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Delaware Poetry Review

John M. Nashold


There’s a place I like to go,
When my engine’s running slow,
And my carburetor needs to be adjusted;
Or my muffler’s full of holes,
And my brake shoes have no soles,
And my steering mechanism can’t be trusted.

Or perhaps I just feel weak,
Or my gas tank’s sprung a leak,
Or my manifold is clogged with carbon clinkers;
Or my choke rod has been bent,
Or my battery is spent,
And my spark plugs have declared themselves freethinkers.

Sure, this place can be upscale,
Render service, never fail
To put the glitches of a high tech car to rest;
But the things they do for me,
Though they’re never done for free,
Have kept me up and running, with the very best.

When the tread has left my tires,
When the squirrels gnaw through my wires,
When the mice are nesting in my heater’s blower;
It’s to Taylor’s I shall go,
The garage where people know
That I’m not a vintage goner, I’m a goer.

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If I were you and you were me,
That’s not how things were meant to be;
For you’d be me and I’d be you,
No one would know just who was who.

Accused of some ungodly act,
And then confronted with the fact,
A logical defense could be,
It must be him for he is me.

Appearing thus before a judge,
Who wields a most uncourtly nudge,
I’d say again, by way of whim,
It can’t be me for I am him.

If then the judge, somewhat confused—
His patience tried, his wit defused—
Said perhaps I’m your twin brother,
I’d say, “No, we’re just each other.”

At this point he won’t care if we
Are not a single entity,
But he’ll have made it very clear
That he has had it up to here.

Then if I dared to state anew
That you were me and I were you,
We’d hear him, in one single breath,
Condemn the two of us to death.

Our names then prefixed with “the late,”
Cocksure outside of heaven’s gate,
I’d ask wherein we each could dwell,
And hear “you both may go to hell.”

The moral of this story, then,
Is just what it has always been:
Whatever else you dare to do,
Don’t ever say, “If I were you.”

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The whys and wherefores of waging war
Are audaciously bandied about.
The pros have held to their views thus far
While the cons seem befuddled by doubt.

But whether against it or for it,
In the midst of its heartache and strife,
We cannot afford to ignore it
For it subjugates all human life.

Let’s look at the high-flown decision
That engendered an ongoing war.
Was it based on objective vision,
Or the subjective view of a czar?

Was the need for conflict as stated,
A reflection of national will;
Or a personal pledge, predated,
To keep animus rolling uphill?

All wars, at best, are inglorious;
It is evil that brings them to bear
Upon multitudes notorious
For just fatefully having been there.

May we strive to circumvent all things
That may lead to this carnage-of-choice;
Let’s look to the blessings that peace brings
And fight with the power of our voice.

We, of course, must keep our defenses
Against any malevolent source,
But defense in none of its senses
Is a license for preemptive force.

We should stand for peace as a nation,
Let diplomacy temper the world;
And not greet each new trepidation
With belligerent banners unfurled.

About the Poet

Born in Greensboro, Maryland, Mr. Nashold joined the Navy on March 17, 1941, in response to FDR's wise counsel that, "It is better to have protection and not need it than to need protection and not have it." Those six years in the navy placed him in the heat of battle in many areas of the world aboard a destroyer/minesweeper. After the war, Mr. Nashold married and raised two children while employed at Lederle Laboratories for 38 years. After returning to Greensboro in 1985, he has spent his retirement years on thirteen acres of sylvan serenity that he calls, "The Lower Thirteen."