Harpo's Poetry Page


OK, I know, this page doesn't have much in the way of "pretty pictures" just yet, but give it time! In the meantime, I am presenting several works that were generated out of momentary bouts of artistry. Never fear, a team of doctors is working to find a cure! For now, however, you may enjoy the musings that have come from my pen.

The Search for Love

The first poem has a serious tone to it. It comes from the desire to find companionship. If you find yourself in total shock from reading something serious from me, remember, the number is 911!



There is love to give, of that you may be sure
For this lonesome heart, there is but one cure.

Although I may seem quiet and meek,
It is the love of my life that I do now seek.

Neither a rich man nor a pauper do I claim to be
But for love that is true, I shall give all that is me.

If only we should meet, be it by plan or by chance,
The piercing of our hearts may come from Cupid's lance.

I long to peer into a loving face
Which would then be followed by a warm embrace.

To the heavens and beyond I shall continue to roam
Until the love of my life will with me come home.

So if you should find someone whom to me would be dear,
Please let her know that I shall be waiting here.
 
Guess what!  "The Search For Love" won an Editor's Choice Award by the National Library of Poetry, and has been published in an anthology titled The Fullness Of Time.  Who could possibly have imagined that?

The Overbooking

Alright, enough of the mushy stuff! The next piece is actually a song. Sing the words to the tune of "I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover." If you've read "Airline Escapades", you'll definitely know the origins of this song!

I'm overlooking an airline booking
That I over booked before.
The toilet's taken, the cargo bay too.
People are sitting up from with the crew.
No need explaining, the only seats remaining
Are strapped to the wings outside.
I'm overlooking my overbooking,
Now sit and enjoy your flight!!

The Joker

The next poem in the collection was written on November 17, 1996. This one is about someone who is a very close friend. Perhaps you know someone like him.

He is always ready with a joke.
A smile is ever on his face.
His laugh rings out loud and true!
Of despair, there is no trace.

Yet the laugh is just a cover up,
The smile is but a mask.
Despite the sparkle in his eyes,
His life is just a grueling task.

He spends his hours mostly alone.
His company is rarely sought.
For the best of friends are hard to find,
And his search has turned up naught.

His goals are selfless, it seems to me,
For he seeks to entertain.
Yet every joke that he relates
Is hiding his secret pain.

Popularity would be a change
Which he would never fear,
To be known by others all the time,
To have friends both far and near!

Instead, the solitude surrounds,
He knows not what to do.
For in this quiet life of his
He finds his friends are few.

He is seldom invited to come along.
He is often left behind.
For the world where he is understood
Is a place he has yet to find.

Sitting On The Sidewalk

This poem was originally a song which I wrote while in the shower about a year ago. I finally put it down on paper in the form of a poem. If you're curious, the first stanza would have been the refrain. For those who are not from Detroit, this poem could use a bit of explanation. There are two names listed in the poem, J.P. and Ernie. J.P. is J.P. McCarthy, the Great Voice of the Great Lakes. He was a long-time radio talk show personality on WJR. He died of a rare bone marrow disease. Without a doubt, he was the best radio personality I'd ever heard. He was like a part of the family for every Detroiter. To honor him following his death, every radio station in Detroit and Windsor observed a period of silence. Ernie refers to Ernie Harwell, the Voice of the Tigers for many years, sharing the microphone with Paul Carey. Paul retired a few years back during the same year that Ernie was forced off the microphone. After a year without Ernie, the new Tiger ownership brought him back for one year so he could finish off his Tiger Radio Network career in a more fitting fashion. Last I heard, Ernie is still alive. For the last couple of years, he has been doing some of the PASS cable Tiger games. While it is still great to hear his voice, the occasional cable game just isn't enough. I really miss his radio broadcasts. When the Tigers were winning, he didn't try to "over-hype" the game. When they were losing, he made you feel like it was OK, there would be another game tomorrow. One of the unique features of Ernie was his handling of a foul ball. When it went in the stands, he would say something to the effect of, "And a man from Troy got that one!" He was around for so long, you could actually believe that he knew where everyone in the stands was from! While his name isn't mentioned in the poem, Paul Carey is also felt in my heart as I read the poem. Ernie and Paul were, without a doubt, the best radio broadcasters in the business. This poem is dedicated to J.P., Ernie, and Paul. Their voices were soothing and delightful to listen to. Their broadcasts will all be missed. There is a moral to the poem. Enjoy life while you can. Slow down and take it all in once in a while. The great people will come and go, and life will go on. Take the time to enjoy what's great while you can.

I'm sitting on the sidewalk,
What a wonderful place to talk.
The sun shines on my shoulders
While I'm sitting on the sidewalk.

I'm sitting on the sidewalk
With my radio on.
The music makes me feel good
As they play my favorite songs.

I hear J.P. in the morning,
Then Ernie calls the game.
When the ball goes in the stands
He will say the city's name.

As I'm sitting on the sidewalk
With my radio on,
All I have are memories
As the voices are long gone.

The radio has gone silent,
The Great Voice has passed.
There's no more J.P. in the morning,
And Ernie has called his last.

They were great while we knew them.
They left us all too soon.
Their sounds were just like music
As their words brought us the tune.

Now there's a new voice for the talk show,
And another calls the game.
While the melody keeps playing,
The tune is not the same.

Still I'm sitting on the sidewalk
With my radio on.
The voices keep on changing,
But life must still go on.

So I'm sitting on the sidewalk
As the world goes by.
I sit back to witness
The lovely Detroit sky.

I see stars up in the heavens,
It is quiet on this ground.
From my seat on the sidewalk
Life is peaceful all around.

There is lots of room beside me
And plenty of time to talk.
Instead of racing through your life so,
Slow down by sitting on the sidewalk.

I'll Take Detroit

I'll Take Detroit was written in the middle of the night on March 23, 1997, while unsuccessfully attempting to sleep.

Is there a problem with my brain?
Am I just completely wrong?
Many people are thrilled with Portland,
Yet it is for Detroit I long.

In Portland, there is much beauty
Between the mountains and the coast.
Detroit lies in the rust belt,
And it appears rustier than most.

But home is where the heart is,
And, be it wrong or right,
My heart remains in The Motor City,
I see Michigan as a wonderous sight.

Although I've met some terrific friends,
I still just don't belong.
They see Portland as a paradise,
While I still sing Detroit's song.

Portland is a beautiful place,
Of that, I won't deny.
But in my dreams I see Detroit,
Then I awake with a longing sigh.

Michigan remains my favorite state.
It is the spot that is right for me.
So should anyone ask or want to know,
Detroit is where I'd rather be.

Misunderstood

What poet could possibly resist writing a few words about an ended relationship? It's a popular subject for poets, and for this ol' geek, too. This poem was written late in the evening of January 11, 1998, following a telephone conversation. I was having my doubts about the relationship, but that conversation ended them all. This particular woman has the dubious distinction of being involved in what was, by far, my shortest relationship. It's unfortunate, but she just couldn't accept that some of my beliefs were slightly different from hers. Anyway, I wish her well. On with the poem...

The relationship is all over and done
Even though it had barely just begun.

While the actions are like, it is quite a quirk
That the views are too different for it to work.

I suppose I could change, or give it a try,
But then I would merely be living a lie.

To my own self I must surely be true,
Although it sometimes leaves me feeling blue.

No one really sees my true motivation.
It is not money, nor cars, nor a luxury vacation.

For myself, I seek a love that is true,
Someone to share the good and the rough times, too.

But when my mood caused me to grunt and to groan,
It was that time when I felt most alone.

While in body I had a companion along,
In heart there was none, and that felt all wrong.

My goals do not cease with my own selfish whim,
Although the prospect for success looks mighty slim.

I seek to improve the world for all here,
To fill it with laughter and lots of good cheer.

I'm unlucky in love, since I'm trying to share
Some kind of good times with my friends everywhere.

I can't help but wonder just where I should go
Since I'm not understood by any I know.

Perhaps it is time for me to move far away
In my effort to find what eludes me today.

I'm not finding the answers in this place that I love,
Nor in my pleas to the heavens above.

Perhaps it is time that I just disappear,
Knowing my presence won't be missed around here.

How can I help the world to improve
When the heart of just one I can't even move?

I've done all I know, far more than before,
But I just drive her crazy, so I'll back out the door.

She'll find much more joy, I have to confess,
With someone whose confidence is not such a mess.

So into the sunset I ride at top speed,
Hoping in this life or next, I may someday succeed.

Four Finned Friends

Four Finned Friends The end of an era has been reached at my favorite place on Earth. After eighteen seasons, the Oceana Dolphin Show at Cedar Point has ended. It was a great show, with a breathtaking view of Lake Erie as the background. This poem is a tribute to the performers who, through their graceful movements, made everything in the world seem peaceful. 

Written March 23, 1998. 

The tune playing on this page, Wishing You Were Here Again, is dedicated to Misty, Breeze, Cocoa, and Striker, plus their sea lion friend, Skipper.

In 1980, the crowds were all thrilled.
The stadium seats always were filled.
Four rookie performers took to the stage,
Their dolphin antics were soon all the rage.

Introduced by the trainer or someone else like her
Were Misty, Breeze, Cocoa, and Striker.
Cedar Point's bottle-nosed dolphins stole the show,
But it was just the beginning, we were soon to know.

It was a beautiful sight for the world to see
With the natural backdrop of Great Lake Erie.
The graceful jumps of these fabulous four
Kept the crowds coming back, cheering for more.

They would twist and turn and play ball with the fans,
Then allow a touch from a young child's hands.
Out of the stands a hit ball would soon tower
As they would show us their incredible power.

