... So It Seemed,   the rhymes
by William Connelly     2022

These were written over the years whenever a creative spark beckoned. Some were inspired by Robert Service's poem The Cremation of Sam McGee, which my father had me memorized as a child.

Reason for Rhyme

Perhaps it's time to share our rhymes
     with neighbors, family and friends.
Our tales of dogs and enchanted frogs
     and other odds and ends.

We'll speak in rhymes of fun-filled times
     with spirits free as the wind.
Where painted clowns ensured no frowns
     and rainbows never end.

It seems the rhymes soothe our minds
     as words like rivers flow.
Our thoughts sail high in cloudless skies
     over mountains white with snow.

Ode to his Valentine

He was flying high in the Texas sky
     sipping a glass of wine,
when it occurred to him he'd be home by ten
     and hadn't bought a valentine.

There wasn't much time so he started a rhyme
     to give to his lover at home.
But the words came slow and he didn't know
     if he'd ever finish the poem.

When he changed planes in Dallas, he'd made little progress
     so he toured the airport shops.
He considered buying panties or sexy nighties
     but decided she'd look better in socks.

This was written while flying home to Vancouver Washington from a business trip to Houston Texas on Valentine's Day night, 1989. It was given to my wife Bernadine that night along with a pair of socks with little airplanes embroidered on them which I purchased in the Dallas airport in route.

Ode to the Reeds
Way up there in the mountain air
     was perched the home of the Reeds.
The location was steep and cut by a creek
     with little flatland indeed.

When the sun went down, they'd all lounge around
     and gaze at the distant lights.
Immersed in the Jacuzzi with their Mom from St. Louie,
     they loved those warm summer nights.

His name was Jim Reed and he danced like a steed
     his parties they say were fantastic.
As he waltzed from the house with a cigar in his mouth,
     his movements seemed a bit spastic.

Jim's wife's name was Holly and I'll tell you by golly
     she was brave to dance with that man.
He'd spin her around 'till she'd fall to the ground
     and she'd land right on her can.

This was written for Jim and Holly Reed who were known for throwing colorful parties in the 1990's at their house on the mountainside overlooking Golden Colorado.

The Roughneck

It was half past four when he slammed the door
     and climbed in his pickup truck.
He forgot to shave and hadn't bathed
     but really didn't give a fuck.

His cloths were soiled and smeared with oil:
     nothing that could be worn to town.
His hands were strong with two fingers gone;
     the others were calloused and brown.

It was bitter cold when he backed out to the road
     and drove east to the station.
He filled up at the pump, then went in for a dump
     and to buy some eggs and bacon.

On the road out of Aztec, he stopped off at FracTech
     then headed east to Gobernador.
He slowed down for Smokey then lit a cheap stogie
     that'd never seen a humidor.

This was written while driving from Farmington, New Mexico, east to wells in the San Juan Basin during a two-month period in 2001. I was doing a series of production tests on gas wells while working for Burlington Resources and was taken aback by the hard, unkempt workers that drive the remote oil field roads so early in the morning.

King of the Orinoco

Se llama Senor Roberto
     he's the King of the Orinoco.
He was our honcho at Conoco
     and drilled muchos pozos.
He was buen geologo
     and discovered mucho petroleo.
But little did he know
     no quieren no mas gringos.
Since el es Norteamericano
     it's time for him to go.
Chavez prefers Venezolanos
     'cause they cost him less dinero.
Well he may be a gringo bimbo
     but we hate to see him go.
So from all of us Venezolanos
     you'll always be our amigo.
And even if you're in Colorado,
     you're still King of the Orinoco.

I wrote this in Venezuela for Bob Kopper when Petrozuata was nationalized in 2007. It's a song to be played to a Reggaeton tune with a driving Latin beat.


Adieu Denver, it's hard to go.
     Purple peaks are capped with snow
The smell of Spring is in the air
     Lovely girls everywhere
Only wish I were there.

