Often by wood-stove of green-grocer's store
one midst those gathered, snow-storms held by
stern mouth, bewhiskered jowls - cold eyes
his narrow lips preferred lies - should chance to tell.

Lean, tall and lanky - arms with hands of iron
local tolerance disallowed violence be shown
wan silent wife held a silence all could hear
unpassioned legs briefly spread for his needed haste.

Wan pallor matched her hopes, face but wasted paste
devil forbade children bred, would have been a waste
Nature kindly forbid without conceptions
perhaps those gods blindly willed such exceptions.

A man of harsh ideas his ravaged years had grown
calloused hands like his heart, stolen years turned to stone
light-blue eyes, their icy glitter froze other's friendly eye
those in town left him alone, fearful what violence might try.

Although fights never fought, yet one never knew
til came a stretch of days, his lank figure unfound
near store's wood-stove warmth, discussed by gather few
next night in secret, two hazard risk - looked around.

Doors locked, windows curtained-shut - no one about
just to be sure, they shouted for any there c0me out
til forward days found forgotten his sudden leaving
nor were any tearful found, showing some inner grieving.

But last night of October, cabin-barn burnt to ground
heat of fire's consuming wrath, left no bones be found
til passing years fashioned history of a man turned to stone
salvaged sainthood his wife earned, still alive - yet left alone.
November 1, 2003

As lazed beneath noon-time sun above
some shadow aroused my sleeping eyes
thereof saw flying - a pure white dove
its fluttered flight flew Alpine skies.

Softly hearing dove's gently cooing cries
as if told some secret I had need to know
healing from several wounds, war often tries
beneath Swiss Alps - topped with whitened snow.

Like that fierce white snow seen against Alpine's black
fluttered white of dove's wings viewed beneath dark skies
contrasting peace and war, my confusions brought back
struggled to gain an absolution from battled lies.

While beyond inn's-keep, pastured kine heard lowing
or loud clatter of horse-pulled farmer out mowing
a music almost forgotten, child-days on grandmother's farm
as recent fears of war merged with olden dreams - of vintaged charm.

Then saw that dove settle atop ancient churchen spire
preened white feathers, enabling it to flights I cannot fly
yet felt some inner peace therefrom, like some well-placed squire
whose tenured kingdom thought his own - though lies beyond the sky.
December 1, 2003

Ageing eyes still see his once youthful son
before upon noosed gallows slowly swung
evil ways wasted his life til lastly done
as law and stout rope held him high - finally hung.

A wandering wastrel untaught, unlearned
of but himself selfishly felt concerned
thrived upon those ill-gotten gains unearned
of family left behind - never returned.

Early fell in with those who nightly stole
until stealing became his hungered goal
despite often left him a vacant bowl
sparse times in between - fed upon the dole.

As greed slowly lengthened his reach for more
angered by fact, foul Fate had left him poor
abjured any labors - unwanted chore
til deeper crimes committed - pilfered for.

When murder but an end by which to gain
desperate dangers risked by those slain
til one of his own brought end of his reign
caught til condemned - by what high gallows deign.

A day of rain, few came to watch him hung
with a single throw, rope's loose noose deftly slung
defiant words cursed, quickly gagged his tongue
with a strangled silence - high gallows swung.
January 13, 2004

Fading light with loss of sight in those rheumenous eyes
as lowers its shrunken head between arthritic paws
eyelids flutter once or twice - dreaming as finally dies
unsensing but some impending blackness - darkly falls.

Ten-year brace of days freely enslaved to one - he gave no name
romped and ran, always there, ever faithful to that single man
lurking in his shadow, grown up without need of playful game
mongrel cur farm bred found, some breedless hound of black and tan.

Much like a shadow left behind his master's walk
daily routine early mornings began their day
across neighbored hills, country roads - unspoken talk
a silence both shared, each found had no need to say.

Mutual pair of kindred friends, man led both by
each well-fed, ever healthy - firm bonded pair
out and about, Nature's beauty brought to eye
any season years brought - weathers foul or fair.

A bondage neither felt, presumed as but normal
companioned with their unspoken relationship
equal in many ways, casual - never formal
yet constrained - under each other's guardianship.

Often met them by, morning walks I took alone
thereby stopped to speak of whatever both we might
such our years gathered by until became well known
greet with our nods, then pet dog's head - our ritualed rite.

