The Young Woman in the Shop

I know a young woman who never smiles.
She works in a shop where I go.
She looks as unhappy as anyone could
And I have no idea why that’s so.

Maybe she hates working there in the shop
And dealing with people like me.
But she’s walked by my place when she wasn’t at work
And she still looks as sad as can be.

Sometimes she is rude when we have an exchange
And I’m tempted to call her on that.
But I don’t want to add to the troubles she has
So I keep it all under my hat.

Maybe things are a mess in her life
Or maybe her mother is ill.
I simply don’t know why she always is down
And I don’t suppose I ever will.

But I hope I am wrong and that’s just her way
Because life is too short we all know,
To spend our time fretting and frowning all day.
At some point we have to let go.

A woman who works alongside this sad one
Is always pleasant and bright.
And who knows, she might have problems that would
Make the sad one’s issues seem light.

A person whose manner says, “Leave me alone”
Will be left alone, that is for sure.
And whether her problems are real or imagined
Life won’t likely hold much joy for her.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Healer

“I have some bad news,”
A relative tells you.
“I’ve just heard that Alan has died.”

What do you do
With information like that?
You stand up and you wander outside.

All of a sudden,
Nothing much matters,
As you walk the fence line in your yard.

You hadn’t seen Alan
In a lifetime of hours.
Still, to know he has vanished is hard.

A man who gave you
Permission to live
And the keys to overcome fear.

It’s just hard to believe,
That a friend such as Alan
Can somehow no longer be here.

But you look at your home
And your family within it
And know none of that ever would be,

But for Alan, who always was
So good at listening,
And he took time to listen to me.

Jim Hagarty

When We Are Where We Belong

We ask ourselves, from time to time,
Whether we are happy or not.
But we only really know for sure
When misery takes over our thought.

Then we see, by remembering,
Wherein the difference rests.
When happy, our lives are synchronized;
Unhappy, our days are a mess.

But a simple rule can serve as a guide
When we wonder why things are so wrong:
We are happy when we have managed to be
Exactly where we belong.

And just the reverse, when life seems so hard
And we don’t know the words to our song,
It’s because we are occupying a place
Where we simply could never belong.

But the Universe is rarely in error
And will always deliver a way,
To get us back up on just the right path
Which will lead to a happier day.


Alone Again, Naturally

A man who likes to be alone
And shuns the noisy crowd
Confuses those who like to be
In settings large and loud.

A man who likes to be alone
Is judged and sometimes feared
By those who think a man
Who likes to be alone is weird.

A man who likes to be alone
And silent in his yard
Is someone others think
Must have a heart that has gone hard.

But the man who likes to be alone
Was not always that way.
He used to whoop and holler too
And act wild in his day.

A man who likes to be alone
Lets others have their fun
While he sits under trees
And loves the wind, the rain, the sun.

A man who likes to be alone,
His doggie by his side,
Has happy memories of good times
And isn’t trying to hide.

He’s simply let go of the need
For chit chat and fake grins,
And looking outward for the peace
He finds now looking in.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Experts

The best way to raise kids
I’ve found through the years
Is to listen to folks without any.
For some reason they seem
To know more than most parents
And their words are so wise and so many.

I am not sure why
They are so insightful
But I’m grateful for sure that they are.
Cause parents don’t have
A clue what we’re doing.
Childless couples are smarter by far.

They’re like people who flew
In a plane to Vancouver
And now know all there is to know
About guiding an aircraft
From liftoff to landing
And how the whole thing ought to go.

See, they have a niece
Or a nephew and darn it,
They babysit now and again.
So how to raise children
To them is no mystery,
It’s a matter of strong discipline.

You gotta be tough on your
Offspring, they tell you
And show them each day who’s the boss.
And if you object at all, they will tell you,
“Do it your way, then.
“It’s your loss.”

So my strong advice to
Those who have children
Is seek out some people who don’t.
They’ll set you straight
And you will be grateful.
I feel sorry for you if you won’t.

  • Jim Hagarty

My Words

I have spoken, in my life,
A hundred million words.
Most of them flew easily,
Like flocks of graceful birds.

Some of them were way too rough
And some were far too smooth.
Some of them weren’t honest
While others spoke my truth.

I have written, in my life,
Five hundred thousand more.
Some were funny, some were sad,
And some I’m sorry for.

But good or bad, the words I’ve used
Sprang from a fragile heart.
Some revealed a restless soul,
Just searching for his part.

But whether lovely, whether low,
I was never at a loss.
Words have kept my wings aloft
And have also been my cross.

But all this time, you need to know,
I’ve never felt above you.
My aim with all the words I’ve used
Was to say how much I love you.

  • Jim Hagarty

Looking Outward

As we grow from boy to man
Two avenues await:
We can face the world with love
Or align ourselves with hate.

