Tag Archives: accomplishment

Two weeks

In two weeks I’ll be fifty.
Where has that half century gone?
It feels the world is speeding by
this jockey on the lawn,
who used to hold the reins
and feel some semblance of control
but now just stands there deaf and dumb
while time, relentless, rolls.

I sometimes sit and wonder:
have I really done so much,
or are my past misdeeds and triumphs
really just a crutch?
Illusions of effectiveness and use
appear and fade,
while I and my small banner
watch an infinite parade.

In two weeks I’ll be fifty,
an age I never thought
or bargained I would ever see;
It’s taken quite a lot
of road and oil and rust and dirt
to get here in one piece.
One thing I know for certain:
that the traveling’s not cheap.

When I am most reflective, though,
it seems more finding out
along the way, which song to sing
and welcoming the doubt:
that we are more important
than even we want to believe,
and it’s a wasted life
if you’re just hanging ’round to leave.

19 DEC 2014

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Sometimes an act itself becomes enough
to satisfy one’s hunger for applause;
and what discomforts must be suffered through
become, to reach an end, at last worthwhile.

That any others witness such a feat
is gratifying, yes, but not required;
to truly find yourself is, after all,
a personal accomplishment for one.

Sometimes the moment of epiphany
can be so subtle, it is not observed
except as a strange ripple in the air
that takes away the breath for just a while.

Then, quickly as it comes, the moment’s gone;
and time, paused by the spell, continues on.

07 APR 2013

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At each new dawning of the day,
our shackles turned to dust,
we rise from bed and check the door
in case it’s turned to rust;

and finding perhaps a loose hinge
or screws worn down and stripped,
we throw our weight against the seam
where new daylight has slipped.

The door cracks open, and we sprawl
out in the joining hall
that through our window seemed so vast
but really is quite small —

for it is just another cage,
a slightly different cell;
and after a few moments’ rest
it becomes hard to tell

if where we are and where we’ve been
are very much the same,
or if the move we just accomplished
will affect the game.

The light begins to fade, at length,
and we begin to sense
that each room we have passed through
is illusion and pretense,

that the rough walls are paper thin —
in fact, they’re barely there.
We could walk through and out
with just a single breath of air.

But reaching that epiphany
we do not grasp for more,
just sleep, and dream of getting past
tomorrow’s brand new door.

07 JAN 2004

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A Tree in Winter

When in the winter, I shall stand
a bare tree tall on frozen land
there may be some who choose to rake
among the leaves left in my wake
and into separate piles by hue
divide these skeletons. But who
can tell by looking at them from
the long rake’s length, when the snows come
which were the first to dry and fall
without accounting for them all?

Which once green fans in spring were dropped,
and now are mixed with autumn’s crop?
Which dried on branches now grown old
and clung until their sap ran cold?

Like placing blank sheets front and back
of chapters splitting the known facts
that populate a life’s long span
in some great sequence, as if planned,
without acknowledging the whole
as mystery, beyond control.

And once so bagged and sifted through,
who knows if they are sorted true?
If such a task be done at all —
one sack too full, or one too small,
tends to distort one’s sense of scale
and in the end, can only fail
the way a footprint in the dust
leaves little sign, except it must
describe a path begun or ended;
not much else, or what intended
course was left behind or started fresh.

Each turning point leads but to guess.

For who’s to say which precise point
becomes the branch’s end, or joint.
Until the growth is stopped by time
there is no finite to a line.

But some will section off in parts
where one phase ends, and one phase starts,
and in some erudite display
explain a life in finite ways,
and capture facts with endless notes,
transcribe the tunes from songbird’s throats,
fit each stray thought into some mold
where it can be cast, hard and cold.

I choose, instead, to linger on
those leaves now lost, blown from the lawn
by wind and rain, that will not be
included in the raked tally.

For these, the lost uncounted score,
describe the flesh that is no more,
but lines a garden bed somewhere
or turned to dust along a shore.

And the great naught that is their wake
needs neither sack, nor pile, nor rake.

01 DEC 2004

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