Down by spring-house, yet bit further beyond
grandma's flower-bed, hand-built like frog-pond
when very young, lay its edge upon the lawn
dreamt of leprechauns, fairies, elves - some Roman faun.

Each time would approach, spotted frogs jumped in
found if laid down, motionless a long while
eventually emerged, least to their chin
learned about awaiting - one's need for style.

Founded a firm foundation, fascination for fauna and flora
life later learned to appreciate, natural Nature’s special aura
perhaps other reasons found among forgotten facts, from childhood
why spent years within Nature’s bowers, thereby earned for my livelihood.
March 18, 2000

Dark day turned to rain, became torrential when turned night
fire hissed, as rain-drops hurled straight down of chimney’s bight
wild winds creaked the house, or with thunder’s jarring smite
fluttered flashings, lightning crackled - became scary quite!

As if not spooky enough, oil lamp sputtered - then went out
ignored by she within, fireplace gave light enough with its clout
been bred to the soil, life harsh-worn - held her solid stout
was only as clock belled ten, seen a light - to cause some doubt!

Far out beyond where woods edged cliff - then up high
at times be seen - enough, knew was not a lie
with some fear, she kept watch - yes, still moving slow but sure
despite beating rains and winds - a lantern cast its blur.

So long she watched, felt need add logs to her fire
quickly done, then back by window - as done prior.

Not there but yes, where rocks gave way to descend - just then
saw it suddenly plummet straight down, swirled - was when
all went black, for that light swiftly ceased to give of light.
such eyes saw, but within her mind - refashioned with fright.

Longly watched and waited, finally banked fire for the night
storm still raging, as she lisped a prayer for whomever’s plight
being stout lady she was, quick-certain in her mind was right
fed cat then went to bed, slept like a log right through - til daylight.

Next evening at Paddy’s Pub, Kit had a harried tale to tell
with free stouts gifted him, told of his return last night from Boswell
there visit mother - left early, before storm came on him
crossed old maid’s cliff, just started down - happened near its rim.

As ill-luck has it, slipped on wet rocks - thence lost his grip
lost lantern, pipe and hat - but despite, continued his trip
long after storm had passed, sky cleared showing him of where
thence an easy pace to make his way home - quite a scare!

The lantern, could buy another, his hat - need one new anyway
but was of that pipe he’d lost, had been his father’s - one lined with clay
those who know, called it a meerschaum - coolest and sweetest to smoke
as those stouts counted up, of his dad’s lost pipe - was all he spoke.

Of old Maude living there, some thought might have noticed his going by
all knew her hidden ways, long lived alone - tales soon crafted why
then talk turned to lies with those rowdy lines, sung into song
Paddy’s aloud with old Gaelic harmonies - sang out strong.

So ends this story's spin of a simple hap, occurred a century back
yet at idle times in pubs across Emerald Isle, when business slack
should storms rage, its few patrons eventually sing - of Maude and Kit
both long gone, yet some still talk of that pipe - with hopes of finding it.
March 25, 2000

All weathers wore as one, yet gave color to my endless travels
a-foot only do I fare, for this Road now traced - still unravels.

Wending up one hill, thence downward - yet another
undulating before me, so dusty I smother
but not my hopes and heart, for such only lasts awhile
each day unto night then day - done mile after mile.

Seldom level ground, those found at bottoms or tops
there always rest, scenery seen at resting stops
thus wear but an hour or two, then off I go again to walk
with my lonely time, for am alone - no else with which to talk.

Am one ever drawn by further crests, where one sees far ahead
though each the same, are those creates inner visions instead
plodding with a steady tread, tramping slopes that lift then fall
ever wending northward, sun my at back - calm winds or squall.

No others met, where cross-ways found to intersect
from higher heights, length of road taken might be incorrect
each time looked ahead, no elseone ever seen nearby
should spend time there to rest - no others passing thereby.

Know they are out there, lonely plodding just as I
lives lived within their minds, view scenery passing by
but know will never happen, forever travel endless Road
a line leading directly on - daily destined thereby strode.

