He would build us kites
from the newspapers funny pages-
dull colored newsprint,
a bit of wood and a roll of string,
the kite would soar into the wind
and we knew
he was magic.
He would let us hold the spool,
the string tied to the kite
already out of sight
in the odd half light
of a west Texas spring late afternoon.
I would feel the tug,
urgent and insistent,
as if I could be pulled from the earth
I woke this morning
feeling that pull
that urgent, insistent pull,
from almost sixty years ago,
into the spring light,
catch the ribbon tied in the highest reaches of the old oak
the ribbon that holds those years
when you had other things to do,
when you left the living to others
while you gave & toiled & wandered soulless from room to room
leap high in the air
Dang if she did’n run off!
Lookin’ so sweet and all
But she can traipse down the ridge
And disappear quicker ‘n a wild hog.
Left me here
Cryin’ in the ice and snow-
And jes look at them poor old daffs-
Layin’ down liken they was dead.
But she’ll be back, I reckun.
Yep, no doubt about it
She’ll saunter in here
Lookin’ all innocent
And fresh as a new born calf
Smellin’ of lilacs and dog roses
With a circle of sweet grass in her hair.
You bet she’ll be back
Actin’ like she had no idea
We was lookin’ for her
Spring – oh, yeah, she’ll be back.
*** A poem written on another snowy April day a few years ago. Woke this morning to a couple inches of the white stuff decorating the spring flowers. SPRING!
i thank You God for most this amazing day
By e e cummings
i thank You God for most this amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginably You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
Six Minutes and Twenty Seconds
The generosity of silence
Spreads as ripples on a pond or light waves
Fresh and sweet as the tears on a childs face.
We are left holding hands and signs in crayon and tempura,
That point the way forward with few
Yellow caution lights but no flashing red
Sparks from muzzles or fireworks from the halls
Of Congress. Yes, the children will lead us
Because we have fallen on our own swords
And left them wandering in the desert,
Only to water it green with their tears.
*For the brave young people from Parkland and their March for Our Lives
Driving along the ridge,
Bright sun in a cold sky,
The bar ditch is filled with the first blush of spring.
Effervescent purple henbit covers the ground,
Weeds of childrens delight,
First bouquets of the season.
When my nieces were babes,
These weeds were their favorite flower until their father
Mowed the yard,
Decimating their wild flower garden and bringing bereft tears.
Did my grandfather tell me the story of why we call the ditches
Along the roadside ‘bar ditches’?
The dirt was borrowed ‘bar-red’
To raise the road, flattened for the wagons then model Ts
To travel above the fields.
Memory sometimes obscures the truth.
I remember that my father died on Palm Sunday,
Though it is not the truth.
But that is the memory I keep.
And it is Palm Sunday once again,
Not the date of his leave taking
But still the day I grieve.
And it is the first day of spring,
The day I remember my nieces’ grief
Over the heaped green weeds across their yard.
On this day, memory, unreliable and exact,
Borrows the joy before the grief…
Its the first of spring and all the birds sing
And little children palm frond process
Waving welcome the King.
She was one,
one of the thirty six,
one of the thirty six righteous men
who keep their lamps lit,
bringing light to this generation.
Her flame extinguished in this world
but her soul shines on
in brilliance and love.
Dedicated to the memory of Verla Simmons, truly a good person and my friend.