A Thing Gets Old: ottava rima

A thing gets old because it starts out young
and in the spring has little or no care;
of consequence and karma, yet unsprung
in early life, it remains unaware.
Perhaps in early August, comes a sign:
an aching in the knees on summer nights;
still youth imagines everything is fine,
and pushes ever onward, come what might.
The spring and summer can’t imagine snow,
nor feel the cold that only winter knows.

A thing starts to get old once it is born;
it yearns for growing up, and fails to guess
that once maturity arrives, it forms
an outline for a coffin, more or less,
the narrow limit into which one’s life
is slowly shrunk and whittled down to fit.
The miles and years prune new growth like a knife;
a slight pain first, then you get used to it.
So spring and summer’s sap is drawn away,
until at last the first September day.

A thing is old inside while still a child,
when talent and potential seem so vast;
thus, even when it grows unchecked and wild,
each spurt of life fades quickly in the past.
The flame burning in June so bright and cruel
it catches fire to the surrounding wood,
so quickly can exhaust its store of fuel
and leave but soot and ash where forests stood.
How gray and cold November’s earth can seem,
when March and April’s frolics are but dream.

A thing gets old because that’s what things do:
each born carries a bury in its heart;
a life is but a journey to get through,
there is an end in everything that starts.
What’s sown in spring is harvested in fall;
the rains of summer feed December’s snow.
If you would have a part, you must take all;
to miss a piece, one might as well not go.
Yet who would dance less hard or long in Spring,
just knowing the hard Winter it would bring?

10 APR 2017

Let the Cold Wind Blow

Let the cold wind blow,
let the weak spots show,
let the gray hair go
’til it’s there no more.

Let the days roll by,
let the hours fly,
let ’em say goodbye
’til it’s you and I.

There’s just no reason
that I can find
to leave a bit of
this life behind.

Let the loose lips slip,
let the hipsters hip,
let the sinking ship
take a long, cool dip.

Let the world roll on,
let the foolish fawn
let both king and pawn
fade until they’re gone.

There’s just no point
that I can see
to let it bother
you and me.

Let the raindrops fall,
let the time just crawl,
let the engine stall
somewhere in the hall.

Let the earth just spin,
let them all back in,
let both thick and thin
come around again.

There’s just no reason
that I can find
to ever have you
off my mind.

15 JAN 2015

I wonder if like days

I wonder if, like days that start to shorten
and slowly cede their hours to the dark,
each hour’s breath becomes much more important,
because it marks the dying of a spark;

or if, because we pay it no attention
it simply slips away into the mist,
and suddenly, as if without a warning,
is gone, and it (and we) cease to exist.

I wonder if, in those last fleeting seconds,
what breathes at last becomes more self-aware;
and as its edges slip off into nothing
concedes there is so much more nothing there,

and if that nothing we mistake for something
(because despite the truth, we wish it so),
is only to ourselves of such importance
because we can control its letting go.

I wonder if, like some fire’s dying embers
that turn to ash extinguished on the wind,
what we think so important is remembered
beyond what we, conceited, call the end.

11 NOV 2013

The End: a chanso

Again the end comes ’round.
The nights grow longer still,
and taint each daylight hour
with hints of gray.

A year is gone! Profound,
how time escapes, and will
elude our grasping power
and run astray.

Our clock is now unwound;
the gears of our great mill
have ground their flour,
and are at bay.

All gone, except the sound
of memories, that will,
with new spring’s showers,
clear gloom away.

Again the end comes ’round;
review again the bill
for the last happy hour,
and gladly pay.

End’s wreath is birthing’s bower;
born, a new day.

16 DEC 2010

Midwinter’s Tale: a carol (or carole)

Joyous tidings! Dance and sing!
Born, the sun, and with it, Spring!

Birth and rebirth, life’s delight:
in dark winter’s longest night
comes the spark of new year’s light.
Joyous tidings! Dance and sing!

Life’s bright flame shines through the cold,
now as in the days of old;
watch with joy as life unfolds.
Born, the sun, and with it, Spring!

Cast off hiberating ways
in these short and chill-filled days;
let us sing the warm sun’s praise!
Joyous tidings! Dance and sing!

From the hearth-fire grows the spark
to illuminate the dark;
a new calendar to mark.
Born, the sun, and with it, Spring!

As the old year finds its end,
time’s wheel comes around again;
enters stranger, leaves as friend.
Joyous tidings! Dance and sing!

Joyous tidings! Dance and sing!
Born, the sun, and with it, Spring!

28 NOV 2010

Hymn to Mithras

Praise for the sun born on this night
Praise for the coming of the light
On winter’s longest stretch of dark
We praise the tiny, faintest spark

Praise for the coming of the new
Praise for the frost, soon turned to dew
When spring’s fresh promise comes to all
We praise the fire that starts so small

Praise for the earth that slumbers deep
Praise for the world that finds, in sleep,
The dreams that feed brave summer’s deeds
We praise the hibernating seeds

Praise for the sun born on this night
Praise for the coming of the light
Into the dark and bitter cold
We praise the fire as it grows old

Praise for the present and the past
Praise for what fades and what may last
Beyond our sight, beyond our time
We praise the seen and the sublime

Praise for the future and today
Praise what remains, what fades away,
And all things living that will die
We praise the earth, the sea and sky

Praise for the sunlight come again
Praise friend and enemy, and then
For each day forward through the year
We praise the means that brought us here.

24 DEC 2006

Seasons After Spring

I’m just an outlaw over 40
with no airtime on the radio today
where each hot new hit’s a retrofit
of juvenile emotion and cliche;
but I’m laughing at the demographics
every time I get a chance to play
’cause for me real country music isn’t
about some gold records on display.

I’m just an outlaw over 40
far beyond my prime for video appeal
where the song need tell no story
if the actors on the screen can keep it real;
and to write about the fight against
such fantasy can break your record deal.
I won’t say that it’s not country, but
it’s whistle steam that never turns the wheel.

Music’s not just for the young,
not an excuse to sell CDs.
It’s about speaking from your heart;
at least, that’s how it is for me.
If music doesn’t help you grow,
it’s not much good for anything;
and only growing older makes
songs that have seasons after spring.

I’m just an outlaw over 40
whose wild days of drinking binges are long past
and who’s started slowing down to find
those things along the path that tend to last.
You may laugh at my appearance
and believe this song should be played twice as fast;
but it’s not your song, it’s mine; when you
build your own car, you can waste your own gas.

I’m just an outlaw over 40
who can’t line dance or pretend it’s not too loud
if I can’t hear myself think, and tend to
get a little frightened by the crowd
that is full of fight and vinegar, not doing much
but acting tough and proud.
I won’t say that’s not my country, but
intruding on my space is not allowed.

Music’s not just for the young,
to sell some product on TV.
It’s about sharing of your life;
at least, that’s how it is for me.
If music doesn’t help you learn,
it’s not much good for anything;
and only learning to grow old
makes songs with seasons after spring.

19 NOV 2005