This is the literary weblog of Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D., a pediatrician. It is intended mainly as a place to maintain a collection of poetry created for the enjoyment of a few friends and as an archive for my family. All material is protected by US copyright.

Jeffrey Hull

Friday, April 29, 2005

The Lark and the Sparrow

As all things that have been shall be,
   As pass all things to come;
As day ne'er sets upon the sea
   Reigns ever night for some.
As heavens wheel above the Earth,
   Eternal light and dark,
We mimic 'twixt our death and birth
   The sparrow and the lark.

Her colors dull, her chirping plain
   In constant quest for food
The sparrow strives in sun and rain
   To rear her little brood,
While lark exultant on her wings
   Sings songs of joy and love
To shame the tunes of courts and kings
   And ring the clouds above.

Now like the sparrow, 'til we die,
   We toil as Life has willed,
Our labors ‘neath the arching sky
   To clothe, and feed, and build.
Still, through our toils, we raise our voice
   Although we know our fate,
Unlike the lark — yet we rejoice
   As life we celebrate!

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull

Friday, April 22, 2005

Lion in Winter

A boyish love's a campfire
   Of twigs and tinder moss;
Tempestuous desire,
   And blind to certain loss.
By burning bright, if briefly,
   Love hints of what can be;
And that's its function chiefly —
   If only youth could see!

A full grown love's the boiler
   That powers life on earth.
To love's end man's a toiler,
   And service marks his worth:
Man harnesses his passion
   To pull the plows of life,
A better world to fashion
   For daughter, son and wife.

An old man's love's the fire
   That's banked against the night,
The memory of desire
   In fading winter light.
His cherished recollections,
   The fruit of love's sweet vine,
Are purged of imperfections
   And savored like fine wine.

Now, all love has its season
   And plays its role in each;
Experience, not reason,
   Must love's great lessons teach.
Now I approach my winter,
   For me, the seasons turn;
A walker, not a sprinter —
   But my fires still do burn.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull

Friday, April 15, 2005


They were dammin' up the river
   They were floodin' all our land
And Momma, God forgive her
   She just couldn't make a stand.
When Poppa died my Momma
   Didn't know just what to do;
And with period and comma
   They took my mother, too.

She died late on a Sunday
   Of a stroke, as Doc allowed,
And we buried her on Monday
   In a bedsheet winding shroud;
By the rose and honeysuckle,
   That's where she and Poppa lie–
And they watch Orion's buckle
   When he climbs the winter sky,

The way that Poppa taught us
   'Bout the Greeks and all their kin
From a ragged book he brought us
   From the Goodwill cast-off bin.
With their legal condemnations
   Ain't no use to make a fuss,
And they don't name constellations
   After simple folk like us.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull

Friday, April 08, 2005

I Saw Three Ships

Three Ships, Otto Henry Bacher, 1880

I saw three ships that sailed away
   Beneath a leaden sky,
Their helms hard set for far Cathay,
   Their decks I could descry;

Upon the prow of every ship
   Was carved a maiden fair,
Beclothed in but a wispy slip
   With flowing flaxen hair.

And in the rigging of each mast
   There clambered jolly crew
Who filled the yards, full sail at last,
   And trimmed each tack and clew.

The ships rode high upon the foam
   As proud they slipped the quay
And eased the ebb away from home
   For lands of mystery.

The rising moon full round and bright
   As beaten silver gleams,
While night by night in faerie light
   These ships sail through my dreams.

Far off spy I for vessels three —
   Might they appear one day?
But mostly I gaze out to sea
   And long to sail away.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Twenty-one Grams

The soul of a man weighs hardly a thing,
   Just twenty-one grams, it is said:
The weight of the spirit that finally takes wing
   And leaves us the instant we're dead.

The weight of a hummingbird flees at our death,
   A stack of five nickels or so;
It's wafted away on our ultimate breath,
   And wings to its bliss or its woe.

Theresa’s sad spirit weighed slightly less,
   Or somehow John Paul's soul weighed more?
Or won’t a kind Father then equally bless
   All children who come to His door?

If cripples have souls that equal in weight
   The soul of a pope, we averred,
Dare we conclude equal worth is innate:
   Humanity makes this inferred?

Just how we care for the sick and the lame
   Defines us for ill or for good.
Brain-damaged woman, or a person of fame:
   We care for them both, or we should.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Cheetah

The cheetah eyes potential prey
Her ruthless economic way:
She cannot catch them all she knows,
So marks the slow and targets those.

Though sure of foot and fleet as wind
She knows she must be disciplined;
A slinking stalk — a sprint! and then
Return in triumph to her den.

As I have aged I've come to see
The wisdom of economy
In matters of the purse or pen:
What works for cheetahs, works for men.

When seeking bargains, this is prime:
Await your price, and bide your time.
Your budget vigilantly guard,
And pay in cash — avoid the card!

And choose a topic with an eye
That lets a hundred more go by;
And anything you write about
Is oft best served by that left out.

So like the cheetah, check your pace
Until it's time to run the race,
As nature shows the way for men
To take control of life again.

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull
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