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A Place Called Florida

Long ago, as a young man, I set out to find myself, and settled in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was a place where I fit in, fell in love for the first time, and finally came to peace with myself. I eventually had to leave so I could attend law school. But, I missed being in Florida every day that I was gone. This poem was written back then, when I was estranged from the place I loved most dear — and still do. It is the story, in poetic form, of a young man finding himself, and then being cast adrift until he could make his return. Of course, I did come back — and I followed this poem with its sequel: “Return” which is also published on this site
©1971 by Jon Gutmacher
I was born at the age of 22
in a place called Florida

It was the first place I learned to laugh
the first place where I ever cried
and the first time I ever loved
. . . I was born at the age of 22
in a place called Florida

I lived as a child of the sea
the ocean was my home
the sand my resting place
and the sun gave me solace

All I ever wanted – was provided.

This was my home
and for the first time
I lived in a house among friends . . .

Near this house was a tree
the moon shone through it at night
through my window . . .
and into my heart . . .
I shall never forget that place

True – not every memory was pleasant
but, perhaps it was
for the first time in my life
that I was ever happy with myself

And the day I left that place, and that land
I left my home
for now I am gone

But one day I shall return
and again
take my place
in the sun

Below, you will find the sequel to “A Place Called Florida” written upon returning to Florida less than two weeks after I graduated from law school back in 1972. I didn’t know a soul in Florida when I went back, but it didn’t matter. I was coming back to the place I loved — and as I envisioned — everything fell right into place . . . just as it had before.


©1972 by Jon Gutmacher
Once more
fair book
and so you see
The sun and sky
returned to me

The surf, my friend
The shore, my home
At last, O God
I need not roam

For all that was
for all to be
Has, at last
returned to me

And, now dear friends
once more I see
My Father – sun
My Mother – sea

Original image is of the Indian River, Florida featuring the NASA VAB in the background. Photo is by David Cate ( – My wonderful Webmaster. Copyright 2015.
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