(A Work In Progress)

The greatest stories ever told are those which happen to us and around us each day--the sum total of our lives, experienced one story at a time. Some of us are now watching our own children and grandchildren grow up right before our eyes. Do any of these scenes sound familiar?

Here are a few rhyming stories dedicated to the child and the writer in each of us.

"What Happened To My Hotdog?"
(Wee Ones Magazine, July/August 2005)

By Bill Kirk

What happened to my hotdog?
Dad cooked it just for me.
And while it popped and sizzled,
I waited patiently.

When it was done, I fixed it,
So it would taste just right.
I set it on the table,
But now it's out of sight.

I'm looking for my hotdog,
All plump inside its bun.
With ketchup and some mustard,
It glistened in the sun.

So, where's my missing hotdog?
It's nowhere to be found.
Is that a splat of ketchup,
I see there on the ground?

Now, something looks suspicious--
I think I see a trail.
Oh no! There goes my doggie.
He's wagging his short tail.

"Hey, doggie, is that ketchup
And mustard on your nose?
I wonder how it got there--
By hotdog, you suppose?"

What happened to my hotdog?
I guess we know by now.
My doggie found my hotdog.
And made it doggie chow.

"When Rhyming Gets Slumpy"
By Bill Kirk (Absolute Write, May 2005)

Have you ever dealt with
A slump in your brain
That keeps you from writing,
Come sun or come rain?

A Slump so lugubrious,
Nothing will help;
Not chanting or singing,
Not even a yelp;

Not saying words backward
Or running in place;
Not closing your eyes
Or gazing at space.

It won't even help much
To vacuum the rug;
To sort all your laundry
Or bathe your pet pug.

Though looking to rhymers
To break your word jam,
Might seem the right thing
When your mind's on the lam;

At times even tactics
Like these are no use,
To make your words flow--
To break your rhymes loose.

Then just when you're ready
To give up the fight,
Your brains get unslumped;
You soon see the light.

Your ears hear the rhythm
Of iambic beat.
Your unrhyming ailment
Is now in retreat.

At last your line endings
Again sound the same.
As if it were magic
You're back in the game.

So, if you get plagued
By words that don't match;
You're laying an egg
And your rhymes just won't hatch.

Please don't get all frazzled
And threaten to quit.
Just step back a moment
And let your words sit.

Remember when rhymes
Are just plain ol' stuck.
The harder you try
The worse your luck… gets….

"Cheesy Appeasement"
(Or, Give Me Cheese With My Peas)
By Bill Kirk

Why do I have to eat all of my peas?
I think I'm allergic-they might make me sneeze!
At least let me fix them the way that I please,
With honey or syrup or chocolate-or cheese….

"Micro-Magic Metamorphosis"
By Bill Kirk

Hey! What is that stuff on the end of my fork?
You say that it came all the way from New York?
It may have been roast beef, chicken or pork.
But microwave magic has turned it to cork.

"A Doggie De-Livery"
By Bill Kirk

"Take one bite of liver,"
I heard my Mom say.
"Then finish your spinach
And you can go play."

So, holding my nose
And closing my eyes,
I cleaned off my plate
In only three tries.

And then, in a flash,
I dashed out the door,
As my little doggie
De-livered the floor.

"Heart of Gold"
By Bill Kirk

Dad, I need to do some shopping,
Now, before it gets too late.
Time's a wastin'; let's get hopping!
Hurry, Dad! I just can't wait!

Here's the picture of the locket,
From the paper yesterday.
Better keep it in my pocket
For our shopping trip today.

Got my money. Are you ready?
Let's go, Dad! It's almost noon!
Here's the ten from Uncle Freddy,
I've been saving since last June.

At the store, I knew I'd find it,
Next to lotions, soaps and stuff.
Those things smell, but I don't mind it.
"Will ten dollars be enough?"

"Just enough," the store clerk told us,
"For the gift you want to buy."
In the bag, with what she sold us,
She put ribbons I could tie.

Back at home, I wrapped it neatly,
Taping every corner fold.
Inside, filled with love so sweetly,
Mom will find my heart of gold.

"Crystal Rainbows"

(Saplings, 2005)

In my bedroom window
Upstairs and down the hall,
Hang two magic crystals-
A teardrop and a ball.

In the morning sunlight
With curtains open wide,
The crystals cast their magic,
On walls, from side to side.

