, wasn't as busy, and had much less work, plus, less worries,
I had asked her if she'd like to write down some of her memories and her stories.
She replied that if she did so,
"It would bore me to tears!
I'm not much for writing
In a journal of words,
I'd much rather sit here,
Just watching the birds!"

Music is everywhere, just listen. Bur it takes a poet to show you how to listen!

By Valerie J Laidlaw

The birds are flutes & piccolos
The plane transmits an overhead,
Far off hum of a woodwind section,
Followed by a smooth trombone.
The scraping of the trainwheels on the tracks,
Grind into a louder, cymbal clash.
The hissing of its engine sounds like a beast,
As the brass section increases,
Its sound and rhythm are loudly released.
As it nears the road crossing to the east.
Then, the train sounds fade out to a hum,
Continuing on its northward track.
A tuba intermittently rumbles and blasts,
And the percussion section crashes its Thunderous sounds,
As the road workers crank up their tractors, Bulldozers, caterpillars & 'cats
Digging, screeching, grinding,
The whole orchestra competes
To make their sound stand out as king!
A warning back-up whistle blasts out Repeatedly,
Constantly clashing,
A scraping with traction and resistance
Emits a sound,
Much like magnified, amplified chalk
Filing on a chalkboard.
Shattered glass, concrete, rocks, rebar,
Old clay sewer drains are scooped up,
Dumped, and carried away,
Causing a crescendo of percussion drums,
Increasingly rumbling away.
A street washer showers the road
Humming, whistling, swishing,
For further preparation.
A blasting of horns,
Shake the air,
And the land.
Out back the birds are chirping feverously,
Disturbed by the roadwork and clatter.
My puppy's upset and whining,
With all of this fussing,
And raising of matter,
He retreats cautiously
To the safe haven
Of the bedroom.
As the day lulls on
And the workers
Finally shut down
Their big iron,
The music lulls down
The flute and the piccolo
And a soft, whistling sound,
peacefully, again.
The sun sets.
The stars, and the moon,
Rest in the sky, above.

A woman of Norwegian stock sitting in The Unites States during the Corona-virus pandemics writing poems in a Japanese literary tradition – what does she call her verses?

"My Haikuff-da for 2020"!

1. Midsommer Haiku
By Valerie J Laidlaw

For goodness sake,
All winter, we wait for this!
Enjoy the sunshine!

2. Christmas Traditions & Food Haiku
By Valerie J Laidlaw

We always loved
Rommegrot on Christmas Eve!
So buttery sweet!

3. Ole & Lena Haiku "Fickle Lena"
By Valerie J Laidlaw

She used'ta love Sven.
Before Ole called her "Sweetheart!"
Lena loved Ole, den.

4. Nordics & Social Distancing Haiku
By Valerie J Laidlaw

We miss granny hugs!
Mormor Gena hugged & kissed,
Farmor Thea, not.

7. Edvard Munch Haiku
By Valerie J Laidlaw

We see his vision,
There's an emoji, even,
Hands on ears, screaming!

In this poem Val returns to the Covid situation with wisdom, hope, optimism and a couple of very important messages!

"Mama Song"
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Mamas, don't let your babies bring home the virus,
School days can wait till it's gone!
'Cause just like the mullet of Cyrus,
The days of the Covid hold strong!

We'll soon dance in the daisies and clover,
Breathe freely, and reunite one and all!
Just wait till this resurgence is over,
And the curve truly flattens and falls!

A fast-moving poem about an eventful trip – it reminds me a little of Jack Kerouac's "On the road". Oh, distant care-free times ...

"Oh, For Goodness Sake!"
By Valerie J Laidlaw
August 14, 2020

It was late august of seventy-six,
Upon completion of an internship,
I flew to o'hare, three hours to utah,
I was barely twenty & had hardly flown,
I hopped a stopped flight out of salt lake city
A hugh's airwest of neon decor, so pretty,
I might've stayed home had I really known.
The next few weeks seeing mountain home,
This story's still in my memory sewn!
I met my nephews at aunt dolly's place,
Jumped off a bridge in a mountain lake,
Loaded up a uhaul with air force buddies,
Was left stranded in the middle of idaho,
When the rental's engine refused to go.
Peed in the tetons in the middle of the night,
Nonstop through the beartooth,
Wandering, winding, wyoming,
With all of us, it just didn't seem right.
The buddies were unloaded, and dropped off,
Briskly, at a rural spot near rapid city,
As we left, without respite or pity,
Continuing, to a wayside stop,
Where, we finally awaited,
For my nephews' lives evolved...
Elsewhere, as fated.