Til time altered future days, when I moved elsewhere by
never after wrote nor called, life affairs left such behind
when wars arose between, a foreign land soon would try
still recalled dog and he - my morning walks now brought to mind.

A man's best friend, open air beneath fresh dawning's sky
as now daily stroll dog of my own - remembered by
former days, morning walks, friendly dog - both he and I
brief talk spoke between, weather's warm or cool, wet or dry.

Should gather of a citied park or country roads - early
out and about to walk their dog without rush or hurly
in that silence mornings gifts, dewy mists or hazy fog
daily duty begins their day - companioned with their dog.
January 13, 2004

At those edgings where beauty with sadness blends
natural vistas gave reason, each season lends
then that knowing, when love and life finally ends
high cliffs, sea and sky, time and place - wheres and whens.

A thousand years, each day evolved its own
four season's annual patterns weathers blown
perched cliff-held high, sky above - sea below
at such edgings - hopes of promised rainbow.

Is then one recalls events of long ago
what travailed there - ending far below
of both life and death, sadness of beauty felt
til both satisfied - their impunity dealt.

Stories still abound along seacoast's edge
centuries telling strange events - loft from ledge
tales of beauty's hopeful yearn for gladness
yet epilogues - brought of desperate sadness.

Each entangled by reasons, tears cried there far above
their strangled quest plunged below- for an eternal love.
March 20, 2004

A wayward path once taken far from beaten byway
when morning sun awakened a past forgotten day
wild trail overgrown, slowly unwound itself
midst scattered rocks and stone along edging mountain shelf.

Seemed as if unused since long years ago
high above what lay far below
calm day, no wisp of motioned air
such quietness - as if Death awaited there.

Dimensioned views of barreness caught my eye
a cold wilderness left alone for years
like a place forsaken, untraveled by
long left abandoned for its haunting fears.

Til stumbled on where wind-swept trees grew grotesque
stunted undergrowth ravaged by mountain gales
as if some foul deed long ago, sin transgressed
fears fantasied as if still heard its ancient wails.

As rounded sharp turn on my left, seen hanging high
a dried corpse held by dead tree limb, rope swinging by
shriveled beyond recognition, seemed teeth held a grin
as I watched, rope slowly twisted with deliberate spin.

A horror high-hung far above abyss below
tattered remnants of weathered clothes, left naked bare
so uncivilized, dangled like some scarecrow
a fearful omen portending - swinging in chilly air.

My wish to reach mountain's top now gone stale
shortly long after, quickly retraced down-trail
not as if panicked, yet strange sensations felt
some inner need required - where people dwelt.

Have never gone back nor now could be refound
a strange encounter, coven witches wished left untold
story if written, would leave readers held spellbound
mystery still hanging high in chill of mountain's cold.


Of how came about, have neither fact nor clue
found in those Bald Mountains near hamlet of Sioux.
March 31, 2004

There high-hung and firmly nailed
bloodied face held wanly paled
lashed and beaten - one night jailed.

Such gathered as briefly passed by
soldiers unanswered my questing why
raucous crowd laughing - few found to cry.
Years ago when age held me young
labored years aimless travels flung
that bleeding man - crudely high-hung.

Across desert sands, mountains high
waters sailed, lands transversed by
hearing questions - without there why.

Yet here and there where chanced to be
small-talk inn-heard, til two or three
of how their kindness - set one free.

We laughed of many things each told
wise wisdoms held by those grown old
life's cost - whether bought or sold.

Til chanced met one, my friends called John
late nights spoken, sometimes til dawn
re-scriptured words he dwelt upon.

Then suddenly recalled, years past
bloodied face held wanly cast
one high-hung - nailed firmly fast.

His eyes had watched my passing by
their haunting gleam, sad dreams still cry
back when proudful youth unthought why.

That brief encounter long ago
One now loved, back then did not know
tis of His faith - I ever owe.

An olden tale one told - drunk as hell
tavern heard war-after, as evening fell
chanced story - but an Irishman might tell.

Down through millennia still told
love's warmth, forgiveness not grown cold
though lives enslaved, still bought and sold.

Whenever self-pride put aside
trusting what olden words confide
knife-like truth, religions oft divide
requires one's self-honor - decide.
April 12, 2004

My knock heard unanswered
my coming left unknown
what spent my coming by
weird cost to wonder why.

For someone found as always there
so many kids and kin about
but why that one day when I came
only silence returned my knock.

