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AJK - Poetry

Poetry of a Lifetime

By Anthony J. Keller


Table of Contents

Irishmen Unite -- March 15, 1976

Chickadees -- February 24, 1986

Lament of a Drunken -- Oct. 26, 1936 (And Nov. 1986)

Cardinal -- March 7, 1986

Fur and Feather Feeder -- March 6, 1986

Executive -- April 6, 1986

To Christine at Eighteen -- Nov. 4, 1986

Beth’s Birthday -- April 18, 1986

Chris’s Birthday (Acrostic) -- Nov. 7, 1986

The Poor Must Flatter -- Dec. 21, 1986 (From Homer’s Odyssey)

Homeless -- Dec. 21, 1986

God Was Lonely -- Dec. 22, 1986

For My Father -- Dec. 22, 1986

For Beth on Peggy’s Birthday -- Oct. 10, 1976

If Only I Thought -- Aug. 4, 1937

Reformer -- Sept. 18, 1940

Millionaire -- Dec. 3, 1936

Father and Son and War -- Aug. 22, 1941 (Updated Nov. 18 1986)

Sing One Last Song -- March 9, 1937

Two Dead Birds -- June 30, 1976

Kinderhook -- April 23, 1979

To Peggy My Wife -- August 9, 1941

Flo -- September 19, 1940


Chris’s Birthday -- Nov. 7, 1986

Destroyer of Cities, Killer of Men -- 1938

Family -- January 16, 1952

To JFK, Deified in 1963, Vilified in 1976 -- January 27, 1976

To Prometheus -- June 24, 1976

In Via Margutta Restaurant in NYC -- November 23, 1976

Sequoya -- March 29, 1937

Choir Boy, Farm Boy -- September 13, 1976

Preferences -- April 6, 1986

Viewpoints -- July 4, 1940

Now I Wait -- June 22, 1940

Gift for Gift -- January 26, 1987

Suffer the Little Children -- April 6, 1986

To Kathleen from Dad -- March 7, 1981   (On her 32d birthday)

To Peggy from Anthony – March 4, 1981

To Peggy -- August 26, 1987

To Peggy (Version 2) -- August 26, 1987

The Crows -- March 7, 1986

Motivated Sellers -- Undated

Doves -- March 7, 1986

I Say My Dear -- August 11, 1987

Old Soldiers Do Not Fade Away -- March 4 1987

Napoleon’s Tomb -- April 6, 1986

We Seemed So Young -- March 4, 1949

Singular Love -- December 22, 1986

Stone Flower -- March 7, 1937

As Our Candle Burns Out -- September 17, 1987

They -- January 13, 1976

To Mavorneen* on Christmas Eve -- December 24, 1975

The Angels Cry -- December 14, 1975

The Angels Smile -- December 14, 1975

Love Me Not -- August 4, 1938

It’s Over -- 1976

Don’t Pipe For Pan -- December 12, 1975

To Florence Whyte in Heaven -- January 13, 1976

Time and Eternity -- December 24, 1976

The Judson Church -- July 24, 1976

Sestet, Sextet -- June 30, 1976

Jesus, Son Of Man -- October 3, 1939

I Received a Postcard -- August 11, 1987

Chickadees are Nesting in the Dogwood again -- March 20, 1987

Kevin Waved Bye-Bye -- March 20, 1987

To Our Grandson Anthony Keller  -- July 18, 1987

Walkers -- January 21, 1940

Epitaph -- January 21, 1940

Despair -- January 21, 1940

The Prayer -- January 21, 1940

World War One Attack -- January 24, 1940

The Poets -- May 21, 1940

Last Sailing -- May 14, 1940

The Girl -- June 30, 1940

No Regrets -- June 30, 1940

Flo Anagram -- September, 1940

Without You -- July 3, 1940

Winter, 1940

How Much Do You Love Me -- August 17, 1939

On Contemplating the Snow -- December 3, 1939

To Dorothy Parker In Her Own Style -- June 17, 1941

Two Flirts -- August 17, 1939

To Theresa and John -- November 5, 1989

To Jackie Tierny -- November 3, 1989

Sunset -- November 1, 1989

Lighthouse -- November 3, 1989

Friends -- January 2, 1990

The Forked Locust Tree -- September 15, 1987

Wonder -- January 2, 1990

Lizard, Lizard on the Hot Stand -- December 3, 1987

Tom, Our Socrates or Our Gadfly -- October 27, 1987

For Chris -- November 7, 1987

Benevolent Employer USA 1987

Chance -- January 1988

Then and Other Thoughts-- October 1987

I Did the Underpainting Carefully -- December 20, 1987

Echoes, Begats and Slews -- January 1967

Begots and Slew -- January 3, 1976

Easter -- April 1936

Ingratitude -- April 19, 1936

Gratitude -- June 7, 1936

Repentance -- June 13, 1936

To EM in Heaven -- June 13, 1936


A Careless God on Heaven’s Blue Heights -- July 13, 1936

Prayer of a Prairie Mother in Childbirth -- July 15, 1936

Epitaph -- August 26, 1936

When I Was Born -- October 29, 1987

My Defense -- August 31, 1936

Heard Somewhere -- August 31, 1936

Ecstasy -- September 17, 1936

A Wish -- December 8, 1936

Crusaders Exhortation -- December 13, 1936

You Sound Very Witty -- January 12, 1937

Advice -- 1937

Advice -- January 20, 1937

Remember -- May 1936

City Dweller’s Reaction to Spring -- February 19, 1937

The Garden of Allah -- February 14, 1937

Epitaph -- March 9, 1937

What is Life Worth Living For? -- April 3, 1937

Graveyard -- May 5, 1937

The Pessimist -- May 9, 1937

Poet’s Reflection -- May 20, 1937

When Mother Fails to Understand -- August 3, 1937

Worry is Folly -- August 19, 1937

Convention is a Tyrant -- August 19, 1937

If I Were God -- October 3, 1939

Why Do You Doubt Me Lover -- October, 1939

You to Me -- October, 1939

For Pat -- 1939

A Soldier’s Mother -- December 23, 1940

Suppose at First the Fish Don’t Bite? -- February 3, 1940

Pictures -- January 21, 1940

Divest -- January 21, 1940

So Long, My Dear -- January 21. 1940

To Peggy At Twenty-five -- August 19, 1946

Anthony to Peggy -- March 4, 1960

To Peggy on Mother’s Day – May 13, 1990

To Peggy on Her Birthday – August 26, 1993

To Peggy from Anthony

To Laurie and Chris – July 1991

To My Big Sister, Anna,

Sr. M. Antonia Keller O.P. RIP - October 19, 1991

To Peggy as She Reaches that Biblical Age – August 26, 1991

Christmas - 1993

To Peggy on Mother’s Day – May 8, 1994

Welcome to the Family – September 24, 1994

Welcome to the Family – July 27, 1994

Thomas Sully – October 7, 1994

November 2, 1994

Relive - January 23, 1993

To Peggy – August 26, 1994

Dear Peggy – March 4, 1992

To Stephen and Liz

Across the Years

To Peggy, My Wife – August 9, 1941

Dear Margaret – March 4, 1991

To Peggy After Eight Years

To Peggy on Valentines Day – February 14, 1995

To Peggy From Anthony – March 4, 1981

To Peggy – December 24, 1976

See Life Begin – August 27, 1987

To Peggy – February 14, 1991

Greetings to Grace of the Smiling Face – August 25, 1991

Michael Anthony Keller – Welcome, Welcome, Welcome – August 25, 1991

To Peggy – August 26, 1990

Lighthouse Painting – November 3, 1989

So Long for a While - January 2, 1941

Together – December 27, 1940 10PM

Sunset – November 1, 1989

Tap Dance – March 12, 1996

Forty-ninth Anniversary - March 12, 1990

Beth – April 18, 1995

As I was Saying – Dedication

To Peggy on our Fiftieth Anniversary – March 4, 1991

Jack and Tara

To Peggy “Happy Mother’s Day” – May 14, 1994

Happy Birthday – August 26, 1995

To My Family – February 14, 1953

Thank the Lord – November 11, 1994

What Should I Say – Spring 1994

To Peggy on Mother’s Day – May 8, 1994

Mother’s Day – May 8, 1994

Cages – June 11, 1988

Prayer – June 11, 1988

For Amanda Lynn Taylor – July 20, 1989

Lizard Legend on the Hot Sands – December 3, 1987

The Pessimist - December 3, 1987

The Optimist – December 3, 1987

Strawberries – February 5, 1990

In This Heaven – August 29, 1987

To Peggy – August 26, 1991

To Tony – February 24, 1991

Morikami Falls – March 12, 1990

Mohawk Sunset

Joseph’s Birthday – July 27, 1995

Mom and Dad and Kathleen and Jack – Sept. 14, 1993

Birthday Math – August 26, 1991

Birthday Math 2 – August 26, 1991


Irishmen Unite -- March 15, 1976


Ireland, your sons have stained your soil with brothers’ blood

Your tearful daughters pray to God to end this fratricidal strife

Fratricidal? Murder is its proper name

You all must bear the shame and blame to take a brother’s life

England, get out of Ireland. Put the burden down

Belfast and Dublin are not your task.  Return to London your town

Put down the gun and knife, Irishmen unite

If not in brotherhood, at least promote the common good

Let peace give life!