The hummingbird – or colibri – is one of Nature's small wonders. Here it visits Val:

by Valerie J Laidlaw
August 29, 2020

I was just sittin'
On the deck, chillin'
With my aussie dog, layin'
Near 3 habiscus plants,
With 8 flowers, bloomin'
When first hearin'
The buzz-like hummin'
I was frighteningly reactin'
To a "perceived paper wasp,"
From the past,
While campin'
At Itasca,
As a teen.
Instead, the flutterin'
Near the highest,
Habiscus bloom,
Hesitant, hoverin',
Then, spinnin'
Up, and away.
My mind,
Then, registerin'
The sight.
Just in time, seein'
Its flight, exitin'
As it zipped off,
In a south-westerly way.
My sweetly-brief visitin'
Hummin'bird, today!

In a time filled with dramatic pictures and hateful words we should now and then relax with small things and silent musings, following Val's example

Wednesday Morning Musings
By Valerie J Laidlaw
September 2, 2020

I was drinking my coffee out back on the deck,
Watching small sparrows, over a dozen,
Spaced out, on the fence,
Near the feeder,
Which, thanks to the red squirrel,
Was empty, again.
So, one by one, they started,
Bobbing their heads,
After, dropping down to the fresh cut lawn,
Searching for the seeds,
The squirrel had swept off the feeder,
To the ground.
With any little noise, or movement detected,
In unison, they departed,
First, to the fence,
Next, hidden inside a bush,
Then, to the topmost branches,
Of the bush, a roof, or a tree.
Lastly, they flitted off,
To flee the neighbor's dog.

Across the way,
A man was hoisted up in a bucket,
To tie off shafts of a most, magnificent tree,
Carving away at its branches and foliage,
As the leaves absorbed the rays,
Of the rising sun.

My hope, now fulfilled,
Was that the man was there,
Just, to give the tree a trimming,
As another giant of a tree,
Had recently been cut down,
Until, it became a bare skeleton,
Then, no more.

As a result,
At night, to the south and east,
The full moon shines through
A vast, plain void,
Where that majestic beast,
Once stood proud.

From present to past:

By Valerie J. Laidlaw
September 5, 2020

I coordinated advocacy groups in the '90's.

Once, there was a young man,
Whom I watched, while he hosed off
Trays and dishes into a stack.
After completing his task,
He told his boss he'd be back.
He walked by his coworkers,
Who curiously, all asked,
"Where are you going?"
He responded, proudly,
As he smiled, and stood tall,
Flinging his jacket over his shoulder,
And said, "I'm going to class!"
We walked across campus,
Where he met a group of peers,
College students, his same age in years.
As part of their experience, they each played a role,
As "student advocates" spending time, getting to know,
Each person assigned to their group as a goal.
Through time, often, there were some true friendships built,
Pieced together, like a myriad of fabrics in a quilt.

(Extra thanks goes out to the instructors who opened their classrooms to the experience.)

My Last Bikini
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Fushia pink
Polka dots
Ruffled hips
Loved it lots!

Now and then one reads a text that catches the imagination and produces a lot of questions. This poem does that!

Native Man Walking
By Valerie J Laidlaw
September 17, 2020

Native man walking,
with a mask in one hand,
and a letter in the other.
Native man walking,
with graying, black hair,
long, and pulled back.
Native man walking,
with strong stride,
and arms at side.
Native man walking,
with determined gait,
and admirable traits.
Native man walking,
with chiseled features,
and unbound spirit.
Native man walking,
onward and proud,
silently loud.

Here's another poem about a very special person:

By Valerie J Laidlaw
September 18, 2020

It is four years since we climbed,
Alongside a "wounded warrior."
A father, a Vet,
In its entirety, yet,
Despite losing a leg,
He walked the Volksmarch.
He was not alone in his quest,
As he carried his child on his back,
In a pack, showing all, he knew best.
Self-Determined, without rest,
With each step he had raised,
He was encouraged, and praised!
Others, who had walked this,
Each faced their own hidden battles,
And their scars were less visible,
Yet, as challenging nonetheless.
Accomplishing the walk,
Symbolized the triumph,
Beyond the suffering and loss.

