Waged to gain that distance from some whence to where
perhaps for some noble cause, felt need to care
traveled slow afoot midst wet rain's muck and mire
seen in after days - when walked an English shire.
July 25, 2001
After lunch re-read daily mail
that letter told a happy tale
stirring memories from long ago
when children young - old dreams bestow.
Pleasured by those letters sent
time taken, his children spent
telling dad how family goes
until love's warmth - bid him doze.
Still in touch, although far away
received and read, noontime of day
I walking past had noticed such
knew his children - still kept in touch.
August 15, 2001
Cold wet rain with sharp thunder's crack
aged ninety, that mile to track
what told and yet did not - I knew
would not last another week through.
Next day we found him dead in bed
last meal, bit of wine and bread
papers left neat on desk near by
one old knowing such - came to die.
September 5, 2001
Tale retold by him, after she left
soon taken down by dying's theft.
Yet not bitter of how their marriage went
for memories still retained what love once meant
early days and after, then of its end
shared with me, for been their only friend.
September 5, 2001
Perhaps not of hopes at all she eyed
some wisp of fragile thought, briefly tried
a passing whim, day long-past brought by
saw her distant gaze - unknowing why.
Abruptly her eyes let go their gaze
returned to duty, cleaned children's shoes
yet knew within her mind, still it plays
t'was long ago - now tis I who muse.
October 2, 2001
Coming up pathway, caught her distant gaze afire
envied such happiness with its latent desire
stood looking westward, face bronzed by setting sun
of what mused, facts or dreams - of their clues had none.
When gained balcony she stood upon, I sat behind
mooded by what inwardly saw, as evening wore late
til that inner event she held began to unwind
as dried her eyes with kerchief - composed her dress til straight.
Thence turned with determined stride, downed those steps I'd taken
all forgot til just now, some mood memory had shaken.
October 6, 2001
Those silent gathered, quiet throughout
that all were enraptured, left no doubt
choral observing conductor's eyes
intent to give their best - music-wise.
October 12, 2001
Far below high flinty ridge, later found
hide and flesh eaten, all else turned to ground
but sere bones and weathered hair - marked its mound.
When Spring should come, bird's breeding-calls fill the air
their nests soon found lined with strands of dead deer's hair
left behind but antlered skull - with its vacant stare.
November 26, 2001
Some personal deed, Fate chanced to win
of whom she thought I was or had been
unknew of her or why - nor its sin.
November 26, 2001
Corner curb with gutter full caught his eye
with poking cane, determined depth of flow
then with bottled bravery, boldly stepped high
his error soaked both feet - yet did not know.
Impervious to wetful rain
as balanced self with wobbly cane
til his faltering steps led beyond the light
disappearing within those dark depths of night.
A life style so unlike my own
yet had some dry place could call his home
in sadness envied him, crass life had spun
for of home or human love - I had none.
November 30, 2001
Full five pages both sides penned, told of some past now long fled
when had met me as a friend, its words hoping - I not dead
mis-spelt with foreign phrases, could not understand
yet seemed it spoke of praises, such thoughts came to hand.
Posted but two-weeks past, stamp told sent from France
but no return address hast, such thought - first brief glance
what message did it confide, unsure what it said
laid missive aside confused, late evening reread.
Days later, occurred to me midst that French written there
return address ought to be, gave letter further wear
what found therein, then I knew because of such, unwrote back
my fading years leave but few, Time forbids what old hopes lack.
December 14, 2001
Lives oft weave webs unknowingly
stray strands caught, some un-owingly
strange entanglements life oft snares one by
after, cannot explain their hidden why.
Twenty years later, speaker died
resaw that one, how deeply cried
to know such worth of life-long trust
though her other - now turned to dust
December 17, 2001
Simply grass, although each stem single
a field where each stalk could mingle
without a given name, though each unique
unable to know itself nor out-speak.
