Turn the name, upside down,
and it is, of course, rightfully so:
She carries us, in part,
as an egg.
A funny fish attaches
and human is created afresh
Each and every single one
And so we grow
hidden away
protected and nourished
and grow
and grow
some fateful day
it’s time
A tiny human emerges
sucks in air and breathes
then sucks in food
from mom
Held and nurtured
in every way
mom and child together
Up on two little legs
junior hangs on to…mom’s leg
hides behind…mom’s leg
Little arms reach for the sky
and mom picks him or her up
Oh, do they ever…
play ‘pick up’! 
Two days later
it’s ‘Pick up from school!’
Two days more,
and she watches
junior at the wheel
driving off to college
And a thousand prayers later
she watches
junior drive off…to a honeymoon
Wow!  Mom!  Grandma!
Selah 9/2014
Great is Thy Faithfulness


The  American Farmer…Today


I know them.
Individuals, couples, teams.
I watch them, study them
with fascination and respect
Indeed there are rich soils
that mother them, father them
Sustain them,
keep them going
Most of them
just do their jobs
quietly, not in the newspapers
and not on tv
The teams they create
the contributions that are made
are truly amazing
Food is taken for granted here
the luxuries of meat prevail
beef, pork, chicken and turkey
fill grocery coolers…always
taken for granted
One farmer feeds himself or herself
and sets free 152 others
to use their gifts, find their niches
mostly in our cities
Nearly every local farmer
has a mate for life
together they are teams
side by side at church and meetings
side by side along life’s highways
In and out the driveways
salespersons of every ilk come and go
some delivering fuel, machinery, plant foods and more
I count some 80 team mates and more
lawyers, doctors, nurses
technicians of every sort
educators, past and continuing
I can see all their faces
Then there’s the neighbors
every team of them exceptional!
A farmer wears a lot of hats!
They volunteer, serve without pay
in a myriad of ways
making this whole thing tick
It starts and ends with the soil
Beginning with Adam, the rest of us are born
to study and work the soil, mother earth giving
Father earth stern with consequences
we grow our food for our seasons
then return to the soil
becoming a part of it
Haven’t we always been
aren’t we always now
a part of the soil
married in ways we are just now learning
The bacteria that live in us, that live in the soils
play their parts in living soil, in living beings
Yet we are more, as
we think and can learn
and ponder higher things
Creation constantly unfolds
revealing a Creator
From around the world
a stream of people come
to study us
Why do we have abundance
while so many live hungry?
The American farmer
lives the answers.
Come watch with me….
Lin, post harvest, 2014

The  American Farmer…Today2022-09-03T14:52:50-04:00



More than a brother and a sister
they come to share
burdens and joys
and their hands
They lift and carry
cook and drive
working with us side by side
Two by fours
with those basic parts
something more, better, more quickly
This week two million pounds of corn
harvested, transported
Early morning coffee, breakfast
lunches brought to the fields
dinners late together
around the family table
Ah, it can be good,
when friends work together
two twos becoming four
Well done!
You did it!
Enjoy the rain rest!
Lin, Harvest 2014, Lin and Kay, Bruce and Linda


At Ease


Welcome words
to the soldier standing in line
He showed up early, early, early, for formation
Drill Instructor fudged for early
Shavetail lieutenant fudged for early
and our recruit was being cautious!
So there he was
standing in formation
spit spot all shined
waiting, waiting, waiting
Company, TEN HUT!!!
Eyes forward, don’t move!
“Sir!  Yes Sir!”
Finally, “Company!  At Ease!
Springtime, early morning dark
farmers are stirring
birds are chirping pre dawn
Out of bed, out the house,
shed doors roll open
Engines come to life
deep toned diesels throbbing
almost like horses pawing, anxious
for inspection
Put ‘er in gear
pull back on the throttle
Roll, baby roll!
The smell of fresh stirred earth
the sun warming the soil
seeds dropping into soft, moist sanctuary
Back and forth, fill the planter
back and forth all day
Sun going down
lights on
back and forth
Seeds sprout quickly
shoots poke through the surface
like swimmers bursting from the deep
leaves unfold and stretch to the sun
growing like crazy, happy
A giant switch somewhere
stops the growth, cries ‘It’s finished”
and a crop is ready for harvest
Once again, early morning
farmers hit the roads
fields offer up their bounty
grain pours into harvesters
into trucks
into trains
into ships
and then
“At Ease” comes to the fields
and to the farmers
Corn stubble, bean stubble
stand like sharpened sticks
with carpeting of leaves comforting the soil
The farmer and his fields settle down
a farm cat snuggles its nose into his arm
in the home, a little one tucks her soft face
into her daddy’s neck
mama smiles, knowing
All is well, all is well….
Lin, at ease, post harvest 2014

At Ease2022-09-03T14:52:51-04:00

October 2012


“Where has October gone”?
asked a friend in agriculture.
“It’s been graced with sprinkles,
laced with showers again and again.
Cold weather, warm weather,
hurry then wait
while crops and soils dry out.”

The raindrops bind the harvesters
keeping them in their pens
their masters under roofs
Desk work and meetings often the fare
when normally they’d be in the fields
But even with the interruptions
some farmers are ‘getting done’.

Translated that means harvest completed,
as a farmer’s work
like that of a homemaker
is never done!
They just move on to the next task!
Seasons blending into years
for crops and people alike.

Individual initiative is inspiring
as the farmers roll with the punches:
combining soybeans in a pond!
Our new machines with giant tires
can smooth across the soil
so different from long ago.

December 7, 1941
Dad and grandpa were harvesting soybeans
or trying their best to!
A tractor pulled a combine
both were getting stuck
so another tractor and a chain hooked on
all wheels churning, struggling on.
December 1966
Step dad and I and a new combine
self propelled now, no tractor pulling,
would get stuck, back out, and try again
a different spot
Mercy! What ruts the wheels dug out!

October 2012
Smooth purring giant combines
sailed along on wet soils
even going through some water
no stopping, charging on
to harvest complete!

Wonderful machines!
Great progress!
The weather’s still a challenge,
but we are gaining!
We are gaining!
Designers and engineers,
factory workers and local dealers
an economy that makes it work
with the farmers, all in harmony,
doing it better…every year!

Selah, Lin 2012


October 20122022-09-03T14:52:51-04:00

Sunday on Monday


Agreed we can’t live on and in the Sabbath!
Sunday is a special day, for certain sure,
with soaking in Words of the ages
wisdom for all ages
and remembrance, precious,
of one who died for us, for me
So we come to Monday!
How can we have a bit, still, of Sunday,
as we trudge through the week.
Nasty deeds, nasty words
swirl around us
sometimes become the slangs and arrows
that injure us, hurt us.
Brothers and sisters can help us
maybe it’s at breakfast,
when a brother asks:
“Would you pray?”
and the food gets blessed
and so do we
so do I
Both arrows and comforts fly
and we ourselves can send them
A smile of thanks
a pause, a look,
a timely word
can help us on our way
Monday and every day
we’re built that way
So the Wise One spoke
teaching his fellows (and us)
to pray in  this manner,
recognizing who we are
and who He is
and He was here, in the beginning
creating the world from chaos
Selah, Wednesday, day after election, November 2014

Sunday on Monday2022-09-03T14:52:51-04:00

Fixed Right


Sometimes things don’t work
presenting a great adventure!
Jump on the problem!
Be a grizzly bear!
make it right right now!
Sometimes that doesn’t work!
Try, and try again
and still it’s just not right
and you know it
On the phone again
and again
try this, try that
Along comes a fella
a thinker type
He studies the problem
reads the problem
Gets inside it, with fresh eyes
‘I think it’s ______,” says he.
Order parts, wait.
Parts come in, put ’em on.
Fixed right!
What a bit of happiness!
Sail along freely
Machine humming, farmer humming
“Oh what a beautiful morning!”
On through the day
on into night
good lights shining brightly
neighbors out too
Ah, flashers galore going down the road
Somebody’s heading for the barn
Careful!  Slow moving vehicle
Big, wide and long
Great to be a farmer!  One more round towards victory! Lin
Selah, harvest, 2014


Fixed Right2022-09-03T14:52:51-04:00

Corn King and Queen


A fascinating plant
Maize, or corn
The tassel high on top
in its time throwing pollen
Light but loaded, floating down to…
Just in time the silks
Little tubes in waiting
each to carry a single pollen grain
in to a special place
an egg in waiting
The two become one, and a kernal is born
Anchored just so, to a life sustaining spot
Protected very well in a hidden place
beneath blankets called shucks
500 kernals grow
each one loaded with genes
each gene a particular, specific fellow
with work to do, in a team
Maybe the tassel is the kingly crown
but it wouldn’t be much
without the ear, the queen!
Together they really are something
From one colonel, er, kernal,
and one egg, a queen
500 children of mom and dad!
Think about that!
And the tiny mustard seed
that grows into a small tree!
Now think about the super ‘weeds’
that throw off 600,000 to a million seeds!
Secrets to unlock!
What are we waiting for?
Prepare, study, learn, discover!
We know so much
We know so little
And we get too soon old
and too late smart!
and think about it
Think about a sunrise, a sunset
and offer praise
to the Creator
Selah, Lin, Harvest 2014

Corn King and Queen2022-09-03T14:52:51-04:00



Rain rest election day 2014
I’m on it.
Judges sit in a row
My name is on the scroll
In the book of life political
I’m in!

Two pages of issues
4 billion spent
Darken the circle
Darken the doors
Be there

I show up once
Winners show up for years
Who will we appreciate
For jobs done well?

Around the world
It’s not done this way
The right to vote’s
Been written in blood
The ability to choose
Is ours

The enormity staggers me.
I make my marks
So the candidates can make theirs…

Selah Lin “I voted!” 2014



Grand Grace


Dark plus 2
I walked to my nearby truck
the prairie was quiet
after a day of roaring harvest machines
The sky was bright with stars
more than I could ever count
what a display of span
so grand I stood held fast
I was standing on the soil
in a field my great grandpa farmed a hundred years ago
I’ll bet he stood under those same stars
and was also held fast
same as I
And my grandpa too!
Same soil, same field, same stars,
he would have gazed and been struck
at the beauty, the wonder of it all

And my dad, who farmed the same field
stood on the same soil
and after dark some harvest night
would have stood under those same stars
God’s grace is everywhere
above us
all round us
our challenge is to stop
and soak it in
Selah, Lin night harvest sky on the prairie, 2014


Grand Grace2022-09-03T14:52:51-04:00

Shifting Gears


The farm, well mechanized,
has lots of tires, lots of motors,
and lots of shifting transmissions,
shifting gears
As seasons shift
so must we
to match our efforts
to changing tasks
Winter has us pondering
computing and thinking
How to make the numbers work
Changing prices, inputs and outcomes,
somehow we need more ‘leftover’
more income than outgo
So we make our plans
and launch
Into springtime
the glorious bursting forth of life
of seeds into mothering soil
of plants growing like crazy
and war against weeds, insects and disease
Shifting gears, summer slides in
more sun, warmer sun
summer rains just in time
and preparing for harvest
Shed doors fly open
and machines roar to life
House sized machines come out
groomed for enormous tasks
of devouring, sifting and sorting
and delivering the goods

Once again long hours
workers glued to seats
Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen hour days
before sun up, to after sun down
with better and better lights
and machines that guide by satellite
yet need our eyes and ears
Seasons of shifting gears
decades of doing it better
more efficiently
more productively
What a privilege we have
with freedom and capitalism
to study hard, earn, and return
giving thanks
Time to shift our gears
it is, indeed, Thanksgiving time!
Selah,  Lin 2014


Shifting Gears2022-09-03T14:52:52-04:00

Rainy Daze


Days of rain during harvest
give us a time to rest
But all too quickly we begin to wonder
“Where’s the sun?”
We peer at the darkened, cloudy sky
and wish for the warming, drying sun
So critical for harvest happening
Rain storms pass by
with wind, lightning and thunder
as we watch, helpless
the cornstalks jerk and lean
heavy ears at risk
Hang on!
Don’t twist and turn and break!
Truth be told
the sun is there
just waiting above the earthbound clouds
the clouds will rush away
and the sun will work again
So wait, uh, patiently!
That’s so hard!
Get ready, to run and pounce
work and laugh and share
The earth comes with seasonings!
Selah, Lin, harvest 2014

Rainy Daze2022-09-03T14:52:52-04:00

Tween Rows


Horses chose corn row widths
way back when
The horse’s rump determined the gap
to allow the horse and farmer passage
Over the years things change
and others stay the same
We’ve gone from 40 down to 30
and some even down to 20
as machines replaced the horse’s hinny
the goal to capture sunlight
a skill in which the corn leaves excel
Corn becomes a forest
lush and dense as any jungle
except the rows make pathways
used by man and beasties
The farmer checks his corn
walking, stopping , studying
sometimes even with a lens
noting bugs and diseases thievery
pollination and yield guesses
Then comes fall
Giant harvesters house sized moving
Eight and twelve rows wide swaths
twenty or thirty feet paths
back and forth they go
sifting, sorting, down to the seeds
the treasures of food, fuel and fiber
that makes it all worthwhile
Little critturs scurry, tween rows,
running along in the pathways
stopping and looking
“Here it comes!”
running further and further
between the rows
not able to think or see
safety is to the side
oh so close
they stay between the rows
Are we, like them
too often just tween the rows
not thinking, seeing
better ways, safety?
Are we following some long gone rump
instead of turning left or right?
Ah, tis easier
to follow the path
some ho hum horse trod
that became a human highway
and we don’t even know why
Lin, harvest 2014
following a rabbit tween rows
thinking about the tension between: sports and scholarship

Tween Rows2022-09-03T14:52:52-04:00

Garden Walk


A world of color
and shape
and texture
and size

Brought from catalogs
from other gardens
from other places

Brought together
in fine imagination
becoming reality
as paintings are painted
master gardeners sculpt in plants

Beds and borders
raised and sunken
terraced and potted
arranged just so
the creations bloom
and shower color
and bring us pleasure

Once a year
the gardens open
visitors stream
to gaze and ponder
savor and enjoy

Recognizing hard work
matched with creativity
the gardeners gather
to ooo and awe
The soil so wooed
with seed and sun
food and labor
sends forth the fruits
to make it so

our tiny understanding
So pleasing
the Garden Show

Lin 06/05


Garden Walk2022-09-03T14:52:57-04:00

The Rest of the Story


Evening in the city
my experienced friend the driver
Heather and I in her BMW speed along
brake hard and speed again
the sea of cars and people ebb and flow at rush hour
To the Reception!
People from around the world
a mix of winners and judges and The Company
Interesting and fascinating folks
Argentina, China, Hungary
America and the Americas
Asia, Europe, talking, sharing
Weather and crops, home,
What’s new? What’s exciting?
Every person with a passion for agriculture
Discoveries and actions, results
Sustainable Yield Pledge Awards…
the Rest of the Story
Brett and Deborah,
Heather and Michelle and Linda
Jesus and Pablo
Robert from Cornell and Yale
Kim who knows his ‘bees-ness’
John, the publisher, writer, editor…farmer
Viktor from Ukraine and children interests
Anna from Sweden, and
Marisa, Buenos Aires and Geneva,
mix in Billy from Missouri Corn Growers,
and Lin, a farmer from Illinois…
Who put their feet under a table
and ate together in St. Louis
Morning at headquarters,
a quick rehearsal, seats assigned,
visiting with the team from Hungary and a team from India,
a team from Argentina, and then
Jesus, vice president, The Company, in Argentina:
         ” Good Morning!”
Indeed it is! as he skillfully shares
a man with passion for science
passion for people who need to eat
for people who create and do
To the Awards!
A trophy 14 inches tall, a gold leaf, fitting:
adequate, healthy sustainable food is better than gold
Congratulations and a picture with the President
a reward for doing more with less
in a Sustainable Yield way
Efficient use of water
increased yield of crops
even a program to excite STEM
(Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in education)
(Please expand that to STEAM- add Agriculture for a hungry planet!)
This just a taste of
The Rest of The Story…about a company
where responsible research creates
Monsanto, the People 

The Rest of the Story2022-09-03T14:52:57-04:00

Empty Chairs


It hits hard
    the empty chair
    staring at us
A ghost sits there
    partially filling
    memories reaching out to us
A brave person sits next
    going on, keeping on
    carrying two new burdens
One the missing touches, embraces
    that link humans heart to heart
The other a thousand things
    the missing one did, would be doing
As time goes by the empty chairs increase
    numbers at funerals decrease
    those ‘on the other side’ grow
    those showing up moving slowly, carefully
    with canes and walkers and wheelchairs, assisted
Chapters close, books finish
    we lay them aside, or
    put them on a shelf, to gather dust
From dust we became
    and so return
    our fingers leaving marks
    my hands become my grandpa’s
    and I see them in my grandson’s…
Selah, Lin June 2014 
I got a jolt just yesterday.  A five star energetic lady, Nancy Strunk, recently lost her husband Duane.  At a meeting of the Farm Bureau legislative committee where she and Duane were regulars, she was sitting there with an empty chair next to her.  Just happened.  But the empty chair was ‘talking to me’, grabbing me by the throat.  They met and fell in love at the U of I, married, raised kids and worked side by side.  Now there are grandchildren.  And an empty chair.

Empty Chairs2022-09-03T14:52:57-04:00

The Alleluia Chorus


Indeed there are tears of sorrow
shaking us in our core
spontaneously erupting
After all
Jesus wept
Peter wept
The mothers and those who loved Him wept
Death sometimes swallows not just the deceased
but those who go on living
in the deep dark shadows of separation
touch stolen
living and breathing but not whole
This background was added to
by unjustness, evil
pouring out, anger unleashed
by torture
The worst that cruelty could image
was done
The stone was rolled away…
the grave cloths left
the story of the ages unfolded, as foretold
Christ has RISEN!
No wonder, then,
that warm tears of joy pour forth
that we must sing
must sound trumpets and tyrannies
Hope born was murdered
but rose from the grave
walking, talking, breaking bread
appearing again and again
making a way for us
to live victoriously
prepare for you, for me,  a mansion
and open the doors of heaven
So here we join the Alleluia chorus
for just a tiny whiff
of life forever
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Selah, Easter, 2014 

The Alleluia Chorus2022-09-03T14:52:57-04:00

The Annual Meeting


Four degrees above zero
but the cars and pickups are rolling in
It’s a hardy bunch, these farm folks!
Not to be dissuaded by some bitter cold
Plenty of smiles at the check in desk
plenty of ‘Good to see you’ words being spoken
as the coat room fills to overflowing
The president gets the nod
taps on the mike
and the evening begins
“Welcome to the One Hundred Second Annual Meeting
of the Champaign County Farm Bureau”
and the faces of three hundred turn to see
A very spry eighty year old makes his way
looks out on the audience
He’s a veteran of decades of teaching math
helping others
and now the Prime Timer chairman
“Let’s pray.”
The clear voice fills the room
giving thanks
asking guidance
praying for those in the military
asking a blessing on the food
and those who prepared it for us
“Let’s eat!”
A fine beef meal served
dessert and coffee finishing up
the meeting begins afresh
Switching from an eighty year old
to high school students
the Blue Coats parade the flags
Young men and women of the FFA
Shining examples of our youth
and the best America grows
The Young Ag Leader leads (of course!)
“I pledge allegiance…”
“One nation under God’
No apologies here, just recognition
of how small we are
and how big God is
All ages coming forth
to report, inform, about the business
“Smooth”, some said after
‘Best ever”, said others.
“We loved the speaker”, said others.
Katie Pratt, young farmer,
spouse, mother, advocate, educator
stepping up to the plate
from New York City to Hawaii
telling it like it really is,
the real story of American agriculture.
The program closes
and many slip away
but many stay to visit
enjoying each other, no rush
A pleasant time
this event
to be remembered, savored
Selah, Lin January 2014 

The Annual Meeting2022-09-03T14:52:57-04:00

Corn, Soybeans and Chicago


you are thinking perhaps
but oh, they are linked!
Think ‘Price!’, for a start
and the Chicago Board of Trade
World leader
bringing willing seller and willing buyer together
to find a price to sell, a price to buy
today and tomorrows too!
We’re planted deep
in the prairie soils
luxuriating in green growing crops
but, summer passing,
the crops mature
and harvest begins
where will the grain be used?
Nearby factories?
Southeast livestock?
Or will it move to water
barges and ships and faraway places?
How is price discovered?
What’s that magic number?
Chicago plays that role….
A fitting place for that to happen
as our nation provides for the world
The only major supplier
every year, not now and then
(Jimmy Carter the exception)
ships load on our shores
carrying away food
to a hungry world, a growing world
population up up up!
Across our land
the scientists labor
riding the waves of grain
they discover
pass it on
genetically modifying, carefully,
very carefully,
to grow and more
with less and less!
But true!  Fact!
Less fertilizer, less chemical,
more yield!
Efficiency over and over…
“Keep It For The Crop!”
GPS the yield and GPS plant population…
GPS the plant food site specific!
Oh my!
Now ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’
are rushing in to being
Google that one for a treat!
Oh my!
Enjoy the scenes of agriculture,
and enjoy the grain pits in Chicago
Dinner is served!
Lin, 8/2013 

Corn, Soybeans and Chicago2022-09-03T14:52:57-04:00

Windows on the World


A friend, sitting at our table
was watching a hawk at work
Our window on the prairie
was most satisfying to him
as it has been to us
and many, many others
The rich black fields stretch out
thick blankets of potential
now cold and wet with springtime rains
soon to be mothering
our food, fiber, and fuel
human necessities
Harder to measure
this view we savor
The impressive hawk
sometimes gliding, watching
then swooping down for a meal
Or the robins hopping about
or migrants stopping by along their ways
the doves so heavy looking
(can they really fly?)
In the distance a train zips by
Detroit to St. Louie
back and forth, a hundred cars
engines purring along
every mile their fog horns blasting
sound swallowed by the distance
Other folks have windows too
tapestries of their homes unfold
to make the pictures that capture our minds
Here we are blessed with space
the nearest house a mile away
there’s room for thoughts to stretch
reach out, grow
this is what home should look like…
Lin 4/2013 

Windows on the World2022-09-03T14:52:58-04:00

On Hold


What a week!
A yelling, cheering crowd
lining the streets
a man on a colt passing by
Something went wrong
or was it right?
When crowds became vicious
begging for cruelty
evil pour out
A mock trial
a flogging
another procession
then the sky darkened
the earth shook
a heavy felt curtain suddenly ripped
The world on hold
It was Friday
but Sunday was coming
The sun came up
and people went about their business
Sabbath days were quiet ones
Was the world holding its breath?
History had been opened
and sense made of so many things
Explained, in parables
Understanding stretched so beautifully
extended to coming generations
History had been made
the rebellion
the rebel
Some were weeping
some in hiding, fearfull
some were happy at last
and some were simply relieved
Who knew?
The whole world
had been put on hold….
Lin 3/2013 

On Hold2022-09-03T14:52:58-04:00

Tender Men


he Marine’s have a slogan:
“The Chosen, the Few”
that works, I think for some men I know
Strong are they,
fitting a term ‘man up’
they face life’s highway
storms and all
and keep going forward
This being earth
challenges come surely
as sun rises, sun sets
but, no matter,
these guys go
Yet they are tender
kindness in action
and tears come
It’s okay
Jesus wept
Oh how that lifts us
that ‘arms around us’ moment
when what is in a man’s heart
flows out in tenderness
A chorus comes to mind:
“He touched me,
oh, He touched me.
And oh the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened, and now I know,
He touched me…
and made me…whole!”