It seems so hard in many ways
To connect ourselves with others,
But only if we turn aside
The lessons from our mothers.

For in their entire manner lies
The roadmap for our travels.
Care for others more than us,
If not, our life unravels.

By logic, putting others first
Would mean we’d come in last.
But life will show us otherwise
As our troubles mount up fast.

The world tells us to always seek
The best for number one
And ignore any good
Our better natures might have done.

But what we fail to recognize
Is meeting another’s need
Diverts us from our tendencies
For cruelty and greed.

It simply is not possible
To take and never give.
To try it is to just exist
And never really live.

  • Jim Hagarty

In Passing

Whenever someone
That I’ve known
Disappears from view,
I regret our
Recent conversations
Were so few.
And wish I had not
Let the bonds
Of friendship
Slip away.
I wonder if someone
Will think of me
That way some day.

And when I see
An old friend’s
Photo in the news,
The memory of our
Time together
Leaves me with the blues.
It seemed inevitable
That we would drift apart,
And still the separation
Leaves an ache
Upon the heart.

Someone wiser
Than I am
Has quite a
Different view.
She’s grateful for
The time she had
With everyone
She knew.
And she insists
In looking not
So much at what is gone,
But what they had
And how her
Precious memories
Linger on.

Maybe I’ll learn to
Be that way,
In time,
But I don’t know.
I doubt I ever will be
Very good at
Letting go.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Choice

As we grow from boy to man,
And when we’re still in school,
We are given opportunities
To be kind or be cruel.

To stand up for a bullied kid
Or join the taunting crowd.
To keep our hurtful words inside
Or shout them right out loud.

A lad can be forgiven
If he sometimes plays the fool
And steals some cheap attention
By doing something cruel.

But if that boy has any heart
He will begin to soften.
He might still be a jerk sometimes,
But thankfully, not often.

And gradually he makes the choice
His elders hoped he would,
To reject abject selfishness
And try to do some good.

A classmate goes the other way
And choosing to resent,
He glorifies his hatred
And becomes president.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Case For Evolution

There is no animal alive
More dangerous than man.
I’ve tried to think of even one
But I don’t think I can.

No creature ever roamed the earth
With meaner inclinations.
No lion, tiger, shark or bear
Can match man’s degradations.

But man believes he is advanced
Because he dominates.
The truth is man’s the only kind
That destroys what he hates.

While other beings roar and growl
And seem to be a danger,
Man alone is happy to
Annihilate a stranger.

I wouldn’t go into a pen
With a mean rattlesnake,
But human cages I’ve been in
Were also a mistake.

I managed just now to escape
A human viper’s grasp.
I know how Cleopatra felt
When bitten by that asp.

We’re taught to love each other
But always it’s a test
Because some humans’ habitats
Are true Black Widows’ nests.

We talk of evolution
And mostly it seems true.
But life on Earth will not evolve
Until we humans do.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Out All Night Days

As time slips by and I slow down
I find no need to go uptown.
The bars as bright as in my youth
Hold no delights, to tell the truth.

I’d rather sit in my own home
And play with doggie and his bone.
Or read a book or take a walk
With doggie, up and down our block.

But I remember way back then
When going out with all my friends
And staying out sometimes till dawn
Was what our fun depended on.

I don’t regret the wilder time.
My young man’s life before my prime.
I smile to recall things we did
And nights we might have flipped our lid.

And now I’m dull,
I sit a lot.
Am I unhappy?
No I’m not.

  • Jim Hagarty

My Broken Calculator

I knew a man who could count to ten
But he couldn’t count to twenty.
“You need more school,” I told my friend.
He told me he’d had plenty.
He couldn’t count as high as me
But one small thing he could do:
He could count his blessings, one by one,
And he told me, “So should you.”

I knew a man who couldn’t read
Or even write his name.
“You need to go to school,” I said.
He said no, thanks all the same.
And while he couldn’t read a book
I noticed something strange.
He could read a man with just one look,
He said, “Try it, for a change.”

I knew a man who never had
Two coins to rub together.
“You should go back to school,” I said.
“Your life sure would be better.”
“My life is fine, just as it is,”
My friend replied to me.
And I knew what he had said was true
‘Cause he never lied to me.

It’s so easy to add up another’s
Good points and his defects,
And calculate his quality
On a scale from sad to perfect.
But I have noticed, through the years,
My calculator’s broken.
A man might not proclaim his worth
But his deeds have been well spoken.

(Remembering Herb)

  • Jim Hagarty

Taking My Measure

Happiness isn’t measured
By the sum of all my years.
The measure of fulfillment
Is the thoughts between my ears.

Contentment can’t be quantified
By counting laughs and tears.
The measure of contentment
Is the thoughts between my ears.

