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
I don’t recall
when I first began to count –
back when I learned my “one, two, threes” –
pronouncing them and pointing here and there
and getting praise – at least I hope I did.
The number words became a part of life —
arithmetic a piece of school.
After the beginning, naming the big numbers
became as easy as “abc”:
a million, a trillion – all enhanced by zeros.
I’m not sure if the next entity is a zillion. – I think so.
Such numbers are related to our national debt
and to the number of stars in the sky.
The debt will likely pass the stars some day.
Sometimes I resort to counting sheep
when sleep avoids me.
But I avoid
those quantities I just can’t grasp.
Russ Peery Aug 2018
I remember first thinking about Time —
way back when –
quite some time ago
as my mind felt ready to grapple
with ineffable matters.
Perplexed, as many have been
I kept thinking that somebody
smarter than me had figured out what I couldn’t
but might be able to some day.
But I never did.
I grew older
and went on to deal with other matters
much easier to handle.
I put the subject of time
way to the back of my mind
and ceased to pursue the mystery.
But now that I am old
the subject of time has emerged again, tantalizing me.
The lack of answers has reentered my mind
and I grapple again with
how time began and how time might end.
Politics and the news of the world
no longer engage me much.
I want to grasp what finite minds
have never been able to understand
and I think that lots of us old folks
are thus enticed.
But we are running out of time.
when folks meet me
in corridors and elevators
they say: “How are you?”
I say to them
(unless I am especially down)
I got to wondering about
good as being Pretty.
Then there is “Pretty Soon”
and there are “Pretty People”.
I’d like to think that
there are pretty poems as well.
I do not wait well.
This I can tell
because impatience dwells
just beneath my mild demeanor
and is easily awakened.
Doctors’ offices and slow service
by waiters and waitresses
are the main culprits.
Since that won’t change
maybe I ought to.
But I probably won’t.I’ll
It’s not often that one is called
“A wet noodle”
and I wasn’t called one
until I got to be over ninety.
My Tampa daughter
felt that I looked like one
after I had some surgery
early this year.
I don’t remember much
when I resembled such
I am glad that
the metaphor no longer applies’
It was the first flower I knew.
And when it went to seed
I blew it – EVERYWHERE
I knew nothing about its disdain –
how our neighbors tried to stop me.
And to this day
do not know where the “lion” part
Nor do I know how “tiger lilies”
(much more acceptable
than the yellow flower’s lion)
got their name.
It must be that some botanist
who has the naming power over flowers
was a wild animal man.
Of course, there is tame “dogwood”
Maybe the botanist cared for all animals.
Even a porcupine has some affinity
to pine trees.
I thought by now I’d know more than I do.
I still like dandelions
and I would want them on my casket
were I to have on —
but I’ve decided not to.
Russ Peery —-June 2018
With but a little light tug on a string
and thirty slats of a blind are maneuvered
to determines how the sun will shine here
behind a great bay window –
our bay window that actually faces a bay.
All this power within a modest hand
that requires no electronics to affect the changes.
It just needs a little pull.
The only problem is that:
so often when you wish to make the changes
you are comfortably held by a recliner
that resents intrusions.
I am confident that some genius
has already solved or will soon solve
this serious situation.
That I will come into this power
before my long life ends
remains to be seen.
But surely there will be beneficiaries
before this century passes on.
I do not see the moon any more –
or hardly ever.
It had become something special to me
shining in my life from time to time
with its unique light
that not only compelled my eyes to pay attention
but asked my soul for consideration.
I did not miss the moon at first, after moving
for our new agenda stole my time
and I did not seem to mind.
Now I fully grasp
that portions of my sky have disappeared
forever and forever.
I have delayed my feelings of withdrawal.
And now I am coping with this unusual mourning.
The bright yellow banana
lay cradled in a bowl of beauty —
all by itself.
I walked by, resisting
the first motions of saliva on my tongue
that introduced temptation.
But that ended with some hesitation
and soon I found myself
peeling the disposable skin
that offered easy access
to the soft taste of its unusual blessings.
Soon I began to think of those people
who harvested this fruit –
people far away
and likely not as fortunate as I.
Their lives will always be deprived of my scrutiny
but I will still give them mild recognition
for their aiding and abetting my digestion.