A waving mass of stems, browns and yellow
sere Autumn's dry, ripened full and mellow
gathered crowd stirred by winds, yet each un-named
by strokes of wind - their beauty found acclaimed.
Beyond this field of neighbored grass caressed by air
lay an ancient burial plot, mown with given care
even at far reach of sight, eyes quickly knew
distinctly saw a single flower - blossomed blue!
Before me waved that horde of grass, hued yellow-brown
soon Winter's wear and waste, would fell their beauty down
although grass golden-brown, found distinctly outdone
by beauty seen far off, a Fringed Gentian - clearly won.
December 29, 2001
Late Summer blew its arid air
gaily tossing her auburn hair
still remembered - her standing there.
Cousins were, our lineage would show
oft played as kids in evening's glow
unthinking how soon - years would flow.
Oldest of seven children she
knowing what fine mother would be
although not yet - still young and free.
On her wedding day, as downed churchen aisle
pleasant gift she tossed me - that special smile
reminding when stood by that ancient style.
But all this took place forty years back
though our lives led each a different track
my fondness for her would never slack.
Mused of such, her funeral held today
as joys of youth-time now inveigh
dusty memories brought - from far away.
January 4, 2002
Had stopped to grab brief bite at some diner
traveling through, small-town cafe - nothing finer
as strolled back to truck, curb-side parked
there clasped my hand - before she barked.
With teary eyes and palsied hand
quizzed to know, as my face she scanned
where ran third street? - her fears made forgotten
for old-age muddle left her distraughten.
Between us both, she explained as best one could
her quivered voice rattled on like old age would
I unknew, then saw street sign beyond where stood
so assisted her as one kindly should.
When reached iron gate, unhooked her talon's grip
with further tears, thanked me for guided trip
several strides back, I turned, just to see
if she'd been able to find her key.
When her door closed, I turned to leave
learned how stealthy old-age may thieve
despite small town, civility still in style
then drove on, to ponder - old-age a trial.
January 6, 2002
But then free-gas found when oil-boom came
good-times of the twenties, homes built of frame
log cabins abandoned, became farm's shed
former familes living there - long since dead.
New Year's beginning recalled those olden ways
gathered dust left over from childhood days
til one feels old, knowing Times early drawn
like those log cabins played in - before were gone.
Indeed my dad born in log cabin a century old
recalled as a child, climbing midst its ancient mold
by now all has rotted back to pristine dust
fond memories old-age treasures - as should they must.
January 6, 2002
For some sixty years married to Ned, her only beau
will be buried tomorrow where yew trees lonely grow
Ned stands there as one unaware, for does not know
perhaps dreaming some otherwhere - olden memories throw.
AS FARM FOLK MIGHT
Both kith and kin pay their final respect
of Katie's death, near neighbors grieved
make-up tomorrow for this day's neglect
their lost yesterday - Death timely thieved.
January 7, 2002
Engine's throbbing felt, for was a quiet sea
placid waters wafting ripples endlessly
soft breeze brought salty air strongly smelt
as evening came - a peacefulness felt.
Later, star-blinks emerged far overhead
after western sky's fading purples fled
still they stood, gathered along port-side deck
shawl she still firmly held - around her neck.
January 9, 2002
One hand gripped slender cane
by leaning thereon, could soften harsh pain.
From third-floor window viewed
his slow demeanor, with one knee - slightly skewed.
At one point briefly paused
as if to measure nearby bench had caused.
With hurried shuffled gait
he continued on - there could rest or wait.
When reached lone sidewalk seat
with practiced use, sat - resting knees and feet.
Passing coed stopped to speak
after ten minutes talk, kissed him on the cheek.
Thence he stood upon that injured limb
began his further walk - was last I saw of him.
A slice of life briefly caught
age and youthful friendship seen, for what their carings taught.
Once graced my heart and eye
was in my college years - memory still makes me cry.
That cripple now in his grave
but of she, just a guess - remembered love she kindly gave.
