Evolution of a Story

Please pardon the use of a weary and worn cliche, but in fact, variety is the spice of life. This is also true for those of us who spend endless, mostly joyful, hours of #amwriting stories and publishing #books.

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At times, the tales that draw us in are as unfamiliar as the tardy-rabbit’s hole that Alice tumbles into. As #writers and #authors, we may well know the hole is there, but sometimes, the stories possess a life and clock of their own. Their entrance honors no particular genre, time, or date. Such were the genesis and evolution of my latest book, a novelette, entitled CHRISTMAS PAST: AN ANGEL’S STORY.

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It was a difficult task to listen to this Christmas muse, so out of season, but apparently, an angel flooded my thoughts with memories of my family’s past. Once again, like during SEVEN FISH TREE, I was compelled to write a story that came from beyond or above me. I chose the adamant source to be the narrator of this tale. In essence, the angel pushed me down this abyss without me knowing it was one step ahead.

The overwhelming majority of what is presented in this novelette is true. Wrestling with the idea of changing everyone’s name within it became a solitary process. The muse was silent on this one, as she was initially for this work’s cover concept.

To some people, or possibly most, out there, this may sound a tad insane or as mad as the Hatter, but to those who write, it’ll make perfect sense. If my statements ring sane to you, you’ll also agree that our muses rarely appreciate the troubles they have caused.

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A year or so ago I had toyed around wth the idea of using a marvelous image from the Hubble Telescope for a book cover. The necessary contacts were made with the folks who control such greatness. That’s right, they wrote me back, and they, STScl, are amazingly friendly and accommodating.

My angel muse stepped into the decision process and what better place to find a heavenly influence than through the wide, powerful eye of Hubble. Once again, I bugged the Hubble gang, and with their blessings, they approved my book’s cover concept.

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Angels and God do move in mysterious ways.

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Despite the timing, the evolution of a story, cover, book, or muse can be fascinating tales within themselves.

It’s never too early or late for a heart-rending, yet tender and inspirational, Christmas story shown by an angel named Percy.

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I hope you will visit and enjoy my Christmas story that gushed forth in May, arriving like a forgotten present from a CHRISTMAS PAST: AN ANGEL’S STORY.

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King Toad

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King Toad

Down near the swamp

a bit to the left of a big

cypress tree, a favored

fishing hole, well hid,

overflowing with life

to be hooked or seen.

Many hours day, night

I spent there in peace.

Twas birthday thirteen

when king toad came,

nothing biting, save me.

What say ye young man?

regal, fat frog did croak.

To my great surprise, the

green, slimy critter spoke.

How’s the fishing, catching

anything but that tiny bream?

“I’m sorry frog but are

you really talking to me?”

Well of course lad, I can

speak, and chatting with

you seems prudent to me.

Answer all my questions,

and I’ll give you three free?

“Sir toad, this is strange

to be talking with a frog

while sitting here fishing.”

Answer my questions, my

questions you must answer,

he recast, croaking testily.

“What free three do I win,

if your conditions are met?”

Forgive me for being unclear.

You’ll be granted three wishes.

I’ve already asked you two and

one more will equal my three.

Without hesitation I said,

“What I say frog is, nice

to make your acquaintance.

How are thee this fine day?”

Smart lad, you may well win.

Happy to know you, I’m fine.

“The fishing is awfully slow

this little bream’s all that I’ve

caught for the table tonight.”

Excellent responses from you,

but know question three is a

tad more tricky, for wishes are

hard to come by even from me.

Which is more important

the doughnut or the hole?

Baiting hook, provided

pause while thinking of

a clever return to this.

“I believe I know what the

correct rebuttal should be.

As you jump pond to pond,

whatever may be your goal

keep your big eyes upon the

donut and not upon the hole.

Now, for my first wish, I’d

like to see those chunky legs

fried and on our table tonight.”

King frog was speechless and

with a loud, harsh croak he leapt

into the pond, diving from sight.

You can’t trust those dang toads,

much less royal well-spoken ones.

Copyright © 2016 Ron Shaw

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Percy the Ghost Seer

Cramped Quarters

 

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Our cat, Percy sees ghosts or at least he does Mary, our resident apparition. It has been a couple of months since his last meeting with Mary, and seated, I witnessed the event frozen in fear with the hairs on my arms, scalp, and neck standing. It lasted far too long as Mary and Percy did a slow dance, her moving along the ceiling and Percy, with eyes fixated, following Mary’s every move. I could swear a chill in the air followed her inside the house.

