The brittle stems of Queen Anne's Lace
reduced to barren winter bone;
a hoarfrost Ermine coat embrace,
impaled in soil that's turned to stone.
The flowers now are wicker cups,
wear Bowler's hats of purest white;
the snowflakes that they interrupt
await the wind; resume their flight.
The Junco in the Prairie Grass,
drad colors blending, stem and snow;
his flitting business come to pass
without a glimpse of style, or show.
White crystal mist; the morning still,
a cold and colorless display;
the fenceposts marching up the hill
like soldiers, slowly fade away.
This day in its entirety
constructed thus to fit the mood,
cabin bound and winter weary,
must you in my lament intrude?
From deep within the Cedar tree
in blazing red from cap to tail,
you interrupt my woe-is-me,
insure my pensive mood will fail!
"There was an old cemetery
in that fence row.
Thirty some graves I've heard;
no record of it at the court house."
The neighbor pointed past
the corn rows,
Round Up sterile,
to posts askew
like aged teeth;
broken wire pulled down by sod,
prickly with random barbs
and wild roses.
No sign of it, or them,
who might be there yet,
no concrete vault
or weather weary headstone
to chip the disk blades.
the builder of the fence
ever fertile dust,
scattered by the plow.
Let Me Go First
Gravity's getting stronger every year
and my final day here is beckoning.
My sure demise holds nothing that I fear
more than the pain that losing you will bring.
I beseech you love, let me lead the way,
I'll find that gentle place; return to dust,
don't leave me first, not for a single day,
just let me go and join me when you must.
Our lives, our love so very entertwined,
One mind, one heart two bodies came to share,
unbreakable these satin ties that bind,
I must go first and leave them in your care.
It was ordained the morning of my birth,
to love you 'till I lie beneath the Earth.
In Memory of Jimmy Dale Still, Barrel horse rider, KIA, Song Be, Viet Nam, 1/1/70
swaybacked, sand burrs in his mane.
He stands no longer hopefull by the fence up near the house,
but follows the shade around the shed,
Nearby the dented barrels
rust rank and file akimbo,
no longer equadistant prey
of steed and gladiator.
Hay in a self feeder.
The last time Jimmy came to break a bale,
carrot in his pocket, bridle in hand,
they were both young,
Bill's walked a trail, deep,
along the fence to the old arena.
Quiet now; full of weeds.
A place for breaking horses.
Ross still rides his Harley, if the weather's good.
Can't get away much, like he used to.
Thursday morning breakfast with the airplane guys,
Talking farm prices;
what the dog's been doing.
He can't stay long; she can't be alone.
"She's been fading lately.
Sixty years together and she doesn't know
who I am sometimes."
But the dog does.
He'll leave early, be home to fix her breakfast
when she wakes. She'll not be appreciative.
Doesn't think about the cost anymore,
to bent, arthritic body parts.
Sometimes she won't eat what he prepares.
But the dog will.
Ross doesn't hear the banter;
he's staring through his oatmeal bowl,
counting fearful minutes.
"How's Buddy," I ask?
Ross comes slowly back, eyes refocused.
"I wouldn't take a thousand dollars for that dog."
D~ormant this volcano was; a rock face,
E~ver cynical and mute, gaunt and cold
S~now covers the peak and the hollow place
I~nside a burning heart is kept on hold.
R~esistance fails; love like lava's trace
E~ruptions of emotion, rare as gold.
I didn't know the sunlight 'till she brought it to the house,
or how much better pancakes are when shaped like Mickey Mouse.
I've learned that giving horsey rides can carpet burn your knees;
that lunch is not complete without that gormet Mac and cheeze.
She'll climb in the recliner and hop up on my lap,
if I am quick to promise she's not there to take a nap,
and what an easy thing it is when it comes time to chose,
the two of us and Sponge Bob or just me and evening news.
We watch the Disney movies, every witch and cartoon dog,
Schrek and Harry Potter, every Princess, every frog.
The table in the dining room's a Kingdom end to end;
Cinderellea's plastic castle's there and every molded friend.
I've learned to loosen Play Dough up when it's sat out too long,
and when I'm singing Taylor swift, I get the lyrics wrong.
A crayon beats a marker for original design,
and it ain't real important that we stay inside the line.
She finds my taste in literature is just a bit obtuse,
'cause there aren't any Princesses in books by Doctor Suess.
Outside to build a snow man, her giggles keep me young;
love is watching Maisey catch the snowflakes on her tongue.
In dress, mortician's finery
pure ebony entire,
eshewing tints of purity,
He dropped in by my fire.
It was His island after all;
his chapel ceiling, trees
I see what little I possess
Possesses what He sees.
The trickster of the Inuit
this feathered deity,
I thought He wished to share the Pike
His lake gave up to me.
But thrifty with His speech He was,
As Gods are want to be,
He came around to share my meal
the time He had for me!
U~nbidden, the draft was upon me,
N~ewly turned from the halls of high school.
I~nspired by the Vets at the legion,
T~o enlist and become Uncle's tool.
E~xpecting to serve with distinction,
D~ogma served warm and fresh to a fool.
S~ent off as a man-child to Asia,
T~o enroll in a myopic war,
A~nd line pockets of war profiteers;
T~ransfer bleeding from wealthy to poor.
E~verything that I learned in that conflict
S~ent the message to soldier no more.
A~nd finding no reason for staying,
R~ealized that my motive and drive,
M~y labor was chosen to ensure
Y~oung soldiers would return home alive.
Private Dribble died today
'twas in his 19th year
a nickname's all he left me with,
his name I didn't hear.
He couldn't speak, but as he died
he asked me with his eyes,
to reason out his passing;
find truth among the lies.
His death was less than gallant,
the conflict void of reason,
and rife with chair-borne rangers,
war profiteers, and treason.
So when he left me standing there
condemned to watch him die,
I didn't have an answer for
the simple question,
Written November, 1969, Nuy Ba Den firebase, Song Be, Viet Nam