January 10, 2002
Wood stove needs another log
clock long ago lost its bird
memory's churn but misty fog
rooms echo - last spoken word.
Living-time silenced long ago
quiets that ring of former days
love once gave, memories now bestow
with saddened tears - one nightly prays.
Until sleep inveighs his saddened heart
fond dreams reviewing, first kiss gave start
kettle's hiss dies, til stove flames gift no sound
clock finally stopped, pulled-up weights rewound.
All rooms in darkened silence lay
though sleeping dreams still loudly play
reviewing events of lost days
as moonlight casts its moodful rays.
Soon, room's chill will nudge his unwarmed bones
slowly roused, stiffened joints old-age groans
re-log stove's smolder, til embers rebirthed aglow
thence re-bed to dream, old love's warmth may yet bestow.
January 14, 2002
That occasion would haunt her heart for years
for what had told true enough, that was clear
yet rued what her lips lisped to other ears
when she remembers - oft rent with tears.
Til Time gave chance, she with her met alone
with trembling lips confessed, words she once had sown
passing years sometime heal - til atone
her fears eclipsed by a love - other since has shown.
Of what firstly spoken of long ago
common knowledge, for in time - years outgrow
in fact she and her became deeper friends
what secret was, won't tell - so story ends.
January 26, 2002
Team with binder hastened back to barn and feed
before first drops fell, shocks safe on vacant glebe
wet weather, mid-summer storms may often cede.
Morning's heat, dusty chaff - drenched by raining's pelt
wash-pan on chair cleaning up, what hungers smelt
watching storm from south-side porch - how grand it felt.
Few left to tell of such, modern ways passed by
ravels torn from former years, old memories try
times long past, youth now unasks - its worth nor why.
January 31, 2002
Enraptured by classics, quick fingers flung
such beauty her style so sweetly wrung
a string of several weeks her playings strung
travels I'd taken in foreign land when young.
Of such, soon lost midst that waste years cast aside
yet music well performed, still leaves me tongue-tied
in later years with piano by, courting days provide
again sang with music's magic - wife and I sat beside.
In that instance, remembered she once took time to explain
lost midst debris of prior episodes, past war's campaign
explained such beauty, classics correctly played - ordain
her beauty much like sweetheart married - both named Elaine.
February 17, 2002
I rose, left to think of other things
life first broached then sipped, yes - so long ago
to wonder what worth one's living brings
now full knowing - so much to others owe.
When my walk full-circled til where began
lounge-chair now empty, where he'd sat
unknew his name nor how his life outran
yet recall his words - and a life gone flat.
February 18, 2002
When grave filled in with muffled sound
interred beneath fresh shoveled ground
heard harsh words - rendered raw.
Olden secrets calmly uttered
told by what that sexton muttered
as shoveled in - their double mound.
March 2, 2002
Those rapid lips spoke longly of
a time far past
gathered tale of her first love
hoped longly last.
While speaking, oft looked at her hands
which told even more
at odd moments, fingered stray hair's strands
as eyes viewed the floor.
In time, her talk slowed - nearing story's end
when finally done, soft eyes a-tear
then felt a silence my lips would not rend
what her heart exposed - sincere.
Not sure why I tell the world this event
honesty of her words - true
tender tale love briefly told, a mere fragment
yet from what spoke - thought of you.
March 4, 2002
Passing years whiled on several score, past calendars waste
encumbered with varied circumstance, of life's hurried haste
yet at awkward times, when forgotten memories flow
her gentle touch once given, still remembered - sweetly so.
October 31, 2002 - January 12, 2003
Such seen some past Summer's day
what her quickly turning may
pleated skirt's length below the knee
youthful beauty - so gayly free.
Of why this memory should come back
when what need remember, now lack
noon-time sunny day, briefly seen
when swirled beauty - cast its sheen.