Adieu Houston, it's time to go.
     Crowded roads from Katy to Conroe
The smell of cars is in the air
     Urban sprawl everywhere
Only glad I'm not there.

Adieu LinnCo, it's time to go.
     The price of oil's dropped too low
Rigs are stacked everywhere
     Another slump we must bear
Heaven knows we've had our share.

Bob Kopper and I worked for ConocoPhillips in Venezuela together until June 2007, when we were forced to leave the country due to Nationalization. Both of us were reluctantly transferred to Midland Texas. Then in October 2008, we both were happily transferred to Denver, only to have the office close in May 2009 when we were sadly transferred to Houston. Little did I know Bob was going to retire from ConocoPhillips and move to Golden Colorado the same day as me, March 14, 2010. I went to work for Linn Energy in Houston (and spent half my time in Golden), and Bob and Bruce Wiley went to work for EOG in Denver. Bob, Bruce, and I often joked that "Happiness is Texas in the rear view mirror”. Then after nearly 7 years with Linn Energy (aka LinnCo), I was laid off in October 2016 during yet another downturn of oil and gas prices.

Desert's Mirage

There's a place out west called the Valley of Death
     where the Earth is scorched by the Sun.
The dry winds blow and the tumbleweeds roll
     from morning ‘till the hot day's done.

In remote arroyos are herds of burros
     who've descended from settler's times.
While spry coyote chase hare in the high country
     as they scurry amongst juniper and pines.

‘Tis here Mother Earth has lifted her skirt
     and exposed her ageless beauty.
Her structures are bold with magnificent folds
     yet her skin is delicate as a lily.

She's very old but adorned with gold
     and talc and salt and borax.
Her wrinkles are deep with countless creeks
     weaving alluvial aprons down from her thorax.

There isn't a breath in this Valley of Death
     yet it's peaceful and gives my soul pause.
It's hard to describe the feelings inside
     since they change like the desert's mirage.

This was written during and after a four-day jeep trip in Death Valley with my brother Tim and his friends Jerry, Billy, Joey, and Shawn, in March 2012. We camped in remote canyons and enjoyed each other’s companionship.

The Plight of Fred & Nadine

There once was a duck named Fred
who liked to eat old bread.
     He'd waddle around
     all over the ground
and might eat an insect instead.

Fred's friend's name was Nadine,
she preferred eating sardine.
     From morning 'till night
     and even in flight
she'd dream of this tasty cuisine.

Each day these ducks would roam
many miles away from home.
     Finding food to eat
     was an endless feat
so their stomachs often would groan.

This was written for my granddaughters Tava and Ila in 2012 on the way to feed the ducks at Prospect Park.


There once was a fellow named Terry
who decided one day to marry.
     He was tall and fit
     with lots of grit
but with Nia he'd sing like a canary.

Then one day they flew
over the mountains blue.
     The family went west
     and we wish them our best
in everything they choose to pursue.

This was written for Terry Coleman's ‘congratulation card’ just before he got married to Nia in 2013. Terry worked with us as a geotech at Linn Energy in Houston, but he was then transferred to Brea California.

I'm a Gnu

I'm a Gnu
    from U-bun-tu.
Why is it we roam
    so far from home?
I haven't a clue.

I'm a Gnu
    I don't know about you.
You walk like an ape,
    while pictures you take,
of all that we do.

I'm a Gnee
    I fly with the geese.
Unlike Gnu
    who travel in groups,
I like to be free.

This take-off of the silly poem “I'm a Gnu” and was composed by Bill Connelly and Donald Harvey with the help of Bernadine Connelly and Pip Harvey during our two-week safari in the Massai Mara and Serengeti of Kenya and Tanzania August 2014. A Gnu is the German word for Wildebeest.

He's the Boss

They call him Atlas Cardoso,
    he's a fearless wrecking ball.
He's still young and having fun
    but soon he'll be growing tall;
       ... Growing tall.

