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copyright 1995-2017 Thispoetscorner.com [This Poets Corner]

This Poet's Corner

 The Poetry of Edward Ridgell
 [E.D. Ridgell]

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Page 1 of 20 pages in all ! Please bookmark me and return at your leisure. I am always adding more! Thanks and enjoy! 


Below is the link to Amazon and my poetry book, My Indomitable Self

the Poetry Of E.D. Ridgell 


My Inner Child Picture! - You Choose An Old Photo That You Think Best Captures Your Spirit!

Welcome to a selection of my poetry. I’m a versatile artist: a visual artist, a former art teacher, etc. and, if you stay and sample a few, a fair poet and writer of sorts. Art in its many forms and venues has been the bliss of my life, that life lived as I would live it, and my opinions, how little weight they merit, my own by what I reason and reckon from within the muddy, muddle of the brain behind this brow.

I will leave these to you, then, reminding you that the "voice" of the poem is not always that of its writer, although, I confess, many of my poems would fall into or very close to confessional poetry. Finally, many poems will resonate with reflections rising out of having been born and raised around the Chesapeake Bay. I am descended from the original nine families that founded Smith and Tangier Islands, smack dab in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. My grandmother was born there but was moved then to the tip of St. Mary’s County sometime around the turn of the century. It was there that by happenstance and a good fortune, so similar to Truman Capote’s, I was raised by a magical and duly dysfunctional family on a peninsula that is today Point Lookout State Park- that is to say that much of my boyhood, mostly the long hot summers, were spent on the sandy shores of where the
Potomac and Chesapeake Collide-a site formally a prisoner of war camp during the American Civil War- and so, much of my work reflects this love of that time and geography I was so lucky to be born into.
Thank you. I hope you enjoy all you find within. E. D. Ridgell*

* I wrote my first poem in 1999, in that year of the death of my significant other. I immediately knew I had embarked on that search for the soul or the solid self that is so broken at the loss of someone we truly love. In short, I knew poetry was a medium for reinventing myself.

Since those beginnings, I have read poetry hosted by The Samaritan Counseling Center of Lancaster Pa.
For awhile. I was a movie and event's critic for Walt's World an online GLBT 'zine' on the social network site Journalspace. Some of these 'crits' can be read on pages 18 through 20. I've also delved into the short story, commentary, etc.

For some two years, I acted as a moderator at "The Peaceful Pub" on Wordflair, another online zine that is part of the Yuku network more British than American. I led a forum on Wordflair called "Taking Risks" where I encouraged my peers to "try to think outside of the box"- to realize that to create anything remotely new and unexperienced you must first destroy what has fossilized into the academic rules and proprieties that must never be broken. I sometimes, therefore, break these. I'm not a rebel, mind you.  I am a simple artist.

Six poems appear in 'A Bouquet of Poetry' an anthology compiled by S.M.Zang and Jean Lewis, c.2007. The word "bouquet" is derived from the Greek meaning "a collection of". Details on ordering can be found at the bottom of page 5.

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Edward D. Ridgell Jr., Edward D. Ridgell, Ed Ridgell, E. D. Ridgell, and finally E.D. Ridgell have all been used, however the last, E.D. Ridgell is the preferred. 

Exmore Virginia


Rain seemed fast fleeting netting nothing

‘Cept a dizzingly white and dazzling sunlight

Leaving me happily harbored in crisp, clean colors.


The Bay froze o’er just the one year,

Backing the house to an icy, black mirror of creek;

A miracle to marvel and one I’ve nary seen since.


In spring, spreading out o’er a quarter mile

Grew nurseries of azalea and rhododendron,

Stopping short at eroding cliffs breaking on your reason.


Green and yellow, tufted, mustard fields

Growing wild either side the road waked our ride.

The honk, end the drive, often startled a partridge or a bobwhite.


Georgia Gal, the shepherd friend to your old age,

Guarding the white-washed house so comfortable,

Barked a greeting pretending not to be glad.


Each summer had goals to mark those years;

Mason’s breakfasts, garden victories, and churchly things-

Harvesting by rite the immigrant, neighbors’, crab pots.


You drifted there to stay some years before,

To dry dock and wait your turn at being a Bay ghost,

A merchant mariner dignified as The Cleo fading ‘side the road.


Everything about you bespoke the lower Bay.

Coming home that fall to the Delmarva

Chronicled you bow high in the family log.


And anchored there, you found the blue, green harmony

Resonant of that water estuary to this land,

So flat, sandy, and scented of high tide.


Reckoning my life amidst these grassy shores,

I too love this tribal land and claim my marshy share,

Your grateful son and heir to the Chesepiooc.



The Pier Out Back Of My Father's Place In Exmore Va...circa 1970

A Sad Haiku

One last woeful turn-
Who has not left their guard down?
Brace! "All are punished!"

Contact me at: er21120@msn.com

The Unkwnown Soldier Could Have Been Gay We'll Never Know.



The Unknown Soldier Could be Gay. We'll Never Know!

[Dedicated to an elephant eye, high name on a shiny, black wall]


Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell!


Don’t ask

Of when you discover you’re one’ a those freaks

The other kids are slinging pejoratives at.

Don’t tell parents of those innocents

Who kill themselves, secrets strangling school tied necks.


Don’t ask

Society’s, scapegoat divorcee what it’s like

To have loved but not lusted after.

Don’t tell

The kid two hearts were not broken!


Don’t ask

How you struggled up, out of the dung,

To stand attention ‘fore hoards of closed minded dolts.

Don’t tell

Of enlisted resurrections for fear of more crucifixions.


Don’t ask

The names of friends and lovers

Blamed for a plague not their making.

Don’t tell

Which part of a heavy, crowded heart houses these relics?


Don’t ask

About husbands or wives unconsecrated,

Except beheld in the golden eye of God who “doesn’t play dice”!

Don’t tell

Of that lonely pain of bent would-be widows and widowers.


Don’t ask

The indentify of my soldier lover

Drowned down in a rice field-Oh God! No!

Don’t tell

Less they strip away a memory gone dull- never sullied!


Don’t ask

Of this wise old fag’s bemusement-

Walking pneumonia standing reverent at this ceremony.

