STRAY STRANDS


ENDURANCE
5202
When traumatic terrors felt so acutely keen
til fractured those anguished depths of heartache
with such confusion, one's mind could not contravene
surrendered, quenched life's wick - of all forsake.

What perils of futured days could so panic hope
ignoring reason's rational foundation
til strangled one's determination by which to cope
purpose found useless - Life's final frustration.

Til t'was too late, as self-death ended all
friendships shattered by Deathís tragic fall
memories still hold you near as they must
enigmas left unanswered - yet still we trust.
November 10, 1998



SHALLOW SOULS
5441
When they yell, one hears but hollow echoes
within those empty hallways of cold hearts
should they curse, but silent shadows wander past
left as unheard - ignoring their vapid shouts.

Should finally weep, bewail their vacant pain
early Trust squandered, til felt hopeless
when at last have failed, finally fall
some found to kneel - before their self-lost God.

From forgotten wastes of a hope long-hidden
in some small creased crevice, as if wimple-held
forlornly gasping for some voice to emanate
as might be heard within their parched souls
perhaps then may become - a creature-humbled.
March 23, 1999



SUMMER DREAMS
5478
In that Summer season of my dreams
whereon a hill warmed by sunshine beams
soft stir of calming winds, unfurled what one's memory grew
all brightly spoke a silence - as if old world freshly new.

Til clear-held strands of thoughts emerged, formed into shapened hopes
regathered from forgotten byways, dusty roads with a past
few hours spent chasing those cloud-shadows, running down far slopes
traced their image across the valley, thence beyond - so quickly fast.

A day, a season, a life reviewing - drank from Life's streams
surrounded by that welter of Nature's growth, unplanned schemes
wove midst my thoughts and hopes, til all graced all with faith-firm themes.

Til captured a partial piece of endless Time's passing pace
pondered that vastness spread before me, unlimited Space
meld all I knew, til their unity held without seams
whence spent a day in that Summer season - of my dreams.
April 14, 1999



HALLOWED HALLS
5584
Longly walked those hallowed halls of church and academe
hymnals or texts held in hand, to pray and learn life's aim
meditated on godly themes, studies of World's lore
gain an inward understanding - unthought nor taught before.

Learned from those educated, more profound than I
forged linkage between Causes, gleaned ideas of why
searched wonders of Nature and Culture, discerned the what of Life
study-read or thoughtfully mused - better fend with stress of strife.

Filled open mind from deep-delved depths, searched one's inner soul
years spent plodding those hallways, until found oneself whole
later earned wealth of one's feelings, love's emotions start
accreted from an enriching marriage - til filled my heart.

Finally saw value of those two halls of fame
one fills out the mind, tis of such Knowledge makes claim
other sates one's inner soul, with Faith's hopeful flame
both blent together differently - yet much the same.
ENVOY
Creeping age now wears me down - gray, weak and wan
as body dissembles, slowly wastes anon
though mind goes a-tremble, still that yen to learn
for hallowed halls still echo - Faith's hopeful yearn.
July 21, 1999



IN STILLNESS
5645
Stills the night with darkish-black
til silence speaks what words lack
sight goes blind, yet for all that
what once occurred - now comes back.

A high ledge of land once stood upon
below those cliffs, vast sea veiwed beyond
long I idled there, mused of all that went before
and all that after came - old dreams would now explore.

Though peace felt, answers seemed problematic
confusing thoughts of war, enigmatic
hopes held with meek certainty, Chance may gift
 ephemeral wants - flotsam brought adrift.

Such stills the inward soul, knowing Truth exists
inner silence telling, Spirit yet persists
til eyes foresaw what Faith might gift, life-after
assured me, by sea-wavelet's gentle laughter.
September 14, 1999



UNLOVED AS BONE
5664
How oft this past year, with painful stricture
briefly stood heart-held before your picture
declared my enduring worth of love for you
thankful yet tearful - as searched your beauty through.