Chickadees -- February 24, 1986


I watch as the chickadees, our snowbirds in the late winter dusting, 

Peck quickly at the feeder then flit away momentarily to return again.

Forgetting in hunger their fear of the predator, always expected, yet seldom present

But trusting that the food I provide is not poisoned or netted to kill or trap.

I am more foolish then they

For I continue to feed on the poison of my worries about money, heart and lungs

Instead of enjoying however wearily and warily

The seeds of healthy growth in faith and trust

That God did not put me here for nothing.



Lament of a Drunken -- Oct. 26, 1936 (And Nov. 1986)


Last night, O Bacchus

At your feet I threw myself

Last night, O Bacchus

It was so sweet to forget myself

But now my dreams all fade away

As sunrise blazes in day,

My joy is gone.

There now remains shame

With stinking retching pains.



Cardinal -- March 7, 1986


Good Morning Your Eminence!

I felt pretty good as I greeted my Cardinal

Shining in his scarlet glory with noble strong beak of Italianate line

Befitting a Curia prince

And angel wings of flashing hell color for those who conquered Lucifer,

I guess he didn’t hear me, at least he didn’t reply

Just cracked the seeds with his black red jaws to get at the heart inside

But he taught me a lesson anyway

As I thought about how God sometimes lifts us up from hell

To crack our body shell open to get at the heart inside

To unite it with His own



Fur and Feather Feeder -- March 6, 1986


A late winter day, sunny, but did not warm my spirits

As I moodily picked at my lunch

Watching as a raider gorged himself at his captured free-lunch shelf

Lord that squirrel is fat, with a sleek coat like a dowerages fur when gray was in style

No winter leanness for him

He ate in a hurry though no danger threatened and gracefully left in a courtly scurry.

In a flash the birds flittered back

Cardinals, sparrows to start, they were fat too

No winter fast has left them lean

Again I learn from my not so dumb friends to whom I am the ‘Feeder God’

That raider and raided may prosper together when plenty abounds

For fur and feather and no one hoards.



Executive -- April 6, 1986


When I was a young executive

I had to close up factories and lay off people with no pensions

And but a pittance then of Social Security.

People told me that if I didn’t do it someone else would with less compassion,

But my nerves were shot anyway.

I got the best deal I could for the workers from the board of directors

But when my mother asked me if I took dope

I quit the job.



To Christine at Eighteen -- Nov. 4, 1986


Christine, Christine how the years have flown

Really you’ve grown

I just can’t believe such a vest pocket Eve

That I see before me is my granddaughter

Miss Shorter now a serene late teen – Eighteen!


                        All Love from Grandpa



Beth’s Birthday -- April 18, 1986


I wish that Beth would come back, come back

Especially since spring has come back, come back to Commack

And then this birthday would be a mirth day for me


                        Love Dad



Chris’s Birthday (Acrostic) -- Nov. 7, 1986


It was twenty years ago less one

Your mother gave us a son

Who proved to be








The Poor Must Flatter -- Dec. 21, 1986 (From Homer’s Odyssey)


I hate as I hate

Burning Hell’s red gate

That the poor must flatter

The rich that they hate.



Homeless -- Dec. 21, 1986


The homeless must dodge the railroad cop

To be humiliated to find a place to flop.



God Was Lonely -- Dec. 22, 1986


God was lonely

So he created the world.



For My Father -- Dec. 22, 1986


When I talked out of turn he did a slow burn

He had a low boiling point

And was quick on the trigger

Yes his temper was big

But his heart was bigger



For Beth on Peggy’s Birthday -- Oct. 10, 1976


Bunny bunny running free

Will you hop and play with me?

Bunny bunny running free

Will you stop and stay with me?

Would you like a carrot top?

Would you like to jump and hop

And stay with me and play all day

Safe from the dog and pussycat?

Bunny bunny you’d like that!



If Only I Thought -- Aug. 4, 1937


If only I thought of your mussed, wind-blown hair

The sloppy shoes

The clothes that you’d wear

Your overworked “ain’t”

Your face which you smeared with powder and paint

Your idea of manners was painfully faint

The best could be said was that they were quaint

The years have passed by

The girls I’ve met since with you

They were fair.

Remembering I swear

I loved you and love you

That’s why I despair!



Reformer -- Sept. 18, 1940


Bill McHugh was a fiery one

Who hated the way the world was run

If ever he liked anything in life

It was turmoil and battle and strife

And even then when he used to deplore

He found no fun in the fight anymore

He had fought for the time he thought would suffice

To clear the world of rapine and vice

But after he slaved and slaved and slaved

He found that the world didn’t want to be saved!



Millionaire -- Dec. 3, 1936


He always said he’d take a rest

When he became a millionaire.

He toiled for years and gave his best

His motto “Let the lambs beware”

So when he decided to quit and “live”

And lay the stock reports aside

To enjoy the things that “money” could give

He found that he had already died



Father and Son and War -- Aug. 22, 1941 (Updated Nov. 18 1986)


Life seems futile doesn’t it son?

Well you are not the only one that feels that way

You seek for life, security and rest

For your brief life that seems at best a short span-day

But what are you given, social unrest

Your pay just enough to live, lest you also be free

And now my son, they give you a gun

Because they say “A job must be done for freedom you see”

Well maybe they’re right

But still can’t you see just how this war is ours

You laugh “Whose liberty”?

If you say “My country may she be right, but my country right or wrong”

Well so does the enemy say that, whom you fight

And victory of course will fall to the strong.



Sing One Last Song -- March 9, 1937


Sing one last song with me my love

Before we part forever

Before I cross the sea my love

And lose your heart forever

One last kiss from you my love

And away I go to return no more

Oh I shall miss your kisses love

While stranded on some foreign shore

When you feel a breeze my love

Caressing you so lovingly

You’ll know it’s wafting you my love

My fondest kisses yearningly



Two Dead Birds -- June 30, 1976


I saw two dead birds and one with a broken neck

Hopping across the road all in the last few days.

What does this portend?

I saw myself in those two birds

And the one that was a wreck hopping like a toad

I envisioned the ways that I might end

O Bird you are the very spirit of freedom and aerial splendor

You are the very antithesis of plodding defeat and surrender

We know that death kills all things

Even ethereal things that soar on wings

But then again the hop-toad-bird hop hop hopping by

Still calls and sings and has wings to fly

Could I be wrong, do I hear a song?



Kinderhook -- April 23, 1979


Fertile farms and fields of Kinderhook

Clear Columbian air

April is the fairest month

And you the fairest fair

Would make it heaven if I would dare

To take you from your Long Island home

And build our love nest there



To Peggy My Wife -- August 9, 1941


Pay me no heed dear

When I shout and throw my arms about

Don’t you hear the ocean roar

When caressing his wife the shore?

Heed not my words dear sweetheart

I’m only a husband playing a part

Stay as you are, in disposition I mean,

Your views will mature

Your judgment grow keen

Your body will age

Let your love stay the same

And I’ll wish nothing else

Neither riches nor fame.



Flo -- September 19, 1940


Forever is a long time they say

Lets pledge our love and live for the day

On nectar distilled from the flowers of May.





Friend she said you’re just too late

Leave me now --- there’s the gate

Only if it was ‘38



Chris’s Birthday -- Nov. 7, 1986


If we wanted to pray for added bliss

It would be: “God send us another Chris”.


Chris’ birthday Nov. 7, 1987 (on a card)

For once we found a card that can say

How we loved you at birth and even more today.

Destroyer of Cities, Killer of Men -- 1938


Destroyer of cities, killer of men

Awful offspring of Caedes and Mars

Leaving men wounded and slashed with scars

Some you kill outright

For others you reserve

The lingering torments the hell-damned deserve

Destroyer of cities, killer of men

Ruining in one year the good work of ten

Yes war, we hate you, but still you live on

Your blood embossed visage have never grown wan

Your food is the corpses that lay on the ground

You feast on the bodies that never are found

Destroyer of cities, killer of men

Ruining in one year the good work of ten

Your joy is the sorrow you bring to the earth

Tears for the dead loved ones, they fill you with mirth

Power you’d give if we’d kneeled and adored

But how can we bow down to those we abhor

Destroyer of cities, killer of men

Ruining in one year the good work of ten

Terrible weapon of self-seeking men

The cause of your being no sane man can ken.



Family -- January 16, 1952


Those sweet bonds of love and life

Of loving children, home and wife

A world indeed unbelievably wide

And all gathered round my fireside

What need wander the world around

To Saint Peters and other hallowed ground

To Paris and the bohemian life

When I have such children and such a wife

What need wander I’ve been there before

To home for me and happiness evermore.


