Poetry Lke Raindrops: This is the first anthology of poems by John Hartig, Vineland author. Many of John's poems do not rhyme. He likes free verse, but thinks there has to be a natural flow of language and a pretty combination of words in the poem. Prose can also be poetic and that is why John has included excerpts from his novels and short stories in this anthology. Titles of some of his poems are: Poetry Like Raindrops, My Heart It Sings, I Walked to Kenny's Grave Today, The Road Taken, and The River of Life.
John was at a quandery about the title of his compendium of poems. He thought of Poet's Corner or Poet's Nook, and then after listening to Chopin's pretty piano piece called, Raindrops, he decided to name his anthology: "Poetry Like Raindrops". Perfect!
Summer Reading: Summer Reading by John Hartig is a selection of poems and also excerpts from his novels and John's diary which hopefully makes you appreciate the beauty in nature and in life.
John reminisces about the political scene in 2010, 2012 and today which hasn't changed much in terms of political greed and power and scandals. What's new? He also recalls how difficult it was in his private world when Ken Janzen, his brother-in-law, died of lung cancer.
There are observations made about John's harmless habit of watching old black and white crime shows. John Hartig hopes you also enjoy his collection of poems about sunsets and flowers, and even the cattle drive on the Chisholm Trail.
Ken Janzen died of lung cancer on January 18, 2008. He was my brother-in-law. Kenny was a musician, a song writer, a singer, a painter, and made his living in web design. He was 37 years old when he died. At the beginning of February I walked to Kenny's grave at the Vineland cemetery. The walk was cold. damp and slushy, no headstone yet.
I Walked to Kenny's
I walked to Kenny's grave today...
Snowflakes fell down
Like little kisses from heaven.
Canada Geese honked far off,
In their flight to who knows where?
I shed a tear...
I couldn't locate the tree, Kenny,
Where your mom lay?
They all looked the same to me.
So many names along the way,
I touched the stones and brushed the snow.
Where are you, Kenny, where did you go?
I looked up as I went...
Snowflakes touched my face,
Like little kisses from Heaven sent.
A dog barked in the cold, cold, air.
A sad thought came...are you really there?
A truck changed gear on a nearby road...
Sound of a jet plane headed someplace
[warm I hope].
This death, this everything...so unfair!
These cemetery paths
Remind me of that old Beatles' song, "The long and Winding Road"...
Which one will lead me to your door?
Snow-limned branches hung above my head;
Old knots and scarred bark with moss.
A black squirrel scampering
Nimbly from branch to branch;
My soul mourned your recent loss.
Ah, here you are, Kenneth Janzen: 1970-2008.
A plastic marker, no gravestone yet,
Same lane as Oma and Opa Boldt,
Just a couple of doors down,
Is it comforting that you are neighbours?
Or don't those things matter anymore?
Birds chirp cheerily, a lonely dog barks once more...
Is there any sense to me being here?
Making footprints in the snow,
In my fear...and anger?
No more NHL cups, Kenny,
No more Coffee Crisps or chocolate pudding
[To make those horrible meds go down]
I hope you're eating a big fat juicy steak right now!
My face turns upward toward the sky.
I feel an angel has brushed me by.
Snowflakes and kisses
Sent from Heaven above,
Touched my face with tender love.
I created a similar poem to the Ball's Falls one above, "The Road Taken", in my 2018 novel, Duplicity. The poetic Sgt. Benton Wright gets up early during a camping trip and sits by a stream alone with a cup of coffee and looks at the sparkling water of the Mi'kmaq River. His companion, Chief Abenaki, is soundly asleep inside the tent. Benton starts scribbling the rest of his poem, while his mind drifts off, thinking about Tara Laroche, his fiancée.
Benton pulled out his pencil and pad and scribbled a few lines for the poem which was taking shape in the back of his mind. He had written the first stanza already. ‘"Some trail leads me...’" What unwritten stanzas could follow?
[excerpt Duplicity, p.178]
The River of Life
Some trail leads me
To a rushing riverside
Where time stands still
With nothing to hide
Where the naked soul
Melts into the moving stream
Giving you time,
Tiny waves sparkle in the sun
Like people so full of fun
They tumble and toss,
And teem and toil,
And run...oh, where
When life is done?
A wave, a sparkle is the sun,
The river –- the galaxy,
Our existence –- a miracle,
Our universe, just you and me!