Red and blue and yellow,
Each rainbow has its place.
But when I twirl the crystals,
Around the room they race.

Like multi-colored fireflies
They dance and flit and spin;
While through the open window,
The morning sun beams in.

But slowly rainbows fade away
As sun climbs in the sky.
Please, hurry back another day
So I can watch you fly.

"Remembering Winter"
(North Dakota Horizons, 2007)

Silhouetted sentries stare,
Standing leafless, stark and bare.

Snowflakes, on their wingless flights,
Swirl in winter wind that bites….

Star-filled skies on nippy nights,
Silv'ry, golden strings of lights.

Snowsuits, mittens, itchy tights,
Sledding, skating, snowball fights;

Steaming cocoa-whispered sips,
Smiles on children's rosy lips.

Sticky, frosted finger tips;
Scrumptious s'mores and chocolate chips;

Scents of winter in the air,
Sounds of children everywhere;

Stockings filled with special treats,
Stories Grandpa still repeats.

Simply said, though far you roam,
Special memories bring you home.

"Thanksgiving Dad"
By Bill Kirk

(Published in PresbyNews, November 2008)

Good Morning, daughter! Is everyone up?
Have you had any coffee--at least your first cup?
Is all the stuff ready, to cook the big meal?
Is the turkey thawed out? Have you broken the seal?

Remember to take out the small bag of parts;
One neck and a gizzard--I once found two hearts!
You did all your shopping; bought all on your list?
You've checked everything so nothing was missed?

There's stuffing and dinner rolls, broth and green beans;
Potatoes and ham hocks--we'll bring the tureens.
The bird will cook best and will be nice and browned,
At three-twenty-five; fifteen minutes a pound.

It's sometimes quite tricky, to get the temp right.
Gas cooks a bit faster.... Oh, you learned that last night?
Before you get started, did you take out the rack?
Yes, and turkeys cook best in a brown paper sack?

You'll need lots of time to fix the big bird.
If you want any help, just give me the word.
What about onions? Is there chopping to do?
Should I bring mashed potatoes? Is there cider to brew?

Do you have the cranberries; the pickles and such?
Don't forget that good gravy, takes just the right touch!
What did you say? Don't chop, stir or pour?
Don't bother to make a last run to the store?

But what do you mean? You've changed the meal plan?
There's not a meal crisis? You don't need the Old Man?
"That's right, Dad," I then heard our young daughter say.
"There's no bird or stuffing to mess with today."

"We've all eaten turkey since we were in cribs.
So, this year, instead, we're having prime ribs."
I sat there quite stunned as I heard the sad news,
And was suddenly struck by a case of the blues.

Then, clear as a bell, I knew what to do.
My panic was gone. My doldrums were through.
"Don't worry, daughter. Your prime rib's a go!
Lucky for you, there's a trick that I know!"

"Numbers Rap"

Numbers, Numbers, all around us.
Numbers, numbers, they astound us!

Integers can be quite mental;
Fractions, never transcendental.

Counting numbers may well taunt you.
But ignore them and they'll haunt you!

Adding them to do your sums,
May take fingers, toes and thumbs.

If subtraction is your game,
Minus signs, you'll need to tame.

Try division if you're able.
Multiply? You'll need a table.

Odd times odd is odd, not even.
Odd times even's "even Steven."

Do your tens to reach a million;
Times a thousand is a billion!

When you're counting, don't be frugal.
Who knows? You might reach a googol!

Learning numbers is a quest.
To succeed, just do your best.

"Flu, Flu, Kerchoo!"
By Bill Kirk
(Published by, January 2009)

Five A.M.? That's my alarm-
Like a rooster on a farm.
Ten more minutes? What's the harm?
Need my latte wake-up charm.

Now I'm up, but in a haze.
Eyelids struggle with each raise.
Can't quite focus-eyes ablaze.
Must have slept at least three days.

What's with all these aches I've got?
Head is feeling really hot.
Common cold? I guess it's not.
S'ppose I should've had my shot.

First, I cough and then, "Kerchoo!"
Sneeze until my face turns blue.
Mouth feels like it's filled with glue.
Sure does sound a lot like flu.

This stuff's thrown me for a loop.
Brain feels like it's flown the coop.
Wheezing sounds a bit like croup.
Think I need some chicken soup.

What's that ringing?! It's the phone.
Doctor says my culture's grown.
Head feels like a ten-pound stone.
"Can't be sick, just tired," I moan.