Only once meet another, coming the other way
when met, whiled in talk, shared throughout our entire day
til almost thirty-years has whiled on, thence we parted
traveled forward much as before, her travels found - elsewise charted.

Again traveled that Road ahead, much as before we met
once more bear weather’s wear - Winter's chill or Summer’s sweat
Road beyond lies much as before, further hills always seen
each rising higher, until later - those with lesser lean.

Upwards plodding, finally obtain another’s crest
at each paused looking back (she had not) - so I could rest
til sun and hope refurbished me, thence on with my quest
whence ahead, saw a single height - highest yet to breast.

On and on, foot after foot, step by step, finally crest - then down
dry, wet, hot, or cold, always that next hill climbed - til reach its crown
another crest, another rest, my endless quest - then on again
so timeless, now unremember when began - Did I once begin?

One loosely held in memory, whiles within, cheered worth of life on the Road
tarried like one married, for almost thirty years - life wore no heavy load
the past now lost among dry dust of distant days, of her - heard no more
on and on, day by day, vapid hopes - still I plod with heart always sore.

Since started on this Road, dimly suspect that my walk will never end
beyond reckoning nor power to quit, my existence must ever wend
from hence to whence, after but further on - thence from whence had first began
gifted as an enigma freely given, forever walking - unreasoned without a plan.

Step after step, one foot up then down, only that endless view - for what lies beyond
a nebulous drift midst ill-weathers, Road's mired with mud or but crusty dust
yet must ever struggle so as not give up, without that one now lost - til despond
as on and on I plod, unlearning why I must walk, except knowing - simply must.

T'was like I must have slept for an age or two
then as morning sun uprose, when I come to
felt wisps of happy dreams, those that once were
or that might be or neither - I’m not sure.

Anyway tis all I know, my past but an interlude
necessary I should learn, til filled me with gratitude
but why had that serendipity come to intervene
any change would be a welcomed guest - both could walk between.

Each day I rise with morning’s sun, know by noon - it will rain
always facing North, thin thread of road my walk must gain
on and on, reach its crest thence down - a bridge may let me rest
wondered whence and why, without no else to meet - talk and jest!

Ever plodding, trodding, pacing, tracing - step by step
with vague visions of my God and her - have inly kept.

Trust this waste of Time and endless Space, tis now required
unknowing its Cause nor Reason, passing seasons - years conspired
their vestures of weather’s wear, sometimes gifting beauty
as endlessly on I slog - as my bounded duty.

Seldom led to grumble with my mumbled frets of discontent
my existence sensing Nature’s worth, treasured as Provident
what fraction of Truth have come to know, tis my greatest gain
yet never fructifies as love - my hopes could not obtain.

For neither one nor more are ever met, to explain of why
that haunting fear, I will never find love again - nor to die.

Happened just before dark - had reached highest crest yet
stood there, all bedecked red, from a dying sunset.

Far to the North, spreading far across from my left to right
lay what took to be an endless ocean - seen blueish bright
thence inly knew, far beyond where stood - some ending held in sight
fable-fashioned in my mind, this Road must quit - at least it might!

Spent night hill-top held, haunting dreams bithed to germ
in but several day’s walk, what would I soon learn
when came at last to coastline’s edge - staring out to sea
what would there then obtain, what hopeful hopes - might I see?

But night turned bitter cold, so much so - snow began to fall
although August-time not unknown here, winds could birth a squall
next morning, all lay pristine white - except that blue streak’s  show
only colors brought to eye, distant blue - all else but snow.

I soon found my future days, would pleasure into endless weeks
til even those visioned hopes, quickened one’s strength for what one seeks
so on I trod much as before, left behind snow-prints - yet were only mine
much like long years past laid before, of dust or mired mud - churned into slime.

For days, snow’s glare burned my eyes - since glistened so white
yet ever looked far beyond to that blueish sight
almost lost faith when unfound in view, after leaving some crest’s height
now more eager than before, to crest next hill - with hopes held tight.

For two weeks it never snowed nor melted itself away
as onwards strode step by step, thence saw that blue - held a bay
could almost see enough to guess, a wooded copse thereby
dreamt what comfort might find midst those trees - there to sleepy-lie.

