By Don Kenton Henry


So you thought you’d seen it and heard it all, my friend

And that life ran true without ever a bend

That other’s words were sanctified and you trusted without end

To every orphan, stray, and stranger you shared your home and heart again and again


You were not a stone


But reality is that perception is often a façade

For what appeared linen walls were often made of brick

And seeing through them, like a lover’s words, was too often a trick

But you listened and you trusted and they kissed and they lied

To your face with insincere flattery and guile

Picking your heart like a pocket all the while


So you asked yourself

Why try to hide

It’s a house of mirrors in want of a God

And when once you gave, you now deny


And now, time has lined your heart with armor

And your soul is steeled by life’s lessons learned

Never giving into other’s schemes

Or even the most well-meaning of intentions

You proceed with circumspection

Sharing neither your dreams or confessions

Safe but alone

Your former self has become a distant reflection

An island with no connection to a greater, higher thing


You’ve become a stone


Suitors elevate what they cannot have

Admirers hold you on a pedestal

And your hubris runs amok

And love is always finite and nothing good perpetual

You trust nothing to luck


You are safe alone


In your mind, you’ve become famous as a sagacious judge of character

You approach romance like a business plan

Trusting nothing to fate

Your reality is manicured

Self-served on a gilded plate

Kismet and serendipity in which you once so much believed―

Which in your poet’s heart once had a home . . .

Have been evicted


You’ve become a stone


Judgmental words of critics abound but are dismissed with resignation

Their acceptance is not sought

Self-absolution rationalized by denial born of adaptation

from pride’s hammer is what’s wrought

You are pragmatic in the throes of preservation


A stone repels all rain and hail

Against the elements it doth prevail


You gird your mind with an elevated perception of self-worth

and your loins with the company of co-conspirators in mutual, consensual exploitation

Conspirators for whom you cannot care and therefore by whom you cannot be hurt

To the point your wisdom has become a curse


Oh, please do not remain a stone


Let the poet man come home

Let him find his heart again

Let him see a world with less sin

Let his resurrection now begin

Permit the poet man not die alone

Permit his poet heart seek not to roam

Forsake the persona jaded by years of infidelity of others

And his own


Oh, please poet man do not remain a stone


Call poetry and love and fate

And tell them to come home

Let them find a way down a friendly road to an open gate

Where once more the poet man trusts each

Where love owns the mortgage on a heart that lust once leased

And where that heart heeds the call of what your soul doth preach


Hearken to your poet heart o’ poet man

Come home




By Don Kenton Henry


Woven of your words is a cloak in which you wrap your mind

A verbal and written tapestry which serves counsel to your soul and a shelter to your heart

What a  beautiful dreaming word weaver are you

Stitching thoughts of love, and loss, with rhyme


But there are holes within your cloak

And through them blows the chill of self-doubt

And sometimes colder, darker thoughts penetrate within

And you loathe what so clearly should only be loved


So we will weave patches for these holes

Patches from your words

And we will thread them with my hope for you

And this new cloak you will wear with grace

And it will carry you through time

To a loving, more forgiving, more accepting, better place


This cloak will protect you and keep you safe

It will fend the hurt from loss of the undeserving

Those whose straight line expectations you fail

Those whose self-interest you assail and disappoint

You will come to color outside the lines with guiltless, reckless abandon and ambition


Along the way, your wonderful words shall weave a psychic clipper ship on which to sail

And you will set your compass and draw a perfect line on a shore of self-adoration

My hope for you will become the wind which fills your canvas

It will carry you to the edge of continents of land and consciousness

There, your wonderful words shall weave a passenger train which will port the world along

through poetry, tales, and song ―

An Orient Express of emotion rolling on the universal rails of the heart

Expressed, at times, as lightly as a spring rain on the cherry blossom petals of our hearts and minds

At others―crashing like thunder claps―shaking the rafters of our insecurities


Be calm word weaver

You are not in this alone


That wind at sea―born of hope―and the fire in the belly of that train―stoked by my belief in you


