Live To Tell, Live To Sing

Waves of time pass through us.
Like the wind, we are never the same.
Seasons return, varying minute by
minute, day by day. Still, our fleeting lives
will not be measured by heartbeats
or the breaths we take. If we awaken,
at all, we live to tell each story, sing
each song of survival, every chorus of hours
lending tempo, melody and rhythm, composing
the symphony that sweeps us along through
the movement of our years, with no discernible
score, no orchestration, a work of art that cannot
be claimed, only created in our name.

 

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We Know the Way

With sunlight failing,
we come down
the hill in darkness
toward the light of home.
The dogs know the way,
though they hesitate
to go where they
cannot see, without
first smelling the air,
making sure the path
is clear, and nothing
is out of place. We
talk uninterrupted,
uncommon these days,
with lives full of wires
and webs, switches and
hums, bells and reminders.
The dogs stick like burs
to our boots. We linger
in the cool shadows, sharing
a moonlit sky and stars.
We know the way home.

This Life I’ve Led

I ask myself what
will become of this
life I’ve led as if life
were a willful dog
on a taut leash 
following behind me,
its master, or a blind pony
unable to find home
without a gentle tug
and words of encouragement,
as if life were an army
of weary foot soldiers
and I, its brave captain,
spend my days urging them
onward, as if I headed out,
eyes open, nose first,
with a plan or a map,
or a firm sense of purpose,
on the day of my birth.

Things To Ask the Doctor

Are there clouds? Yes, but are they
moving away or moving toward me?
How fast? Or not at all? Will it rain?
Will the wind blow and the trees acknowledge
its presence? Am I prepared for the storm?
Do I have the right shoes? Will there be a storm at all
or will the dawn be fair and the way clear-sailing?
Can I fly on happy feet into tomorrow’s embrace
without fear, without fear, without fear, without fear?

Vikings in America

She said bury his weapons.
He loved them not me. Leave the tools.
They will be of use in his absence.
Tell the children their father was strong
and brave. He died on the shores of Minisceongo Creek,
not far from the big river. He was delivered properly
to his earthly grave, his honor, his treasures intact, placed
carefully there beside him, and there they will remain.

Unnamed

Look at that bird, I say.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Isn’t that strange,

so early in the season

and the trees are

just now budding.

“What?” You stop

in mid-sentence.

That wasn’t the topic.

Your question has no

chance of an answer,

no verbal remittance.

Instead we turn to

observe the restless

bird, a passerine,

smaller than a warbler

but not quite a chickadee,

newly arrived on the

bootheels of winter,

preening, fluttering about,

magical and unnamed,

showing off his wings.