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***** Oiled Pelicans

Man’s eternal pursuit of the mighty buck
in the stark midnight of oil’s imparted hour
has caused all of Nature to drown in muck.
An exploded rig departed from its bower.

Man’s fretful dilemma comes to mind
as the birds sway heavily to and fro,
and the upright animals only find
their friends of Nature cannot grow.

Pelicans in dangerous, dreadful woe
can find no single heroic master
of calamity, no champion, or foe
to change this, their multiple disaster.

As the Gulf Stream waters do flow,
circulating the Pelican young away,
their parents remain with an oiled glow.
Without wings, or recourse, they must stay.

When, alas, the rallied winds blow,
and the calm seas wildly rage,
will the birds, the Pelicans, go?
Will the young ones come of age?

Crabs, turtles, creatures who crawl
will long be doomed to fall,
while Man engages in a brawl
to set the blame to law.


Peom and photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg


Poem for Heady Dragonfuss: A Kite


***** Heady’s Flight

We thought we could: we thought
Fly a kite, yes, we definitely ought!

The kite, months ago bought, now unwrapped
Was a dragon’s head and small body entrapped.

Sun shining bright, wind whipping high
Made us declare, “Oh, let’s try!”

Into the car we three friends jammed
Amid packaged colors of kite closely crammed.

Kite’s crinkly crepe papers upon my lap piled;
Its yellows, greens, and blues remained undefiled.

Pam in front, Jane steering the quick miles,
While I in back, said, “Check this dragon’s style!”

We three were years since our younger lot,
Long since given past to marriage, kids, and pots.

Why now the cheering urge to fly and soar?
We knew, laughing, reciting unfulfilled family lore.

From car window to high sky our eyes fairly roamed;
We gasped, seeing the great white clouds like sea foam.

Car and pals rumbling to the flying field,
We were certain the sky and clouds would yield.

Could our bright dragon kite reach those heady heights?
A name, we hailed, for our object of potential flight!

“Heady!” Pam shouted, “for his wieldy head.”
And “Dragonfuss,” I said, “for the hassle if he goes dead!”

From the car onto the flying field we tangled,
Heady Dragonfuss among us, almost mangled.

Yards beyond the stone drive of the field of flight,
Heady’s wide, purple wings held folded tight.

We sprawled on the grass with parts of kite
Spread before us, a colorful, intimidating sight.

We assembled hooks and lines, labored with struts,
Tape, a silver reel, and a package of “What’s?”

Heady’s glaring eyes, black and round, were the parts
Of his design making us giggle: “Big as carts!”

Parts bonded, fastened, Heady was alive,
His mouth open, wings spread wide.

Eyes shaded against the sun and bright sky,
We ran, launching string to push Heady high.

Instead, crepe flew unfurled, a glassy eye popped, revealed
Pieces of Heady lying unassembled upon the field.

Dismay overcame mute surprise at knowing
Heady Dragonfuss’s parts all were showing.

Hooks and lines, wings of loose struts, all unreeled;
How could all Heady’s parts again become healed?

All the while, winds increased their mild gales.
We shouted, shifted, laughed like wild males.

Sitting upon the grass, silly over wings, struts, and glass eyes,
Bearing watching by arriving flyers more learned, wise,

We refastened struts, reeled in line: eyes wide
With childish wonder we soon thought to hide.

Heady was alive, blue and green and yellow,
Black eyes inserted, mouth open enough to bellow.

But would he fly? Ought we, really, to try and try?
Were we doomed to fleeting highs and long, sad cries?

Again, string to girder, plastic to multi-colored crepe;
Spirit and hope, not to cause Heady a faulty scrape.

Wind high, we cast Heady’s line up and off;
Gathered running strides, threw him aloft!

At each hearty launch, Heady failed to catch air,
twirling, twisting down; we called, “Don’t tear!”

Again and again, we tried; running, holding him high,
Until, collectively, we cried: “Dragonfusses cannot fly!”


Poem and Sketch from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Poetry for Flag Flying Days

There are 20 dates in 2014 on which Americans can officially fly their flags in recognition of their countrymen and the United States of America. January 1 is the first day of each year on which to officially honor the Stars and Stripes.

Three flags fly at Veterans Park at the Bridge in Napoleon, Ohio. They are the State of Ohio (left), Old Glory, (center), and the POW-MIA (right), which gives recognition to Prisoners of War and those Missing In Action.

Three flags fly at Veterans Park at the Bridge in Napoleon, Ohio. They are the State of Ohio (left), Old Glory, (center), and the POW-MIA (right), which gives recognition to Prisoners of War and those Missing In Action.

*****Flying Old Glory

There are birthdays,
Washington’s and Lincoln’s,
which are Presidential;
we fly the flag, our beacon,

for them and all who the
Oval Office have occupied,
raising Old Glory so to
not ever side, or hide.

In February, we celebrate
their birthdays on two days,
February 12th and 17th, but
recognize all, as we may,

and give January 20th to
the junior Martin Luther King
alone; he whom we honor
singularly. He, also, let freedom ring.

In May is VE Day.
On the eighth we
remember those all,
without saying “me”.

