The Handshake

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The Handshake



Can you see a narrow path, just wide enough for one
where two men chanced upon each other a long time ago?
In the morning glory, witnessed by a watchful sun—
did they stop and stare and wonder, friend or foe?

Can you hear the roaring silence of unbridled fear
louder than the wails of most destructive storm?
When men came face-to-face, blood pounding in the ear—
Eyes wild for escape, sensing death’s true form? 
 
Can you feel the breath of danger cold upon your face,
and hair upon your neck bristling to attention?
Were two molded statues, crafted from God’s race—
rooted as the oak or maple, actions still undone?   

Can you see the younger of the two, stalwart as could be, 
his empty palms extended, no killing blade secret there?
Was hatred harbored in his heart, more difficult to see—
or reflected in his eyes as youthful courage rare? 

Can you hear the other man, older yes, and tall and lean,
notch mute arrow and string his deadly bow?
Was language infant then, the world still raw and mean—
that no words passed between them, oh so long ago?

Can you feel a seething warmth lick across your skin, 
a glistening swath where death simmers hot and near?
Were words so few that mere actions cradled sin—
and in your throat you stifle the choking grip of fear?

Can you see a selfish path where brave men often kill,
and must in desperate haste decide another’s fate?
Do you see a fiery blacksmith’s forge, hearts upon the anvil—
shaping threatened lives, facing heaven’s yawning gate?

Can you feel survival’s strain amid death’s insistent call,
when the one with most to lose, smiled and stepped aside?
Can you feel the forest’s breath release a sigh for all—  
where two men chose civility over instinct to abide? 

Can you see a narrow path where many came to walk,
and a pleasant widening grew, and many paused to talk?
Where empty hands were grasped to show no harm was meant—
and where a wordless truce between two men was heaven sent?

j

Progress

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Progress

There was a time,
Once upon,

When

Men lifted the hood
Of their car
With confidence,
Rag and wrench in hand

To diagnose and
Repair the machinery
Found there.

And a similar time,
Once upon,

When

Women
Opened recipe books
With happy hearts,
Measuring cups in hand

To create something
Delicious of simple
Ingredients.

Electronics and takeout  
have fixed all that nonsense.

j

A Refresher Course

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A Refresher Course


Keep. (verb)
She kept her distance from others.

Sleep. (verb)
She slept in cotton jammies.

Sweep. (verb)
She swept the kitchen floor.

Deep. (adjective)
Rivers are not dept.
She leapt the deep river. 

Weep. (verb)
Yes. She wept a torrent of tears.
Ha! Not weepest.
Save to a Medieval poet.

Steep? (adjective)
Hills are not stept.
Jill, and her boon companion, Jack,
climbed the steep hill to fetch
a pail of water..

Creep. (verb) Our English teacher 
crept about the classroom.
But not on little cat’s feet
 like fog.

Creep. (noun) Our English teacher 
teacher is a crept. 
No. But, during 
tests he creeps about. 

What have we learned today?
Nothing of great import, but what our eager 
ears taught us long ago and our fresh minds 
put in proper order.

Go thy merry way then and be kind to all.

j 

Our Destiny

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Our Destiny


Sooner or later,
Things what they are,

No matter 
how healthy we seem,

How crisp the mind,

A tipping 
point 
arrives,

A place of apprehension,
Of uncertainty,

Of no going back.

Sooner or later,
Things what they are,

Vision dims,
Sounds muddy,
Balance wobbles.

A place of apprehension,
Of uncertainty,

Of no going back.

Sooner or later,
Things what they are,

Memories melt,
Vocabulary dwindles,
Friends lose touch.

A place of apprehension,
Of uncertainty,

Of no going back.

Sooner or later,
Things what they are.

Muscles weaken,
Weight dissolves,
Doctoring frequent,

A place of apprehension,
Of uncertainty,

Of no going back.

Sooner or later,
Things what they are,

A tipping 
point
arrives.

 j

Cave Art and Progression

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Cave Art and Progression


Cooled ashes on a deft fingertip.

Papyrus reeds in Egypt grew.

A goose quill dipped in vessel of ink.

A metal nib.

Gutenberg’s moveable-type press.

A slender fountain pen with reservoir.

A ball tipped roller.

A typewriter with chime.

A personal computer.

Autocorrect. 

Chaucer, howling in his grave.

j

Red-tailed Rescue

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Red-tailed Rescue 


Let's pretend Covid
cannot touch me here.

In my imagination 
there are no mandates, 

or quarantines,  
or masks. 

It’s a place filled with 
delightful and dangerous 

thoughts— 

a hawk of poor vision,
a deep and chilling well, 
an enemy of fright, 

hunted through the night.

j

Mr. Six O’Clock Or So

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Mr. Six O'Clock Or So


When an orchard whispers

“The apples will be ripe in October,”

that is God’s absolute truth
and we may put our trust therein.

But, when a man calls to say

“I'll meet you in an hour,”

that is an estimate,
and we would be wise

not to confuse the two.

j

A Modest Request

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A Modest Request

When I grow old and weary, 
legs all atremble,
unable to walk far, 

and my garden—

the delightful colors, 
the delicate shapes, 
the delicious scents,

when my garden— 

eyes weak and bleary,
too distant to see,

then please, 
if you will, 

bring my garden to me.

j