A Northman's Reveries

A Northman's Reveries

 

 

Another day starting,

and glad he was still here to see it,

though some might not think it much of a life.

Nothing splashy, never made a lot of money,

never became president of the United States.

But then he’d never wanted to be president,

and money never’d been that important to him.

There’d always been enough.

 

He had the love of a good woman, three fine children,

and now grandchildren coming on like gangbusters—

his whole life he’d loved only one woman.

Oh, he’d been tempted, sure—Sadie at the supermarket, maybe—

but that was just another one of those silly-second dreams,

like being rich n’ famous, that maybe look good ‘til you think them through.

Certainly nothing you’d waste a lifetime chasing after.

 

Some things he regretted.

Wished he’d had more confidence, wished his father’d been more proud of him.

Yeah, that would have been nice.

Never could get the hang of this social media thing.

He and the wife were on Facebook so they could keep up

with the kids and grandkids.

Not much to share 'bout himself.

If people needed him, there was always the phone,

or they’d more ’n likely just drop by.

 

He’d always tried to be a good man, someone his children’d be proud of.

When he was gone, that’s probably how people would remember him:

as a good man, a decent man who cared about his family, his church and his community,

one to count on to help when help was needed.

At least he never made a fool of himself,

was never knowingly unkind to another.

 

He was now closer to the end than the beginning, he knew.

Hair thinning, body sagged.

Lacked the strength in his arms he once had.

Couldn’t run any longer—that’d surprised him one day—

legs just wouldn’t move like they used to.

But then life had slowed down, too.

Fewer places to run to these days.

 

Yes, to others it probably didn’t seem much of a life, he supposed,

but it’d been enough for him,

an honest life where he could look any man in the eye.

He’d be ready when time came to say good-bye.

 

Until then, he had another day to live, and best get to it.

He looked out on the early spring morning, nicely warming,

drank the last of his coffee and got up from the table,

silently kissed his wife’s forehead as she read the newspaper

(“That damn’d fool in the White House,” she muttered)

grabbed his cap and went outside to make his garden great again.

 

 

[First posted: November 17, 2019]

 

And now Sharpiegate!

C'mon, admit it: You're going to miss Trump when he's gone. W's Bush-isms weren't half as entertaining, and of course Obama with all his charisma and class, integrity and intelligence was no fun. It will probably mean the end of late night talk shows. Editorial cartoonists will need to apply for unemployment. It'll be the end of democracy as we've known it these past three years. Just reminds us to appreciate what we've got in the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

[First posted: September 7, 2019]

 

 

Send me out into another life
                lord because this one is growing faint
     I do not think it goes all the way

                      --W.S. Merwin

 

 

In W.S. Merwin we admired not only the poetry but also the poet.

Which unfortunately can't be said for a lot of poets.

So many couldn't live up to the beauty and profoundness of their own words.

But then, truth be told, neither can I.

Alas, I am better on paper than in person.

...which I suspect is why many of us write.

 

 

[First posted: July 15, 2019]

 

          I needed my mistakes
    in their own order

to get me here

           --W.S. Merwin

 

 

Glad to be alive? Yes.

But it was a rough road getting to this point.

Not sure I'd want to make the trip again.

 

 

 

 

[First posted: June 17, 2019]

 

 

I received your email, and for the past two days
I've been trying to think what to say.
Words fail me--As you can well appreciate,
an uncomfortable state of affairs for a writer.

Yes, I will miss you.
Yes, I am sad at the prospect of your death.
Yes, I am grateful for our friendship 
and how it has enriched my life (and my writing)
over these many years.

But the words sound so trite when put down on paper,
so inadequate to the occasion, the anticipated loss of
a valued friend.

And then this morning, when out walking on my hillside,
I noticed the first signs of summer sliding into autumn:
One of the sugar maples is just beginning to turn,
signaling the changing of the seasons.

And once again I found in nature that peace
that stills the mind and fills the heart.
If I could, I would send you that peace.
As it is, I can only leave you with my sense
of gratitude for the many moments we have shared,
and a sad gladness that our paths crossed--
several times--on our separate journeys.

Godspeed on yours now. I will eat an orange in your honor
and whisper your name to the wind.

I guess that's what I wanted to say.
Farewell, my friend.

 

 

 

[First posted: August 22, 2018]