Tender Men2022-09-03T14:52:58-04:00

Tides and Rivers


Taking two giant, sweeping steps back,
to think about the tides and rivers of mankind
and history, the currents across the face of earth
it strikes me how good and evil
rise and fall
Some strains are so obvious
with time, looking back
Like evil doomed, but nevertheless,
waiting with power, in the wings
to rise and twist in  ugliness
Sure, Germany was a mess
paving a way for Hitler
to organize, motivate, energize
So we have pictures of soldiers,
rivers of them streaming
into parts of Europe
And Japan, too,
their soldiers, planes, ships
growing like a tide
rolling into China, Island after island
even Hawaii
Russian troops, unleashed,
binding neighbor nations
strangling them with communism
grinding them in poverty
June, 1944, Normandy,
the greatest tide of history
as the collected strength of Allies
poured onto the beaches
then surged inland
like a new Mississippi
of troops and tanks and artillary
of wave after wave of fighter planes
and bombers by the hundreds
Evil unleashed
or saviors
to push evil down
get the lid back on
we need to be careful
to step back
and see ourselves as others see us
ask ourselves what values we have
and how are we doing
No question both good and evil
can unleash energy
My favorite movie story
puts the anger of a poor Jewish athlete
up against a flying Scott, Harold.
Both run fast, motivated
by opposite extremes
of love and hate
Love doesn’t come easy
nor is it kept clean
since Adam and Eve
it’s been a struggle
What a contrast
to understand, that this is earth
and up there, out there, is heaven!
Here what’s normal is ‘all messed up’
To make it better
it’s gonna be work
hard work
step by step
three steps forward, two steps back
So we have a model
God in human form
who came, lived among us
spoke and ate and slept
A baby in a manager
a man nailed to a cross
Precious baby, nursed by his mother
a boy,taught by his father
a young man, who brought evil to focus
let it pour out on him
In Him we see answers
how to value each other
“Behold thy mother; behold thy son.”
Man, woman, each one valued
treated with respect
Little man, big man,
fisherman, scholar
tax collector, Roman
no matter
Here is the way, the truth, the life…
For a person or a nation
by Him we can measure
where we are
By Him we can set our goals
and find the paths to get there.
Lin 2/2013 

Tides and Rivers2022-09-03T14:52:58-04:00

Numbers and Emotion


Frustration rules on both sides
in the debate about the facts
I got a lesson early
in dealing with the public
Numbers are cast in concrete
two plus two equals four
end of story
but not for all!
You see, the problem is we’re humans
and humans like to think
often times in channels
or ditches or ruts
depending on your point of view
Some brains like mine are stuck
to drop into channels
ignore all else
and race along the straightaway
Ah, but others
just as fair
go this way and that way and
do curves and mountains and valleys
Serendipity along their way
Oh my!
What gives?
I’ve pondered long and hard
and have come up with an answer
the norm in this world is tension
We are all in suspension
pick something, anything
and study reveals it’s so
So we’re gonna have some folks
born to see things differently
it is all created adventure
Climb aboard!
Enjoy the ride!
Yell and scream a bit
but know
This is earth.
There will be tension.
Lin 1/2013
(“Mr. Warfel! Those are the facts!  I don’t care about the ____facts! I know what I want!”  Unit 7 school board meeting, 1983) 

Numbers and Emotion2022-09-03T14:52:59-04:00

Peace Story


Peace reigned supreme
in the Garden of Eden
But turmoil rains and reigns writ large
on the earth today
Peace broken, for the man
work, and labor
For the woman
labor of a different sort, but sure
seizing and dominating completely
Yet creation, the Creator, breaks through
from her labor a baby is born
every birth
Yet there is the child
stretching and announcing “I’m here!”     

O Little Town of Bethlehem (softly)
This tiny human
toes and fingers
eye lashes and fingernails                       
everything arranged just so 

Hosanna! Hosanna!
The Whole World is singing! 
The hope of all ages is born!

The child comes with hunger
and sleep

Time passing, a moment comes
and the mother tenderly, firmly, holds the face
“Look at me!” she says.
Captured completely
the child looks into her face.
So here we are, Christmas
God holding our faces
“Look at me!”  God says
Peace, peace, wonder Full peace
coming down from the Father above
Sweep over my spirit forever I pray
with fathomless billows of love.*
So God did
So God does…
Lin 12/12/12 


Peace Story2022-09-03T14:52:59-04:00

The Wonder of It All


The setting
a terminal moraine
south of Philo
center of the universe
for an interesting group of people
A clearing in the woods
just happened
as trees have been planted
over thirty years passing
But a just right space
on a just right summer’s day
as the setting for beauty unfolded
A bride, a groom, and guests
Honor bestowed
to brides, now mothers
escorted with care
to the honored seats
Dads are tag alongs
in more ways than one
on wedding days
Gotta be there
on best behavior
but kept out of the way
Except the bride’s dad, father
gets to escort his daughter
and give her away
one last kiss
one enormous passing
closing, partly
what a challenge
Reflections fly
as he remembers
a couple of decades in a flash
Feeling her first movements
before her birth
and then the birth
so grand, so impossible
but oh so real
Holding her close
tiny little person
studying her face
her fingers and toes
her eyes and eyelashes
watching her breathe
and watching her first protestations
Good lungs!
Born with a temper!
So at peace
as she slept
her face nestled
her body so relaxed
rocked to sleep
but dad not wanting to put her down
Another sunny morning
tossing a ball back and forth
and running a race
she laughed so hard as she ran
and passed me up!
Seated tensely on her new bike
dad’s hand on the seat, steadying
he trotted along for a ways
and then set her free
the first of many ‘letting goes’
The dad says his lines:
‘Her mother, and I.”
Oh, the wonder of it all
generations passing
a baby makes a little noise somewhere
grandma and grandpas focus keenly
couples in the audience clasp each others hands
remembering, savoring the moments
Ceremony and reception over,
 the newly weds drive away,
honeymooners, at last alone…
Selah,  Lin 8/2014 

The Wonder of It All2022-09-03T14:52:59-04:00

Sustainable Farming


Just right tall
lush and dark green
a picture of health
and productivity
A child of success
the corn plant stood
food factory, par excellance
From one tiny seed
six hundred grew
a hundred day miracle
of science, environment, and work
A symphony American
genetics, engineering, machinery,
ethics and government
conducted by a people, a nation
So, the single farmer
supported by family
and a host of helpers off the farm
feeds himself, and 155 others
Freedom, with ethics
core values triumphant
year after year after year
we are blessed
So here we are
family farm
pausing, reflecting
at the wonder of it all!
The Doxology comes to mind:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Lin 8/2014 

Sustainable Farming2022-09-03T14:52:59-04:00

Summer Rain


A distant rumble
Darkening sky
The birds fluttering for a haven
Big drops splash here and there
Let the big show begin!

Now thunder rolling
Lightning cracking, sizzling
The clouds unload, raindrops pounding
Leaves doing a panic dance
Puddles forming gutters gurgling
A car splashes past
Wipers pounding back and forth in vain

The soil drinks deeply
Soaking up the rain like a sponge
To hold in trust for our plants
To store down deep for our wells
To recycle back through evaporation

We, being two thirds water
Are made to sing and dance
At the wonder of it all

Selah Lin July  2014 


Summer Rain2022-09-03T14:52:59-04:00

The Screened Porch


An evening on the prairie
Sun sinking a way out west
A cool gentle breeze swishing the corn leaves
And a comfortable chair on the screened porch
My shirt still wet from the evening’s work
Tiredness melting away with the breeze
Reflect on life
And blessings

The rich black soil that gives and sustains
The family
The Lord is good
Friends, near and far
Our church and churches
The flotilla of organizations, that reach out, reach in
Education, that lifts
Research, that unfolds. Reveals creation

A government, that lurches and stumbles
Yet somehow, with God’s grace
Goes on
Two steps forward and three back
Then four steps forward and two back

The mate, best friend 52 years…
And counting.

Here we are
Year of our Lord

Selah. Lin. June is waning… 


The Screened Porch2022-09-03T14:53:00-04:00

Rain, Rain, and More Rain


Rain, rain and more rain
soggy earth saturated
the crops stand and take it
Creation sent the glaciers:
Nebraskan, Aftonian, Kansan, Yarmouth, Illinois and Sangamon,
the pressed their weight on the face of the earth
and ironed it flat through here
So we’re flat!
So flat the water stands
no direction bidding, calling
We await the sun to evaporate
time to soak down down down
to become an aquafer, Mahomet Teays
Up north I hear of rivers flooding
lakes overflowing
on to the mighty Mississippi
Old Man River
that living twisting water snake
that sends our waters south
The thunder softens
moves on east
the pinging rain drops slow
and we Splash Splash across the barn lot
The cattle stood out in the rain
heads down, rumps to the wind
now steam rolls off their backs
as the sun shines on their glistening black hides
Their munching away begins again
Does the grass taste better
like salad washed and fresh
I wonder
Sometimes I wish that I
could stand impervious, oblivious
to the cold splashing raindrops
water dripping off my nose
Yet I know I’m made
fragile, sensitive
with a brain that says: “Don’t do that!”
“Seek Shelter!”
“You are the crown of creation”.
The fragrance after the rain I know
the colors of all that surrounds me are vivid
Life on high
I nestle under the wings
of creation, Creator
Selah, Lin June 2014 

Rain, Rain, and More Rain2022-09-03T14:53:00-04:00

The Mountains Between Us


Nature has so many built in things
that can divide, separate us
Where we happen to be born
The parents, and all their learned differences
The circumstances, so varied yet important
Our feet get put on Life’s Highway
and we travel on
Left to see…or not
Hear…or not…
Touch…or not.
So we cling to our ‘own kind’
and the comfort of sameness
living in the valleys
between the towering mountains
How to melt the mountains?
How to level them out
so that we can be
what we are meant to be
Find a link, then another
that reaches across
above and beyond
and hold on
adding link after link after link
A rope of many fibers
cannot be broken
Caring is lifted up, held forth
but, I offer to you,
caring needs to be built on something
and that’s where education comes to help us
stretching us more and more and more
in ways we thought ‘Impossible!”
So we have Grey’s Anatomy,
a huge thick book
of all the parts
that work, and we live
for a moment
Graduations are toppings on our cakes
Yes, the cake’s been in the oven baking!
Ingredients pouring in, mixing, then into the oven
the time elapses, a buzzer sounds
and we pop open the door
heat pours out!
We set the cake out to cool
(how many of you are taking a break?)
Now comes the icing
What will you do?
Where will you do it?
With whom?
You have been prepared
and the doors are open
Go forth
and do your part
to bring down the mountains between us
Risk, reflect, and invest in people and things eternal!
Lin Warfel, May 2014
Frank Walker’s Graduation   

The Mountains Between Us2022-09-03T14:53:00-04:00

Nesting Time!


The robins and the doves
have one thing on their minds:
building the perfect nest
Twigs and straws
pieces of grass and weeds
carried in beaks announce
a spot has been chosen
selected in very particular places
Fascinating the design, the process
that each species seems to know
that temporary home so necessary
to hold the eggs, the chicks
With the whole farm theirs
they flutter about and pick and choose
some liking buildings, some liking trees
some selecting spots up high
some selecting close to our house
Some seem oblivious
of the danger cats present
building too low, or easily accessible
But then, cats can be amazing
balance impressive
as they do high wire acts
to gain a meal.
Robins and doves
sparrows and wrens
pigeons and starlings
the list is pages
diversity sustained
we have our picture books
to help us I.D. them all
Driven is putting it mildly
they build their nests
and settle in
No books, no doctors to guide them
they just somehow know
eggs are coming
chicks will hatch
and grow
and fly away
Whoa!  Slow down…
sit back
“His eye is on the sparrow…
I know He watches me”.
Selah, Lin 4/2014 

Nesting Time!2022-09-03T14:53:00-04:00

Holy Week


Looking back on half a century
and the time and season of planting
I can bear witness, I think
to something said to me back at the beginning:
“Holy Week the weather’s always troublesome!”
How about 48 out of 50?
That’s how often I wanted to plant
but weather intervened.
This year’s no exception!
Cold front.  Rain.  Dark.
Okay, Palm Sunday maybe better,
but then it falls apart.
No way tiny seeds
would like to be ensconced
in cold wet soil.
Wait!  Anticipate!
Easter is coming!
How fitting,
I think,
that weather often helps us
sort through our plans, our efforts
to give us a lesson (another)
on how small we are
how dependent on larger ‘things’!
So we trudge through the week
machinery all captured
behind closed doors
and we think.
Shouting, happy crowds
Hosanna!  Hosanna!
The whole world is singing
but then the world turns
and evil pours out
flooding the same streets with anger
One man, the focus
Lies. False accusations. Weak leaders.
Claiming great power:
“Don’t you know I have the power of life and death over you?”
The quiet man speaks:
“You have no power, except that given you from above.”
At another point
a rooster crows,
and the quiet man looks…at his disciple.
Oh, how often, eyes can lock between persons
and volumes are shared
without words being spoken
It’s Friday
but Sunday’s coming….
Selah, Lin 2014 

Holy Week2022-09-03T14:53:01-04:00

Snow Birds


As sure as the snow flies
in northern climes
The snow birds flap their wings
or mount their wheels
to head to southern beaches

Their money flows with them
restaurants and shops
hotels and motels and rentals
lift their signs:
“No Vacancy!”

The cold weary folks
shed their parkas
insulated caps, boots and mittens
toss off shirts and don shorts
swapping suits and ties for swimming suits
skin gets into the game
with gals in bikinis…
and guys in Bermudas!
What gives?

Quiet streets get overloaded, jammed
with cars bearing northern plates
single lane bridges sprout long car snakes
of inchworm traffic

It is but for a day, a week
and they fly away, motor away
back to the cold and dreary

Selah, Lin 3/2014


Snow Birds2022-09-03T14:53:01-04:00

Dancing with the Soil, Seasons, and Nature  


It is written
that we came from the soil
dust of some nature
shaped into the form of man
No wonder, then,
there’s something about soil, that draws us
farmers and gardeners who use their hands
to touch, ponder, the mysteries of soil
The seasons are a wonder too
stretching our imaginations
challenging our capacities
with heat, cold, wind, rain
Parching plants and people
in August heat, the sun
almost cooks us
then fall drowns us in color
as leaves shout their warnings of winter
Push the panic button
to store up food
to seal the doors and windows
against arctic blasts, snow and ice
Then, mixed with our exhaustion and depression,
buds begin to swell
robins appear again
pre dawn concerts alert and encourage us
that winter’s hold is slipping, and
in spite of a last flurry or two,
the grass is greening and spring is springing
In all these changes we have wind
and more wind
sometimes scourging in angry swirls
ripping trees and houses
slamming cars and trucks, smashing
and sometimes gently cooling us
Oh yes, the soil and seasons command us
“Be still”, spoken once to the winds and waves,
commanded Nature, but we
are left to study, discover, alter
tiny pieces to our pleasure
Each discovery finding more
another level, hidden til then,
but there, all the time.
Wise are we
to bow, to ask,
“May I have this dance?”
It was created, gifted to us,
for our use
We’ve learned so much
know so little
the dance has just begun
Lin Almost spring, 2014 

Dancing with the Soil, Seasons, and Nature  2022-09-03T14:53:01-04:00

April Winds


Chilled, from deep winter’s freeze
the winds whosh and whistle
sending leaves and debris hip scotching along
barren branches twist and turn
remembering Chubby Checker!
(C’mon everybody, let’s do the twist!)
Wrapped against the chill
I freeze out in the wind
and melt in sun drenched lee spots
Cold, hot!  Cold, hot!
It’s springtime on the prairie!
The winter browned grass is waking
steadily climbing through the thatch
it’s green green green coming!
Buds are swelling,
so tender yet so strong
life will soon burst
into the magnificance of Easter
Color will splash the earth
and mother earth will open
to welcome the seeds of promise
I can’t but help wondering
if winter gets piled up somewhere
far and farther to the East
where the April winds blow it
Is it a giant earth game
where seasons hide and seek
to suddenly shout “You’re it!”
While governments muddle and stumble
the powers above us move
surety abounding
we can but respond
amend our plans as needed
to tune ourselves
to play in the orchestra
so small a part
so small our voice
Yet, together
our tiny voices can sail
singing with the winds
soaking in the sun
seeing and drinking in the seasons
we set our sails…
Lin 4/2014 

April Winds2022-09-03T14:53:02-04:00

Howling Winter


A pinhole or a crack
is all the howling wind needs
to send snowflakes sailing in
Hour after hour
Snow swirls and drifts
sculptured piles arise
packed hard and firm
challenging man and beast
In grandma’s day the drifts
topped fences
so the cattle walked over them
as did she and her siblings
The one room schoolhouse
with the wood stove in center
was open all winter
Summer was for field work
Hard to image her folks
first winter on the prairie
living in a lean to…til spring.
Great grandpa took a sled
four miles southwest
sawmill on the river
brought boards back to the farm
to build a house the next summer
We’ve been building ever since
and the wind still blows
and the snow comes
Still, we have howling winter
and we hunker down
But we are warm…
Thank you Lord…
January, 2014, Lin 

Howling Winter2022-09-03T14:53:02-04:00

Christmas Characters


Some two thousand years ago
a parade of folks was moving
urged along by a star
A star above, Bethlehem,
small town Israel
plain people, none of note
But along came a couple
wife a young mother to be
husband a good sort of fellow
and the baby came
in a stable
Born in a barn, of sorts,
this little fellow
drew a line in mankind’s calendar
Anno Domino, came to be
They named him Jesus.
Out in the country
shepherds tended their sheep
as good shepherds do
But the star was overcoming
and drew them to that stable
Wise men from far away
noted the star as well
and they journeyed to that stable
bearing their significant gifts
The tiny babe set in motion
a king so powerful
he could order all small boys killed
He did, to solve a threat
But he missed one
just one
So here we are,
2013, Anno Domini
and we are challenged
to stop, reflect
on history before, and history after
and how it fits today
Can we be part
of that long parade
and visit the stable
and wonder
Like Mary, treasuring in our hearts
the story, and Jesus
“O Come, all Ye Faithful,
joy full and triumphant!” 
Lin, Christmas 2013 

Christmas Characters2022-09-03T14:53:03-04:00

Arms Around Agriculture


Happens once a year
a gathering of the arms
Illinois Farm Bureau
407,378 members
represented by 342 delegates
from each county in the state
Cars and busses
trains and pickup trucks
the farmers pour in to the Chicago Loop
toting suitcases (and billfolds!)
Delegates and alternates, friends and staff
officers and directors and onlookers
some 2,000 all together attend
Into the exhibit hall they come
greeting one another
happy to be together
Old faces and young ones
from strollers to canes and walkers
they meet and greet and talk to each other
Young Ag Leaders engage
debating issues of the day
bright young folks
educated and well spoken
they compete and are judged
but every single one’s a winner
Politicians come too
to milk the crowd
Friends of Agriculture
The Bureau pats their backs
pays them respect

The capstone moves into place
342 delegates take their seats
Consideration of Resolutions begins
ideas to amend policies or add new ones
gathered from all round the state
sifted, combined and presented
by the TRC, the Tentative Resolutions Committee,
18 county presidents rotated from the 18 districts

Each resolution read, then discussed and debated
sometimes for a moment, sometimes for an hour
the arms of the Bureau, the minds of the delegates
engage and resolve, yaying or naying.
The votes come in sound waves, most often,
a rush of voices competing
the President assesses, sometimes looks right and left
to the astute secretaries, the vice president, the legal counsel
and pronounces the fate, “Passed!”… or “Failed!”
and the body moves on.
46 pages, this year, 2013, plus some added from the floor,
 surfaced just recently, but important to consider.
The delegates march on through
Parliamentary procedure tested:
“Point of Order!”  ‘Move to amend!”
“Ready to vote?”
Finally complete, the policies will gain feet
Thousands of feet, walking to Springfield, to Washington
carrying the ideas for presentation
with some policies becoming bills, and the laws of our land
The astonishing rich soils of Illinois
produce these people
the “Show up” folks
who move our state, our nation
the Farmers of Illinois, America,
who have their arms, around agriculture
producing the food, fiber, and fuel that sustain us.
Lin Warfel
the 2013 Illinois Farm Bureau Convention
the Palmer House, Chicago 

Arms Around Agriculture2022-09-03T14:53:03-04:00

The Pouring Season


From the garden
the orchard
and the fields,
fall is the pouring season!
Nature pours forth rewards
for labor and energy
for thinking and planning
and so we see
The tomatoes and potatoes
the squash and onions
gathered into baskets and coming in
The kitchen is alive with processing,
changing summer’s bounty into keepers
Slicing and dicing and grinding
freezing and canning
protecting for later use
the work is enormous
The fruit trees, the nut trees,
shower the ground when they are ready
Next year’s life having moved into seeds
life hidden, protected with layers of nutrients
to spawn more trees
So we work to capture the fruit
pouring the apples, the pears, the walnuts
from buckets and baskets into carts
to, once again,
make their way to the kitchen,
where processing swings again
The corn and soybeans click some switch
Growth stops.  Green goes away
to be replaces with soft colors
gentle, soothing colors of completeness
Done.  Ready for harvest.
So the harvest machines roar back and forth
sucking in the fruits, processing them,
pouring them into trucks
that pour them into giant storage bins
that pour them into trains
that pour them into barges and ships
Pouring, pouring, pouring!
Bounty to feed ourselves
and folks around the world!
Blessings poured out as food
for we are hungry every day
created for life
Ah, we pour ourselves
into the tasks
and creation pours back to us
and we sense, we see
though dimly, through a darkened glass
God breathed life into us
poured into us
and we are to pour into others
in our time
Lin, Harvest, pouring, done, 2013

The Pouring Season2022-09-03T14:53:03-04:00

Soil Chef


to watch a skilled chef
who knows the chemistry
to watch him or her mix
then taste, savoring, thinking
a little bit of this, a little bit of that
With soil,
we dig a trench to see
the profile, from top to deep
we slice a sample
a core
then head to a laboratory
Test for balance
acid/alkaline, neutral?
phosphorus, potassium
and a scattering of others
and then we can create a prescription:
Needs this much of that
this much of that
and so on
The mix is bought and scattered
and then we test again
and again
and again
all the while looking, watching
how the plants are doing
Sort of ‘stick out your tounge and say ‘ahhh”
There must be something more
slipping away unnoticed, unmeasured
We need to study this more
By and by we find bacteria
Not one, but a million!
Little critturs banging around
spewing out compounds, chemicals
in response to what they encounter
Wow! We find
a whole huge world we’re walking on!
What we’ve been calling ‘dirt’
is fascinating!  Complex! Amazing!