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Our housecat Percy is the first to know when ghost Mary is present.

Our housecat Percy is the first to know when ghost Mary is present.

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8-7-15

A Cold Chill

It was late at night not so long ago and seconds before midnight when Mary decided to appear. Her sudden intrusion into our home wouldn’t have been alarming if not for the fact Mary is a ghost who mostly remained outside nearby her crypt that is a Victorian trunk.

All was quiet around the house as the girls had called it an early evening with me saying ‘sleep tight’ just after nine p.m. This was perfect, as I would have at least a few hours of solitude to write. All day long, mental plans were made to peck away at another chapter of a new work in progress because earlier that morning, one of the central characters had demanded to be heard. She’d patiently waited for a little alone time with me. Her moment had arrived.

It was a Sunday night.

Our house cat Percy had decided to bed down early like the ladies. He curled up into a comfortable C-shape on the carpet beside my den chair. My Dell laptop was humming as the words began to flow while Percy’s first faint snores could be heard a few feet to my left. He was apparently enveloped by a pleasant dream within a deep sleep.

The paragraphs flowed as my main character had her say. She was poised for verbosity this night and her scribe was doing his level best at trying to type her every word. This became my only focus. My attention trapped to the keypad from A to Z on my computer while feverishly typing.

Three hours passed. The Seth Thomas mantel clock sounded twelve chimes.

Without warning, a cold, invisible cloud rolled slowly from behind me touching my back first, hesitating briefly, and then, moving through my shivering body towards an unsuspecting and sleeping Percy. A cold dread raced through me, as the chill felt as if it had entered my body as quickly as the effects of an injection of pain meds at the hospital.

Typing ceased. Chattering teeth were followed by hairs standing at attention on the back of my neck and creeping up into graying hair and scalp. Fright overtook me when the realization that I wasn’t alone with Percy in our den. This thought wasn’t fully absorbed when the ghost entered Percy. From a sound sleep, he jumped from his prone position to all fours turning his body position facing the direction of the ghostly chill with teeth showing, curved back and claws dug deeply into the carpet backing. Percy was posturing as large as possible while a low, steady, guttural growl came from his clenched jaws.

I watched him, me in fear while his eyes focused on something that was creeping beyond me and towards him. His eyes fixed like laser beams on the invisible, quiet, and yet, cold intruder. He saw her. I know he did. It was perfectly clear from the look in his eyes and body language. This cat was scared just like this old man.

Percy’s eyes and head followed the floating ghost as she ascended to the ceiling in our den. He slowly crept along our floor with her aerial movements never once taking his eyes from Mary. I fixed my attention on the areas he was trained on while mimicking his stealthy attitude frozen in my leather chair.

While only moving my head slightly and my eyes, I watched as Percy followed her drifting up and down within our den, which has a cathedral ceiling. Twice, she and he traveled up and down the length of the den. At one point, Mary hovered for an extended period of time just above the lighted ceiling fan as if looking down on Percy and me. This was frightening. Percy stared up at her and possibly, she down at him.

Then, Mary was on the slow move again. They headed towards the hallway in the direction of the bedrooms where my wife and daughter were sleeping. At the large doorway from the den to the hallway, Percy stopped and I can only assume she did, as well. He watched her with his neck fully tilted back. Mary was at the top of the ceiling above the doorway.

His eyes and head moved down while she entered the opening to the hallway. Percy followed behind Mary staring up at her the entire time. They went down the hallway a few feet but never out of my view. The read of his body was still seen when he turned slowly and began to follow the ghost back into the den, past me, and into the kitchen to the rear of me. I never left my chair because I was frightened, possibly, beyond your understanding or appreciation.

I could not see Percy, but his methodical, slow footsteps on the tiled floor could easily be heard. I’m certain he made it all the way to the foot rug at the kitchen door that leads to our carport. This is within about twenty of Mary’s trunk.

In silence, Percy remained stationed at the kitchen door for a good while with me like a big puss, fear-frozen in my chair.

He walked back to the den. When he made it alongside my chair, Percy staring up at me. His little cat face etched with fear. From my chair, I stared down at him in shared fright.

The work in progress was over for the moment and the computer was bedded down.

Percy relocated to the highest, comfortable perch in our den and curled up for the continuation of his respite.

In a daze, I slinked off to my bed and hid beneath my covers.

Sleep came hard and slowly.