Life is a neverending relay, and here Val tells grandchildren about important experiences from her lap. Hopefully they will see more progress on their watch!

"Because of Ruth"
For My Grandaughters
September 21, 2020

Growing up as a "boomer,"
With a working mom,
An original "latchkey" kid,
Which, at the time, was rarely done.
In the 60's, as gals,
We weren't given a choice to opt,
Out of cooking, and sewing,
Plus, unlike my youngest son,
My brothers only had woodworking,
And mechanics' shop.
Since then, changes happened.
In the 70's, as a young wife,
I was shopping for a home,
In Decatur, Illinois.
No one would show me a new place to live,
As, back then, they said to me,
The husband was the only person,
Who could sign for the purchase,
And the ownership of the property.
In the 80's, I tried out for the police force,
In the interview, they mentioned,
And, asked me what I would do
If my husband left, and I ended up divorced.
In 1986, I was hired hourly at four-fifty
As a single mom of three,
With experience, and a college degree,
Whereas, a single male without dependants,
Experience, or a BA,
Was hired that same day,
In the same position as me,
Starting at six bucks an hour,
And, was more quickly promoted
Into positions of power.
I've also witnessed changes in the inequity of sports,
Funding, opportunities, and support,
Was either nonexistent or limited,
As a practice, in the matter of course.
Changes have also happened
On the flip side of the coin,
In benefits for widowers
And fathers of young,
Paternity benefits had not begun.
Education is more equitable and inclusive,
In the upcoming year 2021,
And this world in which we live!

In very confusing and disturbing times it's important to keep up our connections with the real world, for instance by watching a bird or a squirrel. Call it mental medicine!

"Bird's Eye View"
By Valerie J Laidlaw
October 4, 2020

If I were a bird, I know where I'd be,
On the highest branch, of the tallest tree.
In a soft, autumn breeze,
I'd breath in the fresh air,
I'd sing out a sweet tune,
Randomly, up there.

I'd spin out, circling, dancing in the sky,
Floating, soaring, as I'd effortlessly fly,
Seeing the world's troubles, fade and drift by.
I'd just live in the moment, or, at I'd least try!

By Valerie J Laidlaw

I was sitting by the post office,
playing with my phone,
listening to the "laughing polka,"
before venturing back home.

A grey squirrel stopped beside me,
staring at the "nut" inside her car,
holding an acorn in his mouth,
thinking, "woah, her mind has gone too far!"

Val has contact with a lot of Norwegian relatives. One of them died recently, and Val has written a poem honoring this man:

In Honor of Arne Dag Hertervik
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Whilst searching my grandfather's genealogy,
I discovered a cousin connected to our family tree.
He not only looked like another long-lost uncle to me,
He bonded with countless cousins on this side of the sea.
An amazing husband, father, and grandfather creating and building treasures in wood,
His smile told us, this man is truly faithful, and good.
I'm amazed how he scaled down remote-controlled, finely-detailed boats,
Which he cruised in the water,
And airplanes, at a very young age, he created and flew,
Placing a ship in a bottle, a familiar scene,
I can imagine myself there as part of the crew, or at least "dream!"

Thank you, Arne! We will always treasure you.

It's Saga Time again! Yes, the Huntergal Saga – enjoy!.

1. Huntergal, Another Season Begins, 2020
By Valerie J Laidlaw

We arrived, geared up, ready, before the sun,
Like 2020, this November is an unusual one.
The temperatures reached an all-time high,
As much as I resisted hunting this year,
My husband wanted me out for the deer,
So, I finally decided to try.
I sat sheltered from the wind by our "car."
With a tripod for my rifle, as I aimed carefully afield and afar.
Recently, the muscles in my legs had been knotting up sadder,
So, approaching the usual trudge across the deeply, plowed field, and the challenging climb up treestand ladder,
I kept insisting that these were issues that mattered.
So, his solution worked fine, and my resistance just splattered.

