Poet Feature - December 2020

Hi! I’m Bill Steen. I live in Spokane, Washington in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my sweetheart of nearly 44 years. I happily take credit for our 10 amazing children even though my wife did almost all the hard work of raising them. So far, those children have blessed our lives with 19 of the ugliest grandkids you would ever hope to see.

I am about a year away from retiring as a service technician for a soft drink distributor where I have been employed for over 42 years. That job constantly has allowed me to drive through some of the most beautiful and inspiring country on earth.

I am without a doubt one of the most boring men on the planet. I was born without a sports gene, so I do not play, participate in, follow, or stay awake for any type of sporting event or recreational activity. I have no hobbies other than writing bad poetry. I do have a large garden. On the entry gate to my garden is a sign which reads, “Grandpa’s Therapist.” That is the truth. It keeps my fingers therapeutically grounded in topsoil and my mind weeded.

I also keep the garden for the enjoyment of the 19 pillagers inflicted upon me by my children and children-in-law. The grandkids raid the grapes, 6 kinds of berries, and anything else they fancy. They also break some eggs, as I keep a couple of hens to enhance their faux rural experience. In case you hadn’t guessed, my family is the center of my universe.

In my early years I moved often. In my first 18 years I attended 10 schools and moved over 50 times. Most of my time was spent living on or near my maternal grandparents’ farm. It was my grandad who developed my love of poetry. I still have fond memories of listening to him recite long portions of Robert Service’s humorous poems while milking cows by hand. He loved the classic poets who wrote in meter and rhyme. That is probably why I write almost exclusively in meter and rhyme.

I have written poetry for as long as I can remember, but I will admit that most of it was not very good or varied until my oldest son set up my IG account for me a few years ago. Since joining IG I have been instructed and inspired. I have learned new, exciting, and challenging poetic forms. I have also been inspired by the writing, photos, and art shared by my friends on social media. As a result of this daily influence, I now write in a wide variety of styles and a broad range of topics. I try very hard not to be a “one note” poet.

A side benefit of my social media experiment is that I now have friends I will never meet in person, scattered all across the globe. They are wonderful, kind, and supportive folks who tolerate my teasing and weird sense of humor and encourage my writing efforts. I like them and care about them. I like to think some of them even feel the same way about me.

I have been asked if I have any books. No I do not. The type of poetry I write is not popular enough to generate sufficient sales. While I am content to share my art on social media with those few who enjoy what I write, I am actually writing for my posterity, many of whom are not yet born. It is my sincere hope that some of what I write will have a quality and appeal which will outlive me. I hope some of my grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren will read my poems. I hope they giggle at my silliness, weep for my sorrows, and smile when they feel my love for them. Even though I will never know them, I hope that they will learn to know me through my poetry. If I can achieve that, I will feel like a successful poet.

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The Game of Chess

I feared him most while still a child.
As youth, I taunted, I confess.
But now the fear and loathing gone,
We often play a game of chess.
I always win, at least so far.
I oft suspect he throws the game,
So I will stay, and play, and learn,
He's not as fearsome as his name.
Companions in the fading light
As sunlight paints the western skies,
We share the beautiful, but brief
God given gift when daylight dies.
There in the dim, we silent play.
To lose a piece, now has no sting.
For I no longer fear that game,
When Death shall gently take my king.

I Cannot Go Down to the Sea Today

I cannot go down to the sea today, a landlocked prisoner, I,
To see the wild gulls circle round white sails which brush the sky;
And the gull's cry, and the ebb tide, and the salt breeze blowing,
And walks along the endless beach with time and trouble slowing.

I cannot go down to the sea today. I cannot feel damp sand
Caressing bare feet lovingly as I stroll along the strand;
And the smooth shell, and the rough shell, and the kelp frond twining,
As the small waves soothe the large sighs with reflected sunlight shining

I cannot go down to the sea today with its slightly fetid air;
Where that fresh breath in a brisk gust, frolics through my hair.
I cannot go down to the sea today to lull my load of care,
But with eyes closed, I will breathe deep, and dream that I am there.

The Bachelor Cantaloupe

Upon a rocky garden slope
There lived a lonely cantaloupe.
Without romantic horoscope,
True love is hard to find.

Too round to love and then elope,
This melon sat alone to mope
Until he felt a sexy grope
He really didn't mind.

He thought it love, but sadly nope.
Reality then shattered hope.
A knife was his brief gastroscope,
And now he's just a rind.

What is True Love?
What is the sound of my true love?
Is it a giggle or a sigh?
Is it a crooning soft and low;
A steady heartbeat which I know;
A silent smiling by and by?
What is the sound of my true love?

What is the length of my true love?
Is it a brief flirtatious fling;
A wink, a kiss, a quick caress?
Or bulwark of life's long duress
Withstanding all the fates may bring?
What is the length of my true love?

What is the face of my true love?
Is it young, taut, and blemish free?
Or worn with work and sacrifice
Reflecting Hell and Paradise?
What is the face I hope to see?
What is the face of my true love?

True love is youth worn wise with age,
Beyond young giggle quickly gone.
No longer pretty, fleet, nor fair,
True love, grown beautiful, smiles there
While waiting on beyond eon.
True love is youth worn wise with age.