And thereafter, several times weekly stopped
again unanswered echoes of my hand
dead silence hovered upon empty air
when peeked through windows, rooms seen - strangely bare.

Of whence, where or why had they gone
removed beyond what friendship gave
neighbors queried unknew just as I
first troubled me - when last stopped by.

Til learned house and land paid by another's cost
near neighbors untold of where, when, why or far
a strange episode their leavage left behind
why my knock unanswered - their leavage left.
April 17, 2004
April 17, 2004

When skies show clear blue, clouds high-held to bring me by
return once more on olden grounds friends yet dwell
gather near fire-side brink, til chats an evening dry
stories of former times - truth or lies may tell.

Onwards into dark of night, time growing late
celebrate each others lives with latest news
as fire shadows those sitting there, calmly wait
their turn to tell - or argue with other views.

Til aging clock counts long hours, talks wore thin
fire banked for the night, screen put back in place
whereby rose to say goodbye with thankful grin
re-travel back whence had come - tired feet must trace.

As all collect around kitchen's crowded door
hands shook, a kiss or two or but catch their eye
with promise soon than later, will come once more
when skies clear blue, clouds hold white - to bring me by.
April 23, 2004

A truant have late become
to travel dusty roads
far as cash and nerve may allow
with time enough to drift and go.

With free-some aires of idled ease
laze upon dormant webs spiders weave
til captures some inner silence
softly heard within my fractured soul.

When self-found returning by that curve
still twists itself around Sweeney's barn
then straightens out beyond, directly
into a dying town - P.O. keeps alive.

Should sit a vacant park-bench awhile
to watch what my watching may scare
of those prim ladies well-dressed, walking past
quiet til just beyond - then speak of me.

Thereof after, ride those rails hanging on free
as not to embarrass any with my paying fare
when slows down at double-switching - I jump free
like some wandering wastrel - sheriff soon released.

Weathers are ever my close concern
for within its changing rooms I dwell
to light my day or darken those nights
life-long memories gathered - linger on
old dreams need - to sleep me down til dawn.

Til morning's sun bids me off and on my way
to anywhere, whereof wasteful time measures out
everything but that length of life, one has yet to live
within a single day, til awaiting Christmas next
when at last finds me finally heading - back home.

First place from long past, family kept me by
to raise and rear those their marriage bred
a bonnie lassie found their love had wed
til Death extinguished my family dead.


Finally heading back home, end those years of truancy
vagrant interval of a fool's lonely lunacy
now sit idle, past recalled with a smile
with cash and nerve to last a decent while
enough of time left - til I must down and die.
April 29, 2004

Of how they pulled their past
out of mind - then into mine
by loud voiced chattered tongues
that spoke but what they told.

No matter how far back
they reached into former times
collecting thoughts once put away
in a flash - brought alive today.

Of such they spoke, each word
dusted off by a truthful tongue
unforeign to my alien ears
old memories shared between.

Til I became part of them
and also true - they of me
old friends growing older
than each ever hoped to be.

Start then stop, retold again
recertified by what forgot
til by noon-time's reach of hands
clock required we should stop.

Well-refurbished by victuals
vital nourishment fed us by
back to talk, newer jokes and older lies
an endless supply of words each told.

Is of how each saves oneself
from a loneliness old age inspires
waste half a day with spoken words
til each thought and tongue - retires.
April 29, 2004

Tilt of his head held without need of pride
shadowed whereof would, before he leaned
into thinking of an angle rather wide
enough to uncumber sun's lurking search
til reached past his head - when felt so inclined.

But as our talk ambled on, saw there beyond
when a question firstly asked left unspoke
found sun slowly shifted, gliding its brightful rays
into that shaded corner once darkened by
til sunlight revealed book's title - clearly seen.

One he co-authored in his youth
solving some unsolved axiom's truth
greater minds than his never solved
til sun cast its bright further drawn
upon a vase of bright angled glass.

That left us unanswered with his answer
precocious people presume - known by all
once solved, left forgot as fully now understood
as sun-beam's slow drifting, shown through that glass
his mind held observing - not its bright, but those colors
til prismed his eyes with an after thought.

An afternoon, as if sat before a king most wise
shadowed depths, light held with such clear clarity
that spark of celerity his keen-thinking found
til most humbly yet so graciously - bowed our exit out.
April 29, 2004

As muted crackle of slowly dying fire
melted into silence, last embers burnt down
fading flames cast dancing shadows, night inspires
til merged with forgotten memories of an aging soul.

