Category Archives: Poems

Best of Ireland

A couple of years ago, Carole and I took a Tauck Tour to Ireland.  As it was wrapping up, I wrote a poem regarding the adventure.  There are a couple of things you need to know so that the poem makes sense.  Mary, our guide, spelled out the name of every town, castle, hill, lake – you name it, she spelled it.  Things we were not interested in, she would slowly spell.  It was the groups inside joke.

The second inside joke addresses the Dublin Castle.  We had a special Saturday tour set up, but no one showed up to let us  in.  So, we spent about an hour and a half waiting in the “courtyard” of the Dublin Castle.

The Really Really Best of Ireland

With Mary as our guide, and Gerry with the van,
We set out with vigor, to discover Ireland.
(That’s spelled IRELAND, which comes from Eire, which means a mystic goddess)
We’re heading North, we’re out the door,
We’re right on the way to the Cliffs of Moher.
Sleeping at Ashford Castle – not too shabby,
But, we didn’t see the schoolgirls at Kylemore Abbey.

Then it’s on to Sligo and Donegal Bay,
Stopped at Drumcliffe and Yeats by the way.
Poets are strange and I’ll tell you why,
They write weird things, like “horseman pass by.”

Then it’s on to Dublin, Ireland’s fair city,
Yes, saw Molly Malone and she looked so pretty.
With traveling and touring, it was a heck of a day,
But we finished it off in an Irish cabaret.

We saw Trinity College and the Book of Kells,
Dubliners partying and two AM yells.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, that was no hassle,
And we saw the courtyard of the Dublin Castle!

Hotels became spectacular, of that there is no doubt,
Mt. Juliet, Hayfield Manor, places of which to shout.
Waterford crystal – money will not be saved,
But, somewhere on each piece, there’s space to have engraved.

So we kissed the Blarney Stone, and drove the Ring of Kerry,
We shot down treacherous mountain roads,
Mary and Gerry – – did not tarry.

We arrived at Dromoland Castle,
Our tour is coming to an end.
Thirty-nine people from all over the States,
And, each has become a friend.

So we give our thanks to Mary,
But, there’s no need to shed a tear.
We’ll get out our catalog from Tauck,
And, we’ll do it again next year.

Melva at the Fox

I am sort of a cautious, conservative guy.  So, deciding to try private legal practice just before my 55th birthday was a little out of my comfort zone.  But, Mr. Clinton had just become President and I was persona non grata at the Department of Transportation.  After 31 years with Uncle Sam, the cord was being severed.

Larry Henneberger and I had started in the military over 30 years before.  He was a senior partner at Arent Fox and assisted me in getting interviews which led to being brought into the firm with the title of “of counsel.”  The Firm makes you “of counsel” when you are too old to be an associate and they can’t think of any earthly reason to make you a partner.

I had no clients.  What I did have was an office, a phone and a secretary.  I went through three secretaries my first year.  The first one fired me.  She was really good, but not the least bit interested in teaching me how to survive in a private law firm.  She was a highly skilled litigation secretary and I was cranking out “white papers,” to her dismay, trying to find a client.  I was optimistic and suspected I would figure it out, but she just wanted to get away from me.

My second secretary didn’t want anything to do with me.  I guess, at that time, of counsels generally didn’t make it at the firm.  She didn’t see any need to waste her time on me prior to that happening.  I called her in and told her I needed my out box emptied at least once in the morning and once in the afternoon (I wish I were kidding you).  She promptly went back to her office and called the mail room.  She told them to pick up and deliver distribution directly from my office.  We separated on unfriendly terms.

My third secretary was the subject of an inter-office debate.  They couldn’t decide whether to fire her, or assign her to me.  I got her, but we weren’t very compatible.  I came to work at 7:30 AM and she would wander in about 9:30 to 9:45 AM.  Then, she would take lunch from 1:30 to 3:30 PM.  However, she was a vast improvement over secretary number two.  Anyway, the Admin Office was now doing their job and advised her that if she didn’t come to work on time, they would fire her.  She didn’t, and they did.  And that is how I got Melva.

Melva Pocky (rhymes with okey dokey) was a sweet elderly lady who really didn’t like to file.  So, working in litigation wasn’t a good idea.  But, she was great for me.  She truly was pleased when I would bring in a new client or obtain a favorable result on an existing matter.  She always acted a little ditsy, but I was convinced it was just an act.  After we had been together for a few years, she decided to donate blood to help out one of her friends.  When they took her pulse, they found out that her heart wasn’t even close to beating correctly.

