Long Retirement Poems | Poetry

Long Retirement Poems. Below are the most popular long Retirement by PoetrySoup Members. You can search for long Retirement poems by poem length and keyword.

See also: Famous Long Poems

Long Poems
Long poem by Gerald Dillenbeck | Details

Our EarthCafe CoOp

In one sense,
the Cafe CoOp
started as my therapeutic retirement dream.

But,
in quite another
the CoOp goes back to when I was eight,
and I thought,
assumed really,
everyone indulged in Thought Experiments
about what would my optimal Eden Paradise.
restoring peace and justice across Earth
look like,
feel like,
smell like,
sound like?

And how are these
a response to what I do not currently prefer
to live with,
and without.

Perhaps in both ways,
together,
I began seeing how cooperative aspirations
might become cooperatively owned and, coincidentally,
managed for mutual health care optimization
of all us CoOp EarthCafe residents,
guests,
hosts,
employees,
contractors,
talent,
students,
supported by restoring therapeutic peace
and ego-ecojustice teachers
and polycultural outcome mentors 
and multicultural scripture scholars 
and WinWin systems analysts,
organic gardeners
and waterers of flowers and not monoculturing weeds,
and holistic cooks and preservers 
conservers and medicinal herb gatherers,
indoors and outside,

And, yes, of course 
Permaculture Designers 
and CoOperative Implementation CoInvestors
and ReStorative Justice businesses of and for healing,
projecting community health optimization incomes
for 2020 ReStorative Justice
as this healthy extending family 
polyculturing peace-filling outcomes.

All monocultural supremacy came quite near a boil
during 2016's Retributive Nationalistic Patriarchal Lose-Lose Selection
against Constitutional protections of multicultural Welfare pursuits
and against purity of, and loyalty to, democratic global Unity
for PolyCultural Outcomes of Freedom,
CoOperative WinWin Liberties for all species
and subclimates.

My ego's Yang longing for unity
belonged within Yin-Holonic Restorative Justice aspirations,
EgoLeft with EcoRight
cosmic cosmological consciousness
of CoOp Cafe karma
growing through self-other co-empathic 
creolization awareness.

In ZeroSum equivalent FourDimensional RealTime
bilateral Left-Right ecological history
of enculturation,
regenerative trans-poly-perpetuating sacred substantiation
we all live creolizing best
through Golden NonDual Appositional Rules
to empathize with each Other
within LeftYang and RightYin
as outside too Patriarchal RightWing
with Matriarchal NonZero-Sum WinWin LeftWing suppression
of all CoOp Cafe EarthTribe members,
participants,
witnesses,
teachers,
gardeners,
Permaculture Designers,
ReStorative Therapeutic Justice Advocates.

Why would anyone in their right balanced mind
not want to restore healthy justice
especially while Trumpians and supremacist homophobic allies
rule our most nuclear-risk of climate permanent unrest?

The CoOp Cafe
and our after-school
ReStorative Justice and Peace YouthLeadership Project
started,
in these ways and means
with middle school and high school
and community college students 
and performance and journalism teachers,

Then adding ReStorative Justice Parent Alliances,
and an early-afternoon crowd coming down the street
after their baked chicken lunches
at St. Vincent de Paul,
asking these same questions of hopeful life
v despairingly dissonant death,
engaging in similarly themed Thought Experiments.

How do we know 2016,
or even worse,
will never happen again?

In the U.S.,
most climate urgently,
but also across Earth
in our Cafe CoOps,
wherever we can find and build them together,
on-line, indoors, and outdoors
sharing EarthBound 4D SpaceTime
fractal and seasonal DNA ReGenerative Health Values
informed with RNA bilateral nutrition Root Systems
providing true and faithful and just EcoBlossoms,
YangReasoned--IntuitiveYin Seasoned 
EnLightenment.

I just assumed,
when I was eight,
that these are the ways
others would co-define Paradise
as both Interdependent Earth
and nondually dipolar EmptySet EgoIdentity interiors
because how could we possibly be anything at all
without OriginalMother Sacred Intent
becoming anything more or less
than PolyPathic Yang = Not(Not PolyPhonic MatrioticYin)
because +1 Yang must always double-bind notnot (0),
just as uracil's form
co-arises
cytosine's notnot-folding-unfolding flow functions
of bilateral heuristic waves.