Copyright © 2015 Ron Shaw

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Percy’s Meow!

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Percy is overwhelmed by the human love and kindness he’s receiving from around the world via the various social media sites.

Our housecat Percy is the first to know when ghost Mary is present.

He wanted me to blog a powerful, claw-free, paw-filled, purrfect “thank you” to those out there who cherish life and especially, to the tireless volunteers like Steve Cartwright @sccart1 who so selflessly give of themselves, ensuring that abandoned and abused animals find a caring family and warm home.

Without kindhearted people, Percy would not be here to bring joy to so many.

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a poem for Percy

Meow

Percy is a cat
but he doesn’t think so.
He’s a pet
who believes we are, too.
Fancying himself
anything but what he is.
Going about
his self-appointed duties
of master,
defender of our abode,
protecting us.
Snatched from
death’s cruel grasp by
one who’d
become kitten then cat’s
true pet.
Like child, nightly
he rests upon her chest
under chin,
hugging the kind lady
who saved
his weak and tiny soul.
Nursing him
like a lost child. Suckling
Mom’s attention,
he rests in her loving arms.
Percy’s a cat
and keep it to a whisper
because he’s
staring at me now with
the oddest
look on his cute cat face.

Copyright © 2016 Ron Shaw

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Epic Poetry Lives within Richard M. Knittle, Jr.

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It is both an honor and privilege to invite poet, Richard M. Knittle, Jr. and his precious son, Ryder onto my site.

If you are a lover of poetry in general, fear not, because lovely poems, including epic poetry, are alive and thriving from the pen of Richard M. Knittle, Jr. like in his book, Out of the Darkness: A Poets Journey.

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Like many marvelous, highly-talented and caring men and women, I met Richard about two years ago while seeking the best guests from around the world for my internet radio show, not-so-cleverly named, The Ron Shaw Show. Immediately, I was captured by his arduous journey in winning custody of his son, Ryder. His epic poem that is The Battle Lost: Ryder’s Birth, about this ordeal touched my heart like no other poem had done since my early college days during the 1970s. His illustrations within this work are the perfect compliment to the angst and pain Richard was experiencing with his battle for his son’s well-being, in fact, his life.

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I’ve been blessed to know this man, his son, and his beautiful poetry. Difficult journeys are no mystery to me, and my heart will always go out to those seeking a better life and justice for those in need whether family, friend or stranger.

Richard and I have done two Internet radio shows together, and it is always an extreme pleasure to chat with him about poetry, life, love, family, and any other topic of joy or tears.

Recently, Richard asked if I would be interested in collaborating on a poem with him. Of course, I was honored to do so. We tossed the idea around a bit and came up with what I considered as a unique creation. Richard was gracious enough to pick the overall theme of the poem, and he wrote the first three lines of his vision. I chose to weave a line of my own after each of his lines. This process, of Richard, writing the odd-numbered lines and me the even-numbered ones, grew into a beautiful poem by two men who have become friends through words spoken and in print, deeds, mutual respect, and admiration. But I am somewhat prejudiced because I’m a fan of Richard’s poetry and well, mine’s not so bad either.

We hope you like our collaboration, entitled “Love External” that was also a collaboration for the title. I picked “Love”, Richard “External”.

Don’t tell Richard…I selected and included the photograph by my brother-in-law, J. Robert Sosby of Atlanta, Georgia.

Thank you, Richard M. Knittle, Jr. for being my friend.

Hug Ryder for me.

 

Love External

when God created time and space

how could He have imagined

in the beginning of creation

before man was raised from dust

He must of had you and I in mind

at minimum a dream of splendor

that can never be reproduced

matters not what our intent imparts

and shall remain as irrefutable

from first breath to our final hour

as the stars and the sun in the

vastness of time and space attest

heavens that are painted above

bear witness to His omnipotent truths

for our love will outlast the sands of time

never to be broken our union abounds

and is stronger than the mountains

yet as tender as flower’s first petal

with a bond created by the very fabric of life itself

life itself

from God’s pure love gifted to you and I

through eternity

 

Copyright 2016 Richard M Knittle Jr.

Copyright © 2016 Ron Shaw
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from the heart

The genuine kindness and selflessness generosity of others within the worldwide writing community continue to amaze me, touching my heart, lifting my soul.

Two simple words, “thank you”, do not adequately convey my deepest appreciation to beautiful people such as author, Tamara Ferguson of Illinois for inviting me into her wonderful site, TALES OF THE DRAGONFLY Romantic Suspense, via an interview. I’m equally honored and humbled.

