Ken Hartke

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I'm retired and living solo "out west" in the New Mexico desert. I've been an observer and blogger for years and usually have four or five blogs going but wrote for myself or for friends. A lot of it was travel stories or daily random postings -- but it was good experience. Red Room allowed me to share things on a wider scale and with its demise I (maybe) found a more public voice.

The Fence

Marfaq-Zaatri-374-copy

 

 

 

 

How did she get here?

She walked...walked toward the fence.

It's the one constant.

 

 


 

 

  

refugee-second

 

   

    There's always a fence.

    She came alone. Swept along

    with the refugees.


 

 

somalia-drought-refugee-dadaab-famine-water-africa-7-20110719_0

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe an orphan -

but no one knows for certain.

She stands by the fence.


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Refugee-girl_GiftWellness20131

 

   

   

 

    Waiting. She watches.

    Expecting someone to come

    from across the fence.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refugees_15032012

 

 

 

 

Little refugees

grow up waiting by the fence...

older and angry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Syrian refugee boy stands behind a fence

 

   

   

    They survived a lot.

    So now they stand by the fence.

    Waiting for something.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

4a0168f54

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Comments
Amy Brook Palleson
Wonderful. And horrible. It is sometimes shocking to realize how the same distressing societal events can elicit such malice tow... Read More
Thursday, 03 March 2016 14:04
Ken Hartke
Sometimes you write something and it keeps coming back to haunt you. I wrote this a couple years ago for my Writer's Cramp blog bu... Read More
Thursday, 03 March 2016 17:18
Rosy Cole
It's a deplorable fact of our times that boundaries of every kind have been demolished and overrun with little respect for the fun... Read More
Friday, 04 March 2016 10:55
476 Hits
5 Comments

To The Lady Who Put Roses Out

 

It was a quiet day on a quiet street.

 

It seems like it was one of those family holidays;

 

Maybe Father’s Day or Mother’s Day… I don’t recall.

 

It was a good day for a walk.

 

 

 

We took our time, talking along the way.

 

We were not walking for distance or speed.

 

The old sidewalk was cracked and uneven…

 

Sort of the way life is.

 

 

 

We watched our step.  You remember that

 

old saying about stepping on a crack?

 

There was a nice breeze off the river.

 

Birds were rejoicing in the trees.

 

 

 

We heard the wind in the big trees in

 

the old cemetery.  It was well kept.

 

People cared about cemeteries here.

 

So do the squirrels…policing the rows.

 

 

 

One block. Two blocks. Three…four.

 

The houses were perched high on each side

 

with sloping yards and low stone walls.

 

Middle-aged houses – nothing grand.

 

 

 

There ahead, on a low cobbled wall,

 

sat a small painted bucket of cut red roses.

 

“Please take one” the penciled sign said.

 

She took one. “How nice” he said.

 

 

 

We continued another few blocks…

 

Stopped for coffee and then doubled back.

 

The roses were still there but fewer, now.

 

Other walkers must have read the sign.

 

 

 

Like a pebble in a pond, this

 

simple act of sharing rippled through

 

the lives of people she never met

 

but cared about from a distance.

 

Recent Comments
Sue Martin Glasco
Such a pleasant walk I just took. And I loved the rose. It smells so sweet. I really liked this poem, Ken. It brought back mem... Read More
Saturday, 27 February 2016 05:02
Monika Schott
Lovely, gentle words, Ken. I'd love to chance upon a bucket of roses for sharing on a walk one day. M.
Saturday, 27 February 2016 07:28
Rosy Cole
This is beautiful, Ken. A poem...I want to say...that shares the oxygen of simplicity. Such instances, as Sue shows, too, are clea... Read More
Saturday, 27 February 2016 13:10
740 Hits
6 Comments

Ghost Birds

 

Here they come again...heading north....primeval, ancient wanderers. This morning's flight was the first group I've seen this year...actually heard because they are so high you can't really make them out. Their croaking call seems to come from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. They seem early but we are already into the 70s each day. They must leave Bosque del Apache at dawn and make it here north of Albuquerque by 10:30. They might make it to Colorado by sunset if they can get over the mountains.

 

 

High cranes 2

 

Cranes, lost to our sight

 

in the sun drenched sky above,

 

call out sad farewells.


high cranes

 

They'll be back next fall

 

to do it all once again.

 

The bosque awaits.

 

 

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
Wonderful feat of Nature. I've never seen a crane. Here in Norwich, we're very luck to see murmurations of starlings every after... Read More
Sunday, 21 February 2016 12:30
Stephen Evans
Beautiful. - so graceful.
Sunday, 21 February 2016 16:10
Ken Hartke
Thanks for the comments. The cranes, when in a large flock, transcend time...they have been doing this for eons. They are like di... Read More
Sunday, 21 February 2016 16:49
537 Hits
5 Comments

So Now Comes The Wind


So now comes the wind —
our winter’s downhill neighbor
testing the hinges.


From beyond, somewhere
in a distant mountain place,
it comes to life.


It finds its power —
it scours the dead and dying —
it tries to take you.


But you bow your head.
You divert your swollen eyes.
It passes over.


A born acrobat,
Tumbleweed pulls up her skirts
and scatters her seeds.


It takes what it wants
leaving man and beast behind
tumbling into spring.

 

Recent Comments
Former Member
Ken, Is this yours? I remember those New Mexico sand storms and how they could come out of nowhere -- a peaceful day and suddenl... Read More
Saturday, 06 February 2016 18:21
Ken Hartke
Yeah Charlie ...these little poems pop out of my head every now and then. Everything here inspires me to write much more than befo... Read More
Sunday, 07 February 2016 00:29
Former Member
It didn't seem to do D.H. Lawrence any harm. -- C
Sunday, 07 February 2016 08:25
573 Hits
9 Comments

Latest Comments

Monika Schott A rickety bridge
18 November 2017
Thanks, Di.
Diane Rampertshammer A rickety bridge
17 November 2017
Pure poetry - very evocative - you are a painter with words..Di
Ken Hartke Lamenting the Lost Art of Conversation
12 November 2017
Thanks for the comments. Rosy -- I look at this sort of social conversation as a healthful thing for...
Rosy Cole First Song
12 November 2017
This is almost like a memory of birth, reviving those sensations, but translated in imagistic terms....
Rosy Cole Lamenting the Lost Art of Conversation
12 November 2017
Oh Ken, how rare that is! A gift. What a lovely sojourn in the byways and an unexpected exchange of ...

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