This Poet's Corner


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Page 14

This Poet's Corner


Faith should comfort and 
Sooth your passage 
No matter the 
Direction and length of it.

Whether or not 
There is a God is irrelevant.
Whether or not you need one is not.
I need one.

Practice your faith in whispers
Just loud enough to bounce 
Off the canyon walls 
Echoing deep into the valley.

Even though I walk through 
The valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil, 
For You are with me.
               E. D. Ridgell, 2019

I Won’t Grow Up!

The muse on 
Tinker bell wings
Thrash’s about
In search of 
eternal youth.

The living 
All have something 
To say
Needing saying
Before the end.

With inevitable 
Her hands are as 
Deliberate and chiseled
As I could ever hope or wish.

Each work stands denuded 
Of all pretense,
An honest bundle
To dissemble
Each to his own.
                   E. D. Ridgell 2019

H L 


Menchen is planted in Louden Cemetery

And memories of a monkey trial

Are whispers in the winds-

The whirling wit of Henry Louis.


Alexa can give dates.

Particulars can be gleaned

From a small room on the third floor of

Baltimore Enoch Pratt Free Library.


Scrapbook on scrapbook of

Carefully constructed and choreographed 

Clips and snippets come together 

In a history of literary leaves.


Opposite on Cathedral is the Baltimore Basilica

Not to be confused with Mary Our Queen

At Charles Street and Amberly  Way

Bordering Roland Park.


It all bespeaks a city of literary lore where

On Holland Street the sage of Baltimore 

Unraveled the complexities of English

And how it should or shouldn’t be spoken.

                                       E. D. Ridgell, 2019


In That Image You Deemed Best

Most of the continent is fucked up.
In Uganda they’d like to kill me,
In the name of Jesus, of course.
It wasn’t like this until the 
Coming of American church groups
Preaching their truths, their 
Interpretations of the Bible,
The absolute truth as they deem it.

Lord I am not worthy that
I should come under thy roof, 
But I haven’t any doubt that
You will soon enfold me. Jesu,
You don’t make mistakes, and
God, You surely made me
In that image You deemed best.
                      E. D. Ridgell, 2019

The Wall Was Built

At least that’s what 
They called it-
A patchwork of concrete,
Steel, wicked wire,
Fancy fencing, and so on.
The hundred thousand
Beds eventually were sorted.
Nobody dared call it a prison
Except those that were in it.

The wall was built 
Boosted with detectors,
Alarms, bells and whistles.
The agents were tripled, 
Armed, tasered up, and
Issued smart uniforms.
The dogs were joined by
Robotic devices that were 
Said to be cost effective.

The wall was built
And it worked at first.
Everybody on the other side
Dealt with developing difficulties.
The recession eventually ended.
Opposing sides declared victory.
Administrations changed, finally.
They always do along with the 
Aging politicians.

The wall was built.
Mexico thrived as did many
Central American states
On the other side, and
Everybody knew which 
Side was which. Walls-
Well, walls are like that.
Your damned if you do
And your damned if you don’t.
                             E. D. Ridgell, 2019

And Only Them!

Don’t expect the resident narcissist 
To concede anything
Or ever, ever, apologize.
They don’t do that.

But never, never accommodate.

“To compromise  
Is not to get what you want”
Said the emperor narcissist 
On the cusp of demise.

It’s all about them
And how you can
Boost them up-
It’s about them and only them!
                                    E. D. Ridgell, 2019


The Emperor’s Wall 

The Emperor has clothes
Which he augments with a long red tie.
He wears a crown
Dubiously light in the wind.

The Emperor’s princelings 
Are good shots 
Though they hide their trophies-
One hides his wits as well.

Her Majesty is beautiful
But not regal and
She guards his youngest

The Emperor’s foreign relations 
Are a mystery in an enigma.
The kingdom thou prosperous for some
Teeters for others.

His Majesty sees barbarians 
At the border
Though his soldiers armed to the teeth
Sorely outnumber these.

The Emperor decrees 
“We shall have a great wall”,
But most citizens disagree and 
Slaves, well there outside the wall.
                                    E. D. Ridgell 2019
                                      Written in the reign of 
                                          Donald Daffy Thump 1

Thunder And Lightning

The eagle flew into the millennium
As if to soar higher and higher
Not fearing the crescent moon
Let alone the magic of the bear’s paw..