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Tamara’s biography at Amazon is very impressive:

A member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as the FTHRW Chapter, Tamara Ferguson is the top-ten best-selling, multi-award winning author of the Kissed By Fate Romance Series and the Tales of The Dragonfly Romance Suspense Series. Her latest release is Two Hearts Surrendered. This military romance is her contribution to the bestselling Magical Weddings anthology, which includes stories by fifteen USA Today, best-selling, and award-winning authors.

Tales of the Dragonfly Book II: In Flight was a 2014 WINNER at the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards. Her latest release, That Unforgettable Kiss was recently a top ten Amazon bestseller in Kindle Saga Fiction, earned 3-5★editorial reviews from Readers’ Favorite, and has just become the 2015 WINNER of The Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Awards in New Adult Romance.

A graduate of Illinois State University, Tamara Ferguson was a Vice-President of her graduating class and a Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She was awarded the Illinois State University College of Applied Science and Technology Collegiate Achievement Award upon her graduation.

A former horticulturist, she currently resides in central Illinois.

Tamara Ferguson can be easily contacted at the various social media sites below and her books found at Amazon.

Amazon (Author Page)

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

Tamara’s Books;

Tales of the Dragonfly Book II:  In Flight

Kissed by Fate Series

A Touch of Passion (Boxed Set Series)

Mother’s Day Magic: …With Love (Boxed Set Series)

Magical Weddings: 15 Enchanting Romances (Boxed Set)

Two Hearts Surrendered

Tales of the Dragonfly Book I: In Tandem

Tales of the Dragonfly: A New Beginning and Updated-March 2010

Tammy, thank you so very much for being the sweet soul you are.

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What is it about…poetry?

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Hopefully, you can help me out with this one.

What is it about poetry?

I know I’ve been very fond of it from the earliest age, and it’s mysterious allure continues to beckon me into a world composed of words that are all too often veiled in deeper meaning. When reading literature, I tend to be more obvious oriented, a bird is a bird and a flower is a…well, not often in poems.

After publishing twelve works, from deep within me, the innate urge to express myself in an entirely different manner overtook me.

As far back as I can remember, reading poetry has always been a passion. It may well have been one of the key factors in choosing English Literature as my college major.

This collection is the result of exposing my soul and heart in a way I’d never dreamed of doing.

While my other published works are integral parts of me, I now understand that poetry is the essence of who I was, am, and forever will be.

With the understanding that these are my inaugural offerings and with the compassion to allow a heart without and soul within to falter, I hope you enjoy my poems.

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Without From Within: Poems by Ron Shaw is my inaugural dabbling into poetry. It has proven to be an entirely different journey in words than my other works. I never realized there was such a vast, worldwide community of poets and readers who share my appreciation of it. Yes. I am naivete is apparent. But through G+, a wonderful window has opened for me as a novice at writing poetry where sharing poems is a passion.

Poetry commands the singular ability to lay one prostrate and bare before the reader, giving safe refuge to words and thoughts of depth excavated from crevices yet explored deep within the poet. I find no other form of writing to be so utterly and beautifully invasive.

The poems that follow are my second collection of published poetry. My initial traverse into the purest of all literature, poetry, Without From Within, has surpassed my greatest expectations. It has been well-received. I’m humbled by the praise it continues to garner from readers worldwide. I’m delighted many have found favor with my poems and the photographs contained within the book. I see no reason to alter what has been a successful combination of poetry and photography. Hopefully, each offering will please your senses as well as touch your emotions. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a poem speaks volumes.

I hope you will enjoy TraVerses: Poems by Ron Shaw as well as the photographs presented by my brother-in-law, J. Robert Sosby of Atlanta, Georgia.

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If anything, trying my pen at writing and publishing poems has given me a deeper appreciation for the purest of all literature, poetry.

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Almost a Blog

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It’s been at least three decades since the idiot who hosts this site has posted a blog, Frankly, just between you and me, he hasn’t got it in him. Creativity has never been his Sunday-best suit, but some weird stories have been brewing and spewing forth. So I’ll try my hand at quoting some of them for you. Be advised or forewarned, apparently, the guy’s mind is loosely wired like he writes and you never know what hole his rabbit will tumble into. I’d strongly suggest his faculties are within a padded breakroom.

