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Poetry  and Other Artistic Writings such as Stories
T. Buckingham Thomas physics Oberlin WOBC Richwood Tom Thomas Chyron Infinit Pittsburgh
I wrote most of the following articles, but several of them quote other writers.

To search for specific names or events that might be listed elsewhere, click the icon to bring up a Google search box.  Replace ql in the search box with the word or words you seek.    °

An altar bursts into flame?  Somebody set it on fire.  A lame man takes a few steps?  He already had that ability.  A woman who has been unable to conceive finally does so?  This sort of thing happens every day.

When Biblical writers tell these stories, they attribute the “miracles” to divine intervention.  However, I tend to suspect that there may be other explanations that rely less on the supernatural.  So I decided to retell the stories my way.

Here's my list, in Bible order.  Most of the tales are told pseudepigraphically in the first person, but the green backgrounds indicate interviews by the fictional Brother Billy on his “It's in the Bible” talk show.

Let Us Make Man

A god foolishly starts creating things.

Breath of Life

Brother Billy believes life begins at conception.  Better-informed scholars disagree.

The Yahwist Source

An interview with the first Biblical author about her bedtime stories.

A Promise in the Clouds

A wine-loving megalomaniac saves his family.

Elroy Was Here

To a patriarch's household, he was an angel.

A Family of Cheaters

Tamar tricks Judah into giving her a son.

Sixteen Tuns

  Debt bondage among brickmakers in ancient Egypt and in present-day south Asia.

°The Burning Bush

Aaron's magician helps him speak for God.

Escaping the Pi-hahiroth Trap

How could Moses lead the Israelites across the 200-mile-wide Red Sea?  An eyewitness explains.

°Nun's Tale

A son destroys dad's livelihood and plots genocide.


An old priest has troubles with his boys.


A woman has to summon a dead man's spirit.

The Princess

Who can marry the king's daughter?  A valiant warrior with a bag of severed body parts.

Raising the Widow's Son

Fatherless family takes in homeless beggar.


During a drought, prophets are killed.

Multiplying Miracles

A prophet is recalled in recycled (and gory) tales.


Jonah tells a tall tale about a whale.

Solomon Redner

The pessimistic author of Ecclesiastes is interviewed.

The Jig Is Up

Daniel exposes lying judges and fake gods.


For my first illusion, see these water jars?

Jumping to Conclusions

Fishermen convince themselves that Jesus is God.

Like a Good Neighbor

  A story about one who represents the good: Sam.

Simon of Shimron

Jesus's younger brother thinks he's crazy.

Pastoral Visit

  Davina's mother-in-law is cured by tenderness and love.

It Looks Like Him

How Jesus apparently restored a blind man's sight.


Jesus turns on his disciples.


Lazarus rehearses Jesus's resurrection.

Cleaning House

Should the Temple precincts be non-profit?

The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved

John refers obliquely to Jesus's romantic partner.

The Great Grave Robbery

Nicodemus's bribe leads to Caesar's decree.

Temporary Tomb

Joseph of Arimathea tells his story.

Communicating with Departed Loved Ones

  The message: "Don't despair.  Let it be."


On Easter, two despondent disciples meet a man.

Doubting Thomas

Did a ghost appear in a locked room?

The Old Mann and the Sea

A prescient suggestion inspires fishermen. 

The Beautiful Gate

A disabled man's job is disrupted by do-gooders.

Talking with Paul

An interview with the famous letter-writer, a confirmed bachelor.

Q Visits a Corinthian

Q's stories about the Sermon on the Mount are rejected by an early Christian convert.

Fleshing Out Jesus

Mark's gospel gives life to Paul's preaching.

Crossed Messages

One Gospel says Jesus was born of a woman; another says he descended from Heaven.

Mark vs Luke

The first evangelist accuses the second of depicting Jesus as excessively meek and mild.

In One Hour Has Thy Judgment Come

Revelation and Pliny the Younger each describe the destruction of Pompeii.


Can someone be good without God's guidance?  An opinionated Southerner weighs in.


When You're In Rome

...wear a toga!


8 and 6

  "A Midsummer Night's Dream" characters discuss how many syllables should be in a proper prologue.


Heavenly Flowers from His Thorns

Johann Sebastian Bach sets St. John's passion narrative to music, with added commentary.


The Book of Elmo

Elmo Hale's somewhat sketchy brother-in-law puts his face into a hat and discovers Mormon scripture therein.


Beware the Jabberwock

What is a slithy tove, anyway?  And where can you watch the submarine races?


All Minds are Little

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  And a God.  And you're going to heaven.



Under the Talcott Tree

John Prindle Scott's serenade.


The Gold Fields Out in Nome

Irving Berlin adapts one of his 1918 songs for Kate Smith to sing on the radio.



°A Mother's Garden in a New Land

My mother's poem about learning again how to garden on the windy plains of Richwood, Ohio.



Bumm Dum Tillium

Nonsense lyrics for a Beethoven piece played on a speeded-up piano.

°Vernon Thomas at the Richwood Fair

A local poet guests on my father's radio program from the fair.

°Antihymeneal Hymns

Parody songs against marriage (and feminism), from an unproduced musical.

Moon through the Night

As chairman of the Decoration Committe, I plan for the Junior-Senior Prom and write a melancholy poem.

I Do Not Need a Cure

A song disclaiming the "cure for life," with music by Haydn.

°Rain in November

Outside Richwood High School, a gloomy night.

°To a Staple

A little parable.

Bill Doodle

Set to the music of a Brahms rhapsody, the story of a young man who willingly puts himself in harm's way.

°Playing with Words

A family in a rut, a very long sentence, and songs about thwarted cheerleaders and noble underdogs at Richwood High School.


May, 1965:  some impressions.

Sing, Sing a Song

Of sixpence, of cities, but especially of colleges.

°A Freshman Crush

At college, I'm dazzled by a friendly princess.  Yet I am not worthy.

Rev. Wagner's Cake

A comic song for a going-away party.

°The Parable of the Lady and the Cat

A shy, longing student's blank verse.

The Prophetess

I get inside her head, in two languages.  She may not want me there.

Need It Be Said?

A song for a character who cannot believe.

The Silent Dark

A poem about my parents' nighttime journey to hear me on the radio.

Promonius and Constanes

Two Shakespearian types contemplate the impending Commencement of the Class of 1968.

Item Four

Unable to love, I nevertheless pen a sonnet.

°Three Bad Dreams

Versifying my nightmares.


Letters from Jan: Readjustment

We exchange poems about her love life.  She breathes one note; I suggest a melody might be more effective.

Can You Repeat That?

I recall two comic roles, including one in which my voice broke appropriately, plus a couple of vocalists from the 1990s.

°The Songs of Linda

Dramatizing a true story from my past — a story of love gone bad.

On Your Wooden Anniversary

Choosing a sufficiently animated gift.

Great Songs of Broadway

Listen to me play the piano for my parents, recorded live to eight-track tape.



Love the One You're With

A tale of a new puppy and a resentful cat.

Fleeing the Storm

A "quiet" week on Lake Pontchartrain.




From 19th-century music, some words for those who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

Verse Is Where You Find It

Others' prose about chilling out.

Add Drama

A few ideas for enlivening traditional performances.

°Smilin' Through

Maybe Mel Brooks and I once had the same book on the music racks of our respective pianos. 

°Zoey and the Zekoonies

A little girl and her grandfather discuss whether dogs go to heaven.

We Are Not Crooks

I dream of Nixon, resulting in a short story.

°To Boil a Frog

A horrific drive down a hill.


It Ain't Us, Babe

Congressman, it ain't me you're workin' for, babe.

Add More Drama!

At church, an old hymn becomes a dialogue; Woody Guthrie declares our land is his land too.

