Why Winter


Windows reflect a gloomy sky; as dreary light stains the panes. Clouds cluster as smoky spiders awaiting juicy treats.

Slowly, dying leaves signal the arrival of fall, and the subsequent winter. Everywhere: A picturesque brilliance of browns, yellows, and oranges, beautifully adorns the landscapes, and of course, the trees. Tony frets because he hates winter; he hates cold.

His favorite seasons are spring and autumn; Tony cares nothing of the remaining months, mostly wishing that they would disappear; and especially the humid sticky months of summer.

His youth insulated the lad from winter’s wrath; delightfully, he even enjoyed sledding, and ice skating and other things that his friends and he would do.

These days, Tony fondly remembers the excitement, and as much as he commits to it, rarely would he venture out to play; those days are long gone. Always, tomorrow, maybe. Fantastically, the wishful man draws lines in the sands; daring winter to cross. That’s right, step back, folly is the labyrinth of fools, and the path to “fool school” is unattractive, perilous. The inquisitive man ponders (just) one simple question:

Why Winter

Slowly, as winds chill the trees,
an icy tail sweeps the skies.

Trees stiffen as frigid fingers stab
and pierce crusty barks.

Dank puke sprays the lands as
swelling clouds slap high fives.
Coursing, birds fly inside the misery.

Everything ripe for the picking;
summer evolves from plush greenery
to ice, snow and muddy plaque.

The air grows colder.

I cannot help but wonder, why winter
smiles with invasive discomforts,
unwanted perils and devastation,
with her cold and frozen face.

Why is she wantonly brutal.
Why must we surrender.
Why not simply, go away.
Why?… She never listens.

A cool sun lights the sky;
tree limbs supplicate as apples dangle.
A cringing canvas displays the fruits
as cold candy reds.

Then a bird trills, I languish inside
its harmonies; I stir its chromatic fire.
The song is hypnotic; yet, I distract…
Does the creature wary of winter.

Cold hurts me.

Mornings: I berate my bed;
“How ‘dare’ you push me out!”
Mocking the day,
I wish for better times.

I wish, for spring.

Copyright ©2014 Delbert H. Rhodes

“The Purest Forms”: Sweeter than the wildest honey

The Hill of the Angels

By Delbert H. Rhodes



The Old Man


The old man lies dying. Thinking of the distant hill, he recounts his youth and romance. Many times, he ventured there the skies awash in blue pearl, and below the crest the valley spread in rows of fields and speckling here and there with farms. To the north and east rest his properties. His family has owned the lands for generations.

The old man’s great, great grandmother nicknamed the farm “Blue Mists”; she loved the ghostly appeal of the floating sheets of dew beneath the starry blue skies. The mystery of the trees added a spectral quality to the night seeming as spirits languishing in the gloom.

Observing the trees always filled the old man with wonder; the winds disturbing them ever so slightly; the rustle of leaves filling the skies like the melodies of an orchestra fills a room. The trees in this region are healthy strong and sturdy. Here, generations of farming have produced lands and lives of abundance. The view is spectacular taking the breath away.

Aging has poisoned his health lessened his breath and reduced his strength yet the old man’s mind is young and clear. Facing his final moments, he misses his walks to the hill. For you see, it was there they met it was there they first loved. Then as she is now, the woman was a heavenly vision and sweeter than the wildest honey.

Staring into his wife’s eyes, the old man recites “The Purest Forms,” a poem he wrote for her:

   The Purest Forms

 And there, she is upon the hill
Into the skies she stares
The breath of day kissing her lips
The sunshine in her hair

 Tireless are her wanderlusts

 Oh agonizing joys
Till twilight breaks
A sweet bird calls
Her ears its favorite toys

 Inside the mists she ghostly spirits
So filled with life and jest
From her heart a lullaby
Mommy’s children rest

Ever the times of lasting love

 Never to leave her smile
Alas, she winks
Then playfully laughs
Becoming the happy child

In those years, my life so tender
The moments thrill my soul
Her spirit resounding chorally
The church bells ring with gold

Torrential downpours threaten the skies
Raindrops pepper with pollen
Serene the sounds of her baby’s cries
The purest forms of “Malin”


Tenderly, and for the last time, the old man and his wife embrace. Eternally smiling, he sweetly says, “I love you.”