The bull raged even as the winters  grew tame.
The lakes bulged as the ice inched closer
Even as the shamans warned.
Not all the eaglets heeded.

In the moonlight above the forests.
The tribes dissected golden calves.
And the gutted entrails were read.
The auguries could not agree.

The winds changed West to East
As it had been foretold
In prior decades and
The Eagles could or would not.

The symbol took flak 
Maneuvering as it could
Through arrow then missile
Always in thunder and lightning.
                                 E. D. Ridgell 2019

Puppy dog syndrome 

Every time I come here 
I have to go there
Thoughts on a drive

A little anger 
A lot of grief
How many years now

Its misplaced 
His grief is real
Forget and forgive

I dont know where
Either is planted 
Not that I should

I cared though
And still do its the
Puppy dog syndrome
                   E D Ridgell 2019


Piss Poor

I strolled the obits today, 
The pics and writs of strangers-
An old person’s early betrayal
Of concern at growing older.

Each photo had something to say,
Eager eyes of the departed 
Burned, planted, or donated-
The final lineup ‘Fore that long runway.

In truth in science surely
There is something that doesn’t die,
Endures and does not end, DNA?
I do not know. I do not know.

Ancestors, reincarnation,
The resurrection of the Lord.
What changes not,
The invention of God?

“What’s it all about Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?”
I don’t want to die, Alfie.
I don’t want to rot.

It makes absolutely no sense 
For a Christian to fear death,
And yet I do. Once again, Alfie,
I’m just a piss poor Catholic!
                              E. D. Ridgell 2019

Nothing Hurts

I’m hit!
Nothing hurts.
That’s bad!
Oh God
Help me!

Yes, here.
Thank you.
I can’t
No sir
Nothing hurts.

Please, no!
Oh God,
That hurt!
Not there.
Nothing hurts.

I’m going.
Yes, Sir.
A little.
Nothing hurts!
Oh God!
           E.D. Ridgell


White Anger

Bordering on rage,
Co-dependent co-habitation,
True love aches
For the father, the hero, and the lover.

In the tomb
Of the unknown
Lies a statistical possibility.
Stir in Jesus and
You have a probability.

I snuggle up
Of a night
To the decorated veteran,
The father, the hero, and the lover.
It is a story as long and as ancient as that love
That dare not speak its name.
                                                           E. D. Ridgell  2019



Did You Remember To Put The Kettle On?



The inevitable running on of time.

Stop, if but for one moment, and look around.

Do you see it? The moonstruck baboon’s ass in the fireside light-

This opportunity will not come again. Did you remember to put the kettle on?


Don’t let each precious moment escape your grasp.

You are so fleeting as to not matter to the ever expanding universe.

Is there a Jesus for each of a billion stars? There would have to be you know

To justify your faith, a Jesus hopscotching through the uncountable stars,

But why not. It is God is it not? Have faith. It’s the only way out. I’ve thought it out.


I don’t want to die. There, I’ve said it have I not?

That eternal question of what’s to become of me-

Into the unfathomable emptiness of everything. Why are you afraid

Of the void; so insecure you would solicit God. He needn’t be you know? 

Have faith. It’s the only way out. I’ve thought it all out and for this second I am safe.



The inevitable running on of time.

Stop, if but for one moment, and look around.

Do you see it? The moonstruck baboon’s ass in the fireside light-

This opportunity will not come again. Did you remember to put the kettle on?

                                                                                              E. D. Ridgell 2019







I listed the last pair for sale


Grateful they were all up.


I saw the irony from the first


And realized that it was another


Walk through the grief.




Each pair evoked memories


And each helped to piece together,


The riddle that had been in step


With your own whimbly whombly life


With secrets it’s own carried far too long.


I felt empathy for an overwhelming 


Need to feel that security that life


Won’t buckle up for any of us!




I did not take that last call,


And the taped message choked to rest.


I did not pick up the telephone 


As  a last act on my part for your part;


To assure that the water bore no ripples


As you crossed o’er it one last time.


E. D. Ridgell 2019




The Mad Hatter!

I feel it unwind,
The tick tick of the clock
Forever sifting around and around 
And down!

Time will stand still-
No cease-
Fall into a black hole,
A hole marked nevermore
That wasn’t there…

Oh yes it was and is!
You evade it, 
The inevitability of it-
A drama queen 
Up against the wall.
It is forlorn and cowardly.