These shall be your muse


And so you will persevere

And so you will prevail


And on your way to self-actualization, you will romance us with your expectations, aspirations and the nuanced implications of all you experience

We will listen in awe as you fill the sails of our own ships with inspiration


Tell us of the feelings which give birth to words which flow like spring water from what seems a parched desert floor all about . . . barren but for you

Forsake the solitude of that island of self-protection

An island born of the rejection by and the ignorance of others


So many words lie with within you like water in the deepest, purest well

Unbeknownst to the eye but untainted and waiting for a life to water

Let them rise to the surface and flow over us like a waterfall of melodious contentment

Quenching our thirst for beauty, cleansing our psyches with your transcendental introspection and reflection


Cloaked in your own words and birthed by final recognition and acknowledgment of your own genius . . . You transform


Oh, beautiful word weaver ―

Permit me a front row seat on the edge of your universe where all the galaxies are thoughts

Where metaphors―like meteors―shower

And all the stars, your words

Where―when I am lucky―a falling word streaks across the sky in my direction

And I catch a sonnet in my pocket




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Story Time With Bard Of The Woods, Recitation #2

Good evening. This is recitation #2 of Story Time With The Bard Of The Woods. You may find most of my work here at the Bardofthewoods.com andif you don’t follow me alreadyI hope you will.

Tonight I am going to catch you up by reciting the last 3 poems I have written, starting with the most recent and working backward. The first 2 were written for my writer’s club and the third for personal reasons. I hope you enjoy them.




By Don Kenton Henry


There is a great black cloud which fills the void between the prairie to the sky

It blocks the sun and breathes and, as it does, exhales a wind

from the soot and sulfur filled lungs of the dark side

It rolls onward and before it comes a pale horseman

On an ashen steed, he rides

Its stride is long, its neck is stretched, its nostrils flared, and it reeks of death

It gallops on a wind that bears the putrid stench of rotting flesh


Tribulations and lamentations


The monster cloud builds as it rolls across the earth feeding on the life which clings to it

And blood falls from it like rain and the rivers and rows between our crops run red

It visits us a nightmare and brings a pox upon both the young and aged

The horseman wields a scythe he sweeps across the land

It fells beast and plant and all before it

None shall be left to tell the tale of our flesh turned to dust and our teeth to sand

None shall know our tribulation nor hear our lamentations

For the pale horseman will spare none to tell our story


Except for you my fortunate friend


We of sickly pallor, the whites of our eyes gone yellow, in windows do we wait

Blood stained cloths we hold to our face as the rider delivers our fate

Consumption eats our lungs

The preacher and the atheist debate

“Have mercy on our souls!” says one

“There is no God!” the other

“What know you of what lies beyond the edge of the universe?” cries the agnostic

“Of what is made the dark matter which fills the void between the stars?”


And all about them, both the wicked and the innocent pray for mercy

One repents and each makes promises they will never live to keep

For too late they come to the table

And in this world death comes even to the stable


Nothing left to do but pace and weep

Tribulations and lamentations

Pestilence and plague upon us

Locusts all about

Into our walls they seep

Through the floorboards fanged and scaled serpents creep


The horseman thunders through our door

The chest of the ashen steed heaves as it hooves pound the floor

Fire from its nostrils sets our house ablaze
Death come quickly, please


Tribulation and lamentations


Now tis your job to pass this word

The burden of the lesson falls to you

In the end we all do learn

Cries for exceptions will fall unheard

Death always makes its appointed rounds

For one day we are born from ground

And another we return

One day we overestimate our worth

And all too soon we’re turned to dirt





By Don Kenton Henry


He works in the quite corner of a dank and darkened gym

It reeks of the sweat of men of color and the working stiff

Alone, it’s just the mirror, the floor and him

Gone are the days he was all angle iron and barbed wire

on two feet fighting for fun or hire

Yet his hands are wrapped tight as his hardened core

Hardened still, but less so than years before

At one time, the first―his fists―were like ten pound stones

The other―his core―like a granite slab

Only now, he feels the grind of the cracks that run through them . . .