So you may fully know what strength my love yet burns strong
despite terror of tattered days, heart-grief held so long
reflect on those vast countless who abide There with you
treasoned by those left, their love soon forgot - lost to who?

Turned to other views, ungrateful for their fumbled past
leave their spouses dead, uncaring for what did not last.

Tis such I pondered on, what Death's shadow took away
of those left behind, does love have further words to say
might love-lost pain work its worth - in high Heaven's realm?
IF  SUCH  BE  SO
How do Spirits there cope - as not to sadly whelm?
September 30, 1999



BUT OF CHANCE
5821
How oft happened, should two pass by in the dark
neither knowing but if elsewise given spark
perhaps changed much their lives now live through
re-cast future days with a far different view
occassioned by that brief glance - with a word or two.

Enigma of Time, Choice, Chance and Circumstance
what might have been or done, by but a glance
unknowing what spoken words may have verbalized
crafting lives differently instead what otherwised
occassioned by that brief glance - love had mesmerized.

Such, a wise Professor of Morals might syllogized
or Minister at a funeral - may have eulogized.
February 14, 2000



BEHIND TIME
5847
Surprise she hid behind high-shelf clock
as placed it there, thence came someone's knock
news so upsetting, surprise forgot
four years later found - when house re-bought.
March 1, 2000

NOISE
5920
Harsh scratchy scrape of a bow upon that violin
did not enrapture at all, screeched like a mandolin
for when children practice such, as if required
lofty heights of musicís magic - not inspired.
March 22, 2000

WAVES
5922
An ageless ritual years left unchanged
should two pass by, some greeting exchanged
that lift of hand, smile in their eyes
simple wave of oneís hand - friendly wise.
March 22, 2000

THE TOAD AND I
5972
One of those days, unfound any sense for being at all
bleak wear of gray weather, so quiet could hear sunlight fall
no air astir, birds unheard, no trucks nor traffic on the road
just a long silent interlude of Time - but did see a toad!

Its ancient warty hide, with no voice to make its sound
found along cool stone wall, that holds old barn off the ground
responded only if some motion or flit of shadows shown
in stoic silence awaiting ages out, like me - alone.

We had a long chat, since both had time to spare
sat in barn's cool shade, yet all it did was stare
I understood, then for some reason had asked - how wore its day
since could not speak, both decided need not answer what it may.

From such hints, kept silent for each others sake
let Chance or Circumstance, their next move to make
so we did, Bufo and I - as well as that idle day
whiled with our silence and our Beingness - seemed okay.
March 29, 2000



GAB-FEST
5984
Whenever friends gather, with no need to be discrete
each to all else there, chatters with no need to compete
in several hours, a thousand stories told - then repeated
both heard and telling tall tales, til each felt - completed.
April 4, 2000

A HOPEFUL NOTE
5985
All stood silent while burial dirge quietly sung
day of brief rains left droplets, wet branchings strung
like tears wept by those grieving, hearts sadly wrung
skies darkly gray, til heard first note of an April's Spring
when in a silenced moment, meadowlark - chose to sing!
April 4, 2000

BASIC
6057
It takes an IS
to know what isnít
takes a knowing mind to quiz
whether something tis - or tisnít
May 2, 2000

A WASTING
6061
Lost to weeds, hid and forgot where old barn sets
unused, unneeded, unfenced - now holds no pets
sheltered family dogs, til four years back - last one killed on the road
now rots back to dust, shelters but crickets - or perhaps a toad.
May 4, 2000

CAT TALES
6106
Caught both kittens, with length of cord, tail-tied together those two
afterwards draped across clothesline rope, just to see what they would do
snarled and spat, chewed and bit - until their fur began to fly
each thought the other pulled its tail - although unknowing why.

Til their ruckus heard within, mother came storming out
cut them down with a peeling-knife, held in her hands
looking round, not one kid could be seen there about
of six kids, two ate no supper - one in corner stands.