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A couple of days ago he was stuck in the 1950s and 60s, laughing his fool face off about a handful of crazy characters who grew up with him in the government housing projects in Atlanta, Georgia. Bare with me because I’ll be paraphrasing what the goofball related, and my memory is almost as swift as his brain in high gear.

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It was around 1963 in Atlanta. There was this kid, named Thomas D. who lived in the Capitol Homes projects. Thomas’ apartment was located a couple of buildings away from the dupe whose name is on this site. Supposedly, Thomas had some quirky abilities. Despite being as thin as a dollar bill and as lanky as a one by four, he could eat like a dang morbidly obese cockroach on a marijuana bender.

Well, almost every family in the Homes received a regular check from US taxpayers and some free government food each and every month. They, all of them, cherished the most the grease-saturated peanut butter and block of oily cheese. The host here also did.

One summer’s day, Thomas discovered the Shaw’s had their monthly allotment of food and neither their peanut butter nor cheese had been opened.

Thomas had an idea. “Whale, (that’s what folks called Ron) I’ll make you a bet. I lifted a five dollar bill from Mom’s pocketbook a few minutes ago, and I’m willing to bet you that on this. You know I can stuff thirty-five, uncooked, pinto beans in my belly button. Everybody knows that’s the Homes record. But today, I’ll bet you this five spot that I can break my own record by at least ten beans. I know y’all have some dried pinto beans in the house. Hell, we all do. If I don’t break my record by minimum ten beans, I’ll fork over the five. If I do, I keep the money and eat as much of your cheese and peanut butter as I want.”

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While his explanation of the affair was going on, a few of the local gang had gathered around, waiting for the full details. Kids were screaming for friends to come out and witness the event. Thomas was about to do his belly button stuffing thing. Several adults joined them behind the Shaw’s apartment.

“You’re on!” Whale chimed.

Peeling his dirty T-shirt off, Thomas lay on the dirt yard while the bag of pinto beans was brought from the kitchen. Thirty-five beans were counted out. The larger ones were chosen by the Shaw boy. He was determined to win that money. Slowly, the beans were handed over to Thomas, as the crowd kept count. The old record went by the wayside as bean thirty-six was crammed into his cavernous tummy hole. Laughing like a drunken clown, Thomas ordered, “Get that food ready!”

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He easily won the bet, obliterating his old record by fifteen beans. Thomas lay there on his back, pulling beans out of his belly with one hand, munching cheese with his other. After a while, he resorted to dipping the chunks of cheese into the peanut butter. It took him less than thirty minutes to finish the entire huge block of greasy cheese and lick the big can of peanut butter clean.

Momma Shaw was not amused at the loss of a month’s worth of cheese and PB, not to mention, the pinto beans wasted in the process. She took a broom to the lot of them, running the rabble from her yard.

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Thomas wasn’t much on education either. He’d routinely pull an Ernest T. Bass on his various teachers. If he didn’t wish to be in class, he bolted to a window, hoisting it open, climbing out, screaming and hollering as he ran. Sometimes, he’d turn abruptly, grab a rock or brick, and hurl it at the school…Ernest T. Bass. Yes. Thomas was a dad burned nut, as Barney Fife might opine.

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But he was smart enough for the Army and to fight in Vietnam. During the war, Thomas D. was reported as an MIA. It remains unknown if he or his remains were found.

Rest In Peace, Thomas D.

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OUT OF MY HEAD RADIO with ADAM GINSBERG

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Are you ready to have your mind blown?

Can you handle total coolness wrapped within interludes of killer tunes?

If you dare to be entertained, listen to the forever creatively eclectic, the great Adam Ginsberg’s OUT OF MY HEAD RADIO!

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It’s cutting edge, rocking Internet radio that pops from the first beat until the last song with actor, film director and producer, and radio host Adam Ginsberg…at Twitter @themadman40

Have you had your meds?

If so, click the link that follows. It was a huge honor and extreme pleasure to be included on his March 29 Episode Show.

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Adam Ginsberg, you are an amazing human being. Many thanks for having me on your show. It was an extreme honor to share time with you on your stellar show, and having you on my show, The Ron Shaw Show (click the link for Adam’s appearance), was a total pleasure.

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Nature

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Nature

beauty knows not
what eyes see
heart never feels
a gentle breeze
light and shadows
captured in time
God’s greatest gifts
the visually sublime

Copyright © 2016 Ron Shaw

Photography by J. Robert Sosby of Atlanta, GA
Poem by Ron Shaw of GA

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