Refrigerator Magnets 028 Seascape

The graceful lines of fluid-dynamic living beings and the media in which they live and breathe and move.
The graceful lines of fluid-dynamic lives;
The media in which they live and breathe;
The movements of their very bodies soar
and glide; So very little effort spent;

how does flying feel
machines do not impart it
only in our dreams
[blank renku] Paul Guernsey © 2020

[blank renku] My Song

My song is hopeful for the notes to come.
An optimist at heart whose rhythmic beats
Subside as waves retreat to clear the beach
For those that follow next on next to come.

tonal melody
enchanted trance of progress
never ending song

The patterns of my soul, myself, I sing.
Unheard, unknown until the string is struck,
A fearless measured stream impulsed from depths
Within me and without me, too, I feel
I listen just as much as sing and play.

Paul Guernsey, © 2020

Blank Renku

Haibun Monday 4/27/20: A Portrait of Two Masters

True Human Rights

And so,
as men, we should not be so quick to take
upon ourselves the robes of our Creator.
Declaring rights upon oneself derived;
for Man is ever prone to seeking power
greater than his own, and power's lust
can cause a blindness darker than the night
depriving all of liberty and life,
depriving all of any happiness.

Nor should we be so quick to make demands
of those with pockets deeper than our own.
I have no right to ask that someone else
give me the very shirt from off his back
so diligently paid for with the sweat
that dripping fell from off his furrowed brow.

I have no right to ask, nor to demand
a single thing from anyone, except
for that respect with which a human should
regard his mate, his fellow human being.

Respect, not money, home, nor health, nor food,
nor education dear, are yours for free,
enslaving someone else to pay your bill.
Your human rights do end precisely where
the knot that binds my purse strings tightly starts.

But when the help is volunteered and free
from forceful seizure by the well heeled state
unburdening the yoke of human strife,
one's own responsibility to bear,
then human rights convert to human kind.

by Paul Guernsey, © 2019/11

Read by the author at the 13th Annual Anita McAndrews Poets for Human Rights
The Rene Duke Youth for Human Rights Poetry Contest
at the Scone Age Bakery*, 2019/12/08

*The home of the finest Original Scottish Oat scones in town.

[blank renku] promises

 at the end of day;
the unexpected happens; 
promises not kept;

Developer with good intentions writes.
He codes until the end of day, or more,
and wanting more than just to do his job,
he promises to get things done for you.

Paul Guernsey, © 2019

[1blank renku – a form of linked verse, written by one or multiple authors in alternating collaboration. Blank renku differs from renku in that stanzas alternate between haiku form, and blank verse. The shortest blank verse stanza would be a couplet. The longest would fill a Post It note, the original (fictional) medium of blank renku, as invented for The Blank Verse Mystery. Variations are expected.

Blank renku can be played as a game, in the original spirit of renku. It merges poetry from East and West. Writers can choose to write in their stronger form or in their weaker one, and in this way it is similar to the game of THUD.[2]

[2THUD –  [see also Terry Pratchett’s 34th Discworld novel Thud!] “Thud is a strategic [board] game based on the ancient struggle between Dwarf and Troll…Players take turns to play the fast moving Dwarfs as they attempt to trap Trolls in a carefully constructed ambush, then take the part of the fearless Trolls who lumber slowly yet powerfully around the board. You can learn to play in a matter of minutes, and no two games are ever the same.” –

Refrigerator Magnets 024 Baby Grand

Should we have ever bought the baby grand?
We'd go to visit at the mall. Each week
or so, we'd stroll into the music store
and think how much it needed to be ours.
Eventually, we paid the hefty price,
and into debt we went to have that piece
of wood, that lovely naked oaken gloss
with ringing strings delivered to our home.
We sold it in a year or two, but for
a while it was our own, and brought us joy,
if not a lot of music actual.
But dreams grow large when pretty, shiny
things enthrust themselves into your life.
Perhaps it wasn't worth the cost, Perhaps.
But now, the baby grand is metaphor
for Big Mistake, or Big Blue Sky idea
that makes no Earthly sense, but gathers speed
unto itself and beckons us to join
its sensual, entrancing naked dance.
Perhaps? "...perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub" [1]
So what, if every dream is too unreal?
To be, or not to be? The question still
remains, for without dreams, there is no life,
no life that's worth the salty sweat of time.

Paul Guernsey © 2019

[1] Borrowed without permission, but at least with attribution here, from Hamlet’s famous, “To be, or not to be?” soliloquy, by William Shakespeare [2], published 1603.

[2] Shakespeare also wrote blank verse. [3]

[3] The entire play, Hamlet is blank verse. [4]

[4] Including the soliloquy.

Our Lives in Verse

We write our lives in practiced rhythmic verse.
While leaving work at five to peel the shrimp
and chop the vegetables at half-past six,
then walk the dog and put off sleep till late,
we follow close the moon, the sun, the weeks,
the months and years. The holidays parade,
precision drilling teams of marching song.

The verse is strictly formed and far from free.
Once written down, it's seldom ever read.
Our partners help enforce the meter true,
at times completing one another's rhyme
until at last one's breathing starts to slow
and children who one day we taught to read
must take up pen and finally write their own.

Paul Guernsey, © 2019

Back to School: GEOINT


I never served to keep my country safe. 
When I was young, I left that up to others.
But now Perhaps I have another chance
to serve, to pay the debt again that once,
so many times before was paid for me.
There are more ways to serve than soldiering.
What can i do to most effective be?

Paul Guernsey © 2019

Computer Programmer, a.k.a Software Developer, a.k.a Software Engineer,
Software Tester,
Software Technical Support
System Admin
B.A. Computer Science, Prinipia College 1983

I met Dr. Eugene Levin, Professor of Integrated Geospatial Information, in his office on the eighth floor [2] of the Dow building on the Michigan Technological University on Friday, November 1, 2019. We spoke about my interest in earning a Master of Science degree in integrated geosptial information at Michigan Tech and some of the possible paths in which this might lead.

One of these paths, one which had not really been on my lidar, was GEOINT, Geospatial Intelligence. Dr. Levin explained briefly what it was and we moved on to discuss other things. But later the next day, on my drive down America’s Prairielands to America’s Swampland, I began to become more intrigued. The words above came to me, nearly in poetic form, and so, I wrote them down.

Is this my path? Could this be a further resolution to the guilt I sometimes feel, the feelings I expressed in my poem, Soldier at an Exhibition? [3]

Other words of wisdom from Dr. Levin

Check out job postings. Find your ideal job, research what its requirements are, then go get them.

Build on the skills you already possess. Do not stray too far from what you know, especially if you are no longer a spring chicken.

Take part in group activities, like the Geospatial Tea Rooms.

[1] GEOINT: Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) is defined in the United States Code, Title 10, section 467 as follow: “The term ‘geospatial intelligence’ means the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the earth. Geospatial intelligence consists of imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information.”

[2] Dow Building, 8th floor: As you enter the Dow building on the campus of Michigan Tech from the south at ground level, you find yourself on the building’s 6th floor. Just stroll past the cafe into the elevator and check the buttons.

[3] Soldier at an Exhibition: 2018 blank verse poem by me, written as the climax to my longer poetic work, The Blank Verse Mystery. In this work, I explore some of the uncompleted goals associated with my education at Principia College in the early 1980’s.

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