Mending My Heart


James F. Ross

Photograph & Poem

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Young At Heart

Peter Pandora, streaming music for the young at heart.”

James F. Ross


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I Said, She Said … A Providential Opportunity

After a very comprehensive exhaustive national search, Barbara Nay emerged as the leading candidate.

“Barb from accounting? I would have never guessed.”

One and the same.

“She’s the new Head Coach of varsity volleyball?”

President Pane made the announcement at the faculty luncheon.

“Etched in stone, it is.”

It is now. Yes. But I’m guessing the hammer and chisel were in play long before the “comprehensive national search” commenced.

“What exactly qualifies her for the position? She doesn’t exactly project athleticism.”

Apparently, her mother was a volunteer coach at the local Y.

“So Barb played for her mother?”

No, no, no, no, no … The elegant Nay wasn’t into sports during high school.

“She didn’t play or coach? You know … as an assistant to her mom?”


“I don’t get it.”

As Dr. Pane put it, “Barbara comes from a family with a rich history in competitive gamesmanship.”

“She does play a mean hand of Bridge.”

That she does. He described her as a “known quantity” who, in the best interest of the university and at a substantial sacrifice, has courageously stepped forward to providentially accept this challenge.

“A calling for her, is it?”

Aren’t they all? That’s always implied. Anymore, it’s a given.

“And the ‘substantial sacrifice’?”

Her pay-grade won’t change.


Wow is right. Although …


She does inherit coveted prime real-estate.


Coach Murphy’s parking spot in front of the gym. The large maple shades it throughout the day.


God is good.

“When does she start? Accounting will surely miss her.”

I’m meeting with Barb on Saturday … to outline a strategy she’ll be comfortable implementing.

“You’re an expert in volleyball?”

No. I’m an expert in resource.

“An opportunist.”

It’s providential. We’re meeting at the library to discover what fantastic tomes on the do’s and don’ts of volleyball have been collecting dust in the stacks.

“Does she know you are treating this like a date?”

Not yet. As of lunch today, she still hasn’t cancelled.

“My guess is that you won’t need a book to teach her about setting up for the slam. Can I come along … to observe?”

No. I’m wanting this to be a quality time moment.

“Well … if you want to play without a net. As always, I’m at your service. That’ll be me waiting on the sidelines. Should you need any help, just call.”

Will do. Oh, here’s my bus. Catch you later.



James F. Ross


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The Far Wood

My Way
Well established and embraced,
An attentive examination of the village cobble
Would reveal a worn uneventful path, characterized as
Predictability, seasoned with an occasional diversion

The Orchard Café
Midday breakfast tea with shortbread delights
On the long-wall, wildflower and wooded landscapes
Frame the portrait of a well-tended and thriving orchard
That gently persuades my daily moment of introspection

My Walk
Takes me past the village main to Prospect and Hope
An eternal optimist, the florist shares an observation with prediction
An uncommon northerly wind … Change is coming, sooner than never
A fresh yellow rose then, cradled with a blanket of baby’s breath

The Round
A gift from one to benefit all who care to stroll and linger
The rose garden is Mother’s signature gesture of love,
Where an assemblage of Poets gather to hear the latest muse
Today’s reading, augmented by a somber melancholic cello

At the Stone Library
Children long for the patience that is so fervently demanded –
Joy suppressed to convenience those who’ve misidentified bliss
Wandering minds escape their plight with every flyleaf bowed
A clandestine journey, known only to those who remain unbound

The Half Acre
All roads lead to slumber — common ground for the resilient and weary
A cold wind escorts me through the shadow of Iron Gate
On Shepherd Hill, sheltered by a magnificent maple, lies a mighty rock
Who introduced and nourished many to faith, wisdom, and character …

My Mother
Her love and devotion admired, amid reverence for inspired compassion and joy
Sweet William pedestals column a vase of vintage wine-colored corolla
My golden-haired Rose, cradled in a blanket of baby’s breath, forever laid to rest
Silence comes to those who kneel and pray … I long for Mother’s cherished consent

