A Good Home

Benjamin & Dr. Martin Luther King – A Guest Post


Author Diane Taylor (“The Gift of Memoir” & other books) shared this with me and I got her permission to share it with you. Thank you, Diane.


Let me tell you about my son Benjamin and Dr. Martin Luther King, and how I came to write the poem below. And also why I am bringing the poem to light after it has been dormantly lying with a collection of other poems in a bottom drawer for the past thirty-seven years, accessible to my eyes only.

Blog Photo - Diane Taylor1

Most people come of age in their teens. I came of age during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s. I was well aware of Dr. Martin Luther King’s  I Have a Dream speech when in 1964 I grabbed the chance to march with many others down Yonge Street in Toronto against segregation in Selma, Alabama. Bus loads of Canadians travelled to Selma to encourage Black voter registration – which had only recently become legal. It was my first year teaching.

In his speech, Dr. King said he could see “One day when little black children would walk hand in hand with little white children …” He was shot and killed in 1968.

In the early ‘80s, I had the opportunity to live and work – on  a conch farm – in a primarily Black community on a small island in the Caribbean. By then, I was the mother of a one-year-old. It was pure joy for me to see my little white child playing with little black children, living out Martin Luther King’s Dream.

Blog Photo - Martin Lutehr King

In the islands, there was the chance to right the wrongs of the past, to live life the way it should be lived, free from the prejudices of race and colour. 

I have a photo of little Ben playing in the sand with his little black friend Nevil. They are both three and a half. The ocean is placid just a few feet away. They are both on their knees, bodies energetically engaged in a fantastic creation, both with their weight on one arm while the other arm is madly pulling sand into a castle that defies archeological logic, but is clearly amazing to both of them. And they had to be fast, for the sun was almost down, on another prefect day, and their mothers would soon be taking them home.

Ben died not long after that photo. A Benless future was unimaginable and unacceptable. Poems were a way of connecting with his spirit and keeping him with me. I shared them with family at the time, but not since. They are too tender a part of me to be casually shared.

Then, George Floyd. After so many others. That’s why this is the right time and the right place for the boy named Benjamin to emerge from the bottom drawer into the light.

For Martin Luther King

She had a dream

That one day

Her little blond boy

Would walk hand in hand

With little black children.


The dream came to pass

They walked hand in hand

Trekked island paths

Built castles in the sand

Ran Time into the ground.


But, it turns out it’s Time

Noncommittal and cold

Does the running

And Time runs out

Into the costly cosmos.


Dr. King? That little blond boy –

Please take his hand in yours.







A Good Home, Breakthroughs, Poetry, The Human Brain, Thoughts

Behind Closed Eyes

I’m glad to hear about a breakthrough in curing Alzheimer’s disease, using ultrasound.

The poem below describes what I experienced but couldn’t explain during long periods after the accident: the inability to think or speak clearly. In fact, some of my relatives feared I had Alzheimer’s.

I never want to return to that time, but one thing it gave me is a deep empathy for anyone whose brain won’t work properly.

This poem is dedicated to Jo Burton and others who have the disease, and their loved ones:


The words had left, flown off on wings

My mind confused, mixed up with things

Then empty when I tried to find

Words to say what was on my mind


And then as I searched for a word

To tell of something seen or heard

The thoughts themselves would fly away

Like truant children gone astray


Blog Photo - Stiver Hosue Mural2

And then I’d try to do my best

To bring them back, to make them rest

Inside my head, all in one place

Just stay with me, like bits of grace


And then the headaches they would start

Like knives cutting my brain apart

Like furious birds attacking it

Intent on making me unfit


Blog Photo - Bird Scratches self

To think, to speak, to read, to write

Remember anything this night

Except the pain that crammed my head

Merging with pain that made my bed


A place of war, no space for rest

To perch a while and build a nest

A place where nightmares came to dwell

Behind closed eyes and doors to hell.


Link to the recent news story about a breakthrough in finding a cure for Alzheimers:


Garden, Poetry

Wisteria Envy

John's Wisteria4

My good friend John

The gardener one

He boasts of his wisteria.

He calls me once,

Then twice, then thrice

He’s this close to hysteria.


“It’s blooming soon!

Come see, come see

The buds are getting fatter!”

John keeps this up

All summer long

A never-ending natter.


The problem is

John’s vine does bloom

And mine again is ‘fallow’

(It’s come to this

I find new words

For grief that I must swallow.)

John's wisteria3

John’s vine does bloom

John’s vine does bloom

Three times in every season

“Come see, come see,”

John says to me

Happy beyond all reason.


So off I go

Convinced he’s wrong

For now it is hot weather.

But No! John’s right

The vine doth bloom

This was no idle blather.


Blog Photo - Wisteria 1


Just now I get

Another note

From you-know-who, a-boasting

And that is why

I write this verse

That John, he needs a roasting.


A clever thought

Has seized my brain

And now I start devising

A stealthy plot

To carry out

A bit of ‘gardenizing’


Of digging up

My barren vine

And off we’ll go together

In dead of night

Across the town

No matter what the weather.

Blog Photo - Wisteria 2


And plant it where

John’s vine once stood

And leave it in its glory

While John’s vine

Sprawls across my hood

About to change the story.



Now we shall see

Who boasts each spring

And every single summer

For John is now

Proud owner of

The world’s non-blooming bummer.

The End.

Top 2 photos by John Van Burek of his bloomin’ wisteria.  Ughhhh…..