Tying an empty tin can to catís tail, didnít work
every time tried, almost instantly came loose with their jerk
finally thought another trick - threw two in the pond far from shore
one quickly swam back, the other, round and round - then seen no more.

The one we dumped in paint can, didnít stay long
less than a second, in and out - two weeks gone
some red still remained round its ears, back of neck
if more there, never knew - too fast to catch and check.

The one we set fire to, never came back
same with another we tied up in a sack
yet, seemed were always cats about the farm
finally grew up, no more cats - came to harm.
May 29, 2000



THE SIMPLE CANE
6138
Donít see many men-folk walk with their cane
once a common sight, years back in style often used
a handy tool for those truly crippled, leg gone lame
cane a needed crutch, or but a wile - health excused.

Park-bench a-sit, cane knocking shoe-dirt loose
or when kids gather, giving them the goose
squash a bug, clamp a paper before flies away
pointing, aim anotherís eye to what talks convey.

Most picturesque when men seen bench-sit alone
feet flat upon the ground, arched back - thoughts unknown
cane supporting both hands clasped just beneath their chin
lost to dreams of things once done - or what might have been.

Some preferred simple walking stick, straight without its curve
others use one's parents used, til finally lost their nerve
an outward sign once held in hand, when tradition gave it class
seldom seen these days, times of reason gone - new years brought to pass.
June 15, 2000



TO KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
6140
Science declares, tis gravity that draws up the tide
each sea-coast daily done, moon effects which way it flows
tides still measured out, even if lately found science lied
for no better cause found of worth - as far as anyone knows.
June 15, 2000

FLIGHT ONCE TAKEN
6144
On wings with little breeze, slowly soared aloft
gently gliding, curved plumes held slightly cupped
day of warm updrafts, with but one thrust taken off
rise a-spiral growing wider - as higher upped.

Outstretched feathers soon gained lift of rising air
viewing all below with an apprising stare
further than ever done before, til air grew thin
climbing Natureís distant skies - whence never been.

Wending westward, dared to venture - kept pace with sun
if all conditions held, higher heights might be won
there with idle ease, floating air-streams trending fast
kept pace with the sun - an eternal day would last.

While far down beneath hazy blue of humid heats
what Culture shows lies unseen, only those Nature metes
larger rivers, forests dim, hills clumped, mountains high
hearing but a soundless quiet, above - an endless sky.

Where upwards everywhere, refracted blue seen crystal clear
limitless space all around despite which way might steer
no sequence of lightís shift, no dusk nor twilight - night or dawn
mere motionless Space, Time left behind - ever gliding on.

An unceasing day, radiant warmth gained from sun's bath of light
til what lies below becomes lost to visions held out of sight
only tragedy that could transform this lazy drift of flight
letting go one's dreams or future hopes - but only if one might.

Thence that long descent, gradually losing pace with far distant sun
gliding downward, perhaps to emplace - exactly where begun.
June 16, 2000



PULCHRITUDE
6163
To still the night in solitude
lost in moot thoughts with lassitude
t'wix eve and bed - an interlude

There muse of a once-love in quietude
remembering her bonnie pulchritude
tis nightly done - with grateful gratitude.
July 6, 2000



THE SECRET
6226
Someone I vaguely knew in a strange convoluted way
long unmet then recent-found, spoke what words unbidenly say
seemed to see things from some angle, randomly slanted obtuse
belabored my mental mold with a logic - could not deduce.

Rattled on with white heat, burn in her eyes aflame with fire
fetished by strong strength of convictions, til I began to tire
was finally saved by an intrusion, when someone else had come
so tactfully excluded myself - for left my mind dead-numb.

Some weeks after, suddenly - beyond reason for its return
fully captured those measured depths, which been that oneís sharp concern.

Since not remet nor know of whence, to or from be later found
because of that single discourse, know an idea deeply sound
but to explain of such or exercise its importance in print
must leave you mystified of what tis - only what this poem might hint.
October 14, 2000



WITHIN
6254
She never knew, never told - yet within her blood
certain features told, ancient ancestors gave bud
lineage unrecorded nor found on baptistryís scroll
yet her genes deeply sensed by me - knew within my soul.