Me? Have flu? There is no way!
Sick leave? Not a single day.
Gotta get to work and stay,
Or it's good-bye to my pay.

Called my boss-was that a sneeze?
Then I heard his distant wheeze,
"Stay at home, now, if you please!
Stay at home 'til your flu flees!"

Next year, when I have a chance,
I'll not cop a stubborn stance.
Flu shots surely will enhance,
Odds against a flu-like trance.

Think the flu shot's not for you?
Miss the shot and here's a clue.
Though most days you'll run, it's true,
You can't hide from Mister Flu.

"When Boys Grow Up"
By Bill Kirk

It happened sometime just last week
When we arrived at school.
For Third Grade boys, a morning hug
Was now no longer cool.

That day we followed our routine
To get to school on time.
Dylan quickly washed and dressed,
Then heard the wall clock chime.

"You'd better hussle-grab your books"
Called Grandma with a sigh!
"The tardy bell will soon sound off,
So, you had better fly!"

Inside the car, we buckled up,
And drove right to the school.
We parked and crossed down at the light,
For that's the safety rule.

We got to class just as the kids
Were set to start their day.
But something different happened then,
Or didn't, I should say.

Instead of giving me a hug,
He shyly waved good-bye,
And whispered, "See you after school."
"OK," was my reply.

As I watched Dylan turn to leave,
I let him have his space;
But, so he'd know that I was there,
I waited just in case.

And then, as if to let me know
That he would be just fine,
He bravely said that at his school
"Just kids can wait in line."

Our hug became a shoulder pat-
Or noogies-just for show.
How quickly had the time arrived
For him to let me go.

They say that growing up is hard,
For boys, and Grandpas, too.
But with each change that comes along,
You'll both know what to do.

"Dad, Can I Help?"
By Bill Kirk

The long weekend beckoned--I'd written my list.
And I was quite sure there was nothing I'd missed.

No yard work distractions, no carpools to do.
The weekend was mine until I was through.

I had all my hardware and lumber galore.
I'd work on the deck; replace an old door.

I set up my saw and tested my drill.
With anticipation, I felt quite a thrill.

"No holding me back," I thought, a bit smug.
Then all of a sudden, I felt a slight tug.

Stopping my work, I turned with a glance
To see my small son grab the leg of my pants.

What could I do? There was only one choice,
When my little son asked in his little boy voice.

"Dad, can I help? I just need some glue
And maybe a nail, some wood and a screw."

"I'll be very careful and do what you say.
I promise, I'll try to stay out of your way."

I felt the deck slipping right out of my grasp.
And the door? All it needed was one more last gasp.

We sawed and we hammered--like father, like son.
Together, we worked until we were done.

We built a small boat with a deck and a sail
Out of two bits of wood, some string and a nail;

Then we fought against pirates and searched for lost gold.
With each new adventure a story was told.

I never did finish my list on that day,
Instead I spent time with my son, just to play.

My big weekend projects? Sometimes they can wait.
For certain appointments, a Dad can't be late.

"Once Upon A Teacup"
By Bill Kirk

Inside the kitchen cupboard,
That sometimes is quite bare,
There is a special china cup,
Placed upside down with care.

The teacup's edge is broken,
For it had hit the floor.
The missing piece had left a hole
Just perfect for a door.

My Grandma keeps the teacup
To use again one day.
"As soon as I can find some glue,
I'll fix that cup," she'd say.

The cup was soon forgotten,
Until a little mouse
Had moved inside it with his Dad
And made a teacup house.

Each day the mouse would wake up
And run outside to play.
Sometimes he'd find a little snack
To munch along the way.

At night, his Dad told stories
About their teacup home
And how they'd always be a pair,
Wherever they would roam.

One day they heard soft knocking
Upon their house so snug.
"Who could it be outside our door?
A spider or a bug?"

A lady mouse was looking
For a place to rest.
"Might you have some room for me,
Inside your comfy nest?"

She stayed a day, then longer.
Soon Summer changed to Fall.
She helped them make their teacup warm,
When Winter came to call.

The little mouse decided,
He liked their family.
Their teacup was the very best
Mouse-house that it could be.

But though he really liked it,
They soon ran out of space.
In Spring, they left their teacup house,
To find a bigger place.

So, if you find a teacup,
A chipped hole on one side,
That's tucked away behind some plates,
Where little things can hide;

Although it might be dusty
And covered with some grime,
It was a mouse's favorite house
Once upon a time.

