His dad did not die a rich man…at least not materially…

but he left him something more endearing…a lasting memory.


His dad taught him how to imagine…how to imagine BIG…and small

and his imagination turned out to be one of his greatest gifts of all.


Together they’d wrote poetry…it was the best of times…

imagining silly stories…finding words that rhyme…


He was not surprised when his dad bequeathed him his old wooden ladder…rickety and patched…and not surprised to find, on the bottom rung, a note his dad attached.


‘Imagination is a gift,’ it read...‘cherish it everyday...

at times in life, when you seem lost..it will help you find your way…


I leave you my old wooden ladder…use it to climb up to the moon…

or to the clouds where you can watch the snow gently floating down in June.


Use it to climb atop a whale…imagine riding him out to sea

Use it to tame a fire-breathing dragon…or have a conversation with a tree.


My hope is that you’ll never forget the fun he had while rhyming…

And his ladder will be a reminder…to let your imagination do the climbing. 


He thinks of his dad quite often while in the clouds imagining the snow gently floating down in June

And he imagines his dad is smiling…

every time he climbs his ladder to the moon.



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A father loved to take his children and sit under what he called their imagination tree.

There he would ask: if you could imagine yourself as something else what would that something else be?


Once their dreaming was ignited and their imaginations were set free…

their father loved to listen to what his children were imagining…underneath their imagination tree.


I imagine I’m a cricket in the night…with no music to accompany me...I’d sing a-cappella

and anytime it starts to rain….I’ll use a mushroom as my umbrella.


I would love to climb a rainbow,…as you can see I am quite small.

I’d love to know what it feels like…to go down the biggest slide of all.


I want to ride upon a cloud…across the world I’d sweep…

and anytime when I got tired…I’d have a comfortable place to sleep.


I want to be a leaf on a tree…if I could be anything at all

I want to sway with my leaf friends on a windy day…and change my colors in the Fall.


I’d love to ride on the back of a pelican…I can imagine how much fun that would be…

I’d drag my hands along the water as we glide across the sea.


The father always smiled as he listened…as his children’s imaginations flew

for wherever their imaginings took them…they would take him too.


One day the children asked the father…as they sat underneath the tree…

“Father, if you could imagine yourself as something else what would that something else be?”


The father looked at his children…and smiled

as they sat together under their tree…

“You may find this hard to believe," he said,

“but I imagine I am happiest being who I am.

in a place I never imagined I would be”.


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Their children would run ahead of them

as they walked along the shore

because next to the sea there’s so much to see…and so much to explore.


It’s where they found their imagination…the children would later say

discovered in the stories they’d invent about the things they found along the way.


Of the many shells they found on their walk…be they small or fat or thin

they would make up stories of who lived in them and where they might have been.


They’d talk of the different rooms inside the shells…

what was hidden behind their doors

what country this shell may have come from before finding its way to this shore.


If they happened upon a starfish…they would immediately mourn the death

of the star that fell to earth after taking its last breath.


They would hold it up and wonder how brightly it must have shined

and they would search the across the heavens for the hole it left behind.


When they’d find a piece of driftwood…they’d wonder about its trip.

Was it part of a row boat, a schooner, a yacht…or better yet…

a pirate ship?


They’d dream it was from a pirate ship…that sails the seas no more

and wonder if those pirates buried their treasure…somewhere along this shore…


Their parents have long since passed away…

but now it’s their children’s children who adore

discovering their imaginations 

on their walks along the shore.



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Yesterday I was surprised, I was amazed…I was elated

to have the privilege of watching a masterpiece of art being created.


I sat next to the artist…and again I was in awe

as he put his pencil to his paper…and he began to draw.


And I began to smile…then I began to stare

for never have I seen a pencil move so fast..

with so much grace…

and so much flair.


He told me what he was drawing…was it a fire engine…or a bird

but the artist is just learning my language…and I didn’t understand a word.


His inspiration ended quickly…as inspirations sometimes do…

His masterpiece completed…

in a minute…

maybe two.


And again I was surprised and amazed at his generosity

for without a thought about it…he gave his masterpiece to me.


As he ran out of the room…this thought occurred to me…

When he does become a famous artist I can say…

I knew him when we was three.

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When one gives a gift to a child there’s often a confusing paradox...

as the gift is quickly set aside while the child plays in the box.


For children see with their imagination all the journeys to be amassed

In a box that holds not only a present...but trips to the future...and the past


Children know a box can be anything...according to their mood...

A mansion high upon a hill...a fortress of solitude.


A box can be a spaceship...on a mission to the moon

or a stagecoach drawn by horses....arriving at high noon.


A box can be a cave from a time when dinosaurs roamed the land.

or a castle protected from dragons by knights both brave and grand.


A box can be a schooner battling monsters out at sea...

Anything a child envisions...is what a box can be.


So the next time you give a gift to a child...savor the paradox…

knowing they will find joy in the gift you’re giving…

as well as magic in the box.

