An ancient river, centuries-old shops and restaurants steeped in a 2000-year history and
culture set the scene. The ambiance seemed divinely contrived to facilitate the purposes of
our meeting and the very fodder from which the greatest poets are sustained.
Not newcomers to the area, Kay P. and I were assigned to the Army Security Agency Field
Station in Augsburg, Germany in 1974. We were colleagues in the intelligence community
with no romantic overtures to our relationship, save an appreciation of poetry and profound
philosophical discussions. Kay wanted to spend the evening with a poet, so we planned the
evening to be appropriate for the purpose.
At the time and place, we quickly found ourselves hopelessly immersed in the philosophical
foundations of my writings throughout the evening. It was the first time since Vietnam that
I'd felt worthy as a person. I still recall sipping the red wine and feeling the warmth of the
large hearth inside the Balkan eatery. I still see the swans gliding by on the Lech flowing by
When windowpanes begin to weep with autumn's chilly dew,
I'm taken back through seasons passed to one delight held true,
A rendezvous that time allowed, a gentle evening spent
Amid a time of long discord when days were dreary bent.
I feel the stretch upon my lips, the smile returns once more.
Again, I smell the Balkan fare prepared on Lech's old shore,
The mood is cast in high regard, the wine is tart and dry,
As Augsburg ripples in the wake when swans go gliding by.
The ancient windows frame our view and day begins to wane
As rivulets meander down and streak the dampened panes.
The ambiance of ages passed beseeched us not to leave
And held us in its warm embrace throughout the ebbing eve.
My heart was scarred, without regard and hardened by the war
But her esteem unveiled its worth, while nothing had before.
She saw the child that once was me, I'd long since cast aside,
And bade he climb astride his mount, engage his life and ride.
Now, she is but a memory, whose kindness soothed my heart,
For we embarked upon our lives on paths ordained to part.
Her subtle way escaped my eye till time had made it clear
That her esteem had set me free, that night I hold so dear.
The poetry that filled my soul remains these many years,
Impassioned in my warmest thoughts when autumn first appears,
When windowpanes begin to weep, a-glisten with the dew,
And I return to seasons passed, to one delight held true.
Sometimes on the road of life
Change becomes the norm
When you think, “The sky is true”
The horizon brews a storm
Some storms last but a minute
Like a ship they sail right by
Other storms seem to be
As endless as the sky
Some storms come with a flood
As life gets washed away
Other storms shake the ground
As mountains crumble into clay
Storms come in many sizes
They come in many shapes
Storms come in many forms
Some bless while others rape
As we face the storms of life
They change who we are
Sometimes, we’re the clouds
Other times we’re the stars
Storms have one thing in common
One day they too shall pass
As a car rolls to a stop
Storms run out of gas
After the storm has passed us by
A seed sprouts to a flower
Each petal seems to be
Exuding strength and power
I have weathered many storms
Their lines map my face
In their wake I have found
Love is my saving grace
I don’t know what this poem means
I don’t know if I ever will
All I know is that right now
This poem is how I feel
As you ponder each turn that has landed you here,
taut tempo will quicken and frail futures loom near.
Take one somber moment, step away from the din:
The voyage, the detours, the past and what's been.
You look back behind you to retrace every mile.
It bring tears of regret and the trace of a smile.
Hang on first, then let go, due to whimsy or age.
What you keep in the end is the test of a sage.
Fools still ignore the supreme ticks of the clock,
in each change in fashion, embraced by the flock.
Walk on and ignore them, don't bother to chide,
these pathetic lemmings swept away by the tide.
Peer off in the distance as you fight off the chill.
You must climb still further to the top of the hill.
Play the tailor to time, cut and trim, make it fit.
Find the time in your life. Take time to enjoy it.
He's staring again, standing by his balcony door
The way he did each morning, even when I was there
Writhing in pain after my heart from my chest he tore
And as I walk away, my heart on my sleeve I wear
The emotional abuse was unconscionable
Yet for years I clung to hope he'd appreciate me
But his anger just grew, attacks became physical
Till I'd had enough and desired only to be free
My clothing, my perfume, many things remain behind
I'm standing now an I'm finally walking away
Wondering why for far too long I chose to stay blind
Proud I had the strength to leave, I greet a new spring day
Have you ever listened to the silence?
Alone in the giant trees
Have you ever experienced your soul?
Being totally at ease
Have you ever stood atop a volcano?
Felt its trembling power
Ever smelled the sulfur boiling in the pits
Man that sure is sour
Have you ever loved with all that you are?
Holding nothing back
Have you ever completely lost who you are?
Trying to find your way back
Have you ever stood atop a mountain?
Cursed the Lord above
Have you ever sat alone in a Prison cell?