Oft would catch them reflected in some stance she took
outshowed their distant past, quaint movements manners shook
peculiar twists of thought, clever use of reasons given
true of others met, their ancient genes - strongly driven.

Flashings from some far older way of knowing
was then could surmise, what her past was owing
crafted with quaint mannered ways of one's thinking
unaware of cause or whose - back-years linking.

Who knows what varied strains of blood run our veins
should one's lineage be researched, court-house proclaims
here and there, some slip of happenstance adds its worth
by thrust of love or lust, somewhence - had given birth.
October 24, 2000



PORCH PONDERS
6289
Ah - with sheer luxury of a Novemberís balmy day
sat a-porch with hot coffee, a vacant time to play
idled long hours a-dream, drift with some distant thought
perhaps grasp those stray strands - til wrote a poem it caught.

Sounds of Nature muted silent, not one bird makes call
only motion seen, those drifting leaves late year lets fall
a season shutting down, taking rest from Summerís wear
much as I now gather strength - ponder what Winterís share.

Perhaps last day may lie a laze, sun's warmth still attends
reflect what Future flings, recalling what Past amends
lifeís varied ventures now felt so distant, seems almost unbelievable
much of memory turned to dust, finer points of the past - unretrievable.

This kaleidoscope of once days, gathered sheaves placed in shocks
even these bear enough grain, fit to grind into grist by hard rocks
after, mixed and blent by recipe - leavened, then baked as bread
placed as words upon a poet's page - other eyes will have read.

Even as I write, my neighbored chipmunk runs the porch - thence stops to eye
for a moment shared each otherís view, thence quickly left on the fly
scampered on, attend to those rodentine visions Winter brings round
reminds me of ole Bufo, for weeks for now - hibernates beneath cold ground.

Ever nervous chipmunk, too quick, too fast - no time to idle sit
but Bufo the thoughtful one, idles time day-long - if deemed fit
I too once wore life much like ole Tamias, ever on the go
now like ole Bufo, but sit and think of future days - those long ago.

As good a place to cease this rhyme, since coffee wasted cold
tis such as these, wear wan years down - when age grows one old.
November 3, 2000



LAST REMAINS
6353
After funeral service finally over, those mourners left their church
deceased garth-gathered by pall-bearers, body reclaimed back to Earth
yet I remained in dark gloom of church, delving what old memories search
for one who died, unknew - circumstance required my presence's worth.

In silenced church, watched wispy strands of smoke that yet filled the air
mixtures of candleís burn and aromatic incense, still drifting there
like final leavage of oneís Spirit, strangely tarried - growing thin
til at last those smells lost, like fading echoes - of some olden hymn.

Outside a gentle rain, silent sounds and inner thoughts - hushed by its spell
those grave-side gathered dispersed, sexton shoveled dirt newly dug back in
when that duty finally done, left those last remains of Deathís final knell
thence rose and left, oneís closure over - life back to what once had been.
November 25, 2000



MIRACLEíS TOUCH
6357
What miracles have attended within, my awkward life chanced to find
wearing ways of normalcy, yet with occurrences but in the mind
should such serendipities be surmised, as possibles chanced to be
where all perimeters converged a single point - perhaps one might see.

After-left with cautious convictions of what occurred, because and why
some fated destiny God planned long ago, a future day brought by
rare taste of interventions beyond Nature - only selfless Love should try.
November 26, 2000



OTHERS TOO?
6381
Can we suppose God also gifted His fullness
as pure Spirit directly to some
such diversity crafted by His endless love
we might attribute - whence angels from?

Perhaps creatured creations so unlike ourselves
with different Natures else-wise bound
seems most likely rather than just but we and God
other than humans - earthly found.
December 3, 2000



BRAIN-SIGHT
6403
Why do my eyes harbor nascent tears behind their lids
prior times remembered, refocused when memory bids
awakens lost events of one's past, again re-run
vague glimmers long forgotten - former deeds once done?