"Here And There"
By Bill Kirk

Each one of us is somewhere,
Which could be far or near.
Wherever you may find yourself,
Your where is always "here."

Our "heres" may all be different;
Or, sometimes they're the same.
Remember, where your "here" is now,
Was "there" before you came.

A "here" is quite specific.
It's always in one spot.
So, when you leave your "here" behind
It's then a "there" you're not.

They say location matters.
I guess they could be right.
For if your "here" is far away,
Then you'd be out of sight.

Although you have but one "here",
I hear there's "theres" to spare.
So, if the "here" you're in gets old,
Just change that "here" to "there."

"What A Day It's Been"
By Bill Kirk
(Scouting e-zine Cracker Barrel, 2008)

You'd think it would be easy,
To tell about the day's
Events and how they happened
In ordinary ways.

But this day wasn't normal,
Though it was kind of cool.
I learned to care for victims
At Boy Scout First Aid school.

At first I was a victim.
I had a "broken arm"
And "bruises" and a "headache"
As if I'd come to harm.

An "accident" had happened
On my "mountain bike."
But soon I was "discovered"
By "hikers" on a hike.

They checked out all my "bruises,"
And bandaged all my "scrapes."
In no time they had splinted
My arm with sticks and tapes.

Soon after I was "stable"
I had another role-
To help a rock slide victim
Impaled upon a pole.

Of course, he was "unconscious."
His "skull" had hit a "rock."
Because we had just "minutes,"
We worked against the clock.

At first we rolled him over
And "stabilized" his "spine."
We did a lift and carry;
In no time he was fine.

Several hours later,
The day was finally done.
Although the lessons were intense,
We learned while having fun.

When I got home, exhausted,
My wife said, "How's your day?"
"You won't believe..." then I just couldn't
Bring myself to say.

A Tale Of Two Burgers
By Bill Kirk

At dinner one spring evening,
The crowd was all aglow,
As conversation sparkled
And food began to flow.

But over in one corner
I saw the oddest sight.
One table with two burgers,
Just waiting for a bite.

One burger kept his wrap on.
I guessed his "friends" were late.
He seemed quite hot and steamy,
Yet not at all irate.

The second Bigger Burger,
Looked anxious and displeased.
He left no doubt about it,
That he was really cheesed.

Then almost in an instant,
I noticed something strange.
Big Burger's disposition
Had made a major change.

For when the soda got there,
Plus ketchup and some fries.
His quibbles turned to nibbles
Before my very eyes.

When, in a slurp, they finished,
Together in one bite,
Just one--the Burger Meister--
Was still around that night.

The smaller burger'd vanished,
And it was plain to see,
One gulp had made that burger
A mealtime memory.

So, if you spot two burgers
That oddly seem sureal,
One "Burger" might be hungry.
The other? Just a meal.

cllN plnz
by bil krk

my dad bawt me a cel ph.
its realy wA 2 QL.
u wont bleev w@ it cn do-
il shO u aftr skool.

it ltz me d/l muzc;
snd pix, gmes n stuf.
it evn hlps me do my math,
n f thts nt nuf,

It hs a dxNre;
n evry countrys map-
jst ask me whr a rivA s.
il fnd it ina snap!

thers O 1 sml prob-
its nm @ ll.
bt sumday mayB I shd lern
to actuly mak a cll.


Calling Plans
By Bill Kirk

My Dad bought me a cell phone.
It's really way too cool.
You won't believe what it can do-
I'll show you after school.

It lets me download music;
Send pictures, games and stuff.
It even helps me do my Math,
And if that's not enough,

It has a dictionary;
And every country's map-
Just ask me where a river is.
I'll find it in a snap!

There's only one small problem-
It's nothing much at all.
But someday maybe I should learn
To actually make a call.

The Exercise Of Exercise
By Bill Kirk

Exercise is easy
To write down on a chart.
The hard part is the doing;
The first step is to start.

Writing lists is helpful,
If that's not all you do.
You've got to take that first step
And after that, take two.

Three steps, then another--
Each one becomes a snap.
Soon ten leads to a hundred-
Four hundred make a lap.

Each four laps together
Will make an even mile.
You're done in twenty minutes.
Do I detect a smile?

Now you get the picture.
That's what it's all about!
You've overcame the challenge.
So, give yourself a shout!

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