2. Huntergal, Day One, 2020
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Our usual hunting family had changed and evolved much this year,
Each of the two sisters have babies taking more presidence and priorities than deer.
Their brother, brought his son, in full, hunting attire,
Aptly named, yet, not revealed in this text, he took aim to fire,
At a buck, "right off the bat," in the morning,
A large trophy, this buck, with eleven expansive points of horning,
Weighing over one hundred fifty pounds,
With its insides left behind, and cleared out on the ground.
We assisted them loading him up first through the woods on a sled,
Then, lifting him on a rack behind their truckbed.
We followed them to their farmhouse, to the garage, and its rafters,
As they hoisted the deer up with ropes, hooks, and a wench from their four-wheeler,
Weighing him, then hooking him up, horns down, prepped for cleaning him after,
We ate a brief lunch, returning to hunt a doe, which, a day and a half later, our fate would reveal her.

3. Huntergal, Still Day One, 2020
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Remembering Old Moses, a dog who joined us on hunts long ago,
I heard the barking of a new, black labrador lady, of whom I had still yet to know.
She barked, running coyly alongside of our car.
She peaked around cautiously, dodging my greeting, and running back to the farm.
In time, by the next day, she came around next to me,
Eventually, sniffing me up on my knee,
She even followed me as I hid in the woods behind a tree,
Privately, and quickly, as us "Huntergals," also, have the necessity to pee.
Sitting again, I saw several deer eating corn husks through my scope,
Yet, the distance of such a shot was much more than any good hunter could hope.
As soon as the sun sets down in the west at the end of day one,
The each hunter must stop, and lay down his or her rifle or gun.

4. Huntergal, A Windy Day, 2020
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Our hunting friends lent me their tower,
Briefly, the sky emitted droplets in a shower.
I turned, walking quietly eastward,
Past an old cemetary, along the wooded shoreline,
Entering upon an open area of the curving prairie river,
A "thumb," as opposed to our usual "finger"
We most frequently hunted within.
I spied a small fawn with just his ears and eyes focused on me,
Standing so statuesque and still,
He seemed more like a decoy ornamentally placed.
As I moved, he turned and pounced closer to the shore,
Standing again, sideways, I saw his full figure, a perfect shot,
So near, yet, I reminded myself, "He's too young!"
His white tail waved "goodbye!" as he dove into the cover of tall brush and reeds,
My thoughts replied, "Nevermore!"

5. Huntergal, The Tower, Described, 2020
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Past a menagerie of machinery,
Replaced, retired, rusted, resting,
Becoming one with the land,
There's an evolved "tower."
It had started out as a base
Resting high up on stilts.
Partial walls were added,
Boxing in some shelter from the wind,
Providing a rifles resting place,
An added, wobbly, discarded desk chair,
Plus, an angled ladder which provided a stair.
In previous years, this was the ultimate stand,
Sitting there, this Huntergal felt so grand!
Surprizingly, a much-improved version has really, amazingly raised the bar!
A latched door, drop-down plexiglass windows on three sides,
Stapled mover's quilts insulated the walls,
A ceiling, and a flap over the door all creating shelter from the wind,
Two sturdy chairs, a hunter's dream tower had really become a reality by far!
With all this, I was so thankful to not just be sitting on a folding chair by our car.
Upon learning now, the permission has been withdrawn,
For future years, we will seek out our own new territory,
So, we will move onward, elsewhere to create our own new story,
Grateful for the experience, and a past of friendship and comradery,
What a year this has been, during this pandemic Covid-19 in 2020!

6. Huntergal, The Poetic Experience, 2020
By Valerie J Laidlaw

The weeds across the field bordering the riverbank trees,
Deceptively dance like puppetry, pulling the strings of little "fawns" upon the breeze.
Through my scope I peer closely, and not a deer do I clearly see.
As evening rolls in, the winds settle to random swirling gusts,
Which cause the trees to sway and crackle, bare branches against the trunks,
Mimicking pairs of phantom bucks as they lunge towards eachother, and "anger-drunk."
A large, loud snap, and crackle sounds out behind me as an unseen tree falls splashing into the sparkling river behind me.
This November sees an unusual "Indian Summer" in Temps of 70 degrees.
I saw an eagle soar, bluejays flee, squirrels geese migrate, and squirrels scurrying up a tree,
Nature is an enchanting gift which surrounds me.
I did see a yearling with darker fur feeding on the last patch of green,
I had plenty of perfect shots, yet I chose to let him go,
To grow larger for yet another season, and in-between.
Fare Thee Well!

Joni Mitchell sings about seeing things from both sides. Val can do the same: After telling the Huntergal story, she retells it from the opposite point of view. Both sides now!