I lost her for an extended time while she was fitted for a pacemaker.  Then, when she returned, she told me she was going to retire.  Melva’s retirement party was a gala event still remembered at the Fox.  My retirement poem to her is below.


I know it’s true, but it’s hard to believe,
Melva Pocky is about to leave.

She’s filled out the forms, that’s the requirement,
She’s anxious to start on her retirement.

What a great secretary, but oh so beguiling,
The work all gets done, except for the filing.

But she’s loved by us all, she helps everyone,
She enjoys acting ditsy, and just having fun.

She walks to work from Foggy Bottom,
in Winter, Spring, Summer and especially Autumn.

There’s a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye,
And with her new pacemaker, her step is quite spry.

Her heart’s beating fine without hesitation,
It’s warrantied for forty, without lubrication.

This good natured lady from Pennsylvania,
Isn’t dropping us all like the Lusitania.

While we’re losing Melva, no need for hysteria,
While she’s leaving the Fox, she’s not leaving the area.

For she loves all the arts and may telephone ya,
To take a short trip or visit the Smithsonia.

This conclusion sounds silly and even a bit hokey,
But our friend Melva Pocky is just Okey Dokey.

Greetings from the Front

The year 2002 was tough on Washington DC.  While we were still recovering from 9/11 and the anthrax scare,  what had everyone really up tight was the sniper who was randomly killing people for no apparent reason.   As people were being shot while they put gas in their car or went shopping, it really changed how we went about our routine.  That is the back drop for my Christmas poem of 2002.

                                        GREETINGS FROM THE FRONT – 2002

It’s the annual report, brought with cautious glee,
Coming to you direct, from Outpost DC.
With the Pentagon and anthrax and latest a sniper,
There was plenty of cause to be down right hyper.
But, we will prevail, on that you can bet,
It’s our Nation’s capital, lest they forget.

We certainly became cautious, bought our gas on post,
We didn’t take chances, the sniper was a ghost.   
But, Carole broke the rules, her situation was dire,
She had a $10 coupon that was about to expire.
She snuck off to Kohls, against my advice,
With the pull of the bargain, she would have gone twice.
So that’s the excitement, and that is our tale,
I think she’d still be there, for a truckload sale.

In April, we made a very special trip,
We traveled down under and it was a pip.
We saw Sydney and Melbourne and incredible Ayers Rock,
Roos, wombats and koalas, all kinds of weird stock.
The outback, the rainforest, Great Barrier Reef,
Strange types of meat, so we missed our beef.
Then off to New Zealand, an emerald sea,
And we flew up and down in a DC3.
The country’s much smaller and prices are cheap,
And everywhere you look, there’s sheep, sheep, sheep.

Ten years at the Fox, not bad for a JAG,
Interesting issues, never a drag.
Stimulating stuff that really inspires,
Super hot topics, like ball joints and tires.
It’s exciting to Jack, as he tells his clients,
“I think it’s inconsequential noncompliance.”
But good golf is his goal, before he retires,
A crisp straight shot is the thing that inspires.
A golf school in Florida may be the stroke,
To lower the handicap, so it’s not a joke.
To keep Carole happy and ensure that she’s busy,
We’ll pick out a spot that’s close to Missy.

The children and grandchildren are all doing great,
Becky and Missy are still teaching, Paul locks the gate.
Supervising a prison takes a special guy,
And located in Virginia, puts the family close by.
Becky and the kid came this summer to DC,
When the only threat around was yours truly, me.
The kids all played softball, in an Arent Fox game,
And Grant was the hero, when Grandpa’s throw turned lame.
Missed the Hansens at Thanksgiving, cause Kristin had to practice,
Her cheerleading competition, jumped right up and smacked us.
She’s a flyer up on top and that’s because she’s small,
But also when she drops, it’s a long way to fall.

We’re thankful that our moms are still doing well,
Navigating their eighties, but you can’t really tell.
They’re both independent and living life to their tune,
Enjoying their retirement, we expect to see them soon.

With the country’s ups and downs, there’s something you should hear,
We’re coming to the season, for friendship and good cheer.
So to the neighbors, fellow workers and Thrift Shop volunteers,
To retired Judge Advocates, and friends throughout the years,
We wish you all the best, and may your future be bright
We wish you a Merry Christmas and to all a Good Night!

What Ought-Six Wrought

Each Christmas, I write a poem that goes out with our Christmas cards.  It is my way of reporting to our friends on what happened during the year.  I plan on posting the poems.  Maybe someone will see the subtle and not-so-subtle humor woven into the verse. 

RAJA is the Retired Army Judge Advocates.  We meet every year to renew old friendships and struggle with world problems. 