Copyright © 2012 Delbert H. Rhodes

Piano Square: The Finest in the World

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By Delbert H. Rhodes

The sky is overcast; specs of sunshine tenderly touch a tapestry of gray clouds. Outside his bedroom windows, the swaying of trees, trill of birds and scamper of squirrels are the welcoming voices of morning. The breath of the winds provides a loving chorus for an orchestral interaction borne by twilight. Seemingly, an invisible Conductor waves his wand through a symphony of trees.

Yes, a beautiful morning it is, and the spring in upstate New York is a most wonderful time. Thomas J. Seacrest lives in an old house; he has lived here for almost eleven years. The building needs a facelift, but he likes the place. The neighbors at home and in the town tend to cling (more) to quiet than to the nuisances of noise. This fact is of great importance. Tom is a solitary man, and the quiet calms him.

Stretching as he glances out the window, Tom smiles ever so slightly. The scenes outside always brighten the man; he adores the trees, and flowers, and the tiny insects, and birds and the wonderful aromas teasing his nose. The air here is clean, and the water flowing from the faucets, and filling the rivers, lakes and ponds is clear.

Tom looks about his bedroom; the room is spacious and comfortable. He is not (really) the furniture type, but has enough furnishing to suit his needs. In the living room, his favorite piece of furniture is the couch; it is solid, and long and the pillows are firm. The man loves stretching his body across it as he relaxes.

In two weeks, Tom celebrates his forty-fifth birthday. Today, he is happy about his job interview. This is a huge opportunity and the man has spent much time researching the company. “Piano Square” is an international company, and has a stellar reputation. The musical instruments sold in the stores are some of the finest in the world.

The materials chosen for constructing the instruments have a high rating of “supreme grade.” The companies supplying the resources, and in keeping with Piano Square’s operational profile, are not purely domestic, but international. The team of builders, the crafters, are highly skilled, and expertly trained. Even company sales people spend countless hours in training; they must meet rigorous standards before acquiring full membership. Tom is confident about his possibilities; he knows music, and he has completely studied this company and its histories. Today, Thomas J. Seacrest seeks the most important job of his career.

Often Tom has seen concerts in the garden, and on television whose orchestral members use instruments crafted by Piano Square. During these occasions, the airways fill his apartment with the purest tones the man has ever heard; the music always brings tears to Tom’s eyes. Having a musical background, Tom sometimes misses the days when he dreamed; and yes, he dreamed of a career in music. For deeply personal reasons, the dream remained in his mind; and though he loves music, today, the man walks a different path. A path that and thankfully keeps him attached to his greatest love.

Stephen Beus performs in the 2006 Gina Bachaue...

Tom is interviewing for a sales position, and though he is qualified for management the lesser position helps to build him, and from the ground up. If things work out, Tom intends to enjoy a long and lasting relationship with Piano Square.

The office building looms in the distance, and it gleams as its silky stone reflects the sunlight. The location for the office building is well-chosen; various companies have offices in this area, and the scene is a commercial dream. Nearby, different types of shops offer customers just about every kind of product. There are food stores, shoe shops, clothing stores, electronics stores; and, yes, even one other music store. Competitors ever stare each other in the face; however, and because of its professionalism and quality, Tom knows Piano Square to be the better place of business.

The elevator doors open to the fourth floor, and Tom looks out and into splendor. The décor pleases him, and he thrills about the prospect of becoming an Employee. A long, and winding hallway leads Tom to the Personnel Office. Thinking of the Interview, the man feels somewhat nervous; but who would not be, and calming his nerves he readies for the challenge. Greeting Tom, a radiantly ravishing young Receptionist escorts him to the Waiting Room.