It’s not the number of great acts
That bring me fame and cheers.
The only measurement that counts
Is the thoughts between my ears.

‘Cause between those two ears of mine
Is a finely tuned machine
That can make my days a nightmare
Or complete my wildest dreams.

And if somehow I find success
Much greater than my peers.
I will still be left alone to face
The thoughts between my ears.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Hometown Man

I know a man who has never been
But a few miles outside of his town.
He’s never met, in his 60 some years,
A black, red, yellow or brown.

So the man I know who has never been
But a few miles outside of his town.
Spends a lot of time being petrified
That the “others” are keeping him down.

I feel sad for the man who has never been,
But a few miles outside of his town.
He just might have been a much happier man
And not someone who only can frown.

And if the man I know who has never been
But a few miles outside of his town.
Would sit down and read a few books now and then
He might finally look up and not down.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Gardeners

Two men kept flower gardens
And tended them with care.
Each day they fed their flowers
Which grew up fine and fair.

One day when their flowers bloomed,
Their hearts were filled with pride.
To see the wonders of their work
Completed them inside.

One man kept his flowers close
And shared them with no one.
But when his plants began to wilt
He wondered what he’d done.

The other man took up his flowers
And placed them here and there.
In hospitals and nursing homes,
They showed up everywhere.

The second man went home alone
And sat down in his chair.
He missed his pretty flowers
That were no longer there.

But he was grateful knowing that
His flowers had moved on.
The joy of watching how they bloom
And seeing where they’d gone.

The first man never felt the joy
His flowers might have brought.
The second man was happy;
The first gardener was not.

  • Jim Hagarty

My Heart Strings

There comes a time in a father’s life
When he suddenly doesn’t belong.
For so many years he is Daddy, then Dad,
Then one day, his children are gone.

No more bedtime routines or horsey back rides,
No more pushes on swings in the park.
No more TV cartoons and short story books.
No more holding their hands in the dark.

Yes, this is the fate of a daddy in love,
To let go of his children some day.
He knew from the start that the time would arrive.
But it always seemed so far away.

The only thing that a father can do
When his children are no longer there.
Is cry like his heart has been broken for good,
Till it seems almost too much to bear.

It’s the way of the world and everyone says
You’ll get used to it all someday soon.
And maybe they’re right, they seem so convinced.
But my heart strings are all out of tune.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Empty Nest

Two birds met in flight one day
And settled down in a tree.
They listened to ancient instincts
And made a nest as fine as could be.

And soon their work was rewarded
As two little birdies arrived.
And they set about to raise them
And the family prospered and thrived.

The days seemed long, like they wouldn’t end,
And they sang out their joy from their bough.
But the birdies flew as was known they would
And the two birds are alone again now.

The nest is empty and lonesome too
But oh, what a nest it has been.
And the birds have each other for company still
And are happy with now as with then.

  • Jim Hagarty

Bad News Cure All

There is so much bad news in the world
Said the nervous TV viewer.
“Hey,” I said, “If you’re watching Fox
“You are swimming in a sewer.”

“I’m serious, Trump is bad
“And Clinton is no better.”
I told the viewer shut off Fox.
It will make you a bed wetter.

“Cheating, lying, slinging mud,
“I just can stand it all.”
I told the viewer shut off Fox,
Throw the TV at the wall.

But bad “news” is like an opiate.
It’s addictive, like cocaine.
I told the viewer shut off Fox,
And go play in the rain.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Smart Ones

If I could be just half as smart
As the smartest guy in town,
Would I then be known as half as dumb
As the dumbest guy around?

Or would it be the dumbest guy
Would be half as smart as me?
And the smartest guy would then become
Twice as smart as the big dummy.

But if the smartest guy in town
Lost a thousand big brain cells,
Would I still be half as smart as him?
I’m not smart enough to tell.

And some day if I happen to
Outlive the town’s smartest guy,
But then fall sick with the same disease
And sadly, tragically die …

Would the dumbest guy in town become
The smartest guy just by chance?
Though no one is dumber than the big dumb ox,
Guess he would be the Town Smarty Pants.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Best Thing in Life

The best thing in life is first love.
No other experience compares.
There is nothing so freeing as first love,
And finding a sweetheart who cares.

The best thing in life is young love.
The tenderness that is expressed.
Dreamers keep searching for young love,
Cause truly, young love is the best.

The best thing in life is new love,
Delightful like fine blooms in spring.
We sometimes are rescued by new love
And new hope a new love can bring.

The best thing in life is old love.
The comfort of two that are one.
And knowing you won’t be forgotten.
You always can turn to someone.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Last Day

It wasn’t supposed to end this way.
Me at the doorway with my stuff.
My plan was to retire from here,
But it seemed you’d had enough.

The first few days were hard to take
The anger within was intense.
And the feeling of betrayal
By people who’d become my friends.

