Lost To Him (Written May 30)

Lost To Him

 

He did not move, although

She waited in front of him.

He sat quietly in his chair.

 

She heard a loud noise

From the street below,

Like a car backfiring.

 

He opened a book and began

To read. She poured herself

Another drink. He mumbled

 

A few words to himself.

She looked out the window

At the children on the sidewalk,

 

Playing hopscotch. He laughed

At something she said.

She closed the door

 

Behind her. He dropped

His book to the floor.

She was lost to him.

 

To Be Free (Written May 29)

To Be Free

 

For the last time the soles of his shoes

Slipped and slid down the narrow,

Rocky path to the desolate beach.

 

The boat he was expecting was late.

Flocks of whitecaps seemed to reach

From the near shore to the horizon. Dark

 

Clouds hung over the middle of the bay,

And sheets of rain, like the smooth bark

Of a beech tree, fell straight and true.

 

The feeling of being on his own, with

No one to answer to, was entirely new,

And though he had yearned for it madly,

 

Now he wasn’t so sure. To be free

Was his aim. But if things went badly,

He’d have only himself to blame.

Ned (Written May 28)

Ned

 

With whiskey colored eyes

He stared back at me without

Blinking. He was so tall

 

He made me feel slight,

Though I am not a small

Man. Finally, I had to turn

 

Away. He was a good father,

They say, and I have no reason

To think otherwise. He kept

 

His weakness, as he called it,

Under wraps, except on the rare

Occasion when he felt the need

 

To make a display of his difference,

And get some strong reaction,

One way or the other. He hated

 

Himself and tried everything

To break the habit. And yet,

All dressed up, he had his pride.

The Waiting Game (Written May 27)

The Waiting Game

 

But after I had taken a few steps in the street

I returned to the station and looked again

To see if I had made a mistake

 

And if there might be some sign of her

In the crowd that would take

Me out of myself and the pain

 

I was feeling when the thought came

To me that she might be on the next train

Due within the hour and so

 

With renewed hope I decided

To wait a while longer knowing

We’d have no further chance to see

 

Each other before she left on her trip

And the dangerous assignment she’d

Accepted to travel to the far

 

East of the country where events

Were spiraling towards all-out civil war

But as I knew with her it was always

 

A waiting game in which she kept her own

Counsel and I was left sitting in the hallway

Counting the cracks in the floorboard.

Darkness Coming On (Written May 26)

Darkness Coming On

 

Branches of pine trees waving

Gently, under a gray

Sky. Light mist falling

 

On a dirt road. A dozen

Loud crows calling

From an abandoned farm.

 

Rock pigeons flapping

From house top to barn

And back again. A herd

 

Of young deer standing

Very still, unperturbed,

At the edge of the woods.

 

Darkness coming on,

And all his worldly goods

In a dirty yellow backpack.

Three Women (Written May 25)

Three Women

 

One’s alive even at this date.

Two others, both younger,

Died before their time.

 

To have known them,

And loved them, I’m

The lucky one.

 

What happiness, together,

What tears, what fun,

However brief.

 

Remarkable, each in her

Own way, what grief

When it’s done.

 

With fading memory,

Like the evening sun

Shining through

 

Darkening clouds, I wonder

What did I ever do

For them?

Ned’s Secret (Written May 24)

Ned’s Secret

 

He wanted a father to have given him

Some small wisdom, some instinct

That would teach him what to say

 

And what not to say. He’d like to tell her

Everything, and she will find out, one way

Or the other. But it’s her wedding day

 

And he doesn’t want to frighten her away,

When everyone is so happy and gay.

He’ll wait and break it to her in a more

 

Relaxed and playful manner, and hope

She can see it for what it is, his very poor

Reaction to a very unhappy relationship

 

With his mother. First, he has to know

She will love him, no matter what dip

In the road he’s about to reveal. She must

 

Swear never to leave him. She must

Believe in him and see that he is a just

And honorable man, who misses his father.

As Darkness Falls (Written May 23)

As Darkness Falls

 

Logging roads of gluey clay

Lead through densely growing

Spruce and pine to where

 

The terrain, more rock than

Earth, begins to rise. A deer

Turns and flees. Spring’s

 

Run-off gurgles further in.

A chickadee, dissimulating, sings

Gaily. Hard packed mountain

 

Snow blocks the way. A swarm

Of bees drinks from a fountain.

Our hiking boots are heavy

 

With mud and indecision.

Words remain unsaid. A bevy

Of quail watches from above.

Famous Actress (Written May 22)

Famous Actress

 

One night a new couple came to the party.

He was the brother of Margaret’s husband,

She was a famous actress and comedian.

 

They lived in Toronto but apparently

They loved our little town and planned

To stay a week or two. Margaret

 

Had a cottage by the sea, and promised

Daily fishing trips aboard her husband’s

Modified Boston Whaler. Everyone knew

 

They might drop by and the big question

Was how to act, what to do, what not to do,

If you suddenly found yourself face to face

 

With someone you’d seen a hundred times

On television, and half a dozen times gracing

The big screen. You could play

 

Dumb, and pretend you didn’t have a clue

Who she was. The main thing was not to say

Something so stupid you’d be ashamed,

 

Later on, when you thought about it.

Don’t forget, she’s a human being, the same

As the rest of us, with her own history of struggle.

Forbidden Thought (Written May 21)

Forbidden Thought

 

Though strictly it is not allowed

To have that kind of thought.

It would destroy the will to live,

 

To think that your own son

Or daughter might not outlive

You, and, even worse, might

 

Have a more unhappy life

Than you, more blighted,

More poverty stricken.

 

To have that kind of thought

Would be too sore an affliction,

And might tempt you to take

 

An early exit from this un-

Forgiving earth, and thus make

The matter moot.