So it becomes ‘soil’
spoken with respect
and ‘dirt’ is said no more.
It seems that, sometime earlier,
soil was sculpted
in a distinct and orderly way
There must have been
a soil chef
who put this mix together
Who could have shaped
and breathed into
gave life to
yet another dimension
for us to discover
“O Lord, my God,
when I in awesome wonder
consider all
the worlds thy hands have made…’*
Lin 10/2013
*”How Great Thou Art”, Stuart K. Hine, 1953 


Soil Chef2022-09-03T14:53:04-04:00

Water Water Everywhere!


Sandy soils overlaying the ocean
holding back that behemoth of waving, foaming power
give way to sandy soils over plentiful water
Fields carved by streams and rivers
water, water everywhere!
Navy, fishermen, pleasure boaters
attuned to the waterman life
What a treat!
Refreshing, for the flatlanders of Illinois!
How tempting to wet a line
take a cruise
kayak, canoe, or power launch
Sailboat maybe?  Silently slipping along…
Water colors, flavors the lives
tides rising, falling, rivers gliding out to sea
and the sea, a mind of its own
with moods of compliance
or testing
or dominating severely
Respect required, commanded,
wisely obeyed
we mark the shores with lighthouses
build docks to capture and hold the boats and ships
build giant factories to pour their products forth
filling ships to sail the seas
Rail yards to serve the land produce
dumping their grains and coal and steel and
a thousand, ten thousand things and more
to share commerce around the world
The people sleep, yet waves lap
grinding shells, grinding sand
night and day and year after year
who can fathom the energy
hiding within the oceans?
Selah, Lin, Virginia, the York, the James, the British and First Nation names…2013 

Water Water Everywhere!2022-09-03T14:53:04-04:00

Flowers in the Rubble


Our structures stand
wind and rain
sun and cold
strong against the elements
But in a moment
the wind can torture
the rain can flood
the sun can certainly age them hard
and the cold can make them crack
Above these things
the humans reign
building, tending, repairing
but in a moment
an angry wind can take away
The roar of a freight train
on the loose
making its own track across the prairie
lifting up
dropping down
the tornado twists and sucks
smashing all in its way
But in a moment
it is gone
and quiet comes
to find but rubble
where once proud homes stood
and the people come out
scratched and bruised and bleeding
but walking, talking, looking
at the lashing the wind has done
The people are the flowers
who rise up from the rubble
to once again build
Newer, better, the structures go up
as hands and machines work together
Help has come
neighbors join and share
clothes and food pour in
as word goes out
Insurance dollars flow
gifts of money come
and folks find ways to build it back
Buildings, trees, cars and trucks
have their times and places
but the flowers
the people
rise above
Thanking God for life, and mercy
Selah, Lin 11/2013 

Flowers in the Rubble2022-09-03T14:53:04-04:00

“I’ll Figure it Out!”


Delight comes
in ever so many ways!
Years ago a college student called.
“Could you use some harvest help?”
Indeed I could, so I invited the young man out.
On the farm he was in his element.
‘Can do!” was his aim.
He did!  Expeditiously with a smile!
In the field or at our table
he was a pleasure to be around.
And we worked.
Til harvest was complete.
As planned, he graduated…
and commended his younger brother for the job.
Hired him too.
Like his brother
a ‘Can do’ person.
Driving trucks, tractors, the combine, mowers…
Did the jobs with aplomb!
He was a pleasure to be around!
In the field or at our table.
As planned, he too graduated and was gone.
Two decades passed,
and I got a call.
“Could you use some harvest help?
My dad and my uncle worked for you,
and thought you might need a hand with harvest.”
This one had a special comment,
when I gave him instructions on what needed done
and it was new to him:
“I’ll figure it out!”
Determination, crystal clear on his face.
What an attitude!  I loved it!
First thought, ‘That’s the American Farmer!”
Whatever the challenge:
“I’ll figure it out!’
We have!  We do!  We will!
Second thought: ‘That’s the American way!”
From the founding fathers and mothers on
America has done that, does that, and will do that!
Governor Lee Sherman Dreyfuss figured it out.
A history prof, he reflected on our short history,
and the history of the world.
He believed an Invisible Hand, has been upon us,
and he stated his case well.
George Washington Carver
‘figured it out’.
Studied the Bible and concluded:
‘There’s more to the peanut than we’ve discovered.’
He discovered, and discovered, and discovered.
Adam Smith, philosopher,
thought long and hard and made his notes.
Sat himself down, and in 1776
‘figured it out’.
Freedom, capitalism, and the wealth of nations…
‘figured it out’
The Hand, the Word, the mind in freedom
the attitude
and we, indeed, can
‘figure it out!’
Lin 10/2013  Kendall Phelps 

“I’ll Figure it Out!”2022-09-03T14:53:05-04:00

The Last 500 Feet


As a runner
I’ve been there:
that last 500 feet
The finish line to cross
Yes, the race matters
all of the way
The hills, the straight aways
the curves we can’t see around
yet there’s something about
that last 500 feet
and the line we need to cross
A year of planting, tending,
then harvesting
gets to that last 500 feet
The last rabbits, pheasants
are there to help
as the last rows are devoured
into the chosen kernals and seeds
that hold the valued foods
The finish line
that needs to be crossed!
Like a journey across the vast Pacific
that ends at a specific dock
where a gang plank goes down
and connects with the land
Like the long long flight
the landing, the connection
and then the cabin door is opened
and fresh air rushes in
and used air rushes out
And like the journey through classes
papers and exams
and more classes
til finally, finally,
one crosses a stage
and a diploma is in our hands
the last 500 feet
to a diploma…
Some 32,000 days, on average,
pass from first breath, first suck
to the last 500 feet
and our last lay down
No more mountains to climb
no more rivers to cross
just 500 feet to cross
to the finish line
A final planting
marked with a stone
a peaceful spot
where loved ones can come
on the journey, however long,
and then
the last 500 feet…to heaven
lin, harvest, 2013 

The Last 500 Feet2022-09-03T14:53:05-04:00

Butterfly World


A friend stopped by
the other day
Business on his mind
We sauntered to the backyard
a retreat environ
to set n talk a bit
Settling back, he observed:
This sure is a peaceful place!
Patio surrounded
trees and shrubs and flowers
Blue sky, white clouds
shades of greens and splashed of flowering plants
far from the din of the world
It’s a butterfly place, you see
They come, to flit about
and rest
Background sounds are wrens
several families call this home
their songs of greetings abound
as do the tiny Finches
adding to the splashes of color
Doves rest heavily under the feeders
happy to coo about, mourning
and Robins chirp their tunes
a symphony of sounds
abetted with colors
clouds moving lazily
flowers and leaves waving
fluttering sometimes
as do the butterflies
It’s a created place
combinations put in place
by the Lady of the House
the Lady of the farm
Master, indeed, Gardener!
Creates a place for separation
Come sit with us sometime
rest yourself
and soak it in
Lin 7/2013 

Butterfly World2022-09-03T14:53:05-04:00

Threads to Tapestries


Thoughts can often be threads
opportunities alone
happening but needing friends
Alone they reach out
but can’t survive
going further and further
until they disappear
But joining with others
they become a cloth
offering great things
Think sails on great ships
think uniforms on a million soldiers
Think warm blankets in a cold world
or suits and dresses for kings and queens
or denim for the workers
who show up, and carry the world
Together they can become
a tapestry
portraying mighty deeds
encouraging others to carry on
Here’s to those who create the threads
that bind us
becoming a cord of many strands
that cannot be broken….
Lin 7/3013 

Threads to Tapestries2022-09-03T14:53:05-04:00

Corn Talk


No, I’m not slipping away!
I just do my best to tune in…
to ‘think like corn’ along the way.
So there’s a ‘pop’ in early summer
when corn pops its spike up through earth
to greet the sun and me.
One day the field is just rich and black
and next day a million spikes are there
having popped up to greet the sun and me
Next there’s a scramble
as it grows as fast as can be
the race is on to canopy
cover the earth with green
capture all the sunlight possible
Ah, corn talk happens!
Chest high and higher
with maximum growth conditions
between the joints on the stalks
some summer evenings it happens:
A soft popping noise!
A million plants are growing,
and at the nodes the leaves unfurl
growing so fast there is a noise!
Add to that to soft rustle of leaves waving
summer breezed blowing
almost like a green ocean surf
one can see the wind waves
So soon the plant is finished
and the green turns to tan
Sun tanned?
The tone changes
and brittle leaves speak
Harvest!  Harvest!
In an instant it’s over
as the harvester roars along
grabbing the stalks and jerking down
32 feet per second
one fourth of a second
and the stalk is on the ground
and the ears are in the combine
The sound of corn pouring
from the combine to a truck
from the truck into a grate
and the harvest goes to processors
The Creator through the earth, creation,
has blessed us
with food, fiber, fuel
that we may live
Lin, at corn popping stage, 7/2013 

Corn Talk2022-09-03T14:53:06-04:00



Something about the fog
that quiets the cattle
the world
A fine white mesh
shrouding the earth
closing us in
We move more slowly
the cars
the ships
nosing our ways
on quiet
Slow down earth
it seems to say
you’ve been hurrying
much too much!
Peace, now,
murmur to each other
hold off on shout and push
and race to nowhere
Up there somewhere
the sun is burning
all powerful, to be sure
it will burn away the curtain
turn up the heat, the pace
and we’ll all be back at it…
Did you hear the low
The lazy fog horn?
Go ahead!
Mutter it long and low
and quietly…..
Lin 7/2013 


Fragile and Strong


The warmth of our springtime sun
has caused the buds to break
Tiny, fragile leaves abound in greeting
Blossoms will soon burst forth
color and fragrance will bless us
What a time of freshness
as the grays of winter fade
and the prairie celebrates life again
It was there, all the time
but hidden from us
Leaves and flowers and grass surge
in the power of life created
and won’t be held
What nature does for plants
Easter does for us
Ah, earthly powers won’t give up!
Strong winds will blow
tree limbs falling
some leaves and blossoms blowing away
a cold snap or two will lash out
maybe even some snow
the sun, the son
will win!
Have won!
Take two steps back,
take it in
take Him in…
Lin 4/2013 

Fragile and Strong2022-09-03T14:53:06-04:00

Climbing to the top


Climbing to the top of the Hill
The forest floor tilts
slides and rises
trees bored in
flora and fauna blankets rich
The sun shines through,
filtered beams of light through tall black and gray soldiers,
the mountain world challenges, teases
we humans to conquer
We are born to climb
every hill, every mountain
has a top
just waiting
What’s on the other side?
What view is just over ‘there’
somewhere, over the rainbow….
Climbing to the top
to sing, ponder, see
soak in the hills and valleys
Ants, in the scheme of things
we’re the only ones in charge
owners, no, tenants only
we can learn and grow
and understand, a little
and knowing that sense
there’s more
At the top are more
mountains to climb
always more
there we find
ours is to do the climbing
and then discover we’re small
and God the creator is big
bigger, biggest
Lin 4/2013 

Climbing to the top2022-09-03T14:53:07-04:00

Leaning In


Humans have a core value
deep within their spirit hearts
we see it in attractions
especially when they’re focused
Words come hard to define
emotions that hold us firm
love, being at the top
commanded, by the top
So we are blessed
to come to a place, a time,
when inhibitions melt
and someone ‘leans in’
instead of holding back
Ah, the world is a place
of holding back!
Safety, assumed,
in retreat, seclusion, cocooning
fences built and strengthened
locks in place, secured
Then too,
the world is a place
of lashing out
anger boiling, spilling over
to hurt, punish
swinging wildly at any and all
eyes closed in fury
Antidote: love
leaning in
the healing, growing, healthy way
to abundant life
now and forever.
“Teacher!  What is the greatest commandment?”
“Love the Lord thy God, with all your heart, soul,
mind and strength.  And the second is as unto the first:
Love your neighbor as yourself.”
And who is my neighbor?
You are!
I’m “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms!”
Lean in!
Lin 4/2013 

Leaning In2022-09-03T14:53:07-04:00

Falling Rain


Can be a downright gift
raindrops falling on dry soil
quenching a thirsty land
replentishing an entire aquafer
When drought reigns
it’s cause for celebration
Can also be a plaster
slapped up against the house
windows lathered with running water
maybe even a piece of leaf sticking to the glass
and the gurgling of downspouts commenting
Can be, here on the prairie
‘horizontal rain’
as the winds go full bore
sometimes, even,
masking a tornado
circling winds at race car speeds
tearing and smashing cruelly
our constructs ripped to rubble
people hurt and killed
My favorite’s the early morning
gentle rain
pattering softly on our roof
a good morning lullaby
that I can sleep in a bit
my day changed to ‘slow down’
and ‘catch up’
The soil is being patted
and so am I…
Orchestral ministrations
for life’s opera
bumping along life’s highway
letting us know we’re small
so small
and we need each other
lin 5/2013 

Falling Rain2022-09-03T14:53:08-04:00

Carried Along


Who, would you think
is the most powerful person on earth?
Some might say ‘The President’.
Yes, he is ‘Commander in Chief’
but in that role
the Generals and Admirals
know so much more
Even the sargeants do too!
The President comes along later
far from the jeeps in the desert
far from the ships at sea
Indeed he sits with Congress
and the Courts
to push his agenda forward
but oh, so many limits
so many strings
not there for him or her to pull.
I submit the President
is in fact carried along
by events not chosen
not really controlled on earth.
Ride along with me
out in the country
where buffalo used to roam
sit at the family table
with the farmer, the agronomist, the teacher
put your feet under the table
as the family shares the day
This, is still, the
astonishing rich soil of America!
A place of intelligence
and compassion. 
That’s where you and I live,
far from the marble and concrete
of government.
Here cows don’t give milk
somebody has to take it from them!
Nor does the soil magically yield fruit
somebody has to till and plant, tend and harvest
Engineers dream and build machines
that move the world.
Lin 5/2013 

Carried Along2022-09-03T14:53:08-04:00

Dads and Sons


Two times
I saw grandpa cry
First time was at Camp Butler
His only heir was being buried
the casket lowering into the grave
the pale blue eyes were flooded
he was so quiet
The whole place, big cemetery
was quiet too.
A sob was heard here and there
as folks remembered him
the fallen Captain
life snuffed out in far away Normandy
St. Lo, they said.
Fierce fighting
A man of few words
a thinker
who worked so hard
watching his dreams return to the soil
Too soon!
Generations pass
and memories fade, pass away
but there are markers
We should walk there
reflecting on this one and that one
Names from all nations
who became America
and stepped forward for the test
What price will you pay
for freedom?
Dates of first breaths and last
carved into white stones
Long, straight lines, these markers
now stand at permanent attention
Years will pass
the stones will witness those who come
to remember, reflect
on who the person was, what they might have been
Yet they live on
in the markers God created
genes, faces, voices
hair and eyes and size and even mannerisms reflecting
the silent ones
they could but see and laugh and touch and hold
but they can’t, and won’t
So we are left to ponder, reflect,
and walk amongst the long white lines
of Camp Butler
Memorial Day
Camp Butler

Dads and Sons2022-09-03T14:53:08-04:00

Widows and Moms


Camp Butler, National Cemetery,
home to fallen soldiers and wives
sees a stream of folks coming
gathering for solemn ceremonies
followed by volleys of rifle shots
the whole graced
with tears
Widows with children
stand and watch, listen
kind words spoken
then flag folded purposefully
and handed to her
a gift from a grateful nation, preserved
A clang of metal against metal
as the half mast Camp flag flutters
whipping and snapping in the wind
Almost like notes, messaging,
snapping a salute
there is an unseen, but present
a dimension we sense is there
but we can’t see…yet.
Time passing,
the grave site is seeded
and the grass grows
as do the children
cars pass by on the nearby interstate
The flag flies high again, waiting,
for another procession to come
a bugle to blow
and more tears gracing this place
Resolved, said Lincoln
It shall not be in vain!
It hasn’t.
It isn’t.
Grandchildren, great grandchildren come
walk on the grass
soak in the peacefulness and wonder
at the long straight rows of markers
standing rigid at attention
“Ten Hut!”
Listen up!
Freedom is not free!
What will you pay?
Camp Butler
Memorial Day

Widows and Moms2022-09-03T14:53:09-04:00

Diamonds and Pearls


Context can be fascinating,,,
Want to take a quick trip with me?
Down memory lane, to
college days
and today?
There we were in ’59
the Class of ’63
Indeed, bright eyed
and bushy tailed
(and bushy faced, a Cave man thing!)
standing on the Chapel steps
singing as loud as we could sing
As freshmen at ‘Dear Ole Wabash”
we had a ceremony
The Chapel Sing
wherein we all were required
to sing the song
without a hitch
but with a catch:
Upperclassmen could do their best
to confuse, bamboozle, frustrate, distract
so we would lose our concentration, falter, fail
Whereupon a special haircut would brand
the poor, poor Rhynie!
“W” would be the only hair left
atop the noble crown!
All could see the failure stamped
announcing he messed up
The world at end…?
Time marched on
and so did we
Studying, learning
jumping through the college hoops
to life
We were young pearls
cast upon the mighty seas
Oh what varied oceans we,
so small,
did launch into
Ah, we plowed
this way and that
making marks
Law, medicine, education
all the arts of liberalism
yet disciplined to be conservative
holding fast to values learned
lived, by our profs
Their names still live in us
As President White proft to us
“We never left Wabash,
and Wabash never left us.”
So there we were
back on the Chapel steps
Singing our hearts out
competing, with each other
and other classes
‘Dear Ole Wabash
thy loyal sons shall ever love thee,
And, o’er thy classic halls,
the Scarlet flag shall proudly flash.
Long in our hearts,
we’ll bear the sweetest mem’ries of thee,
Long shall we sing they praises,
Old Wabash!”
Diamonds now,
hardened by 20 thousand days,
50 years and counting
having attained, being,
pearls of wisdom and learning
cementing around the grains of sand
that caught our imaginations then
Selah, Lin Warfel, ’63, June 2013 

Diamonds and Pearls2022-09-03T14:53:09-04:00



A gentle afternoon, I’d say:
gentle breezes, nudging the trees
branches like huge feathered fans nodding
Oh so mild temperature, just right
humanly speaking
Even the sun seems at ease
sharing the afternoon with us
A screened porch, shade
just right softness chairs
made to rock a bit
even a ceiling fan
waving and nodding down
Wrens and finches
robins too
back and forth from feeders to nests
All together now:
Long green lines of soybeans or corn
marking the rich dark soil
Soon the lushness will close and cover
hiding the soil til fall
The prairie is quietly exploding
with flowers and beauty
Like the beginning of a great musical piece
this movement hides the power coming
the crescendo builds towards harvest
Yes, nature is singing
the orchestra is tuned
for just some moments
we can sit and breathe
Lin 6/2013 




There is a place
for Fathers!
Perched high up on his shoulders
a little one rides along
wrapped around dad’s neck
holding on to his ears or hair
Secure and happy
to be so tall
look out upon the world
from that exalted stage
Another day
his big hand holds hers or his
as they cross the street together
Secure and happy
under his wing, protected
for that passing moment
Absent for some time
arrival home happens
She or he runs full bore
leaping up into his arms
enfolded, warmed deep down inside
together again
the world catches its breath
another passing moment
precious, counting
He or she prepares
due diligence to the task
practicing over and over
and then the race
Competing, running with the pack
then bursting forward
snapping the tape
Abba’s heart is bursting
popping buttons on his shirt
Well done!  So happy!
So many happy times:
a baby…
Turn around, this is earth
not heaven
so bad things happen
Abba’s there too
heart twisted and wrung
squeezed and scratched and cut
deep pain
Holding the hand, praying,
all he can do…
Our Father in heaven
holy is your name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
on earth
as it is in heaven…. 


The Planter Sits


The planter sits
in the cold dark shed
last week it came out in the sunshine
then, like Punxsutawney Phil
went back into its hole
to wait for a better day
Thunder rolls across the prairie
yet another rain
I’m dreaming it sure would be nice
to move this shower to July
when the crops and I are wanting
But that’s not my role
I hitch it up
repair and grease
adjust and refine
test it out
and wait
The planter sits
long and quietly
waiting for it’s season
the curtain call
pulling on stage, under the lights
like a plane on the runway
engines tested
all inspections passed
ready for the call
“Cleared for takeoff!”
Throttles eased to full
engines roar
moving, faster, faster
all systems go
monitors clicking, flashing ‘Go!”
“Go!  Go!  Go!’
At first I’m humming
then I’m singing!
‘Yea!”  I’m working!
Winter’s shroud is torn asunder!
the seeds of promise  slipping in
patted just so, precisely, counted
Okay!  Okay! Okay!
But not today.
Not tomorrow.
We wait.
The planter sits.
Lin 4/2013 

The Planter Sits2022-09-03T14:53:10-04:00

Mama Sabine Manyonga


Sister, and mama, beloved
Angelic on earth
welcomed home for sure!
She graced while she was here
A presence, wherever
she was, lighting the room
with kindness and caring
Tender, to all, she engaged
with her smile and happy disposition
How did she do it?
suffering herself?
Somewhere back in the Congo
she gave herself to Jesus
and he lifted her mightily
as a nun, as a nurse
she loved
and people responded
Especially to the little ones
and to the weak ones
her love reached out
and she was loved right back
Joy walked with her
Within moments, one knew
this lady was special!
Somehow her spirit engaged, connected
and a bond was formed
She saw into a person, a gift
she used with compassion
so people sought her out
trusted her, confided in her
We lost; heaven won
for now
Selah, Lin 4/2013
Sister Sabine Manyonga, May 3, 1967-April 4, 2013
Job 1:21
Job 19:25:27
2 Timothy 4:6-22 

Mama Sabine Manyonga2022-09-03T14:53:10-04:00

Heart of America


I’ve been thinking
about where America’s heart is
and I think I’ve seen some answers!
I note a certain part of the county
where guys and gals are givers
they reach out constantly
it’s a habit
close by and around the country
Begin with ‘they are craftsmen (and women)
whatever they do, they do with passion
to do their best, make things ‘right’
Could be farming, building houses
or electrical work with insulating houses
or plumbing/heating
ah, mechanics/technitions – the best!
Gardens, foods? Dinners?
They are a joy to behold!
Dutch flats?  Flatville?  Gifford?
Like one great big family…
with great big hearts!
Okay, pick another area
southwest, this time
two small towns
each a dominant, different church
but the same predisposition
to do it well, very well
and keep on doing it better!
The same skills pursued
and mastered with like aplomb
again, two great big families
with great big hearts!
The core, I believe,
is their link to church
and not just any
but ones with heart commitments
ones that serve, the other fellow
helping and respecting are nurtured in
They help each other
and they reach out, further and further
no boundaries
they care
Jesus is the Master
guiding and directing
the way, the truth, the light
His way is their way
so they care, they serve
Oh, how they live!
Loving and laughing
crying when it fits
they are blessings
the best, they are
the heart of America
Selah, Lin 3/2013 

Heart of America2022-09-03T14:53:10-04:00

Chapter 22


Another door closes
as Sonia’s hands pull
family treasures enclosed
trucked here and there and
Glancing back on decades
of goings…and comings
Places flit across the minds eye
Oregon, Illinois
New York
lines reach out to places
as far away as France
Home is where the heart is
and heart begins with mom
She can make a home
wherever she is, in ‘now’
A train station?  Airport?
A little circle is drawn
surrounding mom
and that’s the temporary home
A room at Hampton Inns?
She can make it home
for just as long as she is there…
On the farm, upstairs
but really all over the farm
her presence draws the lines
and around her we gather
‘come home’
to be with her.
Indiana?  Oregon?
No matter!
If she is there
so are we!
Moving on
with mom…
Selah, Lin 3/2013 

Chapter 222022-09-03T14:53:11-04:00

March Sunrise


Crisp morning air greets me
the walk frosted lightly
green grass grayed with ice
the warmth of the sun so good!
Winter’s hanging on
by it’s fingernails
losing to the tilt of earth
more and longer sun
Our black soil is soaking
a soppy blanket of mud
drinking in the precious water
that seedlings will soon be needing
Fitting that we are preparing for Easter
when darkness wins, then loses
and the Son bursts forth from the grave
New life is the order breaking bonds
rising to new heights, soaring with singing
The crocus spears have poked on through
buds are starting to swell
lambs dance around in the pasture
Soon church parking lots will overflow
with seekers and finders
Hosanna! Hosanna!
The whole world is singing!
The hope of all ages is risen!
He is the Way, the Truth, the Life
Now, and forevermore
Lin 3/2013 

March Sunrise2022-09-03T14:53:11-04:00



One fine Kentucky summer day
some friends stopped by the drug store.
“Come on, Ken!” they said,
“We’re gonna try out for football.
Come ride along with us.”
So he did, the high school grad.
Standing near the coach,
the coach was sizing him up.
“Wanna try out?” Coach said.
“Take this ball and get past those big galloots!”
Run, he did, tricky little guy,
he zipped right past ’em.
“Try it again”, said the coach…
and he did… for four years!
We all have moments like that,
when somebody tosses us the ball.
After we catch it, what happens?
Stand on the sidelines, holding on?
Or running, with all we’ve got,
zigging and zagging around the obstacles,
heading for the goal line.
“Lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the earth.”
We don’t run alone.
Someone was with Ken,
as he progressed to be,
using his gifts, maxing out.
Oh, did he soar, blessed
along life’s highway.
So, the ‘coach’ tosses us a ball
to see what we will do.
Yawn and watch, or
run with the wind!
Doing our part,
running with.
Selah, Lin 2/2013 


White Grass


The earth’s blanket
wears different coats
Most famous I think
is green
Poets, singers,
laud the richness
of lush grass, growing
and feeding animals
Summer’s harsh sun
and lack of moisture
or winter’s cold
can turn the green to tan
An earth tone
is suspect
A little coat of snow
can grace the grass with white
brilliant in the morning sun
purity displayed over earth
This morning’s grass was white alone
frost had glazed each blade
so thick the carpet lay
tinted green so slightly
it was quite a sight to see!
Even our barn red mailbox was frosted
plastered with thick frost it stood
another testament to moisture laden air
being pulled from cold darkness to springtime sun
I’ve been frosted too!
Years have grayed my hair
and headed it towards white
How about you?
Lin  2/2013 

White Grass2022-09-03T14:53:12-04:00

Grandad’s Island


Put together over years
the island was a refuge
the world whirling, swirling
in chaotic ways
power and money soaring and sinking
the island was a place
where perspective rested and grew
Every shelf, every wall,
every cupboard and every drawer
spoke smoothly of the couple
whose lives were tapestry to see
Grandma lived there.
Colors, patterns,
art and memories
reflected times and places
Grandma was a home maker.
The nook where he devoured
the Trib and WSJ
the local paper here
and hometown paper Kentucky,
the plain steel office desk
and common office chair
where he raced through computations
checking, correcting the IRS
Reading (devouring) facts and figures
The love seat couch in the den
where movies were watched together
Small wonder, the island became
so precious at the last
when a worn out body settled down
to ‘put in time’
do final things….
So fitting the island was
where he passed
quickly and without pain
from this life to the next
The island now has waves
of distribution to the family
Week by week, items leave
Room by room the island empties
sometime soon to some new owner
Nothing is the same.
Yet it is.
The prairie seasons changing
winter will melt into spring
and new life will come
as always
New islands are forming
east coast to west coast
new tapestries of life are being woven
every day, the threads that bind us
can become stronger
We are left to consider
what it all means
how we shall then live
Will we invest ourselves in people
and in things eternal?
Grandad’s Island
Selah, Lin 1/2013 

Grandad’s Island2022-09-03T14:53:12-04:00

Tucked In


Little moments come our way
like tucking in a little one
lovingly smoothing a blanket
to cover them just so
The early risers do the same
to the sleeping loved one snuggled
with pillow and blanket for a little more
A kiss, a careful adjusting,
perhaps a gentle pat
and murmured words
“I love you”
On the other end of life
an undertaker steps up front
to pull a silken quilt up
covering a face a final time
then closing the lid
turning a sealing crank
Some words are spoken
some songs are sung
the preacher puts one hand on
almost patting the casket
raises the other hand high
calling on God to comfort those here
receive the loved one there
Solemn men step forward
transfer the casket to the hearse
family and friends que in their cars
the last ride begins
The Old Bailey waits
quietly watching, receiving
Earth is open
the casket eases down
The black silk soil tumbles in
Little moments come our way
like tucking in a little one
lovingly smoothing a blanket
to cover them just so
Lin, 1/2013  Farmer Bill Maxwell, RIP 

Tucked In2022-09-03T14:53:12-04:00

Spike and Dunk!


Games have their moments
In volleyball it’s a spike
the ball sizzling straight
to the floor and a score
Yea!  All right!
and in basketball
when an arm arks down
and the ball is slammed through the net
Swoosh!  Yea!  All right!
Doesn’t life carry those moments too?
In a movie theatre somewhere
a young man slips his arm out
to carefully capture the shoulders
of a willing young lady…
A groom kisses a bride
sealing the deal, launching a marriage
A mother holds her child
a father does too
A person senses God
loves them, even them
Exclamation points
in the story of lives, of living
of knowing
Two young princes
of the kingdom Serendip
were out upon their quest
along their highway things happened
Spikes and Dunks, I think
that were much greater
than what they sought after
thus we have a word
to capture a happening
unplanned, yet believable
Indeed, we have Christmas
to detour from normal
God’s spike, God’s dunk
But wait!  There’s more!
Lin 12/15/2012 

Spike and Dunk!2022-09-03T14:53:12-04:00

Palmer House Morning


Early morning quiet
as I walk a long hallway
Murmuring sifts from some doors
as I pad softly past
The farmers have come to town
two thousand
to stew their policy, ideas,
and surface direction for another year
Couples long together
are working their get up routines
teams, pulling together
raising families, crops and livestock,
they feed themselves and 300 others
Push the button
ride the elevator down
street level
workers bustling in and past
the coffee shop full tilt
A young lady, perky,
ready to serve the java, the joe
Folks studying the morning papers
others punching phones, smartly
Up the escalators, off to work
some three hundred fifty folks
every county represented
Jacobs calls out:
“Adams three!”
“All here”, says the county president.
“A quorum present!” is declared.
The stenographer introduced
the silent one down front
whose finger fly as she concentrates, documents
“Education”, declares the worker bee.
“Line 24 amended to read…”
And so it goes for a day and a half.
In the back, in the hallways,
a steady flow of folks, greeting, visiting,
“You gotta minute?” And off they go.
Democracy in living color!
Grass roots ideas
being hashed out
formed into policy
and often into law
The men and women of Illinois Farm Bureau,
the families, young and old
do this once a  year
Lifetime friendships formed, molded,
by common values, goals
More than just jobs
farming is a lifestyle
It’s who they are
inside and out
The ideas flow
first like tiny creeks,
but joining others, amending, growing
becoming mighty rivers
carrying a mighty nation
‘from sea to shining sea’*
this land,
‘the astonishing rich soil of America’**
food and fuel and fiber in abundance
bound together, so strong, yet fragile
“Oh beautiful for spacious skies,
for amber waves of grain.
For purple mountain majesties,
Above the fruited plain!
America, America, God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good, with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea.”*
Lin, 12/2012, Palmer House Chicago, Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Convention
*”America, the Beautiful”, text Katherine Lee Bates, music Samuel A. Ward
** George Will 

Palmer House Morning2022-09-03T14:53:13-04:00

Sure Hands


In every nook and cranny
a particular pair of hands
turn a house into a home
You can guess whose hands!
I’ve watched them in the kitchen
hands on fine china
confident, touching with memories
of her mom or Gammy
toweling that precious bowl
The same hands wield a knife
chopping or shaping something just so
Ah, yes, they can stir a pot!
Or whip some cream
or roll out a crust for an awesome pie!
I’ve them in the sewing room
guiding a seam, making a garment
with love sewn in stitch by stitch
Those hands smooth a fabric
just so, to make it right,
for ironing or marking or cutting cloth.
I’ve seen them hold a slippery babe
lathered with soap the little crittur,
all wiggles,
but safe in mother’s hands
Sure hands, are they,
reaching out for my hand
linking us in communion, oneness,
in our walk down life’s highways
The spiritual claims, quite rightly,
“He’s got the whole world, in His hands,
Okay, but I’m thinkin’, one fine picture
of sure hands,
belong, quite rightly,
to the Lady of the House!
Lin, 11/2012
to Kay, 50 years down life’s highway together 

Sure Hands2022-09-03T14:53:13-04:00

Streetlights on the Snow


Late last evening
Bundled against the cold
I stepped into a painting

I stopped in my tracks
To take it all in, a pleasure
Fresh fallen snow
Thin as a sheet blanket
Was skinned over the scene

Soft yellowed light
From street light globes
Snow diamonds sparkling
The old drug store restored on one side
A dime store on the other
Pick up trucks all white parked in lines
Like white horses waiting patiently

I broke into that world
Behind me friends breaking the silence
“Drive carefully!”
“See you soon!”
Engines grinding into life
Silence returning to Main Street.

Small town luxuries abound
If we but stop to absorb
Sip them in to savor


Streetlights on the Snow2022-09-03T14:53:13-04:00

Chicago, Yesterday and Today


A Frenchman made his way
into a great unknown
land, and more land,
lakes and rivers and native peoples
Westward on he went
discovering a land full of wonders
A great lake
and great lakes
like huge inland seas
fresh water, fish
here would be a place
where people could live
and well
Time passing
it came to be
my great grandpa settled there
working at a saw mill
making boards
making a city
a new life
far from tyrants and kings and queens
aristocracies unkind to people
Here, life was better
Wave after wave of people came
and the buildings grew thicker
and taller
til they became like stalagmites
reaching to the sky
sky scrapers, they called them
growing ever more tall
Box rooms built on box rooms
of homes and office spaces
served by small boxes on cables
lifting up, gliding down
the people sorting themselves
into their caves and places
Beneath the earth level tunnels serve
holding pipes and cables
feeding water (clean one way, used the other)
fuel and wires abound
trains come and go
loaded with folk by the thousands
On the streets cars and trucks and people move
pulsing here and there
rhythms and waves day and night
noise accentuated with sirens often
“Give over!” “Emergency!”
Where food came in wagons
it’s now traded through wires
Contracts are made, sold and bought
grains and cattle and hogs only on screens
numbers flashing all day long
prices established around the world
as dealers strike and call
Insurance and investments
banks and stores and restaurants
more sophisticated, complicated, all the time
more and more stalagmites for companies grow
Somehow all of it works!
Amazed, always, I visit there
in huge hotels
with others from around the state
sometimes around the nation
Swirling in with people from around the world
Mixing, sorting, doing our business
Then I go home
to the prairie
to nestle in my small place
the next person a mile away
The sky laid out for me to see

Chicago, Yesterday and Today2022-09-03T14:53:13-04:00

Hangin’ in There


The Great Teacher
has his lines and sayings
His students know them well
so too, his family
‘Read the problem!’
Good advice.
‘You may find this helpful, along life’s highway’….
‘If yer gonna be a bear, be a grizzley!”
“Do it the easy way!”
But one comes to mind nowadays:
“I’m hangin’ in there!’
A lifetime of being prepared,
I mean really prepared.
Did his homework, superlatively…
Smart, focused, passionate, compassionate…
He’d walk quickly into his classroom,
push himself hard
let his students know he’d maintain hyperspeed
the goal, the exam, the goal:
“75 and alive!”
Life has its challenges,
and he knew it.
Most significant person in his life?
His mother, plus his wife.
Granny Perry was a saint
in every way I can think of
deserving respect
what a lady!
Shirl, or “S”
held her own
quite a lady too!
A baby girl
filled out his ticket
“Oddie”, or “Kayper”
his pride and joy
forever and a day
So now we arrive
at “Hangin’ in there!’
The best that he can do.
A very worn body
has slowed him down
put him in a chair
He’s still thinking
soaking up
newspapers, magazines,
and nightly Fox
Still calculating
keeping tabs
accounting, don’t you know!
Visitors come
each one cherished
they come and lift his spirits
Gone, they’re mixed with memories
‘along life’s highways’
Somewhere along the line
a wise person said it well:
“Invest yourself in people,
and in things eternal’.
Indeed he has, and does!
His family, his students, his friends…
Granny’s God, his God
each person  benefited
from his investment, in us. 

Hangin’ in There2022-09-03T14:53:14-04:00

Morning After


Everything is different.
Everything, except one, is the same.
One is gone.
A very special one:
“B” is for Barney.
Professor Perry
Colonel Perry
A pillar knocked over
like a domino
a long chain of events to follow.
Bring the family home
Put all else on hold
Do the mundane things
while numb
Lots of tears and hugs
Everything’s different
Everything’s the same…
The sun came up
just as it did when my step dad died
mom and I watching from the hospital hallway
The grass the trees, the fields of September
were for some moments put on hold
Our world paused
Our known ones remembered, reflected
Who was this man?
Whom did he touch
in life changing ways?
They came, to honor and remember
Many sent cards, many with notes
LIfe turned a corner
with Grandad’s passing
Everything’s different
Everything’s the same
Harry got a driver permit
Libby started school…again
Evie went for horseback riding
Keller ran and ran
Sam discovered lots more things
Joe remarked on it all
The grownups hit their sidewalks
pounding along life’s highways
The friends went back to their lives
as we are bound to do
Kay and I are now
the ‘older generation’
So soon!
Up to us
to have perspective
be there at important times
Encouraging as Grandad did
a thousand times ten thousand.
Amazing (not) how his best lines
fit right in with Scripture!
A last day sharing
with his teacher grandson
he laid it out:
“If I could get my students
to believe in me,
they could believe in themselves.”
I know what he meant.
His reputation was know, established in living stone:
His word was truth. 
If the top teacher in the nation
said it
You could put it in the bank.
He said: “75 and stay alive!”
“All my students pass the exam”.
He wasn’t asking for perfection.
He knew mistakes would be made.
But the appropriate goal
was pass the exam.
Jesus said: “Come unto me,
you who are burdened and heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.”
and “Believe in me,
and you shall have life abundantly.”
So the students had their gateway exam
leading to profession
All of us need to address the question
the gateway to eternal life
“Who do you say I am?” said Jesus….
Lin 10/2012
Professor Kenneth W. Perry, 1919-8 Sep 2012 

Morning After2022-09-03T14:53:14-04:00



The room stands quiet
returned to its former state
all the things carried in
are carried out, gone
The people
those who stood in front
those who played their music
and those who filed in
claiming chairs for a moment
have gone to their cars
and motored away
Quiet reigns 
In their hearts words are replayed
faces cross the mind screen
the family, the people
have come together to share
a passing
a moving away
moving on
The book of a life has been written
the touching part has slipped away
so now, we can only touch things they touched
but hugs are no more
The structure of creation is such
that in our mind’s eye, in our heart of hearts
we still touch
and do
pleasuring in the memories
that will stay with us
Some fine days we’ll be together
sharing memories
choking up, tearing
it will be good
Thinking deeply
we’ll be aware again
there are seasons
We’ll hear a baby cry
hold a grandchild
receive a hug
Some young person will cross a stage
receive a diploma
A young couple, all decked out
will face each other down front at church
place rings
facing life together
Maybe we’ll see an older couple
walking down a sidewalk
holding hands
Springtime and summer
fall and winter
the trees, the grass, the flowers
all mark the days
they too, are passing
So we scratch the earth
plant some seeds
grow and flower
then begin to slip
returning to the soil
Selah, Lin 9/2012 


Life: A Brownie with Ice Cream Laced with Chocolate


Professor Ken Perry knew how to live life
and live it abundantly
“If you’re gonna be a bear,
be a grizzly!” he told his students.
And so he lived.
Focusing was his forte
riding on passion…
and compassion.
So judge him on the outcomes:
Students who passed The Test!
Therein he set the standard:
raised the bar so high!
#1 and # 2 of 65,000 takers…
three times!
#1 or #2 a number of times…
Students in the top 10%…
Students who praised him…
for decades after the class, after The Test.
“75 and stay alive!”
“Let the Institute take you by the hand and walk you through the problem!”
“Read the problem!” (RTP)
“Don’t fight the problem!” (DFTP)
“Always question your answer!”
So he worked and lived
excelling in accounting
But out of the University eye
he excelled in another area:
Teaching nuclear warfare in the Army!
Colonel Perry did.
He could teach a two hour class
or a 48 hour class on the topic
to Army officers!
So he worked and lived
excelling with his family:
a daughter and five grandchildren.
Kings’ Island with the grandkids
he was ridin’ on “The Beast”
Sharing the thrill of a giant coaster
or sharing on a timid ride
to break a new one in.
Graduation brought a reward
a cruise in the Carribean!
What a blast they had!
Some eighty cruises shared with Shirley
a hundred eighty countries
On many of them dancing –
what a time they had!
So life was a brownie with ice cream
chocolate swirl on top
and now he’s off to heaven!
Lin, grandad, not RIP, but Joy Unspeakable in Heaven
Kenneth W. Perry 

Life: A Brownie with Ice Cream Laced with Chocolate2022-09-03T14:53:14-04:00

If You’re Gonna Be a Bear


Set yourself in your favorite chair
snuggle down and close your eyes
In your mind’s eye
picture these slides
through a very long life…
A small house in a small Kentucky town
dogs and chickens, a cow and a garden
Family noises, kids darting here and there
the neighborhood like one big house
A small boy running
chasing, being chased
laughing with his buddy Ray
Older siblings, younger siblings
big families the norm
Next slide, school.
The little boy is sitting down front
close to the teacher’s desk
close to the blackboard
so he can see
(poor folks didn’t get glasses)
Teacher’s pet, earned
recognized as bright all along
Next slide, high school.
Football.  Strategy and the game
Focus the energy, the strength
give it your all
Block!  Tackle!  Run run run!
Quick and tricky is so much fun!
Next slide, drug store.
Friends come by
“Wanna come with us?
Goin’ over to Eastern,
to try out for the team.”
Eastern Kentucky College
Tryouts, football field,
standing and a watching.
Coach sez : “Here!
(pitches Ken the football)
Run past those two guys!
Give it a try!”
He did.  He won…
a scholarship to the college!
Next slide
a pretty coed.
Shirley Kimball
Cute as cute could be.
Down the diploma aisle

Next slide, Lieutenant Perry, U.S. Army
“Take this test and we’ll test your mettle.”
Bingo! Top of the class!
Off to learn artillery!
Next stop Fort Knox and tanks:
Figure out rockets trajectory
do the math
We want rockets on tanks to hit their targets
Invasion in Europe is in the plans.
So he did.  They did.
and then down for a marriage license!

Next slide a little girl
cute as a button
daddy’s pride and joy
Kayper!  Bright and bubbling!
Next slide, a tiny grocery
Athens, Ohio
Grad school classes
just for fun
A master’s degree in the making
Major shift!  Next slide:
down to Berea, Kentucky
Berea College
Ken Perry, teacher!
A tiny little dwelling home
Major shift!
Illinois!  Getting a ph. d.
Growing a legend program
the best
Accountancy, University of Illinois
“If you’re gonna be a bear…
be a grizzly!”
Give it all you’ve got.”
“If I can get my students
to believe in me,
I can get them to believe in themselves.”
They needed to think:
“This professor is awesome!”
“If Professor Perry thinks I can do it
I think I can! I’m gonna give it all I’ve got!”
So for a very full semester
he rode ’em hard.
Picture a herd of mustangs running
flat out
big cloud of dust behind
heading for the goal
“Read the problem!”
“Don’t fight the problem!”
“Always question your answer!”
“Let the Institute take you by the hand and walk you through the problem!”
They did.  They passed.
All along the way
“If you’re gonna be a bear”…
At 93, Kenneth Wibur Perry passed
soared one last time
his life here completed,
oh, did he ever pass!
Selah,  Lin 9/2012 

If You’re Gonna Be a Bear2022-09-03T14:53:15-04:00



We’ve done about all we can do:
We chose the seeds most carefully
from ten thousand possibilities
put the soil, under microscopes
and tested for its health
amended it, for maximum yield
We nestled the seeds
into warmth and moisture
watched them sprout, grow
to fine young plants
Watched for bugs, disease,
and mindfully sprayed where needed
honoring the soil and environment
So, we are done.
Each day the corn holds court
for whatever nature delivers
Temperature, moisture, wind
time goes by
Hunter gatherers roamed the earth
surviving, but in short years.
Along came farmers
who planted, cultivated, and harvested
saving seeds for food year round
surviving, better, but still with problems
nearly everyone had to be
a farmer
Then came knowledge
connecting, mothering nature
ah yes!
Our minds can study
learn, discern
how to make things better
Discover mode
lifts us higher
so one percent are farmers
freeing others for mankinds benefit
for doctors, and dentists and
ten thousand jobs to help each other
still, we need to eat
So a better seed gets planted
the soil is treated better, respected
the plants are encouraged, protected
and harvests grow
grains pour from harvesters to transports
trucks and trains and barges and giant ships
moving, moving, moving
from growing hands to hungry folks
around the earth, it happens
We’re all waiting
done, til harvest
What will it be?
Selah, Lin
James 5:7 


Letting Go


A plethora of thoughts
‘letting go’, surrounded
Pictures race across my mind
Of a little one
hangin’ on to mama’s leg
a shelter in the time of storm
Of a proud papa
kissing his daughter
giving her to her husband
Of airport scenes
parting folks
kisses and hugs
and reluctant goodbyes
Of dad, hand on the bicycle seat,
running alongside the precious one
letting go
Of mom and dad
in the doorway
watching a teenager, alone,
driving away to college
Toughest of all life’s lessons
is holding the hand
of a loved one slipping away
final breaths coming
a chapter closing
Letting go happens so often
apostrophes in life
we know keep coming
long rows of candles
one being lit
another being snuffed
all in a context
of The Light of The World.
Lin 7/2012 

Letting Go2022-09-03T14:53:16-04:00



Days of hundred degrees
weeks with little to no rain
but the crops are hanging on!
Drummer Flannagan doin their thing
black blanket tucked under green crops
holding tight to subsoil moisture
So when the crops should look
like the unwatered yards in town
still, they’re growin green!
Soaking up the sun
converting elements to our next meals
We are blessed!
A cold front rolling through
has dropped the temps a lot
Evenings in the 70’s
soft breezes blowing
the roots are going down
deeper and deeper they sink
sipping on the nectar
that we are mostly made of
Leaves that were curled against the drought
are now unfurled, relaxed, relieved….
and so am I!
Waiting for real rain!
But sleeping better!
Selah, Lin 7/2012 




The theme was mostly:
“We went with him”.
as we traveled along life’s highways
He certainly covered a lot of miles
And he always led the pack!
Like icing on our cakes
he flavored our lives in stories
take this one:
Finishing up a tour of duty
at an army camp in Kansas
a friend from Champaign asked if he
could catch a ride back home.
“Sure”, said Ken. “I like to get movin’ early”.
Three hundred miles down the road,
the friend asked if they might stop for breakfast!
He and grandma took cruises
sometimes taking grandchildren
Rewards for graduations!
Once he offered me a trip
join him to the Antarctic!
We did!
Guess who was first off the boat
first feet to hit the beach
Leading the pack as usual!
Oh, how he loved strategy for the journey
whatever it might be…
From his home to office, or doctor
quickest route?
In and out of the Assembly Hall
or the stadium
Seats chosen with purpose
quick in; quick out…
The final journey was in slow time
beginning with pushing a grocery cart
zipping around the store
then with his walker
keep pushing!
Know the limit, and be right there!
His counsel was much sought
and highly valued by us all
He gave it to us straight
but only if we asked.
What a treasure!
So many of his guiding principles
were in harmony with the Scriptures:
“If you’re gonna be a bear,
be a grizzly!”
(Whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord!)
“If I can get my students to believe in me,
I can get them to believe in themselves!”
Most thought he was the very best, bar none.
“So if the very best professor, who knows this stuff so well,
believes I can do, I think I can!”
How like Jesus, who taught to believe in Him,
and through him have life, and abundantly.
So he ran the race
passing the tests
boosting his students to pass theirs
Well done
Thou good and faith full servant
Kenneth Wilbur Perry
Selah, Lin 9/2012 


Just a Sip


Half way through a marathon
a runner grabs a cup
a quarter inch or water there
No time to grab another
he throws it down
rushes on
the goal still far ahead
Ten miles down
sixteen to go
the runner knows it’s not enough
from top of head
to tip of toes
cooling sweat is soaking
Better than nothing
this ‘not enough’
yet the runner’s thankful
no way back
going forward
trained to do just that
set small goals
another drink is coming
somewhere forward
getting closer
every step, every minute
July is hot
July is dry
not much water can be expected
so crops and people reach way down
to find their drops of water
Shade’s an answer
for them both
a gentle breeze to boot
A crop ‘canopies’
people burrow, cocoon
conserving all they can
Just a sip feels so good!
We’ll take it!
Be thankful!
keep moving forward!
Lin July 2012 

Just a Sip2022-09-03T14:53:16-04:00



Early morning darkness
coffee, newspaper, coffee again
Waiting for the sun
to whisk away nights soaking
Straight sticks adorned with seeds
standing at attention
in long straight rows
waiting for the farmer
to whisk and sort and steal away
for man and beast
Soybean harvest
is one of waiting
soy seeds so tender, porous
they soak up dew defying
harvest on most mornings
So the farmers stir
and stir their coffee
and do those little things
that always need some doing
Come ten, come eleven
checking, testing
rubbing pods between toughened hands
come twelve
aieee! Come one…
and then we roar!
Clipping off the straight sticks
very close to earth
gathering in, sifting, sorting
treasuring seeds
pouring into trucks, into trains
into giant ocean going vessals
Food is on the move!
Come on sun!
I’m waiting!
Selah, Lin


Little One


Indeed they are precious!
The little ones have been molded
Shaped to look like us
just smaller?
I don’t think so!
Each one, every one
is unique!
A combination, perhaps,
of mom and dad
and brothers and sisters
grandmas and grandpas
aunts and uncles…
the list goes on.
Maybe they’re like
a huge bouquet
all buds
yet to be unfolded
What a blessing
purest joy
to be a part, play a part
in witnessing the unfolding
How they breathe
How they move
Learn to look at us
smile, frown
laugh, cry
Squeeze our neck
nestle in
relax and sleep in our arms
Wrap tightly around our leg
Run with us
Play hide and seek
Walk with us, hand in hand
Run to greet us
Leap with abandon into our arms
Sit tightly beside us
in nervous times and place
Ride high upon our shoulders
King or Queen of the world!
Seek us out
above all others
when trouble comes their way
Around the world
we can watch them, study them
So many things in common
Maybe what we have is love
played out, lived out
right before our eyes….
Selah, Lin 9/2012
Harry, Libby, Keller, Evie, Sam and Joe 

Little One2022-09-03T14:53:17-04:00



Significant women have made statements
regarding the importance of ‘table’.
Barbara Bush said it this way:
“The most important decisions in America
are made around the kitchen table.”
As always, Barbara’s wisdom was front and center.
Grandma Warfel
near pioneer
drew a line defining:
“True friends feet
have been under your table
and yours under theirs.”
The family table is always defined
with mom and dad in specific places
honored and respected, noted always
Throughout history
it’s just the same
Everyone has a place
to start
square, round, or long rectangle
no matter
How natural Jesus was
at the table head
how unnatural he arose
with towel and bowl circled round
washing each one’s feet
Not just his own
but also with others
he joined with them at table
and he speaks to us, each one,
inviting us to His table
Living water offered…
Bread broken for you, for me,
bread that nourishes forever…
Bridges are built, maintained
at table
“I’m so glad, I’m a part,
of the family of God.
I’ve been washed in the fountain,
cleansed by His blood.
Joint heirs with Jesus
as I travel this sod.
I’m a part of the family,
the family of God.”
Lin 10/2012 


Wet Air Morning


Leaves drifting down, early morning,
as I pop out the door to snag the paper
the air engulfs me like a big wet kiss!
a wet air morning for certain.
Soaking my world
the fields and grass are laden
humidity must be a hundred
A pin drop would make it rain!
Far to the south
the Gulf offers up its moisture
and winds duly christened travel
a giant swirl brings them here
to bathe the plains with life giving water
to make this a garden
Lush, comes to mind,
in seasons warm
lovely, when cold
slides down in winter
Harvest will wait all morning
as the sun bakes the plants for plucking
Shed doors fly open, late morning
machines growl out
crawling like giant caterpillars
in the fields
sifting, sorting
pouring out the fruits of summer
Into the darkness the machines roar on
pushing against the night
then, moisture again, settles in
smothering plants and machines to silence
Another day of harvest
Harvesting soybeans, 10/2012 

Wet Air Morning2022-09-03T14:53:18-04:00

Grandpa’s Hands


High on my office shelf
sits a sculpture done in love
Albrecht Durer’s Betende Hande
a labor of love by a brother
for his brother who loved
Just this evening I came in
weary from a day of labor
hands smudged with grease and dirt
from a day of farming
Warm water flooded my cold hands
as I rubbed and soaped them slowly
rinsed, I dried them, and I paused,
I have my grandpa’s hands!
Not so surprising, really,
as fifty years of farming
have ever shaped and molded
young boy hands to older farmer
Tanned, marked with scars,
big strong hands from exercise
decades shaped and strengthened
Happy to have
all my fingers!
The bones grown bigger
they say that happens
my grip grown stronger
I can pull a wrench, lift a boulder,
shape and cut metal
My sister says
I AM grandpa Warfel
I’ve become him!
Well, I like that!
He was my hero,
my daddy sub
First memory is
sittin on his lap, driving a little tractor
(big then, small now!)
He and I had lots of races
he could run quite fast
(though now I know, only yards)
together we worked, side by side,
he coached me all along
We fed cows and milked them,
pulled weeds and built fences
Painted barns and fence post tops
Pleated rope from baling twine
Sat side by side in church
over on the far north side
Big Ben ticking away an hour
We chowed down grandma’s cooking
ate fresh veggies from the garden
butchered cows and pigs and chickens
Oh, a thousand, ten thousand things!
And now I have my grandpa’s hands!
Selah, Lin  10/2012
Grandpa in the mirror, age 71
Alfred Warfel, 1884-1954
Profile on the book cover…Grandpa looks like his Grandpa! 

Grandpa’s Hands2022-09-03T14:53:18-04:00

Morning Moon


randpa rolled out at 0330
to do the livestock chores
Pitch the hay down
from the mow
shovel the grain
into cow shined troughs
slap the stantions
on the milk cows necks
and do the milking
The walk to the barn
only a hundred steps
was lit by stars that twinkled
and by the morning moon.
I wasn’t “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”!
The cattle knew we were coming
they greeted us in moo talk
even the cats had something to say
as they scampered along beside us
Walking back to breakfast
the moon still shone
pristine, in the dawn soft sky
The stock, the stars, the moon, the earth
go about their ways, a habit
while, in sharp contrast,
we can ‘know’.
Thinking about the past
and early rising grandparents
the present
and those whose lights are on
and the future
Who holds it?  How will it be?
We can wonder, dream and plan
Good morning Moon!
I’m on my way
to think and do a thousand things
I’ve never done before!
Hug my wife and out the door
to use my mind and muscles
to fix and fuel and operate machines
that gather in the summer’s bounty
Food, fuel and fiber are my business
People are in line waiting, expecting
and I
I will deliver
Lin 10/2012 

Morning Moon2022-09-03T14:53:26-04:00

Touch and Permission


An Asian culture posits a greeting
with hands at sides, and a bow
Another culture folks fold their hands together
prayer like, and do a head nod bow
Somewhere back in our ancestry
swords were often present
firmly gripped in one’s right hand
Noted by their absence
an empty hand was extended
to grip another person’s right hand
and permission
The pastor greets the flock
service ended, folk headed home
words offered, exchanged, with all
and hands offered, taken,
sometimes held in lingering, caring ways
The politician reaches out
shaking all the hands they can
moving, always moving
to shake someone else’s hand
Glancing touches
like a thrown rock skipping across the lake
A young man, a young lady,
sit side by side
signals passing
his hand grasps hers
with her permission
and the world becomes far away
two, on life’s highway
to becoming one….
A child lays abed
burning up with fever
a mother’s hand, cool, soft, gentle,
touches the forehead
the suffering somehow is relieved
Another child running
falls and scrapes a knee
Mom or dad picks them up and hugs them
and pats them gently on the back, soothing
and the pain softens steadily
Then there’s the leap across a chasm
and full blown hugs are done
Parents and children
and special ones, with permission
are hugged and held in abandon
Pausing, seconds really, in a lifetime
but oh, so precious!
We humans have a dimension
where only we can go
Minds and hearts combine to claim:
“He touched me.
Oh,He touched me…
and oh, the joy that floods my soul.
He touched me
and made me whole.”
Permission granted
Lin, 10.2012 

Touch and Permission2022-09-03T14:53:27-04:00



Indeed, a long time ago,
but just ‘yesterday’ in history…
Great grandpa was a walking
Tolono depot just behind
Southwest into the prairie
what he saw was not a goldmine
but a ‘blackmine’
Soil soft on his footsteps
speaking to him in farmer tones
“This could be really good, really somethin'”
“This could be our home”.
So he bought a field in ’82,
and planted himself right there.
He quickly built a lean to
shelter against the winter
for great grandma and the kids.
A horse bought, and a sled
he trekked across the snow
Parkville, sawmill, boards he bought
for the first home to be built in summer.
Little great uncle Fred had a job
a ridin’ on that sled.
Last load coming home
he sat upon the lumber
waving a lantern at the wolves
who slinked along behind
First house built in ’83
great grandma was in heaven
but here on earth she worked so hard
supporting her man in the field
Monday’s she carried water
two buckets at a time
from the open ditch just north of the house
so Tuesday could be washday.
Too big a job, carrying water,
to do both jobs same day.
By and by great grandpa
happened to be nearby, when
in Tolono a rail car was in the siding
piled high with wooden barrels
Giant ones called ‘hogsheads’
were for sale that day
He bought one, and wagoned it home.
Buried it next to the kitchen
situated just so
a downspout from the house roof
could be directed in.
He piped it from the kitchen sink
aided by a handpump
great grandma could stand at the sink and pump
and carry the buckets no more
My grandma witness the first water
and then great grandma’s tears bore the message:
Happiness about a burden passed!
Seventy miles, to the south
John Delano Warfel settled
veteran of The War
the Buckeye native planted his farm
and raised a great big family
Little Alfred was born there
about the same time Ida was
on this farm
and thus begins another chapter
in ‘Farmers on this Land’.
The same young Illinois Central
that brought H.J. from Chicago,
brought Alfred up from Rose Hill
to the Tolono station.
That’s the same rail station, by the way,
where Abe Lincoln spoke his last words
on the way to Washington.
Some fifty years from ’82,
H.J. hung it up.
Moved into Sadorus
two miles to the west.
Took a little doing
to get great grandma there
several months went by
before she would give up
and follow him to town.
Alfred and Ida moved in here
the second generation.
Again war was to tumble
family plans and movings
’41 December, Pearl Harbor happened,
grabbing my folks and farming.
Hank, my dad, was called up,
and off he went to war
as John D. had some 70 years before.
Mom, my sister and I,
stayed anchored here on this place
as battle after battle waged
across the face of earth.
One year.
Two years
Three, then June, the sixth,
and Europe was invaded
Americans poured into France
my dad was among them, fighting
to push the face of evil back
One week
Two weeks
One month
and then one more explosion
Captain Hank Warfel was no more.
Except in a metal casket, and some memories.
Skip forward thirty years
and his son came on the scene
to move into the house built
the year that he was born.
He came home, with his family,
to take up plow and planter
and harvest as his fathers did
Watch his children grow
Time, like soldiers, marches on,
and now the son,
the grandson,
the great grandson’s
 grown old
Seven decades and some change
his boots walked on this ground.
Babies grown, moving away,
making their way in the other world
but rooted in this soil
His song and theirs
is “The Song of the Prairie’.
Lin 10/2012 


Order in the Court!


Seattle, St. Louis…
Baltimore, Chicago…
waiting rooms the same
hallways polished keen
Great big buildings
many floors
folks in starched coats scurrying
America’s clinics hum along
patients in; patients out
patients, patients, all about
secretaries by the score
nurses on the phones
and then, the doctors
Women and men so educated
so focused
mountains of information in
sitting in front of a human
one person
to one person
one question:
“How can I help?”
There is order in the court!
And orders go out:
this test and that
lab and xray and more
digging deeper, deeper, deeper
for that nugget, that exclusive ‘click’
“This is the problem”
and “This is the solution”.
Orders go out again:
to the person
to the pharmacy
to the therapists
to the army of support
yes indeed, Order in the Court!
So life goes on
in a better fashion
all the while remembering
life is precious
and oh so short, determined
by birth and death
mountains and valleys in between
savored with perspective
“This is the day
the Lord has made!
We will rejoice
and be glad in it!”
Lin 6/2012 

Order in the Court!2022-09-03T14:53:27-04:00

The Blue Shirt Folk


I know a certain former congressman
now president of some colleges
whose trademark was a blue shirt
button down
Back and forth to Springfield
then back and forth to Washington
Blue shirt Monday
and every other day
Eastern preppies  uniform, I note
was khaki pants and blue shirts too
although stripes of blue came along
with Paisley ties and Herringbone tweeds
My grandpa and my dad
grew up in bibs of denim blue
with chambray shirts, long sleeves
Summer, winter
it didn’t matter
Hats and jackets changed
but blue shirts ruled the farms
Farm and Fleet and rural stores
still carry lots of the selfsame shirts
and lots of us still wear ’em
Protect us from the hottest suns
make the bugs try harder to bite
and keep the hay chaff out
protect our arms from scratches
Colder weather finds t shirts under
and sweat shirts over
but that blue shirt still rules
Maybe we’ve more in common
than sometimes people think?
Practical wear should be the rule
for those at work wherever
I’m happy in my work shirts
my brand, my label, my ‘flag’
Selah, LIn 6/2012 

The Blue Shirt Folk2022-09-03T14:53:27-04:00

The Bitter Taste of Winter


Cold, they say, bitter cold!
And right they are!
The cold bites us, in many ways!
Noses and toes
fingers and ears
get nipped and painted red
Pay attention!
Our bodies say
this is not to my liking!
Frost bite, they call it
as winter chills and works on us
seeping in to gloves and hats
the wind burning our skin
eyes watering
tears freezing
oh, we are so cold!
Tis a bitter taste
winter gives us
yet, beneath the snow and ice
there’s good
We’re killing bugs!
Rebalancing nature acting
fighting back gainst insects
fighting back against diseases
winter bites and kills
those nasty critturs!
Thank you winter!
You’re saving me money
and helping me avoid
the use of poisons to kill those bugs
the use of chemicals to kill those weeds
that rob our crops
rob our foods, feeds, fuels and fibers!
So I’ll look for sugar
to sweeten winter
I’ll bet I’ll find some
Selah,  Lin Zero degrees and below 2014 

The Bitter Taste of Winter2022-09-03T14:53:28-04:00

On the Move


Planted on a prairie hilltop
the highest spot around
the college has to grow
Engaging the community in learning!
Firm foundations abound
for buildings and for students
minds are stretched
and buildings sprout

A wing goes here
a wing goes there
students slip in, and fly away
that’s the Parkland Way!
A thousand students, two
then four then ten
and finally…
a front door to welcome them!

