Saturday, September 16, 2023

Wheel, a sonnet


Oblivious, uncaring stars above,
wheel ever on and on through darkened skies;
wheel never noting how man falls in love,
not seeing that he lives and that he dies.
Should not your silent riddles be enough?
Yet to you, yearning, now I raise my eyes,
with all my longings given wings to rise,
each poised to soar to heaven as a dove.

Should I strive to be as seem you, serene,
forever stately stepping your ballets,
to follow you in silent timeless ways
across the heavens? Let this course between
eternity and earth remain unseen;
your dim light fades before that of my days.

Stephen Brooke ©2023

Yep, a sonnet. More a matter of playing with words than anything particularly meaningful.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Rainbow Snake

This is a poem written for and included in Stephen Brooke's novel, The Ways Between the Worlds. Based loosely on Australian myth. We may do shirts etc with that image at the Peanut Road Emporium, but haven't quite decided the best approach. Text or no text? What angle for the snake? That kind of thing.

Caslon Thoughts

Caslon is one of the classic typefaces. However there are a great many fonts out there wearing the Caslon name that range from reasonably accurate versions to ones with little actual resemblance to the original. Add to this a number of Caslon-esque typefaces found under other names.

One of my favorites—indeed, my frequent go-to—is Imprint. Many will recognize the name from the inline Imprint Shadow version long bundled with Windows. Ignoring that over-used variant, Imprint is a quite nice choice for text, an early Twentieth Century take on the Caslon concept. I’ve used clones (Bitstream’s Dutch 766, SoftMaker’s Indiana) in books and been satisfied with the result.

Not that there aren’t other decent Caslons available, both commercial and free. Adobe’s is nice, if maybe a bit too regularized (one can say the same of Imprint, perhaps). Some are just a little overly ornate or optimized for display purposes. QTCaslan is not a bad free alternative, though a bit lacking in features. One could certainly create a credible book design with it. I do like Caslon for a more ‘serious’ feel to book text. So do others, which is why it has often appeared in nonfiction and textbooks. I might tend to use something in the Caslon vein for historical fiction.

The only typeface named Caslon you will find free in Google Fonts is Libre Caslon. The display version looks good and I would feel confident using it in titling. The text version, not so much—it seems more suited for on-screen use than print. However, I might suggest Lora as a substitute. The Roman style is decidedly in the Caslon mold and does look good in print. The italic strays further from the original model but stands quite well as a design on its own merits.


Tuesday, September 5, 2023


Long before books, there were story tellers. For thousands upon thousands—perhaps hundreds of thousands—of years, tales were told, in caves, around camp fires, in secluded villages, in the first great cities. Men told stories, and women too. Some were family, recalling old words, and passing them on to another generation. Some were bards, professionals carrying words from one place to another. There were old familiar stories and newly crafted ones.

And, in time, some ended up in books. But tales being told are as old as mankind.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Forget, a poem


I have found it easy to forget,
to lose you in the shadows, gathering
at the edges of my life. I might
have loved you, or no more than wished I did.
   Wished I could.
Our picture is too dark with time now. Other
shadows have been cast across what was
and what was not and I know neither can
be trusted. I’ve found it is easier
   to forget.

Stephen Brooke ©2023

Work, a poem



Long ago, work was invented

to keep us all at home,

when we’d much rather be hunting

and through the wild hills roam

in search of mammoth and aurochs—

not that we’d scorn a rabbit—

as did our fathers’ fathers;

oh, work is a nasty habit!

For now we are civilized,

some of us plow and reap;

others gather things up

and take them somewhere to keep.

Forgetting the past, we toil

through each and every day—

long ago work was invented

and at home we stay.

Stephen Brooke ©2023


In the first draft of this bit of light verse I blamed work's invention on women...but thought better of it!

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Storms in Steinhatchee

I lived in Steinhatchee Florida for several years before relocating to the Panhandle region. The town has its good and bad, like any other, but as the news has pointed out it has never before been hit by a major hurricane. Idalia has changed that.

Anyway, that got me to  remembering the Storm of the Century, the storm that clobbered the area in the spring of 1993.  I was there and remember the storm surge—including waking in the wee hours and finding ankle deep water in my place!. It got way deeper before things were over. I don't know how the surge compared with that of Idalia but it looks to have been comparable. Of course, this was a winter cyclone. The winds were heavy but not hurricane strength (much less Category 3). But it was a heck of a lot colder.

I borrowed some from that experience for scenes in my very first novel, the Young Adult title 'The Middle of Nowhere.' I also had to write a song about it. Not necessarily a 'true' personal account but one based on the event:


March Twelfth, Nineteen Ninety-three,
That’s when the Storm of the Century
Came ravening from the wind-swept Gulf,
Howling like the hungry wolf.
When the Storm of the Century came calling,
When the Storm of the Century came calling.

The wind was throwing knives at the night,
And startled the clouds into sheepish flight;
I heard the black oaks together sigh
As they offered themselves to the sky.
In the dark, I prayed the storm would pass,
But the river was rising, the field was a glass
Where the moon played hide-and-seek with its twin,
While the endless ebon flood poured in.

And it was time to take higher ground,
But there’s not a lot to be found
In a Florida Gulf Coast town
When the Storm of the Century comes calling,
Oh, comes calling.

The river came knocking at my door,
The icy flow swept across the floor
To clutch at my ankles as I made my way
Into the gale, for I could not stay.
With two guitars and the clothes on my back,
I waded through the night with black
Water rushing around my knees;
The remorseless wind shouted symphonies.

And it was time to take higher ground,
But there’s not a lot to be found
In a Florida Gulf Coast town
When the Storm of the Century comes calling,
Oh, comes calling.

I saw a light, I climbed a stair,
Strangers gave me shelter there;
Some didn’t reach the dawn alive
But God agreed I should survive,
When the Storm of the Century came calling,
When the Storm of the Century came calling.

Stephen Brooke ©2003