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A Boyhood Memory

by Marshall Jamison

Editor’s Note: A Boyhood Memory has been selected for inclusion in The National Library of Poetry.

He watched the grey gull he had shot
with his new air rifle
hobble away from the milk-soaked bread
he’d guiltily prepared
after his mother had quietly made him
feel rotten
because he’d broken his birthday
never to shoot at any living thing.
For days he held his reluctant captive
very carefully
as he fed it with increasing success,
on bread, milk and finally meat.

The day he released his patient,
the bird shook itself,
preened its grey feathers,
stretched its wings and flew
into the sea wind, free.

And, young as he was, he knew
the sharp pain
of rejection.

Singing in the Reign

by Marshall Jamison

Editor’s Note: Singing in the Reign was written in honor of Jack G. McBride’s retirement as General Manager of The Nebraska Educational Television Network in 1996.

Nebraska is known for its tall corn and golden wheat
and for a football team that’s extremely hard to beat.
The people in Florida know that’s so, ’cause
their teams were beaten, not once, but twice in a row!
Another fact about Nebraska and its future direction
concerns, not as you’d guess, the coming election
but rather, the choice and careful selection of the man
who will assume the important top position, no,
not of the undecided nation, but rather
the Nebraska Educational Television station
and its fine Network, which is known far and wide
as the pride and joy of Jack G. McBride.

He is often well described as the Keeper of the Flame
which burns in the hearts of those who share and
maintain those standards crafted with care,
of high resolve and deep devotion to the work
already accomplished and future dedication
to goals in art and education.

So now we salute this extraordinary man
who followed his ambitious daring plan
which he held always in his sights
to reach improbable, impossible heights.

When asked how he fashioned this fantastic scene
he replied, with a grin, Just ask my wife, Jean!
She, with an answering smile, replied with this rhyme:
Jack, on his climb, always, always took two stairs
at a time!

So now you may know how to measure his worth
to realize the value of his life here on earth.

Perhaps in the view of history’s eyes, he’ll be judged
by more analytical, Pontifical guys
but they’ll have to admit without equivocation
Jack McBride is a credit to the University,
the State and the Nation!

From A Dream

by Steve Gaines

1984… 1995

once…a very long time ago…
in a world more cynical and simple…
where I never fed off the big questions
I met a fellow creature of my world almost every morning…
…a street person
patched together like a rag doll with too many pieces missing
sad looking and unwashed… once a blonde…
once… from a time beyond wishing it back…
a member of the species woman
but the street had used her up
and put an emptiness in her eyes…
shinning through even the early morning darkness
we shared meeting in the street lights…

Continue reading → From A Dream


by Steve Gaines

this far flat space
land of long-distance sunsets
and storms that approach forever
along a darkened horizon

this Nebraska
wheat field flat
and home of the longest straight stretch
of highway anywhere
fifty-five miles without a bend

Continue reading → Nebraska

The Dying Roommate

by Steve Gaines

written February 21, 1995

across my room in the other bed
behind the drawn curtain
lies an old man dying without his beard
clinging noisily to one more night of life

Continue reading → The Dying Roommate