Category: Nostalgia

CHILDREN HAVE

CHILDREN HAVE

Children have a great sense of smell

Maybe that’s why
their diapers make them cry

their first
breast sends them
on a lifelong quest
and a cinnamon bun
can stop us all in the mall

On a farm there’s hay
before it goes into the cow
and hay when it comes out

The pungency of pig, the foul of fowl

Rain before the first drop falls
and the whip of lightning after it cracks

Smoke on dad’s clothes from the prairie fire
snuff from the round box cutting his shirt

The dog, even wet, not diminished in love

If lost in a blizzard, or in the dark
it is always best to let go of the reins
so the horse’s nose can point you home

Lost in the world at four a.m.
twice blessed if yours can do the same

ONCE MORE ROUND THE MAYPOLE

ONCE MORE ROUND THE MAYPOLE

In leisure he revisits
things seen but never noticed in his youth
though they lay but a short arms length away

Cow with ingrown horn
then a saw-wire from repair
now metaphor for defense gone wrong

The deep snow forts of play
two Fahrenheit degrees away
from smother and a crying mother

Frost on a winter window
a forest of trees of finest lace
meant too cold to go outside today
now the music of the spheres in form

Best not to be a poet young
very little would get done

ROUND TABLES

ROUND TABLES

He loved his neighbors, but not out loud

(Only by default could we tell if he was proud
men did not hug their friends or children then)

There were no women in the bar
and all the tables round and small
heavy with ashtray and pilsner draft
where they talked code till closing time

Politics of any stripe meant you are my brother
The weather, whatever the weather
meant I love you too

REMEMBERING VALDY

REMEMBERING VALDY

Play me a rock and roll song
or don’t play me no song at all

I might not remember your name
but I know you’re a friend all the same
when you put the needle down
on that record by the bed

Everything that still moves moves
and memories come flooding back

Girls and cars and beer
as every year becomes that year

Thank you dear

MOTHER’S POEM

MOTHER’S POEM

The kitchen has always been the center
of the universe of any farm or ranch

She feeds their sleepy forms in morning
clothes them for the cold or warm
and prays them safe from harm

Looks out her window to the East
where barn shadows and rolling hills
greet them as they start their day

Men in firm direction to their work
children scattering to play

The South across the lake to catch
the water’s mood foretelling wind or calm

Sometimes
sees in morning
mirages of cut banks rising
like mountains along the Eastern shore

Or more directly to the South
forms of her old neighbour’s homes
rising and shimmering
like memories of her youth

Seasons spiral out and in from this center
crocus and buttercups in the greening grass
cactus flowers and the joy of newborn calves

The growing season of the grain
and golden glory of a well stooked field

The shortening of days into winter
and the ever present stars
joined by the dance
of Northern
lights

Within each season she has watched
the play of seasons of each day
men return from roundup
children from their play

While she waits always at the center
to warm and love and feed

and safely tuck away