Recently I made a hole in one of my sneakers –
the left one – a hole made with a saw tooth knife.
I thought about my electric drill
but I have rid myself of all my power tools.
The hole coincided with a wound on my foot –
a wound whose origin is a mystery.
With it not touching anything
its pain is minimal and not intrusive when I walk,
Three months ago a foot doctor suggested
that I have it daily attended with ointment
and then covered with a taped-on gauze.
The problem persisted for more than a month.
I then went to another foot doctor
whose credentials are impressive.
She said that nothing should cover that wound.
I found some sandals that did the job – somewhat.
The wound has never gone away
and I’m afraid it’s here to stay.
But I “did” my sneaker and am walking with it on
and no one sees the hole I made.
I received my greatest help from Dr. Russ.
Take time for your sadness when it comes.
Do not think it’s always best to smile.
And nurture it with memories and love.
One can be sad and thankful.
Temptations toward self-pity often lurk nearby
and some resolve might be required
to ward it off.
Hopefully you can handle that.
But who am I to tell you how to be?
Listen to your inner self.
Pay little heed to me.
The autumn leaves I wish were mine today
but I’m unable access them
for the trees where I now live
do not deposit annual gifts of beauty
beneath their boughs.
And so I have to take two paths for my indulgence:
photographs are one of them – the other: memory.
Some years ago I raked a pile of leaves so great
it seems in retrospect to be the greatest one I ever made.
And added to the pleasure of my swinging rake
whose sound I now so easily engage
is the body of a little dog ploughing through the grisp remains –
a white, long-haired creature who brought his joy to mine.
Nostalgia offers happiness, and yet its presence offers sadness, too.
The past is really over even though it clings to us
when we employ the gifts that recreate our yesterdays.
Russ Peery Sept. 2018
I guess (and that means “I don’t know”, or “likely”
that most of us who get to be ninety
look at TIME as if it were a reality that has gone very fast.
It seems that memories have power over Time’s awareness
and we’ve been known to say “It seems like yesterday”
when, in fact, it happened years ago.
We feel that suddenly we’ve grown old
when, in fact, it’s been a long and slow process.
Some folks keep diaries that help keep the past present
and others collect photographs.
These days videos are likely to do the same “work” better.
I sit here and often play with my past with little effort
checking into my wasness
but aware that some folks I know are much better than I
in retrieving thoughts of what has happened to them.
Could I say I envy them? Yes, I do.
Memory keeping is a gift
and some folks are more gifted than others
and at least a few of us wish
we had better recall than we do.
So be it.
I used to say “That’s the way the ball bounces”.
Russ Peery Sept 2018
HE DOES NOT LIKE WAITING FOR FOOD –
PUTS HIM IN A DEPLORABLE MOOD.
AND OFTEN HE’LL GROWL
AND PERHAPS HE WILL SNARL
AND MANY MAY THINK HE IS RUDE.
HE KNOWS THAT IN TIME HE WILL EAT –
MIGHT EVEN DEVOUR SOME GOOD MEAT.
DON’T JUDGE THIS OLD MAN
THOUGH HE MAKES SOME DEMANDS.
HE’S REALLY REMARKABLY SWEET.
THE WIND AND RAIN HELP MAKE OUR WEATHER.
AND OFTEN THEY’RE WORKING TOGETHER.
SOMETIMES WE GET BLOWN
OR GET WET TO OUR BONES.
UNLESS WE’VE PREPARED AND ARE CLEVER.
ONCE I WROTE A POEM THAT GOT SOAKED
I’D COVERED IT WITH MY RAIN COAT.
BUT SOME WATER GOT IN
AND MADE EVERY WORD DIM
AND WRECKED ALL OF MY GOOD NOTES.
I COULD SEND YOU A POEM THAT’S A MESS –
THAT HAS CAUSED ME A BIT OF DISTRESS.
BUT YOU COULDN’T READ IT
AND REALLY DON’T NEED IT.
I’LL JUST PUT ALL MY SADNESS TO REST.
I’d like to have an attitude of gratitude
embrace me more
as my time unwinds
and leaves a path of memories.
Sometimes I’m able to –
I see others not much different than I
coping with agendas that would do me in
were they to touch my dailyness with such darkness.
Thankfulness induced by woes that I don’t share
seems slightly strange –
yet often that is how it is with me.
I know a woman who
has fought the fight of losing weight
throughout her years.
Often a gain in pounds
has almost led to tears.
Now, at last, she’s found reprieve.
It’s s little hard to believe
she’s found it in a place
that few but her would even look.
Not long ago
she was assigned to hospice care
yet her appetite stays unaffected there.
She is taking her usual hunger there –
plus her sense of humor.
I’ll have just one more scoop. Please!”
Who will get it? –
that mahogany chest of drawers
I built back in the seventies.
I see it every day and every day
that question lurks in my shrinking mind.
Most of our “give-aways” have been given
but a few remain to tease me every day.
My remains will be ashes
when the decision is made
for that chest’s next whereabouts.
And there are a few other things
we’ll be forced to yield
to the decisions of folks
who may be slightly sad
when they make them.
I’m not sure when I first started
trying to figure it out.
Certainly it became very important to me
back when I was wondering what to do.
I had to do something
even if I couldn’t figure life out.
So I became a preacher.
That worked well for many years
but I still didn’t figure it out.
For awhile that didn’t seem to matter.
But then I began to think the answer might be
more in my hands than in my head.
Working with wood turned out to be the next step for me
but it did not bring me closer to figuring it out.
Since the beginning of this century
I have worked to try to figure things out with poetry
and occasionally I may make a little progress.
Old age may be is a time when I ought to give it up.
Fate seems ro smile at my futile efforts to acquire understanding.
I smile back and am grateful for my various investigations.
I’ve been given enough time to ponder and to ponder and to ponder.
Russ Peery August 2018