Don’t tell

Of mussed musings ‘fore our Unknown Soldier!





A Poof Hair Style Popular With Marie Antoinette

Knitting Needles for a Pouf

The marchande de mode,
Rose Bertin, has added
a pouf to her repertoire
at the Grand Mogol.

A lady to the Queen
was seen on the
rue Saint-Honoré
heavily burdened with
a decision.

Was the coming fete
to be sentimentalité
or a commémorative?

Having no clue,
she was driven away
with two poufs,
one for either occasion.

A second barouche
was needed for the heavy gowns
and light frippery that
would enhance these;

accessories and adornments
for a courtly function,
dependent upon the mood
of Her Majesté.

In the mêlée
amidst so much commotion
a strand of baubles broke to
fall and scatter from
milady’s fair and powdered neck;

seeded pearls of little consequence
were cleared from cleavage, floor and seat,
clutter tossed from out the carriage windows.

That night in the taverns by the Seine
there was many a toast
in honor of this good lady
bought with pledged proceeds
of her generosity;

Most pawned for cheap wine.
One purchased knitting needles.

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Pack A Basket


You only get to keep your memories,

So live each and every moment.

Be with the person you are with.

Keep good company.

Invite all your senses. Pack a basket.


The arbiter of your conscience is you.

Whether there is a God or not is irrelevant-

Your want or need for one is not. Be tolerant.

Religion is a prescription written by others.

Choose physicians well.

Practice your faith quietly, in whispers.


Paraphernalia is just that, paraphernalia.

Beautiful paraphernalia takes the shabbiness

Off of God. Creation is cause and effect.

Cause something to happen. Have an effect.


Give something to the community, if only truth-

Give back.


Grief is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do,

Except maybe death. I haven’t tried that yet. 


Like My Father Before Me!


It was a chilly, sun-lite day

And Dad was finishing

Showing the rector of Trinity Church

Just where he was to be buried.


Dad was a force unto itself,

As the good rector was finding out,

A check in his hand

And a dazed spell in his eyes.


I totally understood.

As always I was numb,

Dumb with embarrassment-

Not knowing myself what was expected.


I last saw my father

In the rear view mirror

Just minutes after falling into my fortuitous arms.

He waved from atop the steps he’d just toppled from.


A week later, my aunt Betty and I

Were watching some bazaar masonic ritual,

Played out late into the night at the funeral home.

I don’t know which one of us was more amused.


I broke down the next morning,

So I was composed by the funeral.

Poor Uncle Bud was so drunk at his brother’s death,

His annoyed daughter declared we had buried the wrong man!


It was a splendid funeral

To an overflowing throng-

Complete with a twenty-one-gun salute

Befitting my Dad’s commendable service.


That old seaman had had several ships shot from under him

In World War II, and rose in the Merchant Marine to Chief Engineer.

It was only later I learned of the weighty secret

He kept locked away, ashamed at nothing.


Like Dad I’ve known the burden

Of carrying secrets

Made heavy by the biases of society,

But like my father before me, I’m a force unto itself!

                                                                             E. D. Ridgell

“My Indomitable Self”


She pricked you!

Isn’t it the truth?

I can’t miss a trick,

Not note a remark,

I’d come completely apart.


I’m high strung and gifted,

I’m quick stepping,

I’m fox trotting-

I’m tap dancing,

I’m the Mad Hatter.


What’s the matter-

On a slippery dance floor, again?

Welcome to Bedlam,

Where I’m surely


“My Indomitable Self!”







On The Corner’s Of Church And Liberty

I identify myself by fidelity to principles
Which are packaged in words
That are set in sacred but secular writs.
I am as immediate as a turnstile
Or descended from
Rough, rambling, and rum
Gypsies of global castoffs,
Trailing a contingent of Injuns
I failed to kill off with the buffalo.
Who are you to judge me,
When I am but an amputee of you?

God Save The Queen,
But I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy
And everyday’s the Fourth of July.
Don’t murder mine on my burial grounds,
And in league or not with others, 
Taunt me with threats that may or may not be real!

Do you not see my coiled tail or hear my rattle?
I will strike you if you tread on me,
Then bind your wounds with the wrappers
Of pockets full of Hershey bars.
I am the relative you do not want
Who comes to visit and forgets to leave.
I am the intervention in your dysfunction
Who at times is crazier than you!

The children dressed in bulging vests
Tug at my fatiques
Asking for chocolates-
And just when do I intend to go?
That is the one thing, children, 
I do not seem to know.

I am not pretty-
I am beautiful
In the reflection of antique mirrors
Made new in The People’s Republic of cheap imports
North of Vietnam where the labor 
Is suddenly cheaper still.
Come sign agreements in presidential suites.
There’s a Hilton everywhere-
Dubai, London, Singapore.

Take care! Beware!
There’s breath still in this struck deer.
It ain't over till the fat lady sings and 
She’s a Hummer still humming,
No matter the price of gas-
Kiss my Yankee Doodle…!
Speak up or talk behind my back.
“He’s losing his dominions.
Her power wanes!”…


“Firearms are second 
Only to the constitution in importance:
They are the peoples ‘liberty’s teeth”.

We identify ourselves by fidelity to principles
That are set in sacred and secular writs and
We back it up with the USS Nimitz!

Every Spring They Take Their Share

Born so Recently

emerging finally from the nest
so poorly hidden every spring
in the middle of the flower ring,
comes a furry, would-be innocent, little pest,

bent on nipping every shoot
from bulbs planted with care
in hopes some might escape the hare,
and boast like decisions taking root

stark, bold colors in the garden everywhere-
But no! Once again I’ll forfeit brief hues popping
for the pleasure of seeing you lawn-hoping
thoughout a coming long, hot, summer’s tear.

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The Fireplace Swelled The Bottom Drawer To Emily's Dresser So That Her Sister Did Not Burn The Poems

Her Devoted Bow-Front


For so long she has entrusted me with

Scribbled secrets and rhyming recipes-

Now at death she has no more right to these

Than the felled, pine tree that gave form to me.


I’ve been robbed of pigeon carry

Scooped from the top three-

I’ll be damned if I’ll surrender

Her pensive, scripts, ribbon wrapped in the bottom!


Tug and pull faithful to her final fancies-

The heat waves of mischief flowing o’er me.

Swell my final bastion’s walls-

I’ll wait out this designee’s impulsivity!


How I’ll miss the gentle tug of her-

The considerate closing of the parts of me,

And the reflective sweep of that small hand

Upon veneers wed to her devoted bow-front.


Creative Commons License*The photo [ Emily Dickinson's Bowfront ] is the property of
The President and Fellows of Harvard College






The Poetry of Ted Hughes

To order A Bouquet of Poetry in which some of my poems are published:

American Poetry Review

The Author's Den


Maryland Institute College of Art : BFA, '69', MFA '78'

Poetry Foundation

An RSS Feed to the Daily Poems of Poetry 180

Love Like Life Is Complicated

The sidestepping had started 
On both are parts 
Before the marriage.
It continued
On both are parts after.
Love like life is complicated.

Oh, we loved one another 
Of that I’m sure, but we were both
Adult children of alcoholics-
That clouds fidelity which
Undermines intimacy.
Love like life is complicated.

I wasn’t straight but then
We both slip slid somewhere along the scale.
We both meant for it to work and 
The baby trumped all considerations.
Nevertheless the stress took its toll and 
Love like life is complicated.

I’d just started teaching.
She quit her job when the baby came.
I was teaching all day and working at night.
We fought. I drank a lake of cheap Chianti.
That day, I doubt she thought I’d go. I went.
Love like life is complicated.

I had nowhere to go so I decided 
To go somewhere. I came out!
When you were down and out plus queer 
In those days you’d hit rock bottom.
Some said split but this Queer Daddy don’t split-.
Love like life is complicated.
                                      E. D. Ridgell, 2017


Sunny Fields Of Closure

Sometimes I feel like emigrating to
One of these Amish farms that surround us
Here in Lancaster County-
Cry "Sanctuary! I cry sanctuary!" 

This fast paced, technologically, robotic game
Of hopscotch overwhelms me.
I'm on the last course, my memory whipped desert years.
I want my topping without preservatives.

I don't want to stand on the side 
Of acres of sunning sunflowers and take pictures of them.
I want to be within the field my hand in yours,
Feeling the wind and the sun on our yellowing hides.

"Thee I love,
More, than the meadows so green and still"
Let us make these closing years our sanctuary years
Sown in sunny fields of flowers all our own.


Eventide Musings On Edie

I was in Ashley
When John John went careening into the sea.
I remember thinking what an ending it would be
To another Maysles documentary. 

Edie and I share one thing in common.
We're both bloody bad tap dancers, though Edie's
Just some ghost dancing in my mind's eye, now, 
Even as I hang up my worn shoes for want of oxygen.

This will be my sixty eighth Christmas,
Go’n down, and this ain't the Globe Theatre 
Nor Grey Gardens for that matter. 
Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats, but I'm tired, Edie.
I know, I'm prone to pity parties.
These are a part of me,
As necessary as the fresh air piped into me.
I may crave pity, but I never parked it on a barstool.

A life well lived
Warrants some risk taking plus, of course,
The illusion of winning at the risks taken.
Edie finally got to tap dance. It was something dreadful.

Luck or pluck, I look back
And I'm satisfied, I did not waist my life.
She came close to waisting hers, but to my mind,
In the end, Edie broke free, and skipped the light fandango!

Pui The Last Emperor Of China

The Demise of the Mandarin


See my little wing quiver so

As I lie here atop the snow!

Water is surely free I think.

I only wanted a tiny drink.


Something is broke within I know.

I cannot lift and rise to go.

So happy was I on the brink,

Eager ‘fore the dawn’s pink-


Very frighten, left alone,

Lamenting others who have flown-

Fled they so high into a sky

Never more into will I fly.


What so rudely broke my perfect wing

So swift and sudden came its sting

Dropping me from an upward lift

Leaving regal feathers rudely rift?


Something struck me swift and cruel

Sharp tipped from beside a northern pool,

Amidst the warnings of little swallows

Urging me to flap and follow.


And where’s gone fidelity

In the face of so little pity,

Here now in a shadow of Showa

Falling fast with a final “Q





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A Sonnet-

Stings for the Kinsmen 

The whimbly, wambly kinsfolk little knew
The letters, faint yet folded with caring
And tossed into a trash bin, an act to rue, 
Yet were treasured writs of love most daring.
Sometimes a tolling bell is too hasty a siren,
Sounding need for rash and hasty action,
As locks go changing and time does upend
Leaving doubtful future expectation.
The reasons cliquey-tricky they soon see,
Speed a griever’s misgivings aplenty;
And into the lock of grief goes a key
As anger turns unlocking no bounty.
Like to poisoned kisses sent on the wings
Swiftly does a quill leave kinsmen many stings.


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My universe was created with a loud commercial bang-

Advertising, rich elements and resources spiraling out to serve you.

These are very profitable if you’ve a stomach for commodity puts.

Everything living feeds off of something living, dwindling crops,

More manna from heaven for me. Eat up this holiday season.

I’ve options on the grocers. The geese are plentiful and reasonably Priced. Everything dies to be sucked into a black hole.

Yes, there are fees for these as well. Everybody serves somebody.

How do you do? My name is Scrooge and I am that somebody!


This insignificant orb dies, quickly.

Only greed can save it…that’s me. Goodie, goodie!

Your backs are to the wall. Worry, then worry some more.

I’m directly between you and ruin, manipulating markets

Until I send you happily skating and sliding for a fall.

Make it profitable and I’ll dip into my many marketed money funds.

I’ll clean up the coal for you at a variable rate. Nothing is fixed.

I’ll gas you up, naturally, when I’ve had my spoils

From the rich fields of tar sand oil you guzzle daily-

Choking until due to the holiday, you come up short, then

Self-righteously call on me that greedy, greedy, seedy, Mr. Scrooge!


Stop griping. Everybody’s got a job or a dole check-some have two!

“The treadmill and the poor law are in full vigor…”

I’ll have my mortgage or the rent or you’ll feel my boot.

Children don’t want to go caroling in the cold

Singing archaic songs. They’re whining for the latest iPod

Or the Nintendo WII. They text you with their lists. You know,

Like everyone else, they’re busy. So is grandma

And she ain’t baking cookies or pies, not anymore.

