What a Nuisance!

This is the Word of the Day prompt, whose host defines this term thus:
 GABBLE-RATCHET. As well as being an old English dialect word for a noisy child, a gabble-ratchet is any nocturnal bird (particularly geese) that makes a lot of noise at night, once considered to be an ill omen.

I was attracted to this prompt today due to this unusual word!! The definition I found for gabble-ratchet is a bit different, from New Miriam-Webster Dictionary online:

Definition of gabriel ratchet
Miriam-Webster says the term derives from gabriel-ratchet, whose definition is:

dialectalthe cries of migrating wild geese flying by night which are often popularly explained as the baying of a supernatural pack of hounds and to which various superstitious significances (as forebodings of evil) are attributed.

I like the first definition better, but I am very familiar with the sound – a lot of Canada geese hang around our community’s campus when the weather is warm enough, and when they fly, they gabble-ratchet! So I am incorporating this unique word, with two other prompts from Fandango’s FOWC and The Daily Spur into my poem about

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Canada geese everywhere
In pond and grass, and in the air
They leave their poop all over the place
When I walk, I look down, just in case
At the path where they have wandered
Poop here, poop there and over yonder
A gun is fired to scare them away
But they don’t care, they come back anyway
The swans in the ponds only chase after them
When their cygnets are young, but mostly ignore ’em
In the fall, those darned geese fly overhead
In V formation, full speed ahead
Their gabble-ratchet is music to my ears
They’re finally gone…until next year!
I wish I could say they really go away
But mild winters invite them to stay!
Call grounds crew to complain or snitch
But Canada geese have found their niche
I guess living with geese is just the price
We have to pay for a campus so nice!

FOTD: Hark, Ye Heralds of Spring!

I was definitely in the mood for spring, but then…
On Sunday – three days ago! – we had a snowstorm! About 3 inches of wet snow fell.

By yesterday, though, the snow was completely gone and the temperature rose to above 70°F! I was able to go out for a walk wearing a t-shirt!  I admired the daffodils along the route, and saw a painted lady butterfly which landed on the daffodils.
20190409_150856I made up a silly song about daffodils. I think of them as heralds of spring because they bloom early and look like trumpets. This is to the tune of the Christmas song, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. (I tried to maintain the rhythm of the song and  rhyme every two lines!)

Hark, ye heralds of the spring!
I just cannot help but sing!
Sun is out and air is warm,
Winter’s gone and spring is born!

Joyfully I walk outside
Everyone I meet says, “Hi!”
Daffodils along my way
Showing off their bright array

With their trumpets they proclaim,
“Flowers, come join our refrain!”
Butterflies and birds and bees
Color everywhere for all to see!

To see lots of spring color, go to Cee’s FOTD 4/18/19.


Two Tuesday Challenges: After dark…

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is 4-letter words starting with the 4th letter (D) and Dutch Goes the Photo’s challenge is dark, so this works for both! I was even inspired to write a poem to go with my photos, but the pictures were all taken this year so the last three photos haven’t been taken yet! 😉

After dark,
the Ferris Wheel shines neon bright.
After dark,
skyscrapers light up the night sky.
After dark,
colorful fireworks explode overhead.
After dark,
a full moon rises orange over a lake.
After dark,
children yell “Trick or Treat!” on my doorstep.
After dark,
red and green lights twinkle on my neighbors’ houses.
After dark,
We sing Christmas carols by candelight.

After dark…

…the Ferris Wheel shines neon bright.
(Taken from inside Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier in February)

…skyscrapers light up the night sky.
(Taken from inside our car at Navy Pier in April, after a play let out.)

…colorful fireworks explode overhead.20170704_211628
(Taken on July 4 at Elk Grove Village fireworks show)

… a full moon rises orange over a lake.
(Taken on Lower Kaubashine Lake, Wisconsin, July)


All photos taken with Samsung Galaxy 7.

Word(s) of the week: Auld Lang Syne

As it is the first day of a new year, I decided to research the meaning and history of the title (and lyrics) of this famous song, sung all over the world on New Year’s Eve.

auld_lang_syne-couple celebrating

Auld Lang Syne is a gift from Scotland to the world. The words to the song were written in the 18th century, but there are several different versions. The lyrics are mainly attributed to Robert Burns robert-burns(1759-1796), Scottish poet, and the original words are written in Scots, a language related to English but with its own pronunciation, form and unique vocabulary. This is why, popular as this song is and sung throughout the world on New Year’s Eve, most people have no idea what the song is about.

Auld lang syne means, roughly, “old long ago.” The song is about retaining old friendships, that whatever happens throughout our lives, we should remember our lifelong friends and hold them dear. This is an appropriate sentiment as we “ring out the old and ring in the new.”

The popularity of Auld Lang Syne has mainly to do with two factors. First, Scotland was influenced by Calvinism (introduced in the 16th century), out of which grew Presbyterianism. These Calvinist Presbyterians, until about 100 years or so ago, did not celebrate Christmas, which they considered “hedonistic” – the holiday’s most popular customs had nothing to do with the birth of Christ and in fact, most scholars believe that Christ was not born in December. Thus, Christmas was more associated with the winter solstice, celebrated by pagans.


