An easy-to-use guide to what I’ve published on Medium

A magnifying glass focusing on a page in the dictionary
Like most writers, I use words when I write. (Original image by author © 2016)

Hello, and welcome to my Medium page!

Below you will find an easy-to-follow guide to everything I’ve published here since joining in November 2020. The most recent stories in each category will be at the top.

You’ll notice some stories will appear in multiple categories — politics and humor, for example — while others only appear in one. The whole idea behind this page is to make it easy for readers to find stories of interest on my profile page.

The categories are:

  • Author’s Picks
  • Politics
  • Poetry
  • Short Fiction
  • Humor
  • Music-Related
  • Original Photography Included

The Author’s Pick section includes stories and poems I feel strongly about sharing…


The next thing I knew, this poem was forming in my mind

Moss-laden trees line a trail in nature (Original photo © 2015)

To love nature
is to love your family
your circle of friends
humans living
humans deceased
humans as yet unborn
and the patient trees
the friendly grass
the flowers in their bright adornments
the birds and bees and all wild creatures
we rarely if ever touch or see
the soil and sun and faraway stars
the mystery and majesty
and all miraculous moments
the laughter, the joy, the splendor
the glory all around, the glory within
heart-warmth and hope
even the sadness and the ache
of missing all we used to love
disguised and dismissed as departed
passing into what…


POM prompt leads poet to write song as he somehow hears Neil Young’s voice sing mellow lyrics before they even reach the paper

Sometimes the beauty of nature carries us away into a kind of blissful and balanced harmonious trance. (Photo by Dan Becker on Unsplash)

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to spend the entire day in nature. First the beach, then the forest. What a day! But like all things in this time-bound existence of ours, it slipped away even as I lived it. That’s OK; that’s the way of the world. Returning to my motel room, I carried with me a deep, inner calm and a sense of abiding, fulfilling nourishment.

After savoring two bowls of sliced watermelon, I decided I was in precisely the right frame of mind to try my hand at POM Prompt #27: Let it flow.

I…


The world inside the human heart exists in unity with all that is

Photo by Alex He on Unsplash

It’s a good day for living
and a good day to give thanks for being alive,
because sunlight’s bright beams
can’t be contained in scrapbooks
or even 186,000 flash drives,
and the daytime light we witness
surrounds and infuses,
illuminates and diffuses,
passing through and by us
like one long chorus of angelic harmonies
and a miraculous universal energetic constant
arising from the one true source
beyond imagination’s comprehension
yet more in touch with our souls
than our own tentative hearts —
shining away the deceptive shadows,
obliterating the veneer of darkness,
magnifying the light inside us
until it’s pointless to distinguish
the grace and wonder of our inner life
from the way we move in the world…


Now was then, then was now, and now is still what it is

Photo by Luke Besley on Unsplash

Thinking about the past
as if it could be new again,
or maybe a real-time reminder
to live out mindful tomorrows
spent in wiser ways . . .

If I could go forward
and bring it all back
for multiple do-overs
until I got it right . . .

Surely I would love more
and judge less, surely I would
nurture a kinder heart,
a keener smile,
more appreciation
of gentleness,
less blame-placing,
less sniping at conditions.

Surely this moment
is the best chance I’ll ever have
at yet another fresh start.

But here I am again
living like an unborn…


Conversations in dreams can offer gentle clues to the mystery

Photo by Davide Cantelli on Unsplash

I dreamt I saw you in the afterlife.

You were surprised to see me
in what you had known as heaven
before I arrived.

“Darren!” you exclaimed. “How’d you get in here?”

“The same way you did,”
I answered. “The Way.
And the Truth. And the Life.”

On Earth you might have thought I was being clever,
or cryptic, or somehow misappropriating
the words of our Lord and Savior.

But in heaven you looked at me
with what passes for eyes on the other side
and smiled like someone happy to be home.

“Of course,” you said. …


He had a sense of humor and looked a lot like he did in the ’68 Comeback Special — and he was having a real good time

Elvis Presley, somewhere and sometime in the past. (Uncredited, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Since I gave away the punchline in the headline, I’ll start with a storyline that will give readers the back story.

I’m the youngest of five children. My oldest sister was already 16 when I was born in the mid-1960s. She loved Elvis when she was a teen and I was a toddler, and she loves him to this day. One of my earliest memories is dancing with her as she played 45s on a little mobile record player that sat in the middle of the floor. I even remember the song we danced to: “His Latest Flame.”

Video can…


Time flies, even when it feels like it’s coming in for a landing

Photo by Krisztina Papp on Unsplash

See how short life is.

Walk through a graveyard
and calculate lifespans.

Dates on tombstones say it all
more clearly than word problems
in the simplest sixth-grade math classes.

Remember how, as children,
we used to imagine that special days
would take forever to arrive?

Birthdays reduced to frantic anticipation
and perpetual future focus
until we opened presents
and tasted cake.

Then came another year of counting down
just so we could answer with a higher number
when someone asked us our age.

There we were,
shrieking and laughing and running
in parks and playgrounds,
never giving a thought
to getting tired…


A poem for right now, regardless of which way the wind blows

A tree grows crooked in Hercules, California, its branches stirred by the wind, but appears motionless in this photograph. (Original photo ©2021)

White-barked tree
grows crooked
not far from low-tide shore
across the tracks
by the sea.

White-barked tree
dances in the wind,
the wind that blows where it will.

Wind-whispered Word-voice
roars wordless wisdom,
conveys indecipherable secrets
of motion and change,
of what it means to grow,
to grow roots,
to bend with grace
and love the truth
of what moves us.

White-barked tree
sways while standing,
stands while swaying,
displays true survival skills
moment to moment
in the timeless continuum
that moves with us through time,
time itself a self-winding clock
that winds us with it,
a series of instances anticipated
or arriving out of the so-called blue,
here, then gone,
patterns…


It’s up to media consumers to accurately categorize and process just what it is they’re reading, hearing and seeing

Too many media consumers don’t have their feet on the ground when it comes to accurately assessing and processing what gets presented as news. (Photo by Julius Drost on Unsplash)

“And that’s the way it is . . .” — Walter Cronkite,
signing off the CBS Evening News, 1962–81

Readers of a certain age will recognize that iconic phrase as a cultural artifact born in a sociological milieu gone away forever, a time and place in U.S. history when the nightly news held a comforting sense of factual certainty and contextual reassurance. That calming ambience — partly illusory though it was — has since fragmented into an omnipresent environment of baseline doubt, reactionary mistrust, and accusatory malice.

Some of this antipathy toward those who would tell us how things are…

Darren Richardson

Headline writer & copy editor for 15-plus years in newspapers (1990–2006) ; digital professional since 2008. Twitter: https://twitter.com/darren_medium

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