Glancing at his wristwatch, Tom calculates that forty-five minutes have passed. The walls in the room are beautifully painted; they are light green with white trim. Lovely framed pictures expressing an antique appeal allure the eyes. Landscapes and seascapes pleasantly excite with the charm of an old world craft, and noticeably absent in the art of today. Tom’s favorites are the Spanish Galleons engaging stormy seas under starry skies. His mind places him on the decks of these mighty vessels. He is the brave and swarthy Captain piloting his ships, while fighting the fury of the seas.

On a far wall, two profiles of famous writers seem as though interjecting questions into the scenes. Poised, but posturing, the writers appear to quibble over suitable narratives for the panoramas. Tom fails to remember the name of one writer, but the other is his favorite, “Edgar Allan Poe.” Strangely, Tom feels, there is not one picture of a famous musician.

The lovely photograph of a Cello hangs in a low-lit corner. Delicately cloaking the instrument’s curvature, the light lends (a) sensuous stillness to its frame. The picture is stunning: it appears as a painting. Tom loves the sweet tranquil tones of the Cello, and those of its relative, the Viola. The tones are “mellow,” and they immerse Tom’s mind in worlds of wonder.

Remembering his childhood, Tom thinks of his musical beginnings. Remorsefully, and once more, he feels the pain of lacking a musical career. Yet the zealous achiever’s reading, writing and playing are superb. The horns, strings, percussion and some woodwinds remain as his instruments of choice. Now and then, the man considers composing a piano score, and to achieve such a feat has special feelings for him. One day, to hear his musical score played by any leading orchestra realizes Tom’s long and lost dream. “One day.”

(The receptionist informs Tom that the Executive Vice President, “Mrs. Collington,” is ready for the Interview.)

Walking into the lavish office, Tom encounters a familiar face.

Mrs. Collington smiles while offering her hand to Tom. Returning her smile, he wonders whether Mrs. Collington (Denise) recognizes him; but then, those were many years ago. (Mrs. Collington is Tom’s previous girlfriend from high school.) Naturally, the man does not care to negate an otherwised honest and objective interview. 

Mrs. Collington begins with her overview; however, permitting Tom to respond with questions or comments. She is quite intelligent and obviously has years of company experience. Tom cannot help, but notice how beautiful she is, and after so many years. (Time has been kind to Denise.) Also, and though the man realizes that this is a wonderful opportunity (and he would never do anything to destroy his chances of achieving his goal), Tom begins to feel something.

The man is starting to feel the urges of an old romance. Certainly, the man must contain these feelings, after all, things are different now, and in significant ways Denise and Tom too have changed. Tom composes himself, and subsequently focuses on “Mrs. Collington’s” questions.

One hour later, the Interview ends; and standing, Mrs. Collington and Tom exchange a handshake. (Her hand feels so soft and gentle.) Politely, Tom informs Mrs. Collington that he has enjoyed the interview session, and that he is happy to have met her. He continues, “When should I expect to hear of my results?” First: Mrs. Collington responds, “You should receive information in two weeks.” Next, the gracious woman (with a dilated pupiled smile) returns the gesture, telling Tom that she too enjoyed the session, and that she is (brightly) happy to have met “him.”

Tom walks out. He wonders whether Denise remembered him, but then the important thing, and the most important thing is securing the position. If things were different (Tom admits) the man would have attempted to regain some part of the old relationship; but things are too different, and Denise is married and “this time,” the man fights for his dream.

Still, Tom permits his feelings to embrace him, and he enjoys the lusting as his thoughts entice him. Moreover, and even after so many years and all the changes in the man’s life…yes, still, he loves her.

Two hours later: The telephone of the Executive Vice President rings; Mrs. Collington answers her line. Smiling and then kicking off her high heels: sweetly, Denise says, “Hi….”

Copyright © 2012 Delbert H. Rhodes