Longing to revisit a seasonal colorful heritage, all things maple abound and are effortlessly embraced, tradition trumping the commonsensical. Back roads front a contingency of weary travelers on the cusp of being treated to a delightful feast undergirded by unblemished linen and treasured porcelain.


James F. Ross



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


Three Hits and a Miss

Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman, and Conan O’Brian … After Letterman retires next year, maybe Jay Leno, who’s first name is James, could bill himself as Jimmy Leno, and then take over for Dave. Late night television could then be marketed as, “Three Hits and a Miss.”

James F. Ross

‪#‎TheLateShow‬, #‎JimmyKimmel, #‎TheTonightShow, and #Conan

No Room Inn

So, there was no room at The Inn?

“That’s what I heard. Booked solid.”

The Wise Men … They showed up that night?

“Gifts in-hand. Dressed for the occasion.”

Makin’ an entrance.

“Somebody’s got to bring a little class to the party.”

What about Joseph?

“He was working that “Aw, shucks” surrogate-father grin of his.”

I hear he was stoic. Almost invisible.

“An ugly rumor—one that won’t survive the end of the week.”

And Mary?

“Once again, a yard or two of blue with a sash of white.”

Perfect. She certainly knows how to deliver.

“Amen to that. She sure did that night.”

An early evening?

“For the Wise Men anyway.”

Where’d they go?

“Not far. They arranged for accommodations in advance.”

A hostel?

“The Inn. They each booked a room.”

Living the life.

“Well, they had a long day of diversion ahead of them.”

I’m sure Mary and Joseph were understanding.

“Like the infant, they didn’t make a fuss at all.”

An all-around glorious night. Need help with tending those sheep?

“These sheep? Nah. They’re fairly obedient.”

Same time next year?

“I’ll be right here waiting. Peace to you.”

And also with you.



James F. Ross


My Giant

My Giant

James Daniel O’Leary


Silent hues of faded dreams
Sentiment captured and consumed
Tranquil black and white reality
Shattered by colorful front-room conversations

My Giant
Each and every half-step of my ramble
Prejudiced by the shadow of your perfection
Forever griping to that quiet hope
That one night you would return

Your muffled oddments of wisdom
Washed out by instance and neglect
Fashioned my wandering, friendless and alone
Sandy soles washed in oceanic blue

Your guiding touch always absent
Strangers tousle my mane
Your likeness greets every sunrise
A souvenir from the spring of my existence

My Village
Circled within and without
Lined with invisible cedar
Broom handles waving at half-cut spheres
Artistically heaved intentions, designed to impress

A great mystery, purpose
Even greater your transitory life
The only negatives I’ve come upon
Salted away in a cigar-box memory chest

Many questions await your arrival
Pleased by me were you?
How many rounds did I merit?
Was I part of the cloth…from which
Your dreams were sown?

Will you never return…


James F. Ross

Copyright 2010

Beyond The Land of Me

I miss and long to embrace the precious souls, who in choosing to become aware, patiently waited for the rhythm of my pace to mirror my vision; those present, and those who moved on in a way that makes their return unlikely, if not impossible. Privileged, am I, to look beyond The Land of Me, to discover more than I am.

James F. Ross