My memories
play peek-a-boo with me.

They come and go
without my arranging.

But now that I have many years
I have time to stir them up —
and even have the audacity
to make some changes —
usually to make me better than I was.

Manipulating history is
what many of us are prone to do.

You probably do it, too.

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when I’m  in the mood for self pity
I open up my mouth soliciting  responses
and though I may get what I seek
I am seldom satisfied.

when I am in the mood
for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
on raison bread
I open up my mouth
and what I get might be just right
and I delay the need for more of anything.

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The county jail of York, ME
was about a hundred yards
from the Congregational parsonage.

I lived in that parsonage
as one of its ministers
back in the early fifties.

I never thought to visit the inmates
who lived across the street.

True, they didn’t belong to my church —
but they were likely human beings
who might have appreciated some caring.

Certainly Jesus would have approved.

When I evaluate my past
and look at some of the things
I might have done and didn’t
I am ashamed.

Later on I learned to do better
and hope that the Good Lord forgives.

But I will never forget my neglect
back when I had so much to learn.

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The couple who walked into our dining hall
were new to the old folks there.

They gathered so many of our gazes.

 Was he a significent-other
or just a brother?          

Maybe they’s been married to each other
a long, long time.

Perhaps we’d discover

Soon we’d likely know, if we wanted to.

There might be nothing  else to do.

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If you call getting a boat kit in the mail
and spending about fifty hours assembling it
before you felt confident that it would float
then I can say “I built a boat!”

And then I sailed it!
I sailed it around the Long Island Sound
while getting in touch with ecstacy.
It asisted me in dealing with
the coming of middle age.

And even now when I’ve more than doubled
the years I had back then
I can still  re create my joy.

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Not much goes on around here
that is of great interest
so I thought I’d submit some news
that reflects our curremt rendezvous
with excitement.

Bob said that he was about
to have his toenails cut.

And then he did  —
but when I saw him
he looked the same.

Only a few of us knew.

For the most part
little things happen
and we are kept in the dark — mostly.

When I heard about the cutting
I began to envy Bob
because I still stretch to reach my toes
and it is a painful stretch.

Hardly anyone knows about my envy
because it is hard to see
as are Bob’s toes.

If something more significant happens
I’ll get over it.

In fact, if  write about it
it is likely to vanish.

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The dream portion of my head
allowed me to rise up out of bed
and go walking through some woods —
through some Yankee woods.

My sleepmate was beside me
and together we crunched some leaves
’til we came to a levee.

There we stopped
and watched the sun go down
but not before a little black bear
came to be with us —
one who wanted a pat on the back
and a tickle on his tommy —
both of which I provided.

Woke up with a smile
and no need to return
through the trees.

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I’m tempted to deal with old age
 when considering the Muse — 
either with my problems
or those of my peers.
But the elderly are tired of
listening to too much sadness
and those younger
can’t even grasp how it really is.
So what’s left?
 Actually plenty!:
can do it! —
can keep us from withering too much
  in our final years.

Posted in Poems | Comments Off on MEMORIES AND IMAGINATION


The dream was so vivid.

I remember being moved.

But when I went to retrieve it
it was not there.

Tried as I might
I could not  bring it back.

Its absence was something I mourned.

So real to me 
in the middle of the night
and then just a memory
of something I cannot remember.

Strange it is to be alive
and to lose such matters.

I would not wish such
on people I care about
nor on anyone else
who loves to dream
and then looks back to ponder.

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The first “band” I played in
was in the second grade.
I played “the sticks”.
Others played triangles
and things that you shake.

A few years later
I played the drums in junior high —
then in the high school band and orchestra —
then in a Navy drum corps — 
and finally in the Gettysburg College marching band.

The above is not fascinating information
but it is more data than I ever received
from either of my parents’ childhoods.
They told me hardly anything about their pasts.

Now you know something about me
and if my children should happen to read this
they will know more about my early life
than I ever gathered 
 from my mother’s or my  father’s childhoods. 

As I face my twilight years
I want to know more about my forebears —
and that is not likely to happen.
Those who might have known something
have all left the planet.
Obviously, leaving a legacy has been of little concern
to those who have gone before me
and share my DNA.    

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