Land lay flatter now, streams flowing slower - yet further wide
feathered fowl seen to fly, where those bush-held could not hide
most species I knew, were of a northern clime
regained my worth of hope - hills easier to climb.

Then came a morning, assuring me - oh so very soon
should stand by that bay at its shoreline, surely by noon
I refused to run, kept up my allotted pace - again step by step
when reached its edge, breathed in its salty air - that night I deeply slept.

Awakened at dawn by rampant cries, brought of gulls and terns
strained my ears with happy calls, like loud cheers for what one earns
for three days rested there - along this Elysian quay
raptured and freshened, awakened by unknown hopes - to pray.

What next would opportune, for had I reached that end of one’s Road
like fabled future’s of Pandora’s box - what further might bode
around that bay, uncountable roads made their ends
of all time there spent - none brought of my former friends.

Yet knew many came each day, all were gathered here about
that one unseen, unsensed, yet knew she was here - most devout
so for me they did not even exist, were as if but naught to me
how long I waited unknew, thence behold - she made her daunting curtsy!
March 26-7, 2000

As stood by bridge, looking down to what lay far below
lost in old thoughts, did not sense her tug at his elbow
when disconnected himself, turned around to see
one giving notice unknown - though a  pretty she.

This he keenly saw, though why had made her presence felt
unknew - to learn her need, turned to hear what her words dealt
thence she confided, pointing with her finger - there far below
lay her wanted purse, whence fled her grasp - her chestnut eyes aglow.

Well, was a quandary for him, for that drop had a far way to go
not a brief down and back, a precipitous descent taken slow
in view of this as well as her, told would do - but she must go as well
only then would he oblige, his words out-spoken words would quickly tell.

Could see her flinch at first, of this unthought, awkward suggestion
yet brightness of her face gave trust to it, yet spoke her question
not dressed to wear that steep terrain, its portended descent
but in spite of this, made it clear - was willing to consent.

With no more said, he led the way - she followed behind
found not dangerous as first thought, nor so steeply inclined
finally they reached the quest of their mutually agreed goal
with purse in hand, she looked within - as if something might be stole.

Him behind, she ahead, both retraced their way back up again
there by railing she thanked him, yet stayed to chat - so there begin
like often found in life, a relationship gathered up its start
for tis some awkward, simple kindness like this - enough to fire the heart.

When occasions occur needing others, that both must lend in trust
is just that vulnerability ventured - love requires it must.
March 28, 2000

Was some years back, I with others traveled to take a tour
atop world’s highest trestle, how high and long - unsure
blent itself well within Nature’s deep-cut valley’s grandeur
captured both extremes with keen craftship could build - safe secure.

Thence noticed old gentleman by its railing, gazing far down below
furbished like old widows - baggy pants, cardigan worn thin at elbow
yet one well-groomed, cleanly shaven - atop his balding head an English cap
so to idle time til others returned, nudged at his elbow - with my tap.

Soon engaged in casual chat, old folks so easily find
first the weather then it scenery, bridge’s height - how far its drop
rattled on, spoke of such - til other thoughts came to mind.

Among things said by us both, those tales each would swap
of this very bridge long ago, far enough to wet his eye
his manner and demeanor telling what told - was not a lie.

At that iron railing, this very spot - where he once found life
began chanced encounter that led to love - soon became his wife.

So long ago those years had fled, then she died - left him in widowhood
a life’s tale quickly told that day, all because - here once briefly stood
then others returned, I left - his memories again relived, love retraced
an annual jaunt always takes, like some late-life tryst - recalls there emplaced.

Going home on the bus, reflected upon that man with his English cap
reviewed how many others have I seen stand apart - like some lonely chap
see the present with their eyes, but within - memories see those times long past
re-filing life’s records, its chaff thrown out - but those of love yet held fast.

At all tours I take, they are found leaning, elbowed-held at some rail
staring beyond scene came to see, re-telling their life-long tale
still making annual trips when health suits - no matter how high-priced
once again coming back, re-live that worth of love’s former tryst.
March 29, 2000

When sun awoke dawn with rosy rays
cast its pink glow across Touquan Bay
til my travel impeded by a foggy haze
knew from heat’s burn - mist would not long stay.

Beneath fog-held cloud, loon cries heard
else sounds brought by some other bird
as if waterfowl complained of fog
as frog-croaks echoed from nearby bog.

Small flock of geese, veed from out that mist
flying straight, until their flight made twist
avoiding trees, for were flying rather low
veered above - where Touquan River waters flow.

Not long after, fog bank began to lift
seen beneath to my left, that rocky cliff
early rising mist still obscured the sun
til day seen clear and bright - fog’s work now done.

Broke camp, canoed around edge of bay
reached port at noon, but two weeks would stay
looked back across where bay merged with open sea
here edged in by cliffs, as far North as one could see.

A three-day storm, ocean waves lunged - raging high
bay likewise danced and churned, few birds seen to fly
when all subsided, sun again cast its orangy haze
like thrice days before, dawn awoke with rosy rays.
February 15, 2001

Passed by those stone walls, once held back then
shouldered house on trees first felled, was when
beauty I loved dwelt there, although
of what Time's passage took - most unknow.

A day of cider making, back then
in Autumn-time such oft done, was when
her and I parried whole day, although
unforgotten what told - speaking low.

Tender words spoke, more unsaid - for then
heard supper's bell loudly rung, was when
evening spent to dance and sing, although
love unspoken - as danced some rondo.

Later he was sent to war, but then
received her saddened letter, was when
felt a fate far worse than war, thereby
learned loved ones left back home - also die.

Life thereafter wore unsteady, until then
met and married a bonnie lassie, was when
happiness returned fully fledged, although
recalled that time, cider made - long ago.

That first glimmer, love first felt back then
days of one's youth held hopeful, as when
she and he gathered dreams of love, although
Death soon intervened for her - first to go.

Passed those stones but yesterday, been so long
standing there, hearing words first love had drawn
remembering hopes both had schemed, although
another fulfilled what first dreamt - long ago.
April 1, 2001

Foot-traveled a dusty Irish road
slept beneath the sky in moon-lit mode
mend my shattered youth, war had wrought
four harsh years - fearful battles fought.

Such peace for a Summer, my need
far away, where war wounds still bleed
although slept those Irish skies at night
green-grocer bought, for what food I might.

Should a pub be chanced-met at noon
imbibe with both tankard and spoon
idled time midst their friendly chat
loved to talk - can be sure of that!

Was nearly noon, a day dry with heat
saw below a hill, one shocking wheat
she so far off, he unheard what said
perhaps she had yelled - was time one fed.

With hands akimbo, strained her voice
since he kept tying, had no choice
she insistent, so loud I could hear
although I far above - meaning clear!

Til she finally stalked off red mad
he kept shocking, to me seemed sad
since I unmarried, unknew its way
heat, wheat, two angry - below that brae.

Happened in years and place, now far removed
unknew what that episode ill-behooved
since now married, years fulfilled with love
now understanding - what then seen of.

Opposing needs found diverse at times
recalls that hot day of Irish climes
midst heat and wheat, harsh words put in play
their brief duel fought - below that brae.
April 24, 2001

Gathered by crowd, yet stood at its edge
screened from without by high privet hedge
a day of showers, went then came again
at neighbor's funeral - stood old Mike McGwinn.

One who died, of another clan being buried there
Mike had not come, for what might gain - since not one to heir
not his style to hunger another's loss
nor held hopes - for what after-sale might toss.

None of these gave reason for his attendance
rather a secret long past, gave its lendence
back when Mike and he - who being buried today
both had eyes for same lassie, one - nee Miss McKay.

He had stepped aside, neighbor got the bride
Mike took all in stride, though a blow to his pride
as oft hapt in those days, wore his life alone
through lost years, long forgotten - to most unknown.

So was out of deference, to both him and she
paid his respects at kirk-garth, since neighbors be
after light meal served in old parish hall
Mike's condolence given her - but that was all.

His shyness widely known - nearly sixty was
forbid he stay long, because what crowding does
since Mike so shy, soon left what occasioned there
later learned, others farm - he became sole heir!

