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Seeing An Old Friend Again

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Soft-shelled turtle youth Wonderment to young eyes Youth to youth meeting. ______________.__________________ We talk about our need of toys Adventures safe and sound Captured as we are in houses masked Few adventures to be found. Yes, cards are there and other games Alone, or for a crowd And of course, we also have our pets Many poems for them are found. We have our arts, to sing and dance A piano, guitar, or drums We play with others, or to ourselves remit Inside tunes or memorized verses, sung. And all the while a best friend sits In softest movements all the time Through seasons, sun rises, and even moon sets In quiet memories, parts all mine. I talk about Ol’ Man River Still remembering that old minstrel song Deep voice a’there a’singing About it just rolling along. I walked those arterial banks when just a boy Fished sunfish when only three And alone found myself in another world The river giving me things, brand new to see. I waded and swam, and yes, almost died Taking chances, I shouldn’t have done Yet here I am to sing this poem No fear, no scars, not one. Except for one nice livid one It stretches into my soul Never leaving the muddy river swum Living there, never growing old. A stick to help, time to go out about Which way, which bank to walk Miles mean nothing in a memory trek As Time, it slows to talk. Come... let me share a different World then yours You cannot live beneath its waves It has currents too, to carry you off To where, or what, you say? Depends a lot on season’s presence Cold, frozen, then walk on ice Be careful where you walk though A crack, fall through, cold wet ain’t nice. And when a’flowing mighty strong Spring rains, snow melt arrives It’s banks can rise to cover the lands Dry land life, may not survive. But I, this time, do set the pace As old loved banks… call back again Where river left fresh dirt, to grow life fresh Living crops, feeding hungry men. Still, dam it up and change its course Try wrestling it into shape To make it plain as our housing is Little left worth, candling a cake. Ho-hum, it goes flat and energy’s lost Making power for only men While life that lived in it’s seasons strong Weakens, left only in memory then. And it was there, I first did find my friend A soft-shelled turtle, surprised as I It went into the water, as I laughed in joy It’s head poking up to meet my eyes. We looked, and stared at each other Each wondering what we were I sat down on that wooded river bank Letting my young fingers, water stir. The ripples soft went out to it I hummed a song of peace He took a moment, swam back to me I placed him on my knee. I call him he, for boy or girl I could not tell Nor old enough to care He did fine, head poked out looking at me For a time we both just stared I then picked him up gently by his soft green shell And softly petted his head Then set him back at rivers edge So he go swim back home again. I saw him twice more that year, before winter came And twice more, in the gentle years that passed Each time he was bigger, hey, so was I Looking back, it sure seemed fast. And the last time I saw him, was at fourteen I was fishing by an old rotten stump Using fish tails as bait to catch some bass Bad day, I was getting stumped. And all a’sudden up popped his head Good God, but he was big Like a big, green dinner plate, he floated up As I quickly reeled in my rig. I threw out some pieces of fish I had He gobbled them up real fast Into the river, shoes off, I laughed wading right in Stood quiet, while minutes past. And then he did, he swam over to me Let me softly pet his head one time And then off he went, and swimming down His soul had touched with mine. The years have past, who forgets such a thing When wild life meets wild men in peace With Nature blessing moments like this Chaos falling away, in Balance released. And now, as old as my Great Grandpa was then I, like him, sitting, paging my life Through the chunks of Time that I have lived All the good times, through calms and strife. I hold this memory of friend Turtle met And hope all have a memory, similar to that Where the World shows what it could be If we but take some time, to act. Not in taking or giving, but peaceful share Even that, no cost to bear But quiet and watchful, all senses alert Letting Nature set the table to share. She sure did a job on me over my time Owls, hawks, chipmunks and deer With the soft-shelled turtle opening the door Never closed, leaving me locked in fear. Not to say I would approach a bear An alligator, tiger, lion or moose But I understand need, to give them their place For us all to live free, as we choose. I learned my needs as normal, not bold But different than a bee’s needs or fish Clean air, clean water, clean dirt we share Each bring health to our daily dish. And as the Sun, it rises up bright each day Giving us each our Time to live May we all make sure, to in balance pay So our own sunset, will be one of bliss.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020

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