Monthly Archives: February, 2019


Rockvale - car - unfiltered

I came upon the Edsel while hiking in Henry Horton State Park near Nashville, Tennessee. It was picturesque in its utter decay. Everything was absent – seats, doors, wheels, upholstery, steering wheel, mirrors, windows, and witnesses to the day it became a permanent fixture in the park.

I couldn’t help but imagine the scene: two lovers driving through the park late one night fighting over a flirtation at the bar, booze doing most of the talking, then a deer in the road, a quick turn, a rush through trees and brush, a squealing of brakes, screams as they both flew through the windshield. It would be days before the police found their bodies, determined the cause of death, and notified their families.

John Comstock, who worked in logistical issues for the police department, was responsible for organizing the car’s removal, but it wasn’t needed as evidence so, it was low priority.

 John had an emergency appendectomy the next week that resulted in complications and early retirement. The car’s removal fell to the new guy who had more pressing matters on his desk – the robbery at First Federal Bank, the suspected arson at the Johnson farm, the stolen parrots from the Adopt-a-Pet Store in Kirkland, and so forth. Over the next many months and years, the car was forgotten about completely. Anything valuable was stripped by vandals and teenagers out on a lark.

 It’s not a great story, but sometimes the ugly truth has to be told. The car is now just a monument to every bad decision ever made.


Rockvale - hallway

She Walks the Halls

How will I go to sleep tonight,
when tiny feet
from days gone by
echo down the hall,

eight children
lived inside these walls,
observers of the
bloody Civil War,

their parents couldn’t shield them
from the horrors in plain sight,
they saw the loaded guns,
they watched the flames at night,

brother against brother,
father against son,
sides were drawn,
families torn,
hearts were split in two,

not much was whole
at war’s exhausted end,

it’s rumored that a woman
is the ghost of Peacock Hill,
she roams the halls,
she looks in rooms
her spirit never still,

I may assist her search tonight
to seek the things we’ve lost,
I wonder if we’ll ever know
what endless wars
have cost.

This poem was written during my stay at Rockvale Writers’ Colony, near Franklin, Tennessee (originally called Peacock Hill). The house was built in 1853 and survived the Civil War, spared because a Northern sympathizer was the builder. Late one night, during my stay, I thought about the young parents, with eight children, who built the house a few years before the beginning of the Civil War.

Rockvale Writers’ Colony is the antithesis of all things related to war. It is a haven for writers to delve into the complexities of the human spirit.

Be Forewarned

tree - franklin park conservatory


When it’s five below,
we’re warned
it might be too cold
for our faces,
our skin
might freeze,

so many degrees
of danger set in,

yet no warning is raised
when it’s sixty degrees,

to beware
of the kiss of sunlight
brushing our faces,

the touch of a gentle wind
caressing our skin,

the symphony of bird songs
thrilling our ears,

restless hearts,
uncertain of such joy,
could use a warning
to take it slow
when it’s sixty degrees.


Photo by Rita Bourland – Children’s Garden – Franklin Park Conservatory – 2018