To JFK, Deified in 1963, Vilified in 1976 -- January 27, 1976


When you were vilely slain Jack

When you were vilely slain

They loved you, that was plain Jack

The people loved you oh so much

They made you Knight, Prince and God, Jack

They almost thought that at your touch

The blind could see, the dead would come back, Jack

But how times change, how fleeting fame

It’s open season on your name

Your memory that was deified

Is now besmirched and vilified

“We used to swim naked in the pool

And clothing was against the rule”

“He had many women, but I was his love”

“He had me sideways, below and above”

“He kept phony jewels in the family vault”

 “He used the wrong spoon, he couldn’t waltz”

“He dyed his hair, his smile was false”

“We created a myth, we glossed his faults”

What the jackals left you

The grave robbers took

You can’t answer back Jack

So they write a book

But Jack we loved you and we still do

We didn’t love a prince or a saint

We just loved you.



To Prometheus -- June 24, 1976


Titan you suffered the savage wrath of Zeus

To free us from biting cold

Were you, pagan hero of god-like mold,

Laying out the Jesus of Nazareth path?



In Via Margutta Restaurant in NYC -- November 23, 1976


Booming voice in the restaurant

He is no successful businessman

He is making up with noise and flash

What he lacks in cash

Sure enough the tub of lard

Pays his bill with a credit card



Sequoya -- March 29, 1937


By his wigwam stood Sequoya

Many, many moons ago

Stood there musing

As he pondered over his woe.

Thought about how the white man came conquering and chased his tribe away

Thought he of the white man yonder

How he talked over distance great

How they know the thoughts of others by those bits of talking paper

Though unschooled in the white man’s learning

Yet he sought the riddles answer

Suddenly, the thought came to him

Why the talk in little symbols

As talk in many pictures

Why cannot we too use these symbols?

Thus to talk as white men do

Examined he his tribal language

Counting up the different sounds that there were over eighty

That the white man had much fewer

Sought the books to learn these symbols of their meaning

Knowing naught, took these books in Greek and English

Counting out these different symbols

Some he took just as they stood there

These he altered not at all

Others turned he over backwards

Some he placed upon their sides

Reckoned these he carefully found he had yet signs too few

So this great sage of the red man made the others up himself


Sequoia Part II


To his friends the great sage hastened his discovery to reveal

But they liked it not at all

They thought that he should stop this nonsense

Still the sage’s work continued

Taught his daughter how to read

Saw her learn to read her language

Saw her write as white men do

Sequoia sought his tribal sachems

Seeking that they help his work

But they called him evil spirit

Sent him sorrowing away.

Then came savage braves to try him

Showing him their disapproval

Came they to condemn him, kill him

Keeping thus their tribal honor.


Sequoia Part III


Sequoia saw their plan of evil

But the Great Spirit never left him

He called his daughter to come to him

Sent her once again away

Wrote a message on some paper

Wrote it in his symbols strange

Sent it to his daughter distant

Whom did many braves watch

Read the message quickly

Sent she swiftly back her answer

Thus the young bucks were won over

To the plan Sage Sequoia

Eager were they all to learn

The meaning of these symbols strange

Sent the news back to the brethren

That the great sage was acquitted.


Sequoya Part IV


Soon the whole tribe sought his learning

Learned they all to read and write

Boasted the braves of their bravery in battle in the distant days of old

Now they boasted of their learning

Of their new found skill in letters.

Set up presses, printed pages, codified their Indian law

Cherokees were learned now

Illiterate were they no longer

Thus the Indians learned to write

As the great Sequoya taught them

Set they up Sequoya statue in the nation’s capital

Called him wise man of the Cherokee



Choir Boy, Farm Boy -- September 13, 1976


Choirboy, farm boy with a heart as pure as the hymnal words you sing

Will your prayers be heard in the azure sky of your preadolescent spring

Will you live to be happy, healthy and good

Smiling to greet each morn

Tall and straight as the oak in the wood

Close to where you were born

Or will you be battered and twisted and torn

Like your father’s field of fall harvested corn

Destroyed in form,

No longer the norm

Yet striving to produce more sheaves

To lift up branches and leaves

To their god the sun?

When all is said and done

Either way will fulfill your lot

If you seek a life of love and not strife

To reunite with your notes -- then long spent

Which you just now sent to the One

To live in the love of his Son



Preferences -- April 6, 1986


The only thing my wife prefers to a western movie

Is the flea market.



Viewpoints -- July 4, 1940


September of a fateful year, war was on its way

But wars and death were far away for many on that day

While statesman talked and armies moved and barbed wire was strung

For a boy and a girl beneath the moon their life had just begun

A war for civilization, they say, must now be fought again

We must be ready with money and arms, planes and ships and men

But a boy and a girl beneath the moon knew nothing of this strife

As she pictured him with slippers and pipe and he thought of her as wife

Oh don’t call them slackers and love blinded fools who don’t know the weight of events -

A dream of love can save the world from high-placed incompetents -

For wars have come before you know with many a bloodied platoon

But civilization is saved for us by a boy, a girl and a moon.



Now I Wait -- June 22, 1940


Lulled by a false security

We lived our happy years

Our quiet life was undisturbed by violence and tears

But happiness on earth must end and so ours did, she died.

Like a lovely rose

Cut from the stem while yet in the fullest bloom

To sweeten with its fragrance a lady’s living room

So now I wait for brother death

To take me to her side

While angels sing our wedding song

Again she’ll be my bride.



Gift for Gift -- January 26, 1987


Though each day dragged a year has flown

And I am sitting here alone

Looking at the birds and snow

With camera this time

To catch the red glow of feeding time

Of the red cardinals against the white

Feeding without fright

Titmouse, dove and chickadee too

Join the gregarious sparrows who

Make up the bulk of the feeding crowd

Visited by a vagrant crow

All scratching without bickering loud

To get at the seeds in the drifting snow

As the bitter Long Island winter winds blow

In our second blizzard in a row

They don’t seem worried

As if they know their provider will feed them

Come sleet or snow or arctic blow

Nor do they know

Or care how much joy they give to me

Watching them there on my patio.



Suffer the Little Children -- April 6, 1986


The war seemed over for ages -

At least a year - in Rome

It was summer in ‘46

But the nights were cold and hunger always present

For children sleeping at the casement windows.

But the Italian upper classes in their evening clothes

And we American officers and British too

Dined on steak and wine at the Cavallo Bianco.


Now in ‘86 we see the hungry children on TV

In Haiti, Ethiopia and refugee camps in Pakistan

War or no war, why is it always the children who suffer?



To Kathleen from Dad -- March 7, 1981   (On her 32d birthday)


Kathleen of the gold-flecked eyes

And Indian coloring stone

Then VI St. Rose - time flies -

Homemaker, wife, children half-grown

You always make my chair a throne.



To Peggy from Anthony – March 4, 1981


For forty years now dear

We’ve shared our lives

Our problems halved when paired

Redoubling pleasures so beguiling together

Always I riling, you smiling.



To Peggy -- August 26, 1987


When we were teenagers I said you were the nicest girl I knew

And now all that has changed is as my hair turned to snow

Is that you are the nicest woman I know -

So Happy Birthday to you

Double three times two!



To Peggy (Version 2) -- August 26, 1987


You’re still the girl I married years ago

A little older, a great deal wiser

Time has been prodigal with years

And with wrinkles a miser

Now Happy Birthday to you

Double three times two!



The Crows -- March 7, 1986


Crows are really a puzzlement; at least they are to me

They look so noble and hawk-like when they perch on top of a tree

And farmers know just how far a shotgun can shoot and how often

So they are wise as an old owl, too

Yet they peck at garbage, dead rats and such

Like vultures or winged hyenas, how gruesome

But they don’t come to raid my feeders I’m glad.

So what did I learn from them?

Perhaps we are all part noble and wise

And part thieves and scavengers too

So that you are no better than I am

And I am no better than you.



Motivated Sellers -- Undated


You’re never too old to learn

Or yearn for silly things like wealth

So at age sixty-six I spent 290 dollars on a tape course

On how to buy real estate with no money down.

I got a lot of ideas from it

But decided I did not want to become a millionaire like the enthusiastic young author.

I guess I lost my enthusiasm when I found

Those torn by divorce, sickness or foreclosure or similar catastrophe

Were his “Motivated Sellers”.



Doves -- March 7, 1986


Peggy and I look out at the dove feeding on our patio.

There have been as many as a dozen at a time this winter

Feeding in plump contentment placid and unafraid.

I hate to think of them as temple offerings or targets of a shotgun

I prefer to see them as symbols of peace, as Paraclete or Comforter



I Say My Dear -- August 11, 1987


Peggy, We have reached year six and forty

And still have some thoughts

We once thought naughty.

