Saturday, January 28, 2023

Corporal Karamazov Flies Home from the War - poem


Lawrence Hall


Corporal Karamazov Flies Home from the War


“Which war?”


Your war – there’s always a war.”


Every young reader sees Alyosha in himself

A sensitive mystic, misunderstood by most

Questing for an answer to a question unasked

Politely shown the door by Father Zosima


As Old Karamazov? Impossible

53 is an age of antiquity

As Dimitri, Ivan, and Smerdyakov?

They are unable to sort out themselves


Lost in thought in a contract airline seat:


A 22-year-old just two days off the line

A patriarchal colonialist ideologue

Friday, January 27, 2023

Memphian Lamentation

 Lawrence Hall


Memphian Lamentation


Let us not point to the blood in the street

As if the murder were somebody else’s fault

As if the narrative belonged on a screen

As if we can be healed with a channel change


Let us instead look within our fatal selves

With every resentment validating the Fall of Man

With every snub murdering Abel again

With every lie sentencing Christ to death


Let us not point to the blood in the street:

We are all Pontius Pilate, washing our hands

A Student Does Not Repose in a Passive State of Being - poem


Lawrence Hall


A Student Does Not Repose in a Passive State of Being


A student is not in a passive state of being

But is rather a soul-probing projectile

Penetrating the wisdom of centuries

And coming out on the other side


Still curious, but a meteor now

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Time is a Falling Leaf (Battery not Included) - poem


Lawrence Hall


Time is a Falling Leaf (Battery not Included)


A child and a puppy playing on the lawn

Tumbling through soft grass in the bliss of June

We joy in their celebration of life

Everything is new

                                      Except that it isn’t


An old man and a dog dozing in a chair

Dreaming of their youth in the bliss of June

We joy in their celebration of life

Everything is old

                                      Except that it isn’t


Time is a falling leaf

                                      Except that it isn’t

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Waiting in a Medical Office Parking Lot on a Stormy Day - short poem


Lawrence Hall


Waiting in a Medical Office Parking Lot on a Stormy Day


Green street signs vibrate in the shifting winds

Oh, gosh, lady, hang on to that little child!

“If this van is rockin’ don’t come a-knockin’”

Okay, but a shiny new Subaru?

Monday, January 23, 2023

Happy Nonsense Rhymes for V.B.

Lawrence Hall


Happy Nonsense Rhymes for V.B.


From an exchange of rhymes on


A tuppence for your hopes and dreams

A florin for flowers for your hair

A sixpence for some seven sunbeams

A half-crown for a comfy fireside chair

Irresponsible Men with Firearms - weekly column 1.22.2023


Lawrence Hall, HSG


And for What?


In the midst of a world of light and love, of song and feast and dance, he [Satan] could find nothing more interesting to think of than his own prestige.


-C. S. Lewis, A Preface to Paradise Lost, p. 96


Many cultures follow the lunar calendar rather than the solar, which is interesting and enlightening. In Viet-Nam the lunar new year is called Tet Nguyen Dan, which means the first day of the new year. Tet is not only the new lunar year for Vietnamese, it is also the first day of spring and everyone’s birthday (Tet Holiday: The Age-Old Tradition Explained | Vietcetera). Good fun for everyone as another strengthening strand in our national tapestry.


Not all who observe the lunar year do so in exactly the same way, but it is always an occasion for merriment and gratitude.


Unfortunately, there are those who resent parties and feasts and dances and cookouts and families and friends simply sitting outside on a summer night talking or playing dominos while the rug-rats chase lightnin’ bugs across the lawn. Each happy custom or tradition, a “ceremony of innocence,” as Yeats would say, arouses in some unhappy souls resentment instead of joy.


Last weekend a man unhappy with his life chose to take a pistol and destroy the lives and hopes of innocent people who were dancing the old year out and the new year in. To paraphrase Lewis, on an evening of light, love, song, feast, and dance which he could have joined this man focused only on his own self-pity.


We can’t really know what was in his mind, but we know the man got angry – okay, let’s make that down-home plain – a man got mad. He left home with a gun to take his mad out on people. We need to learn the lesson - that can never end well for anyone. He killed and hurt innocent folks just because he was mad at…  Mad at what? And then he ended his own life slumped over the steering wheel of a van in a parking lot.


That’s no way to live.


That’s no way to die.



Friday, January 20, 2023

A Field Guide to Fields - poem


Lawrence Hall


A Field Guide to Fields


Watermelons, sunflowers, field corn, sweet corn

Sweet potatoes, green peas, butterbeans, squash

Cabbages, purplehulls, lettuces in rows

And across the fence, red clover in glorious clouds


But the most glorious field is in midsummer hay

Green-dancing beneath the benevolent sun

Crosstracked by beagles, terrapins, foxes, and rabbits

And little boys off to the fishing hole


Those little paths across farm fields, you know

Lead to happy memories of the long-ago

Thursday, January 19, 2023

An Amazon Driver with Skull Earrings - poem


Lawrence Hall


An Amazon Driver with Skull Earrings


No, of course he’s not an Amazon; he’s a man

Navigating a big ol’ delivery truck through life

Ferrying to addresses this side of the Styx

Brown pasteboard boxes and white plastic envelopes


I wanted to ask him about his goal in life

But he was in a hurry to turn around

And continue his rowing, so I thanked him

And he thanked me, and I don’t know his dream


A man with skull earrings and muscled arms -

I hope he’s steering toward a happier shore