Word Gone Missing

Karen Gillan appears in the otherwise true tale of my search for an affa word.


Found Haikus

Sentences that just happen to have 17 syllables can sometimes be viewed as poetry.

The Hill We Climb

Amanda Gorman's 2021 poem at the Inaugural.


Abalone, anemone, albacore — what's the word I want?

Albaugh:  "Play like we are beautiful and brave"

Amanda Gorman:  "Being American is ... how we repair it"

Amazing Soap

America the Beautiful, above the enameled plain

Are you okay?  I haven't heard from you lately

Art elicits reactions from animals

"Because" sung by Perry Como and nine Sara Niemietzes

Beethoven's "Ode to Freedom"?

Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song" cartooned

Benchley tries to doze on a train

Bended knees are bent

"Bespoke" apparently means "spoken for"

Chevrolet celebrated in an old-timey song

Christians translate the Hebrew poetry of Job

Classic rock and holiday classics never fade away

Come to the fair, heigh-ho!

Coventry Carol's "little tiny child" isn't Jesus

Dark curtain descends across continent

Demons, in a 1597 book by Jimmy Stuart, inspire witch mania

Dixieland-style piano in a minor key

Doggie sings backup on an old song

Durante, Jimmy, knew how to sing Snowman, Frosty the

Dylan:  "I'm just a song-and-dance man"

"Eek" in Chaucer and Shakespeare means "also"

Evanier passes 25,000 posts

George's guitar gently weeps over the coming disaster

"God Bless America" written and revised and premiered

Grammys are fading because we prefer older music

Hair opens at a theater I'd visited

How it'd be to have a famous face, and how not to fix the problem

"Jingle Bells" and other songs of romance are for February

Land ain't sure, mount do!

Latin joke

Leap-year kid, now 21, is not an adult; has had only five birthdays

Ludwig van Beethoven's sneaky start to his Symphony #9

Magnets can't attract silver, according to Gilbert & Sullivan

"Me and Bobby McGee" broke up; freedom!  (= nothin' left to lose)

Melanie, singer (flourished 1970-72)

Melanie and the candles in the rain

Mendelssohn's "Paulus" is essentially Bach

Meter of "You Really Got Me" is something original

Moon shines over our high school prom

Mormon names for "Alizabeth" and her kids

Musical instructions are often in Italian

My economically ravaged home

National Anthem was to Anacreon in Heaven

Nellie Bly's accomplishments, and Stephen Foster's "Nelly Bly"

"O thus be it ever" verse from the National Anthem

Organ keys mysteriously play themselves

Palin-dromes illustrated

Partridge?  Pear tree?  Perdrix?

"Peter Pan" is just an actor and can't possibly fly up off the stage, right?

Prix fixe?

Repeating the same phrase aids memory

Repeating the same word is avoided in English writing

Rhymes:  "Hey Jude"

Rhymes:  Inexact

Rhymes:  Inventive

Romeo, wherefore art thou?  That is, why?

"Saming" and "truthing" can be verbs

Silent Night's 1818 introductory homily imagined

Smauggy days desolated L.A. — what, that's not the meaning?

Songs from the 1890's remembered

Songs from the 1960's learned late:  "Soul Man," "Angel of the Morning"

Sonnet: "Exasperating Janet," to a "truant" fellow student

Sonnet: "The ICE Colossus,” after Emma Lazarus

"Splicing" as a synonym for marrying

Synthetic A's in the concert hall

Taylor Swift has all of the current Top 10 songs

The dying of the light

Theme songs for horse races and ball drops are very old


Understanding opera (i.e., the words)

"Update the poor Image, before it gets grumpy!"

Versions of literary works, including Shakespeare

Women join the Philharmonic and, in fact, form a majority

Yacht dispatched!  (Does that rhyme?)


FROM 1964:

Far sweeter than the wailing of this age,
Discordant noise to which we twist and rock,
Rings forth old music from the yellowed page:
The songs of Schubert and the fugues of Bach.