A Deer's Perspective, 2020
By Valerie J Laidlaw

I'm speaking here, up in Deer Heaven.
Remember my guy with prongs eleven?
He was just minding his own business,
On a warm, Autumn day, and who'da' guess,
In a blue moon,
That he'd be down so soon,
At sun up, way before noon?
It's not like the old days,
Where you hunters climb up in a tree,
Waiting, watching, listening for me.
You've got cameras, everywhere I turn,
And, some crazy, humming "drone" thing flying, and spying,
All night, and before daylight begins to burn.
We have no privacy!
Our images are tracked, on your computers,
As we travel forth and back, from you shooters!
Darn intruders!
Trees fall.
Fields are plowed.
We can barely hide, to save our hides!
So, you say, that there's a bunch of us!
We didn't build the roads we cross,
Where we get hit, at whatever cost.
So, here I am up in "Deer Heaven," 'cause I lost.

Monday's Metaphor
By Valerie J Laidlaw
November 23, 2020

My sky is an ocean upon which the birds fly.
The jet streams and clouds feather against the blue sky.
The cold, brisk wind paints an ever-changing canvas,
Feeling like an Antarctica gale upon a shipwreck shore,
Chilling me to the bone,
As I had traveled the furthest destination,
From my far northern Minnesota home.

Exactly two hundred years ago Charles Babbage presented his idea of something he called "the Difference Engine", which is the great-grandfather to the computers of our time. Babbage would have appreciated this story!

By Valerie J Laidlaw

During a conversation, on the first day of 2021,
With a "sixty-something" me, between,
My granddaughter, a mid-teen.
The conversation journeyed,
From my early, college days,
Of computers, which filled a room.
Decades before quarantining,
With today's technology, and zoom.
I told her about me, as a girl, merely two years in age, her senior,
Who had begun college early, walking midterm, in the rain,
Collecting "IBM" punch cards from each department head,
They argued, stating there were just a limited few,
For each of my scheduled courses, I had pursued,
And, whereas, my convincing voice had persuaded each one, instead.
With the gathered stack of cards, I watched,
As they were inserted into a monstrous-sized computer, it whirred and hummed loudly.
Registered then, in seventy three, my college career had again begun.
I told my granddaughter more, about how technology evolved, from then, to modern times,
And, how, as those computer cards became obsolete,
Were "upcycled" by old ladies, who stapled the cards into circular, Christmas wreaths.
Checking her phone, finding the wreaths in images to her surprise, and with a grin,
My mid-teen grandaughter, then surmised,
"How is it, that this, is actually a thing!?"

This poem stands by itself.

"Missing You, Kyle"
By Valerie J Laidlaw
January 7th, 2021

As the Covid numbers continue,
I learned 74 others in Minnesota
That day were joined with you.
The holidays were really rough,
And, as we began a newer year,
Yet, we all feel your presence, still near.
I won't ever really believe that you're not here!
I heard your wife's voice cry out, you know,
As, she repeatedly said, "I miss you so!"
Whenever random objects move,
Or, when pennies or coins appear,
And with precious photos, videos,
Our memories of your smile,
Your kindness in your laughter,
Linger, as reminders here,
Holding strong, within us all,
Continually, beyond the now,
And, constantly beyond the after.
We will always think, and hold you...
Forever in our hearts, my son, so dear!
So, as we visit with you,
Under the moonlit, starlit sky,
Because, we know your spirit would always try,
We truly believe in our hearts, you hear our cry.

This is a quite unusual poem from Val: A political comment! I guess many will agree ...

By Valerie J Laidlaw
January 7th, 2021

As a gathering of unrest was spurred on towards our nation's capital,
An embarrassment to so many, who still believe in the democratic process,
By not allowing the corruption, in the rioters' minds,
As they tried to continue to ruin, and destroy our country's morals, honor, and beliefs, in their efforts to befall.
I was proud of the elected officials who stood up through this adversity,
To carry on through the night, and conclude that we will honor,
The voices of the masses, who voted in the election, now finalized, moving forward,
In the hopes of a "United States" nation, and in an honorable, orderly fashion.
So this is the deal...
We are suffering, and we really need to overcome so much, yet, and heal.

I've said it before: Val has many strings on her lute. This time she has written a shanty – a rhytmic song to aid the hard work 'round the capstan on the old sailing ships. Yohooo!

