A Case for a Sober New Year’s Eve

Why 2005 just might be the Year of the Aspirin

And so this New Year’s Eve begins
as old friends pour champagne and gin
and watch a ball descend to earth
while taking swigs and making mirth.

If you pass out, you’ll later wake
admitting to a huge headache
but quite unsure of what to do.
Your favorite meds are now taboo.

Vioxx was tagged, then Celebrex.
We wondered which drug would be next.
And soon we learned it was Aleve.
My aching back. Can you believe?

Will Advil and then Tylenol
soon join the dreaded drug recall?
Before we know it aspirin
is all we’ll have to take again.

So give some thought before you drink
what ends up in the bathroom sink.
What once killed pain may soon be banned,
so drink much less than what you planned.

Post-Christmas Reflections on a World Deprived of Joy

Two special edition poems in memory of the tsunami victims and Reggie White

The Conundrum of Christmas Carols
How can we sing when the world is weeping?

From silent night to deafening roar
as waves of terror washed ashore.
The product of a monstrous quake
left countless lifeless in its wake.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
but soon those soft sounds went away.
Instead I heard loud screams of fear
that all around the globe could hear.

O little town of Bethlehem,
please weep for those who’ve lost their lambs
for once you knew such wordless grief
when death prowled like a heartless thief.

Joy to the World seems out of place.
Our planet’s stunned and tries to brace
for untold sorrow still to come
as graves are filled in one by one.

Georg Friderik Handel’s Comfort Ye
makes better sense to you and me.
It is a lyric forged in pain
in which Emmanuel speaks our name.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel
be near to those who feel like Hell
has found its way to where they live.
Give hope as only You can give.

Remembering Reggie
A tribute to one of the NFL’s greatest players.

They called him the Minister of Defense.
And it made sense.
Whether an Eagle, Packer or Panther,
he led his congregation of defenders
with an inspired word, articulate grace
and an upfront commitment
others attempted to follow.
His name was White
His skin was black.
But race was not his game.
Football was his calling.
It’s what his life was about.
But there’s no doubt
the gridiron was more than just sport for Reggie.
It was his ministry.
It was where his God-given talent was invested
and where life’s ultimate issues were tackled.
On the field he brought his faith to bear
scrimmaging against ego, anger and greed
as well as mediocrity, pain and materialism.
As iron sharpens iron, so his life touched others
both on and off the turf.
It’s why he suited up each Sunday
Still he refused to wear his religion on his sleeve.
It’s why he let down during the week
insisting to show his approachability to kids
who sought his autograph or the click of a Kodak.
Whether winning or losing,
choosing to serve others by serving Christ
was Reggie’s overriding concern.
It’s what has earned him an irreplaceable place
among his teammates, in the entire NFL
and in the hearts of fans the world over.
Peace be to his memory!

The Night Before Christmas

Contemplating Christ’s nativity and global conflict

On this night before Christmas
those car bombs still blast.
The peace the Prince promised
is not coming fast.

There’s bloodshed in Baghdad.
There’s hate in Ukraine.
The conflicts in Israel
seem never to wane.

In bleak North Korea
a madman’s in charge,
while deep within Africa
tensions loom large.

And in our own nation
the deficit’s deep.
A blanket of terror
keeps millions from sleep.

The jobless and homeless
can’t sing Silent Night.
They’re hopeless and joyless.
Their prospects aren’t bright.

We churn for our children,
afraid what’s in store.
With gangs, drugs and violence,
they have their own war.

Emmanuel’s birthday
is shrouded by fear.
It seems we’ve forgotten
that He is still near.

For though it appears
that at times there’s no God
and all of this holiday hoopla’s
a fraud,

the truth of this season
can’t just be dismissed.
The message of Christmas
says we’re on God’s list.

He feels what we’re feeling.
He grieves when we grieve.
He won’t leave us lonely
on this Christmas Eve.

The best gift He offers
is peace in our hearts.
And when we unwrap that
the world peace thing starts.

Goodwill Hunting/Polar Express Expressions

Seasonal reflections on gift-giving and a Christmas classic

Goodwill Hunting

Someone’s cast-off isn’t garbage.
Just because it’s old to them,
doesn’t mean it has no value.
You can give it life again.
Giving thrift store gifts at Christmas
illustrates what God has done.
What was broken and deemed worthless
was the object of his Son
when he came to earth to save us.
Goodwill hunting was his aim.
Why not shop at stores whose purpose
isn’t just the number’s game?

Polar Express Expressions
A poetic expression of gratitude to Chris Van Allsburg, the author and illustrator of The Polar Express

You dipped your pen in a chocolaty brew
and then you drew a train that flew
into my daughters’ sleepy heads
before they climbed aboard to bed.

Imagination tips your brush
and so your paintings caused a hush.
Our silent nights around your book
made even Grandma take a look.

Each page brought joy into our world
as flakes of snow began to swirl
outside their bedroom window pane.
And then we heard that magic train.

Your canvas is a child’s heart.
But that, my friend, is just the start
of what lives on once they have grown
when time (on polar tracks) has flown.

Editor’s Note: Rhymes & Reasons appears early this week due to Greg’s appearance on the “Primetime America” radio program heard nationwide.

Stocks and Bonds

Why Barry should be barred

Stock in Barry Bonds is falling.
Shares are selling pretty cheap.
Legal “fastballs” soon will fan him
implicating him quite deep.

What a dope! No need for steroids.
Bobby’s son had strength to burn.
Without drugs, he cleared the fences.
But this Giant failed to learn

that baseball is more than home runs.
Diamonds boast integrity.
Juicing up on more than OJ,
Barry should not go Scott free.

He must not break Aaron’s record.
It they let him, it’s a shame.
It would cheapen baseball’s honors
and disgrace the Hall of Fame.