Strange silhouettes pranced in dim dark beyond
shifting olden themes, words could not explain
those inner hauntings, fire with night conspires
til his soulful creations felt alone in forest dark
as wavering shadows strangely flickered into night.

When night owls ceased their echoed calls
left a silence clearly heard beyond camp's fire
til embers burnt to ashes, left but its dying glow
with blanket tight-held around his shouldered neck
as drifted off to sleep - midst forgotten dreams.

Again to wake with cold dawn, as last ember
rebirthed its heat, so cook his breakfast by
last night reveries, new day thrust aside
as feet scattered dead ashes back to dust
his leavage left behind - soon forgotten of.

For in the end of any life left to live
light and dark gathers scraps of hope
unclearly seen yet felt, old memories dream
rebirthed midst those burnt-out ashes
life's embers cast into lost shadows of night
awaiting some time unknown - cold death will mend.
May 4, 2004

We talked with that silence spoke with our eyes
hands and arms expressing what tongues could not say
presumeful gestures, unspokeness tries
movements poorly pantomimed  - each put in play.

Were of both hands and face we spoke our best
with nodding head or shaken side to side
each seeking, searching other's hopeful quest
trusting mannered maneuvers - never lied.

Two divergent cultures, our words could not explain
two hours communed between, til each thought they knew
unheard and unspoken with odd gestures arcane
til broad smiles, happy eyes - bid our adieu.

That parley took place fifty years ago in France
midst fear and mistrust a war's raging waste provides
her trusting eyes spoke with a mother's mindful glance
when hands and eyes gave confidence - mute trust confides.
May 15, 2004

Wherefrom a foggy morning Autumn early
whereon Cain River would drift them far from here
as gave their final waves, quickly lost within
those mists, whereby their leaveage would disappear.

Too young to fear their future, so proud to dare
nor worry what troubles may befoul their way
merely of what might see and find - here to there
unthinking Life's cost, how much soon found - must pay.

But to down-river, bold visions will lead them by
freedom giving assurance, strength would bring to hand
as paddled into a future young hopes must try
of such dreams might lead them both - to their Promised Land.
May 15, 2004

Cathedral bells rang out Easter's joyful morn
carillon chimings echoed loudly, far borne
across shires - One still proclaimed as risen
in the past - beggars released from prison.

Yet for most, cathedral bells rang a hollowed sound
Faith too long abandoned, belief no longer found
some attend merely as annual duty imposed
suffered, yet of its music - rather well composed.

Thereafter absolved their agnostic disbelief
Easter dinner forgave with vintaged aperitif
in that grand style of an Easter ham and pudding
a proper celebration - still on sound footing.

Thence settle in easy-chairs with their after-drink
as discoursed most profoundly, or perhaps but think
until overcome with lassitude, went to sleep
perhaps to dream of wolves among those scattered sheep.

Their abandoned faith of childhood cast aside
proud prosperity, lost providence may provide
material matters require those with power
prime schemes timely plotted - before found to sour.

Of Monday's awakened dawn, back to work by ten
facts and figures, schedules calculated just when
their fame exemplified by what money can buy
bought and sold, took or stole - measured out when should die.


Church packed with acquaintances funeral gathers in
honored respects politely given kith and kin
condolences kindly spoken, each will demonstrate
thence back to cold business, worth - estate may generate.

As each leaves, loud cathedral bells toll last farewell
their hallowed echoes cast across shires and fell
for many, mere echoes they will never hear
blind deaf mutes, shriveled hearts - faith but bleak and blear.

Happy Easter to all, may God's blessing bring wealth all year round
one's wealth assures security to those whose investments sound!
June 2, 2004

Whereof back then, herein tell
except t'was so bitterly cold
as rode past, icicles fell
hinting what might be told.

Left just before dawn, of that I knew
so might gain Fairfax town by noon
ate of an inn, drank its heady brew
then on again - anew.

Still see that manse in sheltered pines
curving drive led to barn behind
there watered and fed my horse
of such - still held in mind.

That night met with those other four
to plot and plan for what should do
a gathered band of brothers
like-minded hopes for war.

Whereof told but once or twice
old war wounds yet remind
yes, we won - yet at what price
too many left behind.

Remember best that morning ride
war's honored valor held with pride
those icicles frozen cold as lead
piercing friends we left behind as dead.

