The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.



Gone is youth

Bearing confusion, illusion, indecision.

Doors open.

Fate whispers grab the moment.

No longer must I seek to find

The who, the why, the what of me.

I need not behave as others expect.

Freedom is mine.


Aging has me firmly in hand

When I no longer want to throw a snowball.

I’ve learned a mind lift beats a face lift,

It’s okay to shuffle slower if still have a full deck,

And the gray of my hair is no indication

Of  the age of my heart or my mind.


Wrinkles don’t hurt.

Whatever advice I offer is more thoughtful

Than what I might have said at 20 or 40

The first 40 years gave me the text:

The next 30 furnished the commentary.


I  still want to throw snowballs;

Catch fireflies;

Kick piles of autumn leaves;

Build sand castles.

I’ve given up climbing a tree.


How about you? Post a comment.

Julie Rose


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I have a sister who lives by the maxim “JUST DO IT.”  In that respect she is far wiser than I.  I belong to the majority who play the someday game.  More than 50 years ago I began to read Anna Karenina.  Have I finished it?  I have not. Someday I will. Baloney: More likely I’ll never finish it so why do I keep telling myself someday  I’ll finish it? There are only losers in the someday game so why  would anyone want to play it? I think the next time I’m introduced to someone I’ll ask him if he plays the someday game. If he admits to doing so, Farewell Charlie.



We all play it; no rules necessary.

Someday I’ll go on a cruise,

Someday I’ll lose ten pounds,

Someday I’ll learn to golf,

Someday I’ll read War and Peace.


There may never be funds for that cruise

But dropping a few pounds,

Learning anything new,

Reading a book costs not a cent.

Why someday?


I have a busy as a bee friend

She flits hither and yon,

Travels a road that leads no where.

Keeps telling me she’ll meet me for lunch,

Waits for the day to come,

When she’s not so busy doing nothing.


Some people live by the someday theory

Never accomplish a thing.

Others, wiser than they,

Prefer the do it now approach

Knowing someday may never come.


Tomorrow I’ll bake some bread;

Tomorrow I’ll call Barbara or Susan or Kate;

Tomorrow I’ll go to that tai chi class;

Tomorrow I’ll go to the library;

Tomorrow I’ll tell my kids I love them.


Whoops – there I go again

Forgetting there may not be

A tomorrow or a someday.


Sad, tragic,





Do you play the Someday Game?

Julie Rose


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AT THE CLEARING                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

            In the process of packing to move I discovered a folder containing about twenty short pieces I wrote several years ago for a creative writing class I took at the U. of Chicago.  Among them was a description of The Clearing, an adult retreat center for those who want to spend some time working in a creative area be it writing, woodworking or spinning yarn.  Driving home from a week I spent there, I had written something about that idyllic place and there it was, in the forgotten folder. See my post, “A Memorable Time.”  Here it is.  I wish you such an experience.


It was a week of t-shirt days and sweat suit nights

Watching the Artist scarlet the maples.

It was logs and stone and pine needles and glistening red berries;

Morning sunshine filtered through pine trees

And white birch trees that marched forth

From a black forest ‘neath the moon’s spotlight.


The bay, a smooth blanket of sapphire,

A lone sailboat drifted by.

Rolling green hills, blackberry bushes,

White clouds webbing the sky;

Bright new condos along the shore

Like sea gulls facing the wind;

Weathered log cabins hiding deep in the woods.


Red barns, blue silos, white lighthouses,

purple asters, pink mums, goldenrod,

Hummingbirds and screeching crows;

A rocky cliff, a sawdust path, a white-tailed doe.


A time to share the joy of a woodcarver

Caressing his first sandpiper into being;

To hear a poet bring her soul to light.

A time for such stillness only birds bickered in the trees

And the sea lapped gently at the shore.

It was new faces, new voices and oatmeal with raisins;

A small room and thick wooly blankets and loons on the water.


It was mood-setting Chopin on the way,

And Charlie Parker on the way home,

And me in the middle

Stretching, sinking, swallowing.

It was all of that and more.

Don’t ask me what I did there.

I was.


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Julie Rose


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            I recently asked my 14 year old grandson if he knew what a Haiku was.  He smiled and said:

          Haikus are easy

Sometime they don’t make sense.