We put into action once in a long while

But in most ways we have not changed.

Dear wife, as you cheer my life

With your radiant smile.



Old Soldiers Do Not Fade Away -- March 4 1987


Old soldiers do not fade away

They die a little bit each day.

Hidden from our sight in VA Hospitals.

These shattered wrecks who say

We are your fathers and your sons

Who joined the fray

And won long years ago.

Do not forget us as we rot away.



Napoleon’s Tomb -- April 6, 1986


I stood before Napoleon’s Tomb

In Paris with the other tourists

And marveled how this self-crowned emperor

Had put the fear of democracy

Into the old Kings, Emperors and Caesars

Whose security rested on suppression

And I wondered too as I stood there

Thinking of how many had died

Because of him and them.

Whether I was the only one who

Said a prayer for the repose of his soul.



We Seemed So Young -- March 4, 1949


We seemed so young

Eight years it is now

Yet still no wrinkles on your brow

Can it be, Dear

That sweetness and light

Is ultimately right

And an occasional tear

Just smoothes your brow?



Singular Love -- December 22, 1986


Those of us who believe in God

Know that God is not a he or a she

But a creative spirit, loving for eternity

Not time bound like you and me.

Yet it might

Seem so odd

To think of God, in singular love

Felt lonely, and created from that love

The earth below and heaven above

Time and eternity for you and me.



Stone Flower -- March 7, 1937


A butterfly of incandescent hue

A very erratic flight pattern flew

To settle near me on a stone

Just like a king upon a throne

And I who like to complain

About this world of pain

I learned from this butterfly

This wanderer from the sky

To live and take things as they are

As much as I have the power

To overlook the mud and see the star

To make a stone a flower.



As Our Candle Burns Out -- September 17, 1987


Light the candle, shutter out the hostile night.

For we must be gone before prying daylight.

No blazing fire to warm and make bright

As forty lost years we lovers requite.

Burn candle, Phallus and Pharos   

Heat and light

All small, but all we have left

The legacy of love long years bereft.

Seeking some warmth and light and respite

A journey’s end, united by war, parted by peace

We can never restore the blaze of our youth.

Sweet enemies then in Eleusian Glen

Now strangers who loved

And loved once again

As we put atrophied age to rout

Entwining transfixed as our candle burns out.



They -- January 13, 1976


The biggest sin is not lust or greed

But being blind to another’s need

To be unkind

The biggest need is not lack of food,

But lack of another to share your mood

To be alone

So you will find as you fret and moan

Through life

That it is not really your own

That he and she are you and me

That we are they and they are we.



To Mavorneen* on Christmas Eve -- December 24, 1975


Is life a journey or is it a goal?

Is life just a body, or has it a soul?

Can religion free me joyously like

Magi and the shepherds trustingly

viewing the infant child

Or futily must I go on boyishly

chasing the unattainable dream

The earthly queen

The vision that vanishes ever unseen

Whose ears are deaf to my questing keen



* Mavorneen is an Irish term of endearment for a girl or woman, meaning my darling.


The Angels Cry -- December 14, 1975


When grown-ups die,

The angels fly

To welcome them on high.

But in the sky,

When children die

The angels cry.



The Angels Smile -- December 14, 1975


When children cry

The angels frown up in the sky

But in a while

When children laugh

The angels smile.



Love Me Not -- August 4, 1938


Love me not for flirting eye

For feline grace, for supple thigh

For always knowing the right reply

For these will pass as you and I

Grow older, sit and dream and sigh.

But love me for you know not why

And you will love me until I die.



It’s Over -- 1976


It’s over, the verse is dried up.

It’s over; we’ve emptied the cup of our love.

It’s over; I’m through with you.

It’s over, that feverish woo.

Hawk and Dove

How do I know it’s over?

How do I know that we’re through?

That I’m no longer in love with you?

Well sometimes when my mind is free

I don’t hear your voice saying  “Anthony”

I don’t feel your arms caressing me.

I don’t feel your presence lovingly

I don’t think of you and me as we.

I don’t hear music or a couplet rhyme

For a whole five minutes or so at a time.



Don’t Pipe For Pan -- December 12, 1975


Don’t pipe for Pan, for he is dead

And all his panicked revelers fled

To seek new gods and music

Almost glad of his sad lithe life

For they had tired of his pipe

So will it be for me when

I fall deaf to your siren call

But till then, till then

Play the music, pour the wine

For we are almost out of time



To Florence Whyte in Heaven -- January 13, 1976


How oft alive did you hear me say

Florence, you get more lovely each day?

Don’t be coy, Please tell the truth

Have you found the fountain of youth?

Dear, now you are gone after too brief a stay

To return from whence you came

Where Seraphim play

And now you have youth through

The ages of ages

And share infinity’s of truths

With the wisest of sages.



Time and Eternity -- December 24, 1976


Time and eternity coexist

So why can’t I surmise

That as I grow older, my God does too.

He is wise, and will not judge me as I age

Like the stern-faced God of my youth

But aging Himself with wrinkles will smile

As I blunder, seeking His truth and say,

“Enter my anthropomorphic home in the sky,

Sweet failure, you succeeded,

You continued to try.”



The Judson Church -- July 24, 1976


The Judson Church on Washington Square

{You can see it through the woods over there}

“Is a renaissance Stanford White design

With windows by Defage”

The guidebook states

{The author is an architect and a friend of mine, too,

And I hope that the next time we meet he relates--

For you and for me, folks, too--

Just who was Judson, who?



Sestet, Sextet -- June 30, 1976


Part I

Tantalus, now I know how you felt

To be always so close yet denied

Sisyphus, if your stone were snow to melt

Would the gods take pity if you cried?

So relent, Mavorneen, make life worth living

For both of us to get love in our giving


Part II

Like Walter Houston in September Song

I don’t have time for the waiting game

We already have waited far too long

My fire is now more ember than flame

My coals still burn hot, the heat is strong.

If my heat is unused, then you are to blame.



Jesus, Son Of Man -- October 3, 1939


Part I

When He first went in public,

Did He cure the dumb, the blind,

Or did He help the embarrassed host

Whose guests were already well wined?

He did not scorn the fun and frolic

For he was not that kind

He went to join the wedding guests

Relaxed at ease and dined.


Part II


Is this the man that often sits down and dines with Mathew the publican?

The friend of the harlot whom all the town scornfully calls the Magdalene?

Those friendly eyes now blaze with fire

He who wouldn’t hurt a mouse

Whose wrath was felt of old by tyre

Whips those who defile His father’s house.



I Received a Postcard -- August 11, 1987


I received a postcard today from a friend

“Nuremberg Then” was pictured on top.

“Nuremberg Now”, the scene below.

The upper was the wasteland I had known

Left by our errant bombs we dropped in ‘45

Finding targets in churches and houses

In the old town center, somehow missing

The factories and rails, and marshaling yards

With careless aim or studied art

Paying back for London, Rotterdam, and Coventry

Below, the replicated churches

Newly old, a tourist sight.

Does God forgive us, when we replace the sacrificed churches?

Does God forgive us for the sacrificed lives of

Our cousins, then our bitter enemies

Who now again are friends, at least until the next time

Mars stirs his bloody pot of evil



Chickadees are Nesting in the Dogwood again -- March 20, 1987


The chickadees are nesting in the dogwood again

The day after Capistrano’s swallows return.

It’s the last time I’ll watch from this window on Long Island

And then I’ll call my Merrill Lynch stockbroker

To total up my daily loss or gain

A hell of a thing for a poet, I’ll grant that to you.

But poets have to live in retirement, too

And it gives me something a little risky to do

As Peggy, my smiling and lively wife

Try’s to enliven my bad-heart-paced life.

“It’s the last time”, I say

Because we’re selling and moving away

To a warmer climate and a smaller home

Easy to keep and more people around

At least, I hope that’s the reason

And not that I’ll be leaving Peggy alone

And we must part

Because it’s the final season of my tired heart.



Kevin Waved Bye-Bye -- March 20, 1987


Tonight Kevin learned to wave bye-bye.

So naturally, Peggy and I

Thought him a genius,

And made a great fuss.

A big fuss, because it’s no surprise,

That grandparents, so rhapsodize,

Except that Kevin is the tenth

Grandchild for us.



To Our Grandson Anthony Keller  -- July 18, 1987

on Graduation Day from Massachusetts Maritime Academy


How glad we are to see this day

A new generation on it’s way

A day of elation

Happy Graduation

From M.M.A to A.J.K.



Walkers -- January 21, 1940


People walking briskly in the snow

Be sure they have some place to go

For people walking slowly in the Spring

They’re out for the pure joy of the thing.



Epitaph -- January 21, 1940


Life was for me just a blind game of chance.

Dreading its harshness, I wished for romance.

Imagining things I wished there to be,

Dreams were my world, and they satisfied me.



Despair -- January 21, 1940


My mind was blind, my heart oppressed

For I could not see my way.

