Monday, September 28, 2015

Autumn Ambiguity

Autumn Ambiguity

An old toad snored beneath the asters
while a bumblebee rambled 
among the purple blooms above.

Neither one seemed concerned
that the cool indifference of fall had arrived 
to chase away the warmth of summer's love.

Bright yellow mums shouted,
"Look at us! We are the very sun itself
growing from the ground!"

The black eyes of susans wept their seeds,
having already shed their golden petals.
With their heads hung, they rattled and whispered,
"Beware, beware! Winter's coming 'round."

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Everyday Love

Everyday Love

He left a trail of paper clips
and made coffee cup rings
on the envelopes of unopened junk mail.
She followed along behind
and made their home tidy again.

Her hands were bent and twisted.
Ruled by arthritis, they were weak and clumsy.
He opened jars with tight lids for her
and swept up the shattered pieces of drinking glasses
that slipped through her fingers
and crashed on the ceramic kitchen floor.

Together they picked apples,
watched movies and sunsets,
and strolled through the leaves in the park.
He tended the houseplants
when she forgot to water them.
She could always find his keys
and his glasses for him
when he misplaced them 
and left them lying about.

Their love was so simple, so pure,
so real, and so grand,
that others couldn't help but to feel it
when in their presence.
Some of the gestures of love between them
were extravagant and beyond imagining,
but mostly it was the little things 
that bound them together:
a shoulder rub after a long day,
sharing the last piece of apple pie,
holding hands at the theater, 
knowing when to speak
and when to remain silent,
and carrying each other's burdens.

Their love was an everyday love.
Not an ordinary love,
not a boring, tedious, or plain love,
but one that was felt every single day.
It was steadfast, reliable, and unbreakable.

His eyes twinkled and teased,
her smile lit up his world,
and her laughter was his music.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Honeymooners

The Honeymooners

Late August early mornings
bring the raucous complaints
of a flock of geese overhead.

Their squawks and shrieks
rattle through the air,
breaking the peace,
clattering through the empty skies, 
like a honeymoon-bound car 
with strings of soup cans 
tied to the back bumper,
and a "Just Married" sign, 
taped to the trunk.

The honeymooners travel
with hope and uncertainty,
as the geese do,
to a new season
and a new start.

Geese making travel plans by the lake before taking flight.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Egg Custard Pie

Egg Custard Pie

One creamy, yellow slice of egg custard pie,
freckled with a soft sprinkle of nutmeg,
sitting in the bakery case at the diner, 
reminds me of childhood summers:
of blue sky days and morning glory ways;
of laundry on the line, drying in the breeze;
and dandelions and clover 
dancing to the rumblings of the honeybees.

Out of breath from racing our bikes home,
we take a break on the porch.
We sip lemonade over ice
and watch wispy, white clouds drift by.
We know all is good and all is right
because Mom has just handed us each a plate
with a slice of her homemade egg custard pie,
still warm (topped with whipped cream---piled high.)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Small Town Sounds

 Small Town Sounds

The ropes that raise and lower the flag
clang against the pole.
An old man shuffles along,
clearing his throat, out for a stroll.

Car tires rattle the sewer plate.
The driver is going a little too fast.
A boy delivering newspapers laughs,
when he startles a friend with a bike horn blast.

A bell chimes when someone opens the door
to the Mom and Pop bakery shop.
Two girls giggle and blush, heads bent,
with arms linked; sharing secrets and a soda pop.

The fountain sparkles, gurgles, and splashes
on the lawn of the courthouse square.
A sign hung above the street flaps in the breeze
and invites everyone to the county fair.

Church bells can be heard ringing
a few blocks away,
announcing to the world
a young couple's wedding day.

To an outsider, small town sounds
may not seem like much,
but they tell the stories of the people there
and  the lives they touch.

Monday, August 3, 2015

By the Numbers

By the Numbers

You live your whole life by the numbers.
Everything's counted, measured, and weighed.
You can't control the hand you're dealt,
but you can decide how your cards are played.

Anticipating your arrival,
your parents eagerly await.
Nine months to plan and ponder.
A new baby, a new life to celebrate.

Once you are born,
you are weighed and measured,
Those numbers are written down, 
remembered, and treasured.

You learn to talk and walk,
and then you learn to count.
Add, subtract, multiply, divide:
it's so important to find the amount.

You fly through years of school
trying to get the right scores and make the grade.
So you can get in college, get a degree,
and get a job where you are well-paid.

You realize you have to take care of the bills
and your family in order to succeed.
Mortgage, utilities, car loans, insurance, 
home repairs, and mouths to feed.

Your health matters too!
Check your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Watch your sugar. Watch your weight.
Count your steps and your calories.
Take your pulse. Check your heart rate!

If you work enough years, you get to retire.
Senior discounts save you a dime.
A fixed income sets your limits.
You know what's important,
but you're running out of time.

Your years are many. You are old and wise.
But just when you think you know the score,
your number comes up,
and suddenly... you don't count anymore.

The difference you leave behind is all that counts
when that final date is carved into stone.
While you are here, your life touches many, 
and the legacy you leave is yours alone.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Old-fashioned Ways

Old-fashioned Ways

Old-fashioned ways
and long ago days
drift through the clouds in my mind.
Manners and modesty,
grammar and honesty:
when did we leave these behind?

Honeysuckle and hollyhocks,
the ticking of clocks,
dresses with a bit of lace.
I remember drinking root beer floats,
and folding newspaper hats and boats,
back when homemade was commonplace.

Neighbors shared their hydrangea blues,
but not their political views,
and maintained respect for the rights of others.
It was a simpler age,
but now we've turned the page,
if only we had listened to our mothers.