Mothers of our hearts
we celebrate on a day
in May, too. We treasure
their quiet, guiding way.

Armed Forces Day, Memorial
Day; those are reflective times
that bring tears and new
fear to old, dwindling minds.

Flags of Our Fathers combine
in June on the 15th and 14
in honored debt we cannot
repay; only do we honor more.

Labor Day, VJ Day, Patriot Day!
Ah, these see Old Glory reign!
And we, free and eager to
remain, celebrate on that train!

The labored freedom train chugs
to Columbus Day, Elections
Day, Veterans Day, and ends
at Thanksgiving Day connections.

Once again, in December, we
remember, solemnly, a day of infamy,
a day surpassed, joyously, with
a new Christmas and Epiphany!

Flag flying days in order of date in 2014 include the following:
January 1 — New Year’s Day
January 20 — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 12 — Lincoln’s birthday
February 17 — Washington’s birthday (observed)
May 8 — VE (Victory in Europe) Day
May 11 — Mother’s Day
May 17 — Armed Forces Day
May 26 — Memorial Day
June 14 — Flag Day
June 15 — Father’s Day
July 4 — Independence Day
September 1 — Labor Day
September 2 — VJ (Victory in Japan) Day
September 11 — Patriot Day
October 13 — Columbus Day
November 4 — Elections Day
November 11 — Veterans’ Day
November 27 — Thanksgiving Day
December 7 — Pearl Harbor Day
December 25 — Christmas Day



Poem and Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Poetry for Military Personnel3

A soldier's salute to the flag in the snow.

A soldier’s salute to the flag in the snow.

***** Soldier’s Salute

Soldiers salute even in the snow;
because they are patriots, you know.

Through the dark of eerie nights,
soldiers salute their flag in fight.

Saluting the red, white, and blue
is a time-honored tradition, not new.

Every soldier knows the salute drill;
good ones revel in reverence, and thrill!

Friends of soldiers, not always of means,
nonetheless share their peace-filled dreams

of days when all may salute their flag
without an Earthly, struggling snag;

without those continuing days of fight,
but because of united, peaceful might.


***FLAG-FLYING Etiquette:
(1) — Never allow the flag to touch the ground or any other object while on display.

(2) — Salute the flag as it is hoisted and lowered, during the playing of the National Anthem and while saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Stand at attention with your right hand over your heart and your hat removed.

(3) — Display the flag outdoors only between sunrise and sunset, unless illuminated by a spotlight.

(4) — When displaying the flag indoors, always position it to the right of a speaker or staging area.

(5) — To place a flag at half-staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant before lowering it to a halfway position.

Flag Etiquette and Depiction courtesy of The Eastern Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Flag Etiquette and Depiction courtesy of The Eastern Paralyzed Veterans of America.




Poem and first and last photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Poetry for Military Personnel


***** A Soldier’s Neighborhood

I heard you came home the other day
to a country that doesn’t greet,
and now you can’t make a living;
you’re reduced to begging on the street.

Your Mom called; I offered to do what I could,
cancelled a day’s work to come your way
before beginning my travel, after “Mom”
told me for employment you’d pray.

As I walked the steps to “Mom’s” door,
I looked over the old neighborhood and
had a cold fear that those dreams
soldiers many times have, had left their marks

on a soul I was beginning to fear
may never recover, as “Mom” said.
Where on earth could she be now?
Was the day just getting too heavy?

My second knock went unanswered, too.
I’d use the key from the planter; better.
A quick look around inside told me
no one was about; but I saw the letter.

It said “Mom” and stood upright on the mantel.
I suddenly thought of our childhood,
when our single moms so often had to meet.
Your mother ever staunchly withstood.

Mine would deliver a searing speech,
screaming,”What are the rules, you two?”
She’d glare us all down, into us rip,
“The street’s not the place to play!”

but my mother never won the war of words.
She’d jerk me to our door across the street
and exclaim to the listening neighborhood
I’d play no more with “that lady’s son”.

The next day, we’d start it all again,
snickering between ourselves as friends.
My mother said we’d never be smart, but
yours, our “Mom”, never predicted such ends.

I went to college while you chose war.
We drifted apart, made new lives and friends.
I wrote to you without receiving answers, but
the neighborhood days didn’t entirely end.

I had wondered every day if you were safe,
recalled your braggadocio and your strength.
But were the frightening nights hot, or cold?
And did the raining bombs make you shake

with fear you endured? I’d never know.
And my wife died without your knowledge.
The Army became your final home, and
I remarried, gratefully gained two sons.

My mother died while yours flourished,
so I came to her, our “Mom”, when she
called and said you’d been wounded and you
were anxious; she worried you’d flee.

The neighborhood looks the same today,
except for the house I left years ago.
At the opposite curb, your house is empty.
You’re missing in the neighborhood flow.



Poem and photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg


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***** Mothering

Nothing is about holding on.
All is about letting go:
You know.

Could I hold,
I wouldn’t scold.

Could I screen,
I wouldn’t scream.

If my dreams for you
could be true,
I need not be blue.

If all were pure joy,
you would simply be
My Toy.


Poem and Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg