Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Apostrophe Catastrophe

Some people's
use of the
is a catastrophe,

but you're not 

among those writers,
because your skills
are more refined.

It's not that hard,
really, to remember
when and where
to hang this
little hook:

dangling up there

joining friendly letters;

taking the place

of i in it's,
it is especially

or shyly

possessing things,
like the poet's words
on New Year's Eve;

or humbly 

substituting itself 
as a contractor 
in word construction,
when other punctuations
can't, or don't,
or simply won't
accept responsibility.

The apostrophe 

has no feelings of  
superiority to its
lower cousin 
the comma,
it's merely 
doing its job,
in the place it belongs,
overseeing things,
bringing meaning
to this lovely language
that's ours.

It is always eager 

to help its letter friends 
become words.
That's why it's there, 
to be useful
to you and yours.

It has always,
always loved
s the best,
don't you agree?

Now that we're 

in agreement,
we are able
to move on,
are we not ?
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Location: Catalina, Arizona 

Thursday, December 21, 2017


A fine frost filigrees
the dead grasses
still arching with 
grace and light;

still noticed
by the old poet
absorbing all he can
during the winter of his life.
© 2018 Richard Havenga

Photo Location: McCarthy Lake - Kent County, Michigan

Monday, December 18, 2017


It seems the Willet
never gets its fill, it
advances into the wavelet
then retreats upshore, it
never seems to stop. 

Will it?

© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo LocationsSunset BeachNorth Carolina  

Thursday, December 14, 2017


my attention soars
high into the stratosphere
arcs of rainbow light
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Location: Grattan Township - Kent County, Michigan 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Something to Keep ~ Something to Give Away

I'm watching the wind
instruct an infinity of leaves.
Seeing the water move
as the wind teaches it.
Observing the sunlight
dancing with silver clouds.

Please come along with me,
so I may help you hold
these moments in time.
Preserving for you
the power of a poem
which you can share,
and return to again,
and again.

Begun in self-expression
as an extension of my aging self,
now offered with humility:

this new invitation

to recognize the evidence
of the Spirit within you.

Igniting your curiosity
and desire to witness
the natural world,
and to enter this 
meeting ground
between writer and reader.

Walking through and living in

this holy realm of creation.
Meditating within 
this lyrical landscape.
Offering you something to keep,
something to give away.

© 2017 Richard Havenga

You may also enjoy: Wind Song ~ June 8, 2016

Photo Location:

1. Council Bluffs, Iowa 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Giver of Gifts

I've been profiting
from my inheritance.
Collecting quarterly dividends:


My investments are
performing so well,
that I am now able
to offer to you
a large portion 
of these profits.

Please accept 
this free offer
with no obligation.

I only ask that you also invest:
seek, explore, pay attention,
and share your own discoveries,
as well as these.

You may also consider
giving thanks to your
maker, wonderful counselor,
the creator of your 

The giver of gifts.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations:

1. Home Woods - Cannonsburg, Michigan
2. & 4. Townsend Park - Kent County, Michigan
3. Grattan Township - Kent County, Michigan

Monday, December 4, 2017

Roof of Stars

Each night,
before going to bed,
he stepped outside
to check the sky.

On clear nights
he would wait
under the roof of stars,
hoping to witness
a meteorite.

If one streaked
across his view,
he imagined it to be
a special message
from his son, 
waiting up there,
for him to join him.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Last Thing on Your Mind

In loving memory of Aaron Richard Havenga  (April 2, 1975 ~ November 20, 1994)

"I could have loved you better, didn't mean to be unkind. 
You know that was the last thing on my mind."  ~ Tom Paxton © 1978

I was your father.
You were my only son.

The dreams I dreamed

of us together,
exploring the West,
you as a future father,
have gone unrealized.

And as you passed

from your vibrant life,
nineteen, alone,
and far from home,
we never got to say good bye.

What was the last thing on your mind?

© 2017 Richard Havenga

The Last Thing on My Mind - Tom Paxton

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Probing the heart of gravity,
old oaks seek solid anchorage
in the bones of the earth.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Location: Grattan Township - Kent County, Michigan 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Fragments of Poetry 18

"But see,
over there, like a
green wound in the shoulder
of the hill, like a new patch
in the quilt,
blazes a square of quite
improbable emerald.
With what audacity
the bright velvet assaults
our autumn senses:
each blade a reversal
of seasons, its upstart shoot
flagging the brief sun bursts,
the sap juicing to its tip,
ready, now, in November,
for the new year!"

~ from: "Winter Wheat" by Luci Shaw in Polishing the Petoskey Stone © 1990  p.125

You may also enjoy: 

Fragments of Poetry 16 - September 29, 2016

Fragments of Poetry 15 - February 8, 2016

Photo Locations: Oakfield Township - Kent County, Michigan 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran's Day 2017

No words 
can embrace
the immense gratitude
I feel for our
United States Veterans
who paid the ultimate sacrifice
for our freedom.

I kneel in respect before them,
in honor of their dedicated service.

© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo LocationSanta Fe National Cemetery ~ Santa FeNew Mexico 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Monday, November 6, 2017

"The Steps of St. Patrick's"

Climbing up the steps
of St. Patrick's Church,
the people of the parish
bring their fine families;
they are stepping up
into a sacred space,
lifting themselves up
with hopeful expectation,
eager for encouragement
from their passionate pastor:
"We can do more."

The things they carry
in their hearts may be
devotion and dedication,
reflection or remorse,
may be gratitude and grace,
or the burden of shame
upon their shoulders,
may be fertile fields
to grow and spread 
His love.

The things they carry
in their souls may be
words of worship,
prayers of praise,
may be meditation and mercy,
admiration and adoration,
perhaps poverty of the soul.

The things they expect 
to receive inside
may be healing and holiness,
sanctity and salvation,
or faith and forgiveness,
may be acceptance and attachment,
by receiving the body and the blood.

The things they share
with the congregation may be
compassion and communion,
blessings and the Bible,
The Word, and reasons for worship,
or sympathy and empathy for others.

Climbing down the steps
of St. Patrick's Church,
after receiving 
the bread and the wine,
after a meaningful mass,
the people of the parish
may carry the message 
to others who are
thirsting for truth
hungering for hope.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

You may also enjoy: The Bells of St. Patrick's 

Photo Location:

The steps of St. Patrick's Church ~ Parnell, Michigan

Friday, November 3, 2017


early November
curtain of yellow willow
weeping with autumn
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Location:

Crooked Lake - Grattan Township - Kent County, Michigan

Monday, October 30, 2017

Inside Herself

A soft, shimmering breeze
awakens the aspens;
wakens the woman

Fluttering on petite petioles,
these leaves,
like little rounded hearts,
generate stimulating rhythms.

Tickling her fancy.
Triggering warm shivers
deep inside
her self.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations

1. OurayColorado  

2. Grand Mesa National Forest - Colorado 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Serching for Grace

Autumn leaves 
are landing
softly on the stream.

Like grace trickling
through the moment,
sliding into the future,

floating around the bend,
gathering downstream;

a congregation of others
still searching

for grace.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations:

1. Grand River - Grand Rapids, Michigan

2. Flat River - Fallasburg Park 

3.  Bear Creek - Townsend Park - Kent County, Michigan

Monday, October 16, 2017

Lavender Fog

Watch the slow, silver
approach of dawn.

Arms of leafless trees arched
and etched in silhouettes.

Waiting for the birth
of this brand new day.

Anticipating color,
seeking soft, lavender fog,

and the first notes of birdsong
before they're sung,

and the simple gifts of creation
waiting to be opened

as soon as they arrive.
© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Location

Oakwood Cemetery - Plainfield Township, Kent County, Michigan  

Friday, October 13, 2017


out here on the range
this cowboy knows when to kneel
and show his respect

© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Location: Sharon Springs, Kansas

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Water Love

Soft as a butterfly's touch
on a flower petal,

the evening calm
whispered to the water,

then a gentle rain kissed her skin;
the smooth, dark silk of the lake. 

© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Location:  Rocky Mountain National ParkColorado 

Monday, October 9, 2017

A Single Stone

While sharing 
my desires and gratitudes
within these lines,

you have come 
to know me.

But who are you
when you enter
these poems?

And before you leave,
is there a single
shiny stone

you would like to pick up?
And after it glistens briefly
in your palm,

will you put it in your pocket
and carry on with your day,
and be pleased this evening
when you find it again?

And be surprised
by the warmth
it has attained
from your body?

Reminding you
of treasure,
this simple pleasure
of a single stone.

More permanent
than mere words
left to linger
on a forgotten shore.

© 2017 Richard Havenga

Photo Locations: