Category Archives: Sad Poems

Blind Misfortune

DSC08409Mixed Media collage “Macho” by Judy Dykstra-Brown, jdbphoto


Blind Misfortune

What you blindly get into
in youth can be the end of you.
Those days of passion, counting coup
are never risked when days are few.
The shorter our remaining years,
the greater seem to be our fears.
Thus, old men send the young to war,
forgetting what life’s really for.

They forget love’s throb and ache
and living just for living’s sake––
that need to feel adventure’s thrust––
the drive to do what’s fair and just.
Once passion ebbs, the quest for gold
drives these men turned crass and old.
They give libido other names
as they turn to other games.

Warheads coming now erect,
it seems a waste not to connect
them to their targets, so far away.
It’s only strangers who will pay.
All those enemies of mind,
with no thought of age or kind:
mothers and children meet their ends
and old men never make amends.

They send their own youth off to war
because this is what they’re for.
And young men taught by fantasy
on football field or on TV
are fodder for the greed of those
billionaires in evening clothes.
So the young men blindly go
for reasons that they barely know.

The WordPress prompt word today is blindly.

“I Imagine” dVerse Poets, Prose Poetry

img_1090

I Imagine

I imagine one more holiday.
My mother sits at a large picture window
looking out over a broad beach,
watching dogs fetching sticks.
Then, because she cannot help it,
she takes her shoes off to walk through packed sand.
I imagine her sighting the offshore rock
where puffins nest.
I imagine footprints—hers and mine
and the paw prints of the dog—
someone else’s—
who joins us for the price of a stick thrown
over and over into the waves.

My mother could count her trips to the beach
on one hand,
and most of those times have been with me.
Once, in Wales, we sat on the long sea wall
under Dylan Thomas’s boathouse.
A cat walked the wall out to us,
precise and careful
to get as few grains of sand as possible
between its paw pads.
As it preened and arched under my mother’s smooth hand,
its black hairs caught in her diamond rings.

The other time we went to the beach
was in Australia.
We stayed out all afternoon,
throwing and throwing a stick,
a big black dog running first after,
then in front of it,
my dad sleeping in the car parked at the roadside,
my mother and I playing together
as we had never played before.

My mother and the ocean
have always been so far divided,
with me as the guide rope in between.
I imagine reeling them both in toward each other
and one more trip.
My mother, me, a dog or cat.
Wind to bundle up for and to walk against.
Wind to turn our ears away from.
Sand to pour out of our pockets
to form a small  volcano
with a crab’s claw at the top.

So that years from now,
when I empty one pocket,
I will find sails from by-the-wind sailors
and shark egg casings,
fragile black kelp berries
and polished stones.
The bones of my mother. The dreams of me.

From the other pocket, empty,
I will pull all the reunions I never fought hard enough for—
regrets over trips to the sea we never made.
And I’ll imagine taking me to oceans.
Walks. Treasures hidden in and hiding sand.
Someone walking with me—
someone else’s child, perhaps,
and a dog chasing sticks.

Note: I never took that last trip to the ocean with my mother, but I think of her every year when I come to stay at the beach on my own, and this year in particular, every time I throw the stick for Morrie and every time children come to play with us.

Written for the dVerse Poets prompt, Prose Poetry.To play along, go HERE.

Advance and Retreat

dsc07722

Advance and Retreat

The farther we grow apart,
every time we try once more to merge,
the hastier the retreat must be
back to ourselves.
B
ut still we try, over and over,
little incursions, trying to find
a level meeting place more suited
for festivities than battle.
We work our whole lives to become ourselves,
yet must regret losing those less-finished times
when we all floundered together,
no one right enough or formed enough
to be sure they were right.
Every step forward is
a step away from something else.
Every progress a departure, as well.

The prompt word today is “retreat.”

Midnight Swim Philosophy

DSCF1981 - Version 5

Midnight Swim Philosophy

I was in the still night, empty of stars,
safe behind walls, secure behind bars.
Floating in safety. No threat in my life.
Treading warm water. No pressure, no strife.
Lucky old me. Why do I rate?
Is it my choices, or simply fate?
It may be both, but still I can’t see
why all this luck is centered on me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for trouble
to come break me out of my shiny safe bubble.
I just need to remember once in a while
that such a life isn’t the rank and file.
The world is war-sick, but still they don’t stop.
The bankers will have them fight ‘til they drop.
Women in cages, children in chains.
My perfect night song has sadder refrains.

 

It may not be clear to others what this poem has to do with volunteering, but it is clear to me in my own life.