harvest moon

April Moon 2014

the scent of night rain lingers on the morning air
mingling with the first fallen leaves

and white blooming autumn clematis clambering
over ledges of stone and fences in decline

resettling the summers meadow into colors
of buff and tan, then flames of sumac spark

stringent sun fades and softened the harsh tones
of late summer drought into early autumn dusk

when the grand harvest moon, oh so far away
graces the sky with her golden beauty

and the crickets sharpen their bows
first song of fall

A year ago

Its been a year since my brother, Frank Allen Gresham, died. Those words still take my breath. I think of him and miss him everyday.

Please indulge me and read this post I wrote last year. And keep his wife and his children in your thoughts and prayers.Not only are they dealing everyday with his absence but they live in Florida and are preparing for a major hurricane in the next few days.

Now, let me tell you about my little brother….

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I want to tell you about my little brother.

I remember the day he was born. Its one of my earliest memories – I was three years old.
You see I was an infant when my brother Johnny was born, so there is no memory before him. But Frank – I remember.
My Daddy came to pick us up at the neighbors. I still remember the deep sunset colors in the sky and the smell of carnations that were growing along the walk. And Daddy told me I had a baby brother. It was like he was giving me a gift, a complete surprise. I fell in love with him from the moment I saw him. And he is still the most beautiful baby I have ever seen.

He was a funny little fellow. Johnny and I learned pretty quickly that when we were all in trouble to kind of push Frank forward because he would make a silly face or do something goofy and Mom and Dad couldn’t help but laugh.

He was a rough and tumble kid. Mom would tell the story that she would have us all shiny and clean and ready to go to church. And somehow from the door of the house to the car, Frank’s shirt tail would be out, his socks fallen down, shoes were untied and he would have dirt on his face.

He struggled in school. This was before we knew what dyslexia was and it was especially hard because his brother was brilliant and his sister smart and we loved to read and learn. But he was cute and athletic and always good for a laugh or an adventure.

He could be a pain in the ass too like all little brothers. I remember one car trip from our home in Lubbock Texas to our grandparents in Crossett Arkansas – Frank had somehow learned all the words to Que Sera Sera by Doris Day (don’t ask me how or why) And he sang it all the way across Texas and Arkansas. We were all close to tossing him out the car window.

He was handsome and fun and played sports in school. He was very popular and one spring was asked to 6 proms. Dad said he was going to have to take out a loan for tux rentals and florists.

After high school, he tried to figure out his way. Ended up with different jobs and then started doing carpentry work.

After his first marriage ended, he went thru a dark time and we thought we had lost him.

Then, he gave his life to Jesus and his heart to Janet at about the same time. Mom always said that Jesus and Janet gave her son back to her and she was pretty sure it was mostly Janet.
This began his journey that changed his life.

All his life he wanted to become a good man – He wanted to be those things he loved best about his dad. A family man, a man that loved his wife, a man that adored his children. A man that had a sparkle in his eye and could command the room with his laugh.

These past 6 years, he became deeper and wiser and more loving.
He was a good man.

And I am so proud of him and love him and will miss him the rest of my life.

And there is one thing I know – love is everything – love is what we are called to do and love is the beginning with no end.

He was my baby brother. He was a good man.
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An Ordinary Day

last summers evening 3

The west wind furrows the clouds,
mirroring the newly shorn hayfields
terraced in the colors of late summer,
golden and green.

Driving along the ridge, I enter
a Thomas Hart Benton painting
of undulating landscape
and sky. Fluidity of wind
cloud and leaf mural-ed
across the ridge.

May pops bloom wrapped
in vines of autumn clematis
their exotic flowers mingle
along the rocky path. Doe
and her fawn, still in dappled spots,
graze the ditchbanks
along side wild turkeys
with their celtic blue faces.

A day, late in August,
when the earth turns toward
autumn. A day as ordinary
as any other in its vast
extraordinary way, just
an ordinary day.

the rain has put me in a mood

July Rain

The rain has put me in a mood;
the kitchen is clean
and there are fresh sheets on the bed;
the dog has had a walk
between sprinkles
and down pours;

I have written three letters
and raised the red flag on the mailbox;

I thought about calling
and thought about writing
and thought about shouting
your name;

But you left,
now a long time ago;
a year passed and ashes, ashes
we all fell down.

Like raindrops
and teardrops
and late summer days
into fall.

Summers Ebb

dove

The sharp retort of the jays cries
strike the air,
his grief too much for the cedars to bear.
What greater woe is there
than summers ebb?

Yellowing leaves, spent and melancholy,
rain down
as though weeping,
for their passing will soon be forgotten
in winters bare and spare air.

The elegies of wing and wind-
the sighing trees sorrow
in the mourning doves song
of summers passing.

*revision*

Late August

Odd over ripe days of late August-
Heat drifts by in waves to be washed out
In the darkening dusk.
The sultry night cools minute by minute
As the earth tilts towards the autumnal equinox.

We sit on the porch eating peaches,
The last fruit of the orchard
Now swept of debris.
Only the wasps and bees remain
Still searching for that last drop
Of sweet succulent summer.

*revised*

true story

a man died.
a man I never met
though heard about through the family vine.

their love song, something from a dime store novel,
but true.

true love, love at first sight, love that changes things
and they were devoted for five years.
she, his great love

and now he is dead
of a sudden illness
or maybe an old deep sickness that he would have rather
kept hidden
for a decade or two longer.

I am sad for them both
but glad to know their love story
burning bright in the retelling,
enough, I hope,
to keep her warm.