Get with the program! What would you have, a real tree?

Put the cookies and the milk under a facsimile. Bah, humbug!

“I don’t make merry myself at Christmas”...

A small spoonful of gruel will do. “Keep Christmas in your own way,

And let me keep it in mine.”

What’s that you’re babbling, now? Someone needs a new crutch

Tinier than most. We’ve a hot titanium model, adjustable, fresh

Off our Chinese line, one of several imports. Let me show it to you.

Merry Christmas to You and Yours and a Profitable New Year!

                                                                                     Scrooge, LLC!





I’m back! Ho, Ho, Ho!

I’ll wait for the glee to abate,

A feigned jubilance

No doubt!


Scrooge and Marley

Have had a banner year!

We are temped to give a bonus

To the dwindling staff…Na!

Little parachutes are so passé,

And what’s more

What’s the dole for, we ask you?


And what would Marley,

God rest his soul,

Say to such excess?

We’re about ‘Big’ at

Scrooge and Marley-

Our parachutes are

Imbedded in contractual law-

We saw to that!


This thing called Christmas,

Religion aside, needed reforming.

We’ve seen to these-

Less presents, less treats, less food for all-

We’ll soon have laws governing weight.

Fat is a no-no for the common good.

That’s us or should I say, that’s me

Now that Marley, is more or less outa the picture

And off the payroll…He, He, He!


What is good for me, well!

That will have to be good for all,

And I’m moving fast to make it law.

My name is Ebenezer Scrooge, by the way

And I need no translation, thank you.

I’ve gone global!


Wars, the exception, things could be worse,

I mean, peace is never profitable,

Not for the likes of me!

Don’t forget to but Tiny Thing, whatever,

A battle game, and do put it under the twig for me,

But hurry. Your credit is ‘bout maxed!

I’ll be wanting those cards back!


I’ve scissors in my hands.

It’s all part of my plans.

We must plan for the holiday early. Oh!

And how about a little dolly that explodes

For that little girl in your heart-

We’ve Miss High Explosive!

It’s a Christmas hit, and she can be yours

After the holidays at half the price,

At are subsidiary, Wal-Mart World!

By bad luck, we’re closed Christmas Day…

“A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket

Every twenty fifth of December!”

Have no worries. We’re working on these

Union based conspiracies with their

Outmoded traditions! Bother!


Humbug! You must say goodbye to excess,

While I and the one percent have ours.

We deny the government coffers

Paying near to nothing, of course.

I can see the pink slips in the breeze

Tumbling down streets that once

Bespoke those tiny businesses.

Bah! Should not government own little

And control less? We’ve our needs!

We take more and more.

You get less and less,

And we’ll never have enough,

Never! Never!


Once we’ve ruined you,

We’ll slowly build you back up.

It’s and old game of supply and demand!

Ho, Ho, Ho! Onward Prancer,

I smell it, another profitable venture!

We’ll make money polluting it all,

And then we’ll make more cleaning it up.

Convince them it’s their ideas we’re wheeling.

It’s the old shell game and we love it!


James, take me to the airport.

I’ve a private jet waiting to whisk me to Dubai.

It seems that oil has dropped. I won’t have this!

Merry Christmas, everyone, and fear not.

I’ll be back soon enough. Oh,

And God bless Tiny Thingy!

                                            Yours in Christ,




Full Circle


Old now,

I wish that I could tell you

The world is a happier place.


I wish 

That my grandchildren

Could have a greener earth.


The weather

Walks on stilts

O’er sodden ground, down drowning in apathy.


The rich

Stare down on Wall Street protesters,

Down drowning martinis with just a twist of lemon peel.


Cameras are everywhere

And somehow, nowhere.

A sore festers to begat two.


It’s have’s or have not’s

Down drowning time ticking

To an ominous hourglass.


Cull me, Sweet Jesu!

As surely as the full moon salutes the night,

“I follow on the water”.



Shooting in Orlando

Soul mate will have lost soul mate
In this horrific act that begs an explanation 
We are at a loss to give.
We can only reach deep inside
To that place from which art arises
To lend a hand and give sustenance within our pain.

Here then a poem of mine- a small tribute to
That soul mate that reaches out to that other soul mate
Who suddenly is absent the outstretched hand of love-
"All are punished!" says so, the Duke of Verona...

      The Demise of the Mandarin
      See my little wing quiver so
      As I lie here atop the snow!
      Water is surely free I think.
      I only wanted a tiny drink.
      Something is broke within I know.
      I can not lift and rise to go.
      So happy was I on the brink
      Eager at a dawn’s early pink;
      Very frightened, left alone,
      Lamenting others who have flown-
      Fled they so high into a sky
      Never more into will I fly.
      What rudely broke my perfect wing
      So swift and sudden came the sting,
      Dropping me from an upward lift
      Leaving regal feathers rudely rift?
      Something struck me swift and cruel,
      Sharp tipped from side a northern pool,
      Amidst the warnings of little swallows
      Urging me to flap and follow.
      And where’s gone fidelity
      In the face of so little pity,
      Here now in a shadow of Showa,
      Falling fast with a final, “Q

By Sacred Rite

My father, one of a selfless generation,
Who by his decorative fight 
Had earned the right to 
Pick one or two choice crabs 
from out their pots, 
In full view of their moored yachts
Nestled to their private piers-
He was the closest thing to 
American pedigreed nobility,
In that inlet community.

Deep tentacles of
Firm roots in 
Sandy, southern soil,
A distinguished veteran,
A recent Lodge inductee,
Bespoke in equal measure, 
That he had every rite to ply 
That inlet in his simple boat 
As any of them
In their sleek yachts!

Planted today at the summit
Of St, Mary's City, MD.
His simple marker still 
Is testament to all 
That moors a Republic
To sacred values as stated
In simple script on yellowing
Parchment, a nation's sacred writ;
Our American Constitution!

Sweet Jesus, No!

Oh Lordy, Lordy, Lordy,
It took me awhile to see-
What so disturbed me
At the sight- the very idea of this!...

How can we punish the
Offense by repeating that offense?
What reasoning is this?
How does this fit into Your Creed?

