I Knew Them When

I knew them when
The fields were gold,
And hours filled
With guiltlessness

I knew them on
Their wedding day:
In youth, with all
Its weightlessness —

I knew them in
The times before:
The sunset walks,
And reveries —

I knew them when
There was a them,
And more than tears

And memories


“No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.”

Part 1

Cruel laughter rings
Around a five-year-old boy

Look at the little baby!
He carries a teddy bear!

And tears appear in the eyes
Of the young, confused boy

And the toy bear

Part 2

She was a lithesome seventeeen
Wanting to leave girlhood behind;
He was so handsome, quiet, forceful
He filled her soul, her heart, her mind

Giving herself to adult pleasure
Finding too late the price of lust;
Violence breaking out in ruin
Having a baby, broken trust

Young single mom setting up a nursery
Worn teddy bear for the baby’s bed;
The only gift that his father left him
So many things must stay

Part 3

His mother died when he was only six
He had no father that he’d ever known
He set off with his grandmother to live
Some other place, with everything unknown

His only friend, a tattered sewn-up toy
The house smelled funny, all his tears were spent;
He hugged his only friend up to face
Just trying to recall
His mother’s scent



Whenever we would go back home,
I tried to act my very best:
Say “sir” and “ma’am” and all that stuff,
So all of them would be impressed

At what an x-year-old I was.
They’d say, “That’s nice. Go play outside.”
Thus I learned my inconsequence:
To them, ‘twas just their patience that

I’d tried

Snapshot: In Truman Park

Love, I watched you leave last noon:
A silence over Truman Park —
Yet all the dignities were kept,
In almost-reverence

Yes, love, I watched you leave out there;
A passer-by who happ’d to see
A type of wrenching, grasping grief —
A silent severance —

But is there only ever this?
The long hello, the short goodbye —
But is there only ever this?
The too-late, and the why —

Oh,love, I watched you leave last noon:
A drifter-through, a silent ghost,
Who felt the touch of empty hopes
From those who learned to love


On Apple River

Ancestral voices
Painted with their songs
This land. Those tunes,
That none alive have heard,
Can still be seen, and also felt
Upon the memories that autumn
Carries with it as a right.
There once were clearer eyes
That saw without distraction
What this place, this land
Consists of: earth, sky, water
In embrace. We call them ignorant
Who knew things we do not know anymore,
Because we think that we know better, or
Our straight mistaking symbols for their things,
Like thinking maps or GPS
Can better than our eyes explain the land.
Do not despise all those
Who came before, for they could not know us,
But we have no excuse
Not knowing

Image credit : ID 78969406 © Ken Wolter | Dreamstime.com

autumn elegy

breathing in autumn,

setting free the callow heart

like leaves from a tree.

=== ===

cold waters flow

until rigid with winter –

this is not our way.

=== ===

the lonesome one knows:

where you are doesn’t tell you

who you will yet be.

=== ===

some birds stay longer,

though their flocks left long ago,

and i understand.

=== ===

earth and water speak;

the wind sings, stoking our fire –

this, our element