Morning Mist Over the Creek

Pond with morning mist evaporating
morning mist evaporating, photo by GCS

 I have nothing…


no thoughts, no ideas,

no inspiration.

Worse, only clichés

crowd my mind:

stock images,

standard phrases,

or remembered words

wielded by real writers.

Feeling only frustration,

tempted by alliteration,

or worse, rhyme…


Is it worse to plagiarize

than to leave a blank page?

— “Morning Mist Over the Creek” by Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL Feb. 6, 2013

Steve Shoemaker

Steve Shoemaker (RIP) was the Views from the Edge colleague whose verses and poems, written in the middle of the night, were sent to “his publisher” from his iPhone before dawn. Five of Steve’s verses/poems are republished in Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness. At six-feet eight inches, he towered above the crowd. In this photo, his 6’8″ frame rests on a 1,000+ year-old Bristlecone Pine above the tree line. – GCS

“Poetry is the impish attempt to paint the color of the wind.” –Maxwell Bodenheim, quoted in Ben Hecht’s play Winkelberg (1958).

The foreign visitor

In this acrostic verse Steve Shoemaker imagined Simon of Cyrene, the innocent foreign (Libyan) bystander conscripted to help carry Jesus’s cross. Jesus of Nazareth was found guilty of “subverting the nation and refusing to pay tribute to Caesar.”


Since I was in Jerusalem for Passover,

I  bought nice gifts both for my wife and the two boys.

Money I had, position in Cyrene, power…

Only meaning was missing, reason for my days.

Now my bags are knocked down and a Roman soldier

Orders me to carry a young condemned man’s cross.

From deep within his eyes I see a place of peace.

Crying women followed us all along the road.

Years later I could still recall, he turns and says,

Remove your tears for me, there are for you ahead

Even worse times to come:  no men,  no pregnancies,

No children, no city–for battles, sieges, war

End families, prosperity, leave just the poor.

  • – Acrostic Verse  – Steve Shoemaker – Urbana, IL, April 22, 2012

Steve (1943-2016) continued the work of Simon of Cyrene. He lived his life on behalf of the poor. We’re missing him today.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 28, 2017.

Steve Shoemaker’s Legacy

Click After husband’s death, wife steps in as teen’s mentor for the story of Steve Shoemaker’s continuing legacy through Nadja, Steve’s life partner, and their mentee.

Well done, good and faithful servant. Your works do follow you. RIP.

Thank you, Nadja, for continuing the legacy.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, January 29, 2017.

For My Memorial Service Bulletin

Steve is discussing with his family the following statement to be printed in his Memorial Service bulletin. He’s looking ahead. We hope far ahead, but he is accepting of death.

“The last few months of his life, Steve hired Rev. Rachel Bass-Guenneweg for weekly training in wheelchair Yoga. For the next 5 minutes, Steve’s gift to all present who will receive it, is a sample of this. You will not have to move from your pew, or touch anyone else. Simply follow the directions spoken by Rachel. Enjoy! (If you do not wish to try it, breathe slowly, and offer a silent prayer for others.)”

  • Gordon on behalf of Steve

Click HERE for more about the good Reverend wheelchair trainer, Rachel Bass-Guenneweg.

Verse – 7 Minutes in Heaven

A party game
When we were 11
A girl in a closet
I was picked to join her
All the 5th-graders at the party
Would time us kissing
Just 7 short minutes

The CAT scan lasts 7 minutes
Feet first I am rolled in
Take a deep breath
Hold your breath
3 times in and out
A burning in my genitals

Just like in the closet
With Mary Kay Place

  • Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, April 28, 2016

The Varieties of Religious Appearance

Pulpits and lecterns are “One size fits all!”
Visiting preachers will cover the wall.
A very short woman,
She carries her step in
I’m very tall, so I carry a hole…

  • Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, January 25, 2016

NOTE: These photographs of Steve kneeling (l) and standing (r) were taken several years ago at the historic pulpit of Sheldon Jackson in Colorado.Sheldon_Jackson Sheldon was a smaller guy with a big heart. Steve’s has the same heart and is likely much more humorous than Sheldon, but who’s to say?

The Three Kings [aka Stooges]

Wednesday evening three old friends from Texas, Arizona, and northern Illinois descended on the Shoemaker home in Urbana, IL to sing their own semi-humorous re-write of the traditional Epiphany hymn We Three Kings. They concluded by presenting gold, frankincense, and myrrh to our mutual friend Steve Shoemaker. There’s a video of the trio on Steve’s FaceBook page for those want to watch and sing along. Steve, diagnosed with terminal cancer, is feeling remarkably well – even got up to make oatmeal for the guys the next morning!


A Tribute to the Rev. Dr. Steve Shoemaker (Harry Lee Strong)
(Tune: Three Kings of Orient; John Henry Hopkins, 1857)

We three friends from north, south, and west
Gather here as your grateful guests.
Pardon our singing – gifts we are bringing,
Just hoping not to be pests.

O … Husband, father, poet, bard:
How we loathe your journey hard!
If we could, you know we would
Make this damn disease retard!

It’s so good to see you again
Here at home on your Illinois plain,
Still with humor, despite tumors,
Teaching to die is to gain.

O … Talk show host and scholar bright:
Few compete with your great height!
On the air and through your care,
Keepin’ Faith both day and night.

Only God can possibly know
How many lives you’ve enabled to grow:
Words and actions, breaking down factions,
Allowing your light to show.

O … Classmate, preacher, prophet bold:
No respect do we withhold!
From our coffers we now offer
Frankincense and myrrh and gold.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, January 8, 2016. Wish I’d been there.

Verse – Chemo Hair Loss, Male

Steve Shoemaker welcoming President Bill Clinton

Steve Shoemaker welcoming President Bill Clinton

I’ve been bald quite a while to the North,
But luxuriant beard’s round my mouth.
The Chemo’s relentless,
And soon I’ll be beardless,
And I never again will glance South…

  • Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, Jan. 1, 2016

Birthday Tribute to Steve

Kate Shoemaker, MD, and her Uncle Steve Shoemaker share the same birthday – today, December 19. Kate sent this to Steve today. Kate, from St. Louis, MO, is spending the day with Steve and Nadja in Urbana, IL.

Happy Birthday poem from Kate Shoemaker to Uncle Steve.

Happy Birthday poem from Kate Shoemaker to Uncle Steve.

Verse – Yawn

Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson

Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson

My preaching was very specific,
I was sure my words were terrific,
But the folks in the pew
Had a much different view:
“Your sermons were all soporific.”

  • Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, 12/11/15


While preaching a sermon I thought was at least passable, a worshiper with dementia let out an audible “Ho-Hum” during what was meant to be a pregnant pause. It has the makings of a Mr. Bean skit.