I am an old man. Surely I
Can stomach this? I've seen far worse
Than a Blown Vein, for Christ's sake!
That's just it though, isn't it?

That table, Sweet Jesus, No!
Is it not in the shape of Your cross?
 See More

Point Lookout!

I wanna go back
To summers in "the land of pleasant living",
On Point Lookout, where the Potomac
Was one block to the left, and the Chesapeake ...

Only a short block to the right-
Where I was surrounded by colliding bodies
Of Collies and German Shepherds,
And a bathing suit would suffice
For the entire day. In the nights,
The ghost of a Confederate prisoner of war
Would haunt those same beaches
That were once his prison,
A point where the calm, smooth Potomac
Collided with a rough, wave-riven Bay.

Fresh seafood was the only kind,
And all kinds of cakes and pies lay inviting
On Grammy's kitchen table. I'd scoop
Out snapping turtles with a fishing net
From out the muddy ditch, side the house,
And leave 'em up on the lawn
Much to everyone's disapproval.
Grammy'd tell me not to pick her roses
As she handed me a pair of scissors,
And scissors or not, the thorns would
Blood my busy, little fingers.

Everyday seemed hot, bright and sunny,
And the real life problems of grown ups,
We're missing, entirely. All of life was good
And romantic. The sights and smells were
All home grown, and the earth held nothing
That could not be weathered or mastered.
There was pride in your name
And a church window named to uphold it.
Yes, all was right and good when I
Was a mere, little boy on Point Lookout,
In Maryland, "the land of pleasant living!"
 See More


But surely he jokes or chokes on the word!
Lo, Me can not feign to float too lightly above as though
Me sailed with no anchor? No, Me knows, or at least 
Admits fear, even so near to harbor.

Sooner or later the limes are all gone, 
The water is rancid, and the monkey eaten! 
And, sure enough, just look at that dark
Patch on the horizon. It was always bespoken.

The lucky end up ghosts
Along the shoreline. Others sink down deep
Into the sea. The gods will not be placated
For daring to venture too far.

Oh, it was so, so, satisfying,
So soon after Me balls dropped, but now, they 
Threaten to rise up again. Me will be a pretty tenor at Me wake,
Mark Me squeals! Old age is on Me Back 
And Me be bending down. Me castle is under siege,
And the moat is strewn with inner tubes of the cutest rubber duckies!
Send help. Me thinks they've slipped acid into Me wine. 
It borders on punch and all will soon be lost to total disinterestedness!


Courbet's The Wave

Courbet and Those Roe Deer

Maupassant dubbed you
Fat, dirty, and greasy,
Awestruck, jealous at 
Your drunken wave.

Green grottos, deep,
Centered to black holes,
Sapho sisters’ 
Wish fulfillments, 
Captured me;
Held me there,
Light  headed. 

Perceiving you were
Complete in your own skin,
Bail bonded my return;
Dead mentored to
Canvas again
Crude hanging rows.

I stared at those mineral oily,
Roe deer,
Yet primordial.

You slashed, and left undisguised, 
Rabbit  skin- glued ground. At times,
You bristled at any hair;
Your knife was left
Not wiped.

Forbearing and unglazed,
Hind limply down,
Strung as on the spit, 
You persevered. I understood,
There was so little time.
                ©2007 by E.D. Ridgell
The above poem is very significant for me. I had occasion to see an exhibit of Courbet's and noticed how crudely some deer were rendered in some of his paintings. Upon research I found that Courbet came late to the vocation of painting and consequently had no formal training. I have come to the art of writing late, not until the age of fifty.
I was formally trained as a visual artist and for some thirty years the vocabulary I brought to any work of art was that of the elements and principles of design as used to describe painting or sculpture- the fine arts. That does not matter, however, as these are universal to all forms of art. The words are often different, however. The term meter and movement, for example would mean the same thing. Alliteration is simply a kind of pattern. I'll never have time to learn the extensive vocabulary that is unique to poetry and writing alone, but like Courbet I will use the time remaining to me to try and do so, while concentrating principally on the making of good written works without any real formal training in literature or writing. To some degree, I think this may very well work in my favor as I have less restrictions and presumed expectations to live up to. Art is universal and can be reduced to simple and easily understood principles and elements of design, but change in art often comes from thinking outside the box and by sheer accident resulting, in my opinion from the artist embracing the untried- the habit of taking risks. EDR.

Hear Me,
But do not heed me-
That is more merit than is wise.
I would you lend an ear
But spare the cells close by.
I am in search of the soul of the self.
This is but a path I plod
To sort the sounds that simmer within.
Hear me,
Muse upon mathematics of my mind,
At times like some paramecium’s scum
Where I swim backwards, to and fro,
In many synchronous schemes.
Hear me,
As I strum my chords and stroke my words
In a futility to reveal,
Free and open,
That mumsimuss of brainwash
I can only seek to unravel.
Hear me,
As I sing into shrinking time
That is but overtime-
I suppose.
Hear me in your mind’s eye,
The modulations you mediate,
Misled by my coarse, rough punctuation
Of so little regard.
Hear me,
Expecting nothing in me.
I do not sing for your praise-
Another highwayman held, I hope,  
In this silkily triggered, small, trap of voice.




Intercede for me.

Flutter your mighty wings

To scatter these Nano-Things

That would steal my breath away.


Michael, I am only here

At your intercession,

Time and time again

You have been my protection.


Doc, hearken to

Your archangel.

I cannot ride the bull again.

I am so tired, Doc.


Around and around

We go.

Where we land

I do not know.


Oh for the gift

Of fresh air,

To prance and ride again-

To stay the full eight!


Oh, Michael.

I am frightened.

Let me pull a wing up

To sleep this night.


To sleep, to sleep,

Into the good night

Under the catalpa trees

In the full moonlight.



I Hate It When They Fly!

Was it me who advised them to soar,
Carrying my heart so high into the skies
I could choke with fear?

Surely, Lord you will not 
Mark twain these tired shoulders.
I haven't his penmanship-
Only a journeyman's cowardice 
To any such weighty writ!

No comet's tail can I grab,
When Michael whispers in this old ear,
The highwayman is here-
Just a cold hand to shake,
And take me just
A little ways away till they
Lay me gently down, there,
On that field a little ways away.

