Musings about life on Earth in all its aspects…

Category: Uncategorized

Stephen Hawkings 1942-2018

Stephen Hawkings passed early in the morning of March 14th, 2018, at the age of 76.

Here is my poem, “Cerebellum’s Fire,” from 2016. It won the overall poetry prize in the Kansas Voices competition that year. It is my small contribution to honoring Hawkings.

Cerebellum’s Fire:

The bold but dim-browed ancestor of ours
who first gathered up in glowing embers
lightning’s gift to man to light the hours—
the first true man none of us remembers.

The sight of Mongol ponies, wild and free,
sweeping, massed, across the wind-blown plains,
the dream of warriors following his lead,
that sparked Genghis Khan’s ambitious brain.

From the crucible of Isaac Newton’s mind,
revealed, from alchemy’s dim and gloomy gleams,
the way God’s planetary gears toil and grind,
bare and bold, and not the mystery it seemed.

From a body pinned in place by ALS,
in Hawking’s mind the bright universe expands—
this man who is all but motionless
sees how the world was born and how it ends.


~Roy Beckemeyer, 14 March, 2018

Blue-winged Angel

“Blue-winged Angel” An ekphratic poem inspired by artist Carl Dahl’s porcelain “Blue-winged Angel, Female.”

You open your wing

explosively, as if cyclonic

winds had whisked your smalt-blue,

your Delft blue, your ultramarine blue,

your essential-essence-of-blue cloak,

had thrown it out as if it were

the only sky in all the world,

your un-pigmented body suddenly,

blindingly, lightning-white, and

cracked as if by thunderclap.

The vacuum left by that whip-

snapped mantle exposing breasts,

ribs, navel, thighs, letting us know,

oh, God, letting us truly know, that angels

are only all too human.



~Roy Beckemeyer


Artist Carl Dahl’s work may be found on his Website.

“Renaissance” – Collaborative Poetry/Art Broadside – Malissa Long Wilson, Artist, and Roy Beckemeyer, Poet

Here’s another of my collaborations with Malissa Long Wilson. Malissa did this textile piece in response to my poem, so it is an ekphrastic work in reverse. I think she captured the soul of the poem here.

[Note: for a larger view of the broadside, click on the image.]

~Roy Beckemeyer

Broadside art and text copyright by Malissa Long Wilson and Roy J. Beckemeyer. Original 18 by 12 inches with 17 by 11-inch crop lines.

“Solar Flair” – Collaborative Poetry/Art Broadside – Malissa Long Wilson, Artist, and Roy Beckemeyer, Poet

The Wichita Broadside Project sponsored by HarvesterArts, River City Poetry, and the Wichita Arts Council, was the brainchild of April Pameticky. Final results were held as the opening event of Poetry Rendezvoux 2017.  This collaborative effort, in which I wrote a poem inspired by Malissa Long Wilson’s great piece of art, is titled “Solar Flair,” and it was one of the broadsides chosen for distribution.  We hope you enjoy this.

[If you google “squaring the circle,” you will find it is an ancient geometry problem – constructing a square with the same area as a circle using nothing but a geometer’s compass and a straightedge.]

~Roy Beckemeyer

Broadside art and text copyright by Malissa Long Wilson and Roy J. Beckemeyer. Original 12 by 18 inches with 11 by 17-inch crop lines.

Check out Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s Monthly Newsletter “The Writing Life”

Proud to be the featured writer in Kansas Poet Laureate Emerita Caryn Mirriam Goldberg’s “The Writing Life.”

She has writing prompts, tips, and alerts of new books and workshops.

Check it out, please.

Thanks, Caryn.

Poetry and Art Broadsides Revisited

Thought I would post a second “unchosen” broadside I submitted to the Wichita Broadside Project for which I did both the poem and the art – in this case a photograph of our cat, Dusty, who is a fair purrer and a great ham when it comes to having his picture taken. Here, then, is “The Yellow Cat Purrs.”


~ Roy Beckemeyer, Oct. 4, 2017

Poetry and Art Broadsides

Back in April (appropriately) of this year, April Pameticky initiated a joint art/written word project: The Wichita Broadside Project. A series of monthly mixers were held to bring poets and artists together to see if anything clicked, then a call was made for submissions of 11 by 17 “broadsides.” A broadside here is a digital representation of graphics and text bringing together art and words into a whole more complete and meaningful than either might be on its own. Submittals would be evaluated by folks from Harvester Arts and River City Poetry; winners would be chosen by the jury would be printed and the prints provided to the artist/poet collaborators to distribute for posting around Wichita. The aim:  to promote poetry and art for public consumption.

The project was successful; more entries were received than expected. All entries will be displayed at Harvester Arts’ venue during Wichita’s monthly Final Friday Arts event on October 27th; that exhibit will also be the opening event of the 2017 Poetry Rendezvous. Seventeen entries were chosen for mass production and distribution. The teams whose work was chosen will each receive prints of all the winning entries, and ten copies each of their winner for distribution.  I was lucky enough to be a team member on four of the chosen pieces: one with Malissa Long Wilson entitled “Solar Flair,” one with Pat Beckemeyer (my talented wife) titled “If She Came to Me with Flowers,” and two with artist/poet Skyler Lovelace: “Early Onset,” and “The Mystery of Disappearing Bees.”

