July 9th – You can learn a lot at camp. Skills and crafts, survival and leadership. Write about leadership. The virtue, or some person you consider a leader. You could write about being lead or following a leader. Put your best foot forward and we’ll be right behind you. 


July 8 – POET CAMP







  1. In the Lead

    He sat, slightly slumped
    in his chair while others
    listened to the laughter
    in his voice, eyes never
    leaving his.

    His was the mind and task
    to move us all to where
    our abilities were needed
    in university style, eyes never
    leaving his.

    He set the workshops while
    using our suggestions for
    methods and practices;
    never doubting, our eyes never
    leaving his.

    Tearful goodbyes as we took turns
    shaking hands, holding scrolls,
    even as he rolled across stage,
    our pride shone, our eyes never
    leaving his.

  2. My first instinct was rebellious:

    Follow my leader? No thanks –
    I’d rather dree my ain weird,
    choose my own route,
    lose myself if I must
    but do it my way.

    but Claudsy’s lovely poem gave me a better idea, which I will try and write this afternoon.


    My father never missed a day of work
    in all his years of labor: from dishwasher
    when he was a teenager new to this land
    to welder at the Curtiss-Wright plant
    in Woodridge where daily he inhaled
    the noxious fumes that in the end proved
    the cause of his sad passing.
    We sons and daughters learned from his example:
    Pretend we were too sick to go to school?
    Why, we wouldn’t dare!

    He was a fine man of principle who refused
    to follow the work antics of the sheepish crowd.
    “I do what’s right,” he’d say. “To hell with
    who likes, who doesn’t like! Remember this:
    give an honest day’s work for an honest
    day’s pay. Don’t look to fool the boss.
    He’s a worker too. You want him to be fair?
    Then you be fair with him!”

    My father conducted his life strictly
    by the rules. Into his 80s, he still walked
    straight as a soldier, his head lifted high.
    That man was unafraid to stare life in the eye.
    He taught us there’s no shame in hard honest work;
    Still, he encouraged us to go to college
    so we would earn more, working with our minds.

    “In your success,” he’d tell us, “never look down
    on those who work with their hands. We workers
    built this country!” and you could hear the emotion,
    the pride, choking in his throat.
    His voice would tremble when he’d say,
    “In the walls of every tunnel,
    down in the dark subways, all those miles
    across every single bridge,
    you’ll find a piece of us. God bless the working class!
    We made America what she is today.”


  4. What, isn’t it form Wednesday? And I have to assume that we have a lot of people on the other side of the Atlantic (or perhaps even as far away as Australia and Asia) to have so many poems written by 8:30 AM EST.

  5. Two Types of Leaders

    Following the leader
    could be delightful or dangerous
    depending on the leader,
    where he’s going
    or what he’s about.
    It’s such a joy
    when the leader is going
    where you’re going
    and is gracious enough
    to bring out the best in you
    as he helps you to help him
    reach the desired goal.
    But a demanding dictator
    headed the opposite direction you desire
    is a tragedy
    as deeply sorrowful
    as a Shakespearean play.


    Father Duffy used to lead
    by word of mouth and strength of deed;
    `twas nothing that he could not do—
    “If I can do it, so can you”—
    and that became our very creed.

    When I was young I used to read
    of leaders who would sweat and bleed,
    exhorting all to follow through.
    Father Duffy

    never had to cite a screed
    or wheedle, cajole, or even plead;
    he’d smile at all within each pew
    and we knew his every word was true.
    I think of kids today who need
    Father Duffy.

    copyright 2014, William Preston

  7. Calling All Leaders

    So very many have come and gone
    Strong, wise, willing and captivating
    Learned men and women in our history
    Willing to give their all for one cause

    They fought fearlessly on the battlefields
    Worked tirelessly in the halls of justice
    Served the people at all levels of government
    And built the greatest nation on earth

    Many fought fires and policed the streets
    Taught our children and cared for the elderly
    Preached love and compassion to the masses
    All working together to keep freedom strong in

    Inspired and driven by the one at the top
    And those in DC all elected to lead
    Though not at all like those in the past
    They seem to be losing their number one goal

    We need to put out the call for new leaders
    Strong, wise, willing and captivating all
    Learned men and women to write new history
    Those willing once more to give up their all for

    © 2014 Earl Parsons

    The way he looked at things
    The way he spoke of wings
    The way he strummed them strings
    The way he melted stings
    The way he made us think
    The way he he knew everything

    We worshipped him like a king
    Until —he had them drinks–!