April 5, 2003
Beneath a cloudless sky
waving stems, airs may try
a summer's day so clear and dry
of their beauty - fair weathered by.
Hill-side of an Irish brae
soon yields its worth of hay
when laid low by reaper's scythe
their proud beauty - found to die.
Silvered waves, winds rippled glossed
til far below, grass found lost
quivered stems, soft wind bestirs
of their beauty - one infers.
There heard but a silence lay
words wished said, but did not say
a day when both hearts broken
their future hopes - left unspoken.
Waving grass of an Irish brae
where silvered stems in silence sway
midst Nature's beauty, firstly dreamed
each lost a love - hopes never gleaned.
So long ago and far away
whisperings of an Irish brae.
May 13, 2003
After went through same maneuvers yet again
til accepted defeat - what unfound within
then tersely walked away, her purse tightly clutched
still unconvinced, what her fingers wished had touched.
Of that lady's hungered search, with deep delved frenzied concern
an episode seen, while awaited my wife's return
by then she came back, decided not tell her of lady's purse
times when women will not laugh, if insist - makes matters far worse.
May 15, 2003
Located across Gadrow's distant Straits
life-long held within her magic memories
among scattered relics still proudly kept
til that day, those fond dreams - out-gaveled by.
A prized piece of harsh rural land
her childhood wish longly dreamt
t'was such - another bidder bought.
Again make-do by what rent makes loan
third-floor flat with but a back-yard view
vanquished her vanished hopes, past years yearned
quickly quenched by a bid - that auction lost.
Such saddened thoughts were to be her last
that very day, felled by a bus driving past
land's new owner unaware, as obits quickly glanced
his careless readings blindly missed - late-night chanced.
June 12, 2003
Succulent fruit filled with juice
delicious flavor savored slow
til lets its limb gently go
so others unshaken loose.
Even cracked open seed's hard pit
carefully eating all of it
although bitter, richly tasted
slowly taken, so as nothing wasted.
Slept but an hour, soft grass his bed
until felt as one thought well fed
with no inner guilt of his theft
whispered some brief prayer as he left
then ambled on - far elsewhere by.
June 13, 2003
Mere hint of soft caressing breeze
landward blown from South Channel seas
only sky, sea and land - all one sees.
There might ask why such beauty felt
pristine innocence free of guilt
some unknown reason - past dreams built.
When there far below, dog caught my eye
along hard wet sand, fast trotting by
but so unlike me - unasked questions why.
No reasons sought nor beauty seen
merely part of Nature's natural scene
innate wisdom - birthed from its ancient gene.
July 2, 2003
Calloused hands cleared eighty acres into fields
as if some tornadic wind-fall, laid trees low
plow and drag, Fall and Spring plantings yearly yields
former dreams still seen and heard - from long ago.
Other eyes apprise charm of park-like trees and lawn
curbed street's gently curving, manored homes well-back stand
yet he sees and hears downed trees, logs teamed-horses drawn
crippled fingers still remind - all labored by hand.
From virgin woods, a space to farm and family by
now seeds grass, foreign shrubbery, modern years newly try
such he whiles on, ax and saw still hanging high
hearing axen's ring, harness squeaks - first child's cry.
July 7, 2003
Were a time, my needful hand firmly clasped
as led one across two trafficked thoroughfares
to warn of curbing's guttered rise
for one's life bound - with blindful eyes.
Thence beyond four blocks more
when dim eyes fully blind, inly saw
that here - he could self-find his way.
There of dirt and grime, its constant roar and haste
so brief a journey, he was gone before I knew
still, I longly stood by that final close of door
tasting lost depths - of human nourishment.
Those unsighted eyes gave no show of thanks
rather, how his hand held mine as one
thence released, disappeared within dark gloom
beyond thereafter - seen no more.
A circumstance only angels attend in silence
still to bless a timeless memory he left behind
in idled moments - walks again with me.
Man with man, hand in hand to show the way
one would never see again - yet knew him well.