But it didn’t take me all that long
To realize that this was good.
I should have left there long ago
But fear made sure I never would.

And now I’m grateful for that day
Because it freed me from my desk.
Each day is an adventure now.
What pathway will I explore next?

  • Jim Hagarty

My Second Life

If I come back some day as a dog,
I hope I get me as my master.
Cause I am a real pushover.
A veritable dog owner disaster.

I would feed myself way too well,
From the table scraps on my plate,
And only take very short walks.
The long strolls we both really hate.

In the evening, I’d sit on my lap
Snarf potato chips straight from the bowl.
And we’d both ignore the poor vet,
And never do as we’re told.

I’ll miss me when I finally go.
I can guarantee both of us that.
But my hope is, now and forever,
That I don’t come back as the cat.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Cans on the Posts

I once roamed our farm with a gun
And shot cans off fence posts just for fun.
It beat trying to hit them with stones
Like I used to do, next to our home.

But one day I looked up to see
A hawk flying high above me.
Temptation to shoot was too strong
And I fired, though I knew it was wrong.

I missed and I’m thankful I did.
But my father yelled at me, “Hey kid!
“If I ever see you do that again
“Your gun days will end there and then.”

I was shocked as I thought at the time
Everything was a target of mine.
And one day, I was bored, I suppose,
I threw stones at the cans on the posts.

How Great Thou Art

God is.
God is great.
My God is great.
My God is greater
Than your God is.
Your God is greater
Than my God is.
My God, let’s fight
To see the greater God.
Won’t that be great?
When it ends we’ll say,
“Oh great God,
What have we done?”

  • Jim Hagarty

Those Boyhood Times

I remember thinking,
When my friend and I were boys,
That this would last forever,
Outside playing with our toys.

What could ever happen
To bring this to an end?
Such was the boyhood bond between
Me and my closest friend.

But time and life have sent us both
Down two divergent lanes.
And though we still communicate
It’s never quite the same.

He has his wife and family
And troubles, just like me.
I hardly ever see him
I miss him, don’t you see.

Those summers when we played outside
With all our favourite toys
Were special times that now are gone
Between two kindred boys.

  • Jim Hagarty

Daddy’s Whackings

“I was beaten, as a child,
“But it was good for me.”
Said the mean old lonely senior,
Who lives down the street from me.

“My father never spared the rod
“And I knew where I stood.
“I’d go back and thank my Dad
“If there was some way that I could.”

“The kids today they don’t know how
“To work or show respect.
“My Dad would whup them good and hard
“If he saw them, I expect.”

My neighbour is a law-abiding man,
I have to say.
But he’s as nasty as a wolf.
What made him be this way?

He lives alone and never smiles
And complains day and night.
Maybe Daddy’s whackings
Have left him less than right.

  • Jim Hagarty

I Swear Your Honour

A man in Nova Scotia
Was picked up by police
Because he swore in public
And shocked somebody’s niece.

I’m glad they caught the bugger,
The ignorant, foul-mouthed shit.
I hope they throw his ass in jail
And put an end to it.

There’s too much goddamned swearing
Going on around us now.
That son of a bitch needs to go to jail
Where he can swear all day and how.

Yes, the cops in Nova Scotia,
Having solved all other crime,
Are after all the swearers now,
And it’s about fucking time.

  • Jim Hagarty

My Travel Plans

I could never live in Florida,
Though I hear it’s very nice.
I need to spend winters buried in snow
And falling down hard on the ice.

And I couldn’t live in Bermuda.
Though the beaches there look so fine.
I would miss the sound of snowblowers,
And the wind whipping through the pines.

Don’t even mention Tahiti,
Hawaii or old Mexico.
I’m sure those places are heaven on Earth
Except that they fail to have snow.

So here I sit in the sweltering heat
In the country that’s captured my soul.
Another few months I’ll be stranded inside
With my dog and remote control.

  • Jim Hagarty

Curmudgeonville Straight Ahead

There’s a place I know
Where you don’t want to go.
You’ll regret it if ever you do.
Cause the folks who live in Curmudgeonville
Will point out what’s wrong with you.

Not one happy face
In this weird little place
Will you find if you wander the town.
Cause the folks who live in Curmudgeonville
Are always gloomy and down.

They wake up grumpy.
Their cereal’s lumpy.
And it’s all downhill after that.
Cause the folks who live in Curmudgeonville
Are sullen and angry and flat.

I never will know
What laid them so low
But one thing I am certain of:
The people who live in Curmudgeonville
Have forgotten what it is to love.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Champion Liar

I know a woman
Who is so good at lying
She prefers it to telling the truth.

If you try to learn
The facts from this person
You will see she is very uncouth.

She learned long ago
From some misguided soul
That the easiest path is to lie.

And now if some truth
Were to slip through her lips.
She’s liable to lie down and die.

I really don’t know
If I hate her or love her,
For all of her dishonest ways.

But in my long life
I never met anyone
Who lied so well to my face.

  • Jim Hagarty

My Buddy and Me

A robin landed on my lawn today
And looked at me in a funny way.
This robin and I are buddies fair.
I was glad to see him there.

I first met Robin in my yard when
I was digging in my garden.
He waddled along close behind
And ate the worms that I would find.

And every spring since that first one
He returns for a visit home.
He lands beside me on the lawn
And wonders where my shovel’s gone.

So from the shed I get my digger
And Robin’s eyes could not be bigger.
As I turn over robin food
He feasts like every robin should.

So you might laugh and not agree
A bird would find a friend in me.
I have to say, it does seem odd.
I can’t explain it, go ask God.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Tragedy of Poemlessness

I find this so hard to say:
There will not be a poem today.
I had planned to tap out a new one
But my poemiano is way out of tune.

I thought I would write about birds
But I just couldn’t find the right words.
I might make a comment on life.
So many ideas, they are rife.

But I can’t get my brain to stand still.
Some days it won’t, some it will.
It’s like a runaway train in my head
And the bridge is washed out straight ahead.

So I guess you will have to make do
With the poems I wrote last week for you.
But if a wee bit of luck comes my way.
I’ll write a new poem on Tuesday.

  • Jim Hagarty

My Father’s Day

Today’s another Father’s Day.
So it’s my day, I guess.
I’m not too big on special days,
I simply must confess.

Special days make family members
Feel they must produce
Some evidence they love you.
But really, what’s the use?

I never doubt they love me.
They only make me glad
That I enjoy the privilege
Of being called their Dad.

Fatherhood is daunting,
Of that there is no doubt.
But knowing you are someone’s Dad
Is what heaven’s all about.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Escape Plan

I wandered in the woods today
Where no human beings were.
But I did not feel alone at all
There were other beings there.

They were watching me, I am quite sure,
But I was not concerned.
I’ve wandered in the woods before
And each time have returned.

Some times I think, “Is this the day
“I happen on a bear
“Or a wolf or mountain lion,
“Just waiting for me there?”

But even if the worst occurs
And danger is around
I have a foolproof plan in mind
To stay above the ground.

I hope my wits don’t fail me
But you can never tell.
My secret strategy, you see,
Is to simply run like hell.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Projects

When a man retires from working life
He wonders what to do.
He soon takes up a whole new way
Of living, thinking too.

The days stretch out before him
Like endless oceans blue.
But standing there is no one
To tell him what to do.

He makes a list of all the things
That really should be done,
And sets the list down somewhere
And doesn’t do a one.

He could go here, he could go there
The car stays in the drive.
He doesn’t bathe, he doesn’t eat,
And soon feels half alive.

The only hope that this man has,
And no one will object,
He needs to look around his house.
And start a new project.

A project concentrates his mind
And gets him off his ass.
It makes him feel alive again
And helps the time to pass.

Knee deep in everything he needs
Like hammers, wood and tin,
The retiree will build back up
His confidence again.

So if you want your retiree
Around a few more years.
Don’t protest all his projects,
They chase away his fears.

  • Jim Hagarty

Ready to Bottom Out

I sometimes wonder why
I ever watch the news.
A half hour seeing bombs go off
Contributes to the blues.

The only sane thing I can do
In these uncertain times,
Is turn to Spongebob Squarepants,
That yellow guy so fine.

For every bad news item
Can soon be chased away
By watching Spongebob Squarepants
For half an hour a day.

To see that little fry cook
Flip patties on the grill,
Makes me want to quit the news.
In fact, I think I will.

I wish, in fact, that I could leave
My world and move away
To old Bikini Bottom.
I’d go there right away

Oh yes, it isn’t perfect,
And yes, it’s a cartoon
But if I can’t be with Spongebob,
Then I’m moving to the moon.

  • Jim Hagarty

Back Country Blues Boy

Whenever I am feeling low,
I feel low now and then,
I hop into my Chevy car
And take it for a spin.

I creep along the gravel roads
And look across the land.
It usually isn’t very long
Till I am fine again.

There’s something in that scenery,
The barns, the fields, the streams,
That calls out to my inner boy
And reignites my dreams.

To see wild creatures scat about
And farmers sowing grain
Reminds me of another time
When things were not insane.

I know it’s temporary.
Good feelings drift away.
But on those days when things seem grim
I love my Chevrolet.

  • Jim Hagarty

Beware the Human Being

There is no animal alive
More dangerous than man.
I’ve tried to think of even one
But I don’t think I can.

No creature ever roamed the earth
With meaner inclinations.
No lion, tiger, shark or bear
Can match man’s degradations.

