Poems

Daybreak at Paradise Beach, Thanksgiving Week

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

The night surf’s whoosh and rumble
Gives way to dawn.
Pelicans glide in line,
Skirt the crests,
Thread through spray, and wheel.
Way out there, the gray surface
Explodes in a flash of foam
Seizing light.

Grandson and pal
Lie inert in the sand
Fourteen hours now,
Growing cells, storing fuel
For the day’s unceasing patter–
Adolescent giants
Nearing boyhood’s end.

He turned fifteen two days ago
Weeping in the station house,
Caught stealing once again
From those who raised him
To whom he’s offered much occasion
For exercise of generosity.

But on this camping trip
To a place I’ve longed for
To return ten years,
He gave some sweeter recompense:
“Grandpa, we’ll run back down the beach
And carry your pack with ours.”
“We’ll pitch your tent.”
“This food tastes great.”

I stand at the edge of the sea
And watch each wave take form and break,
There a million microseconds
Grinding mountains into dust.
I feel my shrunken spine, my eyelids’ droop.

Behind me on the beach, I hear a laugh
And turn toward arms and fingers
Stretching in the sun.

see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/smarx/albums/72157675418113981/show

I’ll Remember April

Friday, October 21st, 2016

(April Wells 1943-2016)

I loved you for your name–
the bloom of youth, the standing daffodil.

I loved you for your voice, in full Canadian lilt
Its high and low note chord.

I loved you for your strength,
To clear the brush and split the wood,
and raise those kids alone
in the dark house across the road.

I loved you for the gifts you brought—grace and song and dance

kenneth to left, april wells, debbie keane, steven marx, backrow joann sorenson, jan christie

And for the gifts you gave–confidence and joy

I loved you for your laugh.

1982aprilwells

Labor Day

Friday, September 9th, 2016

A holiday to celebrate
The end of holiday.
I sit cross legged in the closet
Trying to subdue thoughts
that tumble like laundry.
A work in progress
Thirty minutes, every morning,
Forty years.
Or is it only labor
Watching the clock?
I face the closed door
Of an antique washstand
That holds the ashes
Of two who made me.
Creation or endurance
Their lives and mine,
Headed for now
Or never?

Birthday Present

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

It ain’t necessarily so
It ain’t necessarily so
The things that you’re liable
To read in the Bible,
It ain’t necessarily so.

The psalmist says three score and ten
Is the year that it’s when to say when
But some disagree
And say age seventy
Is just time to start over again

It ain’t necessarily so
It ain’t necessarily so
Our days may be numbered
But we’re not encumbered
With twenty four hours to go

So here’s a small something for you
To keep track of them in all you do
La Grande classique they call it
Cause it’s classy and above all it
Grows old and yet always stays new