I her standing strong against the tide
Of fading memories that bring her, still,
Great moments of happiness. Can the ride
Into the future bring her one more thrill?
And one more? And one more? In quiet times
Alone what does she see, what does she think?
Can she find solace in a book of rhymes,
Words from Hunter’s mind, perhaps, or the plink
Of Jerry’s banjo, or the two combined
To make poetry she danced to at night?
Alone with her thoughts, a struggle while her mind
Whirls to music of her own making. Might
She find contentment living in the glow
Of the sweet memories she wants to know.
Photo by: Donald Gianatti on Unsplash
Of all the things we daily do, it seems
We take for granted little miracles:
Poppies. Raindrops. Hummingbirds. Dogs. The dreams
We dream. The random tiny lyrical
Moments that come and go, that bring us joy
When least expected. How can we slow down
The pace of the life we live? We employ
A handful of tricks and treasures which, known
To us when, in desperate need, we dig deep
Into reserves of untapped strength to find
A smile, a nod, a pleasure, so we weep,
As emotion gives us time to unwind.
I can control, direct my attitude.
And I can fill my days with gratitude.
She was my hero once, she was my joy,
A mighty and an independent soul
Who brought comfort to a lost, flailing boy
Grown up too soon and struggling for control
Of a life out of sorts. I watched her bring
Sympathy and empathy in a time
Of desperate need, when such a simple thing
Seemed beyond the grasp of a confused mind
Shattered by events misunderstood, when
Nothing made sense. Her mature words were balm
To a family needing just that. And then
Bearings found, we all found a sense of calm.
Dear Nicki, you changed my life, this I know.
You’re with me now, and everywhere I go.
You cared for them, you’ve nurtured them it seems
For all our time together. It has been
Both joy and challenge. Your open heart teems
With love and empathy. One can’t begin
To comprehend the depth to which your love
Goes for those whose lives you’ve shaped, given skills
To navigate a crooked path. Above
All else you gave them strength to mount those hills
That stand between their place and lofty goals,
That present those obstacles in the way
Of success. You’ve helped them define their roles
As strong, wise, capable women today.
The fruits of those you’ve nurtured foreword go
And leave their mark—and yours—for all to know.
The deep recesses of the scattered mind
Buzz viciously, informing crazy thoughts
Of carnivals and suicides that wind
Around each other, tangled up in boughs
Of twisted memories. In saner days
The pounding releases my busy brain
To cope with what’s in front. But in the craze
Of here and now, the repeating refrain
Of a world gone mad comes too close to home.
It brings with it a spinning, whirling gyre
From which escape is possible in some
Alternate moment, but onto a wire
Strung across the universe. I balance
Carefully. This is not a place to dance.
In a distant land a tyrant brings storm
And destruction to a good people whose pride
Exceeds all the madman can bring. While torn
To bits by fire from above, they won’t hide
In fear, but rather stand up, take the fight
To the aggressor. The bully can’t bring
Enough heat to make them tremble. Their plight
Has gained our rapt attention as they cling,
Courageous and determined, to the ledge
Of survival, never once looking down
Into the abyss of failure. Their pledge
To the generations future and past
Is to hold dear a freedom that will last.
What is this thing that poisons all our hope,
That keeps us separated, leaves us ache
For human touch? We work so hard to cope
With the loneliness we endure. We make
Excuses to ourselves that we can deal
With the pain of isolation. We lie
To each other, pretending that we feel
As if this isn’t cause enough to cry
Out in desperation. To those we crave,
The pain of separation is acute.
We fool ourselves, pretending to be brave,
But longing for one touch is absolute.
The solitude we treasured for so long
Is overwhelmed by a need to belong
The love we share is deeply treasured. Now
As ever, I discover new and deep
Connections. Years don’t diminish the vow
I made to honor you. I try to keep
Finding new and different ways to tell
You how much love I have to share with you.
The effortless grace you exude, the well
Of deep kindness and caring are the glue
That holds this ship together as our lives,
Complicated and challenging, sail through
These difficult times—more than that—survive,
As anxiety swirls around us. You
Make me a better man, this much I know.
I’m grateful that you’re here, to help me grow.
Faces of stone, a village underground,
Community of heroes, every one
With a hard-earned tale. When no one is around
They keep a silent vigil ‘till the sun
Comes round again to warm the earth above
Their resting place. They left a legacy
For us the living, with unfading love
For their time with us. With eyes closed we see
Their spectre dancing through our consciousness,
To conjure valiant acts. We shan’t pretend
Their sacrifice to make a hard world less
Troubled didn’t forestall a violent end.
In their brave service we must seek release
From lasting grief and find a place of peace.
In private moments, I still can’t believe
I get to spend all my moments with you, That the ground I walk, the air that I breathe Are shared in these precious moments with you. In rhymes I’ve written quite often a phrase Informs everything I feel about you But I never imagined in those days That the wish in my feelings would come true In dreams I have had, you inhabit me In ways no one ever before could touch. And still after all these years I can see How fortunate that you love me this much. As I reflect on where you and I are, It staggers me that we have come this far.