But man believes he is advanced
Because he dominates.
The truth is man’s the only kind
That destroys what he hates.

While other beings roar and growl
And seem to be a danger,
Man alone is happy to
Annihilate a stranger.

I wouldn’t go into a pen
With a mean rattlesnake,
But human cages I’ve been in
Were a bigger mistake.

I managed just now to escape
A human viper’s grasp.
I know how Cleopatra felt
When bitten by that asp.

We’re taught to love each other
But always it’s a test
Because some humans’ habitats
Are true Black Widows’ nests.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Performance Review

At the end of an average day
A man thinks, as he settles in bed,
“What did I accomplish today?
“What things could I have done instead?”

Some days, he achieved quite a bit
And other days, not very much.
Some days he did little but sit.
And some days he had Midas’ Touch.

But whether he did much or not
Reflection at bedtime will show
He probably took his best shot
And needs to let all the rest go.

Cause whether or not he achieved
Anything either great or too small
At bedtime, he is finally relieved,
To remember that he tried at all.

Each day has a rhythm, it seems,
That is set by some otherworld fate.
Today we were denied our dreams,
Tomorrow we’ll do something great.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Blameless One

I know a poor woman who’s sure
Everyone in her life has hurt her.
And she knows where the blame should belong.
Some vile, wretched soul did her wrong.

It is quite a remarkable sight
To watch her engage in a fight
With anyone who wants to know
Why she let everybody down so.

“It wasn’t my fault,” she’ll exclaim.
“My husband’s the one who’s to blame.”
Her son, the neighbour, the cat.
They were the ones who did that.

Some day as she stands before God
To account for her sins, she’ll just nod.
“To be honest, please let me explain.
“I’m afraid I was tricked once again.”

“I would have been good, but you know,
“I’m afraid this might come as a blow.
“You made too many rules from the start
“And neglected to give me a heart.”

“So it’s You, God, that needs to explain
“And You, God, that shoulders the blame.
“If You thought I should behave each day
“Then You shouldn’t have made me this way.”

  • Jim Hagarty

My Business Plan

If I owned a variety store
I’d stock it with guns and much more.
Bazookas and bullets and bombs
And tee shirts that read, “I love Mom.”

I’d have fireworks for kids to let off
And lawn signs that tell you, “Get Off!”
I’d sell bear traps and camouflage shirts
Car stickers that say, “Eat My Dirt!”

I’d sell booze by the pints and the quarts,
And cushions that make great big farts.
Pellet guns, BB guns too,
And stickers that read, “I Hate You!”

And magazines full of nude pics
And pot nicely packaged in bricks.
Along the top shelves in my store
Would be ball caps and jackknives and more.

Yes, I would go hog wild with goods
Like any good, good ole boy would.
Knick knacks and things for the wife.
I’d sell all the good things in life.

And when they showed up to foreclose
I’d yell, “Shove it all up your nose!
“I am free to do what I want.”
Next stop: My own restaurant.

  • Jim Hagarty

Just a Habit

A man acquires habits.
Some good, some by mistake.
Some habits simply go away.
Some are hard to break.

Some habits pose no threat
While others may be vile.
Some last only a month or so
And others stay a while.

The man with nasty habits
Vows to take control
But habits sometimes settle down
Within his very soul.

The best a habit man can do
With those that bring him grief
Is just relax and not attempt
To turn to a new leaf.

Deny a man a momentary
Pleasure may be fine.
But habits can be patient
And show back up in time.

Make peace with a bad habit
But battle it this way:
Develop better habits
To chase the bad away.

  • Jim Hagarty

My Unlucky Streak

I’ve never found a four-leaf clover.
My daughter has found many.
She has lots of Irish luck.
Poor me, I don’t have any.

If daughter buys a ticket,
We know she’s going to win.
If I bought tickets, all but one,
I’m sure I’d lose again.

If we are at a function
And they draw for some prize,
My daughter is the winner.
The cheers drown out my sighs.

Some day I’ll find that clover
No matter what I do.
Even if the extra leaf
Comes attached with glue.

Cause I am sick of waiting
For my lucky streak to start.
If I never find my clover,
The pain will break my heart.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Canoe Paddler

“Advice is highly overrated.”
Says the man who never takes it.
The man who paddles his own canoe
Has nothing at all to learn from you.

He’s sure his advisers mean well and all
And he knows that their words are meaningful
But the man who charts his very own course
Will never give in to suggestion or force.

For he knows he can do it all on his own
And is happy to plan his path all alone
For he’s sure that he is much smarter than you
And needs no one’s counsel on what he should do.

The man who paddles his own canoe
Is happy and wishes you could be happy too.
But when he sees rapids approaching ahead
He is apt to consider your caution instead.