They became just like friends, as we watched all these years,
As they tried out new stunts, and were greeted with cheers.
When told to show off, even the trainers would never
Know what to expect from these dolphins so clever.

They would look in the stands before the start of each show
As if the size of the crowd they were trying to know.
Or did they see faces returning each year
Of their land-based friends from both far and near?

We soon came to know them, and we'd sometimes discuss
How they seemed to have also come to know us.
But tragedy strikes when it is least expected,
And even the toughest would soon be affected.

After seventeen seasons of giving their all
Two great performers would hear their last call.
For all things must end, even the best
As Cocoa and Striker were too soon laid to rest.

For one season more, we saw Misty and Breeze
Continue the show, still jumping with ease.
There was no telling just how long it would last,
But their shows remained great, just like in the past.

Then Misty's day came one sad winter day.
Never again will we see her at play.
Only Breeze still remains, and south she now goes.
She's earned her retirement, as everyone knows.

In years they were with us for less than a score.
With all of our hearts, we wish there'd been more.
While it pains us to leave our four finned friends,
We now say goodbye, as their last season ends.
 

The Great Roller Coaster

Written April 28, 2002

From the very beginning, the anticipation grows.
What lies in the future is what no one yet knows.
When the time is just right, we prepare to depart.
We're given a lift to help us launch our new start.

Our potential builds as we climb to the peak.
Out across the horizon lies the future we seek.
From the top of the hill, we can view all our dreams.
There's a chill down the spine from the laughter and screams.

We take the big plunge, we're ready to fly
As we go whizzing along, we dive through the sky.
With the wind in our face, it all feels quite new.
The feeling is so free, we wonder, can it be true?

We're racing along, we hit our top speed.
The ride is providing a thrill we must heed.
Next comes a hill that will slow us down,
But we speed up again once we pass over its crown.

There are ups and there are downs coming by the score
While all on the ride are screaming for more.
The changes keep coming at a breakneck pace
As we continue to run this exciting race.

Everything's going great, as onward we troop,
Then suddenly, it seems, we're thrown for a loop.
Head over heels, we continue our ride
Although we may feel a bit uneasy inside.

In turbulent times, we spin and we swerve
As this great ride throws us another sharp curve.
Once we straighten ourselves, our nerves may be slack
Yet we quickly discover we're still on the right track.

We're starting to slow, the ride's nearly done.
There were moments of fear, and moments of fun.
Although our ride ends, we can always take heart
That others will follow, another ride will soon start.

We look back and smile.  It has been a great ride.
Through the rough and the smooth, it was all taken in stride.
It is filled with much pleasure, as well as some strife.
It is the ride that is called The Great Roller Coaster of Life.
 

A Tribute To My Grandmother

For Margaret N. Henderson, November 24, 1905 - June 15, 2002
With love from her grandson, June 17, 2002

My grandmother was very special to me.  While I was growing up, my grandparents lived about 1 mile from me, hence it was a rare week when I did not see them.  Even after I finished college, I still lived close to my grandmother, hence she was still a very close part of my life.  (My grandfather passed away while I was in college.  At that time, I was not yet writing, or I may have had a poem in his memory, too.)  After the family spoke with the minister regarding my grandmother's funeral arrangements, I felt like I really wanted to give a tribute to her, but I wasn't sure if I was up to the task.  The night before her funeral, I sat down and thought about what I wanted to say, and about my memories of her.  It was hard, but I managed to get them down on paper.  At the funeral, the minister chose to read this poem as part of the service.  It was my way of saying goodbye, and I am thankful to the minister for sharing it with the whole family.  I would also like to thank Dick Joy.  Dick taught a creative writing class that I took in the evenings during the spring of 2002.  It was Dick's positive feedback that gave me the confidence to present this poem to my mother, who presented it to the minister for the service.  Had it not been for the class, I may have still written the poem, but it probably would not have been shared with my family as a part of the funeral service.

Iím not sure how to begin.
I donít know just where I should start.
Thereís a lifetime of memories,
And all the ways you touched my heart.

I remember the winters.
In your yard, I would sled.
Then Iíd rush into the house,
And with your treats, I was fed.

There were Christmases at your home.
These were times I held so dear.
The family was together.
The days were filled with joy and good cheer.

In the summers we had
Even more fun that weíd share.
We played golf at Plum Hollow,
And once up north at The Bear.

Then there were times when I ached,
And you pulled me so close.
Some of those were the moments
That I have cherished the most.

Like when my graduation time came,
But my grandfather had passed.
Thatís when you reached my heart most
Giving a gift that would last.

It was then that you gave me
The watch he once wore.
You engraved it from him.
No gift has ever meant more.

Iíll remember your smile,
And that special spark in your eye.
You shall be with me always.
Your memory shall not die.

All you have meant to me
Mere words could never tell.
But now, I must say goodbye.
Sleep well, my dear Nana, sleep well.
 

These poems ©1996 - 2002 Jeff Harper and Harpo! Enterprises.