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Poems from the Porch 13

Updated on December 11, 2019
Jodah profile image

John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded "Poet of the Year 2014" Hubby Awards and has had two poems become songs.

Rain
Rain | Source

Rain at Last!

Well, as I sat on the porch to write these poems the sky was getting darker and darker..thunder began to rumble in the distance and then it happened. It started to rain! We got a storm. Not a lot of rain yet, but it keeps stopping and starting so it's the most promising we have had in months, and It did force me inside to finish these poems off.

I also apologise for this edition of Poems From the Porch being a little later than usual, and you will also notice I have only written two poems. I had expected to write four but I found these two more challenging than usual, or maybe my muse was on holiday. So, to Flourish and Ruby..sorry, but your poems will appear next week and just in time for Christmas.

Mel Carriere

"Do you ever try your hand at free verse? How about something a little Walt Whitman style, something maybe on the subject of brush fires, a theme relevant to Aussies and Californians alike."


Yes, Mel, I do try my hand at free verse now and then though it isn't my preferred style of poetry. That said, you really challenged me by asking me to write something in "Walt Whitman" style. I know he is often called "the father of free verse."

Being a lover of rhyme I have to admit I have never really appreciated Whitman's poetry, but I found a couple that I don't mind. The funny thing is, the one I like the best is one of the very few he wrote that has any form of rhyme scheme, (O Captain! My Captain!) and because Robin Williams read it in the movie Dead Poets Society it is also one of his most popular. Whitman himself regretted writing it.

I know you asked for free verse, but sorry, you aren't getting it with this one. At least it is about a brush fire. This was a tough challenge but I do appreciate it.

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;

The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!

O the bleeding drops of red,

Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

— Walt Whitman

O Warden! My Warden!

O Warden! my Warden! the raging fire is beat,

The brigade has persevered, despite the raging heat,

The end is nigh, the smoke subsides, the community’s still grieving,

We keep our eyes upon the scene, to prevent the fire rekindling.

But O the heat! heat! heat!

O the smoldering embers,

Where the corpses of the wildlife lay,

It’s what we will remember.


O Warden! my Warden! the sirens never cease;

Move on - to another fire - it’s what you do the best,

For you get gratitude and thanks - for that is how you cope.

For you are the people’s hero, they turn to you with hope;

Dear Warden! our Saviour!

The fire was devastating,

It left the land charred and dead,

Unrelenting, unforgiving.


My Warden remains silent, he seeks no accolade,

My leader just does what he must, with no desire for pay,

One fire is out and finished, the next under control,

Of sacrifice and bravery, are tales soon to be told;

Hail the brigade, and shout for joy!

Who showed no sign of fear.

While for those who perished in the fire,

We shed a sullen tear.

Firefighters
Firefighters | Source

Pamela Oglesby

"I was thinking about how police get such bad press here in the U.S. and they have a very hard job, so may a poem about that at some point. Thank you John."

Pamela, thank you for this request. Yes, police often get a bad rap here in Australia as well. The poem I wrote for you is light-hearted and based on the song "Mr Spaceman" originally sung by The Byrds, and also recorded by Jimmy Buffet and others more recently. So, this poem, Mr Policeman, is really a song as well.

If you think people are inherently good, you get rid of the police for 24 hours - see what happens.

— Sylvester Stallone

Mr Policeman ~ a Song

Got home late at night, what time I can’t tell.

As I opened the door I stumbled and fell.

I turned around when I heard someone yell,

Who it was I couldn’t tell.


Was it a burglar who prowls in the night

To ransack a house and make us uptight?

“Sir it’s the Police, we followed you home.

You drove through a red light.”


Hey, Mr Policeman

I’m glad you came along

But, I didn’t do anything wrong.

Hey, Mr Policeman

Thank you for escorting me home.


Woke up this morning, surprisingly well

I smelt a strange smell, I was in a Police cell.

There was the Policeman I spoke to last night.

“Sir, I just need to read you your rights.”


Hey, Mr Policeman

I’m singing the same old song

But, I didn’t do anything wrong.

Hey. Mr Policeman

Can you please let me out to go home?


Hey, Mr Policeman

I don’t like it here in jail

So, thanks for releasing me on bail.

Hey, Mr Policeman

I appreciate you driving me home.

Police
Police | Source

More Requests Needed

Well, that's it from the porch for another week and the next will be the last before Christmas. Poems fo FlourishAnyway, Ruby Jean Richer and Chris Mills.

Oh, and those are the last requests I have to date which has worked out well taking the series right up until the end of the year. However, I will need more to keep it going, so if anyone has any ideas for more poems please let me know. It will be good to have some up my sleeve for the new year.

Thank you for continuing to support this series. Bye for now.

© 2019 John Hansen

Comments

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    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      19 months ago from SW England

      Sorry! You've written so many and all are good. Any weather-based poetry would be good - your choice!

      Ann

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      19 months ago from Gondwana Land

      There can never be too many tributes to firefighters, Ann. The fire's here are ridiculous. Over 800 homes have been lost to fire in NSW alone this year...20 more just today. Drought or flood.. I have written about both before but will choose one to write for you. No we only got one day of rain and it wasn't anywhere enough, unfortunately.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      19 months ago from SW England

      Your tribute to the firefighters is wonderful. What a dangerous, necessary and heroic job they do!