Now recalled - war fought for what
death and dying - yet for why
to gain but what could have bought
signed treaty - peace could buy.

War with words instead of arms
king against king, bartered between
both give and take, their peace could make
til both could gain far more.

My horse and men who fought that war
Death gained, what Age itself must earn
for peace but a brief reprieve
one truth - youth will not believe.

Now gathered with pipe to my fire
its dancing flames recall a warmth
cold ride to Fairfax unfelt
when youth knew but its pride.

All are now gone, lost to their graves
to earn whatever soldiers throw away
left behind what old memory saves
crippled wounds, wars once yearned - of yesterday.
July 14, 2004

Even before he came, he was already there
in hearts who yearned his coming
into their lives once again
throughout that day - found humming.

Three years across the sea, his valor called to war
with those whose country's honor
required to fight again
against a foe fought before.

Phone call they answered two weeks ago, heard his voice
speak with excited laughter
she first disbelieved was him
til quickly knew him after.

They watched for olive Ford with white star on each door
that opened, with his smiling
face each one kissed with their hugs
til their happy lips found sore.

Such began their reunion, a family once more
ensuing years would provide
what would come to pass thereafter
his returning would soon decide.

Now fifty years since that war waged across the sea
whose tides still bring sad news of newer wars
freedoms fought for others, whose blood still bleeds
some ideal, man dreams - but will never be.
July 17, 2004

With pathway for my guide
to lead me unastray
til found by ocean's side
that here would spend my day.

Breathed in sharp salty air
beneath a cloudless sky
when spied another there
her easel telling why.

Thus began a story
ages have told before
beauty and its glory
an artist must explore.

T'was forty years ago
that pathway led me by
to sea-shore down below
our future years would try.

Paintings still hang our walls
eyes once put to oil
her hand no longer draws
yet eyes remain loyal.

Framed above mantle's piece
I watched her paint that day
a wedge of flying geese
now tells much more than they.

With her to be my guide
as not be led astray
first met by oceans' side
love still provides today.
July 31, 2004



His bridled brindled horse slowly pulled behind
a swaying wagon filled with useful wantings
from town to tavern, inns to hovels unsigned
or civilized cites with dingy hauntings.

His loquacious voicings lied of their acclaimed values
those gathered goods would gift a fuller life
grandiose words spoken deceitfully to confuse
their purchase lessened labor's struggled strife.

Thence before they tried of what each bought thereby
horse and wagon quickly vanished upon dry moor
hid between desert rocks, growing trees screened by
ever after, both horse and wagon - seen no more.


Afoot upon dusty roads and byways alone
his silence unspoke to no one met on the way
self- exiled, others sins and his may atone
by honest labored hands - would amply pay his stay.

Such as finish a harvest til fully done
from dawn to dark, thence to sleep their barn at night
be unfound at dawn's light with first risen sun
days after, each spoke of what his kindness might.

Thereafter traveled by lone footings, where dusty roads led
labored years spent, kindly eyes and silent tongue told so much
one left unknown nor of where would last lay his dying head
mystic silence unexplained - yet understood by his touch.

Should be seen perambulate edge of town at dusk or dawn
with tails a-wag, not one dog barked - beneath his hand would fawn.
August 31, 2004

Tiredly he put his pen aside, so as to recall
of some momentary moment Time forgot, until
now a word just written brought to mind - was in the Fall
of some far back year - a future year would later fill.

For a journey long taken by, never ends itself
into completion, but rather gathers rare glimpse of beauty's crown
unacknowledged along pathway taken, like books on their shelf
some stand unread until in some mystic mood - one is taken down.

But I digress from that place whereof once had traveled so
far from civic thoroughfares and crowded streets people go
merely a journey of but an hour or two, when sycamores turn brown
along rutted cow trails, when August dry early turned to dusty ground.

As late evening sun slid down to its dying orange, til darkly red
to know clear night would show bright with full-moon's rise
when lunar glow held a silence I clearly heard within my head
as a busy world far beyond, slowly silenced itself with sleepy eyes.

But as planned Sunday last, when final blessing said
would have time to talk and share of words my eyes had read
til ten of courthouse clock scattered itself across sleepy town
tethered hand in hand, where weathered gate would lead us down
beneath those browning leaves of sycamores above a spring
to speak what lay before and after - such love-hopes might bring.
November 5, 2004