Remembering the message of last spring

(Clean skies over Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 18, 2020; Photo permission of Jimmy Wong)

A year ago a messenger
Was sent to Earth to slow us down,
A little airborne passenger,
Upon its head — a thorny crown.

“Be still,” it said “and you shall see
What Earth looks like without the haze.”
“This is the state your home could be
If you’d employ more mindful ways.”

We shut down factories, grounded flights,
The smog dispersed, exposing skies.
Soon images from satellites
Revealed the truth before our eyes.

The mess we’d made, an awful sight,
In just one month the dark was gone! …


It doesn’t matter, boy or girl

(Lunching on philosophy, Queens, NY, 2021; Photo by John Gobins)

Someone’s stopped by — a little squirrel,
Lunching ‘neath the arborvitaes,
Not sure if it’s a boy or girl
And if its preference — “he’s” or “she’s.”

How is it in the world of squirrels,
Do gaps exist twixt boys and girls?
Their gender clear, they don’t spend time
Pronouncing it, instead they climb,

In search of food, a place to eat,
In field or wood, their newfound treat.
While we’re defining where we stand,
The squirrels move on, Creator-planned.

We humans are a complex breed,
One wonders why we feel the need
To pronounce if we’re boys or girls
When we’re all…


It often happens unexpectedly

(Home … and home, Summer 2020; Photo by John Gobins)

I left my home a year ago
To help a friend who fell in need,
I would become their caretaker,
It felt pre-birth we had agreed.

Like soldiers heading off to war,
I hurriedly packed up my things,
And waved goodbye to yard and more,
The peace that it so often brings.

The months fly by, still life’s on hold,
My only focus — here and now.
I’m hoping I won’t grow too old
Before I make it home somehow.

The bigger plan — we’ll never know,
The twists and turns life sends our way,
There’s boundless joy each step we go,


There’s one endpoint …

(A country road leads to the one destination; Image by Pixabay on Pexels)

I don’t recall how old I was
The first time I had to decide.
Did I step up without a fuss
Or slip behind my mom and hide?

The first choice is the hardest one
Without a vision in our mind.
Should we head toward or from the sun,
When either way we’re going blind?

The course called life we set out on
Comes with its own trajectory.
If lives were suns with arcs post-dawn,
Would they still set in the same sea?

I think about the parts of me,
A body with a mind and soul. …


Uncovering the past

(Old picnic table, circa 1970s, on July 10, 2021; Photo by John Gobins)

A table that for years has stood
Beneath a car park overhang,
For gatherings both sad and good,
Where people ate, and drank and sang.

The gatherings would come and go,
And still the table just stood there.
Some lesser things might feel sorrow,
If left alone, without some care.

Until there came a sign one day
While eating at this tabletop,
It spoke to me in such a way,
Ignoring it would have to stop.

I pulled it out into the yard
In broad daylight, from overhang,
With spinning brush I stripped it hard,
Consuming dust as hand drill sang…


Post-Independence Day

(Author-generated image from Weather.com)

I woke up on the 5th to see
New York has poor air quality.
I wondered what could be to blame,
So checked elsewhere, if it’s the same.

Atlanta, Houston, and Philly,
LA and Washington, DC,
I sense no longer this a joke
When Seattle’s weather comes up “Smoke.”


What an amazing life they live!

(Beer Battered Onion Rings; Image by Vegan Feast Catering on Wikimedia Commons)

In darkness underneath the ground
My life began without a sound,
The only sign that I was there —
Aboveground shafts of thick, green hair.

As soon as I was ripe and round
They dug me from my birthing ground,
And brushed away the excess soil
So I could store, but wouldn’t spoil.

From there, they stripped me of my skin,
And sliced me up, both thick and thin,
In batter-dipped, then dropped in oil,
Where I would crackle, left to boil.

Eventually, my batter gown
Would turn a color golden brown. …


Beware the uncontrolled flow

(Mired in muck; Photo by Pixabay on Stockvault)

If flow were water
Would we let it
Flow wherever it desired?
It’d flood the land
On which we stand
And soon in muck we’d all be mired.

If flow were money
Would we let it
Spend wherever it desired?
It’d buy up all
In every mall
And leave us scrounging ‘till retired.

If flow were music
Would we let it
Sound wherever it desired?
It’d cause a ring
In everything
And soon our eardrums would grow tired.

If flow were sunlight
Would we let it
Shine wherever it desired? …


From ash he came

(Mount St. Helens eruption, May 18, 1980; Photo by U.S. Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Region on Flickr)

I remember a late friend today
Who was born on the 18th of May.
Unknown to him at time of birth—
This date’s importance for the Earth.

His youth would pass until at last
In Washington a mighty blast
Would gift him when he turned 18
A sight the States had never seen.

St. Helens — the volcano’s name,
By day’s end it had gained great fame.
Impressed by what that day he’d see,
My friend pursued geology.

Years later we would travel there
To Helens’ flanks, still mostly bare,
And contemplate its history,
Two geol’gists and some cold barley.


Changing perceptions lead to societal changes

(The perception of cigarette smoking has changed leading to more smoke-free environments; Image by unknown author on Wikimedia Commons)

Remember when in aeroplanes
A smoking section in the back,
For those who smoked just one, or chains,
Unleashing their in-flight attack.

For passengers one row in front,
The cloud of smoke would fill their hair.
Their lungs would bear the greatest brunt
Of being fouled while in the air.

To look back now it seems insane
That something like this could take place.
The fact one can’t smoke in a plane
Shows progress by the human race.

Remember when in restaurants
A section for the smoking crowd,
Their meal all done, their only wants —
To light up and stew in…

John Gobins

Exploring Earth, observing life, discovering new perspectives. Striving to communicate something useful. Geologist and Founder of GroundLogs.online.

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