AUGURY

featured in the poetry forum October 10, 2021  :: 0 comments

The ancients thought that
You could tell important things
From the flight of birds.
Those who think a hope for peace
Lies in emulating nature
Have never watched three hummingbirds
At a feeder on an August morning.
Myself, I attend closely
To the goldfinches
In the northeast quadrant,
Dusk, coolness settling in,
Propitious,
Hopeful new undertakings
Late in life.

editors note:

Picks precurse portents. Pick well! – mh clay

CLONING

featured in the poetry forum July 16, 2021  :: 0 comments

At eighty we have,
With a certain optimism,
Bought a new smartphone.
They lie side by side on the counter,
The old and the new,
Passing information one to another.
If only humans were programmed that way:
Maybe not.
Contacts, dimly remembered,
Playlists,
The great hits of the ’70s and ’80s,
The secret music of the passage of time.

editors note:

And one day, our phones will carry us. – mh clay

MAGAZINES

featured in the poetry forum April 9, 2021  :: 0 comments

My poet professor friend
Brought me a bag this morning
With magazines in which
His work appeared.
I am to keep what I want
And pass the rest on
To others here at Golden Pines
Who value
The stewardship of possibility.
Magazines
May not be quite
The proper word,
Those small-press journals,
Most from college towns,
By which our culture is preserved.
He frets lest this seem vain,
But it is rather a great
Kindness, a gift of friendship and
Something more, which with my own
Magazines
I cannot yet bring myself to do,
Which is to spare his sons, his heirs
A task.

editors note:

Our legacy, left as possiblity or just as piles of stuff. Pass it on! – mh clay

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

featured in the poetry forum January 10, 2021  :: 0 comments

My neighbor is on his ladder,
Taking down the Christmas lights;
His wife has gone inside to rest,
Just home from her chemo.
I start to say something like
Well, time to pack ’em up
For another year

But decide not to.

editors note:

The same old thing is not always. – mh clay

RAINDROPS

featured in the poetry forum October 9, 2020  :: 0 comments

On the dock,
An oak tree my umbrella,
I do not feel
Raindrops so light,
So widely spread
That their faint impressions,
Circling outward,
Form Venn diagrams
On flat, gray-green waters
Before they disappear.

The drops quicken:
Which of them will push
The brook beyond its banks,
Hurtling downstream
On cable news,
Which will combine with wind
To bring the white pine
By the turtle rock
To rest beside a windfall
From the Hurricane of ’38?

editors note:

Each a part of alphabetically named disasters; year after year. – mh clay

INDEPENDENT LIVING

featured in the poetry forum July 28, 2020  :: 0 comments

The governance at Golden Pines
Intends to raze St. Joseph Hall
And so is not replacing
Those who move on
As circumstance conspires,
To Assisted Living,
(As if there were some other kind)
Or Health Care or Memory Care
Or other destinations.
One wonders, then,
What they must feel,
Those who remain,
Bringing their groceries in from the car,
One or two small bags,
To see only seven names left
On the directory
In the dimly lighted hall.

editors note:

The race to be the last present resident takes a lot of time. – mh clay

BATTERYMATES

featured in the poetry forum May 18, 2020  :: 0 comments

At 73, I have long since given up
Soccer and basketball with him,
So we have devised a new game,
My grandson and I,
To play in the back yard on afternoons
Thick with the warmth of late spring.
I am the pitcher,
He the rest of our baseball team.
We toss the ball back and forth,
Field grounders and pop flies,
Each catch an out.
Sometimes the other guys reach base,
An errant throw skittering
Into the monkey grass, hidden by
Fallen azalea blooms.
My teammate, playing deep,
Somewhere between childhood and
Adolescence, applies tags to phantom foes
As they foolishly try to stretch a hit.
Our team scores a run
Each time we retire the side.
We have never lost.

editors note:

A game to play in your seventh inning stretch. – mh clay

WEDDING SONG

featured in the poetry forum February 20, 2020  :: 0 comments

His neighbor’s sister is
Someone’s second wife,
Joy postponed, subdued;
But her mother,
Suspicious, surrounded by cats, had
Darkly demanded explanations,
Disowned the proper word,
Had there been something to pass on.
Helen doesn’t come up anymore.
He remembers taking his mother,
In her last days,
To an antique shop
To buy a wedding gift,
As if to make a point.

editors note:

Spirited spunk, spent on spite. – mh clay

FIVE YEARS LATER: 2015

featured in the poetry forum December 6, 2019  :: 0 comments

He called out of the blue,
As they say,
One night in October
About five years ago,
A fraternity brother,
Out of touch—what?—fifty years or so.
We joked about college days,
The self-important fools we’d been,
Swapped synopses
Of our lives’ separate paths,
Offered congratulations
On things heard about or read,
Passing over sorrows.
I urged him to come back
For the reunion some year.
Sounds good, he said.
I wasn’t sure why he’d called.

Then last night, for no particular reason,
I looked for him on the Internet,
As people our age will do,
Found his obituary,
December 2010.
I thought to write his wife
(Untimely condolences
Worse than none)
And saw why he had called.

editors note:

Oof! Let’s stay in touch so we’ll not be out of touch. – mh clay

THE CONFERENCE TABLE

featured in the poetry forum September 30, 2019  :: 0 comments

When his mother died,
Thirty years ago now,
The principal gave his school
A conference table.
It weathered the abuse
Of ninth-grade boys,
Restored, its polished cherry stain
An elegant gesture of memory.
But he was not surprised to learn
The other day, quite by chance,
That someone he did not know
Had judged it no longer needed
And packed it up for storage.

Where is the little plaque
That bore her name?

You can say these things happen,
That no one had set out
To dishonor her memory.
He has no wish to share
The resentments of the heirs
Of Confederates on horseback,
But he does wonder if
The people in Omaha
Had thought to give
The Rosenblatts a call.

editors note:

In the need for remembrance, we are Rosenblatts, all. – mh clay