           The Japanese are masters at this form of verse. Perhaps its structure appeals to their high regard for simplicity. I’m not a student of Haikus and know nothing about its origin or development but one day, disgusted with a novel I was working on, I decided to try to write one.  My first effort failed – so did the second.  It’s no easy trick to have an idea and express it in something like eight to twelve words, maintaining the required 5-7-5 syllabification.  It was such fun that I kept going until I finally had a few that, even if they won’t win any prizes, at least conform to the required structure. It’s especially challenging to write one where the last line is unexpected – rather like the punch line of a joke or hippotomus.

Chocolate chip pie

Whipped cream tempts and teases

Here is your fork eat.


Silver and candles

The table entices me

Dine converse relax.


The search for knowledge

Confusing, terrifying

A snake in the grass.


His voice a whisper

His gentle hands waterfalls

He smells of roses.


I open a book

Words of wisdom tumble out

Manna for my brain.


The world clothed in white

I hide from snow and cold wind

Hibernation mine.


Words whisper and flow

Arms tenderly enfold me

Treasures remembered.


I splash in the waves

Surf caresses and tickles

Fish, water lilies.


Lights flicker inside

Darkness tiptoes through windows

Peace serenity.


A road by a stream

Cool water ripples on rocks

Ducks, turtles and swans


A garden I seek

Smelling of lilacs in bloom

Buds on rose bushes


Challenge: write a Haiku.

Julie Rose


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As a young girl I saw others bow down to Elvis; applaud the Lone Ranger, pretend to be Superman and idolize Julie Andrews.  As they grew older,  the Lone Ranger lost to Paul Newman and Hepburn replaced Andrews.  I worshipped Esther Williams whose grace in the water I tried to emulate. June Allyson took second place: I thought I looked like her.  Never would I have bowed down to Elvis.


Maturity changes things. We leave behind the heroes of our youth and admire others who have touched us in some way or who have made a significant impact on the world. We learn of others who excel at something close to our hearts.  I discovered Hypatia, curator of the Library at Alexandria, teacher of Plato, mathematician, philosopher and astronomer: a woman who exemplifies women’s rights and equality.  I admire women who have succeeded in the political arena and women who write with velvet pens. But above all, there are three who are my heroes.




My heroes are my three children.

They exemplify the best of humanity,

The best of parents,

Devoted to family and friends,

Committed to the welfare of others.


Six open hands;

Three mouths that speak kindness and consideration;

Six legs walking in paths of righteousness;

Three voices praising the world’s beauty.

Role models all.


They wear smiles on their faces,

Are unselfish and generous,

Know how to listen,

Slow to condemn,

Averse to anger and vanity,

Disdainful of sloth.

Tolerant of the views of others.


Fighters – they never say “I quit.”

Builders – encouraging the best in everyone.

Humanitarians – giving to those in need.

Students – ready to open their minds;

Teachers – sharing their goodness and knowledge.

Parents – raising responsible, angelic children.


They win gold stars

And blue ribbons

From Mom.


Who are your heroes? Post a comment.

Julie Rose


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Why did I spend some 40 years rising early each Saturday morning to attend Sabbath services? Why are some Catholics committed to participating in a daily mass? Why do devout Muslims make a hajj?  And why do some people fail to participate in such activities?  I don’t go to praise the Creator. I don’t go to beg forgiveness for my sins.  I don’t go to plead for something.  I go to give my children roots. I go to revel in a spirit of community – of oneness with others.


It isn’t the oneness of Hashem * I treasure.

It’s the oneness of we.

You say there can be no oneness of we.

Yes there can.


When I see hundreds, nay thousands, of Jews

Marching on behalf ofIsrael, civil rights,

Blacks, the downtrodden,

I am at one with them:

They are as one with all.


It matters not whether I enter

A shul, a yeshiva, a synagogue,

Or a congregation by any other name.

Inside the doors oneness is felt,

Seeps through my pores.


I have failed to learn the lyrics to Hatikvah

Yet when hearing it sung in a crowd

I tremble with pride.

I stumble when reading Hebrew;

Warmth flows when I hear it.


It pervades my soul.

It is my road to the Baal Shem Tov;**

Josephus, Hillel and Maimonides;

A streetleading to Wiesel and Ozick and Bernstein.

My path up a rocky hill toMasada;

My sword during a crusade;

My portal to Treblinka;

A pass to fly with the IDF;

An invitation to dig in the Sinai;


And an admission ticket to a Passover Seder,

Any place, any time.