Thousands of feet
now ten,
thousands of feet! Over time,
two hundred sixty…thousand!
Oops! that means half a million people feet!
Borrowed rooms and buildings first
then spankin’ new buildings now forty
hundreds of thousands of building feet
of rooms linked in wings
a living, breathing place

From soils to stars
roaring engines to computer clicks
dogs and cats to people care
giving speeches and writing books
wind and fire and policeman training
pounding nails and welding iron
music and arts and theatre too
whatever needs are out there
the rooms grow, and serve the people

A place
investing in people
and things eternal
Buildings and minds still growing
and it is good.
Very good!

Lin, 5/2012


On the Move2022-09-03T14:53:28-04:00



Twas a half century ago, this month,
I met a young woman,
who became my wife come December.

My life turned a corner
a big one
and I surrendered to her
and she to me

Ah, not 100 per cent at once!
Actually, I’m still working on it
but we’ve come a long way
Fifty years worth of trying
and getting better

Some forty years ago
I turned another corner
went forward, actually
and gave my life to Jesus
I surrendered again
Ah, not 100% at once
Actually, I’m still working on it
but I think I’ve come a long way
and getting better

Two thousand years ago
God came to earth in human form
the Son surrendered all
enduring all the evil the world could muster
he forgave
and proved His Godness
rising from the grave

Not the way of earth, surrender.
Conquer is our game
Conquer things, and conquer people

A little bit of heaven’s revealed
when surrender rules the day
Picture a very small child
sleeping in mom’s or dad’s arms
nestled in, sleeping peacefully
safe and secure from all alarms

Other places God reveals
the peace that passes understanding
and we sense a greatness
a Creator
just a glimpse

Selah, Lin 4/12



The Quiet Man


Hours I spent with him
some in heavy waters
some in lighter moments
He became a brother
He was almost always there
passionate in his being
so much so

He came to one board meeting
straight from being
a patient in the hospital…
Always alert, listening with energy
sometimes eyes a twinkling
I would catch that look
and know
something was cooking, coming

Often a humorous arrow
flaming to the heart
and laughter would fill the room
How many votes?
A thousand or two?
Thought through issues
discussed from different angles
But in the end agreement
a team player

Bodies wear out in time
so we come, with sadness
to final moments
but remembering
the precious gift of life

We pause to give thanks
for those who were givers
going extra mile after mile
to do their part
share the loads
of living free

Freedom on earth’s constrained
by ten thousand things and more
but, passed, freedom is complete

From a humble dwelling here
to a mansion, with streets of gold
Paul Quinlan
Mansion builder, gold winner
now complete

5/1 Lin


The Quiet Man2022-09-03T14:53:28-04:00

Rolling, A Song of the Prairie


Big tractor wheels
taller than a man
carryin’ 300 horses
back and forth
back and forth
tilling the soil
planting the crop

A lazy swirl of dust
marks my way
Soil seeking heaven
…just like me
the way of earth
the way of man

Row after row
seeds of promise
nestled into the waiting soil
dark. warm. moist.
A trigger is kicked!
Life clicks!

Root down, spike up
seeking sun up, and food down
Creation is a symphony
all parts singing a song
Here it is before us:
the Song of the Prairie


Rolling, A Song of the Prairie2022-09-03T14:53:29-04:00

Tree Hugger


A hundred thirty years ago
great grandparents settled here
Planted themselves
and then planted trees
Apple trees, pear trees
Osage orange and ash trees
The Osage Orange were windbreakers
cause the prairie sure had wind!
They made great fence rows
and nearly permanent fence posts
Some still line the boundaries

The fruit trees were very precious
cause sugar sure was high
so sweetness was very special
jams and jellies tasted mighty good
all through the long, cold, and snowy winters

Ash is a good hard wood
for making strong shovels and handles
and hand work was the way to do
The ash trees grew so tall
they seemed to touch the clouds
Strong winds served to do the pruning
broken branches made good fires
for cooking and for heating water
and heating the big old farmhouse

Over a century old now
my arms won’t reach around one
limbs way up in the trees
are big around as trees as well!
But time goes by
and nature has its way
to raise things up
and bring things down
We have the Green Ash Borer

The trees will die.

All of them.

I’ll have enough firewood
for a decade or more I’d guess
but it’s a sad sad time
to see them starve
from all their wounds
Fewer and fewer leaves
until the last leaf falls
and the tree stands sullen, barren

No leaves to greet me in the dawn
no shade for noonday sun
or evenings on the porch swing
no watching the branches lean
as strong winds shake the house
No place to hide the Robin’s nest
just lifeless wood
awaiting the saw, the axe
the fire I sit beside

As winters pass
I’ll stoke the fire
read my books and ponder
Bout how this is earth
with all its problems
and how there is a heaven

This summer I’ll hug each tree
give them my small blessing
thanking the Creator
for the century the ash trees gave us
and thanking for diversity
for oaks and maples and Hawthorns and others

Perhaps I’ll slice some boards from ash tree logs
and build some things to remember
Selah, Lin 4/12


Tree Hugger2022-09-03T14:53:29-04:00

Working the Broom


The humble broom is a crucible tool
clean sweeping nooks and crannies
My mind is rich in pictures
of ladies working a broom!

I see grandma
with her broom corn broom
made by a certain blind fellow
down Tuscola way
Grandpa and I visited the guy
every now and then
I watched the man’s fingers fly
and he stitched the wad of strands
the product of a special corn
Grandma would work that broom
somewhere every day
inside the house and down the walk
I still see her chasing dust!

First morning in Japan
I arose and looked out the window
I saw Japanese ladies working brooms
sweeping their porch and steps
then the sidewalk on to the middle of the street!
Wow! Did they work their brooms!

Farmers had their pitchforks
handles and tines kept shiny
and farm wives had their brooms
to shoo away some critter
doin’ something nasty
“Out! Shoo! Shoo!”
I’d hear, knowing who would win
the ‘woman of the house’ for certain!

I had a certain uncle
who took it ‘pon himself
to keep us kids in line.
Somewhere in his past, I guessed,
his mom, my sweet grandma,
had used her broom on him!
His threat to us, on needed occasion, was
“You behave! Or your mom will…
work her broom on YOU!”
Terror! He had our attention!
We all knew
mom could work that broom!

Progress has come to many things
but the corn broom has survived!
Plastic tries, but cannot win
we still have the same old brooms
and farm wives still
know how to use ’em
Better behave or else….

Selah, Lin 4/12


Working the Broom2022-09-03T14:53:29-04:00

Pain Full Memories


Life can bear down hard
slapping us, jerking us around
War brings horror over the top
so tough
experiences can’t be spoken
But they are remembered
though they’re buried deep

Sometimes decades later
the ice is broken
and they come out
December 7, 1941
a ‘Day of Infamy’
when thousands died
and more were injured
memories planted deep
June 6, 1944
the greatest armada of all time
paratroopers landing
ships pouring soldiers onto beaches
bodies floating in the surf
the beach a graveyard

150,000 invaders
coming coming coming
in some outfits
9 of 10 died
but in others, most lived
to fight
memories planted deep
pain full, memories

Somehow people went on
to come home, to live,
raise families, work
The painful memories pushed back
pushed down
but very much there.
Ours to listen, to care,
to ask ourselves:
“What did we lose?
What did we win?”

What We Lost, and What We Won*
Will we remember
the world at war
Army’s marching
aiming, shooting
shells exploding
cities smashed
families dreams as well

What we won
can be measured
Freedom, from tyranny
cruel insanity
a madman was in charge
madmen came to help him
evil was set free
people died in ovens
in concentration camps

Jewish men in a line
pressed together, front to back
shot to see
how many could be killed
with a single bullet

American soldiers eaten
on far off Pacific Islands
Some sacrificed their lives
Some suffered wounds forever
and some came home to
The Land of the Free,
and the Home of the Brave…
We helped win freedom
to live and grow and be
in this land of opportunity

Sustained by God
we have gone on
that is what we won
Men and women working
worshipping freely
raising families in peace
not even locking doors
children playing into summer nights
friends visiting, laughing, talking
a generation, then two, then three
free to come and go
A handful now, in uniform
vigilant, on guard, protecting
Then, every family was touched
someone in uniform
everyone purposed:
Stop Adolph Hitler
Stop the Emperor’s minions
Stop the world, from going insane

What we lost was half a decade
millions of people and more
“Maybe we will not remember,
what we lost…
and what we won…”*

Lin, 4/2012
*Listen to Ben Bedford, writer, singer,


Pain Full Memories2022-09-03T14:53:30-04:00

B is for Blankie


A little guy I know
has to have his B
to feel the world is right
With it he can sleep
let the world go away

A common thing
this blankie time
for little ones round the world
Something about a softness
a shield
to sense the world’s in place

Late winter, early spring,
last year’s corn stubble does its thing
capturing the blowing snow
trapped, it is a blankie, a “B”
protecting winter wheat

Often falling silently in the night
it piles like feathers over the fields
gently tucking in the rich black soil
something about a softness
a shield
to sense the world’s in place

The corn stubble, so stiff and strong
mellows with the moisture
freezing, thawing, soaking in
the melting snow
the blanket comes and is pulled back
over and over again

Soon enough machines will roar
and till the earth to plant
but just now rest
sleep well
all is well, all is well

Lin, late winter snow blanket 2/2012
Joe Warfel and his “B”
I remember tiny Harry, with his blankie pulled up over his face, only two little hands showing gripping the top edge of his blankie….
Not to mention his mom…, and her blankie! Or Kate!


B is for Blankie2022-09-03T14:53:30-04:00

What Hath the News- Gazette Wrought?


The president moved amongst the crowd
“Helloing’ here and there.
Handshakes, smiles, friendly comments,
a welcoming on all sides.

Up two steps to the speakers platform
stepping up to the podium, the mike,
he looked out upon the moving sea
listened to the voices
watched the people moving, mixing
These folks like each other!

“Good evening!”
spoken once
spoken twice
a few folks find their seats
but the waves continue
greetings abounding
The president studied some more
and saw, it was good:
These folks enjoy each other!

Farm leaders and spouses
people who’ve risen tall
carrying the ball in many ways
plays writ out large in lives lived well
living well
Tested by storms and drought
floods and markets
government kerfluffles
the vagaries of life
they’ve taken their blows
and risen

Compounded, winner after winner,
selected by peers,
the News Gazette brings them together
to add another, once a year
Forty years coming
people with faces gather
honoring each other and a new one
comfortable in who they are

Finally, they’re all seated
and the program begins
Recognitions, a video
and the honoree speech
Well done,
good and faith full servant
The News-Gazette!
It works!
Lin 4/2012 Farm Leader of the Year Award Banquet


What Hath the News- Gazette Wrought?2022-09-03T14:53:30-04:00

Yes! Easter!


The wrenching of cold
Broken, crashed, by Easter!

It was mankind broken
at its worst
celebrating in evil
unjust accusations
warped trial
a sentence all wrong
the season of “Hosanna!”
gone wrong

No surprise the earth shook
no surprise the sky darkened
they won
He died


God had a plan
much bigger than man
God IS over all
including death

What horror at man’s sin
yet God’s grace triumphed
over sin
over death

He arose!
He lives!
Hosanna forever more!

Easter 2012, Lin


Yes! Easter!2022-09-03T14:53:30-04:00

Little Angels


“Except ye come as…”
begins a well known statement
about the kingdom of heaven

We get little packages
in the most personal of ways
results of brief encounters
resulting in new life, birth

The little ones grow quickly
we count them weeks at first
then months
then oh so soon, in years

They grow in our hearts
in places we didn’t know we had
but become stamped so firmly
we savor moments with them always

From their first recognition
to first ‘their heads nestled in our necks’
to riding on our shoulders
to racing some short distance

They trust us
so beautifully
sleeping in our arms
on our laps while we read together

What gifts they are
our task is to ponder
and learn
and be
like them, tender in special ways….

Selah Lin, 3/2012
to Sam and Joe and Libby and Harry and Evie and Keller, Malia and more!


Little Angels2022-09-03T14:53:31-04:00

Concert Time


The sun season has changed
and our air is springtime
first blushes from plants seem rushing this year

An abrupt shift from winter
a mild one it was
so the warming sun has clicked
and plants come to heel

Swelling buds
tiny leaves
grass yawning and stretching
then racing to be mowed
farmers and gardeners itching
pulling on gloves
scratching the soil
humming of insects
chirping of birds
it is, indeed, concert time

The whole earth has turned
and nature is glorious
Spring is surging all round
oh, what a time!

Won’t you come celebrate
take a moment, step back,
and nestle in nature
and the Creator, of it all?

Birth, new life remind us
touching all senses
that design was purposed
and so are we.

Lin 3/2012


Concert Time2022-09-03T14:53:31-04:00

Country Folks


Meandering up country roads
I did my best to soak
A beautiful spring day
blue sky, cumulous clouds
fresh green grass and budding trees

I zig zagged near a river
heading back to the farm
The woods were dotted black
with Angus cows a grazing
lazily munching along
safe and secure on the edge of woods

Easy to find the rivers
here in central Illinois
as woods line their pathways
One farmstead, then another
Well appointed homes, aged,
and neatly kept barns and sheds
Not a painting, real
Real places, real people
Secure in who they are
Breathing in the people
I know their names and faces
Soaking up the places
centennial farms planted

I got my arms around them
and I was blessed
To be a part
It is good
And I am grateful
to know and be known
by them
Page Two
Maybe we were sculpted
by some special soil
(in truth, all soils are special!)
but I do know the soils are part
of what we do each year

We touch them, feel them
waiting for warmth to mother seeds
We scratch and till them, tile them,
and cover them with blankets green
They give us food, and fuel, and fiber
to feed, power, and clothe us
The farms are laced with tools
shiny handled shovel
our hands have polished often
Shiny door handles, gate latches
where we’ve touched them often

My grandpa’s hammer
his much prized scoop
a shovel made for grain
I still have, on the shop wall now,
a little simple stool I sat on
when growing up
to sit and milk the cows!
My bride has grandma’s hoe
sharpened by the soil
the metal half the original

Prized tools all
loaded with memories working
Countless animals have trod the fields
mooing, voicing their messages
while I in jest, mimicked them and laughed
I helped to birth them, feed them,
raised them to be shipped away
They did their part

We, the people,
do our part as well
Drawing together the best
of knowledge, research, progress
bout seeds and breeds and tools and more
To tune ourselves to nature
and nature’s Creator, God
Come Sunday morning quiet
a different day for us
set aside

like the Good Book says
“Even during planting and harvest,
work (only) six days.”
Families pile into cars
and make their way to church
to sing, to pray, to study on the ways
laid out for all mankind
Amen, and amen,

Selah, LIn 3/2012


Country Folks2022-09-03T14:53:31-04:00

Happy Tears


We humans are strange folks
our emotions try to prove it!
When pain comes our way
if it’s big enough
we cry

Warm tears flood from our eyes
as though the bad can be washed away
somehow, it does help
Does anyone know how?

Today I’m thinking of the other sort
the tears that flow from ‘happy’
Very, very happy!
Good! Very good!
Oh, so good!

A famous Army general
broke the ice with his comment:
“I don’t trust a man who doesn’t cry!”
This from a very tough guy.
So we now have license, we men!

I cried okay when a child
little boys were often admonished
‘Big boys don’t cry!”
I took that to heart.

At three decades I turned a corner
and gave my life to Christ
to be my Lord, my Savior.
Maybe you can guess what happened?
I cried.

So, for forty years now,
for exceeding happy
for sad and tender
I can cry.
And it’s okay.

50 years ago come April
I met the girl who married me.
50 years December
we’ll pause to celebrate the wedding.

I’ll bet the happy tears
would fill some buckets now!
Precious, the word,
has grown and grown
I put strong arms around the thought
and then around her
and I cry
little warm tears

Happy tears……

Lin 3/2010


Happy Tears2022-09-03T14:53:31-04:00

First Whiffs


Cold iron moves from shed
on stiff rubber tires

A disk blade or spring cultivator
eases into the rich, loam soil
and the farmer gets a first whiff!

There’s that stirring in the memory
of communion with the soil
and all the things a farmer does
to raise the plants that feed us
clothe us
fuel our machines these days
Do you have a favorite ‘whiff’?

Fresh bread smell wafting through the house?
Apple pie on the counter?
Pot roast with onions, carrots and potatoes?
Roses or apple blossoms

Oh so many wonder full whiffs!
How about the rain freshened air
after a sweet summer rain?
How about baby shampoo
on your precious baby child?
Or fresh brewed coffee in the early morning?

Bacon frying
Hamburgers on the summer grill?
Fresh mown hay some summer day
a field of clover, in full bloom?

Are we blessed or not?
The farmers and the gardeners
are out and doing their toil
I’m thinkin’ there should be a symphony
playing in the background
some singers humming quietly
along with the robin’s tunes

Selah, Spring, 2012 Lin


First Whiffs2022-09-03T14:53:32-04:00

First Light


It’s a magic moment
in my day
when I see the eastern sky
first light is beckoning
every day is different

Night time clouds
darken areas
but one knows the sun is coming
Rather we are spinning towards it
our earth rolling around
it will be our turn

To think, to do
a thousand things or two
eating, reading, planning,
on the move
blended with quiet moments

Just this moment I’m captured
watching the sun come up, holding
Evie, newborn grandchild,
while her mom is busy in the kitchen
Evie and I watch, but have to turn
as the sun gets brighter and brighter still

The sun in the sky
grandchild in my arms
what a special memory!
Now she’s nine
a young lady
blue eyed with long blonde hair
playing the violin

First light a reminder
that I am still here
and have a purpose
however small
to take the gifts I have been given
investing myself in people
and things eternal

The Light came into the world
and it is not the same
because He lived, and lives
His example Living Words
that need to be
in me.
Small, small me.


Lin sunrise, 2/2012


First Light2022-09-03T14:53:32-04:00

Dashes and Marathons


What a gathering!
Folks up to their tasks
so different!
Some primed and
“Ready! Set! Bang!”
and others, standing at ready,
going to run the marathon….

From 20’s to 80’s in ages
growing up in eras so different
music and styles far apart
yet here they were
captured for a moment
at a Farm Bureau directors meeting

A heartfelt prayer by the octagenarian
appreciative of those who keep us safe
and have, each generation
Grounded in faith
ever so full of thanksgiving
a tender moment

Young Ag leaders
jumping in, eyes flashing
energy pouring at eight in the evening!
Facing the present and future firing
thinking solutions, actions, wow!

Those in between solid
carrying their loads with grace
making mountains, climbing mountains
families growing, getting taller
school and church and a million things
swirling around those folks
and they’re moving steadily forward

Over all, in all, and out in front, tomorrows
the faithfulness of the Creator is
the I Am has been there
and is here
the future is still in God’s hands

These hands around the table
are the hands that bathe the children
drive the tractors
type on the computers
pull the wrenches
lift the loads and carry
Indeed, move with the earth

The moment passes
and the folks hit the roads to home
doing the dashes
and the marathons
making the world
our world
a better place….

Selah, Lin 2/2012
Champaign County Farm Bureau


Dashes and Marathons2022-09-03T14:53:32-04:00

Enchanting Land


It happens ever so often
I stop, realize,
the scene before me
this place where I live
is simply, profoundly

First light last night’s snow
slipped lightly on the trees
has marked, outlined
winter gray branches
down to the tiny twigs
snow rests
not even clinging
just lofted down quietly
as if it is sleeping there

With the dawn a little breeze
makes it look like its snowing
but only from the tree tops down!

Just the other day
we awakened to the Hoar frost painting
roadside weeds glistened in the sun
trees and bushes were wrapped
in Christmas wrappings
all white
closer looks saw
chrystaline shapes
so fragile
laced so finely
Soon the morning sun appeared
and chased it all away
back to winter’s gray!

Nighttime frigid air
driving along a terminal moraine
I could see for miles and miles
sharp black night pierced by stars
high in the sky and across the prairie
the night lights of the farmsteads
all quiet
the earth and me, so small I
so magnificent the scene

The Creator is indeed
If we just stop to see, to listen
There, all of the time….


Enchanting Land2022-09-03T14:53:32-04:00

Winter Snows


A skiff, a flurry,
a snow storm, a blizzard
we have them all
on the prairie!

For cash grain farmers
the same applies
to meetings during winter!

The constant change, in agriculture
drives us to always be learning
So, when winter comes
so do meetings
and they come like the snow

Computers help
an enormous boost
to be in touch almost daily
with colleges and universities
and providers galore
with information

This is they age,
some say,
of ‘information’
where knowledge is the new wealth
Genetics, computers, GIS and GPS
in skiffs, and flurries
in storms and blizzards
Blowing about us!
Swirling around us!

Machines and markets
policies and government
sometimes all combine
to bury us with information
so, we sift and sort through meetings
all winter, except Christmas week.

What a ride!
A ‘slay’ ride wherein we
slay the dragons that oppose us
Diseases, weather, bugs,
Regulations storming at us
We face them all….

Ah, come sweet spring
and the planting
time again on the tractors
sowing the seeds
in the mother earth
rich black loam inviting
warm sun beckoning
we do it again!

with creation, and the Creator,
what a combination!
Blessed, we are, to be
simple farmers

Lin 2/2012


Winter Snows2022-09-03T14:53:32-04:00

Beyond the See


We humans have a place
a way beyond the see
treasures there abound
to savor and enjoy

The land of beauty
surrounding us
unfolds in seasons grand
summer foliage
winter whites
frosted window panes
springtime flowers
fall colors shouting
Cars and quilts
and thousands of things
that somehow pleasure our see

Then there’s love
somewhere mysteriously in us
making it possible for two
to become one
How can that be?
The something that we call heart
knowing it’s not really
but somewhere in our brain
‘the greatest of these is love’
and we know it’s so

And friendship
again, that links us
wraps us in bindings
that set us free
how can that be?
Oh what a foretaste
of glory divine…

See so often
becomes simply, property
important, yes
but with it we are all but tenants
never really owning
just passing through
receiving, possessing for a while,
then letting loose

We see words
on a page, filling a book
and thoughts swirl in our minds
about the unseen
yet we know is there
and life settles into mysteries

O love, that wilt not let me go…*
and What a friend we have in…**

Selah, Lin, 2/2012
*George Matheson, Albert L. Peace, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go”
**Joseph M. Scriven, Charles C. Converse, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”


Beyond the See2022-09-03T14:53:32-04:00

Pasture Lessons


Grandpa had a lot of cattle
a hundred forty head or so
and thus the pasture lessons!