But he’s tapped for this fight and steps into the ring once more


For now, he jabs at his opponent who smoothly counters punch for punch

And he slides along the wall taking cover under his jab―

Protects his chin under a shoulder hunched

As each fighter shuffles to the rhythm  of his plan

Too well each knows the other man


In his mind, he is the pugilist young and elusive

The sweet scientist

A feint, a slip, a bob and a weave, luring the old guy in

Then suddenly impetuous―the brawling banger!

He lets loose his famous left hook which he drives from his hips

All the way from South Chicago to East Philly

It’s one that’s caused many a pug to take leave from their senses

But the guy in the mirror just gives it a shrug; and into the breach he advances

He’s bold and he’s cold and not afraid to take chances

Strong on offense

And, though worn and torn, his opponent reminds him of someone he once knew in younger days

Someone who reminds him of his once careless ways


Light is in his corner but very dim

Still enough to illuminate the scars of the other man

The laced brows of bigotry, the thickened eyelids of  narcissism, the cauliflower ear―one of infidelity the other of conceit

They are less trophies than sins

He feels the guilt that comes from knowing, at one time―to him―there was no difference


He sees that look in his eyes and the other guy sees and feels it too

He wants to take this guy out, make him feel pain, make him pay, make him lose

He wants to punish him for the smallest mistake

Today’s and yesterday’s

Prove that pride is a costly corner man


A double jab, a hook to the rib―break that floater! Feel it crunch all the way through the glove, up the forearm and into his shoulder―then a cross to twist the chin―to twist the jaw―to twist the spine then―hopefully―lights out

Let blood, sweat and spittle fly across the ring, over the ropes, into the crowd

across the face of family and all who judge

But the punches seem to glance off

And the old guy keeps coming

The one guy he never handed a loss


The old guy carries with him a reminder of everything he ever walked away from

No―not fights or punches; he took the best and brunt of those, the judge’s cards be damned!

But from the loves, the smiles, the laughter, days spent with the young and the old, the hopes, the dreams and The Brass Ring of what is now lost and unfulfilled potential

And, closing the gap, his opponent now leads with his right―his strong hand―and catches him right in his conscience

His head reels, his ears ring, and so does the bell

And the guy in the mirror raises his left hand he calls “time” and his right hand he  calls “past”

In a ring of “Broken Dreams”


Our fighter’s down on the canvas then awakens in bed, dripping in sweat

Until the next night when he steps in the ring with the stone cold undefeated

A dark shadow in a black satin robe that bears his name in red . . . “Regret”

And once more our fighter digs deep in his guts, down deep into his soul . . .

And gives all for the upset




The Sound Of A Heart Breaking


By Don Kenton Henry

What sound does a heart make when it breaks

Is it as quiet as the breath that now you cannot take

Or . . . as the goodbye you never heard


Is it the sound of the fluttering broken wing of a bird as it struggles in vain to fly

While you watch helplessly as your broken heart joins in arrhythmic sync with it

In what seems its own attempt not to die

What difference between your heart and the broken sparrow on this cold December day

Love and nature can be hard on all God’s creatures


Is it the sound of a room once full of furniture

And the life and love of family

Now vacant of wood, fabric, leather and laughter

Echoing of as though of the lone Chaplain’s footsteps on an empty hospital hallway long past the midnight hour


Is it the sound of frozen tears dropping on a China plate

The tink when they shatter after falling from your face

Or more like icicles falling off the eaves of a roof

Which crash then shatter loudly

And you take this as proof

That is the sound a heart makes when it breaks


What is the sound hope makes when it leaves your heart

Is it the sound of a ship’s mainsail, one moment full and tight

The next, canvas collapsing on itself as its life breath , the wind . . . dies

Is that the sound love makes when it decides to depart


Or is it the echo of her laughter or a kind word that she said

Each one you play over at night as you lie in your bed

Saddened by the emptiness where just nights before lay her head

Such a short time ago her scent still lingers on the pillow

And you wonder when dreams die . . . just where do they go


Oh, hazel eyes, I miss you

Oh, hazel eyes, what I would give to kiss you

Once more

Oh, what I would give to write the poetry I promised you

To read the stories I had yet to read . . . and the ones which I would write for you

