Reminiscence

Fishing at the river, some boys jump in
Swim across and back so quickly
It makes my head spin.
Were I as trim and lean as them
I’d join in–
I did when I was that age
Set down my rod
Shed my clothes
Took to any lake or stream
Swam my sweaty body clean
Lay on the bank and dreamed of love—
But I am old now, these days
I need prodding
Just to take a bath!
A boy needs no prod, only doing
Without hesitation or regret
Sagacious are the old men, but wisdom
Does not come
Unless the joys of youth are done
And as the mind goes under, we learn to swim again.

 

A Man Dreams of his Father

Through slanting doors and broken windows
odd furniture in dim rooms
old books and roses rotting with age I follow you…
Charts and crumpled maps and paper
glitter like a lost hope–

Sudden sky and wide water, reeds along a shore
Under a silver willow you call to the other side

No limb or vine to hold my feet
the oak and pine swept away
to a green recess of memory,
nothing to pull me back, only
rock and sand, sky and air
bathed in amber light — Peace

I am with you, looking in you, seeing who I am.
Clear stones at the bottom of a lucent pool
I wade in bright shadows and fish swimming
In and out our one and separate selves.

For a Fisherman

It’s not easy talking one man to another, son to father
Men tied by time, not easy to untie a bird’s nest
In a reel of memory, find love
Without our common and particular pain
Blocking the way, a word– a breath between us.

The days rise and go, gravity tugs bone and blood;
Some men are made fools
Thinking they know
Who will to the grave go first…
And not clearing the stone in a word
Letting go the trap of time
Snares some
Crying out while silent they remain–

Why we fail to speak our love is strange
When speaking ends our pain, father
From the darkness of my simple heart

I love you more than trout love the sound of rain
More than lilacs the April scented air
Or the elk its antler– you taught me well:
Not in business or in war is the measure
Of the soul, but in the love we come to know.

 

 

copyrightRayn Roberts 2017