Reality Sets In

In your world of insanity

you think you have tripped

over a pebble

To look down

and see

That your feet

were not even touching

the ground

When you realize

you have fallen

from the ladder.


copyright RW Erskine

Author's Notes/Comments: 

contact me at: artjwca@yahoo.ca


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We talk about beginnings and endings in life a lot…

births and deaths…starts and finishes…sunrises and sunsets

For every beginning there is an ending…after every ending…a beginning…

looming in the shadows like silhouettes.


And although beginnings and endings are important 

wherever we go and in whatever we choose to do

we spend most of our life in middles…

living between the two.


The next time you think about a beginning…or an ending

take a moment and close your eyes…

to remember all that happened in between…

in the middle…where happiness lies…


Yes, beginnings are certainly important…

as are the times we bid adieu…

But it is in the middles of our life…

where our present meets our past…


where most of our dreams come true.

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The young man noticed the older couple walking toward him at a slow and labored pace

The older man clinging to the older woman…his arm around her waist.


They stopped along the water’s edge…he gave her an embrace.

Then he stepped back, said “Smile”…as he put the camera to his face.


The young man walked to them instinctively…knowing what he should do

“Would you like me to take your picture?” he asked, “a picture of the two of you?


He took their picture, then another…and suddenly…on a whim

The old man grabbed the camera…said “Smile” then took a picture of him.


They chatted together for a while even filled a few more camera frames… 

by the time they were ready to part they knew each others names.


He hugged them goodbye and wished the couple well

feeling lucky they had brightened his day.

But he felt the old man touch his shoulder as he slowly walked away.


“I just want to thank you”, the old man said, “for taking our picture.”

“For the few moments that you stayed…

For your smile…for your kindness…

for the memories you made.”


He said he and his wife had traveled the world together

He spoke of the memories they’d amassed

But, he said, his wife was dying and this trip would be their last.


He said they have found that some of the greatest moments in life 

are the ones that are unrehearsed

and he thanked him again for making one of their last memories

as beautiful as their first.


The young man walked back and gave the wife a hug

He could feel her fragility as she whispered thank you in his ear…

He left them sitting, looking over the water, 

without looking back…


He didn’t want them to see his tears.

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Last night I watched the full moon rise

as night replaced the day

and as she slowly rose above the trees

she took my breath away.


Two dogs running just out of reach

looked up as they played among the dunes.

Two lovers walking along the beach…

paused a moment to swoon.


And I thought how lucky I am to be standing here

watching the moon in awe,

standing neath a sky so clear…

under the same moon my ancestors saw.


And I though that moon’s been around since before time began

ushering in every nightfall

and how that same moon admired by animal, woman and man

shall endure…outliving us all.


This morning I watched the fading moonlight

as night returned control to the day

and as I watched her slowly drift out of sight

she again took my breath away.


For once again I was reminded how life is fleeting

how it’s up too us to make each moment last

to do something each moment worth repeating

before the moment slips into the past…


To fill our days with surprises…

remembering life is but a momentary vignette…

and we only have a handful of moonrises…

and only a handful of moonsets.



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When I was young:

I planned to be a football star…but I wasn’t the right size

When I was young:

I planned to be a movie star…but that never materialized


When I was young:

I planned to be a doctor…but the sight of blood made me faint

When I was young:

I planned to be a famous writer…but obviously…I ain’t.


When I was young:

I planned to be a farmer and live off of the land

But as is glaringly apparent…

life doesn’t always go as planned.


When I was young:

I never planned to go to college…

I wanted to stay home with my peers

When I was young:

I never planned to be a teacher…but I taught for 30 years


When I was young:

I never planned to move to Florida…

but now I’m here to stay

When I was young:

I never planned to marry and have a family…

but now wouldn’t have it any other way.


When I was young I made so many plans

but now that I’m older I have come to understand:

Most of the love and happiness in my life has come…


from all the things I never planned.

Loyal Death

Loyalty is found amongst,
Friends are traitors to be,
Uncovered like,
Secrets are best kept to,
Oneself is to be trusted 
The least of all,
Evils are naught but,
Vices twisted and
Distilled envy of the
Decrepit cowards shy from,
Death my old friend.




How do we evaluate our life…to know if…with our life…we are enthralled? 

One way is to look back and try to remember all the names we have been called.


