By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

The poems and songs just seem to come naturally to Larry Henderson.

Henderson, 68, is now retired after working for the newspaper in Norton. He has three poems he has written and made public, one of which gained national attention.

The first poem, "The Eagle's Tear," was written shortly after the terrorist attacks on 9-11 in 2001. Henderson also wrote "A Hero's Veins" after the moving wall was in Norton and a poem called "Kansas," which was about the Sunflower State.

Henderson said shortly after 9-11 he saw a picture of an American eagle with a tear in its eye. That moved him to write "The Eagle's Tear." Henderson said the poem was on CNN, and he received letters of appreciation from both Rep. Jerry Moran and Sen. Pat Roberts.

Henderson also is a songwriter, and for approximately the last 10 years has been part of a band called "The Three Jacks." He is thinking of new songs to write, too.

"I have several things in my brain that I'm working on, different subjects, different ideas on songs," Henderson said.

Henderson's band, originally called "Three Jacks and a Joker," was formed when he lived in Phillipsburg and worked at the newspaper there.

Henderson always was musically inclined; after graduating from high school in Smith Center he played in different bands while he went to business school in Salina.

"People wanted me in their band because I played saxophone, and that's a little harder to come by," Henderson said. "I wanted to be a guitar player and a singer. Bands were interested in me because I could play harmony, could play sax pretty fair."

Henderson said ideas just come to him and he puts them on paper.

"I don't consider myself a writer," he said. "I think a lot of people have abilities, just got to be right situation, right thing in their brain, right subject, and they write."

Henderson said there are other poems and songs he has written.

"I wrote half a dozen," poems, he said. "Some I have just laying around -- I read back through, that ain't anything I want out in public yet.

"I've actually written about eight or 10 songs. We play at dances once in a while; I've been told are pretty good songs."

Henderson and Lee Ann Shearer are the only two band members of "The Three Jacks." The third jack? They set up a car jack on stage when they play a gig.