If notnot (0) First OriginalCause,
then no possible way
to doubleBind 4D SpaceFractals
through BiLateral Strings
of ReStorative-ReGenerative Justice

Not not what and when and why Lose to Lose
when each is free to choose
Win economics to Win ecologics
notnot (0)Sum bilateral ego-eco-consciousness,
when speaking trust within multiple multicultures
and transacting cooperative therapeutic business
nutritional sciences
and performance arts
and writing,
story-telling
and singing fair and true and just and beautiful lyrics
and dancing lyrically,
standing with vulnerable comedy and tragedy stories,
sweeping in chi gong co-op circle sessions,
breathing through yoga stretching circles and squares,
rectangles,
triangles, maybe,
that would be good;
could feel healthy
for cooling internal climates.

Our Cafe CoOp
started as a collective dream
about where we might feel and be safest
in restoring vulnerability of co-ownership
with each other,
co-responsible interdependence
between consumers and producers,
between suffering traumatic past investments
and offering care-giving and -receiving therapies
for parenting and healthy childing,
for teaching and wealthy studenting,
for mentoring and menteeing grace
as healthy gratitude,
positive karma attitude
for mutually cooperative multicultural restorations.

So, less mutually competitive mistrust,
bad faith,
negative fear-mongering lifelessness,
depression and repression
and suppression
of all Matriotic ReStorative Wisdom Circles
and ego-eco balancing nature-spirit practices
of bilaterally empathic praxis
for basic enthymematic 
polydigmatic 
co-empathic development
of maturing GoodFaith CoOp Cafe Management.

In one multiculturing sense,
our EarthTribe Cafe CoOp
started as everyone's therapeutic retirement dream
coming together
for mutually restoring economic health 
and community safety purposes.

Copyright © Gerald Dillenbeck | Year Posted 2017


Long poem by T Wignesan | Details

Niitthaar Perumai, the Fundamental Role of the Ascetic, Canto 3 of the Thirukkural by Thiruvalluvar

Niithaar Perumai, the Fundamental Role of Ascetics, Canto 26 of the Thirukkural, the Tamil Classical Treatise on Ethics, Translation and Commentary by T. Wignesan 


[Given the scarcity of information (mostly conflicting even then) on the origins and times of the author of this classical Tamil literary masterpiece, I have selected the above decadal canto for treatent in order to ease some of the contention over the author’s weltanschaaung. The decade here also best illustrates some of his literary strengths and weaknesses, for not all his distiques stand up well to impartial scrutiny. His choice of elaborating on a topic through composing ten couplets a piece may perhaps have had other more elusive aims (on which I too have my own verifiable notions), but this canto should serve to illustrate both his ingenuity as well as his forte at spinning out an idea –at moments – simply, it would seem, for the sake of it. The question is why only ten maxims per topic? Why not twelve? Or even twenty?

Is the Judeo-Christian "ten commandments" a possible influence in the form and/or content? Christian Tamils would be the first to rally to this hypothesis, even if Europeans like Pope and Zvelebil would less grudgingly decline such an honour. In some cantos/chapters, one gets the feeling he is merely exercising his talents by approaching a topic from various angles without, in reality, having added fundamentally to the perceptions some few couplets had already convincingly contributed to the élaboration of the case. Only the overall picture is being served here, that is, the author like most of his counterparts in the South Asian continent has had the main religio-philosophic PURUSHA aims of ultimate spiritual development in life in view: aram (virtue), artha (wealth), kama(m) (pre-marital love, sexual and wedded co-habitation) and vidu or moksha (release from re-birth through renunciation), according to the purusha concept of the mainly Hindu aims and phases of development in life. Yet, even if a specifically entitled fourth book devoted to « moksha » is absent from the Thirukkural, there are many couplets which treat of the subject such as this section under discussion.

The poet, himself, has come to be described as an « eclectic » thinker, a label first mooted by G.U.Pope in the nineteenth century and echoed by others like Kamil Zvelebil and a host of others in the twentieth. The Jains claim him as their own, not without reason, but, on the same score, perhaps the Christians ought to delve deep into the Dead Sea Scrolls to see how the Buddha’s teachings seeped into their own.]

