An award-winning and featured poet recently published in Vita Brevis' best-selling poetry anthology Brought to Sight & Swept Away, since 2020 Doug’ poetry has found homes in 33 literary publications across the U.S., Canada, England, Wales, Austria, Mauritius, Australia and The Caribbean. Doug resides in Chevy Chase, Maryland with his wife and 12-year old identical twin sons Alex and Gregory, enjoying nature, different cultures, traveling, biking, tennis and chess.
“Two Horses and a Bridge”
Two black horses, regal and unbowed, pulled his caisson solemnly across a bridge forever stained by the blood of peaceful marchers led by a rising star in the Civil Rights movement affectionately nicknamed the “boy from Troy” by his dear friend and mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A humble man and ordained Baptist minister steeped in Scripture and the exemplary life of Mahatma Gandhi, John Lewis preached and exemplified non-violence and redemptive suffering at great personal sacrifice. The price included a skull fractured and never fully healed, a body beaten unconscious and left in its own pool of blood, and wounds and scars of every stripe inflicted in dozens of hate-filled beatings as he led freedom riders and chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee riding buses and marching in the Deep South for a righteous cause.
Staring death in its face on more than one occasion, he stood tall -- ready to make the ultimate sacrifice, if required, in a compelling struggle to create a more just and holy nation, one true to its founding principles of liberty, equality and justice.
On March 5, 1965, the nation felt righteous indignation as they witnessed the anguish and suffering of John Lewis and his fellow marchers, brutally beaten but morally unbowed, just as two majestic horses bore the casket of a man too humble to rename the bridge in his honor.
On this day of remembrance, rose petals lay scattered across the bridge, vivid reminders of the drops of blood shed that Bloody Sunday in the searing face of racism and senseless hate in a futile attempt to thwart the historic march of Doctor King and his followers from Selma to the steps of Alabama’s capitol as Doctor King, John Lewis and their fellow marchers blazed the trail of voting freedom marching 54 blood-stained miles. John Lewis’ words about the many bridges we still have to cross echoed in my mind with the footsteps of each mounted horse as they pulled the beloved Civil Rights icon across the notorious Edmund Pettus Bridge, trailed by his family and chief of staff and watched in adulation by a nation marching with him in spirit and in truth, together, one bridge closer to the Promised Land.
“Haiku Realization of the Day
Armed with bass fishing lures guaranteed to work or be re-shipped from China and visions of largemouth bass swimming in our heads, my 11-year old identical twin sons and I headed for Little Seneca Lake. We were brimming with confidence that we would land the big one: the Lock Ness Monster-sized bass with perhaps a pickerel to boot, rivaling the size of the mighty Arkansas River catfish we had watched Jeremy Wade noodle bare-handed on River Monsters. Hours later, we emerged with a small arsenal of bucketed fish that we released back into the Lake and memories of other sundry captures enhanced by a fish tale of the giant bass that, fortunate for itself, had managed to bite its way through Gregory’s fishing line to freedom, thus narrowing escaping an otherwise certain pan-fried death.
This mighty arsenal consisted of a tiny Green Perch hand-caught by my other son, Alex, while hiding safely, or so it thought, beneath a late summer leaf, a three inch iridescent Green Sunfish and four-inch black speckled Crappie, each caught with a fishing net hovering beneath a chicken-baited line.
Not to be outdone, my personal exploits notching my hunting and fishing belt that day consisted of a hand-caught and released Yellow Swallowtail that, much to its chagrin, had been caught entranced in a mating dance with its would-be lover along a creek and a near-sighted Morning Glory net-caught along the lakeshore while refueling for its fluttering travels. Haiku highlights of the day included: approaching within forty feet of a preening Belted Kingfisher restoring its royal feathers and blue crown to regal glory, truly the crowning achievement of the day;
witnessing a Great Blue Heron displaced by a paddle boat squawking and croaking in protest as it flew to the opposite lakeshore;
observing pairs of swallows playfully criss-cross, weaving paths hot in pursuit of doomed and frenzied mosquitoes along the sun-drenched lake;
noting wood ducks blissfully paddle their way more slowly than the reeling of my fishing line, and even a tad bit more leisurely than the people-powered paddle boats along the lake;
watching keen-eared painted turtles prematurely slide off logs into the water as I meandered over thirty feet away along trails in a secluded marshy area fed by the trickling waters of a modest tributary creek;
inspecting a beaver-hewed birch tree stump partially chewed through and surrounded by myriad pieces of wood clippings marked with souvenirs of beaver teeth fit for ornamental display; viewing a twenty-odd V-formation of honking Canadian Geese noisily hydroplane onto the placid surface of an otherwise serene lake; and
last but not least, beholding a bright green grasshopper steadily plodding along the pebbles of a rocky embankment near the dock house, only to realize that it was being propelled forward, not by its own energies, but by a tiny ant hoisting its lifeless body along an arduous path all the way to a mound of dirt housing its awaiting colony. And so, we left that Lake, likely teeming with giant bass that had lived to roam free and wild another day, but bearing a most valuable realization. This true haiku moment was our appreciation that Mother Nature has a remarkable sense of humor which, if properly appreciated and nourished with humility, brings wonder and enchantment, transforming ordinary moments into extraordinary experiences.
FIRST PUBLISHED IN LITERARY YARD
“Tears of Supernova Eyes”
Supernova eyes forged from billions of star years beautify my sky radiating elements blinking tears of cosmic death