His Daddy's an oilfield fracker;
    his Momma's fit from doing cross.
He's just two but in a few
    we'll all call him the Boss;
       ... He's the Boss.

This was written for my grandson Atlas on his second birthday (born 9/15/2015).
It's written to the tune of
Baby Driver by Simon and Garfunkel.

Homeless in Whosville

Give them food, give them cloths;
     they can camp by the Creek.
Give them shelter, give them toilets,
     and they'll stay the whole week.

Whosville decided to give comfort and cheer;
     now they've decided to stay for a year.

They told all their friends and they told their mates.
     They told them, "Whosville's Opened Their Gates."
They came with their signs, they came with backpacks;
     and soon Whosville was charging more tax.

The rhetorical question as to what to do about the sudden influx of homeless. In Golden, they are primarily the "neuveau" homeless, which is a bit of a lifestyle as opposed to classical mental illness. At least that's how it seems to me.

Rats Everywhere

Rats in the cellar, rats in the shack;
     rats in the house: we're under attack.

We called Pied Piper, and let out the cats.
     Then came the exterminator with fancy new traps.

It must be the chickens in the neighbor's new coop.
     The rats love their food    … and even their poop.

And when I'm finished writing this poem,
     I'll kill all the rats, or find a new home.

On our NextDoor website, there was a lot of discussion about rats in the neighborhood in 2019. Some felt their infestation of rats resulted from neighbors getting chickens.


Poop in the front yard, poop in the back.
     It smells like a barnyard: I'm under attack.

Poop from the dogs, poop from the bear,
     poop from raccoon: ...poop's everywhere!

So I went to the house to ease my distress,
     only to find my kid's poopy mess.

A variation of Rats Everywhere for another neighbor complaining about dog poop in the yard.

Rooster Roast

     from our coop, it was time to Flee.
     to the high country, these roosters flew.
     now here we are at Crawford Gulch.

     it seemed we'd found some better Luck.
But Cluckity-Cluckity-Cluckity-Clame,
     after us five farmers Came.
     we got along better with Coy-ot-e.

So Cock-A-Doodle-Doodle-Doo,
     over the mountains these roosters flew.

Again, the neighborhood website had a bunch of chatter about several roosters someone dumped at the Crawford Gulch Grange up Golden Gate Canyon. There was concern the wildlife would kill and eat these poor roosters. Little did I know, there's a "Save the Roosters" organization and they organized a rooster chase one Friday evening. I commented, "Roosters, really? In the end, won't they get getting eaten anyway?" No one liked my "roast" humor, so I wrote this poem.

Glenn Gray, Bill Connelly, Gerald Ginn, Baja California, 1991.


What's the trail that you're on?: Rubicon, Rubicon.
What's the trail that you're on, Glenn 'n Billy ?
     It's the thrill of my life, we may just do it twice.
     I just wish we could do it with Jerry.

Glenn proposed a Jeep trip on the famous Rubicon Trail soon after Gerald's (Jerry) passing in January 2019. Written to the tune of
Billy Boy.

Lost in Wonderland

I don't know where I'm goin',
     ... not sure where I've been.

This world's got me spinnin'
     round and round and when
I think I've got it figured,
     and finally understand,
The clouds start a formin'.

     I'm lost in Wonderland.

This was inspired by Dr. J. Casey Moore who recently became ill with dementia in 2019. As my Advisor in graduate school, Casey played a critical role in my education. He was a great mentor and friend. His intellect was very important to him and those around him. It was sad to see him loose it in the end.

Salute to Casey

On a cold spring day we were making our way
     to the distant shores of Kodiak.
The winds were howling, and the seas were scowling,
     and Casey and I clung to the Zodiac.

It's a mystery why our fuel went dry:
     drifting, we thought we might drown.
Consumed by fear we searched through our gear
     'till emergency fuel we found.

So on we went 'till we found Hill's tent
     which offered shelter and warm.
We spoke of our ventures and drank a few quenchers
     as the seas continued to churn.

