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.

A Little Backyard Drama

I am priveleged to occasionally witness these little domestic dramas as they play out in my backyard. This is my local Scaled Quail family.  Body language tells a lot of what is going on....

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Him: Well, looks like your chicks are in the bushes again.
Her: My chicks? What do you mean my chicks?? I distinctly remember you had a part in that.

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Him: Well, you laid them.    -- Hey! Hey you kids -- get out of the bushes! ---- Don't make her come down there.

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Her: Me?? (Gives him that look that all husbands will recognize)  --- So you've got a broken wing or something?

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Him:  Nah...I'm busy. I'm on lookout duty....
Her:  Oh yeah?  I'll give you something to look out for...

(Eventually, with a little prodding, they both went after the chicks.)

     *     *     *

The Home Place -- 2017

 

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
I love it!
Thursday, 13 July 2017 08:44
Rosy Cole
Lovely! As well as travel, looks like your forte is in anthropomorphic photo-blogs :-) I have a large family of wood pigeons visit... Read More
Thursday, 13 July 2017 16:34
Virginia M Macasaet
Oh life........ Read More
Sunday, 23 July 2017 22:28
333 Hits
4 Comments

To Lucinda, Whoever You Were

KEN8 (2)

 

What I know of you for certain is only what’s recorded on your tombstone
and two grainy old photographs. Certainly, you were once a girl. A wife.
A mother. You were a survivor of interesting times. Of Huguenot stock.
You knew duty. Did you know love? Did you know peace?
You were the family nurse, then a widow, a “Relict”, they said for decades.
The custom then, it sounds harsh today: Relict. But do we judge you unfairly?

You were a hard woman for hard times and kept a Bible cocked and loaded.
You weren’t afraid to use it. It was your preferred weapon.
Two of five children quickly fled when they could. A darling little girl
died as an infant. How you mourned. A son went insane, locked up forever.
One last daughter, a constant companion to the end, disappeared
without a trace. Are there really two people in your grave?

Your grudges piled up, un-dismissed for a lifetime. Cloying sweetness
masked failed manipulation. Did you feel unloved?
I think you were loved in spite of yourself. Your son fled to
marry an Irish “Papist” …oh the tears…oh the horror!
With hope in his heart, he gave his daughter your name -- Lucinda:

— Illumination —

and she lived up to the name in ways you could never comprehend.

 

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
Love this. Brimful of poignancy and humanity.
Saturday, 24 June 2017 12:15
Ken Hartke
Thanks, Rosie. She has been gone 100 years but is still a presence.
Saturday, 24 June 2017 15:30
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2 Comments

Three Crows

Three joyful black Crows

aloft on the April breeze

laugh at Earthbound men.

 

Consumed by spring chores,

I’m the target of their fun.

I ignore their taunts.

 

Puzzled now – they come close;

Perched on the rooftop – watching

with conspiring eyes.

 

These are my old friends.

They so hate to be ignored --

I must laugh myself.

 

That’s all they wanted;

Just a little of my time.

They fly off crowing.

The Home Place, 2017

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Stone Upon Stone, Soul Upon Soul

 

582_1609 abo

For good or ill, they left their mark.
Rich in their vow of poverty;
at least by local standards.
They had their cigars and their chocolate.
They had their music and their books.
They had their Faith.
They had untold riches
in willing backs and upturned faces.

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Stone on stone. Wooden crosses.
Beams and candles. Silver chalice.
True, the graveyard was filling up
but there was work to be done.
They were here on a mission;
called by the Assisian of long ago.
Soul upon soul. Tally and count.
Blessed waters all poured out.

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Carry your burden. Stone upon stone.
Eyes lifted to heaven. Recall your lessons.
Soul upon soul. No room for doubt.
Where friars go, others follow.
Scores were settled by Godly force.
The “Holy Office” — an instrument of peace
in the wild lands west of the Pecos,
in this province of sand and salt.

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Women tending the graveyards,
upturned faces looked away. The cost was high.
The flesh was less willing, the spirit weak.
Some days the raiders came.
Voices raised – a stone thrown in anger.
An arrow. The fields are on fire.
The burden was there but with few willing backs.
Brother, tell us again about Heaven.

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Over the pass, it was a long slow walk.
First one mission and then another
left crumbling in the sun.
Stone upon stone. Soul upon soul.
A vow of poverty is for living,
not dying in the sand and salt.
So brothers, pick up the pace!
There will be other missions, but not here.

582_1610 abo

*     *     *

Enchanted, More or Less — 2017

https://malpaisweb.wordpress.com

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
Sad and inspiring and beautiful, Ken. It could so easily be applied to our present age and, I guess, to almost every culture on th... Read More
Thursday, 20 April 2017 14:00
Ken Hartke
Thanks for the comment. Even after 350 years of abandonment the Franciscans will occasionally come back to Quarai Mission for a me... Read More
Thursday, 20 April 2017 15:39
Rosy Cole
Your trip to Perugia will surely have increased an understanding and appreciation of the settlement. Going even further back, what... Read More
Thursday, 20 April 2017 16:28
532 Hits
7 Comments

Latest Comments

Stephen Evans A Visitor to your Planet: A One-Minute Play
19 February 2018
High praise! Thank you.
Katherine Gregor A Visitor to your Planet: A One-Minute Play
18 February 2018
Beckett would be envious.
Stephen Evans A Visitor to your Planet: A One-Minute Play
05 February 2018
I just realized that the last two posts were plays. How true to the spirit of The Green Room!
Rosy Cole A Visitor to your Planet: A One-Minute Play
04 February 2018
Interesting dynamic. Reflects the popular conception of 'democracy'. (Look at it this way, the US is...
Ken Hartke Flipping the Omelet
01 February 2018
One word: Fritatta

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