Perhaps ought end this tale, much as it stands
allowing readers surmise - their ifs and ands.

As you might guess, two years on - Mike wed
soon Irish rumors began to spread
tis Celtic way - to such are born and bred.
June 2, 2001

(Sequel to 5959 et al.)
Perhaps I yet plod that Road, much as before
or but rocker-sit, let one's mind far explore
still yearning for that thin line of distant blue
or merely mused of those wan wastes - life once threw.

Nay - may be neither of these or both at once
for blindful eye of Time, still dulls and blunts
those former pains of loss and wreck of happy days
unknowingly I yet follow - where that Road far strays.

That distant streak of blue, now but a vanished hope
once held me euphoric, surprise beyond last slope
for yearning hopes but die whence dreams fade from view
aftertimes unfullfilled - without visions new.

Now no goal set, nor purposed aim held clear in mind
knowing but vanquished dreams - be all will lastly find.

Endless ploddings found leading to nowhere nor when
yearning pretense of future dreams, believed back then
for aging Time takes toll, fading visions ill-brought of men
lies of  one growing old, painful thoughts - of what might have been.

For even now, knowing that Road but a willful ruse
lingers like fading echoes, left by some promised news
up then down, that eternal dust of burned out days
vague chimeras once upcast - dying hope betrays.

That dragging waste of love, lost and crushed by Death
dulled all future days, pantings parched with dry breath
Road leading nowhere, merely a hope willfully disguised
when heart of life found plundered, Road - one's hopeful Faith devised.

No milestone gave direction nor tells how far
a pathway leading onward with its forward scar
no others ever met, as would shorten ill-steps taken
half-willed to live, exiled - abandoned as one forsaken.

A last gasp, making sense of life's enigmatic use of Time
aimless Road unending, with uncountable hills to climb
enslaved to fare its footed way, as if punished for some crime
its vapid worth tossed midst unread lines - my grief once put to rhyme.
December 1, 2001

He'd served them well, or so they tell
for war is hell
mounted on his steed, one of special breed
always took the lead.

Master of his sword, as if he its lord
by thrust - many gored
midst war's fray he sparred, himself often scarred
arms and legs - both marred.

To his men was kind, unlike most would find
of warring's pain - blind
years of battles waged, til reached that stage
Time found him aged.

At last, left those fields of battle
now tells war-tales with his prattle
still dreaming of its clank and rattle.

His declining years dwelt alone
visit comrades left - if still-known
his former kindness - yet bestrown.

Til Death found his sword left to rust
scarred body buried, turned to dust
for old soldiers die - as they must.
January 10, 2002

Was long in the past, of other days
where over-head sun held brighter rays
far traveled beyond, those times when young
quaint ocean isles - spoke foreign tongue.

Guest for a Summer, but eat or walked
sharing thoughts between with what we talked
idled there in ease, with naught to do
until her and I - each deeply knew.

But not improper, as if to woo
a respect both taught, too-well we knew
firmly drew a line we would not cross
yet a time could come - events might toss.

A happy-sad day, when ship cast-off
each gaily waving, yet both felt sad
those long days after, bright clouds aloft
to dreamed of brief love - our Summer had.

Beyond that far date, sailed away
through passing years, her missives would tell
of life's unfolding - letters still convey
quaint island where she and husband now dwell.

My future late-found a wife for me
batch of eight kids birthed, soon brought of love
yet recall island friendship with she
dwelt ocean sea-side, Isles brought of
first love had kindly taught for me.
January 24, 2002

Though sun long set, its reddish glow still lit the West
dusk blushing into night, for tis then thinking best
when night birds no longer heard, only insect hums
then memoried episodes of the past - softly comes.

Late Autumn gifts evening's cool, before first frost comes
trails youth-time trod, old feet once more walked again
yet this time paced alone, for have lost former chums
recall their hearty laughters, so late - when turn-in.

To wonder if alive, what became of those former friends
across distant trails taken, each one's life later wends
future-fashioned whence to wherever led their onward lives
careers labored of, those children family bred - and their wives.