When emerge, tis not their intent I see - but where took place
most clearly viewed just like then, as if had a given face
light cast by sun or bright of snow, even dark featured rain
haunts of my childhood strangely recovered - by one's brain.
December 13, 2000



HOW FAR WOULD REACH
6420
Biting bitter winds hurried up the hill
pre-Christmas snow lay white with zero chill
clouded sky hidden, bid sun colder still
down snowy slope below - a frozen rill.

Kith and kin gathered, each daring with their sled
racing down that slope for what excitement bred
daring each other - challenged words were said

Self-sought goal, see how far beyond could reach
thence trudged back up hill, spoke their defiant speech
firmly persisted with determined skill
try, try again - to gain that distant rill.

I viewing such, wondered how far each of them might go
their lives all before, of what future years might throw
out-live my faltering steps, theirs will quickly grow
I old, they young - beyond this day upon the snow.
December 23, 2000



TWO QUESTIONS
6424
Was God so careless as allow Creation create what it wills
chaos tossed midst both Space and Time with evolutionary skills
unworried how long taken, nursing growth of Natureís progress - til
a creature contrived gifted enough - God's loving Spirit would fill?

When did human spirit first learn that power to kill
its aversion once declared, with hot sentence of Hell
as ancient texts ascribed of Cain, would be the first to fill
later taught to resist those instincts - one's Son spoke to tell?
December 28, 2000



EARLY HURT
6463
How kind I used to be and trusting too
when grew-up - twenty-two
my honest trusting through.

How came be one so shy and always scared
now knowing reason why friends never cared
for I had never dared.
February 7, 2001    



UNHEARD
6495
Was it something had hoped would say but then did not
waited in silence hear it said, if not forgot
or not that at all, some other thought soon made claim
quenched conversations dead - fading echoes blame.

Such wore our atmosphere as she washed those dishes by
unseeing hands felt scrubbing's aim, with unlooking eye
loud motions made, til waters roiled with discordant sound
stilled a silence further - perhaps only she had found.

A moment that would be long remembered beyond that day
of words hoped but never told, nor its results put in play
a silent omen, portending what future life begot
dated long before, when hoped something said - but then was not.
February 23, 2001



MEASUREMENTS
6512
When an hour had outworn, til brought another by
when ears heard noon-Angelus rung by sexton's ply
when wan afternoons heard those songs, insect hums
when day wastes into night - then darkness comes.

When week used up its seven days, fully done
when month reached its end, after - another one
when one season merged with another, more sere
when days, weeks and months pass - creates a newer year.

When years gather to decades or some other guise
when decades twin to scores, becomes doubled in size
when scores have tripled, quadrupled or even more
til Time finally gives full measure - of all life wore.

Then Life has measured out that fullness of one's age
yet when Death intrudes, gifts one - but another stage.
March 6, 2001



UNENDING TRUTH
6517
As high-hill sat, leaned against an ancient yew
where far off, eyes held an endless sea in view
til evening's sun colored waves an orangy hue
left to wondered why or if - Truths fully true?

Should grasp such depths, until knew them real
life-long observed, testing out their steel
found full-reliable should some need arise
convinced as fully certain - assured me wise.

Since then, have traveled far from that high-hill yew
recalled former friendships, now left but few
life-time of passing years so quickly threw
so much to others owe - life's wearage grew.

Now gather by my wife's grave, whenever her need gives clue
as leaned against neighbored stone, 'neath another ancient yew
learned Truth has grown far deeper, than firstly thought
much like Love, its perceptions - an endless plot.
March 13, 2001



PAST SIGNS
6523
Flinty outwash, low-river laid bare
past remnants, ancient glaciers cast there
revealed whenever river runs low
echoed those times - glacial histories show.

