Education:  To Be Continued …

There is no lack of opportunity
For education in this spendthrift age,
And boys who wish to earn a decent wage
Must show the general community

That they have somehow learned to use their heads
For more than just a place to lodge a hat.
Good habits start at home (Imagine that!)
And should include acquiring tasteful threads

That feature neither butt-crack nor a shoe
But halfway laced.  The frequent use of soap
And toothpaste will go far to show there’s hope
For someone who had trouble getting through

Eleventh grade.  Hard knocks is not a school
For laggards:  Let them earn a GED,
And later an associate degree
From junior college; let them join the pool

Of eligible applicants for jobs,
Lest they become expendable dead weight
Incapable of paying their own freight,
Thus ruining the dreams of Thomas Hobbes

And others.  Blame sits squarely on the father
(Or lack thereof) for having never dared
To set the tone, but blame is rightly shared
With other agencies that scarcely bother

To teach young sons that houses won’t be homes
Until a source of income is secured
And natural law and order is restored.
Society will delve new catacombs

Unless some necessary work is done
That hasn’t been.  A father makes a choice
To banish doubt when, with a sterling voice
Univocal, he educates his son.



I rang the bell, but no one was at home,
Which led me to suppose that my arrival
Was much too late or just a bit too soon.
I knelt and ran my fingers through the loam
Beside the stoop, reflecting that survival
Depends on husbanding the land.  The moon

Was rising when from up the rutted drive
A pair of headlights flooded the terrain
And caught me with my knuckles kneading soil.
My college friend had managed to revive
An old ramshackle farm in northern Maine
Through reaffirmed ideals, incessant toil,

And old-school Yankee know-how.  We had plenty
To talk about, but he appeared unsure …
Until he shook my dirty hand and grinned.
I hadn’t seen the guy in nearly twenty
Years, yet he showed me to his kitchen door
As though I were that man who’d never sinned.

He introduced me to his lovely wife,
His several kids, and one uncomely ball
Of fur that might have been a dog.  A dunce
I’d been, presuming that his ordered life
Had pressing need or room to spare, in all
This time, to think about me even once.


Breakfast of Champions

Don’t ever be afraid
To say what must be said,
And never let your head
Be swayed

By rancorous opinions
Of critics who despise
You.  Lucifer supplies
His minions

With suasive power points
As sharp as any sword
To slander those the Lord

Not even Paul’s epistles,
Shored up with doctrinaire
Assemblages of prayer
From missals,

Are quite enough to stay
The Adversary’s hand.
You’ll reach no promised land,

Or ever, if you lack
The fortitude to fight
For what you think is right.

Before the break of dawn,
And make no hasty treaties
Until your store of Wheaties
Is gone.


C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden.  Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India.  His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press.

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3 Responses

  1. David Watt

    Anderson C.B., I like your stuff,
    Particularly ‘Education’ sure enough,
    Which illustrates an issue of our time –
    The need for an instructive paradigm,
    Made eloquent through well-considered rhyme.

  2. Damian Robin

    My three kids, all growed and ‘doing well’
    (By degrees at universities)
    Had early education out of school;

    My three kids, well groomed and ‘doing well’
    (By measurements of manners, teeth and smell)
    Recycle loans that are society’s;

    My three kids, all roomed and ‘doing well’
    Are well-turned-out, sociable, and cool,
    Making meals and managing the bell;

    My three kids, with wisdom from an endless well,
    Contribute to pools of humankind,
    Resilient and truthful, also kind.

    How wonderful the world is with these three,
    These kids, these principles, these ways to be.


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