But who if not them, Michael?
Who, I ask as I pull 
His wing over me 
In this restless night.
                       © 2014 by E.D. Ridgell




At matins-

His nocturnal vigils,

The clouds in his mind would part

Until last lamentations

Would signal the closing in again

Of his red sea of doubts.


The long troubles between Stephan and Maud

Ending on the flowing red fields of Lincoln

Had not fostered these worry beads.

The loneliness capped even those troubled times.


The damp had come into his joints.

He was no longer favored for being young.

He began to settle into a soured residue,

Bottled in boredom and corked in cups of repetition.

The way that had seemed so clear and lit

Now was shadowed in overgrown vines.


With each ensuing year, another fear came forward,

Fears common to uncommon men-

Simple but strict doctrine, rote prayer, an insistent acceptance-

Every attempt to surrender had failed to foil

Sobering arguments that belied the norm.

The retreat within was under siege,

And like the king and resistant queen,

He would have to pit reason against faith

Before the inevitable feast of worms.


                Under The Catalpa Trees


Shadows under the catalpa trees

Encircling the square

Play in lightly, speckled shapes

Caressing the dust of bits and pieces

Coarsely crushed by footfalls of foreigners:

Millers on the Palace Green strewn with your Ashes.

Whorled leaves shroud these littered remains,

Remnants to raise memories

Too distant to distill, too recent to dispel.


Speaking overmuch of it and spied still thinking Of it,

Neither of us guessing the irony of it,

Moves her to gently chide me as if to change Feelings

That are too closely moored to memory. Feigning to forget

Would only be to forsake where they lay me Down, round you,

In that spot of space such a little wait away.


Tread gently then upon the heart

And suffer these small unguarded slips

Of a mask donned only for the sake of others.

I will ride upon the carousel

Supporting grandchildren on carved horses,

Moving up and down, round and round

“Til in my turn, on a last turn, I step down

To lie in dusty pieces that abound the ground

Under the catalpa trees

In faire Colonial Williamsburg.

Full name:
Email address:


pubescent Pole.
Depart, dribbling, leaking,
cholera on Lubeck gossip.

soddenly Doge.
Recede, stinking sinking,
prostitute of Paris pillage.

© 2006

"I Am The Light"

The bright lit days are over,
And now I live in shadier times-
Circling round and closer to
A big black hole.

I've always known the hole
Was there, waiting to enclose me.
There was a time I feared it.
Now I know better.

In and down this big, black hole,
I know the light I seek awaits me.
Eternal peace-
A 'light' like no other.
E.D. Ridgell, 2013

Point Lookout!

I wanna go back 
To summers in "the land of pleasant living",
On Point Lookout, where the Potomac 
Was one block to the left, and the Chesapeake 
Only a short block to the right-
Where I was surrounded by colliding bodies
Of Collies and German Shepherds,
And a bathing suit would suffice
For the entire day. In the nights,
The ghost of a Confederate prisoner of war
Would haunt those same beaches 
That were once his prison,
A point where the calm, smooth Potomac 
Collided with a rough, wave-riven Bay.

Fresh seafood was the only kind,
And all kinds of cakes and pies lay inviting
On Grammy's kitchen table. I'd scoop
Out snapping turtles with a fishing net
From out the muddy ditch, side the house,
And leave 'em up on the lawn
Much to everyone's disapproval.
Grammy'd tell me not to pick her roses
As she handed me a pair of scissors,
And scissors or not, the thorns would 
Blood my busy, little fingers.   

Everyday seemed hot, bright and sunny,
And the real life problems of grown ups,
We're missing, entirely. All of life was good
And romantic. The sights and smells were
All home grown, and the earth held nothing
That could not be weathered or mastered.
There was pride in your name 
And a church window named to uphold it.
Yes, all was right and good when I
Was a mere, little boy on Point Lookout,
In Maryland, "the land of pleasant living!"
                               c. E.D. Ridgell, 2014



It’s interesting-

You nestled your


Safely securing them

So that no one might surmise the truth.


Secrets are two-edged-

Some stay secrets

To wither in the shadows of silence

While others separate

To sprout shore footed and indiscreet.

We are as sick as our secrets!


She unburdened her secret on a sky-ride

High o’er head an amusement park-

Filicide in the cold environs of Canada

When she was a child, watching her parents smother

The baby they could not feed. She suddenly let fly

This secret and I stooped to catch it.

My job is to search out and cull

Secrets into songs, stories and such

For better or not!

                                                    E. D. Ridgell




I listed for sale the last pair

Grateful they were all up.

I saw the irony from the first listing,

And realized that it was to be another

Walk through the grief.


Each pair would evoke memories

And each helped to piece together,

The riddle that had been in step

With your own whimbly whombly life

And secrets carried far too long.

I felt empathy for that overwhelming

Need to feel that security that life just

Won’t buckle up for any of us!


I did not take that last call,

And the kind message choked to rest.

I did not pick up as a last act

On my part for your part

To assure the water bore no ripples

As you crossed o’er it one last time.


I have few steps of my own now,

And I trust I’m high heeled for it,

For no one can or should judge another

But that mystery of a cobbler

Some of us presume to call God.



Missin’ Billy Jim!


They lifted the little box,

And it seemed to weigh them down

Out of all portion to the weight

They must have born.


It seemed strange to me seein’

That it should take four cuzins

To haul such a little thing

No bigger than our toy chest.


No one seemed happy

Or wantin’ to play,

And I didn’t understand

The nessessaries of lines then.


Mama held my hand right tight,

And I thought I’d dun somethin wrong,

Plus Billy Jim still wasn’t back

From wherever they said he’d gone.


That thar parlor was usually off base

‘Cept on Sunday after the grownups

Had finished in the big, brown, shingled place

Singin’ and wigglin’ all o’er the place..


This was a long time ago,

And I’m already in the first grade,

Linin’ up every morn at the bell

Missin’ Billy Jim!



Thou Who Changeth Not


Lend me Thy strength

Let not life’s demons

Harry me to sway.


Guide me into righteousness

For Thy sake.

Thou who chandgeth not

Lead me to the cross.


Lord lay me gently down.

Thou who changeth not

Lead me to Your heart.

Wake me above the waves.


