Town and Country

Town:

I would to some far-flung county go
except for the threat of winter snow
and loss of things to occupy
these tangent thoughts that fill my mind

for in some quiet, rural place
where you know every name, and face,
behind the greetings and the prayers
lurks something else, and it waits there

until you find some cause to fight
against the old, established right
and question how the world was made
and kept to just that shape and grade.

And then, the rugged space and wild
you need now more than when a child
right there in reach, or just outside
becomes a threatening divide

that separates you from what else
exists beyond your cupboard shelves,
and beckons, using memory’s tools,
demanding more from kings, and fools.

There in the vast expanse that rings
you in, one morning, a bird sings
a melancholy tune of woe
and in an instant, you must go.

Country:

I would to some great city fly,
save for the noise and lighted sky
and little time for the small things
that feed the soul with songs to sing,

for in some bustling, roaring throng,
the questions, whether right or wrong
get shuffled off behind the door
or left like scuff-marks on the floor

removed, in time, by faster dreams
ill-built, botched jobs split at the seams
constructed not with love, but greed
and satisfaction guaranteed.

And then, when you require a breath
the bar stools clear, a pall of death
descends, and you find you’re in trouble
having pierced some happy bubble.

Far too much this, too little that:
your hair is wrong, your car. Your hat
is last year’s fashion, out of style;
the line forms left, stay single file.

Safe in your homes, tucked warm and dry,
a murmured hum your lullaby,
Despite the drama, and the arts,
you’ve got to leave; a longing starts.

06 MAY 2004

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