It was earliest June 1974, Kodiak Islands. Casey and I just embarked on our first trip in our new Zodiac, traveling from Larson Bay Cannery to the outer shore of Uyak Bay where it opens to Shelikof Straits. We were hyped and the inflatable skiff was packed tight with gear for several days. Malcolm and Betsy Hill left a day earlier in their inflatable and should already have had a tent camp established at our point of rendezvous. Just as Casey and I left the quiet waters of Larson Bay and out into the open ocean of Uyak Bay, the winds began to howl out of the NW down the bay. Swells were the size of box cars and we were drenched with spray. As luck would have it, our course was right into the wind and we consumed much more fuel than anticipated. We ran out of gas and were drifting in the wind. Unfortunately, our extra fuel was in the front of the bow, so all of our gear was between us and the fuel. To make matters worse, the skiff was covered with weather-proof canopy that fastened into the ore-locks. With the boat heaving in the swells and water blowing in, it seemed impossible to access the 5-gallon can, much less try to pour gas from the can into our outboard fuel tank. It was like one of those old fashion number puzzles where you kept sliding numbers around until they all were in order. Obviously we managed to get the gas, but it took a full half hour of rolling in the swells with blowing white water. We continued on our journey and found Hill's tent, but it too was having issues. It was pitched on the tundra and the tent stakes would not stay in the ground. The tent wanted to blow away. We ended up carrying boulders up from the beach and lining them along the inside perimeter of the tent.

The Fledgling Finally Flies

Another day has slipped away,
     the Sun has come and gone.
And in the night I hope I might,
     enjoy a new day's dawn.

The month of May has slipped away,
     the Moon has come and gone.
Though having fun in the Summer Sun,
     for another Spring I long.

Yet robins sing and children dream,
     as the Sun begins to rise.
One life ends, while another begins,
     and the fledgling finally flies.

Then one day they flew away,
     no more robins sing.
Now songless trees lose their leaves,
     'till robins return in Spring.

It's been a year since we last past here
     as Earth orbits the Sun.
'Twas a year with cheers and occasional tears,
     but another Spring has come.

Now robins sing and plants grow green
     and humming birds grace the sky.
Most Winter kill will surely heal
     and fledglings soon will fly.

Journey of Life

Journey fourth I know not where,
     perhaps I'll know when I get there.
From purple mountains to shining sea,
this ribbon of highway beckons me,
young and wild and feelin' free.

There's boundless beauty to adore,
     but now I see the distant shore.
I journey now within my soul,
mysteries of life I'd like to know,
old and tired and movin' slow.

Not Suited for HD

Fred frowned when they mentioned HD.
Said, "Keep it away from me.
     My pores big and round,
     and teeth needing crowns,
from the distance I look better, you see."

Royal Flush

The Queen sits alone,
wishing she were home.
Masks all around her,
the charade confounds her.
Yonder comes Sir Harry,
looking a bit contrary.
And there goes Prince William,
trying to avoid him.
Look around
there's another mask behind you.
Every face a different shade,
in Prince Philip's Masquerade!

I've never been a fan of any "royal family", but the charade culminating with Prince Philip's funeral (4/17/2021) surely was over the top even for royal loyalists. This verse was inspired by the song Masquerade in Phantom of the Opera.


My puppy's name is Wiley,
She's a tricolor miniature Aussie.
     Her eye's big and blue
     as she smiles at you;
she sometimes can be a bit bossy.

Remembering White Rabbit

Green pills make you happy,
     and Blue pills make it tall.
'Whites' keep you wired,
     while 'Reds' make you crawl.
Go ask mother,
     she knows them all.

And if you're fellin' troubled,
     or if sleep's comin' slow.
Or perhaps you just need
     help reaching a plateau.
Ask my mother,
     I think she'll know.

But now she's talkin' backwards,
     and clearly's lost her way.
Which pill made her stumble?
     It's really hard to say.
We can't ask mother:
     she's cold as clay.
     ... cold as the clay.