How first we greet, but too oft after say our goodby
so ephemeral, here thence thereafter - far traveled by
lost midst those annuls Time records, but seldom read
memory still talking out-loud - yet are rarely said.

Long pondered on, til camp-fire dies down to ember's ash
nights honed down with thoughts of old, gleaned from life's wasteful trash
as distant owl's haunting calls, echoed from opposing hills
later rewarded by that constant churn - of whipper-wills.

When dawn rebirthed its eastern light from first glow
quickly breakfasted thereby, thence off and on my way
returned trail taken up, now traveled slow
tis from those fading byways - poem has chose to say.
October 1, 2002

When at last returned, no one there to greet him by
only passenger disembarked, none caught his eye
caboose soon lost beyond far curve, Judd's Hill hid between
t'was nearly dark - whence walked down old Kaudrow's dark ravine.

Beyond second bridge, where old Jethro lived awhile
his thirst felt its hungar, as climbed porch steps - then knocked
an unfamiliar face gave him, its cautious half-smile
what their unknown voice asked - left him rather shocked.

No, unknew name he gave - no Simpsons live here 'bouts
but after more words were explained, told could stay the night
at dawn Simpson left, then footed on - with his doubts
by noon, what Jethro told - locals knew of Simpson's plight.

All night Jethro talked with wife Jane, til she guessed - was he
though his voice much higher, manners strange - body taller grown
they'd known the Simpsons, sick-died last winter - all three
yes, war had changed him so - shrapnel buried in head and bone.

Father Mahan, quickly took such matters in tow
two phone calls, three-hour drive - talked with chaplain McDrie
two years in veterans hospital, fully healed so
when next returned - entire town there to greet him by.
May 17, 2003

Of those that came then left too soon
several some still tarry near
old friends one may yet list' their tune
music each played - joyed one's ear.

Plucked and bowed or those their fingers strummed
a magic I can not play, yet deeply share
neither danced nor pranced, though often hummed
gathered notes - scattered upon late evening's air.

Laughter loudly wrung from stories told
released those tensions their loud performance swore
til clock gave clue, night quickly growing old
such pleasures always pleased - 'twas what evenings for.

Simple rendezvous, one night each week brought
to eat, munch or chew - spitting in between
loud and soft, sprightly clear their music wrought
for years, weekly met - became our routine.

Those who weekly came, sang and laughed 'neath light of moon
now finds but a darkened room, its unheard silence saved
those past gatherings, only memories hear their tune
music but dying echoes - olden friendships once played.
May 21, 2003

Remembered times, past recalls rather well
forgotten episodes herein now tell
former days long ago, will muse
tis of those foreign times - I choose.

A vestige of truth, time gathered from life's straying strands
new learnings bearing good testament, their truth yet stands
of what tells, past events retold as fully true
notes jotted down, attest what then occurred - I knew.

Time and place, unneed tell nor described in detail
suffice to share - a celtic inn of ham and ale
midst raucous Irish crowd, those of hard working class
cooled my throat with ripe good number - of aled glass.

Til long after-hours, I stumbled up unknown stairs
found a room with ample bed and covers, but were no chairs
my disoriented balance, had need to shed my clothes
as danced upon one foot, in taking pants off - I suppose.

Nearly noon til wakened by a maid - came to dust and clean
bid me time to dress and wash, I think her name was Maureen
tis not of her I tell, for my hunger held sharply keen
a splendid lunch of ham, eggs, spuds and something - reddish-green.

Shared table with a simple lass, who told me where
might find my wanted aim, those roads leading there
best to walk, save my brass - hills of gentled climb
thought coat best, for dawn's early dew - could be rime.

Several days brought my ventures nearby a sheltered cove
a grandeured spot, where both sea and land neatly wove
their pastoral pattern of sheep, rocks, few trees and ample grass
whereby an ancient abbey, built with stones of volcanic trass.

For several months, weathered rustic humor - til each one laughs
helped where could, writing some - kept regular with local drafts
when early Autumn's cold came, stayed in Abbey's single cell
quizzed of their holied visions, rich wealth Faith earned - such might tell.