"So, Shan't He?"
By Valerie J Laidlaw
January 15, 2021

My great-granddad, he sailed a ship,
His brother was the captain.
Their one brother, was lost at sea,
As the northern gales had swept him.

Yo ho, they stayed afloat,
As the sea set down so many a boat,
Yo ho, they'd better go,
While the sun, is still arising!

My great grandad, he sailed a ship,
His brother was the captain.
Their next brother, then, he died in Rio,
Was buried, while skies were raining!

Yo ho, they stayed afloat,
As the sea set down, so many a boat,
Yo ho, they'd better go,
While the sun, is still arising!

My great grandad, he sailed a ship,
His brother was the captain.
Their tale was told that seven times,
They had sailed around the horn, then.

Yo ho, they stayed afloat,
As the sea set down, so many a boat,
Yo ho, they'd better go,
While the sun, is still arising!

My great grandad, he sailed a ship,
His brother was the captain.
>From the cold Norseland to the China Seas,
And, whereas, the tales were passed,
It truly must've happened!

Yo ho, they stayed afloat,
As the sea set down, so many a boat,
Yo ho, they'd better go,
While the sun, is still arising!

Another captain, another ship, another shanty:

"Shan't He, Too?"
By Valerie J Laidlaw
January 16, 2021

My great grandad, he sailed a ship,
His brother was the captain.
The captain was dropped in California,
And, there he then remained.

Yo ho, they stayed afloat,
As the sea set down, so many a boat,
Yo ho, they'd better go,
While the sun, is still arising!

My great grandad, he sailed a ship,
His brother was the captain.
He commandeered then a river ferry,
And, there he then remained.

Yo ho, they stayed afloat,
As the sea set down, so many a boat,
Yo ho, they'd better go,
While the sun, is still arising!

My great grandad, he sailed a ship,
His brother was the captain.
He met his bride and raised a family,
And, there he then remained.

Yo ho, they stayed afloat,
As the sea set down, so many a boat,
Yo ho, they'd better go,
While the sun, is still arising!

My great grandad, he sailed a ship,
His brother was the captain.
Great-grandad brought his bride to California,
Then, to sail onto Australia.

Yo ho, they stayed afloat,
As the sea set down, so many a boat,
Yo ho, they'd better go,
While the sun, is still arising!

My great grandad, he sailed a ship,
His brother was the captain.
His bride wouldn't board in California,
Then, to sail onto Australia.

Yo ho, they stayed afloat,
As the sea set down, so many a boat,
Yo ho, they'd better go,
While the sun, is still arising!

My great grandad, he sailed a ship,
His brother was the captain.
She wished to bid farewell to her sister first,
Then, to sail onto Australia.

Yo ho, they stayed afloat,
As the sea set down, so many a boat,
Yo ho, they'd better go,
While the sun, is still arising!

My great grandad, he sailed a ship,
His brother was the captain.
He went to the plains in the Northern valley,
And, there he then remained.

Yo ho, they stayed afloat,
As the sea set down, so many a boat,
Yo ho, they'd better go,
While the sun, is still arising!

For dreams move along, towards another row,
Best laid plans, come along, then, away they go,
The sails catch winds, from the way they blow,
An upstream fight can be a really rough show,
It's not always up to us to be the ones who know,
Relax sometimes, and catch the flow!

In this poem Val gives us a very important lesson: Silence doesn't make a better world, you must raise your voice and join the choir of change.

By Valerie J Laidlaw
January 21, 2021

I will not focus on the year that passed,
Even though it taught us how vulnerable we all are.
I will not focus backward to the past,
Even though an ache will always linger in my heart.
I will focus on our forward movement.
Moments forthcoming.
I will still be vigilant.
I will still speak strongly!
I won't be silent as others disregard our health.
I won't be silent as others act as if they are immune, and above it all.
I won't be silent, yet, I won't expend energy and effort towards those who choose to not listen.
Yet, I will find empathetic means to get my message through their muffled ears.
I will give virtual group hugs to calm our fears,
And, to pool our tears.
I will fight for my children, my grandchildren, and their futures.
I will fight for your children, your grandchildren, and their futures.
We will all fight for our children, our grandchildren, and their futures.
We are all one in this, so please join together!
Please, help one another!
Please, listen!

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