You don’t want to die,
And you shun the pain of it,
So just stumble into it-
Anything to be rid of it.

Hurry, hurry,
Don’t tarry.
You’re a mad hatter
With an important date and
“You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell
You a secret, all the best people are”
So don’t be late. You’re
The mad hatter!
“All the best people are…”
                                           E. D. Ridgell


Tweetie Bird

We stand defined
By 280 characters
No more, no less!
It’s a Twitter world-
Brief and unchecked.

We think of a tweet
As the color yellow.
It could black. It could
Be blue. It might be both.
It could be black and blue!
                 E. D. Ridgell 2019

Marlboro Country

Sauntering an idle jaunt
With no particular endpoint
He’d walk the country roads 
The whole day long.
Everyone knew him.
Everyone pitied him, 
Born with palsy,
He walked and walked and walked
With the loveliest disposition
In the county.

I don’t recall his name but 
He is one of those childhood memories 
I catalogue now in my final time.
Standing up in the studebaker 
Absent any seatbelt, I gazed out
On a road that hosted a land 
Unblemished to me. All the pine woods, and 
Rich green fields of tobacco were 
Reassuring from the window of that chariot.
I was a right little dynast in my perfect kingdom.
                                               E. D. Ridgell 2019

A Wee Penned Prayer!

Jesu, banish my demons
And grant me rest. 
Take away all fear of death.
Banish all sorrow.

Thy will Be Done.
I am in control of nothing
And the better for it.
Ease my wrinkled brow.

Old age is heavy.
No news is good news.
All news momentary and
Subject to revision.
                  E. D. Ridgell 2019

Waiting On The Washing Gale!

All up and down the line
The sogginess intrudes.
There is no more time
‘Fore islands out of time
See the seas close o’er them-
No markers for their graves.

Sealed coffins float,
Pitiful testaments,
Bobbing buoys for the gulls,
Free wings on winds
O’er a blue bay sky
Waiting on the washing gale!

E. D. Ridgell 2019


In That Long Line

The big C again,
Dee’s mother.
It was her turn
In that long line.

I’m somewhere
Farther down 
In that long line
Waiting tepidly.

“What’ for ya
Won’t miss ya”
A Polish proverb
As true as any.

I opposed the draft
And still do.
As for this lottery
You can burn my card!
            E. D. Ridgell 2019

Forked Tongues!

Bigots line their victims like ducks in a row.

When they start shooting, it’s with words,

One word at a time, one word after another,

Tumbling into sentences and phrases,

Until the hitting starts, the poking, the jabbing-

Then out come the knives, the sharp blades

For dicing and slicing the chosen up.

I was chosen. They set me up. They poked and

Jabbed me with their foul-mouthed, rounded words,

Come down sometimes for centuries,

To dice me, and slice me up. They tried to toss us.

Some cut, fell, but not all, not this time!

We stood like a knife, slashed stonewall.

Stonewalls scratch but they do not bleed!

We feel nothing, now, the elders.

Nothing! We feel no guilt, nothing!

We stand stoic and solid as an old stonewall.

They’re standing the young ones up, again, row after row,

But some of us are here with words of warning, graffiti

To beware! Take care! They speak with forked tongues!

                                                         c. E.D. Ridgell, 2014
                                                              Revised 2019

Taxing Matters!

“Are the taxes done?”

These were the last words

Of my grandfather.

He and my grandmother died

Just ten days apart o’er sixty years ago, now.

Six  decades later, I muse as I render unto Caesar.

Grammy suffered horribly.

He kept up the family tradition

And died suddenly of a stroke.

The kitchen mammies were busy

Stuffing smoked ham with kale,

A Maryland tradition for funerals.

We were filling up holes back of St. Mathew’s

Fast as they could dig them close by the unmarked graves,

Lost babies to Grammy’s salad years.

I muse to just how many more tax forms I’ll file-

Tedious American rituals, these

Taxing matters!
                                               E. D. Ridgell
                                                  Revised 2019



Nights in the gardens of Spain
And I was falling in love with you-
The thrust of the matador
With the perfect ass.

You drifted away.
I was unsure.
One call, but
You did not persevere.

Perhaps it was best
Sexy Spaniard.
At least we had Madrid-
The Alcazar, Toledo.

The deep red wine-
Love in front of the mirror.
The blood raged
On to Paris.