A dory's three days drift, brought me back to whence first lit out
again spent two days of an Irish inn, strong aled stout
but like all good times, must end when other aims made their call
later flew out for the States, thereby to end an Irish Fall.

Well you say, so what does all this reveal as pertinent
several months spent midst Irish pubs and Abbey - as relevant
first alluded to in opening lines, freshly penned above
as might be believed, this poem a right good tale - tells hereof.

Will find in its beginning, cautioned - mere vestige of truths may be
long ago and far away, of war and after - across the sea
torn tatters of outdated episodes, one's age puts far behind
somewhat laced with idle meter, ill-attempts as one mostly rhymed.

Its strange tale told of long ago, will be found further down - far below
be forwarned, tis an episode rather long, entitled: Valiant Vagabond.
May 31, 2003

As muted crackle of dying fire, slowly melted into silence
fading flames cast dancing shadows, last embers burnt down
night inspired, 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, camp fire oft conspires
disturbing one's thoughts, til felt alone in forest's dark
wavering shadows strangely flickered - late 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
drifted off to sleep - midst life's forgotten dreams.

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

For in the end of any life left to live, light and dark regathers
into scraps of hope, unclearly seen yet felt, old memories dreamt
found rebirthed midst those burnt-out ashes, life's embers recast
into strange shadows of night, awaiting some time - utterly unknown
when those icy hands of cold Death - will quench life's fading wick.
May 4, 2004

Sod well-tamped down, death buried under
when heard first sound of distant thunder
lightning's crack sundered bleak dark of sky
til grave-crew wondered - Omen brought by?

High winds loudly howled, yet rains did not fall
saw Death darkly cowled - held no face at all
by then, diggers fled - drank of Paddy's stout
fear told what each said, each one - filled with doubt.

Paddy's locked-up tight, five and more returned at night
all to see of what they might, by dim glow of star-light's bright
grave much as when they'd left, silent as deserted grave-yard
til one saw where mound cleft - white lily growing on its sward.

Peacefully growing there, as full-moon gathered high
their fears soon knelt in prayer, aled stout's strength brought by
how explain lily growing, knowing McGwin - village clown
tomorrow's weekly mowing, living lily - soon cut down.

Morning found all six hid there, McGwin already mowing
although grave's grass close-clipped bare
saw that lily still growing there.

All afternoon, those six gathered by
at Paddy's pub - questioned why
Father McGlynn slowy drank his rye
seen a lassie there - to cry.

Herself seen re-planting lily white
tis of such a grieving woman might
til their fears replaced with Irish wit
Priest told, all laughed - t'was end if it.
April 7, 2005

Audrey called, you know what that means
something had gone awry it would seem
murder next door, dreamt in her dreams
claimed she had heard - some ungodly scream.

Crazy I say, by now gone mad
though if true would be truly sad
oh well dear, do what you can
- a ploy used by any man!

Such wife told me, after re-hung phone up
as I sat by, drinking my second cup
strong coffee keeps one regular, you know
best not drink too much - for soon have to go.

After she left, I went out for a quick ale
old friends, they and I - as scanned morning's mail
only after, gathered to our local pub
neither they nor I cared - to join a club.

T'was nearly noon when I returned to eat
wife still gone, nothing on her memo-sheet
after lunch, took a stroll down St Edward's way
watched local farmers, take in mid-summer's hay.

Ah, to be young again - back on the farm
born there, as a kid - couldn't do much harm
was then heard local siren give its alarm
as idled those by-ways - of old English charm.

Found wife well-distraught, when finally came back
of what she told, I was quite taken aback
Audrey shot herself and bed-bound husband too
as wife grumbled of whatever - we ought do.

Attend funeral and obsequies, I replied
proper thing to do, done with old English pride
but all the while I spoke, my wife only cried
a terrible thing, one's husband - her suicide.

Well, this occurred ten years ago, or so it seems
wife still has nightmares to disturb my nightly dreams
well, time will heal all - these things happen you know
such was my response, as once again - had to go.

Naught else much happens here about, a birth or two
she and I growing old, soon both be eighty-two
eight children, all yet living - doing rather well
of this sad tale told - tis all have need to tell.
May 19, 2005