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 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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            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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I am puzzled by the passage of time. If yesterday begat today, I then live in the  yesterday of tomorrow. If today becomes tomorrow, begat from tomorrow’s yesterday, then tomorrow’s yesterday is today.  Did you get that?

Does the earth revolve right to left or left to right? Is the fact it revolves what keeps it from falling out of the universe? How is it possible for a machine to turn over a sheet of paper for two-sided copying or are there little green gremlins inside of copy machines that turn the paper over? No matter how you explain it, my confusion persists.

“Why is it” questions attack me like hungry mosquitoes. I will never understand why there are Braille buttons on bank drive-up teller machines or why round pizza is delivered in a square box or why someone gest paid for designing toilet paper. It’s easy enough to explain why I sometimes still count on my fingers but I’m at a loss to understand square roots or the theory of relativity.

Is there some good reason why a three year old, with one twist of his wrist, can open a bottle of Jack Daniels in thirty seconds flat and I have to use scissors and tweezers to get an aspirin out of a bottle? What idiot decided to put teeny-tiny pull-off tabs on the back of hearing aid batteries no arthritic person can remove?

A few other questions I can’t answer. Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?  Why can’t a woman apply mascara with her mouth closed? How can there be self-help groups?  Isn’t it just plain stupid for doctors call what they do ‘practice?’  When the sky is thick with clouds how does the rain get through? Why does it take twelve letters to spell abbreviation? And how – please tell me how – we’ve reached a point where see you is cu and thank you is ty and I love you is ilu and on and on – or should I say o&o, ono?

Is it any wonder I’m confused?

I believe in the goodness of mankind. That explains why I don’t understand those who are racists,  mean-spirited, road hogs, jealous, and those who measure their worth in dollars or toys. It doesn’t explain idiocy.

I’ve no hope of solving these conundrums. Why should I care?








No solution

More confusion

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Julie Rose


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With a good amount of perseverance I’m sure I could find umpteen definitions of, and quotes about, what it means to be human.  Though others far brighter than I may have written intelligent and thoughtful reams on the subject, I’m not going to go in search of them. I’m satisfied with my own definition.



If you say you belong to the human race,

are neither a beast of the field

nor creature of sea or sky,

I have a few questions for you.


Do you weep on encountering suffering?

Can you cling to hope in the face of despair?

When the snow falls do you feed the birds?

Would you kick your dog, step on a spider?

Do you offer your arm to the blind, avoid the infirm?

Would you invite a hobo to your table,

Give him warm socks and a coat to wear?


Do you know the difference between light and darkness,

Honor and shame, attention and neglect?

Between a playground and a jail, between a hug and a punch?

Can you ignore skin – black, white or yellow?


When did you last plant a flower, thrill to the music of Bach,

Read a great book, utter a heartfelt prayer,

Enjoy a walk in the woods, a swim in the sea,

Stand in awe at the base of a mountain?

Applaud a child’s curiosity?


Have you won the respect of others, the affection of children?

Did you bring a smile to someone’s face today?

Have you an inner spark you keep hidden

That if let loose might comfort another?

Do you believe in the goodness of man?


Which are you:

One who enters a room and says “Here I am”

Or one who enters and says “Ah, there you are?”


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Julie Rose



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I’m not a historian I support women’s rights but I don’t march with activists I’ll contribute to  an organization I deem important but I won’t make phone calls and solicit money for it. I’m not smart enough to own a patent on anything, discover a cure for cancer or a new star. I have no special talent for entertaining people.

I  envy  those who have been brave enough, smart enough, to have left their footprints in the sands of time for the betterment of mankind..  Scratch that. I’m not envious of those women or women prettier than I, richer than I.  I am insanely jealous of these women.

Hytpatia: scholar, mathematician, philosopher, teacher of Plato.

Abolitionist Sojourner Truth, who challenged discrimination.

Fugitive Harriet Tubman, founder of the Underground Railroad.

Marie Curie who enabled us to reached the moon

Founder of the nursing profession, Florence Nightingale,

Jane and her chimps, champion  of wildlife preservation,

Jane Addams, her Hull House a foundation of the social work profession.

Margaret Sanger, pioneer advocate for birth control.

Field hand Rosa Parks brought national attention to the civil rights cause.

Abigail Adams who badgered John  to allow to women to vote.

Henrietta Szold, founder of a nursing school and health care clinics.

Those who gave me faith a woman could lead:

Queen Elizabeth I, Golda Meir,  Indira Ghandi.

Mother Teresa, caregiver of the downtrodden.

Eleanor who toiled for causes just..

Coretta – fighter of battles for justice won.

Women who bring joy to all:

Pearl Bailey,LenaHorne, Maria Tallchief

Hepburn of stage and Buck of book

Renaldi and Ella who make hearts sing

Bright stars of fiction to name only two

Novelist, journalist, Isabel Allende

Singer, actress, poet Maya Angelou

Those woman scored their triumphs alone. Unaided they ventured forth. No crutches or jumper cables for them. Thousands of others over the centuries who represent the best of womankind – nay, the best of mankind. People who not only believed in equality and justice and learning  and pleasing others but stood tall, undaunted, and acted to encourage those goals

A blessing on their heads.

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Julie Rose





          This verse is dedicated to all writers, whether of fiction or poetry, who struggle mightily to find the right words every time they sit down to write.   The right words don’t come swooping down, unbidden, and land just where a writer wants them on a page.  They play hide-and-seek; they elude the writer; they challenge him.  Only the best of writers can find them 100% of the time.

          Sometimes the writer depends on Webster or Roget to help him out. Sometime he searches for what others have had to say about his subject. Sometimes he tries half a dozen words before deciding which to use. And sometimes he crushes the paper into a ball, throws it into a wastebasket and goes for a walk or pours himself  healthy dose of Jack Daniels.   

          Despite their elusiveness writers happily face the challenge of ferreting the right words out of their corners. It’s a game writers must play. They’ve been roped in – there’s no choice, no escape.


In vain do I search for honeyed words;

Melodious, thoughtful, and warm.

Metaphors, similes, hidden from me.

If I try to write of hate and desertion

Rancor, and two-timing souls

I’ve nothing with which to compare.

Nor can I convey the feelings evoked

When writing of friendship and love.

Elusive the words that picture their spirit,

Fleeting, skybound, hidden in clouds.

Wispy are they to capture in prose or verse,

To write of a loved one, a worthy friend,

 a lesson learned, a truth uncovered.

A challenge to my leaky pen.

Yet can I write of trees and tulips,

Describe gardens in bloom,

Sand castles and sailboats.

Where are the words that evoke

smiles, delight, understanding

When I try to paint pictures of anger or peace?

I search long, dig deep, for words

That  do not betray my intent.

With envy, regret, I face the truth

No Shakespeare, Steinbeck,

Michener, Allende

Nor Plato  am I.


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Julie Rose


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