The piece I am showing here today was one I put together myself with a drawing I had done on a walk through Wichita’s Pawnee Prairie Park of some Indian Grass; I added to it my poem “Tallgrass in the Fall.” Not one chosen for distribution but it will be on display on the 27th, and I hope it inspires you to attend the event. Much great poetry and art singing together in harmony.


~Roy Beckemeyer, 3 October, 2017, 07:06, Revised 13:56.


Standing Tall

Last Saturday was a lovely late September day. Sunny, pleasant, with a promise of a cool evening. A perfect day for football and family. I don’t get to my grandson Will’s games often enough, so the visit of his older brother Daniel and family (Daniel’s wife Kayley and almost three-year-old son–my great-grandson–Daxx) from Texas was a perfect opportunity. My daughter Lori, son-in-law Chris, and grandson Hank (who played with Will for the Butler Grizzlies last year but who is at K-State now) picked me up a little before 5:00. Half an hour later we were tailgating (in style) with friends and relatives. Great grandson Daxx was a bundle of energy, tearing around, meeting (and fist-bumping with) his dad’s old football teammates, watching for his uncle Will and the team enter the stadium, and slapping hands with them as they did.

The game was intense, and Butler lost to Garden City in the end. Linebacker Will had a quarterback sack and four tackles. We all funneled down from the bleachers onto the field to mingle with the players. Shook hands, gave hugs, thanked them for their hard work and effort. Took pictures.

As things wound down, Daxx found his energy reserves and took to running down the field. Uncle Will joined him. At one point they stopped and stood, seemed to be having a discussion. I shot a couple of quick iPhone pictures, nothing very well-framed or carefully exposed. But the image seemed to me to hold a lot of emotion, of depth. Probably much of it because these two are very dear to me personally, but also, I think, meaningful in a larger more general sense.

There are a lot of lines in this image. The field markers, the tall light pole. Will looking so tall, towering above Daxx, but also looking down, head bent, so that he doesn’t seem to loom over Daxx, but to be guarding him, watching over him, protecting him. Daxx, with his legs crossed nonchalantly, seems to me to be basking in his uncle’s attention. And Daxx’s shadows, several of them from the artificial suns of the stadium lights, pointing in so many different directions, but his shadow the strongest where it parallels that of his uncle. Almost as if the shadow is already showing how the influence of uncles, father, grandfathers, is gently nudging him down the path they all found so rewarding.

It was a lovely fall evening in late September. I will remember it in great detail every time I look at this picture. I will recall the picture every time Daxx takes another turn down the pathways of his life. I am too old to hope to see his life to its end, but I rest assured that with this family will be there for him, helping him find the right line to follow, the right shadow to lean into. Uncles and nephew, father and son, grandfathers and grandson–all the connections, all the love. It was, and always will be, a lovely day.

–Roy Beckemeyer, October 2, 2017

Konza Journal 2017 Issue Now Online

The 2017 issue of the Kansas Area Watershed (KAW) Council annual publication, Konza Journal, is now online. I was fortunate to be asked by editors Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Ken Lassman to participate as a contributing editor and also as a featured photographer (photo essays on Birds, Insects, South Africa, the Changing Faces of Water, and Landscapes). Please check it out. Essays on Climate Change by Ken Lassman, the Cretaceous oceans of Kansas by Mike Everhart, poems by Annette Hope Billings, April Pameticky, Dennis Etzel, Jr.Victoria Sherry, and Janet Jenkins-Stotts, Olive Sullivan, and Kansas Poets Laureate Kevin Rabas, Denise Low, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Eric McHenry, and Wyatt Townley.  Videos by Stephen Locke, and a marvelous essay on language and sense of place as it relates to the prairie by Cindy Crosby.

There is so much more I can’t fit all the links here, so just go to the Konza Journal page, browse, and enjoy.

-Roy Beckemeyer, September 28, 2017


Some images linger.

My youngest grandson, three days old, held the promise of the future. But the television screen and the commentators’ stark voices seemed to belie that future. Telephoto lenses focused on distant buildings, surreal against the blue September sky, smoke roiled from the blemished skyscrapers, and I couldn’t swallow, a bolus of bile and heartache stuck between gut and head. This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening. This can’t be.

And then I saw the first one. a bird dropping from a window ledge? No, it didn’t fly, it just fell. A piece of debris? Then another. My God, those are people falling through September skies. September is for falling leaves, smoke from burning leaves, waves of birds beginning to migrate south. Not for this.


My grandson turned sixteen three days ago. He plays football beneath blue skies, walks through school hallways with his friends, still holds all that promise. May his September skies be forever free of lives ending in free-fall. 


September Prayer

Lord, let me end things
like the leaves, in a burst
of all those bright
colors that have been
hidden inside me
the whole long
summer of my life.

I would like to let go
like a dry petiole,
fall like a leaf so dry
and light the air
will barely ripple
at my passage.

I would wish to float
aimlessly for a while,
my spread arms
and legs giving me loft,
a tendency to skitter
on the slightest
breeze, so as to defy all
predictions as to where
and when I would,
finally, come to earth.


~Roy Beckemeyer, September 11, 2017




For the victims of 9-11 and those who remember them. And for John and his generation.