Early on…in my mother’s womb…baby was the first of all my names

When I was born, from the Bible, I was given the name of James.


I’ve been called Joy (my initials), Otto (my middle name), Elf (don’t ask-too grim)

I’ve been called Yermy, Yerman, Jimmy but most people know me as Jim.


I’ve been called, too short, too young, too old and though my perspective is a bit sunny

apparently I’m the only one in this world who has ever called me too funny.


I’ve been called a boy, a teenager, a man, a student, a teacher…a friend

And after spending 40 dollars on the internet…I’m also called Reverend.


I’v been called mister, and sir…and some names that have made me angry or sad

I’ve been called boyfriend, husband and father…although it sounds much better when they call me Dad.


I’ve been called PopPop four different times now…and the other day I was given pause…

when a little boy I never met before, called me Santa Claus.


All the different names I’ve been called…have gone in to the creation of me…

Each title carries a meaning all its own…each name evokes a memory.


I don’t mind all the names I’ve been given…I don’t care that they’re not all the same

I’m just glad to be making new memories every time someone call out my name.


Perhaps the best way to evaluate our life…

the best way to feel enthralled 

is to sit back, smile and think about…


all the names we have been called.

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As the cloak of evening was spreading and daylight was beginning to fade

we meandered down to the waters edge to watch the annual boat parade.


We sat with friends and strangers while stars twinkled In the sky

and watched boats, lit up for Christmas, in the distance floating by.


Behind us, high in the sky, shining, as bright as she could be…

the full moon cast a blanket of light that floated upon of the sea.


I found, in the darkness, as the evening progressed…my eyes became attuned

to the boats floating there before me as well as the distant moon.


My eyes, my heart, my soul…all happily besieged by so many wonderful sights 

From the moonglade shimmering on the water to the masts of ships in colored lights.


And I thought how once a year the parade of boats is beautiful 

as they pass by in colors both sparkling and bright…

but the clouds that float across the moon provide their own parade each night.


And I realized sitting on the dock as the boats began to fade away

How lucky I was because I could count all the parades I saw that day.


As the sun rose up in the morning a parade of colors crossed the sky….

down by the water on our morning walk a host of birds and fish paraded by.


As we continued our walk…a parade of animals and people we would greet…

as we neared our house and turned for home…a parade of ants across our street.


A parade of clouds in all shapes and sizes…the sun being hidden…then revealed…

a parade of children in contrasting colors running back and forth at the soccer field.


A parade of birds at our bird feeder…some squirrels and even a mouse…

Our friends grandchildren laughing and singing as they paraded through our house.


Then once again at the boat parade kissed by moonbeams and an ocean mist….

And if these are the parades I saw today…imagine the ones I missed!


Yes, today’s annual boat parade was a sight to see but over time it’s memory will fade…

to be joyfully replaced by a life filled with memories…


of so may everyday parades.

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She was alone on a bench in the middle of the park when walking along I spied her

I’m not sure what drew me in…but I ended up sitting beside her.


For a while we sat in silence…me…and this old woman I’d never seen before

until my eyes met hers and we exchanged a smile…which seemed to open up the door.


We talked of trees and butterflies about how the sun shone off the creek

and before I knew it…I was meeting her…on that park bench once a week.


She could be sweet, she could be kind, she could be soft, she could be gruff 

and as we spent those days together…she taught me the meaning of enough.


When I think of the love I’ve had in life, she’d say…one touch was enough.

When I am sad…to drive away the shadows…one sunbeam is enough…


When I look up in the night sky…the light of one star is enough.

When I linger in a garden…the aroma of one flower is enough.


When I’m walking in a forest…the shade of one tree is enough.

When I’m with my family and friends…one moment is enough.


I only have one life, she’d smile…if I live it right…once will be enough. 

and If I should die tomorrow…well…then I’ve lived long enough. 


Yes, when I look at all the happiness I’ve had…I know I’ve had enough

and If the only prayer I ever say is thank you…then I have prayed enough.


My meetings with her would come to an end 

enough was finally enough

and though I was saddened at her passing…

I know I had time enough…


Time enough to make a friend…a friend both kind and gruff…

Time enough to have been lucky enough…to learn the meaning of enough.


Now when my life is peaceful and happy…or when times are sad and rough

I return to the bench where we sat together…

to remember I have enough.



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