Such now dates that one into certain death
since long stretch of years now grown cold
his warm brown hand - firmly gripping mine.
Almost as if been led by some sainted need
kindred kindness both shared, like a friendly deed
one unknown, Chance once kindly - led me by.
Shared a simple trust, entrusted me with
an event now strangely told, like some myth
nor forgotten of, those passing years still save
though neither gestured - what hands might wave.
July 16, 2003
So should not be heard, yet still might know
as merely inferred, silent lips bestow
left for world to decide, evidence would deny
from what mumbled lips confide - such judgments full imply.
Thence voicings were softly heard, echoed across that lea
stir of winds and singing birds, your peaceful lips set free
released from a bondage long held you bound
only love could assuage one - now queenly crowned.
That night, full-moon full eclipsed but for an hour or two at most
as earth's shadow slowly slipped, an omen lips would ever boast
as hand in hand we downed that lea, tarried long before your door
an experience that set you free, our quivered lips - soon found sore.
November 10, 2003
Below gunwales of fading paint, its christianed name embossed
titled from an ancient saint, in cruciform - yet tripled-crossed
old legend family knew, storied of a harsh captained crew
liquored lips found him dead at sea - his fishing past days were through.
Gathered from one fishing nearby loch, of that dory - told by one close
squinting eyes and face well-weathered pock, gray-grizzled beard - side-burns and chin
we talked of many things that day, until sun told could no longer stay
yet longly tarried by that quay, as boat rose and fell on that Irish bay.
December 2, 2003
As echoes of sung aria faded, retained within its fading silence
thence that sudden burst of noise, loudly thundered from crowd's applause
sequestered in dim dark alone, yet each one unique unto themselves
brought to wonder those deeper depths, resounding words sung had spoken.
Thence into that hurried night, regain their returning home
transformed by such beauty sung, as if now absolved their sins
fully mesmerized by its final encore, so loudly sung
by those enchanting arias, choral voicings so sweetly flung.
December 5, 2003
Til only its quiet heard
despite wind and movements stir
drift of canoe done in silence
low fire eating by - crackles soft.
As days gathered weeks full measure
migrant birds disembarked southly
til one fears to make a sound
lest shatter one's peace into fear.
When suddenly of mid-day's silence
harshly fractured by deep droning sound
a solitary plane slowly flying high
traced its flight across a graying sky.
A solemn event gifting one hope
flew east to west, felt forever
sanctified a silence, too long heard
blessed lost-trust - lonely fears breed.
As plane faded into some future aim
pick-up hunters or deliver mail
that sound sang a melody for me
still haunts old hopes - future days yet hear.
December 5, 2003
No doubt a gentleman of respectable lineage
with bloodful ties to those bred of like-named kinnage
some surmised a man most wise, a Peer of the Realm
title earned by war's manly strength - at embattled helm.
Neither rode nor hunted, yet daily took his stroll
of village affairs, seemed unconcerned on the whole
yet with others spoke, when briefly strayed to view
though cricket not his ticket - bet a quid or two.
Of what brought down his end, a most singular affair
as remarks told at his wake, soon made all aware
simply clutched his heart, leaned forward - dying as he fell
just day before, doctor declared him most healthily well.
Thence finally to that manor borne
upon shoulders of his neighbored friends
last tribute, bid not of hunter's horn
but brief prayers - a close-kin cleric lends.
Laid to rest upon high hill of well-mannered ground
among long-famed ancestors, quaint mausoleums bound
a man without issue, barren to his dying day
so tis said - obituaries discretely unsay.
For three weeks after, his wife took voyage at sea
that doctor also seen aboard, both having tea
til others were heard to whisper ill-chosen lies
despite husband's recent death - she no longer cries.
December 15, 2003
Life brought Death, both eyes briefly saw
I drove on past, but Nature's law
taken down like a talon's claw
yet felt within - cold Winter's raw.
December 26, 2003