Canto 3 : « niithaar perumai » and a few translations to highlight the manner in which the poet Thiruvalluvar ensconced meaning in order to serve both literary and didactic
purposes.
 

K21: olukkatthu niithaar perumai viluppatthu
         veendum panuvar runivu 

The settled rule of every code requires, as highest good,
Their greatness who, renouncing all, true to their rule have stood. (Tr. G.U.Pope)

The end and aim of all treatise is to extol beyond all other excellence, the greatness of those who, while abiding in the rule of conduct peculiar to their state, have abandoned all desire. (Tr. W.H.Drew and J.Lazarus)

The true worth of moral works ought to be judged by whether their teaching directs one to renounce all forms of possession through inner detachment. (Tr. T. Wignesan)


K22: thuratthaar perumai thunaikkoorin vaiyatthu
          thiranthaarai yennikkon darru

As counting those that from the earth have passed away,
‘Tis vain attempt the might of holy men to say. (Tr. G.U.Pope)

To describe the measure of the greatness of those who have forsaken the two-fold desire, is like counting the dead. (Tr. W.H.Drew and J.Lazarus)

If one were to measure the greatness of those who have renounced the world, it would be tantamount to totalling up the number of deaths on earth. (Tr. T. Wignesan)

  
K23: irumai vakaitherinthu iinduaram poondaar
         perumai pirangkirru ulaku

Their greatness earth transcends, who, way of both worlds weighed,
In this world take their stand, in virtue's robe arrayed. (Tr. G.U.Pope)

The greatness of those who have discovered the properties of both states of being, and clothed themselves in virtue, shines forth in this world (beyond all others. (Tr. W.H.Drew & J.Lazarus)

The highest attainment resides (in pondering and) rejecting both birth and re-birth [samsara], the ultimate achievement open to man on earth. (Tr. T. Wignesan)

                                                                     (to be continued)
©  T. Wignesan - Paris, 2017

Copyright © T Wignesan | Year Posted 2017


Long poem by Gerald Dillenbeck | Details

Inside Outdoor Voices

Just as honesty plants seeds of integrity
so too
vulnerability plants seeds of honesty.

My primary vocation
in this my gay grandfatherly retiring age
is to parent mindbody challenged adolescents
of diverse colors
as ecotherapeutically as possible
to optimize their and our wealth
of health,
growing nutritional elements and moments
into humanely co-operative organisms 
with good days
more than bad.

More or less like watering the flowers
and ignoring the weeds,
or, better yet,
repurposing the weeds,
redirecting their potential energy
in a more nutritiously nurturing way.

My kids not only are vulnerable,
they know they are vulnerable,
and this tends to make them exceedingly honest
with themselves
with me
with each other
about what is funny and what is tragedy.

They are easy to parent
in this way.
Yet this same vulnerability
is their greatest risk
in a too often competitive, 
and mindless of other's special needs,
world.

We communicate connected to the feeling level,
even while learning the ABCs,
the 1 through 100 percents of good and bad numbers
and proportions and balance and symmetry,
the drawing of self-portraits,
homes,
Earth and Her Sun.

Often these inside feeling voices
do not feel well enough to care about the ABC's,
or even the needs of those we need to love
and to love us,
to be as lovely with as possible.
Inside feeling voices
become loud and angry and hurt outside voices.

I noticed this the other day
when old family friends dropped by.
Not quite as old as I
and therefore much less retired
from life's exterior competitions.

When we had time to visit several times per week,
we often began together
checking in about how our inside voices were feeling today,
happy or sad,
depressed or triumphant,
and usually some more richly nuanced place between.

Then we would turn to our big outdoor voices.
What we were working and playing on and with
in our back and front and side-yards,
the gardens and woodlands of our productive nutritional lives,
how the pets and pests 
and domestic egg-layers were feeling,
and why
and why not.

These two voices generally resonated with each other.
What we were working on with Outdoor Voices
said something about nutrition and health we were working on
as individuals
as a family
with our Inside Voices,
and vice versa.

Only then,
if there was nothing else to do,
no further outdoor recreations
and discernment projects,
would we return to more 
yet less intimate and vulnerable
Indoor Voices.
Work and play projects in perpetual interior process.
The noticing of more ornamental acquisitions
like ceiling and wall and floor coverings,
safer boundaries
about what we could see together
through all those more interior feelings
and thoughts about relationships,
past and future and present interactions,
transactions of value and disvalue,
warmth and cooler apathy.