At Prior’s Cottage
Over tea and sweet bread, I barter a tap of harmless prattle and wag with Esther P.
Our village weaver, her gnarled hand tremors aside, my aged willow punnet now mended
A shared barren condition, I have nothing to fill the void; however … Change is coming
Her insistent premonition dictates that today’s hike will take me deep into the Far Wood

Blackthorn Lane
Paved with the barbican old stone, past the clock tower onto the Grand Gate arch,
Following along Narrow Brook, the lane marshals west, down into Old Town and beyond
My ritual is to take the Near Wood trail, gather wild flowers while I may, and then return home
However, Esther’s leaf reading foretold joy. Enough is enough; today, I choose the new path

On this day
I’ve taken a step of hope … Content, the way is pleasant and my thoughts are free to wonder
Were I a gifted painter, how might I capture these meadows composed of variations on a theme
Passable, the path begins to taper, my long-shadow tags behind and the familiar becomes less so
Fallen leaves and pine cones crowd my basket; a sweet tart apple aroma calls to remembrance …

An Orchard
Before me stands a once sanguine hardy stock, congregated with purpose, now tired and bent
My gentle persuasion, my everyday embrace of hope, forgotten, left to wither by neglect of want
In the near-corner, a lone mackintosh defiantly bears fruit, in stark contrast to its lack of splendor
Love — a grand delusion, dancing in a moonlit orchard, alone again, perhaps forever … Where is joy?

A Northerly Wind
Whines its way across the meadow to Far Wood’s edge, causing the elder trees to groan and sway
Coaxed by a notion, I enter into the wood, guided more by intuition and perception than trail
Leaf and needle quietly descend from the woodland canopy, scattering throughout the forest floor
The resonance of my track startles the unsuspecting; a small herd of deer spring and run for cover

Deep in the wood
An old rock wall, under duress, stands its ground; in either direction, its run cannot be determined
Reclaimed by the forest, a farmer’s cherished vision no longer yields a harvest; I grasp the potential
Imagination and passion allow us to close our eyes and dream, to awaken in another place and time
Fortunate are those who are able to linger and dance, brushing aside the mundane with broad strokes

Preparing for Joy
After clearing my mind of expectations, the corner gate is easily discovered along the outer wall
Beyond the wood, a rise overlooks a familiar setting — meadow and brook gently merging into a pond
On this broad brook pond, my skipping stone ripples a wave across the way toward a small cabin
Smoke bellows from its chimney; the seasoned hackberry aroma, grabs my attention and interest

A tranquil peaceful moment, interrupted by a young collie chasing my notion out of the Far Wood
Joy, greets me with lively spirit

James F. Ross


Posted in Grief, Life In Motion, Love, Nature, Poetry, Relationships, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Orchard


Black as night …
Coals from the slow-burning hackberry remain intact
Wistful this morning, I’ve chosen the worn mackinaw
In an age of silent gratitude and preference,
Old habits wane, but almost never pass

First Light …
The slight rap of my walking stick against the sidewall
Brings the younger collie, greeting me with lively spirit
Our singular path, passably sufficient,
Leads into the wood and adjacent valley

Taking the lead …
My scout scurries ahead, surveying for signs of wander
Cleverly marking future routes with a personal declaration
I never weary of her occasional vanishing act … and reappearance
Good Friends always find a way to walk a common path

Change …
Although my pace hasn’t slowed at all over the years,
Somehow, I arrive later and later to my desired intentions
An uneasy paradox, soothed in part by a poetic observation
That the journey is my destination, reframes this solitary outing

The Wood …
No house of worship is its equal, in simplicity or splendor
A habitat of curve and camber, there’s not a straight line to be found
Your admiration was always sincere, as my appreciation is genuine
Eagles live among the elder trees, nestling their young with brushwood and twig

Meadow and Pass …
Fairies work throughout the night to weave a mantle of petal and bloom
Long ago, the morning sun brushed a hue across this meadow, proclaiming your arrival
My scout darts out at full speed to the far end, stopping abruptly to wag her location
Whenever there’s a need to seek comfort or reassurance, I always come back here … to the beginning

The Orchard …
Once a labor of love, any inclination to cultivate this graveyard vanished long ago
Save the lone near-corner mackintosh … a monument to your care and passion
I refused to let go in the hope that, somehow, I will sense your presence
A shambles now, never assume someone else will tend to your dream in a similar fashion

On this day …
We continue on to the nearby village main; a northerly wind hastens our march
At The Orchard Café, a hodgepodge of like-minded souls gather,
Determined to make their mark by not leaving one
The collie shakes the cold, then curls on her rug beside the coal-fed Gurney

An empty chair …
Rests beside mine at our table; my quiet moment … coffee, apple pie, butter pecan ice-cream
Two friends share concern for my well-being; a third, attempts to engage in conversation
I am standing with you in the meadow … in the beginning, and near the end
My silent memory, disrupted by the collie snuggling at my feet

Enough is enough …
Death brings a sorrow that withers the strongest of souls, creating a void not easily filled
In the midst of struggle, most are blind to their condition and to any balm that might heal
My friends encircled me, placing my old brushes, tools, and pigments on the table
Hands lay on my shoulder. “It’s time,” I’m told. No argument. No discussion. Enough is enough

A promise made …
The way home was without color or shape; I don’t recall anything worth preserving
Though for a long while, my scout never left my side, until a notion coaxed her into the wood
A push of the bellow ignites the kindling; a fire is burning again … and, it feels good
I open the door to your room, pause, select an empty canvas and then bring it into the light …


James F. Ross
© 2012

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Night Heat Too

Night Heat One

Night Heat Two

James F. Ross


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Night Heat

Night Heat

James F. Ross


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Darkness Doom

Darkness Doom

James F. Ross


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Yesterday’s Yellow


James F. Ross


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Today’s Postcard … Dancing In The Dark


James F. Ross


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Fireworks At The Wharf


James F. Ross


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Good Morning


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Today’s Reflections



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Word Play Apologies Brothers Sherman

Super, Mr. Listic. It’s marked Fragile; I’ll expedite it to … Where again?


California it is. And to whom?

My buddy Al.

Full name please.

Al. Al I. Docious.

Any note or message?


Nothing? You’ve got nothing to say at all?

Sometimes it’s better that way.



James F. Ross


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Today’s Sunrise


James F. Ross


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Morning Has Broken




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Today’s Postcards














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I Am Flying

Beginning this morning, my short-story-long, I Am Flying, is available throughout the weekend at Amazon. My gift to you.





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I Said, She Said … Forget About It

“Chatter among thieves is your promise … grains of truth, milled to imperfection, satisfying no one’s hunger … a quenchless bitter whine that strains the righteous and robs the faithful of their joy.”

“I got caught up in traffic. Why do you need to make a federal case out of everything?”

“Do you have any idea how hard I worked creating this dinner from scratch?”

“Scratch? What are you talking about?”

“A creative labor of love. That’s what I’m talking about.”

“You bought this pizza from Johnny’s.”


“They sent a text to my phone, confirming your order.”

“Oh they did; did they?”

“They sure did. You must have used our Johnny’s card.”

“Fifteen percent discount. And … we got a free drink this time!”

“Fantastic. A free drink after twenty pizzas. How do they stay in business?”

“You could have called.”

“I tried.”

“You did?”

“I sure did. Poor reception.”

“In that case, ignore my rant.”

“Already forgotten.”

“Good answer. Let’s eat.”



James F. Ross

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I Said, She Said … Middle Earth


See Dick. See Jane.
Run Dick. Run Jane.
Run. Run. Run.
Run you fools. Run.

“What do you think?”

“Amusing … and clever.”

“I thought so too. Clever though … more than amusing.”


“Oh well …”

“Recess is over, Mister Author.”

“Back to the novel?”

“Back to the novel.”

James F. Ross

Posted in Humor, I Said, She Said, Relationships, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment