Sunday, December 16, 2007

Poems That Touch The Heart

From Rev. T. Wade Clegg III

This is the name of Radio Broadcaster A.L. Alexander’s collection of poems from his popular radio series which began on March 31, 1935, known as “Good Will Court.” Later in 1937 Alexander produced and presented to a nationwide audience the Court of Human Relations, also known as A.L. Alexander’s True Story Court.

Since discovering this treasure chest of poems, selectively chosen by A.L. Alexander, the book has remained one of my main sources for weddings, funerals, memorials and for the pleasure of reading. There is no doubt that the collection affected thousands over the years throughout the 1940’s into the 1960’s. Since its first publication there have been twenty-five reprint-ings. From 1956 - 1961 there were five more printings of a revised and enlarged edition. Fortunately my copy is one of the enlarged editions.

In the Introduction to the book, Alexander offers the following: “The object of the program (also called the Mediation Program) was to educate the public to the existence of a method by which grievances, when submitted to a board and approached tolerantly and sympathetically, can be heard and settled with a minimum of delay, with justice, with impartiality and, in most cases, with finality.”

He went on to explain, “Whatever any or all of the broadcasts had or did not have, there was one feature common to all of them. Each had the capacity to start the community thinking and therefore prepare the ground for the advancement of progress. Because of their realism and human interest they touched the heart and often inspired the desire for reformation. All were related in the sense that they grew out of the same basic purpose and human need.”

Alexander noted, “There was one other feature common to all of these programs, the custom of concluding each of them with an appropriate poem.” He added, “I have always had the conviction that poetry of a human and simple nature satisfies a hunger that is part of nearly every person’s make-up. Such expression served to point up and summarize what had been said in the more general way on the program proper, and I found it the most gracious and effective way of bringing the hour to a natural and logical conclusion.”

In the future when I use a poem from the A.L. Alexander collection, I will provide his comments about the impact of poetry in his radio programs and the initial skepticism from editors and broadcast executives. Alexander said, “Tens of thousands from every conceivable walk of life wrote of their being lifted up by a simple verse having the capacity to inspire patience of heart or rekindle hope and faith.”

The collection has had the same impact upon me. Perhaps you will begin to understand how a poem can strengthen your life, and why it is such a pleasure to have you join me over the next few years as we read “Poems That Touch The Heart.”


The Junk Man passed the house today
And gave his call in his plaintive way,
“Ol’ clothes!
Ol’ clothes!
Ol’ Clothes!
Any ol’ clothes to throw away?
Any ol’ dishes …any ol’ plates,
Any ol’ pants or hats or skates,
Any ol’ kettles or pots or pans,
Any ol’ bottles or ol’ tin cans,
Any ol’ dresses or any ol’ shoes,
Any ol’ things that you can’t use?
Ol’ clothes!
Ol’ clothes!
Ol’ clothes!
I searched the house and made a heap
Of things that I didn’t need to keep,
Outworn garments and out-read books,
Clothes that had hung on rusty hooks
For the dust to grime and the moths to chew.
And thus the old made way for the new.
I thought, as the old man went his way,
How grand it would be if every day
The Junk Man passed the house to say,

“Ol’ woes
Ol’ woes
Ol’ woes
Any ol’ woes to throw away?
Any ol’ grudges…any ol’ hates,
Any ol’ miseries or sad ol’ dates,
Any ol’ sorrows or any ol’ spites,
Any ol’ fusses or feuds or fights,
Any ol’ sighs or any ol’ tears,
Any ol’ wishing for yesteryears,
Any ol’ quarrels or any ol’ frets,
Any ol’ tears or ol’ regrets?
Ol’ woes!
Ol’ woes!
Ol’ woes!”

Author Unknown

Friday, December 14, 2007

Our Greatest Treasures and Ideas to Protect Them

Yes, I am speaking of children. At this joyous time of year, when families are out and about and in a festive mood, there is often a sense that everyone in the park, stores, malls, churches are all joined in one devoted attitude, namely a giant family affair.

This harmony can be shattered so very quickly, when a parent turns to speak to their child or grandchild and that child is not present. Distraction for a brief moment without keeping the child insight can leave an opportunity for those who are at the gathering for one purpose take a child.

Our entire life as parents and grandparents has been one of zealous monitoring; however, that same attention is not totally practiced by everyone. Keeping a child safe begins with some very deliberate programmed learning.

Perhaps your children are teens, and you feel confident in their ability to gage their surroundings, but it is important that you share these seemingly "child only" rules for safety with them. Even if your older children are nearing college age, the ideas projected in a few simple rules will seep through for their own protection. As you tell them that these rules are being discussed to protect little ones, the older children will indeed listen and learn as they are being equipped to protect the most vulnerable, and perhaps unknowingly themselves.

There are so many details to share with a child, but I would like to ask each of you to read the few "Rules for Safety" which are provided by The National Center of Missing and Exploited Children. They are provided “exactly" as originated by this marvelous organization, for that is the only rule for their publication.


Knowing My Rules for Safety

1. I CHECK FIRST with my parents, guardians, or other trusted adults before going anywhere, doing anything, helping anyone accepting anything, getting into a vehicle or leaving with anyone.

2. I TAKE A FRIEND with me when going places or playing outside.

3. I TELL someone NO if they try to touch me or do things in ways that make me feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused, because it’s OK for me to stand up for myself.

4. I TELL my parents, guardians, or other trusted adults if anything happens to me.

Sometimes there are people who choose to trick or hurt others. There is no excuse - no one has the right to force, trick, or pressure people into doing things they don't want to do. So use these rules, and remember you are STRONG, are SMART, and have the right to be SAFE. Always


For more information to report a missing or sexually exploited child, and/or to provide information about a missing child, please call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or visit the website at

The most important holiday gift we can offer is this opportunity to begin a dialog with your children, and your friends who have children, and share these Rules for Safety.

Stay Safe ...through sharing! Blessings...T. Wade and Elisheva