I remembered this yesterday
when old friends,
no longer neighbors, revisited
and we began with new floor and ceiling coverings
and ended with farewell.
They arrive so late
it is already past time to be back home
to get ready for another Indoor Voices
monotonous 
monoculturing day.

Which, this morning,
results in feeling blessed
to be here in this time and place
to listen and speak at our leisure
with my vulnerable no-boundary kids,
outrageously honest about their nutritional needs
and wants,
speaking with full volume integrity
in both Inside Outdoor Voices,
health
meets and greets and eventually defeats
pathology,
through honest integrity
of repurposing redirection,
feeding the flowers
and noticing how funny the weedy Outdoor Voices
sound indoors
feeling our way through the ABCs
and the 1 through 100% flowering days
and mean weedy nights.

I'm surprised and disappointed
my former neighbors didn't notice all the new fruit trees
and berry bushes
poppies and lilies
strawberries and tomatoes
onions and garlic
asparagus and rhubarb,
and 17 new solar panels on the roof!

My kids could care less
and probably never more
what our old friends did
and did not
notice,
other than their own Voices
vulnerably maturing into integrity,
I hope.

Still,
I'm glad they noticed,
because the liked, 
the new floor and ceiling covers.


Copyright © Gerald Dillenbeck | Year Posted 2017

Long poem by Billy TheKidster | Details

My Final Exit

I'm dying and I'm angry because it isn't fair,
and with my family, friends and loved ones this news I will not share.
It's hell for me to be going through all of this alone, but that is the cross I must bare.
It's my last gesture to show all of them how much I loved them and truly cared.
The last thing that I want is to be the cause of any of their despair.
If I told any of them that I was dying, 
it would only serve to depress all of them,
and so my limited time left with them, for all of them, never to them will be known.
When I do feel that my time is drawing near I'll announce a trip I'll be going on.
I'm a wilderness survivor enthusiasts. 
I've been known to venture deep into and live in very remote wilderness.
so one day I'm going to announce to them that I'm going on another little trip.
I'll leave unknown to they what will be my following final statement.
"If I do not return, please do not notify any authorities.
Please do not send out any search and rescue parties.
If I do not return it does not mean that I've suffered any life threatening injuries.
Most likely it means that I've made a choice to continue living there and never leave,
living my life naturally and in solitary with all of nature surrounding me.
That's the way I've always pictured my retirement to be.
Inevitably I will one day die in the wilderness, but likely in my sleep peacefully,
but for all of you I will never die, at least never officially,
and you'll assume that I'm still living my life the way I always wanted it to be,
in solitude far away from any so called civilized society.
I'll miss everyone of you very dearly, 
but I'll be living my life in a manner that will truly make me happy,
and isn't that the way retirement is supposed to be?"
I'll embrace them all and share with them how much I hold all of them so dear,
and then I'll venture off into the wilderness, never again to reappear,
and should it ever look as if I won't die after all peacefully in my sleep
I've brought along a little extra insurance with me.
If the pain gets over bearing or if I get too weak
to successfully forage and gather enough to eat.
If malnutrition is getting the best of me,
I'll swallow a half dozen tranquilizers which will render me unconscious shortly,
so it's very important after taking them to stay active on my feet
until I begin to feel the effects of the meds affecting me.
Only then will I lie down comfortably
and slip a plastic bag over my head snugly
secured with a rubber band around my neck for extra security.
Within seconds I'll be deeply unconscious and asleep
and I won't even be aware of any discomfort as my carbon dioxide I breath.
and then slowly, humanly and most peacefully
my final exit will arrive and death will take me.
Animals will scavenge upon the remains of my body,
providing them with much needed nutrition for them to eat.
The rest will decompose and bring nutrition to the soil
which will provide seeds with nourishment enabling new life to unfold.
I will then be for all eternity where I most would ever want to be,
among nature's wildlife and forests of fresh streams and lush trees.