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He left me this old wooden ladder...rickety...and patched...

and on it, twisting in the breeze, he left this note attached:


“When you were young you used this ladder to touch the sun

to kiss the clouds creating the snowflakes that fell to Earth in June

and do you remember how you use to smile

when you’d climb this ladder…to the moon?


When you soared with the birds high in the sky…

do you remember all the wonders you could see

as you rode a fire-breathing dragon…

or had a conversation with a tree...’ 


‘Your imagination is a gift,’ the note went on to say

Feed it, nurse it, nurture it,…‘cherish it everyday’.


I still use that rickety old ladder 

And oh what wonders I still see

When I ride that fire-breathing dragon

or have my conversations with the trees...’ 


When I climb way up to touch the sun

when I kiss the clouds creating snowflakes that fall in June…

and I imagine he is up there smiling…

every time

I climb my ladder to the moon.

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My dad always told me imagination is like a muscle

and we have to find a way

to exercise it often or its strength will fade away.


He said imagination is like a movie inside your head

only you control the show.

You can do anything you want to do…go anywhere you want to go. 


Because, he said, if you look around at all of God’s creation

what sets us apart from the other animals…is our imagination.


And so he told me stories…of how he rode a dragon across the sky

of snowmen that would come alive…or whales that could fly.


Of how he would sit for hours as the wind played music in the trees

and of all the times he was invited…to go dancing with the bees.


He said he loved having scrambled eggs on a cloud for breakfast

pizza with the dolphins at noon

and a dinner of burger and fries…while sitting on the moon


He showed me how to touch the moon

He said it’s really not that far

and he told me how easy it is once you’re up there

to jump from star to star.


With Dad I never knew where real life ended

and where his imagination had begun…

and I wouldn’t change a thing about him because that was half the fun.


He’s been gone for many years now…

and I have him thank for helping me with my own aspirations 

with how I look upon the world…with my imagination…


Today I’m meeting him on the moon…

I’m bringing the burgers and fries…

because just like Daddy always said…


It is time to exercise.

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I never know what will happen…what memories I’ll see

but I love when my imagination merges with my memory.


My memory picks a person…sometimes quite randomly

and my imagination sets that person…right in front of me.


It happened at the end of a morning walk 

in the shadow of our oak tree

When I looked up…Deborah’s mom…was smiling next to me.


And it was just as I remember…though she left us long ago

the way her smile lit up her face and set her eyes aglow.


I was unable to say a word…I was captivated…enthralled.

She did not speak either…but her smile said it all.


It reminded me how she loved us…with a love gentle and kind

and when I found my voice I thanked her for the memories she left behind.


I told her not to worry…standing in the shade of that old tree

for I am taking care of your daughter

and she’s taking care of me.


Silently she nodded her head…as the night surrendered to the dawn

We exchanged another smile….and in an instant…she was gone.


As I say…imagination is a wonderful thing

when it merges with a memory…

You never know what might happen…


You never know who you might see.

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John Lennon wrote Imagine, his biggest hit, back in 1971

It’s a good time to revisit it now that a new year has begun.


As one year ends it’s human nature to look back on the world we see

then look ahead and try to Imagine the world as we’d like it to be.


I believe when we look back on this year, when we take the time to review it

so much of what we got out of the year depends on how we view it.


We had natural disasters, people going hungry, social and political unrest.

We saw people dying in wars, on our streets, and many others oppressed.


But when we concentrate only on the horrors, the wars, the crimes and the crooks,

then the joys, the triumphs, and the laughter we tend to overlook.


The world I like to Imagine is brimming with balance and symmetry

where people embrace their differences and live together in harmony.


I Imagine a world no longer filled with hungry girls and boys

where we look our sorrows in the face and out of them discover joys.


Of course you may say I’m a dreamer, but that’s okay with me

because as far as I’m concerned, I’m in good company.


In every story of disaster when we wonder how anyone could cope,..

we saw people helping people, sharing friendships, giving hope.


For every story of prejudice and bigotry, amidst the sadness and despairing

we found stories of acceptance, of respect and love and caring.


For ever robbery, every crime, every time one person’s cheated

somewhere in the world a random act of kindness is completed.


For every divorce in this world, every relationship transformed

a new love is created…a marriage is performed.


For every death that sends ripples of sorrow out across the Earth

there are ripples of joy that emanate from a newborn baby’s birth.


For every country fighting wars, for every bomb they may release

there are people coming together in the name of unity and peace.


Of course I hope the sadness and misfortune decline in the coming year

but that won’t stop me from discovering the joys already here.


A new year where people discover joy, and love is where it’s at.

where the world would live as one…in peace...Yes, I can imagine that.


A note: 

If you think this poem accurately captures our current political and world scene….

you should know I first posted it back in 2014.


But I will keep imagining the type of world I’d like to see…

with the hope that this year…this decade…it will come to be.





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