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Jul 30 · 146
Weltschmerz
Don Bouchard Jul 30
I the lonely meadowlark
Perched upon the thistle
Waiting the sickled mower to pass

I the cracked egg
Fetal heart slowing, slowing
Death before the hatchling birth

I the hare crouchant
Scarce aware the shadow’s dive
Screeching beneath the talons

I the wind-torn tree
Branches scattered, bleeding sap
Beetles explore the shredded bark

I the fawn uncertain
Edging the splattered highway
Mother shattered in the lane
Vicissitudes of life
Jul 6 · 207
Peace! Be still!
Don Bouchard Jul 6
The Master slept; disciples saw the coming storm,
Threw a blanket on their Lord to keep him warm.
Clouds congealed, grays grew dark;
Lightning moved in flashing arcs.

More than a squall, the winds carved trenches
In writhing waters grown black beneath,
Tipped with frothing benches.

Grown weary of the crowds, body spent with care for others,
Still He slept the rest of an exhausted man,
Unaware the growing fear of brothers.

"Wake up! Do you not care if we all drown?"
Was it Peter who shook Him there,
Amazed he slept so sound?

He sat up from sleep, looked at the water,
Felt the wind, turned to the water,
Scolded, "Peace! Be still!"

The winds dropped; so did the waves;
The boat bobbed gently in the calm.
The men, awed, stood on the silent boards,
Marveling at the Lord.

We live upon on a tossing sea,
Torn by hate and fear in a storm of strife,
And no one has an answer we can see.
We're sailors fearing the end of life.
When is the time to turn to God,
Whom we forget still cares,
Waits "sleeping in the boat"
Until we're desperate in our prayers?
Thinking.... Mark 4
Jul 6 · 103
2021 Spring
Don Bouchard Jul 6
Blackbirds have found the feeder;
Lookouts scan from upper branches
While takers pillage cracked corn.

I approach to a flurry of black flight;
Guilt needlessly hangs
With the red feeder.

Meals offered to all comers...
Excepting squirrels
For which a weighted door
Flips down to cover the pans.

Four-footed chatterers declare war,
Express intention to circumvent
Discrimination.
Don Bouchard Apr 28
Women, like the moon, reflect the light/love
Shone upon them, and when the light grows dim,
They take to dark pursuits
Hoping to find happiness and love.
Essential elements missing: love and acceptance.
Consequences: pain and death.

Advice from one husband of forty years to a soon-to-be husband:
Tell your wife on day one how beautiful she is, and
Keep telling her until the day you die.
She needs to know that you find her to be your all in all,
That you will love her beauty now,
When she brings children into the world,
And in the life after children,
When she has made sacrifices that will change her body
In ways that may cause her despair.

Tell her when she's 30 and 40 and 50 and 60 and 70 and 80
That she is beautiful, and something amazing happens.
You will see her with the eyes that saw her on the first day;
Your love, and her love will grow young again,
Even as the two grow old.

"Till death do us part" is a vow of strength,
Of promise, of comfort as years grow on.
The satisfaction and privilege of loving one person all through life
Cannot be compared with any other love or joy humans can know.

Take this advice or leave it.
It cost nothing, though it is worth everything.
I am sure men go through their seasons of torture as well. I am a man, and I know this to be true. In reading this novel, I was forced to consider implications. Love your Wives, Men.
Apr 26 · 224
storm formation
Don Bouchard Apr 26
weather breaking
                                        on the heartland
begins in other places
                                        minute-changing phases
threads and traces
                                       give the air its faces
gestational solitude
                                        hovers and broods
streams of space,
                                       solidifying in pace
before the thunder
                                      before the hail
storms begin as
                               whispers
                                                   breezes
first a zephyr
                            then a wind
                                                        beco­mes a gale
a force of power
                                         from breath to HURRICANE
indiscernible at first -              
                                          at last unstoppable
The meteorologist's great challenge....
Apr 14 · 262
March Wind
Don Bouchard Apr 14
Just done with the calm of ice,
Lake waters, frigid,
Wind-lashed,
Writhe in fury,
White manes frothing.