Copyright © Billy TheKidster | Year Posted 2013

Long poem by Bill Lindsay | Details

Retirement

No more faxes, no more phones                                               
No more “It’s too early” moans                                                    
No commuting, shouting, tooting                                          
No more shirts & ties & suiting
No service station breaks and bites                                   
No toilet queues and car park fights                                    
No CRUISE  control or heated seats                                       
No glovebox filled with fuel receipts 
No more hotel revolving doors                                                  
No concierge, no polished floors                                                                                                          
No battered cases, weary faces                                           
Sleepless nights in far-off places
No bacon fat, no butter pat                                                       
No “Why have I been charged for that?”                                      
No checking out or checking in                                                    
Or moans about the room you’re in     
No ‘silly hours’ airport dash                                                    
No feeling for your foreign cash                
No passport checks, departure times,                                    
No Coke machines that don’t take dimes
No drinks or pastes, no sprays or gel                                                                  
Lens solution? - banned as well                                                                             
No plastic meals or plastic smiles                                                                      
To carry you across the miles
No luggage queues, no business shoes                                          
No funny, foreign, TV news                                                        
No laws by which you must abide                                                
No driving on the other side
No local customs, scraping, bowing                                             
Baffling greetings and kowtowing                                              
No horrid coffees, tepid teas                                                      
No pidgin English; ‘Thank you, please’
Meetings, musings, tariff choosings                                         
Hushed asides, so oft confusing                                        
Remembering their children’s names                                           
Tax returns, expenses claims 
You’ve toed the line your whole life through                                 
But future plans are up to you                                                        
Bin the laptop, scrap the email                                                   
Make time for your favourite female

Copyright © Bill Lindsay | Year Posted 2015

Long poem by Bill Lindsay | Details

No Longer Fit for Work

No more faxes, no more phones                                               
No more “It’s too early” moans                                                    
No commuting, shouting, tooting                                          
No more shirts & ties & suiting
No service station breaks and bites                                   
No toilet queues and car park fights                                    
No CRUISE  control or heated seats                                       
No glovebox filled with fuel receipts 
No more hotel revolving doors                                                  
No concierge, no polished floors                                                                                                          
No battered cases, weary faces                                           
Sleepless nights in far-off places
No bacon fat, no butter pat                                                       
No “Why have I been charged for that?”                                      
No checking out or checking in                                                    
Or moans about the room you’re in     
No ‘silly hours’ airport dash                                                    
No feeling for your foreign cash                
No passport checks, departure times,                                    
No Coke machines that don’t take dimes
No drinks or pastes, no sprays or gel                                                                  
Lens solution? - banned as well                                                                             
No plastic meals or plastic smiles                                                                      
To carry you across the miles
No luggage queues, no business shoes                                          
No funny, foreign, TV news                                                        
No laws by which you must abide                                                
No driving on the other side
No local customs, scraping, bowing                                             
Baffling greetings and kowtowing                                              
No horrid coffees, tepid teas                                                      
No pidgin English; ‘Thank you, please’
Meetings, musings, tariff choosings                                         
Hushed asides, so oft confusing                                        
Remembering their children’s names                                           
Tax returns, expenses claims 
You’ve toed the line your whole life through                                 
But future plans are up to you                                                        
Bin the laptop, scrap the email                                                   
Make time for your favourite female

Copyright © Bill Lindsay | Year Posted 2015

Long poem by Poet M.e. | Details

Miracle on 44th Street

Lyrical On 44th Street
 

The argument started at the table
 
He was too soft,
 too timid to quote Gable
 
She said ,"Your dreams aren't keeping the lights on.
 
If I see you writing again, your son and I will be gone."
 
 
 
 
He said, "I been writing this book for ten years.
 
 I  got a letter from the mayor. I won a certificate."
 
She said, "It's just paper. We can't eat it. It aint worth shit!
 
   For six years you haven't been a father at all.
 
You got a son who can't even catch a damn ball.
 
You're worth a nickel as a husband.
 
As a father, not even a dime.
 
Where's a boy going in this world
 
Writing stories and rhymes?"
 
   She tossed his unfinished poems on the kitchen floor
 
His bound manuscripts out the back door.
 
She said, "Horace, I'm warning you.
 
Get this work out the trash
 
You'll find a wedding ring in there too."
 
   For three days those dreams festered in that trash
 
Covered with Pasta, cooking oil, Marinara sauce
 
Everything he had ever written was lost.
 
   
 He watched the Sunny Hills Sanitation Company
 
Turn down 34th street and make a left at the corner.
 
One last time he tried to warn her.
 
He could barely hide his tears with his hands.
 
She said, "Now you can grow up and be a man."
 
  Then that truck turned left on 35th street
 
Then it turned right
 
And just like those dreams, it disappeared from sight
 
   
     Twenty years later
 
He sat in the Sunny Hills Convalescent home
 
Sick, lonely, old and alone
 
He couldn't even hold a pen
 
Or dial numbers on a phone
 
    He had forgotten nearly every simile
 
Every rhyme and every metaphor.
 
And every few weeks the Reaper
 
Carried one of his friends out that door.
 
   And though he couldn't remember
 
 His favorite color or baseball team
 
The one thing he couldn't forget
 
Were those lyrical dreams.
 
  
In the dining room of the hospital he had a guest.
 
It took two nurses to get the feeble man dressed.
 
A nurse said, Mr. Horace, this is your son.
 
Twice he had to be reminded that he had one.
 
He tried to reply, but his words failed.
 
  The young man said, "Dad, I have a writing degree.
 
I graduated with honors, from Yale.
 
 
 
But what the old man didn't know
 
Happened late in the night
 
Twenty years ago.
 
A young child
 
Went into that garbage can
 
Sorted through the pasta, salad, and uneaten bones.
 
And made those lyrical dreams his own.
 
And now those dreams live on.
 
                                                     -Michael Ellis

Copyright © Poet M.e. | Year Posted 2016

Long poem by MATTHEW harris | Details

The Hen House

Cooped within ancient bodies, this inhabitant 
dwells amongst an elder net 
of crabby, crotchety, curmudgeonly claque 
of old folks, only a portion of population I met
which achey, flaky, kooky motley crue 
disgruntlement fed as peevish pet
aye be earnest asper assessment, 
but some getting ready and set
to lay down limb mitt less lives, 
even those who survived harrowing encounters as a vet.

quotidian gossipers punctuate air waves while: 
sitting, riding, quartering, puttering, operating, navigating, 
motoring around on scooters (the sole means of locomotion 

for many elderly residents), 
whose sole occupation incorporates:
yelping, yakking, whining, 
weeping, verbalizing,
uttering, thundering, squawking, 
squabbling, screeching, 
rumbling, quibbling, quarreling, 
prattling, pestering,
offending, needling, mumbling, 
maligning, leering, lampooning, 
kvetching, kibitzing, jabbering, 
irritating, insinuating, heckling, 
harping, gabbing, fulminating, 
fretting, exclaiming, emoting, 
denigrating, carping, cackling, 
begging, agitating, 
acting analogous to bad ass kids itching 
for playground foo fight during recess,  

which comparison might be apropos 
since majority of energy and time expended
complaining about nobody's business 
concerning this, that, or another tenant...
(management not exempt 
from badmouth outbursts), 
where nondenominational AARP 
qualified members congregate 
within what constituted former auditorium 
of repurposed elementary school,

hence quite some years ago 
(an honorable NON GMO gluten free 
cheerful toast made, instituting batter use 
then building standing vacant) 
a bona fide unanimous dogmatic, 
heroic, linguistic welcome sans titular viz zit head
where alumni of alluded alma mater, ivory fiery, 
classy academic solvent atomic structure
became amalgamated, appropriated, 
assigned a new life, whereat fob dost 
electronically activate innermost 
recessed sliding doors, principally, quintessentially, resoundingly availing maw formerly 
entrancing students into Schwenksville 
Elementary School, though some years ago 
repurposed with barely a trace 
constituting current subsidized 
how zing facility re: Highland Manor,

the residence of thyself and missus 
(approaching third month anniversary),
whereat I dune hot give a rats ass 
if aimless airless baseless banter, 
ceaseless chatter, dubious dabbling, 
et cetera if this solitary ruminate thinker
the subject de jure of parlayed people portraying penultimate purposelessness. 

Copyright © MATTHEW harris | Year Posted 2017

Long poem by Bernard Chan | Details

Thanks For Your Help

All her belongings fitted into a suitcase and a small carry-on bag.

After 18 years, my helper was going home for good.

During those years, not a dime ever went missing in the various apartments we’ve called home, she waged daily war with the invading dust, soot and dirt spawned by the city, and my son went from a yawning little squiggle in cute swaddling clothes to a self-absorbed teenager.