Thus, in Scotland, the more important holiday of this period came to be New Year’s, or “Hogmanay” as they call it. Auld Lang Syne was thus sung during this time and became connected with New Year’s celebrations. Everyone likes a party, so the song, unintelligible to many people, becomes more so – and sung with more gusto – after one has had a few drinks!

Hogmanay celebration, Edinburgh
Hogmanay celebration, Edinburgh

Torchlight Procession, Edinburgh
Torchlight Procession, Edinburgh

Hogmanay Festival Fireworks
Hogmanay Festival Fireworks

The second factor was the American custom of watching television. The Canadian band leader, Guy Lombardo, broadcast a big band version of the song on New Year’s Eve beginning in 1929 (on the radio) and continued to be a yearly tradition until 1976 (by then broadcast on TV). This created another link to the holiday and became the tradition. What is a New Year’s celebration without singing Auld Lang Syne?

Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians
Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians

So raise your glasses one more time and get ready to sing: here are the words (in Scots, then translated into standard English) of all five verses of Auld Lang Syne.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear, (originally “my jo”)
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp, (pronounced “stoop”)
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wandered mony a weary fit
Sin’ auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidled i’ the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin’ auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught

For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Auld Lang Syne-words

English translation:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And long, long ago.

And for long, long ago, my dear
For long, long ago,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago.

And surely you’ll buy your pint-jug!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago.


We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many the weary foot
Since long, long ago.


We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since long, long ago.


And there’s a hand, my trusty friend!
And give us a hand of yours!
And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will
For long, long ago.



All images downloaded from Google Images.
Web sites used for research:

Writing 201: Elegy for Mother

Writing 201: Poetry, Day 5
Form: Elegy
Theme: Fog
I didn’t use the device of metaphor in this poem. Instead, I used repetition, and a pattern in the number of lines per stanza.

Elegy for Mother

She could no longer travel;
Now fog descended over her eyes –
Fog that didn’t allow her to read,
Thickening fog that meant no more TV.
But that fog did not prevent her
From recognizing those around her.
She knew them by the touch of those
who massaged her gnarled hands.
She knew them by their voices
Serenading her with hymns.
She knew them by their scents
Familiar since they were babies.
She knew them because they knew
Where to find her chocolate,
Or to bring it as a gift.
Now the fog has lifted from the story of her life.
Her voice no longer speaks.
Her ears no longer listen.
Her eyes – even through the fog –
No longer see.
She no longer tastes the sweet chocolate
Someone puts on her lips.
Now there is no need
To visit the stranger she had become,
Or to sing Christmas carols to her,
Or to apply lotion to her hands.
Now we celebrate her life –
Through pictures, stories, videos,
Her writing and her letters.
We see her more clearly than we have seen her
For a long time.
Our memory no longer depends on the image
Of her frail frame,
Her inability or unwillingness to speak,
Her desire to leave this world.
Now we once again see her bright brown eyes,
Hear her laughter,
Listen to her stories of long ago,
Know the love we shared
And the love of those who preceded her
In leaving this world
And entering the next.
Now the memories
Of who she was
And the grief
For whom we’ve lost


Margaret Thom Lovejoy
May 4, 1917 – December 3, 2014

Acrostic trust

Today’s assignment in Writing 201 is:
Topic/theme: Trust
Form: Acrostic
Device:  Internal rhyme

Once again I find it necessary to write two separate poems on the topic – an acrostic poem and a poem using internal rhyme.

My acrostic tells the characteristics of the man I love and trust.

The one who is:

Sympathetic and

is the one in whom I trust.

Here's a man with a face you can trust!
Here’s a man with a face you can trust!

My second poem is a parent imparting wisdom to a child:

Trust has to be earned, you’ll learn,
to find someone who is true to you.
Someone who has won, my son,
the respect you expect in return,
the love you live to give
and deserve to secure for sure –
So, you see, it must
be she that earns your trust.


A journey by limerick

Writing 201/poetry:
word prompt: journey
Form: limerick
Device: alliteration

Although I tried, I couldn’t do all three in one poem! So I wrote two:

Limerick Journey

To describe ‘journey’ in a limerick
It needs to be summed up very quick
If I could arrive
anywhere by five
I’d find out what makes the world tick!

Alliterative Journey

A journey can be
a walk in the woods
or wandering the world
in awe and wonder.

el-escorial-basilica-interior ??????????????????????????????????????????????????Photos:  Top:  El Escorial, Spain, copyright Andrew Prokos.
Bottom:  woods in autumn, copyright by the author.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Haiku

Through a window


The storm in its rage
leaves behind a single leaf
plastered to the screen.




The setting sun’s rays
bathe a bush in golden light
in my neighbor’s yard.



The full moon’s bright light
Illuminates tree branches.
Leaves sparkle and dance.


Dining room

Dry garden remnants
remind me of summer green
dormant until spring.



Tangle of branches
etched with a new fallen snow:
winter’s masterpiece.



A jagged branch torn
wounding our proud maple tree:
summer storm’s fury.