In Youth

You asked me once, when we were young,
If love was made to last.
I said I had no way to know:
“The future’s not the past.”
    And on a bridge, beside a pond,
    We sat there, full in youth,
    And wanted nothing comforting
    But truth.

It wasn’t many years before
You found yourself a place,
And built a home and family,
And filled it up with grace.
    For youthful as were all your ways,
    You lived true to your feelings,
    And marked your life with love in all
    Your dealings —

But I went on to just go off.
My heart and mind betrayed me.
I traveled through the manic lands,
For no one could dissuade me.
    Though youngish in experience,
    I felt old in my pain,
    And strove for nothing; all of it
    Seemed vain.

But in those last cold days of youth,
I still remembered us,
And saw you’d made another choice,
Got on a different bus.
    And so I traveled back in time,
    And stood beside this pond,
    To try to look around, and see
    Beyond —

For “young” is everything at once,
And little in return;
There’s cold and empty nights for those
Who always blaze, and burn.
    But honesty’s its own reward.
    In truth, you’d chosen wisely,
    And how my life had gone could not
    Surprise me…

You asked me once, when we were young,
If love was made to last.
A thing you answered for yourself:
“Depends on how it’s cast.
    For love’s a sturdy building
    If we’re careful in its making,
    A thing that starts and ends with
    Undertaking.”

Basin Bayou, Florida

You really miss the things you didn’t realize you had.

Basin Bayou

It was a Fall day, brisk and cool
Down at the waterside
We slowly walked along the edge
Attempting to decide

How we would spend our day,
Given the limits of our town:
Two twenty-somethings, bravely bored
Just wandering around.

I can still smell the air, so clear
And see the sky, so blue:
As we ignored perfection
Planning something else to do

That Was Sixteen

She ran off to the garden to
Escape the crowd and noise:
She didn’t understand her friends,
Neither the girls nor boys —
She needed peace and solitude,
Some time to sit and stare,
To be with no one,
And to be nowhere

Why sixteen has to be so hard,
I couldn’t really say —
I noticed her go out, of course,
But I just stayed away —
For solitude is priceless when
You really, really need it:
And thinking that I understood
Was foolish and conceited

About an hour hence, I heard
The closing garden door,
She stopped to see me reading there
And stood within my door —
“So you’re not in there, either?”
“No. It’s really not my scene.”
Then she walked off. That’s it.
That was

Sixteen

Acres of Seclusion

The boy and girl who traveled here
Have vanished in the swirl of time;
In acres of seclusion sits
A cabin in a glade

And trav’ling far, I stop my car,
And breathe in autumn’s snowy clime;
Recalling now, in fits and bits
The promises we made

The key still hidden by the door,
I turn the lock and enter in;
The stove, the bed, still side-by-side
Where once we lay, entwined

And then, anew, the scent of you,
The soft feel of your glowing skin,
The many ways of love we tried
Come crowding in my mind

The promises we didn’t keep
The hours that we didn’t sleep
The hands that we held thoughtlessly
With love but lightly clad –

The acres of seclusion we
Took with us out into the world;
Two broken people, using up
The one last chance
They had

For Her —

Through golden lands I drove today
For mile on mile, field on field —
I stopped to watch the long grain sway:
An ample sort of yield —

And I remembered you and me
On our way up to Williamsburg:
We’d stop wherever, randomly,
Just as we felt the urge —

And I could see that afternoon,
The way you looked that golden day,
For we were on our honeymoon,
And cared not where we’d stop or stay,

For we were two, and two’s enough.
At least enough, for trips like that,
Where shine’s the thing, and not the scuff,
And being there is where it’s at.

But then I blinked again, and knew
That I was here, and you back home;
That we are tired now, and do
More things on plan, and less on roam,

But love, there’s one thing that I know:
That while I’m earth, and you are fire,
We still have places, yet, to go,
And you are, as you were,
My one
Desire