My life was just a terrible mess

And I wished that it might end.

Despair leaped to claim me.

Now from the past, I recalled with joy, my Friend.

How could I fail with Him by my side?

I knelt at the rail to pray.



The Prayer -- January 21, 1940


I haven’t’ been here for a long time, Lord.

But why should I say this to you?

You waited for me; You knew I’d be back.

Though I have been false, You stayed true.

I’m not at the top of the heap anymore.

My friends look the other way.

They don’t want to see me, to stop and talk,

For they don’t know what to say.

I thought I’d go crazy, trying to smile,

As though things were all the same.

There once was a time they all said hello

And called me by my name.

Well, I’ve taken it all, I deserved it I guess.

But now I feel strong again, when you, Lord,

And I are alive, side-by-side.

Why should I fear mere men?

I’ll be leaving now, dear Friend.

I’ll drop in each day to talk with you again.



World War One Attack -- January 24, 1940

  By an Irish Soldier


Attack at dawn, Sir.

The General says we must take position

And chase them to Hell.

No artillery support, Sir,

For headquarters feels that such a maneuver

Would practically tell the enemy that the offense is due.

But what of the wires?

Don’t the damn brass hats know that men will be slaughtered

If the wires still stand?

Tell them I said that the wires must go before I give any forward command. 

Tell them I’m expecting their answer through you.

I’ve been to the General, and he says he knows how you feel.

But he thinks that the loss of those who are shot

As they’re cutting the wires will be compensated amply

By the sudden attack against such a strong spot.

For such an advance, a thousand is few

We’ll give them hell,

I’m damned if I see

Why this European War should affect you and me.

Between the two sides, I’d pick Germany.

They never starved us, Mike,

Like they did. Did she?



The Poets -- May 21, 1940


The poets have sung of love and death

Since men have learned to sing

They’ve treated the subject so fully

That I’m left without a thing

To say except, that in my short-spanned life

I’ve found that they both contain a sting.



Last Sailing -- May 14, 1940


So it’s all over,

All over at last.

I knew it was coming,

But never so fast.

It comes like a breeze

Springing out from the west

And I like a ship

Am now put to the test.

I’m leaving here to venture abroad

To go out and meet

My long thoughtful Lord.

I’m crossing the last seas of life

To rest in His harbor

To put aside strife.

Good-bye, now mates

I see the gates,

The way is clear

Take care of yourself,

My darling, my dear.

Come smile with me girl….

That can’t be a tear!



The Girl -- June 30, 1940


Let youth love the young

Each to his age

For nature is harsh to the girl

And the sage

Who unwisely love.

Trust not your heart

To summer romances-

Her dimple demureness

Her shy frightened glances

The stars up above.

The cleaner his love,

The sweeter the girl

The sooner he’ll lose

His long thoughtful pearl.

His heart will break

For she who was flattered

By mature advances

Will softly whisper, at

One of the dances

“It was all a mistake.”



No Regrets -- June 30, 1940


She’ll marry someday without a regret

And never remember he didn’t forget.

So he lives alone.

Yet sometimes she thinks

That he looked rather strange

As he said with a fury

I love you my dear

Then he went home.



Flo Anagram -- September, 1940


Friend, she said, you’re just too late.

Leave me now, there’s the gate.

Oh, if it were only ‘38.



Without You -- July 3, 1940


Laughter and whispers

A kiss and a sigh,

Happy and carefree

The lovers go by.

He’ll gladly pull down

The stars from the sky.

They are two, not alone,

As I.

Laughter and shouts

The children at play

Pencils and books

All put away,

Enjoying themselves

The long summer’s day.

Oh yes, I laugh.

But I laugh without mirth

Surrounded by people

For there is no dearth

Of friends, but what are they worth?

Yet I am alone, alone,

Alone on the earth.



Winter, 1940


If walls have ears, then mine can tell

Of a life that’s become an earthly hell

Of blasted dreams, unsated desire

For they will be burned who play with fire.

If walls could speak, then mine would say

That I talked to you lovingly night and day.

Though my body remains in the room it’s true

The spirit has wings, it is not bound

And thus is that I have found

My peace, by psychic union with you.



How Much Do You Love Me -- August 17, 1939


How much do you love me?

You coyly ask, not knowing what you say.

For mine is hidden, but rooted deep,

While yours is just for the day.



On Contemplating the Snow -- December 3, 1939


I’ve wandered far through a field I know

My soul’s no longer white as snow

Unless the soot-stained slush of the city

Beaten, bruised, whipped, I ask pity.

Hurts my pride, never thought I’d bow

Lord, to you I cry

Please show mercy now.



To Dorothy Parker In Her Own Style -- June 17, 1941


I’ve read a lot of stuff you write

And think that some of it is junk.

In fact, D.P., Why be polite?

Let’s fight.

It’s just a lot of junk.



Two Flirts -- August 17, 1939


Part I   He to Her


Cheri je vous aime boucoup

But I know you can’t be true

Tu sei bella

But how does a fella got a show

When your heart belongs to so many men

That I get just a bit of it

And then, only

When I, faithful hound,

Am the only eligible one around?


Part II  She to Him


Cheri je bous aime beaucoup

That’s what you wish me to say.

But I’ve been around

And somewhere I found

That love speaks a language

That knows no sound.

Lux cordis mei.

That’s what you wait to hear me say now.

But I know that soon,

Someday you’ll laugh, (maybe now)

For that’s your way.

So I’ll just stay around, poor me.

Hoping that you, (You flirt), can see

That under my grin and careless way

I feel much more than I’d ever dare say.



To Theresa and John -- November 5, 1989


For forty-eight years in fair and foul weather

You two have sailed through life together.

For years to come may you both share

Weather that is always sunny and fair.



To Jackie Tierny -- November 3, 1989


Forget work.

Relax and play.

Not everyday

Is your Birthday.



Sunset -- November 1, 1989


Blazing Mohawk sunset

Swallowed by the night sky

I know you will rise again,

Will I?



Lighthouse -- November 3, 1989


Shatter Poseidon’s might

In your lonely fight

Great guardian of the shoals

Show your light

Phallus and Pharos

Erect to pierce the night

Show your light over the stormy foam

Lead the sailors safely home.



Friends -- January 2, 1990


I suppose there’s no reason for me to get upset.

Just because I didn’t hear

From you my dear.

No Happy Birthday, Christmas, or New Year.

After all, it’s no cause for tears

We’ve only been friends for forty odd years.



The Forked Locust Tree -- September 15, 1987


The forked locust tree in the yard is leaning.

It outlasted Gloria, and some other blows.

But a gentle wind or sprinkle of snow

Will bring it down someday

And with it the electric, phone, and TV

And we shall use it as firewood, more useful than I.

And someday my breeze or snow will drift in.

A quiet gasp from my weakened heart

I hope will whisk

Me to eternal bliss.



Wonder -- January 2, 1990


Where has my sense of wonder gone?

Was it when I merged my sense of right and wrong?



Lizard, Lizard on the Hot Stand -- December 3, 1987


Tan, tiny New Mexican lizard

Scurrying in my hot sand

Did you have fierce dinosaur ancestors

Who ruled the ancient land?

Did they survive some nuclear cataclysm

With altered diminished genes?

You know no past

No future care impedes your imperative now.

Which means to eat the beetle you just caught,

Only that all else is naught.

“Not so for me, unfortunately.

My memories are bad, my present is sad.

I look forward with dread to when I am dead”

So I muse observing the scene.

“Not so for me, unfortunately.

I enjoyed the past, the present is sweet,

The future will last till we meet.”

Reply’s Peggy, my wife and my queen.



Tom, Our Socrates or Our Gadfly -- October 27, 1987


Talker, writer with a heart of gold

Often a smiling helper, sometimes a scold

Making our lives more exciting each week

Keep looking, you’ll find the truth that you seek.



For Chris -- November 7, 1987


We wrote on our card so we could say

How we loved you at birth and even more today.



Benevolent Employer USA 1987


If you want to work here

You must give up smoking

And go on a cardiac diet

And not drool at nude pictures of Helga,

By Andy Wyatt

Or belong to a union, the wrong party, or bet

Or look at lingerie ads with a leer

Or drink whiskey, wine or beer

Or tolerate deviant sex

If you want a career.

Replied the applicant

Well, even with those restrictions

I’d like to try it.

Tell me, can I still blow in my wife’s ear?



Chance -- January 1988


Chance is a fools name for fate

Another year, still here

Unmoved, undead

Nothing done, just alive



Then and Other Thoughts-- October 1987


Every now and then I remember when

And I wish that if it were, then again.


God is the end

All else are means.


We might write our Latinate

But we make love in Anglo-Saxon.


Life is an adventure to be lived

Not a puzzle to be solved.


In those last five days we understood

One another better than in the last fifty.