In 1865, Louis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland. It's a fantasy about young Alice who fell through a rabbit hole into a drug-induced subterranean world lacking logic and proportion. After a series of confusing encounters with anthropomorphic characters, Alice says, "It would be so nice if something made sense for a change". Jefferson Airplane wrote the song White Rabbit in 1967, putting this classic tale to music.

Mother had issues with prescription drugs for as long as her six children can remember. This verse was written to the tune of White Rabbit, but focuses on Mother rather than Alice.

Escape Velocity

Traveling so fast,
     he could hardly touch ground.
His speed increased,
     now faster than sound.

He soared up high
     above land and the sea.
It seemed he'd reached
     Escape Velocity.

Then from the distance
     came a mournful plea;
That brought him back
     to reality.

He'd always known
     the family came first;
And that gravity
     brought him Down to Earth.

Love Her Still

She's just a bootleggin' hillbilly,
     but I love her still.
The way it makes me moonshine,
     I know I always will.

She was hard at work distillin',
     when I asked her for some hooch.
I was expecting a glass of mash,
     but instead I got a smooch.

Quotation Marks

A sentence ends with a period.
     "Unless it's a quotation."
"When there's a comma," he said,
     "It precedes the quotation."
"But when there's a semicolon";
     It follows the quotation.
You ask, "How about a question mark?"
     "Does it always go before the quotation"?
          Well, it depends ….

East Jesus

We drove to East Jesus seeking something to appease us
     and to meet the famous Junk Wizard.
She was resting in shade from some rusty old spades
     and talking with a large horned lizard.
She poured us cold suds and sparked up some buds
     as we lounged in her peaceful retreat.
Sharing tales of the years, we shed a few tears,
     then ventured back into the heat.

Brother Tim visited East Jesus and Slab City in early 2022, thus inspiring this rhyme. It begs the question as to the gender of a WIZARD. I recall a pop song that was popular while I was in Siberia in the early 1990's about 'Svetlana the Woman Wizard.' So following the Russian lead, I've opted for feminine pronouns.

Some Politics

Big-Boy Pants

Biden borrowed some Big-Boy Pants,
Told the Taliban, "Do not advance."
     "We'll be forceful and swift
     if you disrupt our airlift.
You know you haven't a chance."

Biden tried to sound like the Gipper,
But forgot to pull up his zipper.
     The Taliban soon saw
     that he had no ... [nerve],
And already was starting to jitter.

Biden's 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan was clumsy and deadly.


When Putin threatened Ukraine
Biden told him, "You must refrain.
     If Russia invades
     and hostility cascades,
thousands may die there in vain."

Then soon from Russia came
artillery shots into Ukraine.
     " ... but incursions were minor
     so I won't be a whiner,
and understand it's only a [war] game."

But their armies didn't disperse
and incursions only got worse.
     Now what could he say
     to avert a melee?
How could he effectively coerce?

Biden threatened "devastating force"
and "significant & unprecedented," of course.
     But when he was young
     the way it was done
was tell them to "stop it or else."

Then fighters and bombers came
as the world watched with disdain.
     We've not seen such might
     since Hitler's third Reich;
… perhaps Putin too is insane.

Yet Biden continued to bluff
to show the world he's tough.
     But in the end,
     he failed again,
since words just weren't enough.

With nuclear nothing will rhyme;
to threaten it's surely a crime.
     Why would he say
     "Prepare for doomsday"?
Putin clearly has lost his mind.

Said Finland & Sweden today,
"We'll join NATO without delay.
     Our citizens all fear
     an attack could be near;
we don't want another melee."

This new Ukrainian postage stamp commemorates the dialog between a Russian warship and the Ukrainian border guard on Snake Island. Russian flagship Moskva began an assault on Snake Island, a Ukrainian island located in the Black Sea. As a small island with only a single village, populated by fewer than 30 people, only a small contingent of 13 border guards were stationed on the island at the time of the attack. During the onslaught, the Moskva called on the soldiers to surrender in exchange for safety, at which point, the defenders curtly declined the offer. The exchange has been translated as:

Russian warship: "Snake Island, I Russian warship, repeat the offer: put down your arms and surrender, or you will be bombed. Have you understood me? Do you copy?"
Ukrainian: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."