* Hashem – one of many Hebrew words for God. Others are Adonai, Jehovah, Shekhinah, Elohim.

**  Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, literally master of the good name, 18th century founder of the Chassidic movement.

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Julie Rose


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            How often have you said “Trust me” to someone?  You may be an authority on baseball stats or chili or gardening but when someone questions a comment you’ve made you respond by saying “Trust me.” You’re not happy if the questioner doubts you.

           Maybe you don’t say “Trust me.” You believe your friend understands you know what you’re talking about. Or maybe you really don’t know and are trying to bluff  him.

            Maybe it’s the other guy who says “Trust me.” You find yourself in a quandary.  Can he be trusted? Should I believe him? What if he’s wrong?

          It takes a good amount of self-confidence to ignore those who doubt what you say – to be sure of yourself – to trust in another.

            I well remember planning birthday parties for my children.  The most successful was a “Bigger and Better” party.  Each child was given something small and cheap – a toothbrush, a nickel, a rubber band – told to go throughout the neighborhood, trading his nickel for something bigger and better and continue to trade upward.  One child returned with a rabbit and said the woman who gave it to him made him promise not to return the rabbit. Never would I have hired a magician.

          There were times long ago when man had little trust in himself  and believed the gods and fate controlled his life. Most of us have come a long way since then but some of us continue to believe in the fairy tale worlds of the untrustful.


In times long past, the world replete

With magic, deceit, illusion, false hope,

Some sought riches in jewels, in love.

In vain did they trust purveyors of such.

Hopes dashed, they did it again.

Called on Merlin, trusted their muses,

Bowed before wizards,

Prayed the gods would deliver

Their hearts’  desires.


Long was it before they realized

Magicians aren’t mailmen delivering checks;

Wizards don’t arrive

With gift packages in hand.

Charlatans cannot be trusted

To hand them a winning lottery ticket.


Only they might seek and find

The gold ring, the rainbow,

The blue ribbon, the shining star

Not given by those slight of hand.


Alone man pursues his hopes and dreams

Leaves aside witches and goblins,

For others with no trust in self.


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Julie Rose



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We learn to speak when very young: rattle off mama and bye-bye with no trouble at all; mispronounce spaghetti until we’re five and continue to increase our vocabulary. What to do with all those words? It’s not a problem for those who have diarrhea of the mouth: the folks you ignore – turn deaf ears to. Others hope you’ll listen to what they say. You will if it relates to the issue at hand: you won’t if it’s about tulips and you were talking about dogs.  Some do converse about the issue at hand – endlessly. You grow weary and quickly tune out.

I like to think of a conversation as a sonata, a symphony. Each instrument must play its parts:  none can be a tuba and overpower the rest. Real conversation is circular, not angular. It’s listening not just waiting to speak; a dialogue, not a monologue. A chat is an exercise of the tongue

An old adage says “choose your words carefully. The rabbis cautioned “let your words be few,” similar to “the less said the better.” Yet another is “a closed mouth catches no flies” How to subscribe to that advice without being terse thereby ending a conversation before it’s begun. How do we use words in ways than appeal to the listener; use them so they don’t fall on deaf ears; use them to encourage the exchange of ideas; sometimes to bring forth a laugh: to converse – not just chat.

In an attempt to meet people who had something to say worth listening to I once sampled a few chat rooms.  What I found was conversation about the weather and inane comments flowing back and forth like misplaced tennis balls.  I concluded those rooms are the last refuge of the unimaginative and the lonely. Somewhere off in cyberspace there must be conversation rooms as opposed to chat rooms but I’ve yet to find one.


I’m lost in a desert of words.

Insipid words, lame words,

Meaningless words, colorless words;

Words that taste like  dishwater soup,

Three-day old Wonder Bread.


Aloha calls for a wave of the hand,

A wiggle of the hip.

Bon jour – a good day to you

‘Have a good day’ lacks the same zip.


Julie Andrews calls out to me with  auf wiedersehen;

Her seven little charges with adieu.

The Italians greet me with ciao,

Bid me farewell with arrivederci;

Words that put me in Tuscany,

A heap of pasta on my plate.

What does “so long” mean?


Shalom and salaam wish me peace.

I’m transported to a wall or a mosque,

I can sing to the melody of Adios,

Hop  on a horse and toss a lasso.

Hello and goodbye take me nowhere.


I want to live in a wavy sea, not a swamp.