I Did the Underpainting Carefully -- December 20, 1987


I did the underpainting carefully

the river Thames the old stone bridge

Fluently, I flowed the current strokes

I knew just what I wanted

Overpainting was easy and quick

As any painter knows

But I stopped before I finished

And hung it anyway, as it was

When people ask me why I say

It finished itself



Echoes, Begats and Slews -- January 1967


Abraham begot Isaac

And almost slew him

at God’s command

But killed the God-provided ram instead

And Isaac begot Jacob, who

had twelve sons who begot the dozen tribes

And Cane slew Abel

And Absolom slew Amen

because of Tarna

And Joeb slew Absolom

And slew Abner too

And Benia slew Jacob

He slew then at the altar of God

And Saul slew thousands

And David tens of thousands

Not only Goliath the foe

But his own Uria

Uranus begot the Titans,

Neptune and Jupiter too

And Jupiter, Athena, Venus, Apollo

And Cupid and Hercules

And Eve gave the apple to Adam

And Paris gave Venus the fruit

Agamemnon almost slew his daughter

Ifagenia at Diana’s command

But by Diana, a stag was substituted

And Hector slew Patricus

And Achilles slew Hector

And Amazon, Pentithalea

And was himself slain

By that same Paris

who started it all with Helen

And Marius, Sullivan and Caesar too

Slew and slew and slew and slew

And Brutus slew Caesar

And later slew himself

And so my history lesson for today

From various sources seems to say

Our story is beget and slay

So pray


Version 2


Now Eve gave the apple to Adam

And Paris said Venus you win

His reward was Helen in the Trojan war

And theirs original sin

So Isaac begot Jacob

Who had twelve sons

Who begat a noble race

Prince Absolom slew Amen’s brother

Bad vibes

Bad vibes

And Jacob

And later died by uncle’s spear

His father is general Joab

Who chosen people noble race

You all know that Cain slew Abel

But had you known Benia slew Jacob

at refuge in the holy place

Well Saul slew and slew

And David slew more

Do we really care which noble king

had slain the highest score?

Now Uranus begat the Titans,

and Neptune and Jupiter too

And Jupiter begat Diana, Venus, Apollo

And well, its true

He begat so many women that

Juno had a fit

So all, put down the curtain

and whistle over the love of it


Version 3 -- January 3, 1976


Abraham begat Isaac

his son and heir

And almost slew him

on the mountain where

Yala commanded the holocaust

But an angel saved the youth

And there was sacrificed instead

a ram from a nearby thicket snare

Agamemnon the king did not know the cost

Of killing Diana’s holy dear

And was forced to sacrifice

Ephaginia, his lovely daughter fair

But Diana repented

The virgin life to be lost

And substitute a stag instead

Nubile tossed



Begots and Slew -- January 3, 1976


When Eve gave the apple to Adam

And Paris said Venus, you win

His reward was Helen

and the Trojan war

And theirs was original sin

Now Uranus begat the Titans

and Neptune and great Jove too

And Jove begat Venus, Diana, and

Sad but true,

He begat so many women

that Juno had a fit

So we’ll just draw the curtain down

And whistle over the rest of it

Abraham begat Isaac,

his son and heir

And almost slew him on the mountain where

Yala commanded a holocaust

But an angel saved the youth up there

A ram was sacrificed instead,

from a thicket snare

Then Isaac and son Jacob begat

the dozen, the chosen tribes

And they prospered with their flocks

And they prospered as their

flocks and pastures grew

And sometimes they slew

and slew and slew and slew



Easter -- April 1936


He is risen from the dead

He is risen so they said

Now he lives to die no more

Let us sing a joyous song

Let us join that happy throng

Singing Christ the conqueror

Glorious he rose today

As will rise

All earth and clay

When this earthly life is over



Ingratitude -- April 19, 1936


Blow you cold March breezes chilling

You cannot hurt him now

For nothing is crueler

Than man unwilling

To God - man’s friendship

To avow



Gratitude -- June 7, 1936


What is gratitude, asked the little one?

Tell me, tell me coaxed my little son.

And I was forced to tell a tale instead

Of war and knights and sent him off to bed

Because I’ve learned that gratitude

Oft savers of little else

But more unexpected favors.



Repentance -- June 13, 1936


Forgive me, Lord for I repent

My sins of lust and pride

But when this earthly life is spent

Please, my God I tried



To EM in Heaven -- June 13, 1936


I can not hope to pass the

Sought-for portals of heaven

Open for some blessed morals

When all I did that ought was worth

Was love you on this wretched earth.





That droppeth from the azure heavens

Is the nectar of the Gods?



A Careless God on Heaven’s Blue Heights -- July 13, 1936


A careless God on Heaven’s blue heights

Drops his ambrosia all cupped worth.



Prayer of a Prairie Mother in Childbirth -- July 15, 1936


After the torrid day of pain

Thank God for the night and rain



Epitaph -- August 26, 1936


Beauty, art, and poetry

They were all and all to me



When I Was Born -- October 29, 1987


I was born on Michael Mass Day

They called it the first anniversary

Of Armistice Day in 1919,

And now it’s Veteran’s Day -

At Eleven A.M. and the Church bells peeled

And Grandma said

“Anna you have a prince

The whole world rejoice with you”

And the doctor suggested that I should be

Called Peace

But I was called Anthony for my father

And Carl for my mom’s father

And later my sisters said

I should have been called War



My Defense -- August 31, 1936


When Homer began composing lays

He had the songs of the other days

So if another’s verse is good

I’ll take them just as Homer would



Heard Somewhere -- August 31, 1936


Learn O dust to obey

Learn to humble thyself

Oh earth and clay



Ecstasy -- September 17, 1936


The baby sees the bubble fair

Ascending slowly in the air

He reaches, clutches

One and lo it breaks

The golden globe so fair

Must all ecstasy end so?



A Wish -- December 8, 1936


Oh Lord God make me half the man

My loving mother thinks I am.



Crusaders Exhortation -- December 13, 1936


Rise and fight men

With a prayer in your hearts

And a song on your lips

To the foe men

Fear no hardships

What is the loss of life?

If you die at the foot of the cross

With a glorious death makes amends

Death is just the gate

To a new life where await

Your friends.



You Sound Very Witty -- January 12, 1937


You sound very witty, it’s true

You are very witty, to you.



Advice -- 1937


Let the other speak his view

He may know a thing or two.



Advice -- January 20, 1937


A man who calls himself a fool

Should be watched

He isn’t one



Remember -- May 1936


If nothing is hotter than the sweatening heat

Of the summer’s sun

On the Macadam street

Remember with prayers the unfortunate ones

Who suffered the heat of a million suns.



City Dweller’s Reaction to Spring -- February 19, 1937


Spring has come

Ho Hum.



The Garden of Allah -- February 14, 1937


The Garden of Allah

That man forsook

No more upon his beloved to look

No more to feel her sweet embrace

No more to see her beautiful face

Can I not crush some knawing vice?

Can I not make my sacrifice?

Or shall I stay and pay the price.



Epitaph -- March 9, 1937


The murmur of death is near

Its language is strange

I do not understand

But this much I know of the language

It speaks

It has in it no such word as fear.



What is Life Worth Living For? -- April 3, 1937


What is life worth living for?

What’s a human less or more?

Well here are things which brighten life

A loving, thoughtful, vital wife

A beau’s sweet kiss

A friendly smile

A visit from a long lost pal

The sunset’s melancholy blaze

It rising glory to amaze

To see the home of your old gal

You ask what makes this life worthwhile?



Graveyard -- May 5, 1937


There are mournful rustles in our ear

Gentle zephyrs fill the air

We cross the graveyard full of fear

Afraid of ghosts who wander there

We haste our steps

With awe and dread

The warm breeze gives a ghostly chill

We know the living do us ill

And yet, like fools, we fear the dead.



The Pessimist -- May 9, 1937


Forgiveness cannot come to me, my God

For I have sinned too much.

I shall live my life to the hilt

And the give up to Satan’s clutch.



Poet’s Reflection -- May 20, 1937


When I was young I wrote of love

Not knowing what I tried.

When I was young I wrote of death

Though no loved one had died.

Today you find no trace of love or

Death as you read my poetry.

People notice this and ask

What brought so great a change in me.

Well, now I’m old and know that

Love can make this life excel

And I have seen my loved ones die

And I know death too well.



When Mother Fails to Understand -- August 3, 1937


When mother fails to understand

You cannot stand aside and smile

And hope that she will see things clearer

In a little while.

When mother fails to understand

And you must stoop to guile

That guile give way to hatred

In a little while.

When mother fails to understand

And youth cannot give in

Well, go your way youth

And smile and say

 I hate to hurt my mother

But my conscience tells me of no sin.



Worry is Folly -- August 19, 1937


Worry is folly

Come let’s be jolly

Whoop and holler

Scram melancholy

Though we ain’t got, by golly

a single dollar.



Convention is a Tyrant -- August 19, 1937


Convention is a tyrant

We won’t follow it

We’ll do as we please

Let the prudes have a fit.