You drifted away, yet still
Whenever they 
Send in the clowns
I think of you.
                     E. D. Ridgell 2019

Last Rites


Stormy Bay

Blowing hard

Drowning down

Risky takers


Little warning

Hard swallows

Shaky wheel

Rogue wave


Buoy bobbing 

Warning bell

Tipping over

Death knell


Body bloat

Shallow grave

High tide 

Peace eternal

     E. D. Ridgell 2019


Spare the Sword and Spoil the...

Silence too often screams,
And the picture is worth
A thousand words.
The ancients communicated 
On coinage struck on either side
With a likeness of the Emperor and 
On the reverse his Latin name
To tell the folk who was in and was out.

The Emperor Elagabalus was documented 
An early transvestite who when 
Wishing to be castrated was cut down
And his body dumped into the Tiber.
The Emperor Caligula was trapped 
By his own Pretorian Guard 
Who never sparred the sword!
                                       E.D. Ridgell, 2017
                                         Revised 2019

Joseph Campbell Musings!

Four thousand miles 
For o’er forty thousand years
‘Fore spewing into the Mediterranean-

O’er there were the Minoans,
A theatre of Nestor’s Pylos
On its journey to Troy!

Did Homer lie
Or was he deceived
By Mycenae?

A German dug himself 
Into a hole and a Brit spent his
Fortune on an amusement park-

Such is the allure of 
Myth and mythology-
It is a Trojan mystery!
                                 E.D. Ridgell 


Every now and then 
I gaze from out this orb
And try to fathom any of it.

It’s complicated by
Decade upon decade
Tumbling over one another

I do a lot of remembering
Recollecting happenings
Directions to and fro

Social media adds
A twist to the knife and 
News often fake heightens pain

I am seldom bored 
Often frightened wishing 
I could hit pause

I never can though
And the sand sifts through
While I stare nearsighted 
                     E. D. Ridgell 2019

I Haven’t Time To Die

Burned out
On that slippery slope that is
The lot of successful people.
There is no cure, no release
‘cept a host of possibilities-
The price too high for the cure,
Or the certainty of death.

Oscar said it:
“Death must be so beautiful. 
To lie in the soft brown earth, 
with the grasses waving above one's head, 
and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, 
and no tomorrow. 
To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.” *

I haven’t time to die. Tell the reaper to
Leave his card and call another day.
Tell my creditors I’ve run away or better yet
I’ve accepted a post in the government.
I learned ages ago the value of a lie. 
As I recall I learned it in therapy. Presently,
I haven’t the time or the money to die.
                                                 E. D. Ridgell 

*Sir Oscar Wilde




No One I Mean No One


I’ve had enough of grieving. 

I seem to have stock in it. Enough!

To grieve a lot I suppose 

Could mean you’ve lived a lot.

The truth is you get tired,

Awfully tired. 


Life is fundamentally sad.

You’re not supposed to say so

But I often do what I’m not supposed to do.

To come very far and make a success of it

Requires you to finesse luck. This takes 

More than just a little pluck.


No one, I mean no one makes it 

Entirely on their own. It is foolish to think so-

Churlish, is that a word. Wait, let me look it up.

Churlish means rude and mean spirited.

Suppose we just say unwise. It is unwise 

To think too highly of yourself; vain.


Narcissist with wings, Ariel. Ariel would fancy 

She did it on her on. It goes without saying

Narcissist needs no helping hand.

Narcissist and Ariel, now there’s a winning team.

The two of them might master anything-

Rise so high they’d live in a big, White House.

                                                          E, D. Ridgell 2019


Names Places Obits

 I used to say to Russell,
“I won’t live to be thirty.”
Now, look at the mess I’m in.
I’m damned if I do. 
I’m damned if I don’t.

I don’t know if Russell is alive or dead,
And I’m good at that sort of thing.
He’d be around seventy now.
It’s just something old people do
Google names, places, obits.

I am not depressed,
More curious than not.

A reporter quipped
Thurgood Marshal 
“Why retire now?”
Because I’m old” he answered.
“I’m an old man!”

I told Vera not to move me
To a room without an art sink.
She ignored me. I made calls
And retired on the dot.
I enjoyed that.

Through the looking glass
I heard the kids threw the art 
Kiln out of the third floor window;
A tight squeeze but possible.
Pity Vera wasn’t under it!
                              E. D. Ridgell 2019

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