And as his craft tumbles and tosses him out
He finally yells “Help!” but there’s no one about.
And as he’s submerged and his head hits a stone
He wishes for once he wasn’t alone.

The easiest thing in the world to do
Is push away people who try to help you.
And sometimes that’s fine and sometimes that’s brave
But it’s too late as they gather at the canoe paddler’s grave.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Warning Sign

What do you do with the idiot man
Who knows he is completely right?
When you point that out he will yell and shout
And you’re in for a hell of a fight.

If you try to persuade the always right man
That he almost always is wrong
He will call you a name and try to defame
The group to which you belong.

You can try to explain he has nothing to gain
By never admitting he erred.
He will badger you more and show you the door
And scream till you’re awfully scared.

All you can do, I suggest to you,
Is to run and to never look back.
It is not worth your time to alter his mind.
So try out this line of attack.

Tell everyone that you know of someone
Who is disturbed beyond your repair.
And put up a sign,
“He Is Out Of His Mind.

  • Jim Hagarty

Which Road to Take

Whenever a man is forced to decide
Between two different roads.
He can let his anxiety rule his brain
Until his head almost explodes.

He can explore every twist, every unruly turn
In each path he is thinking to choose
Till no matter which street he decides upon
It looks like he’s going to lose.

Or he can just close his eyes and pick
And then when his journey begins,
He’ll soon know if he’s made a big mistake.
He can back up and start over again.

“Oh, it’s never as simple as that,”
You say to me with a big frown.
“You need to be very careful, son,
“To choose the right road to go down.”

And yes there is some truth in your claim.
I’m not an impossible fool.
But every road is the wrong one
If you let your anxiety rule.

It is better to fall down now and then
And scrape the skin off your knee,
Than never to leave your safe dwelling
And know what it is to be free.

  • Jim Hagarty

My Best Adviser

The wisest man I ever knew
Could neither read nor write.
He hung around downtown all day
And stayed there overnight.

And I with all my schooling
And three big framed degrees
Would seek out Herbert now and then
To see if he’d help me.

He wasn’t very polished
Nor did he try to be.
He was blunt as any baseball bat.
That was okay with me.

The best advice he ever gave
As he sipped on his flask,
“If you ever need a thing in life
“Open your mouth and ask.”

  • Jim Hagarty

Her New Best Friend

“People are funny,” my friend said to me.
“In what way?” I replied, somewhat nervously.
“Well, they’ll always be nice to your face,” she said.
“When really, they wish you were buried and dead.”

“What brought this on?” I asked, so timidly.
I worried her remarks were all meant for me.
“Did someone you know say an unkind word?
“Something they didn’t know you had heard?”

Her face became grey as she turned towards me.
“I used to be blind but I’ve learned to see.
“My best friend is saying some terrible things.
“About me, and what she says really stings.”

“She says I’m dishonest, tells people I’m cheap.
“And then when I see her, she says not a peep.
“I just can’t believe she’d ever betray
“My trust, but she has, and I’m in dismay.”

Relieved that the guilty one couldn’t be me
I suggested I thought that it would never be
Unfair to go out and make a new friend
Cause this one’s two-facedness probably won’t end.

“That does make some sense,” said the poor, wounded girl,
“But she is my only friend in the world.”
“Then your world isn’t big enough yet,” I replied.
“There’s a better friend waiting to be by your side.”

“Sometimes we hang to a buddy too long
“There are others who know all the words to our song.
“They show up when we least expect them, sometimes,
“Until then we just need to bide our sweet time.”

She thought about that and then turned away.
She met her new best friend the very next day.
It’s not easy to let go of people we’ve known.
Sometimes for a while we will be all alone.

But being alone is not something to fear.
Out of nowhere, sometimes, a new best friend appears.
Out of gratitude, my friend went and bought me a book.
While I was just glad to be let off the hook.

  • Jim Hagarty

Handsome Ransom

If I was as handsome as you
I’d have me a fling or two.
I’d ask out a movie star
And rent a red foreign car.

If I was as handsome as you
I’d rent a Swiss chalet or two
And have my affairs over there.
Or maybe in France somewhere.

If I was as handsome as you
I’d hike off to Amsterdam too
And find out just what it’s like
To ride on a two-person bike.

If I was as handsome as you
The very first thing I would do
Is change my first name to Clint
And steal gold bars from the Mint.

If I was as handsome as you,
A dream that will never come true,
I’d probably still be OK
To live the life I have today.

Cause handsome was never my goal.
True handsome resides in the soul.
If I was as handsome as you
I might be an idiot too.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Coffee Shop Smarties

If I could only be half as smart
As the guys in the coffee shop.
I’d probably own a yacht by now
And hang with the cream of the crop.

Cause those guys seem to know everything
And they make me feel like a dunce.
I wish I could be as smart as them,
Not all the time, only once.