Accepting his forgiving love
You know I have been an evil man
Every sense of the word
In my memory I remember screams
Tormenting to be heard
So much I wish that I could forget
So much I have to tell
About the emptiness you feel inside
The pure solitude of hell
My life no longer belongs to me
I am on a quest
To show the world a man can be
Beyond any test
My pain is deep and my spirits are high
Eagle gliding in the sky
Brave enough to fight any man
Strong enough to cry
A rock to those who know me well
A leader in the night
A warrior that would never run
God I love the fight
A tender man of true compassion
My wife taught me well
That’s why everything that I can be
I offer to her spell
Angels come with big brown eyes
Strong enough at heart
They encourage you to rise above
Finish what you start
Sometimes when I start to write
I fall into a trance
And the poem becomes a partner
Gliding in a dance
Where the poem goes is with the flow
I just tag along
I try real hard to keep the beat
Swaying with the song
Some parts are good and others bad
Some are in between
But from the first word to the last
The soul in me is seen
I pray before that final curtain call
I will have left my mark
That people will think back and say
The light rose from the dark
Everyone must choose their own way
I am no one to lead
If you wish to make your life a garden
I have some real good seed
Always be totally honest with yourself
The person that you are
Space is a place full of dark matter
Grasp to your own star
Be strong enough to always open up
Let go of what you hide
Because in the overall scheme of things
They’re a nowhere ride
If you wish to hold the one you love
Always let it show
Remember that they must be free
We all need room to grow
Trust in them with all that you are
Never forget to show
That they are the one you will adore
To the ending of the show
Due to the length I joined the four line stanzas together
Erase a word
Mundane and wrought
Of indifferent thought
Pluck a phrase
Wild and untamed
Of random flame
Sing a verse
Naked and free
Of crashing seas
Tell a tale
Endearing and true
Of life’s muse
Ask a heartbeat
Women and men
100 shards of pen
A fleeting still small voice tries to warn me
A sudden overwhelming desire to run
The tell tale taste of metallic flakes
Means my nightmare has begun
Everything around takes on a ghostly pallor
A landscape of anguish and corrosion
A moment of silence before the violence
The flash of light, the brilliant explosion
The sound of the Sun fills my ears
Fear, my throat, though none escapes me
And paralyzed I clench my eyes
As my tormentor prepares to rape me
And it's endeavor is absolute
Consumption is its ultimate goal
It exists to chase me so it can erase me
Whilst feasting on my soul
And then that familiar salty smell
The sudden rush of warmth so stings
Engaging me relentlessly
In vile unspeakable things
Over and over and over again
My limbs stretched and wrought
As it's teeth tear my bones bare
It's mind defiles my thoughts
And still wounds beget wounds beget wounds
As in the mouth of madness I suffer
And with every injury he just seems to be
Rougher and rougher and rougher
Then just as suddenly as it began it ceases
And for a moment I am clearer
And then the true horror of it all
Is revealed in a darkly lit mirror
There in front of me stands my destroyer
Face flush with it's fill of my pain
And I find that it's eyes and mine
My God, they’re one in the same
Today I sat in silence gently closing my eyes
Saying goodbye to sounds that makes our world alive
Slowly I started to drift, deeper into an unknown black
Where sound has never been heard, where life also lacked
The deeper and further I went, uncharted by any man
Where silenced echoed it's silence, right back to our future plan
In this void of soundless emptiness, dust particles brushed me so
Prompting me to open my eyes, allowing my eyes to glow
So fortunate I think to myself, being present at the beginning of time
Finding the truth of yesterdays tomorrows, now knowing where man has climbed
I watch the particles spinning, over millions and millions of years
Creating planets we know now, aligned are these magnificent spheres
Gradually I work my way back, enlightened at what I had viewed
Knowing that we are only a blip in time, being here is so misunderstood
So many follow their paths, knowing of their yonder
So today I sat in silence, gladly closing my eyes I wandered
My white-washed bars surrounded me -
they held me as I slept;
they soothed me when the days were long,
and mother’s blue-eyes wept.
A baby girl, six months or less,
awakened from my sleep -
stood up legs as sure as hope;
as strong as flat is steep.
My hands, my saviors, gripped the rail
so I could peek outside –
the bluest sky I’d ever seen,
As tall as it was wide;
came into view - between the blue,
an airplane gliding by,
its smoky streamer like a flag,
across my memory’s sky...
The memory is a simple one -
a window, sky, and plane -
but in my heart, it's heaven's door
and there it shall remain.
I’ve hung it on my memory’s wall
Between that life and this –
It covers every hole I’ve dug
In sorrow’s vast abyss.
This picture brings the special peace
I knew when I was small –
Where mother’s just beyond the door,
and waiting for my call…
*Inspired by Danielle's Earliest Memory contest. I have blocked out almost every memory
from my childhood, and only a very few gems remain - this is the first. and I will treasure it
I never knew following dreams could be this lonely,
But up on the hill, looking back, thank God I'm not the old me.
If the tears will fall, let them be;
I believe this is God's plan, follow your dreams.