Who care’s?

Life isn’t long so

just sing a song

and do as you please.

Follow that wish

Let the prudes complain,

and envy the fish.



If I Were God -- October 3, 1939


If I were God -

No blasphemy -

I know just what I’d do

I’d fix it for you and me

That all our dreams came true.



Why Do You Doubt Me Lover -- October, 1939


Why do you doubt me lover

For you shall never discover another

Who can see you as mother,

And wife for life

As I can clearly see you.

You are a part of me, my heart.



You to Me -- October, 1939


Why did God ever let us meet

When he knew it would cause us pain?

Well, why does he “ruin” a beautiful day,

by permitting it to rain?

Is it because the All Wise knows

That the beauty would disappear

If the rain didn’t cause the plants

To grow each year,

Understand, my dear?



For Pat -- 1939


Pat, said the dealer

As he looks at his hand

A flush that is royal

Is the best in the lSand.

Thus, felt the dealer in the game of life

Singling out the perfect wife.

Oh yeah, where?

Oh we can’t see

But there is such a one

Who lives or has lived

Under the sun.

Come you cynics, and I will show

That what I’ve said is true,

Meet Pat.





A Soldier’s Mother -- December 23, 1940


I smiled as I sent him off to the war

I smiled as I kissed him, with hand on the door.

How laughing he waved as he opened the gate.

Off to kill, KILL--and all without hate.

I waved, and I smiled, he knew not the cost

For I knew in my heart

That my loved one was lost.

He had gone away laughing,

Shouldering his gun.

What stranger would come back

In the guise of my son?



Suppose at First the Fish Don’t Bite? -- February 3, 1940


Suppose at first the fish don’t bite?

Do you discard your line and bait,

Or settle for the quiet fight

And undiscouraged sit and wait?

Suppose your life is just a mess

Your past a flop, your future black

Do you lie supine and acquiesce

Or face demands and like a man, fight back?

The flyer when the fog rolls in

Hiding the ground from view

Sets his plane on the beam and

Unafraid flies through.

So breathe and pray to the Pilot above

And He’ll take good care of you.



Pictures -- January 21, 1940


A youth grown old before his time, beaten by life,

Has slumped in the slum of the gutter.

A woman’s voice, a gentle smile,

and life was present for a while.



Divest -- January 21, 1940


“Money is power, get all you can.

What if you ruin your fellow man? “

 What good is money for men must die,

And they’ll put a thin penny on each staring eye



So Long, My Dear -- January 21. 1940


So long, my dear, it was fun for a while.

I understand. Yes, isn’t love strange?

“Don’t waken you a fool, get out of range.”

Until then, you smile.



To Peggy At Twenty-five -- August 19, 1946


It’s hard to believe you’re twenty-five

You look the same to me

If you don’t change for twenty-five more

It’s an angel you must be

Well an angels OK I always say

But how can one tell a he from a she?

So if it’s all the same to you

My dear

A woman is better for me



Anthony to Peggy -- March 4, 1960


How dimmed were the dreams of our youth

Though I never expected to see

Those vague amorphous yearnings becoming

A truth for me

The dreams were tattered and wispy

Like clouds torn before the breeze

The dreams were scattered and tipsy

Like scudding leaves from winter trees

Now my hopes are rekindled and brightened

And my dreams will live and come true

In the children we fostered unfrightened

In the fruit of my love for you



To Peggy on Mother’s Day – May 13, 1990


If I took all the verses from store – bought cards

They might sound silly and funny

So I’ll just say “I love you my dear”

And save a whole lot of money



To Peggy on Her Birthday – August 26, 1993


Another year has raced around, so fast, so fast

But you don’t look a bit older this year than last

And your radiant smile

Shines for many a mile

To light up my life

My darling wife

I tell you true

I love you!


Our passion seemed so hot it could not last

But it did as over fifty years flew past

And still the flame warms me and you

Yes, lovers still and now best friends too!



To Peggy from Anthony


I loved you when we were young

And as we got older, I loved you more

My wife that I adore

Now I love you more than ever

On our wedding anniversary




To Laurie and Chris – July 1991


On this happy thirteenth of July

May God’s blessings pour down from the sky

On the Keller’s new daughter and the Nichol’s new son

That together for years as husband and wife

They will enjoy a long and happy life!

Now let us share those blessings

Please rise everyone

And on this first day of their wedded bliss

Let’s all join in a toast for Laurie and Chris


This prothalomion for Laurie and Chris comes

With special blessings from Mom and Dad Keller




To My Big Sister, Anna,

    Sr. M. Antonia Keller O.P. RIP - October 19, 1991


So long, Anna, big sister, mighty mite

Who taught me to do my nails

And taught me how to fight

No matter how wrong I was

You saw my side.  

You are reunited with Christ who took

You as his bride

You escaped Alzheimer’s clutches and its long

And killing might

To where pop is waiting in

Heavens eternal light

Far above earthly strife

With Mom and the others to

Enjoy eternal life.



To Peggy as She Reaches that Biblical Age – August 26, 1991


How often on your birthday

Have I wished you a happy life?

As mother of the family and as my dear wife?

So often that you do not want to count

The years and total up the amount.

But why?

You still have that smile and those sparkling blue eyes

That say that the naughty calendar lies!



Christmas - 1993


Hip, Hip, Hooray

Today is Christmas Day

But no jingle

From this Chris Kringle

This is folding money




To Peggy on Mother’s Day – May 8, 1994


How many times have I said

You are the greatest wife and mother

Now I say this yet another time

Wife and lover

How glad I am that you are mine


Once again I am lucky enough

To greet you on another Mother’s Day

 and say

That you have made my life


By being my wife



Welcome to the Family – September 24, 1994


Hayley Lynne granddaughter dear

May you grow in wisdom and love

With each succeeding year.

And may you have a thousand smiles

For every little tear.



Welcome to the Family – July 27, 1994


Joseph Anthony grandson dear

May you grow in wisdom and love

With each succeeding year.

And may you have a thousand smiles

For every little tear.



Thomas Sully – October 7, 1994


Thomas Sully, when you painted

That haughty, cold lady

Eliza Willing Something, Something.

Did you ever dream that a century and a half later

At Clark Institute she mutely would say to me

“Free me from this painted prison

I may look as cold as winter ice

But more than my name is willing

I am the capped cauldron of a volcano

Come release me and we will erupt together!” 



November 2, 1994


Today is Eileen’s birthday

Our daughter forever two.

Taken back to be an angel

She would be forty-three.

That was the day our youth died too

O what a loss for Peggy and me.


Oh how I cried when Eileen died



Relive - January 23, 1993


“Relive the best years of your life, Enjoy these World

War II songs”, the TV pitchman chants.

“Those years of death and misery?” I think. “Best years”

I think. “Horrible years – Pearl Harbor, Bhutan, Burma,

Normandy, Berlin, Dresden, Stalingrad, Hiroshima.”

Enough sorrow for all.

Yet the songs were pleasant.

Memory is kind; it softens out the terror and horror.

Now fifty years later war still rages,

Limited war though death is just as final to the victims as was the Big War 

Arabia, Sarajevo, Bosnia, Somalia, India, South Africa

I smile despite the gore,

The pleasant memories remain

For we were young and youth has no limit



To Peggy – August 26, 1994


Happy birthday dear

Another year

Has not diminished your radiant smile

And may it continue to shine

A long, long time

And I live to be here to receive it

You better believe it!



Dear Peggy – March 4, 1992


Another year that we shared dear

We’re going to the Keys for fifty-one

Here’s some cash to have some fun.



To Stephen and Liz


On this eleventh day of September

A day we will all remember

With Hazel and Jim and Ted and Eileen

Joined together to smile on this scene

As Liz and Stephen start married life

As happy newly-wed husband and wife

Let’s raise our glasses

Let the champagne fizz

As we drink a wedding toast

To Stephen and Liz!



Across the Years


Across the years I will walk with you

In deep green forests, on shores of sand

And when our time on earth is through,

In heaven, too, you’ll have my hand.





To Peggy, My Wife – August 9, 1941


Pay me no heed dear when I shout

And glare and throw my arms about

Don’t you hear the ocean roar

While caressing his wife, the shore?

Let not my words dear, tear your sweet heart

Tis only a husband, playing the part

Stay as you are – in disposition, I mean

Your views will matter, your judgment grow keen

Your body will change.  Let your love stay the same

And I’ll wish nothing then, neither riches nor fame.




Dear Margaret – March 4, 1991


There is not much new

To say today

Our birthday greeting

Is tried and true

We feel blessed

As our years grow few

To have a loving big sister

Like you!



To Peggy After Eight Years


We seemed so young – eight years it is now

Yet still no wrinkles furrow your brow

Can it be dear

That sweetness and light

Is ultimately right

And an occasional tear

Just smoothes your brow?