Bring me to Thy well,

Fylle me to the rim

And buttress my faith in

Thou who changeth not.



In Conclusion


The way I see it

You’ve got maybe a decade left,

Give or take a year-


Best make the best of it.

You’re in fair health,

And you’re not broke.


Corny does it,

One day at a time.

Live everyday like it’s your last.


Talk to God,

Even if you’re not sure He’s listening.

Whisper and He’ll be there.


Climb on the back

Of your archangel’s wings.

Don’t get grounded. Fly.


Set an example for the kids.

They’re watching. Oh yes, they are-



When the time comes,

Fall into the hands of God.

Let go. Die.

Taxing Matters

"Are the taxes done?"
These were the last words
Of my grandfather.

He and my grandmother died
Ten days apart, over fifty years ago, now!
I muse as I finish these taxes, a tedious ritual of living.

My grandmother suffered horribly.
He kept up the family tradition
And died suddenly of a stroke.

The mammies so used to working miracles
On the white enamel stoves of Grammy's nursing home kitchen
Suddenly were stuffing smoked hams with kale, a Maryland tradition.

We were filling up holes as fast as they could dig them behind
St. Mathews Catholic Church. Grammy had already buried ten children
In unmarked graves, heartbreaks suffered in her salad years.

I'm up there in age, now, although others insist I'm not.
I used to say to Russell, "I won't make thirty!"
Now, I can't find Russell no matter how much I google.

We were gay in those bleak, early years,
The Advent years of Aids, when if you were gay 
You lived in fear and learned to live one day at a time.

I don't fear death anymore, only the pain 
That too often heralds it in,
Running roughshod over the body.

I'm being cremated, the ashes and crumbs to be
Scattered in a field under the catalpa trees
Of our beloved Colonial Williamsburg.

Tom waits there for me, my husband of some twenty three years, 
Not in law but in the heart, where it matters.
Marriages are made in the heart. I know. Mine lay broken at the loss.             


         Clara, Oh Clara, Oh


Clara with your weighted down wagons

Filled with whitish necessities

Venturing out and into

Those killing fields-

To nurture our lads,

In their red stains grays and blues

Showering your pretty prayers o’er them.


She wraps and wraps and wraps

Fresh wounds clotting!


Clara, Oh Clara, for Jesus’s sake, Clara,

Can’t you see how you wound the day,

Worming as you do, a possible adieu

Out lips of recently, shaven chins,

Or short, budding beards-

Chins, if left at all, wobbling in pain,

Chins clipped and cleft of further words-

Boys bantering words of war and glory,

‘Fore these snapping taps taping one by one,

Snapping, snapping, tapping them down,

Bleeding them down, dead!


Clara, Oh Clara, Oh

What furloughs did you mark here,

Better the battles had not ensued,

For your virtue laid down there

War torn, tears in years to come-

Nursing, nursing, nursing,

Clara, Oh Clara, Oh!

                             c. E.D. Ridgell, 2015





Last words, spoken
Between us, pre-dream,
I will recall post-dream 
when I grieve, with
This closure, I
Want and need.

I, the hero child, rescue you,
The lost child, as in our salad years,
Before our cub,
Now desperate to shield her 
Three little bears,
From rapids rushing over waterfalls.

I cradle you in my arms;
You, in a full-length, white gown,
With elbow-long, Jackie O gloves;
As innocent as when
I courted you so long ago,
With roses, frog legs, and Piaf songs.

And when I rescue you
From the sleek, squeaky Blackamoor,
With his slit-eyed, bitch in toe 
through this deep-sleep, I awake, 
Fresh from my psyche's underworld
To parse and piece meaning.

I want you out of pain.
I'd sacrifice for you to stay;
Spoil the kids, enjoy some twilight years.
As for the center of both our lives, I am the lion 
To you're lioness, but, surely you know this!


Pie Jesu Domine,


Jesu, but I'm sick,

Wheezing and Gasping

To breathe with this millstone

On my hacking back.


It is of so little weight,

Let me lay it aside,

And like the Centurion's pais

be grateful to be alive-

Not just in this temporal place,

But in the scheme of

Thy mystery for which I am Your

Confused but faithful supplicant.


In spirit I am euphoric,

And thank you for the many blessings

You bestow on me and mine.

"I am not worthy that you

Should come under my roof",

But I do reason by that deed and grace.

Done in your preaching pilgrimage,

Like one of those many of your making.

I am found worthy to enter

Into The Celetial Presence.


St. Sebastian, pray for me,

Even as you forever bleed from

Their piercing arrows,

Forgiving all who

"Know not what they do".

                                 © 2010 by E.D. Ridgell 



There will always be an England-

…from the newsletter of the Jane Austen Society:


“Sir, - There have been three occasions recently when human ashes have been left in the garden of Jane Austen’s House Museum.  They have been left without permission and in secret.

While we understand the many admirers of Jane Austen would love to have their ashes here, it is something we do not allow. It is distressing for visitors to see these mounds of human ash and particularly so for our gardener. Also, it is of no benefit to the garden!

We would be grateful if you could notify members- that if they know anyone who might be thinking of doing this, it is not permissible. Any ashes that are found will be disposed of”



One Last Thing If You Please


“By and by they fetched the niggers in and had prayers”,

And when those that came; family, friends, fagots,

Romans had Finished what meager rites they figured on me, that was done and

I thanked them here in this writ of mine-


Then my loved ones

You must conspire one last time,

If you please for me, for us, for what is fitting.


These are my ashes; fresh ashes mixed with bone,

That I charge you scatter, quickly, on the run,

Before the ash police conspire to stop you.

One run up the field of The Palace Green

And the other down-

Broadcast me far and wide. Have some fun with me.

Be merry, for merry I’ll be to rest finally

Among the Catalpa pods.


God bless you and keep you,

And remember,

What is mortal remains,

Even as I am with you,

Circumjacent, hovering around you,

A whisper on the wind, the breeze on you cheek-

The memory come and gone,

Waiting, waiting, but awhile.

The Actual Tapestry

Please Visit my Antique Store on Ruby Lane


The Dungaree Doll


Under a dark pall

On a silken road

South an ancient wall


Robes of yellow

Caress worn red tiles

Aligned just so.


