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Fading Memories

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.

My Hero

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.

MENTOR

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.

Courageous

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.

Loneliness

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

Growing Together

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

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. 

A Fortunate Man

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.

The Marsh

The morning sky in purples, pinks, and blues

Arrests my soul and holds it captive here

Above the marsh as daybreak’s shocking hues

Announce the day. The sights and sounds so clear

And clean, Beneath my feet, in sulfurous muck,

Where slack tide gives the ever-clacking rail,

Where creatures scurry, where a lonesome duck

Glides in and out, foraging. Where a pale

Young gull learns the lessons the marsh has taught

Generations of its kind. Swallows dart

In and out, up and down, until they’ve caught

Their fill, then by my side one preens. It’s art

Alive in front of me. Another day

On the salt marsh breaks. It is nature’s way.

VALENTINE

Courtesy DiegoPH on Unsplash

As days go by, as years go by, it seems

That love grows larger, stronger, more intense.

Around my head the aura daily teems

With waves of affection. The heightened sense

Of contentment and happiness abound

Because the love that fills my swelling heart

Defies all explanation. Just the sound

Of your voice inspires, awakens that part

Of me that only you can touch. I can

But only hope to make you see and feel

The reflection of your goodness. What man

Can do I vow to daily make a real,

Focused effort. I’m proud that you are mine,

I give you back my heart, My Valentine.