Crouching on the shoreline,
I catch angled crashes,
Waves smashing rock,
******* shore lines,
Immortalize water's pulling shift
Wood and shells and moss,
Rearing high and slammed
Against the boundaries.

Ageless elements waging war:
Wind, water, and land,
Disrupting, tangling peace,
Superciliously ignoring
My transient observation
Of the winds of spring.
Cold wind this morning on the lake; snow flying sidelong over the waves....
Apr 1 · 62
Sting of Death
Don Bouchard Apr 1
If it
Started with an apple;
Will it
End with a syringe?

Ten thousand years to grapple
Sin-tactics on a binge
Musings
Apr 1 · 499
Be the Willow
Don Bouchard Apr 1
We will be the willows,
Resolving to live,
Bending with the storms,
Not the cottonwoods
Refusing change,
Standing rigid,
Breaking in the gales.
Resilience
Feb 26 · 144
"Just a Machine!"
Don Bouchard Feb 26
My brother is a pilot,
Not just any old pilot...
A tail dragger pilot,
Champions
Cubs,
Super Cubs.

Planes made of spars and fabric,
Held tight
By screws
And dope,
And glue.

Airframes part wood,
Part aluminum,
Part steel.

Fuel tanks sloshing in the wings
Either side above our heads,

Set the mags,
Hand crank the prop,
Turn on the fuel,
Hear her pop
And roar to life.

We strap in
Single file,
Controls fore
And aft.
And rev 'er up
To join the winds.

Once up,
He yells, "She's yours!"
And I am piloting,
Or rather gingerly sliding her
About the blue,
Skidding right or left,
Holding my breath,
Wondering how much I dare
To tip her up there in the air.

"I've got the stick!"
He yells, and I let go.
"Don't be afraid to fly it!"
"It's just a machine!"
"Make it do what you want it to do!"

And we are diving toward the ground,
Then bringing her up and tilting 'round.

"Give her fuel when you tilt to turn!"
He demonstrates, and we are standing
On the wing,
Perpendicular and looking to our left and down.


I know he's right,
That I am timid in my flight,
And he is brave with years of joy,
A pilot fearless since he was a boy.

"You want to land?"
I hear him say.

"No, that's alright!"
"Not today!"

To prove how safe it is to fly,
He touches down,
Then bounces high,
And vaults us back into the sky.

We flit across the fields,
And then,
He flies beneath the power lines,
To show how spray planes catch the ends
Of fields.

He skies the plane at either end,
Then bee lines it to the badlands' edge
Where suddenly we are swooping down
Between the canyon walls, and sinking low,
Then, rising, turning to our right,
He sails us toward sun's dying light.
My only hope is that we will land
Before the night
Erases all our sight.

And sure enough,
The air is calm.
The night is coming on.
Gusting breezes are all gone.

We gently settle once again,
Back at the ranch,
And I help wheel her, then
Into her waiting hangar pen.

Life can be lived all in a panic.
Fear fills us with a lingering dread,
But we should live our lives.

Just like my brother said.
"It's just your life, so make it do
Whatever it is you want it to!
revision
Feb 1 · 94
Letting God
Don Bouchard Feb 1
Letting God
Be God:
Most difficult,
Yet ever wisest.
Jan 29 · 205
Kite Line
Don Bouchard Jan 29
tenuous thin line
connects earth and heaven
kite pulls in the moving air
tugs to run across the sky
fights ignorantly for freedom

one thin line tethers a rebel
to here and now
to past and present
to futures connected

past connects the far reaching kite
unknowing of its need for tension
for the saving pull
grounding
maintaining
the lifting angle
into pulling air

when severed
the kite screams
joyous freedom
until
caught by wind
hurtles
          end       over      end     over      end
tail clotting
only the wind rules
direction sideways down
plummeting to crash
directionless
                                  free
               untethered
broken upon rocks
or strangle-held in trees
The U.S. Constitution is the kite line in question. 2021
Jan 22 · 132
June Berry Picking
Don Bouchard Jan 22
"Blackberry Eating"  (Galway Kinnell)
Took my redneck self to early summer,
Late June, Montana sun, and shimmering humidity
Aboard a tractor droning over fields,
Uprooting green, turning the acres brown
Atop a table rimmed in badlands.