Along life’s highway valued flags
to sift and sort some wisdom

Cowpies always favorites!
Dried, they made nice campfires
wet, like polka dots
we learned to step around them
lesson one:
cowpies happen

Nature has its ways, you see
(and smell, don’t touch)
Cows drink water
by the gallons
eat grass and hay and therefore
four stomachs later
the mixture passes out
A pie!

Lesson two:
when playing baseball in the pasture
interesting bases are made
plain and clear they lie there
beckoning to the runner
Run TO them,
but don’t step IN them!

Lesson three:
All things created
have their uses!
Ours is to discover
Cowpies are quite valuable
mixed in garden soil
tomatoes do quite well
in the natural food for plants
Pure organic
is the sell

When the worst thing happens
as when we forgot to look
Soap and water do the trick
more serious things will come
but we’ve been tempered
with the yuk!

Plod on, my friends, knowing
you’re the wiser
for learning pasture lessons
farm talk, yes,
we’ve lots
to poke our thoughts with humor….

Lin 2/2012


Pasture Lessons2022-09-03T14:53:33-04:00

Stacks Attack


Some folks have ’em
some folks don’t!
I’m amongst the chosen few

One might say
we all are witnesses
to the capture of piles of stuff
and not all are bad, you see

Haystacks in a summer scene
bode winter food
for cows and horses and their needs
Stacks of money
aren’t that bad
especially if the money’s yours!

The stacks at libraries
speak treasures of words
inked for posterity, valued
treasured, for memories
and researchers looking

Warehouse stacks
forklifts working
move ’em in and out
sorting what goes where
always moving

Stacks of laundry
stacks of papers
stacks of magazines and more
piles on desks and chairs, oh my!
Now we’re sinking down

End of day
a cleaned off desk
is a mighty precious thing
Going home
all in order
the bare desk calls out loudly

Lin, 2,2012


Stacks Attack2022-09-03T14:53:33-04:00

Wounded Hearts


Scientists search
but can’t find
exactly all the human dimensions
What we call ‘heart’
a case in point.

Neutrinos zoom
faster than light
continuing to amaze
and puzzle

Photons gather
yet appear in other places
continuing to amaze
and puzzle

Along life’s highway
babies are born
are locked in love for lifetimes
continuing to amaze
and puzzle

Death comes too
searing our hearts
landing with a thud
and breaking in to capture
hold us fast, in still motion
trying to grasp some meaning

“No two hundred year old saints’
my doctor friend is wont to say
and yes, we all know it
in our minds

Yet in our hearts we struggle
reaching back
drawing deeply
for the things that hold us

Music helps
soothing, giving vent
to warm tears
running down our faces
Hugs from friends and family
connections, heart to heart
sharing loss

Somehow in another dimension
one we cannot see, for now,
we sense a standing place
firm, above and beyond
the here and now

There is an empty tomb
there is a risen Savior
and He’s in the world today
walking, talking, along life’s narrow way…*

Lin, 1 Feb 2012
Easter Comes


Wounded Hearts2022-09-03T14:53:33-04:00



A century ago
here in Champaign County
a small group of farmers assembled
America, this is
where freedom of assembly
is a law of the land

Farmers and their land
a communion of sorts
people combing and brushing
seeding, tending and harvesting
soil, intellect, and labor combining
to grow the things that feed us

Ideas passed among them
How to do this better?
What do we need to…?
I think WE can change this!

Man faces here
some on their own
others pushed forward by spouses
together, an association was birthed
The “Illinois Farmers Institute”

Dekalb County, Kankakee County,
and Champaign County caught the scent
June, 1912, the words ‘Farm Bureau’ appeared
in an add, The Urbana Daily Courier.

The catalog company, Sears Roebuck,
sent a thousand dollars
Seed money, in need of match,
to hire a special person
a crop and soil expert
to help the local farmers

Two hundred and fifty people
mostly farmers
put their dollars on the line
the rest, we say, is history!

Today some ten thousand county people
have put their names on a line
and joined Champaign County Farm Bureau
each a part of gatherings
for services wanted, met
through the hands and arms of people

Fertilizer, chemicals, seeds,
information gatherings, socials,
through the pain of the Great Depression
people saw the need to gather
combine their knowledge, come together,
forming companies.

Country Life, insurance company,
a creamery association
and a ‘service company’
to bring to farms the gas and oil they needed.
Illini Electric Cooperative, and Production Credit,
and Grain Association
ten companies, all together
moving progress forward
through the worst of times
into the best of times

This year marks one hundred years of gatherings
to bring soil, intellect and labor together
Now we pause, remembering, rededicating
to keep it going
make it even better
this day and tomorrow

Happy One Hundredth Birthday
Champaign County Farm Bureau!

Lin, 1/2012



East 80


Of course
a centennial farm has history!
memories scattered across a century
Each field has pictures
snapped and kept
in someone’s mind, to savor, ponder

My 80, she called it
Ida Augusta Bialeschki
who married a hard working guy
Alfred Warfel was very well known
as a premier hard worker, smart
Why, he could shuck a hundred
ears of corn in a day
working from dawn to dusk
A trader, par excellence
of anything to do with a farm

The east 80
lies east to west
along the Sadorus road
a little rolling, some flat spots
ponding is a problem
dark soil and lighter
you know a glacier was there
by rocks, found annually
rising from winter’s freezing, heaving

As a little lad
I worked with grandpa
forking up the hay
riding the hay rack home
Grandpa was fond of contests
races, if you will,
like when me and Francis (Butler)
tried to beat him
pulling millet
one end of the field to the other
Grandpa won, just barely
I think he strung us along!

The east end
held a school
gone before my time
except for well, standing alone
complete with pump and handle
Time was, grandpa plowed
round and round he went
stopping each round
to pump some water
for a leaky, ailing tractor
Awesome, his persistence
to save a nickel or dime

Cousin Dale and I
too little to lift a bale alone
would work together hoisting
a bale of hay up to the wagon
finally getting a load
Hard work, but we did it
laughing all the way
with grandpa loving us

With grandpa’s passing
a hedge row went
a bull dozer worked for days
Osage orange burns so hot
snapping and popping
sparks flying, fire roaring
all the trees were gone.
A life cycle completed
grandma and her sisters
watered the little trees
great grandpa planted
to break the wind
make a fence
yield longest lasting posts
For 60 years they did that
then went away for good
Four more rows of corn
where thorny trees once stood

My older kids remember
starting their farming there
learning about inputs
in order to have outputs, yields
marketing corn and beans

A year ago a feller
rode a scraper moving
back and forth
back and forth
carrying, distributing
carving out a path
for water to get away, smoothly
The curvy pathway marked in green
will let the water flow
let the crops grow nicely
and hold the soil so precious

Now I’ve farmed it 40 years
and this year’ll mark a generation
grandsons helping me
pick up rocks
like me and grandpa
and Francis Butler

Selah, Lin 1/2012


East 802022-09-03T14:53:33-04:00

Time Was*


Time was
there was a treasure
buried in a field
One wise fellow
sold all he had
and bought the field
and so bought the treasure

A special farmer story
the wise ones know
and then invest themselves
in the treasured fields

Gerald Compton did that
I know
His family
his faith
his farming
his friends

His time here
went into those fields
I’m thinking he was a treasure
invested in us all

In his passing
those fields pass to us
to walk in the footprints he made
to carry on
savoring knowing him
and being known by him

Some might picture
a red carpet rolled out in welcome
We might see emerald green
Corn, soybeans,
waving in a summer breeze
Wheat fields, hay fields
so beautiful
all leading to a smiling welcome
“Well done, thou good and faith full servant.”

Selah, January, 2911
Matthew 13:34
*For Gerald Compton, Gentleman


Time Was*2022-09-03T14:53:33-04:00



For some folks
wave after wave of memories
wash upon our lives
Indeed, I’m getting older!

Sometimes gentle
from childhood times…
I remember my step dad
lugging me up to bed
I was nine
and car travel made me sleepy
Good guy that he was
his strong arms scooped me up
and he carried me up the stairs
tucked me in

Many were the times
Sunday dinner finished
we sat at table and talked
debated, taking sides,
then half time
changed sides
and began again!

We spent a lot of time
our heads under a hood
looking at car engines
changing plugs and points
and other things
or lying on our backs
repairing u joints
or a hundred other things beneath

Special times were building
we lived in a good old house
frame solid, but needing change
to hold a growing family
We always talked when working….

Along life’s highway I grew up
bounded out of college, married,
and started my career
24/7 at first
not knowing any better
He got tired
went home to rest
and I went on
day and night
His forte was patience
with me

We plowed and tilled and planted
tended and then came harvest
sun up to sun down and longer
we brought the harvest home

Bumps and bruises
we both got
and sometimes a cut
we repaired, went on
task oriented
clear objectives
gulp down learning
do it better
keep up with the neighbors!
We were friends

Old age came to him
in Parkinson’s
the strong arms lost their strength
the legs wouldn’t function
bit by bit
his body failed him
then failure captured his mind

Finally, one long night,
I sat with him from midnight on
pneumonia squeezing his lungs
each breath so hard
I held his hand
patted him
and talked a lot of memories
The eyes closed
he labored on
then stopped
was still
except for a heart still beating
On and on it went
I called a nurse
Kind, she held his other hand
then he was gone

I hear him laughing
I hear him talking, debating
I remember our wrestling
So many things…

I attest the words:
“Well done,
thou good and faithful servant,
welcome home…forever.”

Lin, 1/2012
Master Sargeant Charles Joseph Clementz
Step dad



Christmas Rounds


“All is calm,
all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child…”*

There comes a moment, Christmas eve,
late at night in our house,
when the little ones sleep
and the packages are set
as well as the plans

The rounds have been made
to gather the gifts
the food is all waiting
to come to the table
and the mother sits

What a swirl of busy-ness
attends the Christmas season!
Practices and pageants
special services at schools and churches
vacations from schools and days off at work
Circling, swirling to this moment
when the mother ponders….

Once a year comes this time
when stores close
cold and silence settle in
The Christmas lights are prolific
shining in the dark night
lawn displays, Christmas trees
the star of David high on buildings

Wise men pondered
(and still do)
the event that marks our calendars
and our lives
‘O holy night’…

Two seasons lift music
to the highest realms
Christmas, and Easter
voices and orchestras soar
with the greatest offerings known

So, tonight, we pause
the attraction and bonding
brought by a baby
God’s gift to us

‘Sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.’*

Christmas Eve 2011
“Silent Night, Holy Night” (Stille Nacht), Joseph Mohr, Franz Gruber


Christmas Rounds2022-09-03T14:53:34-04:00

Streets of Gold


Along life’s highway
are many changes
Ups and downs and curves abound
Day and night and twilight too
mix the days as we live along

Bits of gold are here and there
but certainly not the norm
as not all that glitters
is really gold

Ah, but life can be good!
Christmas and Easter
Thanksgiving and parades
Graduations and weddings
lace our lives with happiness

Discovering the opposite sex
and all that comes thereafter
can be a life of golden moments
We even cap the 50 years
as ‘golden anniversaries’….

The peak of world athletics
might well be: ‘go for the gold’
at the Olympics
gold measures the mettle, acclaims it proudly

The Good Book paints the picture
of a place of many mansions
and having ‘streets of gold’
Ah, the ending is another beginning
in the twinkling of an eye we are changed!

Take note, please,
we’ve been alerted!
A bride and groom march down the isle!
A baby is born!
There are graduations!
And finally, a celebration of life is held….

Set your sails!
Hold the course!
Head for the streets of gold!

Selah, Lin 1/2012
In memory of Dick Schmall


Streets of Gold2022-09-03T14:53:34-04:00

Wearin’ of the Green


A grain of corn was slipped
into the mother earth
Moist, warm soil responded,
and soon the kernel was swelling
Life emerging from the heart
a tiny shoot slipped out
and burrowed deeper, ever deeper
another shoot slipped out
to seek the sun
Power up, and power down
mitosis kicking, screaming
not to be denied
the plant emerged, began unfolding
unwrapping leaf after leaf

A farmer kneeling
studying carefully
a doctor in his office
an army in his tool kit, ready,
pronouncing all is well

Most will view
the landscape changing
noting fields turned green
the comin’ of the green has happened!
A glory to be seen
because it represents
fields of food, and fuel, and fibre

Somewhere a chorus should be singin’
Hallelujahs loud and long
But it’s just quiet
like the farmer
on his knees, thinkin’
bout the wonder of it all….

Lin 5/11/10


Wearin’ of the Green2022-09-03T14:53:34-04:00

Walking with a Friend


One of life’s desserts
is walking with a friend.
Priceless those times
whether in silence
just being together
or in conversation
probing life’s mysteries
sharing joys
sharing pains
sharing being.

Maybe it’s a little bit of heaven
pared down to a pair
Outside oneself
feelings extended
but safe
Like a snapshot
capturing a moment

The name of a friend
can bring a smile
a warm
and they grow more precious
time passing

And maybe that makes heaven
all the more sought
the idea that forever
and ever
and ever
there’ll be no more separation

With God
with friends

Lin 07/09


Walking with a Friend2022-09-03T14:53:35-04:00

Unglorious Mud


Politics lives
in all mankind
and seems condemned to mud
Unglorius mostly
in varying forms
We watch it ooze along

There’s mire that lurks
at every corner
slippery slopes for certain
The pol’s obliged
ankle deep
to walk in troubled waters
then climb atop
a platform high
pontificate to the people
Maybe that’s why
the podium’s there
It hides the sodden shoes

History reads
that most sink down
or so it seems at times
Honest politician?
We sigh or snicker and frown
We desire, we want and hope,
but somehow something happens
Headlines blare
someone’s sinking
someone’s sunk
Mud has won the day

The nasty thing
is found in mirrors
Snoopy nailed it down…
“We have found the enemy,
and it is us!”
For dream as we may
wish as we do
the pols reflect on us…

We raise them
don’t you see
they’re the same as you and me

I learned a lesson
near four decades ago
when traveling around the state
I visited towns,
looked them over,
then went to see the schools.
Run down towns
had run down schools
you can guess about the students…
But the opposite was true
well kept towns
had well kept schools
it all did fit together

So if we have
our pols in mud
we need to look inside
What do we read?
What do we watch?
What do we tolerate?
Where does our money go?
How do we spend our time?

It doubly hurts
to stop and look
to spend some time reflecting
on where we are
and want to go
and how we might then get there….

Two thousand nine
we have some time
the gifts of today, tomorrow maybe
How will we invest it?
Things eternal?

Your call.
Mine too!

Lin 1/09

Robbie Burns: “O wad some pow’r, the Giftie gie us,
to see oursils, as others see us!”


Unglorious Mud2022-09-03T14:53:35-04:00

Buds and Blossoms


Something about the season
has caused a flood of buds
They are thicker than I’ve ever seen them
gracing the yards and streets
Some with fragrant smells
wrapping around a spot
but all with great achievement
a worthy site to ponder

What do they know
kept secret from us?
Will the summer be
a time of abundant fruit?
Or is this just a show
a Hollywood event in color
that will flutter to the floor
cut and cast away
to never be seen any more?

Nature gives us moments
but nature holds the keys
we can but seize the moment
and do our best to capture
Verse, paint, snap a picture,
put it in our memory
but gone it will be

Buds, blossoms, fruits
all part of a great design
that leads us to a creator
Whose palette never ends
Days of wondrous skies
A lover, a child, a grandchild and more
Ah, all there for us
the Good Book says
to mold our thoughts to recognize
there is a God
and it is not us….

Lin 05/08

Romans 11:33-36


Buds and Blossoms2022-09-03T14:53:35-04:00



A great white curtain
has been pulled o’er the farm
nothing afar can be seen
just white, and more white

We are likely attuned
to thinking not seeing
in full and complete darkness
But nature has her way
we can’t see in whiteness!

Those long lived
have borne witness
to puzzles uncounted
We have gazed and pondered
how earth and we
came to be

We are prone to draw lines
divide the days, the years
into neat little segments
nature has ways
to cover the lines
turn our whole world white
then melt the white away

Hopefully, our whiteouts
are in people
where from time to time
the world disappears
except for special ones
a spouse, a child
a loved one so precious
the world goes away
but just like the snow
those moments melt
to be remembered
as long as we live

Can we capture and hold
those moments so treasured?
Put them down in lasting ways?
And if we do
will someone someday regard them
ponder them with equal wonder
What was so special?
They might say

We like the snow
cover the earth
but just for a day

Selah, Lin 02/08



The World of Blather


Polly Ticks
and talks a lot
gathering far and near
to hear a lot of…

Oceans are filled
with words said hastily
mountains and mountains built
of words

Searching for substance
is quite a quest
amongst the slippery slopes
But I learned very early
to watch my step
when walking in the pasture

The best right now
that I can discern
is that they care a lot
Night and day
every way they can think of
the go and go and go
to drop exhausted
then rise again
whirling along their way

Hands reach out
to grasp, to touch their hands
to be the ones standing near
Why, I remember
as a child
being near a man called Truman
His train was stopped
two blocks from my house
so a crowd quickly gathered
His voice, his manner
were kind of jumpy
jerky, some would say
I’d come to like him
when I grew up.
Straight talk!
The buck stops here!

Sifting, sorting,
is now our lot
as to the ballot we go
to stand becurtained
all alone
and make our choices there

Some are easy
they’ve offended in some way
but then it gets hard
cause none are perfect
It’s simply not to be
for they’re like us
a fallen lot
in need of saving grace

God Bless America
Please and again!

Lin Primary Day in Illinois 08


The World of Blather2022-09-03T14:53:36-04:00

The Incredible Workshop


For some 70 years now,
this workshop has produced
If you are one of those
who is ‘outcomes based’
A treat is in store for you here!

The shelves and drawers are full
tools of the trade are in waiting
for the five generations who’ve labored herein
Some of the tools are history
some are very recent
But every one, has current use, productive

The window looks out to a farm
livestock and crops are grown
feeding the families
feeding the world
Out there the soil is tilled
opened to awesome production
ever increasing in output, yield

Inside the window is art
cabinets sculpted just so
countertops defined by use
appliances to help create, and serve

Herein hands, hearts, minds and spirits work
In communion creating dishes of food
of colors and texture and taste
Think apple pie fresh from the oven
grandma’s rolls
pot roasts and trimmings savored aromas
early morning coffee
the clatter and chattering of lunch times
the busyness of holiday gatherings
grandma, daughters, and grand daughters together,
grandpa, sons, and grandsons together

The farm kitchen is a key place
where the telephone rings
and words go forth
where plans are made
hashed and rehashed
where dishes are used
washed and put in waiting
Oh, the sacks that are carried in
and the garbage carried out!
all to enable the family going, doing
here on the farm
and out, and about

I hope some memories have come to you
in my musings here
You provide the faces
in their specific places
in your particular kitchen
Remember the laugher
and the tears
Remember the pleasant chatter
that happens through the years
The colors, textures, arrangements
of particular times and dishes
prepared, and served
to the ones you hold special

Selah, Lin 8/10


The Incredible Workshop2022-09-03T14:53:36-04:00

The Friendly Tidal Waves


they come, come fall
when the harvest is ripe
to the task, oriented

The friends arrive
and set to the task
harvest, 2011

Wave after wave
they work
running the big machines
pouring grain into trucks
and into bins
food for the many
fuel for some
and fiber for others

The farm population swells
ever so briefly
as corn fields signal
breezes waving the tall summer bronzed stalks
slipping away the kernels
against the coming winter

Long days in the fields
machines laboring hour after hour
the men and women cling to their tasks
until the last fruits are captured

O dark thirty finds the folks
gathered at harvest tables
bowls of food passing
events of the day shared
feet under the tables
true friends
sharing the fuel for tomorrow
and tomorrow

Sun up ‘til sun down
field after field
yielding the fruits of labors
challenges met and conquered
moving on

The day comes for parting hugs
and quiet comes to the farm
Peace, after the hurried days
the season past

The planting and the harvest
and again the soil, the sun, the rain, the farmers have communed
Nature, and nature’s God again have blessed
hunger pushed back another year

The friendly tidal waves
have been here
and the golden sun sets again
slipping away towards winter

When peace, like a river,
attends our way
and we reflect
it has been good…

Selah, lin, harvest 2011
to Bruce and Linda Koe, who ride the friendly tidal waves


The Friendly Tidal Waves2022-09-03T14:53:37-04:00

That Would Be a Yes!


Ah, yes, I am a farmer!
And it is good to have all the corn planted!
And it is good to receive a blessing rain!
Gentle. Soft.
Whispering down on the rich black soil.
Soaking down to bathe the seeds…

Can you picture a perfect bath?
Settling down into soothing warm water.
Leaning back, settling in, relaxing.

The seeds are sons and daughters
products of the generations
Sifted, sorted, chosen carefully,
genes on the racetrack starting line

What looks to be a lifeless grain
is waiting to explode!
An awesome ‘click’
when elements combine:
warmth and water, and a little time
Life bursts forth in a tiny shoot
pushing to the light

That would be a YES!
A farmer blessed!
Connecting dots galore
Hungry people and those who help
celebrating planting tomorrow’s food

Not to mention
a little rest
repairing of machines
moving again to the starting line
to plant ‘the other crop’.

Lin 05/09

Corn planted, soybeans to follow!


That Would Be a Yes!2022-09-03T14:53:37-04:00



O that our thanks
could measure up
to the heights of our blessings received

The power of suns rising
matched in a Savior rising
opening heaven’s doors for us

The power in our air
the pungent scent of spring plowed soil
the clean breath of summer rain
the labored odor of oil and fuel and grain
of leaves in fall, burning brightly
of crispness with the frost
through the seasons reminding
creator and created

The mysteries of discovery
there all the time
waiting, just waiting,
for us to recognize
nano and pico
to numbers to big
again and again
now seeing the pathways
created and being

How we need to stretch
to grow in our thanksgiving
to offer praise and stop
on the wonder of it all…

“Summer and winter
springtime and harvest
sun moon and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”*

Lin 11/07





Designing a sub was the task
so what to do?
Study the whale
and go from there

Sinking in sand
a desert problem
so a wise engineer
studied the camel
developed a ratio
noting the camel’s foot square inches
related to its weight
No more sinking in the sand!