High cliffs rose above river's northern edge
bottom fields below bordered high ledge
four mounds left undelved, burials interred long ago
ancient faith once believed - their spirits still echo.

Within depths of woods nearby, traced a centuried lane
line of old trees dimly showing ruts, should it rain
despite constant scars, eventually Nature heals
ruts still echo - when first traveled by use of wheels.

Beyond those woods lies church-garth, stone-fenced in
datings inform how long those graves have been
old histories retraced, stone-cut words survive
echoes reheard by inference - signs now revive.
March 16, 2001



TIME IRRELEVANT
6531
Days now run together as daily come and go
those weekends a surprise, should happen to know
months still aware of, must turn up calendar's next
seldom view its pages - can't read such small text.

Are but four seasons I make notice of at times
long enough, shows extremes of north-latitude climes
til calendars have little meaning anymore
Time found less important than once felt - heretofore.
March 29, 2001



COSMOS KINDRED
6539
When Time stopped, yet Space remained
those dimensions traced, hopes sustained
beheld a Present with its lasting presence
left undisturbed - by Nature's natural essence.

Thence felt of that Cosmos, as one with all
kindred creatures, each held with equal thrall
fully natured as if one with rocks, gorse, sky and air
expressions still recalled - Creation once whispered there.

Some to merely exist, or creatures that breathe til die
was such I pondered on, to actually be and why
since one who can know and love, found filled with gratitude
simply to be than not - lent a prayful attitude.

Beyond that single thought, my hopes did not flow
fading light of sunset left but evening's glow
when dusk arrived, rose to leave - then paused to imply
before leaving, acknowledged All - with my goodbye.
April 6, 2001



INTERLUDE
6553
When Spring's warm days end with cooling night
early shadows hide what old dreams might
from long ago, once done or stories told
as sunset fades into dusk - til night grows cold.

There to sit alone, drift among thoughts cast from other days
told by friends now gone, remnants unraveling, til finally frays
sifting through one's past, especially those days when young
til moon gifts cold light, recalling - what Life had flung.
April 19, 2001



DAY'S REPRIEVE
6562
When night tucks day into bed, with final blink of light
din of daily doings quenched, midst shadowed sounds of night
cooling air returns, dispersing last heat brought of day
then ancient thoughts return - as if permitted now to pray.

Thence tired Time takes its diurnal rest
til morning's sun begins to brightly crest.

Workings laid aside, mind unwinds its tightened coils
relaxing tensions, twisted tight from labored toils
now reflect midst those scattered thoughts, brought from one's past
when night tucks day abed - last blink of light finally cast.

Thence life's struggled day, takes a brief reprieve
 til sunlight discards - what night shadows grieve.
April 26, 2001



DOZEN LESS ONE
6565
Among seldom serendipities, circumstance might chance
enriching new-found hopes, once reaped from a simple glance
three years later, when presumed again would never grow
eleven bluets on her grave - found to sprightly show.
May 1, 2001

SWEPT UP
6568
For a while she cleanly swept stone floor
later found to pause, leaned against Dutch door
drifting midst idle dreams, those one might explore
until returned to sweep again - like done before.
May 2, 2001

SILENT TRACINGS
6569
As evening shadows traced longer than before
afternoon slowly turned to dusk - day's encore
watching shadows slowly inch up the wall
I much alone - observed their silent crawl.
May 2, 2001

TRIAL
6577
What can one do when hopes turn sour
merely await some pretended hour
hide within, cede defeat - fearfully cower
or down deep inside - find some latent power.
May 16, 2001

THE FOOTPATH
6585
From whence led this footpath to travel by
first sourced, thence therefrom - to where or why?

Some purposed aim gained by its ending
in between, trail unwound its wending
from where began til reached some wanted goal
one freely footed - without cost of toll.

Its existence required weekly usage, to keep it in place
should too long be unfooted by, quickly heals without a trace
when long ago, found one to pace with hopeful tread
whereafter for what his wantings by - thence had led.
May 24, 2001


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