The Farther Side of Shore

There comes a day when each must walk away
And strike out for the father side of shore;
No work to do, and just one bill to pay —
When all we carry with us is our core —

The things we’ve really thought and really feel:
The hearts we treasure and the love we’ve known —
To walk away from all we’ve thought as real
Towards the side of shore we walk

Alone

The Playing-Ground

Just outside the park, a man
Is lying on his bed;
Silence, save for all the children’s
Voices in his head —

Old and left for dying, but
The laughter he hears still,
As autumn blows the spirits by,
As Lord knows, autumn will —

For heartbeats are a miracle,
And life a wasted gift,
The people we should hold and love
Are left alone to shift,

The playing-ground is empty, and
The carefree world is vast,
While just outside the park,
Another heart will beat

Its last

Tuonela

Transitions are for those who’re left behind;
The guardians of what has come and gone
Must live upon the banks of life repined,
And make a king or queen of what feels pawn

But she is there, with silence, or with touch
To aid the healing of the sick and sore;
To do, but not to do too overmuch –
To give what’s right, and not give less or more —

The sad, the grieving – these she walks among,
With sores so raw, she often, too, gets stung —
But Love will carry weights where strong men fail:
Not even death
Against it can

Avail

They Called to Say…

They called to say you would no longer eat,
Or take your meds, or try to live at all;
The first I ever knew, at last to go
To follow Dad behind the giant wall

We love, but then in parenthood, it seems
That love is asymmetrical and strange;
Yet nothing is more normal than this love
That bonds us past our years, and strength, and range

There comes a time when we must yield the ghost
And move offstage, for all our lines are done;
But how I wish it need not be today,
As do us all – we creatures of the sun

I know I must accept this fate, this choice;
For from you came my reason, and my voice —

  And still I wish it wasn’t – wasn’t so —
  That you would leave,
  And I watch you

  Let go

The Doom

The doom of certain men arrives
As sure as summer fades away
And fall turns into winter, as

In desolate and dark array
The battery of fates that call
Leave no surprises left at last;

There’s no one, nothing, left at all.
The crow alights, the die is cast,
And fading into fields of gray

The certain doom of men holds sway:
The time is now, the place is here,
The crow has sung
No rest
No fear

What Has Been

Much like what has been, I’m now deserted;
The forgotten past, the here-and-gone —
And what claims I might have once asserted
Find no soul to rest a claim upon

Like a voice that cries when winds are wailing,
I have not been heard, nor will I be:
It is nothing, just a human failing —
Chalk it all up to
Mortality

The Last Chapter

The sun climbs slowly over the mountains

Inexorably marching onward to conquer the day —

Just as last night, ten thousand stars danced overhead

In a clear desert sky in the patterns of a thousand lifetimes

 

A life has its days and it’s years

Some come in storms or end in storms

Some arrive unknown or leave unseen

But all have their time, and no more

 

My mother knows this of her own life

She has enjoyed our visit and so have we

We don’t know that the next time we come to this place

It won’t just be to bury her

 

This valley in the desert

The joy of my parents’ old age

My tenth trip in sixteen years

A place I too have grown to love

 

A community where 75% of the people

Are retirement age

Yet vibrant, full of life

Many affluent, many not

 

And it’s something like reading a wonderful book

Knowing the last chapter is coming

But that you wish would never end

But it must

 

So as the sun at last escapes the mountain’s shadows

I return to my days and my years

And bid my spirit and all spirits

Be at peace