To Peggy on Valentines Day – February 14, 1995


Another year, another Valentine year

How many Valentines have I written you my dear?

It seems that I would run out of things to say

On Valentines Day, or any day

But that is not true,

Because you are eternally new.



To Peggy From Anthony – March 4, 1981


For forty years now, dear, we’ve shared

Our lives, our problems halved when paired.

Redoubling pleasures, so beguiling

Together always, I riling

You smiling.



To Peggy – December 24, 1976


After thirty five years,

There’s not much to say

I love you, my dear,

Have a great Christmas day!



See Life Begin – August 27, 1987


“See Life Begin” the 4H sign promised

Us into the show

Children and parents, we all crowded around

To gawk at the hatching chicks

Painfully breaking out of their shells

In a few minutes some were out already

We had seen life begin

Anothers end as one was pecking

Its weak sibling to death.


“See Life Begin” the 4H sign promised

We gawked at the hatching chicks

And saw life end too

The Altamont Fair

Sounds like a kid’s affair

And maybe it is, and I am too

Prize saws, and rows of homemade jams

Chat with the sargis, the magician



To Peggy – February 14, 1991


Not just on Valentines Day,

   but all year round

I’m convinced that I never

  could have found

A better lover for my whole life

I’m glad I have you for my wife.



Greetings to Grace of the Smiling Face – August 25, 1991


To Grace Marie, the busy bee

Who plays for us in the la-la

Who in five minutes or less

Can make a giant mess

And still make you smile all the while



Michael Anthony Keller – Welcome, Welcome, Welcome – August 25, 1991


Michael Anthony

Welcome to the family tree

Of believers in the Trinity

The sacred mystery

Almighty Infinity

One, yet three

The sacred mystery



To Peggy – August 26, 1990


We all know how great you are

As Mom, grandma, great gram and wife

And we wish you a long, carefree

And peaceful life,

As I reveal in telling in only rhyme

That you’re thirty-nine for the thirtieth time!



Lighthouse Painting – November 3, 1989


Shatter Poseidon’s might in your

     Lonely fight

Bright guardian of the shoals,

     Morn and night.

Pharos and Phallus erect   

     To pierce the night.



So Long for a While - January 2, 1941


So long for a while

Peggy my dear

Now what is that pet?

It can’t be a tear

Just a few days – about ten, I’d say

After all, it’s not a year

So long – you’re mine, divine

Think of me




Together – December 27, 1940 10PM


Nothing can make any difference dear

We belong together – our path is clear

But I’m afraid – I admit my fear –

I’m weak – too weak – when you are near



Sunset – November 1, 1989


Blazing Mohawk sunset swallowed by

The night sky

I know that you will rise again

Will I?



Tap Dance – March 12, 1996


I was ten and she was the same

I never even learned her name

She was a sight, pig tails and short pants

And had a tap-tap, tip-tap tap dance

At a social in our Parish Hall

Since then I’ve added sixty years to my boyhoods ten

We never even met

But I remember her yet.



Forty-ninth Anniversary - March 12, 1990


Everyone said,

“It’s a long time to be wed”

But forty-nine is just a start

I gave my heart forever

And never will anything sever

You and me



Beth – April 18, 1995


Welcome Beth to another year

Full of smiles and good cheer

Of raising Joey to be a good boy

To bring us all big smiles and joy

And improvements in your life

Without stress and strife

We wish success

And happiness to Beth.



As I was Saying – Dedication


To my parents Anthony and Anna Keller

Who gave me life

And to my wife Peggy who’s shared my life


Thanks to Laurie, Chris and Family



To Peggy on our Fiftieth Anniversary – March 4, 1991


Maybe I’ve said it all before

How each year I love you more

How I’ve had a richer and happier life

Because you are my loving wife.

We have enjoyed a full life together

With a few storms but generally fair weather.

With nine children plus grand and great

That started with a Block Party date.

I love you now at forty and ten

Even more than way back then.



Jack and Tara


We gather to say

May you be as happy forever

As you are this day

Later in the party we may sing

Tara ra boon tie ay

But now lets all make a toast

To a happy Wedding Day



To Peggy “Happy Mother’s Day” – May 14, 1994


“Happy Mother’s Day”

How many times have I said that dear

Each time representing another good year

And a new one to come just as good

If you get what you should.


Love from




Happy Birthday – August 26, 1995


How often have I said, dear

Happy Birthday for another year

You are simply the best mother

All the children, they want no other

You are the best wife

The joy of my life

And I know we will be together




To My Family – February 14, 1953


If I ever become poor

My wealth will be

In a loving family

But we’ll be happy I’m sure

        To Anthony






Love, Daddy



Thank the Lord – November 11, 1994


Thank the Lord

I’m not bored

I’m seventy five

And still alive  



What Should I Say – Spring 1994


What should I say

“Have a good day”?

We part in neither joy nor sorrow

We have no tomorrow

Or even today

Just yesterday



To Peggy on Mother’s Day – May 8, 1994


How many times have I said

You are the greatest wife and mother

Now I say this yet another time

Wife and lover

And I am glad that you are mine.



Mother’s Day – May 8, 1994


Once again I’m lucky enough

To greet you on another Mother’s Day

And know

That you have made my life


By being my wife


From Anthony


I may run out of words

  But not out of love



Cages – June 11, 1988


The sun rises, the sun sets

Interminably through the ages

And we charge off to work each day

In our air conditioned cages



Prayer – June 11, 1988


When we were busy in our prime

Our work was our prayer each day

But now as we’ve slowed to the golden time

Our work has become to pray.


(Idea after my sister Margaret (78) said that

   She has plenty of time to pray.)



For Amanda Lynn Taylor – July 20, 1989


Here’s Andy Panda

For sweet Amanda

He calls to say

Have a smiley day

From great grandma and pa

For you are our dear

Whether we are near

Or far



Lizard Legend on the Hot Sands – December 3, 1987


Tiny New Mexican lizard

Scurrying in my hot sand

Did you have fierce dinosaur ancestors,

Who ruled this ancient land?

Did they survive some nuclear cataclysm

With altered, diminished genes?

You know no past, no future care

Impedes your imperative now which means

To eat the beetle you just caught

Only that, all else is naught.



The Pessimist - December 3, 1987


“Not so for me


My memories are bad

My present is sad

I look forward with dread

To when I am dead.”


(So I muse sadly observing the scene)


The Optimist – December 3, 1987


“Not so for me


I enjoyed the past

The present is sweet

And the future will last

Until we meet.”


(Replies Peggy my wife and my queen)



Strawberries – February 5, 1990


We went to pick strawberries

My wife and I bent

In the heat of a

Florida field almost spent

It was a good excuse and the

Price was right, fifty cents,

For dollars at the supermarket

Our few minutes of strawberry picking

Made us feel for the migrant pickers

Making a living in the same field

A few weeks often six

But there is more to the story than this



To give us a handful of the best

Picked fruit



In This Heaven – August 29, 1987


Now in my children, all their lives established

My Immortality is somewhat self-assured

And if my faith should prove much fact not fiction

Although I had a start some part of me should never have no end

I guess that will just have to be enough for me

And shall outlive this time bored with all and simply be

Heaven must be better



To Peggy – August 26, 1991


How often on your birthday

Have I wished you a happy life

As mother of the family and as my dear wife?

So often that you don’t want to count

The years and total up the amount.

But why?

You still have that smile and those sparkling blue eyes

That say that the naughty calendar lies.



To Tony – February 24, 1991


From the Florida palms to the Hawaiian palms

We send this painting with love

Praying that on your birthday and evermore

You receive all blessings from God above.



Morikami Falls – March 12, 1990


I like Morikami Falls in Delray Beach

And they are a whole lot more fun to reach

Than the head of the Rising Sun

So I added a bird and lifted the Falls up

And put some Florida color in each cup

To have some tropical painting fun.



Mohawk Sunset


Mohawk Sunset blazing into the swallowing dark

But will I see you again tomorrow

I wallow to my end in my leaking ark

Can I believe that like you

I will arise again too?



Joseph’s Birthday – July 27, 1995


On your birthday, we very both say

Joseph, you are the best

And we are blessed

To have you around little Cory!

When you are happy

We are happy too

Because we love you.

We pray that you

Will always be the best, Joseph!


                      Grandma and Grandpa




Mom and Dad and Kathleen and Jack – Sept. 14, 1993


We have had you both, your life

Through thirty four years as mom and dad, husband and wife

Seldom said in times good and bad

As your love endured

You always made us glad

That we had

You in our family

And now through foul and fair weather

We wish you many more happy years together



Birthday Math – August 26, 1991


I don’t understand this new math

When thirty seven and ten

Plus one

Can add up to only thirty nine?

I don’t know but that is the bind

Of birthday math

Used by that great wife of mine.



Birthday Math 2 – August 26, 1991


How can thirty seven and ten plus one

Add up to only thirty-nine?

I did hear that is the birthday math

Used by that great wife of mine.