The first time he was in a school play, aged 6, we took her to see the performance. After he came out on stage, I happened to look over at her. There were tears on her face. 

Her cooking never quite reached the heights we hoped for, and she had her crusty moods that made us wonder who was working for whom. But she did her job religiously.

She scrimped and saved for us. Somebody had to be the house scrooge if her employers didn’t know the value of a dollar! We did, but that wasn't the way she saw it. In secret, she must have shaken her head a hundred times at our ‘extravagance'.    

She never married, and almost all the money she’s made over the years has gone to building a modest family house back in the Philippines for her parents.

On her last night with us, we took her out to dinner. She ate little, ill at ease at a restaurant where a meal could easily cost half of her monthly salary.

After dinner, we forced-marched her to a Swatch shop to get her a farewell gift. In front of the displays, she kept mumbling, “Too expensive.” So we picked one out for her, something with a white dial and beige strap.

“This is nice! Stylish and young!” we all chimed in.  
“But I’m not young,” she said softly.
In the end, she chose something subdued with a gray dial.

Early the next morning, we went out to the airport with her.

She checked in her bags, and we chatted for a while, taking pictures with our phones. Then it was time to say goodbye.

She hugged each of us, fighting uselessly to hold back the tears. It was the first time I'd hugged her. My wife was doing her best impression of a brave face, which might have worked if it hadn’t dissolved into a gush of tears at the last moment, while my son stood by stolidly, having cried once already a few days ago over the imminent departure of his ‘half mother’, much to his embarrassment.

She kept waving at us on her way into the restricted zone, her face flushed and blotchy.

Then she was gone.

She’d earned her retirement, and we were happy for her that she was finally going home.

We’d just have to deal with losing family. 

Copyright © Bernard Chan | Year Posted 2017

Long poem by Donal Mahoney | Details

Freckles They Called Him

Walter Branham, a retired teacher, and his wife Victoria went to Applebee’s, the chain restaurant, for lunch one day last week. First time they had gone there. Usually they go to an ethnic restaurant but Victoria wanted a salad. Walt as always was obliging.

The restaurant host was a young man who as a child had attended the middle school where Mr. Branham had taught for years. 

That was a long, long time ago but Mr. Branham remembered him for one reason. Back then everyone had called him Freckles. 

When Freckles recognized him, he said, "Mr. Branham, it’s good to see you. I haven't seen you in 30 years. I never had you for class but it was always nice to talk to you at recess. You were a lot of fun.” 

Mr. Branham said he was glad to see him too. 

Freckles turned to Victoria, bowed slightly as some Southerners are still apt to do, and said, 

"Miss Victoria, I never met you, but I have heard so much about you from my friends."

Mr. Branham looked at Freckles sternly and said, 

"I divorced Victoria four year ago. This is my new wife Agnes. She can cook." 

Freckles was very embarrassed. “I'm so sorry, Mrs. Branham. I didn't know. It’s been so long.” 

Victoria looked at her husband and said, “Walt, you should be ashamed of yourself. I am Victoria, and I am his wife. He’s not married to any Agnes. There is no Agnes. At least there better not be.” 

Freckles looked at Mr. Branham, laughed and said, "You got me again, Mr. Branham.” 

At their table the Branhams overheard Freckles telling the waitresses about the joke. They all laughed, including Freckles. 

Mr. Branham told his wife he never knew the story behind the nickname. He was afraid it came about more as ridicule than good-natured ribbing. 

He had always called Freckles by his surname. Jackson. 

In fact he called him Mr. Jackson. He had called all the children by their surnames—Mr. Smith and Miss Jones, whatever the name might be. It made the children feel grown up and they seemed to like it. 

Mr. Branham told his wife he couldn't imagine any adult wanting to be called Freckles but he couldn’t remember Mr. Jackson’s first name if indeed he ever knew it. 

At the middle school, even the guidance counselors called the boy Freckles. 

In this small Southern town, Jackson was a surname as common as briars in a briar patch. 

But thirty years ago when he was in middle school, Freckles was likely the only black child for miles around with that nickname.


Donal Mahoney

Copyright © Donal Mahoney | Year Posted 2017

Long Poems