What Will Stay?
Unyielding ancient Roman gods stare out
With sightless eyes on futures never seen,
The cold, dead stone contrasting with the green
Of life renewed and thriving all about.
Their likenesses, once known, are now obscure,
As will be those who we now cast in bronze.
Our kings and queens, our bishops, knights, and pawns,
Torn down by those who’ll find our thoughts impure.
What will it matter, when we’ve gone away?
We primitive and unenlightened lot
Who’ve squandered time and grace so dearly bought,
What dear to us will fade, and what will stay?
They’ll view us with a condescending air,
Interpreting what wasn’t ever there.
She’d not allow encroaching weeds
Among the flowers raised from seeds
In beds meticulously kept
Beyond the stable, neatly swept,
Across from where the light recedes.
But lately there’ve been other needs
Demanding time, and thus proceeds
Her garden to appear unkept.
She’d not allow her lesser breeds
To pair with her prize-winning steeds,
But in the dark and shadows crept
The vines and crabgrass while she slept
Committing one of many deeds
She’d not allow.
The Air Grows Cold
The air grows cold. The leaves, once green,
Turn yellow, orange, and gold between
Brief moments spent outdoors. The call
Of birds of prey makes forests crawl
With anxious creatures seldom seen.
Close by, as in some magazine,
A brook completes the perfect scene.
As humid summer yields to fall,
The air grows cold.
Soon winter comes: first Halloween,
Then heaters run on kerosene,
A knitted scarf and hat, a shawl,
But well before the snow and all,
The air grows cold.
Physician of the Mind
This mannequin—lifeless, demure--
Will keep close secrets told secure,
Unlike that friend who in the end
Is quick to judge and less mature.
What troubles whispered through the years
Have bounced off these unhearing ears,
Unburdening a client’s soul,
Absolving guilt, allaying fears?
This true physician of the mind,
Compassionate, unduly kind,
Is counselor, confessor, priest,
Conservator, and more—combined!
A glass of water, half consumed, remained
Neglected at the table where she sat
Before her father tenderly explained
How nothing can be done, and that is that.
Oh, how can one so quickly lose all hope?
She asked herself as numbness settled in.
And as she wondered how she’d ever cope
He thought about the places he had been,
The accolades he’d hung upon the wall
In black and silver frames, advanced degrees,
Group photos from his days of playing ball,
His membership in nine societies…
With all of these and more he was undone
By forces far outside of his control
Accomplishments, hard-earned, now felt unwon,
Despair crept in and grappled with his soul.
He’d trade it all if he could ease her pain.
He hadn’t meant to make his daughter cry.
His life was lived too fully to complain,
Yet still he wasn’t set to say goodbye.
These poems were first published in Nine Muses Poetry.