Where words are more than warm breath

That escapes from mouths,

Disappears as the fog lifts

And carry no meaning.


May you have no frost on your cabbage.

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,

And may the most you wish for be the least you get.

Have a  soft day.



I give up:

Throw up my hands, stamp my feet.

People around me either say nothing,

Dwell on the weather, or curse the maid.

I’m lost in a sea of meaningless words.

Where are those who understand

A monologue is not a dialogue,

Hearing is not listening?


I’ll write letters instead,                                                                                                     

Address those willing to share the stage;

Those who delight me challenge me;

Teach me, add spice to my day.


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Julie Rose


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Those who are a part of our lives touch us.  In one way or another they affect who we are or what we think or how we behave. If I am a sandy shoreline and you are a wave, when you come crashing onto my territory you affect my grains of sand. I may offer you a bowl of beef stew and if you tell me it’s too salty, I’ll change the recipe the next time I make it. We are all like rocks dropped into a pool of water creating ripples. Sometimes those ripples are calm and peaceful and sometimes they become turbulent eddies.


They fought, they yelled,

They betrayed each other.

No poster parents were they.

But they gave me roots, wings.


A quiet man was he,

His voice he never raised.

He taught me the value of silence,

The joy of catching a fish.


His wife, equally quiet,

Her hands never rested.

From her I learned how to 

Offer and receive love freely.


She was old – she looked like a witch.

She cracked a whip and rapped knuckles.

But she instilled in me a love of books,

Respect for words everlasting.


A man I know, incurably ill,

Bled my bank account, disliked my kids,

Taught me to laugh again.

Turned me into a gardener.

Another, far brainier than I,

Introduced me to Shakespeare,

Fed my brain the manna it craved.

A toast to them all.


My mother threw me in the lake when I was two.

A swimmer, sailor resulted.

My children got the same treatment;

Water babies all.


An English teacher’s love of words

Has never left this writer-reader.

How many others have her ripples touched?

The early learning seminars conducted by a friend

Influenced scores of parents who may pass on his lessons

To their children and their children to their children.


Even toddlers send forth ripples.

You’ve only to march to their drums of excitement,

Walk with them through wonderland.

They’ll broaden your face with a smile

You pass along to the next person you see.


We know where our blue eyes come from.

Who are those who give us a love of music, respect for diversity,

Open our eyes to the wonders of nature,

Encourage our imaginations.


The waves caused by ripples can be stormy and gray.

The man who uses his fists may breed bullies.

Those who turn up their noses at Blacks

Send an intolerance message to others:

A message that builds walls of hate.


I’d like to think the ripples cast upon my shores

Are like sand dollars.

I pick then up, keep those I like,

Toss the rest back into the sea

And the ripples continue to flow.


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Julie Rose


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            “I hate you! the little boy screamed at his mother.  He doesn’t hate his mommy – he hates what she just told him to do, or not to do. We grow up thinking hate is evil but if it’s what – not who – hatred ‘s not always evil., I believe in the futility of negative feelings. I don’t carry grudges, am not jealous, avoid contention.  But there are some things I do hate, abhor, detest; things I want to run away from, ignore. I don’t nurture feelings of hate but neither can I ignore them.


Sloppy grammar leaves me cold:

Words misspelled, participles dangling

Prose, redundant and trite,

Punctuation missing.


I’m disdainful of paper napkins,

Plastic forks, salt and pepper shakers

In the shape of elephants or coke bottles..

I cringe at carelessly prepared food

That looks like yesterday’s oatmeal.

Overdone steak, dishwater soup, bland beans.


I hate snow and boots and gloves,

Loud noise and confusion,

Slimy oysters, pickles and mustard,

Animals in cages, plants thirsting for water.


Violence is not for me:

Arguments, contention are anathema.

Nasty humor is not part of my game.

Sloppiness makes me cringe.


I avoid people who listen but do not hear;

Those with diarrhea of mouth.

Racists and egotists are not my friends.

Intolerant souls are “Z” in my alphabet.


I hate that I am impatient,

Less than well educated,

Am not bi-lingual;

That I cannot afford to take a cruise.

Winter in Florida,

Drive a new convertible.


I’ve learned hatred’s sometimes cathartic,

A dose of cod liver oil, a shot in the arm;

The kick in the pants I may need

To move forward, discover what I love,

Appreciate what is.


What do you hate?  Post a comment

Julie Rose


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