Below her whitened face

For a final opera

Under the majestic moon


As dragons fight

Amid celestial clouds

‘Round the imperial kite-


The queued men kowtow

‘Side bound lotus feet

All foreheads ground low.


Borne into a hall

For Manchu rites,

Dictates of ancestral law-


Force a perfect pearl

Out the lock-jawed mouth,

Spoils for an Earl.


They seal closed the tomb,

Litter Pu Yi away,

Barren of her womb


Sullied grandfathers in shame

Of the dungaree doll.

Unseeded brothers cannot blame


A slit-eyed whore,

Docent on the square,

Giving foreigners a tour


With plans to woo

A single son

She’s met on Bidu.


Olive fatigued comrades sleep

Heavily donned with red stars

As ancestors weep!



The Antique Tapestry


You are a mystery of intricacy.

My jewelry loop peruses you.

You fascinate me.


St. George slaying the dragon,

Out an Amish home-

Is this idolatry?


Twelve colors on interwoven wool

Into a body of black thread.

I’m in awe of the weaving.


The dyes are natural,

The wool homespun-

You are lovely!


Her boys with their sandy locks

Dressed unashamedly in faded pants

With darned holes say nothing.


It strikes me there is no adult male

To do the dickering.

Is there some mystery?


She looks miffed but does not turn away.

I remember her hospitality and

I do not press her on the price.


She directs her boys to do the boxing

As her pencil struggles with its mission.

I must not loiter as I am an English to her.


I have you now,

And muse again at your mystery-

I have rescued you from her.


She watches me negotiate the bumpy drive,

Unaware of the added layer of history

Both of us have just added to the tapestry.



I Am The Eagle,

The stark predator

Back-dropped by the dazzling sunlight,

I measure and reckon upon details;

The direction and velocity of winds.

My talons clutch in a firm grip

And my beak, razor edged, rips and tears.

The aerie lies near the lake

In the shadow of the high mountain.

Unlike the hawk roosting in the valley nearby,

Deep within it’s screeching woodland, 

Many take no heed of me

Aware of nothing soaring so faraway,

Meandering in a distance too foreign 

For them to see or fear, but

Coming into that geography,

The boundary and parameter of my sharp sight,

I only need to pounce in a lightning catch and

Sweep them up into some convenient perch.

Unlike them, trapped in a scheme

Not of their making, no carrion do I seek.

No trap awaits me.

They are sighted movement caught by my eye,

A tribute to be taken, ripped and torn,

Pieced just so, for ripe and particular appetites.

The first course is mine and measured to my need.

The second, are gleanings of the harvested carcass,

The smaller, savory pieces, I deliver to 

Frenzied, nestling eaglets hungry for my return.

I am forever soaring above,

Seeking an unguarded opportunity,

When they chance a safety that does not exist.

This is my eternal rank. This is their lower link.

They feed me and mine according to that covenant,

Governing all things, including me, the eagle.


Watersheds of the Chesapioc

With leathered hide and liver spots,
like a bay bobcat,
I melt into these surroundings.

Comfortable and well heeled as you were,
some half a century ago, 
I watched you shoplift for the sport of it.

You nick’d the immigrant’s crab pots,
well within the eye of his spy glass, both content
in friendship and your discretion’s count.

All those flat, sandy, fields of bounty-
you were due a small measure of,
by right of lineage, a small sober tally.

How many a capsizing did you dupe
with your disciplined dog paddle?
How many folk did you grieve down-drowned?

These lands derived from our clans-
We harvested both soil and water ‘fore settling
into soggy graves more unmarked than not.

Slowly stewed in brine and blood,
your setting son, takes his turn at the wheel,
well seasoned for his watch, and
steers these careworn, waked waters;
navigates his generation’s storms-
in watersheds of a once, shellfish full Chesapioc.

                                 © 2009 by E.D. Ridgell
Creative Commons License

Dedicated to Lynn, her Grandmother and Lynn's Favorite Poem

The Cookie Monster

So there we are, all but one, sitting in the dining room,
when, all of a sudden, I notice a chair walking by the door,
an opening onto the hallway leading into the kitchen.
It isn’t hard to figure out who the propeller is. I listen and,
before long, I hear the sound of the freezer door opening.

She comes in and makes her way around the room, bag wide open,
asking each if they wouldn’t like a chocolate chip cookie.
Daddy, whose cookies they were is last. It is yet another
fait accompli in a well planned sortie.

Her mission almost accomplished, she addresses the room
announcing that perhaps she will have just one cookie too.
Daddy hesitates and Mommy is struck dumb.
Mission accomplished! There is but one thing left to do.
Capture this two armed little bandit, chocolate chip in each hand,
and bundle it in a huge hug. Pop Pop has caught
the Cookie Monster.
                                                 © 2008 by E.D. Ridgell


An Oriole Dying


That patch-quill nest

Of fading hopes

Silent the late

Signaling fluttering-

I sensed the pact broken and

Flew fast into a feigned freedom

Leaving the old windbag dead,

Wasting already.


Where flies an oriole.

When on her last wing?

What song does she sing,

When the jail-cell gate,

That oddball's plughole,

Stiffens open?


Fleeing fleetly up and out,

In search of any sweet song

I'd wished to sing, but no!

It was not to be. There was none of that

Treachy-cheeping, cooing come out of me!

My old, back-bent poet and I were both fools

To think that our best could ever be pretty scores.


The sounds come forth from both of us

Were not soft, saccharin flight to any ear,

But hard notes written to even a score,

Screeches in search of serious meaning.


It was to that purpose they served the

Music of both our souls all the better,

And gave this world songs in poems

That sought to be more true and real

‘fore any thought of rhymes to

Life's divers and sundry,

Cherished matters; Sunset, Sunrise,

One more bloody love sonnet!


See my little wing quiver so

As I lie here atop the snow!

Water is surely free I think.

I only wanted a tiny drink.


Something is broke within I know.

I cannot lift and rise to go.

So happy was I on the brink

Eager at the dawn's early pink;


Very frightened, all alone,

Lamenting others who have flown-

Fled they so high into a sky

Never more into will I fly;

The gentle-meaning poet dead,

And I, flown home,

An oriole dying.

© 2011 by E.D. Ridgell


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