First Eighty-five Poems is a book of poetry written between January 1, 1959 and August 1, 1963 while the author was in junior high and high school. He shares what he was feeling and thinking when he wrote some of his poems. It is an autobiography in poetry. The author often considered taking his own life, but decided not to do that. The author questioned his Evangelical Protestant upbringing and later chose to be a Christian through his philosophy of life and not through the church. He served as a pastor for a number of years. The poems are presented in the order in which he wrote them and they share the feelings and questions he had during that time in his life. Readers may find his poems and comments helpful as they struggle with their own feelings about the world, their family and friends and their purpose in life.


In May 1963, the seniors of Mississinawa Valley High School went to Washington, D.C. for their class trip. It was not a

fun trip for me. It was an ordeal. I went because I was a part of the class.

It ends with this poem:

Poem 79

Just Another line — for Meg

It’s a beautiful night.
That biting wind
Is the kind
That gives you a cold.
The city’s lights aglow
On top the Capitol
And lighting up
The Washington Monument
Cast a brilliance
Upon the dirty Potomac waters.
That golden-brown
Of that shining liquid
Is like the tan
Of your face;
The darker brown beyond
Hides some mystery
Like the lovely
Brown of your eyes.
Your teeth are white —
Your lips are red,
And the cut of your chin
Enhances your nose.
Your hands are warm —
Your mouth is soft,
Your kiss would be divine!
And all I ask
Is that one be mine.

a. a.