    Worried and broke, unable to provide
    My needs are met by my Lord, the Shepherd

    I camp by cool waters, soft grass my bed
    I follow His map, my Lord, the Shepherd

    My natural cravings destroy my life
    He remakes my heart, my Lord, the Shepherd

    I walk through life’s darkest hours
    While He holds my hand, my Lord, the Shepherd

    Enemies attack and friends fall away
    I wine and dine with my Lord, the Shepherd

    Today and always, we walk hand in hand
    My home’s in His land, my Lord, the Shepherd

    Step by step and day by day He leads me
    Yahweh Shamah, the Lord is my Shepherd

  10. Walking in Their Footsteps

    I followed the leader
    up a path of tumbling rocks,

    I thought he was insane
    his head full of blocks –

    but he brought us to the peak
    with a view that really talks!

    I guess you must have faith,
    for there were no lose screws,

    just some doubting souls
    wearing the ‘following’ shoes.

  11. Huck Finn’s Camp Etiquette

    If camp is camp, I’m s’posed to learn
    to think on my feet and survive,
    to live among the taciturn,
    to cherish what keeps me alive.

    I don’t take much to “leadership”
    of bossy kids from upscale homes,
    their independence, mostly lip,
    their faces grim as garden gnomes.

    But put an azure butterfly
    within my path and I am led
    to follow it and by and by
    discover wonders, nature-fed.

    A creek leads me toward a lake;
    blackberries lead me toward a pie;
    I know a viper from a snake;
    I’m led by water’s lullaby.

    My guidebooks name the birds and flowers;
    my senses stay on high alert.
    I study wilderness for hours,
    unafraid of bugs or dirt.

    I follow beetles, tree frogs, bees.
    I search for sassafras and springs.
    I sit on moss under tall trees,
    shipwrecked in brave imaginings.

    I’d have to say I stay unled
    though I’m obliged to take advice,
    for sometimes I do miss a bed
    and nature’s full of ticks and lice.

  12. Pingback: Little Brother Bear | Metaphors and Smiles

  13. Little Brother Bear

    Close on his heel we move forward almost as one.
    I place my next footfall where his last one was
    we exchange little in the way of dialogue,
    on the mountain we prefer if this way
    besides, our siblinghood defies customs –
    makes void the need for constant conversation.
    Lungs and heart begin to feel the effects of altitude
    filled to bursting full of anticipation for the peak
    and struggling to gain a full gulp of such thin air.
    We finally pierce the lush layers of green forest
    much gray granite must be mounted now,
    I know he could surge in leaps and bounds
    for he is practiced at trekking trails as these
    but he leads patiently with skill and sense
    and I follow his steps – grateful for his expertise.
    The fresh-wind-riddled view,
    the chain of turquoise ponds below,
    seemingly touchable clouds
    swirling by the craggy cliffs
    and the unbreakable bond created,
    (one built by footsteps shared) –
    these are our most treasured rewards.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

    This memory/poem is of the event of my brother and me hiking Mount Katahdin. It was my second time up and I’m not sure how many that made it for him but he would go every weekend to the different mountains in Maine and hike so I definitely looked up to my little brother for his knowledge on these steep ridges. It’s a recollection that I cherish greatly. About my title: My brother’s Indian totem is the Bear.

  14. Marching Off The Grid

    Leaders may march
    in the right direction
    which makes me want to march
    in the opposite direction.
    Yet, I have no desire
    to be a leader, and have
    people follow me,
    because I only know
    what is right for me (sometimes).

  15. Pingback: Campcide Tales, Day 9: Frontcide | The Chalk Hills Journal

Comments are closed.