Tag Archives: Poem

To Those I Love

In my previous blog post I mentioned that my family has been through a series of tragedies over the past six months, including the unexpected death of my mother on June the 8th of this year. I did not learn until the day of the Memorial Service that she died of a massive heart attack, with no previous history of heart trouble. My wife surmised that my mother must have died from a broken heart because of all that has beset our family. I think she might just be on to something.

My mother was 89-years-old when she died and I am sure that many might assert that, at 89, it couldn’t have been all that unexpected. Yes, she had a good run but we all expected that she had several more years in her – given that she had no medical history that might have suggested otherwise.

My mother’s passing has raised several issues as she was the family scribe, as it were. It was she who kept track of births, movements, and other family demographics. It was she who sent out the annual birthday cards to every child, grandchild, and great-grandchild. She was an avid letter writer and a beloved pen pal to several of her descendants including my youngest daughter, who was also my mother’s youngest grandchild. All in all, my mother was the matriarchal glue that held the family together.

My youngest sister started an annual family picnic and reunion several years ago in an effort to bring my mother’s descendants, their families, other relatives, and close friends together for personal encounters that had long ago slipped by the wayside as school, spouses, in-laws, and the miles brought about separation. After the Memorial Service las Saturday my younger sister asked me if there was any point of trying to keep the family picnic and reunion alive to which I resoundingly replied: “Yes, there is.”

We don’t know for sure who will step in and fill her roles. My youngest sister suggested she might be the one to send out the birthday cards, but she has far too much to deal with as it is. Myself, I would like to automate the family demographics somehow but have not yet solidified a plan.

PrairieHillCemetaryIn the meantime my mother was interred this afternoon in the Family Cemetery, back home in Oklahoma, where she will lie alongside my father and baby brother, whom we lost in August 2000 at the age of 35.

Now, I had hoped that the death of my mother would signal the end of the series of tragedies but I received a letter yesterday from Anchorage, Alaska and I knew what it contained without a need to open it. My son-in-law was standing next to me, as the letter had gone to our old address, and I turned to him and said: “My (half) sister has died.” I opened the letter to discover that my father’s first born had passed on the 6th of June, just two days prior to my own mother’s passing.

Below the news was a poem much loved by my sister that she had asked be shared with those she loved upon her passing. I checked on the Internet and the poem exists in different forms but was always attributed to Author Unknown. Although I have read poems of a similar sentiment this was the first time I had read this one and I would like to share it at this time.


~ To Those I Love ~
When I am gone, just release me, let me go, so I can move into my afterglow.
You musn’t tie me down with your tears; let’s be happy that we had so many years.
I gave you my love, you can only guess how much you gave me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you each have shown, but now it’s time I traveled on alone.
So grieve for me awhile, if you grieve you must, then let your grief be comforted with trust.
It’s only for a while that we must part, so bless the memories within your heart.
And then, when you must come this way alone, I’ll greet you with a smile and a “Welcome Home.”
Love,
Nola

In Memory Of:
Nola Billie (Nichols) Richards
June 1, 1934 – June 6, 2015

Good Song – Map

Here is the complete identity for each of the songs from last Thursday’s Good Song posting.


Verse 1

Butterfly Lake – Paule Masse
Indian Lake – The Cowsills
Night Flight – Led Zeppelin
Harvest Moon – Pink Floyd
Moonlight in Vermont  – Linda Ronstadt
Three Flights Up­  – Nanci Griffith
Hangdog Hotel Room – Gordon Lightfoot
Room to Move – John Mayall
Plan Your Revolution ­– John Mayall
Rocky Racoon – The Beatles
All The Young Dudes – Mott the Hoople
Gasoline Alley – Rod Stewart

Verse 2

Poison Ivy – The Rolling Stones
Going to New York­ – Jimmy Reed
When the Sun is Shining – Jimmy Reed
One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer – John Lee Hooker
Jambalaya – Hank Williams
Home Grown Tomatoes – John Denver (Higher Ground)
Bad Brahma Bull – Chris Ledoux
Grazin’ in the Grass – Hugh Masakela
White Lightin’ – George Jones
Jim Dandy ­– Black Oak Arkansas
Main Street­ – Bob Segar
Hurricane Drunk – Florence and the Machine
Love Drunk – Charlotte Church
Stoned Immaculate – The Doors
Pretty Little Adriana – Vince Gill

Verse 3

Black Skies – Ginger Baker
Black Water ­ – The Doobie Brothers
Black Country Woman – Led Zeppelin
Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
Black Mountain Blues – Bessie Smith
Black Mare Blues – Big Bill Broonzy
A Long Black Veil­ – Burl Ives/The Band
A Long Black Train – Josh Turner
Black Coffee – Humble Pie
Black Velvet – Alannah Myles
Black Jack Davy – Steeleye Span
Black Diamond Bay – Bob Dylan

Verse 4

Oklahoma Hills – Tex Ritter, Jack Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie
Smokin’ – Boston
Sioux City Sue – Tex Ritter
Smokin’ in the Boy’s Room – Brownsville Station/Motley Crue
Going up the Country – Canned Heat
The Hanging Garden – The Cure
Sugar Magnolia – The Grateful Dead
Garden of Eden­ – Country Joe McDonald
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida – Iron Butterfly
String of Pearls – Glenn Miller
Delta Lady – Leon Russell
Cryin’ – Don McLean
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheep – ACDC
I Fought the Law – Bobby Fuller Four/The Clash/Kris & Rita
‘Buked and Scorned – Odetta