And once would be all it would take, I think
For me to hit it big.
I’d put all that wisdom to perfect use
And then be dancing a jig.

I’d set out to buy that coffee shop
And put up the price of each cup.
And charge those guys a wisdom tax
When they noticed the price had gone up.

If I was as smart as the guys in the shop
But I know I will never be.
It’s a dream I have, just a foolish dream,
That I know I will never see.

So I listen instead to the smart guys talk
And wonder just how it could be,
That God gave the brainpower to those guys,
And there was none left over for me.

  • Jim Hagarty

My Lottery Winnings

If I ever win a lottery
And I hope some day I do,
I’ll call your number on my phone
And give the prize to you.

I think you need it more than me.
I’d only waste the cash.
I’d buy a car I can’t afford
And put mine out for trash.

I’d buy a bigger house that comes
With hot tub and a pool.
I’d have flat screens everywhere
Like a big spendthrifty fool.

I’d hire two servants and a maid
To cater to my needs.
Produce a documentary
To broadcast my good deeds.

I’d own a helicopter
And a nice two-seater jet
And fly to Vegas twice a week
To toss the dice and bet.

I’d buy a ranch outside of town
With horses, cows and goats
And guard my special privacy
By installing great big moats.

Now that I think about it,
Though I’ve known you a long time.
If I ever win the lottery
I won’t give you a dime.

  • Jim Hagarty

About the Cattle Man

Today I looked across a field
And the cattle there.
I recalled in my young life
How vital cattle were.

Such noble beasts that I once fed
And cared for in my way.
I wonder if I miss those cattle
In my life today.

We roamed our fields together.
Sometimes they like to play
But I was taught to face them
And never run away.

The joy those gentle giants showed
Out in their pasturelands,
Is something I will not forget
I don’t believe I can.

I gave them straw for bedding
And then twice every day
Went up into the hay mow
And forked them down their hay.

And then walked through the manger
And scratched their heads and ears
To think of cattle, as I write,
Is bringing on the tears.

Don’t think too ill of farmers
And disregard the news.
For those folks love their livestock.
To leave them brings the blues

And when you know a farmer
At 90, on the land.
He simply can’t retire, you see,
Cause he’s a cattle man.

  • Jim Hagarty

The Factor of Weird

A friend asked me the other day
If I was always odd this way.
What happened to me, friend inquired,
To make my circuits strangely wired?

Did a great big tree fall on my head?
Did I spend years sick in my bed?
Did I have an operation on my brain
And it left an indelible stain?

Did I fall out of a moving car?
Did I drink a can of roofing tar?
Was I dangled by my feet
Or run over three times in the street?

I answered slowly, like I do,
“I’m not near as strange as you.
“The difference is I do not hide
“All my thoughts deep down inside.”

But as he left, he shook his head.
He hadn’t heard a word I said.
So I went back to being weird.
Just the very thing he feared.

But in this life we have a choice.
Sit like a stump or make some noise.
And on my tomb I want it scratched
“Often copied, never matched.”

  • Jim Hagarty

My Old Auto

My heart is my transmission,
My mind, the steering wheel.
Some days I put it into drive
And let my tires squeal.

Some days I like to idle,
Some days I’m in reverse.
Some days the other drivers
Get mad at me and curse.

But I’m in no big hurry.
I’ll get there, by and by.
My car’s not very speedy.
But then, neither am I.

My heart is my transmission.
The engine is my soul.
To get us all home safely
Has always been my goal.

So just pull out and pass me
And leave me in your wake.
I will enjoy my journey
However long it takes.

  • Jim Hagarty

I Might Have Tried

I might have tried to help you
If I’d known what to say.
I wouldn’t want to misspeak
And watch you run away.

I might have tried to help you
If I’d known what to do.
I wouldn’t want to misstep
And end up losing you.

I might have tried to help you
I’m sorry that I let
My fear stop me from trying.
That’s something I regret.

I might have tried to help you
By being a good friend.
That’s all I have to offer.
I’ll be here till the end.

  • Jim Hagarty

Home Sweet Home

Sometimes I look back year to year
And wonder how I wound up here.
Could I have found a better place
To spend my nights and spend my days?
But then I think it’s pretty clear
The Universe has put me here.
And though I cannot answer why
I ended up here by and by
I’m glad a place was found for me.
There is no place I’d rather be.

  • Jim Hagarty

A Friend’s Advice

I asked my friend, “What should I do?”
I asked because he always knew.
He looked at me and only smiled
And didn’t answer for a while.
But then he gave me this advice
The same he’d given once or twice:
“You often ask me this, my friend
“So I will say these words again:
“Choices many, choices few
“Do the thing you need to do.
“Not the great and not the small
“What’s in front of you, that’s all.”

  • Jim Hagarty