A couple weeks after the incident, the Muscova was sunk by Ukrainian missiles.

Putin Warned Zelenskyy

Putin sternly warned Zelenskyy,
"Your fate needn't be like Kaczynski.
     To avoid lock and keys
     just drop to your knees
and behave as did Lewinsky."

This is a follow-up to old anonymous (amended) limericks about Lewinsky and Kaczynski.

There once was a gal named Lewinsky
who played the flute like Stravinsky.
     As she crooned him a tune,
     Bill howled at the moon,
and headlines they stole from Kaczynski.

Lewinsky and Clinton have shown
what Kaczynski must surely have known:
     That an intern is better
     than a bomb in a letter,
should ever you want to get blown.

Alphabet Soup (aka, LGBTQUIA+)

He's Bi with a gal
     and Gay with a guy.
He's Queer all the time
     and might give Trans a try.

She's Les with a lady,
     and Unsure with a guy.
But of this we're certain,
     she's not Asex or hermaphrodeye [Intersex].

Build Back Blocked

Joe Manchin's the bastion
     who stopped the Build Back Bill.
Now they're dancin' an' prancin'
     an' smilin' up on The Hill.
The Build Back Better spending bill was blocked by Senator Manchin in late 2021.

It Just Doesn't Matter
, Bill Murray, Meatballs

Seems politics are always left or right.
There is no gray, just black or white;
     no dawn or dusk, just day or night.
But who decides what's wrong or right?

Coronavirus Pandemic

Corona in Ramona

And the Grinch with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
     stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came with face-masks. It came with quarantine.
     It came with medicine, vitamins, and vaccine.

And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore,
     then he thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, this year, is plagued with Corona?
     What if virus, perhaps, has come to Ramona?

This was inspired by Dr. Seuss's poem about the Christmas Grinch. It's written for brother Tim living in Ramona during the Coronavirus pandemic at Christmas 2020.

The Vaccination

Then came new legislation
that was passed with good intent.
     "You must all get vaccinations
     with no further hesitation
     and this virus we'll prevent."

"Since you've had your vaccination
please don't make such a fuss.
     It gives us inflammation
     and conflicts with medication,
     let us choose what's best for us."

"Let me explain the situation
using vaccine's not a sin.
     I'm just trying to save the nation
     from this viral infestation
     but my patience is wearing thin."

"Then we want your resignation
as our nation's President.
     You can stick your vaccination
     since we have no inclination,
     all you'll get is our dissent."

"I can feel your deep frustration
but my mandates are a must.
     You've received your stimulation
     (though it came with high inflation)
     so my guidance you must trust."

This is written in 2021 to the tune of Three Bells, by The Browns, 1959.

How would Paul McCartney advise Uncle Albert these days ?

Live a little, be a gypsy, get around,
Get your feet up off the ground,
Live a little, get around.

Live a little, get a Pfizer, be a clown,
No more virus to be found,
Live a little, be a clown.

Live a little, get a booster, play around,
Spend an evening on the town,
Live a little, play around.

Can't Get Rid of Covid Blues

Here I lie in Ramona,
sick with the virus Corona.
     I feel like hell
     and cannot smell,
but glad I don't have pneumonia.

In five days' time, I finally felt fine:
Free from the virus Corona.
     Then again it hit,
     now I'm sick as shit,
as I lie in bed in Ramona.

Tim & Lavonna live in Ramona CA and caught the virus in early 2022.

Sick at Sea

On a crisp December day
while crabbing in Monterey,
     Captain Osiris
     came down with the virus
now crew's confined to sick bay.

Joey caught the virus from his Captain in Monterey Bay in early 2022.

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