The Sea, The Sea (Written March 20)

The Sea, The Sea

 

Perhaps very late our dreams

Were joined, when we had almost

Given up dreaming. A strong

 

Wind had beat against the glass

And kept us awake, long

After we’d turned out the light.

 

The rain was heavy on the roof

Above our heads, and the sight

Of an ancient spruce swaying

 

In the wind, and threatening

to come crashing down, played

On our nerves. By dawn

 

It was quiet again, as if some

Unwelcome stranger had moved on.

You began to snore and make

 

A noise, a hiss, like waves

Crashing onto a beach. Take

Me with you, I whispered,

 

And dreamed I was walking

In shallow water at sunset,

Savoring the smell of the sea,

 

And you came towards me,

And we kissed, and your lips,

Fresh from your dream, tasted of the sea.

The Blind Man (Written March 19)

The Blind Man

 

One of his eyes was blind,

As a complication of diabetes.

Because he lacked depth perception,

 

He found stairs difficult, and curbs

Too could be dangerous. Sunsets,

Sunrises, landscapes in general,

 

Lost their appeal. Everything

Was flat. Even the colors

Seemed duller. He was often

 

Irritable and lashed out.

Sometimes, to soften

The blow, he drank.

 

I didn’t like to be around him

When he was like that. If I

Sat to his blind side, he tended

 

To forget I was there.

When he looked at me,

He seemed to be looking right

 

Through me, at someone else.

It was as if in his eyes

I did not exist at all.

Sugar Bush (Written March 18)

Sugar Bush

 

The place was just as he remembered it,

Except that the dream was more vivid.

The ground was soggy, with mounds

 

Of snow all around, in places the sun

Could not readily reach. The sounds

Of spring greeted them as they entered,

 

The chickadee and the robin, the crow

And the squirrel. It was a perfectly centered

Sugar bush, which had not been tapped

 

In years, until the boy and his father,

One long, cold winter day, mapped

Out a plan of their own. Come late

 

March, the temperatures were right,

Freezing at night, and by day the great

Seasonal thaw. They worked as a team,

 

Emptying the metal buckets into large

Plastic containers. Hooked at the beam,

The wagon was set to go. The horse

 

Pulled with all her might, but she

Was old and tired and, of course,

The wagon got mired in the mud.

 

She hung her head, as if in shame,

And all through her body a shudder

Seemed to shake her to the core.

 

The boy’s father stood close to her,

Talking to her and stroking her side,

While the boy pushed from behind.

 

The words his father spoke were sweet,

As soft as the light in the trees, and as kind

And forgiving as the mourning dove.

 

With new life the mare pulled tight

To the yoke, the wagon began to move,

And the four wheels came free.

Talk To Me (Written March 17)

Talk To Me

 

You don’t think it’s important that after

Fifty-five years you still have nothing

To say to me. You don’t think it matters,

 

One way or the other. To me it does.

Your silence hurts me and batters

My heart. I don’t care how you say it,

 

All I want, all I ever wanted, is for you

To say it. Come, don’t hold back, say it

Now, give it to me straight.

 

Tell me about your own father, the one

Who abandoned his family. Did you hate

Him? Did you miss him? Did you love

 

Him? Tell me about the great depression,

When you road the rails, and lost

Your last dime. Tell me how you met

 

Mother and how you always loved her,

And she you, without any regret.

Tell me about your work, which gave you such

 

Trouble, and too many children too. Tell me

How it was when you died. There’s so much

You never told me. Talk to me. Talk to me.

My Father (Written March 16)

My Father

 

When my father was alive,

We had very little to say

To each other, but now

 

I talk to him all the time.

I’m more grown up and allow

Myself to say things I never

 

Would have dreamed of before,

Things I thought were forever

Buried in the past. Sometimes

 

I’m angry, not at what he did

but what he didn’t do, crimes

of the heart, the way he kept

 

His feelings to himself, shutting

Me out. Only recently have I wept

For him, and for me, and found

 

What there is to love and admire

In him. And now I am bound

To him by the strongest of ties.

Worlds Apart (Written March 15)

Worlds Apart

 

The faint tones of the sick

As they let go their grip

On this world are songs

 

That tell of what is to come,

When all the good that’s been done

In their names, and all the bad,

 

Will be washed away, as surely

As the sea washes away sand castles

On a beach. Feeble gestures

 

And visions of the real weakness

Of being make us bow

To their wisdom. Life, they say,

 

Is such thin stuff, to be

Punched through, one day,

Like a tight membrane.

While Her Body Swam (Written March 14)

While Her Body Swam

 

While her body swam to heal itself,

She dreamed she was a child again,

In a boat with her mother,

 

Crossing over the water to a cabin

Where her father and her brother

Waited. A man with a walking stick

 

Waved to them. A white horse

Came down out of the woods

Behind the cabin, and came

 

So close she could feel

Its breath on her. Its name

Was Victus, and it could fly

 

Through the air. When she looked,

All she could see was sky.

Together, they counted

 

The stars, to a thousand. She dreamed

She was a child again, mounted

On the high horse, unafraid.

A Source of Wonderment (Written March 13)

A Source of Wonderment

 

But then a strange light came into his eyes,

And I could see that he was at peace,

And that he accepted what lay in store.

 

He was quiet, no longer in pain.

The mountainside was a hushed auditorium

Where everyone and everything was listening,

 

Concerned, worried. The ledge

On which he lay was no longer a glistening

Red, but a rust-brown against the white

 

Of the ice sheet. His son, who was his joy and

His sorrow, would not return now, as night

Descended quickly over the land. The sense

 

That there was nothing to be done, nothing

That needed to be done, was an immense

Relief, and a source of wonderment.

Paint and Bay (Written March 12)

Paint and Bay

 

While you went on without me,

I kept my hopes alive by singing

A few of the nursery rhymes

 

That you loved as a child.

How strangely, like chimes,

They echoed across the vast

 

Mountainside. Paint and bay,

Sorrel and gray, the whole cast

Of that motley crew. The blood

 

Where my leg was broken

And the blood caked with mud

Where I had hit my head

 

Made me think of the one

You loved best, alive or dead,

I’ll grind his bones, et cetera.

 

How foolish of me to lose

My footing when I knew better

Than to let go. Hubris

 

Was my downfall, not, I’m afraid,

For the first time. Too lubricated,

Was your verdict, more than enough

 

To blow me away. It won’t be long now,

I know. The road, though rough,

Will get you there and back.

It (Written March 11)

It

 

It’s going well enough,

Or no worse than usual.

I work at it all day,

 

And sometimes late at night,

When my mind is at play.

It’s like a riddle

 

And my job is to find

The answer. I fiddle

With the words, I wait

 

For them to flood over me,

Ready to call it fate.

It has to feel right,

 

Not in a general sense,

But right for me, as tight

To the line as I can manage.

 

I look at it this way and that,

Until I can see the advantage

And all the pieces fall into place.

 

Finally, when I have something

To show for it, in my race

Against time, I call it quits.