I hope you enjoy Christmas, 2006.

                                       What Ought-Six Wrought

It’s time to report on the year Ought-Six,

It’s good times and bad times, the usual mix.

There were bright shining moments and yes, some wearies,

But it can’t be all bad, when the Cards won the Series.


Last year, I mentioned remodeling, bathrooms here and there,

I also mentioned selection of tile, caused someone to pull out her hair.

Well, the project took on a life of its own, and expanded in curious ways,

We set the mark high, and we climbed and climbed, until all involved were dazed.

But, the project was probably worth it.  Let me set the scene,

When people enter our house, they ask, “Which way to the Taj Latrine?”


Saying Carole is organized, is a gross understatement,

She’s summa cum laude at disorder abatement.

But the bathroom remodeling caused a noticeable tilter,

Like when they vacuumed their mess, without use of a filter

She kept calm and poised through this dust bowl year,

Adding to the legion of our organized dear.

It was a year of stress, of stroking and coddling,

But next year for sure, there’ll be no remodeling!


Our RAJA reunion was good times and giddy,

Under Mt. Rushmore, in Rapid City.

The Baker’s live there and the Heaston’s played host,

In the shadow of Mt. Rushmore, we all shared a toast.

In July we toured Oregon, but we took our licks,

When we arrived in Portland, it was 106.

But with waterfalls, golf resorts and yes, Crater Lake,

Throw in some whale watching and it was great, for criminy sake.

What’s great about a fiftieth high school reunion is just being there,

Who cares about a few extra pounds or the sight of missing hair.

Jack had a great time, full of East Side High stories,

Remembering lost friends, revisiting past glories.

We all had laughs, some had a tear,

And Carole’s due up in just a year.


We lost our pet, Holly, early in the year,

It was a great blow, ‘cause she brought us such cheer.

She was never a problem, never a fuss,

As a matter of fact, she was smarter than us.

We will never forget her, never, no never,

She’ll be in our memories, forever and ever.

Jack’s working on phase-out, it’s work so to speak,

You’ll find him in the office three days a week.

Next year only two days, and then comes none,

It’s a nice way to transition toward wall-to-wall fun.

Even then he’ll be busy, but he’ll make the selection,

From a world of choices, and the speed of projection.


Regarding our progeny, as far as we can tell,

Nothing much has changed, so they’re all doing well.

Three grandchildren in High School and one in College,

We hope by osmosis, they’re all gaining knowledge.

Then there’s Kristin, our only granddaughter,

Fourteen and that smile, you have to applaud her.

Little Jack’s a delight, but he can be a booger,

When he dips into the candy, and loads up on sugar.

But all six of the grandchildren are such a delight,

Who would have guessed, they’d all be so bright.


So as the year closes, and we pause to reflect,

On our friends and loved ones, all those we respect.

We cherish those memories, at all times of the year,

But especially around Christmas, when families draw near.

So enjoy the Holidays, be healthy, thank Heaven,

And try to come see us in 2007.



You’ll notice that I entitled this catogory “poems,” and not poetry.  This may be subtle, but I don’t think of myself as a poet.  A poet is “a creative artist of great imagination and expressive gifts and special sensitivity to his medium.”  I’m not sure I know what that means, but it ain’t me.  I make things rhyme.  I probably do better than country music, but that’s not saying much (I love country music and really don’t care when it doesn’t rhyme).  So let’s just call these things poems and be done with it.

Marty Beirne is the founding partner of Beirne, Maynard & Parsons in Houston, Texas.  This is a litigation firm that has been extremely successful under Marty’s leadership.

Well, a few years back (more that two and less than 15), Marty’s family decided to celebrate his 50th birthday with a Texas style party at Rio Ranch.  My wife and I were unable to attend, so I wrote the following poem for my dear friend.

                                                  ODE TO AN AGING BARRISTER

Happy be the man who has a friend, Marty,
A man much too wise to be only forty.
A man quite intense, who pushes to the limit,
A man who love life, cramming every last minute.

A half century’s gone, a substantial term,
But he’s witty and prosperous and has his own firm.
He’s loved by his friends and respected by his foes,
He flies like an eagle, and dumps on the crows.

But fifty is a milestone,
be hail and be hearty.
Let’s go to Rio Ranch,
for a Texas style party.

We’ll lift one for the guy,
for he’s a special friend,
who electrifies the air,
and hangs in there to the end.

Bespectacled and hair thinning,
but still oh, he’s so nifty.
I’m sorry I missed the party,
Let’s do it again in fifty!