Giant harvesters called combines
had a need
power at any infinite slow speed
a pump, hydraulics, a part answer
then electric switches, opening valves
then computers, controlling switches
Like the human body
brain computer, controlling valves
heart pump hydraulics
control slow…and fast

George Washington Carver
gifted agronomist
studying Genesis
knowing there was more
hidden, but discoverable,
So he studied the peanut
and saved the southern farmer
Sorry, boll weavil!

Whatever we study
we wind up amazed
at what was there
all of the time
to be discovered

“He was there,
all the time,
waiting patiently
for you.” *

Lin, 10/10
*chorus, Gary Paxton



Farmer Progress


They came…
oh, how they came
to the Farm Progress Show!
Half a section of cars and trucks
lined up on a hayfield
Passengers streaming in

Mega tents and open air
the vendors engaged the farmers
A thousand vendors
ten thousand farmers
Connecting, sharing info

The machinery farmers dream of
shiny, parked to see
the latest, best in the world
farmers and visitors taking pictures
Machines working, side by side
out in the adjacent fields
tilling, harvesting, awesome sights

It really is, farmer progress,
married to dreams, engineering, manufacturing
Seeds and all the things
that move the world of agriculture
here, connecting the dots, the people

Someday, I hope,
you can join the crowd
to soak in this world of food, fuel, and fiber
the people who make it happen
who fill your plate
and those around the world

Seven billion people
sit at the table
more every single day
waiting for their food
How can the food be there?
Come and see
Farmer Progress!

Lin, Farm Progress Show, Decatur, 8/2011


Farmer Progress2022-09-03T14:53:38-04:00



Smiles are electric, warming moments
leaping across the spans that separate folks
Walls can come down instantly
as strangers smile at each other

Male, female, often guarded,
smiles reach out, lingering questions
speaking confidence,
a venture in trust

Across languages
smiles are starting points
opportunities to take that path
and rise above suspicions

Body language supreme
smiles ace skin color
and nationality
to begin a pleasant journey

I know a certain person
who has a smile in greeting
that sends that instant message
“I’m glad to see you!”

She gives that gift quite often
in doing so making
the world a better place.

So, my reader, smile!
And take your world on that pathway
for ‘two roads still diverge’
and the choice is ours….

Lin 12/2012



History 101


In a far far away place
is a land where liberals live
Tis a candy land, you see,
where nothing can be hard

Where never is heard,
a discouraging word
and the skies are not cloudy all day

You, Bruce friend,
have pulled back the covers
and asked ‘Who is there?”
Ain’t nobody! Nothing!
But don’t you despair!

Just over the hill
comes a sleigh full of goodies!
Yes, Bubba, Santa Claus lives!
He’s coming in January
and it ain’t gonna be purdy
’cause you and I are payin’
and payin’ and payin’….

No, she don’t know
She ain’t never believin’
So rest well tonight
and wait calm and peaceful
Who knows? Reindeer might fly?

Bubba Warfel
sufferin’ in my guns and religion!


History 1012022-09-03T14:53:38-04:00

Silent Night, Holy Night*


For just a few moments
my wish for you this evening
is that each of you had a rocking chair
and we had a just right fireplace right here
with a just right assembly of logs
burning just right

the warmth of the fire on your face
the coolness of the room behind you
the day is winding down

Step back with me now
through the ages, the people of the Bible

Abraham and Sarah,
the patriarchs and their spouses
years and generations passing
and now it’s a quiet night in Israel

The humidity is low as usual
and the night air is cold
The sky is sharp and clear
shepherds are watching a star
an unusual, very very bright star
light is flooding down to earth almost like daylight
the star seems to be beckoning them, so they follow it

Those who wonder can wonder about just how
a loving God could reach down to earth
touch his created in a way that would open eyes
open minds, and be a lasting gift
A gift foretold
a gift that was coming
The Light of the World came down

A baby
that’s the answer!
A dependent little fella
needing the care of his mom and dad
the connection to all people on earth

I’ve traveled to 6 of the seven continents
and it is true – with my own eyes I’ve seen it
the care of a mother and father for their baby….
There is no better connection on earth….

So there that night in Bethlehem
a baby’s first cry rang out

Now across two thousand years
we can still make that connection
We can come to Jesus
O come, let us adore Him!
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord!

Lin Christmas Eve 2010
*Silent Night, Holy Night, Stille Nacht, Joseph Mohr, Franz Gruber


Silent Night, Holy Night*2022-09-03T14:53:38-04:00

Sifting Soil


“And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.”
Genesis 2:7

In the springtime I walked the fields
my feet traversing the soil as my father did
my grandfather did
my great grandfather did
Eyes seasoned by the looking, seeing,
the condition of the soil

Stopping, picking up a handful,
sensing the temperature
weighing the sun’s progress against the winter cold
sensing the moisture
sifting in the senses
the experience of generations

Decision time
bring out the machines
till the soil, sifting
the snugging the seeds into their home
on my knees uncovering them, checking them
just right depth
just right compaction
just right soil moisture and temperature
I’m sifting the season

Again I walk the fields
on my knees looking carefully
disease or insect damage?
Tiny plants by millions growing
drawing on the sifted soil
Later walking amidst waist high plants
again checking for disease and insects
A farmer works against ten thousand things we know
and many more yet to know
We know a lot
we know so little

The seasons throw a switch
and begin the walk towards winter
With the fall come harvest
and again the communion with soil
Harvesters begin their toil
giant machines swallowing plants
sifting, sifting sifting
‘til only the seeds, the fruits of all the labor,
are collected and moved to processors or storage
In the sifting, sorting, dry afternoons make dust
swirling about the men and machines
sometimes like a fog lying quietly
moving slowing
gradually returning to the soil

The day comes quickly
when the last row is swallowed up
and the machines are put to rest
The farmer and his helpers too
lie down and rest
but not for long
the next season is in preparation
once again combing the soil
adding plant food, replentishing

Thinking back on all the sifting
the soil that has given us so much
the farmer realizes that he, too,
has been sifted
Like the dust from which he was formed
his destiny is to return
to the soil

“And God blessed the seventh day
and made it holy
because on it He rested
from all the work He had done.”

Selah, LIn 2/10


Sifting Soil2022-09-03T14:53:39-04:00

Showers and Thunderstorms Likely


More likely,
what’s to like about more of them?
Well, you see,
I’m not in charge
nor are you or we!
We simply get to watch
and listen
and measure
and wait
some more!

Days as a kid
bicycle my ‘horse’
street drains would plug
and lakes ensue
What fun to hit high speed
aim for the lake
raise my feet from the pedals
Hit the water
and coast on through
If I didn’t make it
I had to pedal
my tennies would fill with water
muddy water
yukky water
and mom wouldn’t be happy
when socks once white
came to her muddy colored

Now I scout my fields
my pickup truck on the road
easing through the water
Water rushes from the fields
ever anxious to find a river
make a river
lakes in my field are growing
and I’m waiting

Times like these, Grandma helped
In her 90’s she’d advise
“We’ve always had a crop”
Born where I live
her history spanned a century
her parents broke the sod
dug ditches, and drained the swamps
“We’ve always had a crop”
Repeat after me? Say it again!

Showers and thunderstorms likely?
I’ve plenty of things to do
like write a poem!
clean the shop
clean my office
mow and mow again!
Go to a movie
read a book
visit a nursing home
have dinner with some friends!
How about a date tonight?
It’s probably been too long!

Just take the umbrella
cause it’s still the prairie
where ‘horizontal rain’ reigns!

Lin, Showers of Blessings, April 2011


Showers and Thunderstorms Likely2022-09-03T14:53:39-04:00

Run Like the Wind


What a joy it is
to run like the wind
zigging and zagging
around trees and fences
Jumping over small things
and charging ahead

Going nowhere
just running and breathing
and letting muscles go
Energy pouring
heart pounding
Oh, it feels good!

The great race I know
was now long ago
Olympics, in Paris France
A Scot was preparing, qualifying
a race at a time
but one race stood out
He was pushed over and fell
the pack running on
He rolled over and saw them
Was it too late?
No matter, he chased
Harder and harder he ran
and then it happened
He “ran in the spirit”
arms flailing, head back
He ran with the wind
and he was gaining
faster and faster he ran
catching, passing one
then another
At the finish line
he won
Unbelievable! It happened!

The Holy Spirit is wind
in some definitions
Moving among us
bathing, surrounding, covering
A chorus goes:
“God is moving
by His Spirit
Moving through all the earth
Signs and wonders
when God moveth
Move, Oh Lord, in me.”*

Today, this day,
set your sails on high
Run yourself, or watch
Move with the Wind.

Lin Warfel, 04/09

* author unknown


Run Like the Wind2022-09-03T14:53:39-04:00

Ode to a Field Mouse


Some two hundred years ago
a ploughman wrote of a mouse
Behind a horse
he watched her scurry
across the fresh plowed field

Burns sat and pondered
what he’d done
turning the home site over
A tender fellow
more a poet
than a striving farmer
guilt surrounded him.

I, in turn, have seen my mouses!
When I was younger
I sent them packing!
My horse a tractor
some three hundred power
moving like a runner
no hesitation
hour after hour
opening the soil for winter

Back then the mouse had chances
slim to almost nothing
but times have changed
and so have I
In my getting older
I might even stop my steed
and take my pen
a muse a bit about him

Remembering my dad
to my chagrin
when he was my age then
would stop the tractor
let the little mouse pass
then roar on down the field

Now I do too!
Respect for life
has grown and grown
as children and grandchildren come
I learn with fascination
the systems there
in little creatures
and find their study good

I wonder at my world
where mice don’t count
but more importantly
neither do babies
if they’re not wanted
it is their fate
to be plowed away for pleasure

Over a million
go that way
each year in my home land
and more expected now
‘Inconvenient’, some do say,
so flushed away they are

Across the world in China
girl babies were set away
left to die alone
We? We criticized…
I wonder why
We cannot see ourselves.

That brings me back
to the Scottish ploughman
who pondered long and hard
and said this to us one day:

O wad some pow’r
the Giftie gie us
to see oursils
as others see us….*

Lin, Plowing on a Winter’s Day 11/08
*Robert Burns, 1759-1796


Ode to a Field Mouse2022-09-03T14:53:40-04:00

Global Warming


Setting records
right and left
middle of the country too
Global warming
is the culprit
so some scientists say

Learned fellows
degrees in tow
study deeply
numbers and more
then make their premise
give it to us
‘Best guess’, might be
a better thought

Ten year cooling
they tell us now
along with ‘climate change’
Cooling is warming
is hard to take
for us simple folk

Doesn’t help
three decades back
the self same people said
“Ice age coming”
‘Be prepared”
We have the figures here
It’s proven.
Said and done
Prepare for cold and ice

More cold, more snow
(of course)
more of everything
except my toes
tell me I’m cold
and beg for warmer sox!

Please stay tuned
for a different page
wherein we’re told the story
to be care takers
of our planet
and ourselves
and each other…

It will be cold
it will be hot
there will be change for certain
we have to keep on tryin’
to keep a straight face
when learned fellows
do their best….

Lin 2/10


Global Warming2022-09-03T14:53:40-04:00

Rain Softened World


The early morning trek
to the mailbox, a habit
was padding on a softened carpet

The air was gently cleaned
from harvest dust and more
misty, sprinkled rain
had done its work

Red and yellow maple leaves
still falling
lay wet on the green grass
making my footsteps silent as I trod

The beloved soil is soaking it in
picture a lady (discretely) in bath
exquisite the gentling time
softening with the moisture

The Japanese maple outside my window
has tiny diamond drops on darkened branches
and the pointed leaves drip ever so slowly
it needed rain as well

After some very dry weeks
the rain stops harvest, for a moment
so the farm folks are catching up inside
repairing themselves and their machinery
a second cup of coffee
not on the run!

Some cultures do a bath, regularly,
as a leisurely respite, a sigh
an ‘ahhhhh’
The earth does it too!

Lin Harvest 2011


Rain Softened World2022-09-03T14:53:40-04:00



Rain and soil
love each other
make the world go round

Sometimes, just sometimes,
our cup runs over
and creates a problem

Stuck! We say
Stuck in the mud!
Not a happy time…

A giant machine
some 15 tons
25 by 30 by 12
on giant wheels
six feet tall
purring along so smoothly

Slowing, slowing, finally stopping
sinking deeper, deeper, deeper
Hit reverse! Back it out!
Hope! Ah! Won’t go backward either!
Think! Ponder!
Do something quickly!
Sitting is not an option!

Forward again!
Give her the gun!
Just get a little farther
to solid ground

Back and forth,
back and forth,
maybe sinking deeper….
Mud is flying
from the wheels

Thinking bout chains, long ones
or a cable, a hundred feet
what to hook it on to help
Oh the ruts!
Poor poor soil!
To be so ripped asunder….

Harvester rescued
back at the shop
plastered with nice black muck
Power washer, going full blast
now piles of mud lying about
Like clothes from a teenager
piled higher and deeper
another mess to deal with

The corn’s still there
waiting for me
waiting for a day of harvest
A giant machine
some 15 tons
25 by 30 by 12
on giant wheels
six feet tall
will purr along smoothly

“By the sweat of your brow,
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground
since from it you were taken’…

Selah, LIn Harvest 09/Mud



Last Blasts


Winter often holds us
in a grip of ice and iron winds
We, like bits of paper,
are swept across the prairie
looking for a spot of comfort
warmth by our fires now tamed

The soil frozen hard
captive much like us
endure, we think,
for spring is coming
the calendar clicks the days
as we gaze from frosted windows
holding cups of comfort

Bits of snow
bits of ice
the wind so lonesome blows
untapped, except to chill us
through the day it goes
across our country
and out to sea
day after day it comes

Our cars shudder on the freeway
the trucks are tossed aside
and yet it blows

Maybe there are cables
we cannot see or sense
and the wind is towing springtime
from far away to present
the fresh green grass, the flowers
the trees with buds and leaves
the lushest clouds from heaven
so white and pure soft

I can dream of springtime surely
I have seen two thirds a century now
and know it’s coming, coming
But today, toes and fingers aching
nose of brightest red
I’m bundled, leaning
against the wind and cold
dulled, but going
working, but slowly
“Hold on, to the plow!”


Lin 2/08


Last Blasts2022-09-03T14:53:41-04:00

Winter Wonders


Arctic winds unfurl
to lash the winter plains
they’re a poke in the breadbasket
that feeds the world

Bitter cold
wind, sleet, snow
fight with one another
with us in the miserable middle

O well!
We’re killing bugs!
No kidding!
Insects die by billions
as their eggs freeze and split
decimated, no more!
No one can count them
the victims of the weather
the birds still have plenty to eat

Snow piles higher and higher
school cancelled
activities shunted, other dates
people stock up on groceries
“Hunker down”, advisors say
Plan on staying home
Safety first, of course!

Fleets of trucks and tractors
load with salt and fuel
awaiting the calm of afterstorm
Drivers resting, waiting
to go full blast
clearing the roads again

Hardy souls, these people,
who plow our roads
fix our poles and wires
to make us comfy
allow us travel
through all kinds of weather

I know
that like the ants
you’ve ‘gathered in’
supplies to sail on through
Well done! say I,
well done!

Spring is just around the corner!
The days are longer
the hidden sun will come
and chase the snow, the ice away
Once more
gentle, warm breezes will blow
and flowers not their heads
Hang on! Hang on, dear friend!

Best, Lin


Winter Wonders2022-09-03T14:53:41-04:00

Just in Time


The farmer’s life
is on an edge
where living things are found
Time can move
time can stop
and time can come
in a nick at times too!

Corn is lush
and drinks a lot
so ‘talks’ to us quite loud
Leaves curl up
Spike, we say,
or even turn a scary gray

When it gets dry
and the sun is hot
poor corn is prone to ‘sweat’
a lot
It’s working hard
to grow so fast
broad leaves perspire

The farmer watches
looks for rain
looks again and again
and ‘just in time’
thunderclouds roll
and rain drops fall
Dry soil gulps it in
the plants relax
unfurl their leaves
and ‘off to the races’ they go!

Drinking in sun
drinking in rain
drinking in plant food
a factory in full swing
racing towards the harvest

How blessed we are, when,
just in time,
the precious rains come down
You’ll find me humming
sometimes singing
happiness overflowing

“In His time,
In His time,
He makes all things beautiful
in His time
Lord please show me every day
as You’re teaching me Your way
That You do just what You say
in Your time.” *

Lin 7/10
*text and music, Diane Ball, Maranatha Music


Just in Time2022-09-03T14:53:42-04:00

January Thaw


The midwest prairie has a thing
that happens most every year
Just when winter’s iron grip
seems crushingly stong
The sun comes warm
and the winds die down
temperatures climb over freezing
Ice recedes, snow piles shrink
people shed a layer
A welcome respite
the January Thaw
affording hope of spring

The jet stream shifts
and back again
the arctic winds come blowing
The sun is hiding
dry snow falling
dark at eight in the morning
Cold? 7 above!
People and engines grind with effort
but come to life again
move about, to do their things
in spite of wind and weather

Still, we know
that spring is coming
a minute longer day
a little warmer lower temp
garden catalogs rain on us
there is a certain stirring

Winter’s gray is slipping
soon to go away
pushed by springtime heralds
back again, I say!

Give over, winter!
Come on spring!

Ending January, 09, Lin


January Thaw2022-09-03T14:53:42-04:00

Golden Seasoning


A precious metal
that being gold
but give no thought to eating it!

Of prescient note
the color of fall
when some night switches thrown
our world of green
changes clothes
to slip in glowing gold

Soybean fields
their fruits all hidden
shout out the harvest coming
“Gold is hidden here,
beneath our golden leaves!”
Indeed, riches are unfolding
the fruits that open to us
building blocks of proteins

Corn fields try it too
but are no match for beans
Yes, streaks of gold on giant leaves
the corn forests are changing too

Ah, reds and purples
oranges and golds
slipping into tans
All shout beauty
and coming harvest

but I, I choose the gold!

Farmer Warfel, 09/09


Golden Seasoning2022-09-03T14:53:43-04:00

God’s Colors


Had God a favorite
some would say
it’s surely the color gray!

Because there is so much of it!
Say Seattle folks
who number days
until the sun breaks through
Oregon amens
numbs along
waiting for a ‘sunbreak’.

Prairie folks
are rich in gray
as winter grinds along
heavy clouds
frown upon us
sometimes a bit too long

Or could it be, perhaps,
the color blue
because there is so much of it?
The oceans huge
the skies above
who can measure all of that?

Maybe yellow
bright and fair
in flowers or a bird
or Easter dresses
fresh and crisp
delighting those who wear

Ah, maybe tis green?
Forests glens and more
grass forever
in Argentina
golf courses and parks
and yards and pastures
life is hidden there

Red, I’d choose
oh how we use it!
Fire engines
race cars
roses and more
Exciting, to be certain
But, stop and think,
of life’s blood flowing
and of course at last
The sacrifice
God designed
in red….

“To God be the glory
great things he has done
So loved he the world
he gave us his son
Who yielded his life
an atonement for sin
and opened the lifegate
that all may go in……” *

*Fanny Crosby, To God Be the Gloryo

Lin 03/09


God’s Colors2022-09-03T14:53:43-04:00

Fall Reflection


Breathing in the scent
of freshly tilled black soil
the harvest freshly done
the bounty gathered in
the season now, begins again

It’s evening in
the life of a farmer
the year of tilling, planting, tending, harvest done
it could be a time of rest, but not yet
the soil, the mother of it all
needs to be stroked, massaged
before it is laid to rest.

It is a time of opening up’
so it can breathe more deeply
receiving the rains of fall
expanding, contracting, with freezing thawing

The Lord God took some dust, some soil,
and shaped it to a man
then breathed into his nostrils
and he became a being

And I?
I breathe in the scent
and wonder
What is man
that God is mindful of him?

Lin 11/07


Fall Reflection2022-09-03T14:53:43-04:00

Black Gold


Some are wont to say
petroleum is true black gold
Indeed we use it greatly
making a thousand things
It pushes our cars and trucks
millions or billions of miles
carrying us near and far
to places we want to go


(a magnificent word, eh wot?)

But I’m thinking of another
black gold that’s e’en more precious
some walk upon it
plant it, water it, watch it grow
the food we eat
the fibre we wear
and even produce our fuel!

In Champaign County
we have black soil
the richest in the word!
Oh, other places have some too
Of that I’m well aware
but (here’s that word again)
here we mix with other things
that help it reach a peak

We have a government
that helps us to be free
to use it for the best
and reward those who work it

We have a learning system
that shapes and molds and makes things better
stretching our minds, and creating structures
that also bless the soil

We have an ethic
brought from abroad
with wave upon wave of people
who sense the good
and make the effort
to travel here to stay

We have religion
that regards each one valued
no matter where they came from
no matter sex or color
Our currency proclaims it
for one and all to see
“In God We Trust’
we’ve built upon
and pledge to keep on building

So many pieces
come together
built upon this soil
Black Gold
Indeed it is!
A wonder to behold!

Best, Lin 11/08


Black Gold2022-09-03T14:53:44-04:00

Rain Again…and again…and AGAIN!


Did you see it?

The word ‘again’?
It’s two words, really:
and gain!

Rain is a gain!
The fields are soaking
drinking it in
Not much in ponds
not much in ditches
The soil is ‘talking’
saying ‘It’s okay”.

Are you not busy?
Nothing to do?
Ah, refocus is the word
The world is talking
but you were too busy
to hurried
to hear, to listen

What is being said?
What was being missed?
Two steps back, if you please.
Look a little deeper
Put your feet up
think of the people
and how you can help