To put you in them like some long lost Russian ballerina who stole a school boy’s heart

To dance the dances we would have danced

To travel the miles to Rome and Paris I would have traveled with you

To feel the smiles we would have smiled along the way

This is the picture a bard had painted on his open poet heart he wished to share with you

Words unspoken, tales untold, dances left undanced, smiles left unsmiled, love ungiven


Oh, soft and gentle hazel eyes

Nothing to be forgiven

And nothing will be forgotten



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As I say in the accompanying video, I have been writing since I was fifteen years of age. (Except for the thirty years I took a break.) The last seven years, I have been a member of a writer’s club here in my home, The Woodlands, Texas. Our work is often read by the leader of the group, or another, member but they tell me they enjoy it more when I read my own. I suppose that is because I, more than anyone, know the feelings I am trying to convey. Outside my club, only a select person or two has heard me read my work.

This is the first in what will be a series of recitations of my poems, short stories and flash fiction. I hope you will listen and enjoy them. I also hope, with time, I will become better at reading on camera. If nothing else these will be a legacy for my grandchildren to come and allow them a look into who I was and the matters of my heart.

Thank you for listening and following . . .

The Bard


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Captured By A Classics Comic Book

By Don Kenton Henry


Upon first glance, she strikes you like the page of a book

She’ll never mean too much until you take a close look

Just black letters on a small white sheet

Nothing pleasing to the eye, nothing special to meet

But read her like a speed reader and examine the whole

You can’t focus on one word and expect the story to know


If there’s no worth in her that you can see

Perhaps you’re reading her in English, and she’s really Chinese



Don’t hold that page upside down

Read her from the right perspective

The page will suddenly make sense when you turn her around


So many “Plain Janes” that I never discovered

Just passed them on the shelf and chose a fancier cover





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Focus the microscope a little closer, please

I’ve never observed a species such as these

Their method of consumption is quite crude

Their reproductive system . . . rather rude


Inefficient and unsuccessful despite its simplicity

Attribute this to selfdestructive tendencies


A succession of splitting cells and selfreplicating DNA

Mitosis, Meiosis, Prophase and Anaphase


It’s all too much to observe in one night

So put up the equipment and turn off the light

I’ve had enough of this species called man

Andbefore we leavelet’s not forget to wash our hands





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From Where I Sit

You talk of what you’ve done

and have the nerve to criticize me

You speak of missions failed and how much you despise me

You laugh at my defeats, savoring each downfall with great pleasure

Knowing all the time, it’s you who lost―you’ve done nothing to be measured


Myself, I’ve never been content seeking safety from the storm

Stagnation and―a mundane life―result from living in the norm

I took my chances; refused to hide

Sometimes I lost; but I always tried

Sometimes I fell

But I always got up

Always answered the bell, always came back tough


You . . . you’ve made a career out of playing it safe

Gambled only when the odds were in your favor

And you had nothing at stake

I took the long road; you took the short

I’ve come a long way

You’re still docked at the port


It’s easy to laugh at another’s mistakes―

Laugh with your friends and sling mud in my face

While you live with your mother―grow old and get fat

Sip chardonnay with the girls and think you’re where it’s at

Well, if it’s at the bottom―you’re there


But I’m on the high road and when I get to the top

Don’t remember my name, don’t give me a thought

Don’t worry, don’t fret, for I won’t forget you

Nor the things I have learned or the things I’ve been through


One thing before I close, before I’ve said my last word . . .

Let me pause  . . . . . . . . .

And say, thanks

For the comeback you’ve spurred


For without your company down in the pits

I’d be doing my time in an assembly line hitch

Living in a trailer with an obese old bitch

Drinking cases of Stroh’s  . . .

Scratching my one year―seven year itch