Verse 5

Maggie May – Rod Stewart
Chelsea Morning – Joni Mitchell
Amie­ – Pure Prairie League
Angie – The Rolling Stones
Brandy – The Left Banke
Jean­ – Oliver
Little Jeanie – Elton John
Rene – The Small Faces
Melissa­ – The Allman Brothers
Winter Time – The Steve Miller Band
Oak Fire – Lee Michaels
Smoke of a Distant Fire – John Townsend (Sanford-Townsend Band)
Mama Lou – Rita Coolidge
Betty Lou­ – David Michael Jackson
Peggy Sue – Buddy Holly
Runaround Sue – Dion
Leather Angel – Black Oak Arkansas
Clair – Gilbert O’Sullivan
Denise, Denise – Randy and the Rainbows
Judy in Disguise – John Fred & His Playboy Band
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – The Beatles
Layla – Eric Clapton
Susanne – Leonard Cohen
My Cherie Amour – Stevie Wonder
Mandy – Barry Manilow
Candy Girl – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Roxanne – Sting
Mean Street – Van Halen
Sylvie – Harry Belafonte
Matilda­ – Harry Belafonte
Sulky Girl – Elvis Costello
Pretty Girl – The Yardbirds
Border Town Girl – Los Lobos
Cinnamon Girl – Neil Young
Mountain Girl – Judy Collins
Naughty Girl –  Mac Davis
Danville Girl – Woody Guthrie
Good Girls – Johnny Cougar (John Mellencamp)
Beautiful Girls – Van Halen
West End Girls – Pet Shop Boys
Girls on Film – Duran Duran
Girls, Girls, Girls – Sailor
Last of the American Girls – Green Day

Good Song

I have been taking Music and Theater classes at the local community college including a couple of songwriting and composition classes. On one particular day the topic of discussion was what makes a song good, or bad for that matter. Now I don’t really think there is a definitive answer but it got me to thinking and I began to sketch, what might be considered a poem, using the titles of songs. Well I finished it and shared it with my instructor who said that he would have to look some of them up. I counted ninety-seven (97) song titles when I wrote it. How many can you identify? (Answers on Sunday)


What makes a good song good?
What makes a good song bad?
What makes a bad song bad?
What makes a bad song good?

Sometimes a good song is …
A trip to Butterfly Lake after a summer on Indian Lake
A Night Flight to the Harvest Moon
Or simply enjoying the Moonlight in Vermont
Or Three Flights Up in a Hangdog Hotel Room
Where you have some Room to Move
While you Plan Your Revolution with Rocky Racoon
And All The Young Dudes down on Gasoline Alley

Maybe a good song is …
Getting over a case Poison Ivy
Or Going to New York when The Sun is Shining
Or downing One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
With a bowl of Jambalaya and a plate of Home Grown Tomatoes
While a Bad Brahma Bull is a Grazin’ in the Grass
Or drinking White Lightin’ with Jim Dandy down on Main Street
Or getting Hurricane Drunk, Love Drunk,
Or Stoned Immaculate with Pretty Little Adriana

Perhaps a good song is …
Found under Black Skies, swimming in Black Water,
Running from a Black Country Woman or simply fading Back to Black
Or when you’ve got the Black Mountain Blues
Or even the Black Mare Blues
A Long Black Veil or a Long Black Train
A cup of Black Coffee or a taste of Black Velvet
Sailing with Black Jack Davy on Black Diamond Bay

I remember when a good song was …
Riding in the Oklahoma Hills
Smokin’ with Sioux City Sue or Smokin in the Boy’s Room
Going up the Country to The Hanging Garden for a date with Sugar Magnolia
In The Garden of Eden or In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
A String of Pearls for a Delta Lady Cryin over Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Serving 30 Days in the Hole after being tied to the Whipping Post
Because I Fought the Law and now I’m ‘Buked and Scorned

But sometimes a really good song is …
Is Maggie May on a plush Chelsea Morning
Amie, Angie, Brandy, Jean, Little Jeanie, or Rene
Melissa and an Oak Fire in the Winter Time
Who tears from the Smoke of a Distant Fire
Mama Lou, Betty Lou, Peggy Sue, and Runaround Sue my Leather Angel
Clair, Denise-Denise, Judy in Disguise, and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
Layla, Susanne, My Cherie Amour, Mandy, Candy Girl,
And Roxanne on the Mean Street,
Sylvie, Matilda, and any Brown Skin Girl
Sulky Girl, Pretty Girl, Border Town Girl, Cinnamon Girl,
Mountain Girl, Naughty Girl, and the Danville Girl
Good Girls, Beautiful Girls, West End Girls, Girls on Film, Girls, Girls, Girls
And the Last of the American Girls

What makes a good song good?
What makes a good song bad?
What makes a bad song bad?
What makes a bad song good?

What makes a song anything at all is being heard
Is in the ear of the beholder
And if those ears number in the millions
You’ll fall down backwards rich

“And that’s all I have to say about that.”