My three-year-old put his hand on his chin
like he was mulling over something troubling
"But, Papa, " he moaned, "I pway wifh these! "
His room was cluttered from wall to wall--


What happened to the time of decency?
When our leaders modeled right and good
Faith and moral judgment rightly reigned
And we did for country what we could.

If I were the only poet left in the world today
And all the great verses and rhymes of the past
Were suddenly swept away in the awful crush
Of today's destructive and cacophonous voices

I cannot anymore say "I do not give a hoot! "
When a policeman pulls over my car,
First thing I say is, "Officer, please don't shoot! "


Call it what you will, my friend,
This glowing exhilaration inside my heart
Plucking the pizzicato strings of myself
Exploding, making me feel, oh so, insatiably happy

The hint of love-mist in our eyes
My whispered hello, your perfumed sighs

The fleeting moments when we met

Sometimes ill wind blows my way, it seems
To cast opaque shadows o'er all my dreams
Sending my spirits downward soaring
Causes my life to lose its fragile mooring

Be not afraid, the realm of darkness surely comes
When least you expect the black night of the soul
When you think with confidence tomorrow borne
The very best of you; made you completely whole.

Take me as I am, just as I am,
For I am broken into pieces
With irregular edges, my flesh
Was scarred by hopelessness,

Stay here with me while dark shadows fall,
Across my eyes one last shutter close
Before the end, my eternity will call.

Rising thunderstorm
Sudden rain slamming my roof
Passing overhead.

Look me straight in the eye
Not askance or a side glance
Or shifty-eyed like you know
You are busted telling me a lie.

There was a time when my yesterdays and tomorrows
Flowed into a seamless, steady stream of time slowly passing
With little change, nothing appeared to change from day to day -
I did not worry about what another tomorrow might bring

Somewhere along our southern border
A child cries for her mama tonight, and
She does not know where Papa has gone
She thought the long journey had ended

Suppose for a moment you were as rich as Croesus
Wise as Solomon, had the strength of Samson
Suppose you were as a Hollywood star handsome
Could you live in the world with the rest of us?


Love is like a masterpiece
Framed with a gilded edge,
Unmatched for worth or beauty
Like a pure unbroken pledge.

The skulls were nearly hidden
By the thicket in the glen
Scattered in ancient cinders
Where a house and barn had been.

Yellow rose buds she requested for her senior prom
Talked about how they would match a satin dress
Did not know where the roses would come from
And, as a young girl of ten, it was anyone's guess.

Before the lion-tempered winds of March appear
With violent gusts and maddened frays
To thwart the jubilant return of Spring
My envisioned spirit craves the Summer days.

Lady Liberty's torch will slowly solemnly rise
During these sixty-plus days of uncertain sorrows
Before we, the people, can lift our moistened eyes
And think about brighter, more positive tomorrows.


I was born and raised in the south-central West Virginia. I graduated from Nuttall High School, Lookout, WV in 1959 and went off to Berea College, Berea, Kentucky. After my freshman year, I enlisted in the United States Air Force, where I served for four years in the beautiful state of Hawaii. While there, I attended Jackson College and the University of Hawaii. Upon my return home to West Virginia, I married and had two exceptional children, Emily and Adam Hankins. Unfortunately, that marriage ended in divorce after about seven years. During those same years, I graduated from the University of Charleston, Charleston, WV, receiving my baccalaureate degree in history. (More recently) I obtained my master's and doctoral degee in Theology at Trinity Theological Seminary. I served churches in West Virginia, Ohio, and Virginia before retiring in 1997. A compulsive writer, my poetry, articles, short stories, and theological writings have appeared in numerous national journals and periodicals, including Christian Century, Biblical Illustrator, and the renowned Pulpit Digest. In 1992-1993 I was elected to Who's Who in Religion. I was also elected to the international poetry society, Escambi Y Internationale. One of my poems was read into the Congressional Journal of the United States. I am also a member of Pi Gamma Mu, an honorary sociological fraternity. (Even More Recently) I published a book of Appalachian short stories, Ashes on the Snow, and, A Sensible Theology for Thinking People (A retired Southern Baptist minister talks candidly about the Bible, Theology and Contemporary Concerns) . For about eight years I wrote a weekly column for the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch. I have been interviewed on both radio and television. My wife Deborah and I moved to Catlettsburg, Kentucky to operate The Presidents' House Bed and Breakfast, where we remained until we retired a second time and moved to Ashland, Kentucky. My wife Deborah of 35 years died November 22,2018. I continue my work as a public speaker and freelance writer.)


Never Argue With A 3-Year Old

My three-year-old put his hand on his chin
like he was mulling over something troubling
"But, Papa, " he moaned, "I pway wifh these! "
His room was cluttered from wall to wall--
books and crayons, even an old football,
an old sippy cup, its contents long dried up,
cars, trucks strewn about from a huge pileup,
game pieces and his Christmas roller skates,
and things I'd long forgotten he even owned.
"Straighten it up, now! " I commanded.
He began to pout. "It's myyyy wooom, Papa."
Stifling a tear of my own, I nodded, agreeing,
"But YOUR room is in MY house, " I explained.

When I stepped out and closed the door,
I heard stuff being tossed hither and yon,
So, I stood there for a good long while, and,
this is what I heard: "Otay, I queen up my woom,
but next year for Quissmas...." then, loudly,
Loud enough for him to hear, I replied,



'Never think that you will be punished for eternity for never being what you were always meant to be.

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