Found Memories by Rick Stephen

Found Memoriesbaseballglove1

In the back of the closet
of my old room
in my parent’s house
I found my old baseball mitt
in a box, creased and torn
barely held together
by yellowed packing tape
and full of things
Mom hadn’t the heart
to toss out
once I’d left home for good

Thank goodness
for it was, to me,
a box of memories
and at the bottom
under various and sundry toys,
photos and memorabilia
there it was, pressed flat
save the well-worn ball
cradled in its webbing
I picked it up slowly
like it deserved reverence

I looked it over, turning it in my hand
looking at the leather stitching,
the marks and mars of heavy use
my name, faded,
barely visible on the wrist strap
I slid my hand inside
tighter today than it was then
I fanned my fingers opening the glove
revealing the ball, more brown than white,
scuffed and scraped,
frayed red stitches running ’round it

I flipped the ball into the air
and was rewarded
with the pleasing sound
of ball striking glove
I buried my face in the cowhide
and the familiar smell
of leather and oil,
sweat, red dirt and grass
triggered strong memories
of a young boy

A young boy
simultaneously excited,
anxious and afraid
fidgeting, out in right field
praying the ball not come to him
but hoping that it would, waiting
for his chance to shine
and looking into the stands
for his Dad,
always there,
always cheering him on

Dad gave me this glove
it was old, used
money was tight around our house
but I didn’t mind, I understood
even at that tender age
Mom calling me for dinner
snapped me from the past
I had to pry the child’s glove
from the hand of a man
and pulling hard on the wrist strap
underneath, I saw what I’d not seen before

A name, not mine
“Billy” scrawled there, Dad’s name
mixed feelings flooded me
and I thought, why?
Why would he not tell me
this had been his glove?
Was he ashamed
he couldn’t afford a new one?
How did he not know this glove,
his glove, would be worth more to me
than all the gloves in the world?



Writing, Photography and Life Priorities

Power of WordsTo say I’ve been remiss keeping this blog up is an understatement, a big understatement! I’ve let the busyness of life crowd it and other such “optional” priorities out. I say “optional” because this blog, my writing and photography in general don’t pay the bills and put food on the table. I wish they did but they don’t. So, when push comes to shove these things get shoved aside.

I’ve come to a realization though. However “optional” these things may be when it comes to life’s responsibilities, they are nonetheless necessities when it comes to my personal happiness and wellbeing. While I’ve focused on other things, I found myself increasingly frustrated, irritated and blue. I’ve realized that allowing responsibilities to crowd out these personal necessities is the cause. Writing and photography are my prime outlets for expression and creativity, things essential for my wellbeing. They are how I cope with the stress and strain of daily life.

Pushing them aside to get to my “real” priorities has been a big mistake. Oh, it may work for a while, a short while, but as my frustration and irritation levels grow my productivity and efficiency decline. In the long run, I’m better off dedicating time to my personal pursuits to ensure my mind is healthy and strong for my “real” priorities. So, what I’m really asking is this. What are my “real” priorities? What are YOUR “real” priorities? You can cut corners on some things, for a time. You can short change others but you can’t short change yourself. It will catch up with you. Just some food for thought.



“You Are Perfect Just the Way You Are” by Sannel Larson

IMG_1319[1]Early childhood is an especially tender age. The foundations of personality are laid that will affect us for the rest of our lives. So much good and, unfortunately, so much damage can be done to young hearts and minds during these years. Teaching little ones that they are unique, beautiful and valuable just as they are is an important message to send during these formative years. Too often just the opposite message is conveyed to young, tender hearts; that they are ugly, too fat, too skinny, stupid or useless. Harsh words that can scar a child for life.

You Are Perfect Just the Way You Are“, is the message and the title of Sannel Larson’s most recent children’s book. Full of beautiful and colorful illustrations and a message even more so, your little ones will love the rhyming verse and receive affirmation that they are, indeed, perfect just the way they are. It’s a message children need to hear over and over again and your children will want to read this beautiful book over and over again!

It’s available here on Amazon, so grab your copy quick!

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Who Knew, Who Knew – a poem by Richard Stephen


Who Knew, Who Knew

It’s been a few months
since you’ve gone
enough time now
for it to sink in fully
that you’re gone
I’m not quite sure
what to do with that
you’re my big bro,
after all

read more …

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Unkissed Lips – Micropoetry by Richard Stephen

harsh words
were too comfortable
on her unkissed lips
always lonely for love
she wonders why



Micropoetry – 14-March-2014

Mind Field

Painful memories
buried in my mind
some explosive,
and don’t want to find
So I fear each step
for I walk blind
and am on terrain
that’s been well mined



“Suspect each moment, for it is a thief, tiptoeing away with more than it brings.” – A Month of Sundays, John Updike

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A New Poem: “No Life Left to Spend”

clockfaceI’ve been thinking a lot about living lately. Not in the general sense but living life fully, living in the moment and not holding back. Living where you take chances and try to live without regrets. Looking back on my life, I see long stretches where I haven’t done that. Certain things, like parenthood for example, do limit you somewhat. We do have responsibilities to others and can’t only think of ourselves.

But at this point in my life when my children are basically grown and I’m, shall we say, on the downslope side of life I realize it’s time to live more fully, in the day and take some risks. The last thing I want to do is lay in my deathbed, if I should be so lucky, and be filled with regrets for things I wanted to do, places I wanted to see and people I wanted to love and didn’t.

My new poem, “No Life Left to Spend“, was written as much for me as the reader. It was written to be a reminder that life is meant to be lived in the here and now, not in memories of the past, in our bygone glory days or in the regrets that we had none. Nor in the future, in the anticipation of things that may never come be they good or bad. I’m not saying forget the past or don’t plan for the future. Those are musts. Just don’t live in them. Live in today!

No Life Left to Spend

Yesterday is behind you
to nevermore be seen
so relegate it to the past
with all that could have been

read more …

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A Hybrid Haiga/Senryu … of sorts!


I’ve written a hybrid haiga/senryu … of sorts. I say, “of sorts” because a senryu like a haiga follows a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. Purists don’t get upset! I realize that in an authentic haiku this pattern is in “on” and that “on” don’t necessarily equate to syllables in English. That aside, haiku are typically about nature, have a reference to the seasons and have a “cutting” word. Senryu are typically about human nature, our foibles in particular and are also typically cynical or darkly humorous. They have no reference to a season or a cutting word.

This little piece doesn’t really fit into either genre. Since I wanted the message to be about serenity and beauty in the human soul, a part of human nature, I call it a senryu. Whatever it’s called, my hope in writing it is that when you have the chance to enjoy a beautiful, serene moment (a sunrise, sunset or whatever), you allow it to not only bless your eyes but also allow it to fill your heart. Let the beauty and serenity of the moment still your soul and center you. You won’t regret it!

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Micropoetry – 18-September-2013

glass-shards-6883-400x250when wishes collide
shattered dreams
in tiny razor shards
fall to the floor
those who dare
walk on


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