      I'm glad you've finally had some rain though I doubt it's enough yet. Having been in that area in February last, I'm mourning for all the wildlife and vegetation which lifted my heart.

      Our police also often get a bad press, though that changes when we see their reactions to terrorist attacks, when sometimes their lives are taken in their efforts to protect us.

      Great poems, John. How about something on droughts or floods?

      Ann

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      19 months ago from Washington Court House

      Thank you, John.

      That is so sweet.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      19 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Stay nice and cosy inside and pray you don’t lose power, Brenda. I have already received more requests so i don’t see the series finishing anytime soon.

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      19 months ago from Washington Court House

      John,

      I am glad you received your rain. As for me, we had 3 inches of snow and now it is raining.

      Forecasting freezing rain in a few hours...so I too am inside on a gloomy night. Just hoping the electric stays on.

      As usual your writing is great. Don't worry...I am sure you will get more requests.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      19 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Welcome to the porch Shauna. I haven’t had a lot of luck in poetry contests but O Warden, My Warden is a little different, so who knows. Glad you like the policeman one too.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      19 months ago from Central Florida

      John, I'm so glad you finally got some rain!

      Your poem about the wildfires is somber and very well written. You should enter that one in a contest.

      The policeman song is cute. Imagine a cop following someone home only to arrest him?!

      Nice job, my friend and Merry Christmas!

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      19 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Thank you so much for supporting this series Nithya, and for your kind comment.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      19 months ago from Dubai

      Great poems. Bush fires are devastating. You have expressed it well in your poem. I loved the poem about policemen as well.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      19 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Thank you for reading these poems, Rasma. I am glad you enjoyed them.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      19 months ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Enjoyed these most creative poems about the force of the law

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      19 months ago from Gondwana Land

      I always love to see your comments, Lorna and am glad you enjoyed these poems. Of course, I will write a poem about the homeless (at Christmas) for you.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      19 months ago

      Such a talent John and once again your poems are a joy to read. Perhaps you might like to include a poem about the homeless who are never far from my thoughts at this time of year. Thank you.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      19 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Thank you for visiting MizB. Take your time reading my others in the series, there is no rush. I am glad you enjoyed these poems especially "O Warden, My Warden." So glad you are feeling better.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      19 months ago from Beautiful South

      John, sorry I haven't been able to keep up with your series. Now that I'm feeling better (and can actually think again) I will find time to go back and pick up where I left off. I really do enjoy this series. I loved both of these today. I remember Robin Williams' recitation of "Oh, Captain, My Captain" but I found it a little trite in the movie. I think I may like your "Oh Warden" best. Thinking of the little animals that died in the fire makes me sad though.

      The exuberance of the police in the second one sounds typical of American police.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      19 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Hi Devika, I’d love to write you a poem. Just let me know the subject you’d like me to write about. Or are you saying you want one about you?

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      19 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Crezyl, hello. Of all of Walt Whitman’s poems O Captain, my Captain is undoubtedly my favourite. I am so glad you enjoyed my version O Warden, my Warden. Thank you for your generous comment and the hearts.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      19 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I would like a poem Devika Primic Please

    • Crezyl Sabrido profile image

      Crezyl 

      19 months ago from Philippines

      John, I am a fan of oh captain, my Captain too but I never get curious of the writer. But I love your amzing poem so much. I really admire your style. ❤ Hearts!

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      19 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Thank you Alicia, we got a storm the night before last and cooled things down for a few hours but there was not really enough rain to make a difference and the next day was hotter than ever.

      Thank you for the generous comments on these poems.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm so sorry that Australia has been going through such a bad time with fires. This first poem is powerful. I enjoyed the second one, too.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Thank you for the insightful comment, manatita. Yes, the first piece had a rather interesting and challenging rhyme scheme, the second very simple because it was based on the song. Ok challenge accepted..free verse nature.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      20 months ago from london

      I do not believe that you can't do free verse and yes, you have done it. Free verse allows for much creativity and innovation. So try something on nature. Easy peasy. No rhyme!!

      Your first piece is of a very high rhyming standard. So you have excelled there. One of the things about rhyme is that, if it is not in the right hands, it can become very simple. It can also be repetitive, like my genre, perhaps, but I lace them with messages to serve others.

      The policeman's piece is funny enough, but perhaps it supports my argument. The sublimity of Whiteman's piece or your piece is not there. Ok, Bro. Carry on. Remember, no rhyme in my piece! You can do it.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Yes, it seems we do have similar views in regard to free verse, but I try to keep an open mind. I guess Mr Policeman is based more on Aussie country police than US officers who I have only seen on TV. Glad you enjoyed.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Thank you Stive, their job is not easy and they deserve our support and praise. Thanks for reading.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      You humble me Jason. Please tell ED I would be honoured if he hung my poem in the fire station. Thanks for following my work.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      20 months ago from Washington DC

      You and I are alike, I can read free verse but I don't know why I seldom can consider it poetry. That's especially true when they are seemingly telling anything of value, I just can't connect the dots. I must say, however, you did put forth a great effort on that one.

      Mr. Policeman actually held my attention with its humor and realism although I've never seen that happen here in the US. I enjoyed them.

    • Stive Smyth profile image

      Stive Smyth 

      20 months ago from Philippines

      Clever work John and good support for the first-responders.

    • Nicoartz profile image

      Jason Nicolosi 

      20 months ago from AZ

      John your work is so amazing, I really enjoyed this set of poems. I actually know many police officers and firefighters. I sent my friend ED a link to your poems. He happens to be a firefighters in Massachusetts. He loved it, and wants to know if he can print a copy to hang in the station?

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      That is great Linda, I am sure you are proud of them. I sed to be a volunteer firefighter and I know what a difficult job it is. They deserve recognition. thanks for reading.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      20 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Excellent job on these two John. Our public servants never receive enough recognition. I have two great nephews who are firefighters and a nephew who is a paramedic.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Thanks Bill’ I started this series to try to test myself to see if I could write “just about” anything. I have surprised even myself so far. “Mistletoe” it is. Have a great day.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good writers...good poets...can write about any topic. I truly believe that, and you are proving it weekly. New topic.....mistletoe!

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Thank you Chris, I always appreciate a comment from you. Some words just stick with you, don’t they?

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      20 months ago from Traverse City, MI

      Fantastic job on these two poems, John. From "Oh Warden! My Warden!" these words stood out in a strongly emotional way to me. "Where the corpses of the wildlife lay,

      It’s what we will remember."

      Have a good weekend.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      A copper with a gun in your bedroom...scary. Exciting for Gabe. Glad it all ended well, and that you enjoyed Mr Policeman.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      20 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      John I was kicking back reading some of our constitution and needed a break. Fantastic you were here.

      I had to help a buddy get committed the other day. A copper came by and my wife let him disturb my morning meditation right in my bedroom. Gun and all. How welcome. My son was so impressed. Coffee and water to go. Best seat in the house. A Sheriff deputy.

      I loved that piece.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Thanks for the appreciation, Clive. Shame about the dinner.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      20 months ago from Jamaica

      I love the Fire fighter poem. Forest fires needs much more awareness as many are started by hoodlums to clear lands for business purposes. While some are natural and some caused by some careless person.

      O firefighter don't spray me with that hose

      O firefighter water will get into my nose

      O firefighter thank you for putting out the flame

      But you just ruined my dinner I had prepared for this gorgeous dame.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Hi Pamela. Good to see you visiting the porch again this week. Thank you for your kind comment and I am glad you enjoyed both poems, especially Mr Policeman.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      20 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I enjoyed your poetry as usual. Of course, I liked the policman poem, but I thought the poem about the fires was excellent as well. I look forward to your on-the-porch poems each week. You are a very talented poet in my humble opinion.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Thank you Lora. Walt Whitman sure didn’t make it easy to copy his style lol. Glad it turned out ok. I am surprised you haven’t heard Mr Spaceman before. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the Jimmy Buffet version on YouTube, as I feel it is far superior than the original by The Byrds. Thank you for the request...your poem will be the very first for the New Year.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Thank you Flourish. I have been putting your poem off as long as possible while this impeachment hearing goes on and trying to follow what’s transpiring. I have to publish it before Christmas though so will definitely be in next weeks hub.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Hi Ruby, yes sometimes the police deserve the criticism they get, but you can’t “tar them all with the same brush” and the majority are honorable men and women doing a thankless job. As usual the bad gets most of the publicity. Glad you enjoyed these.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Yes Liz, the public service focus wasn’t intended but I was aware of it. I do admit the though of a book has also crossed my mind. Thank you for reading.

    • Jodah profile imageAUTHOR

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Gondwana Land

      Hi Mel, great to see you and read your comment. I must say your request was the most challenging for me to date but I was more than satisfied with the result, and extremely pleased that you liked “O Warden! My Warden!”

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      20 months ago

      An excellent job, John, emulating Walt Whitman's style in 'Oh Warden, my Warden.' I also liked the second poem although I'm not as familiar with the song, "Mr. Spaceman." I'm glad that this man got out of prison. It had to be quite frightening for a time there! I enjoyed these poems and I hope that you continue this series.

      I would like to make a suggestion for a poem about visiting a nursing home during the winter season. I'm sure many of these residents don't get many visitors due to the inclement weather and they probably have to spend most of their time confined indoors. Maybe a poem about lifting the spirits of those who may feel quite lonely during this time.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      20 months ago from USA

      I like the focus on public service as well. I look forward to next week, as always!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      20 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I like that you gave the policemen a shoutout, they deserve all we can do for them. The police are under scrutiny here. They have been too quick to shoot at times, but mostly they do good deeds. I liked the first poem too. Bravo!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      20 months ago from UK

      Interesting focus on public service personnel this week. Have you ever thought of putting Poems from the Porch into a book?

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      20 months ago from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado

      That was really beautiful and powerful. I am honored that you would produce this poem based on my suggestion. Free verse yes, but it flows and it sings. Great work.

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