Remembering past Junes'
Berry thickets in cool ravines,
I left the tractor idling
To cross barbed wire,
To descend into cool trees.

June berries everywhere;
Blue-black sweetness weighted branches.
I stained my face and hands with plunder,
Then plundered and filled my upturned cap.

Grazing and grasping,
The copse's edge I turned
To meet a coyote on two legs
Berry browsing.

Who yelped, and who screamed?
At the top of the bank, I turned;
My cap and berries scattered,
The coyote's tail down as he left the scene.
True story as well as I can recall the event....
Jan 22 · 71
This Place
Don Bouchard Jan 22
"As good as any," the weary traveler said,
"For us to set our burdens down, and rest our heads."
Stopped they to ease their feet along the winding road
But just a little then, and picking up their loads
They journeyed onward toward a slowly setting sun
Assuming miles stretched far ahead ere they were done.

"This place," she whispered, as she held his withered hand,
"As good as any," though not the resting they'd planned.
"You wait, while I go on ahead," her whisper sighed,
His resting place so shallow, the winding road beside.
Suns rose and set a little while slowly she trudged on,
The hazy past a trail; eternity beyond.
Dec 2020 · 289
Forgiveness
Don Bouchard Dec 2020
Rests invisible in the hot blood's rise,
Unused before barrage of rage and alibis,
Silently outwaits the soul's angry sighs.

Wisdom, too, holds knowing tongue,
Content to hold forgiveness' hand, while long
The cooling blood is covered with their soothing song.

When right mind o'er-takes the anguished brooding whole
Wisdom and Forgiveness emerge, envelop, and enfold,
Release the hatred, salve the bitter, broken soul.

So find the wounded soul's release;
Wisdom's Forgiveness bringeth Peace
Provides the way to life's new lease.
Meditation on forgiveness
Dec 2020 · 278
Thankful
Don Bouchard Dec 2020
Grief, catlike inward burrows,
Circles in some lonely spot,
Settles drearily to purr,
Content to rest upon my lot.

I shall not live with grief,
Nor grief hold me, for long,
For life is made for living,
And the living must move on.

The quickest route through grieving
I'm thinking I have found:
Accept the gift of thanking
Those who've circled me around.

Friends who share my sorrow
Don't force, "Seek brighter days."
They know perhaps tomorrow,
I'll raise my paean of praise.

For memories of loved ones,
Who showed me how to live,
For work and funds and sustenance,
Abundances for me to give.

For those who live around me
Host sadnesses, I know;
Because I've lived my miseries,
Others won’t suffer theirs alone.

For faith, for hope, for love abide
While this chest holdeth breath
To spark full joyful fire inside
And route the griefs of death.
Meditation upon Grief of the loss of my Mother
Dec 2020 · 101
This Place
Don Bouchard Dec 2020
"As good as any," the weary traveler said,
"For us to set our burdens down, and rest our heads."
Stopped they to ease their feet along a winding road
But just a little, then, and picking up their loads,
They journeyed onward toward a slowly setting sun
Assuming miles stretched far ahead ere they were done.
"This place," she whispered, as she held his withered hand,
"As good as any," though not the resting they had planned.
"You wait, while I go on ahead," her whisper sighed,
His resting place a shallow, the winding road beside.
Suns rose and set a little while while she trudged on,
The hazy past a trail; eternity beyond.
Nov 2020 · 108
Hubris
Don Bouchard Nov 2020
That this walnut skulled
Gray matter audaciously decrees
Mastery of the Universe
While encaged in a home
Perched precariously
Atop a tottering structure
Of flesh and bones
Befuddles the wise.

Shall the ***
Question the potter?

Shall a man
Challenge the Creator?

Hubris bound in cage of bone,
Claims power that is God's alone.

Who is the master of my soul?
Who is the Captain of my fate?

Bow low this mind in fragile bowl
Humbly restrain my foolish soul.
Nov 2020 · 76
Hands and Feet
Don Bouchard Nov 2020
Our Mother's gone;
We are alone.

Her body lies here,
Husk and cob,
Soul's wrapper, shed;

Her hands

Hushed in the presence of death
I see her hands,
hold them one last time.
fingers that cooked
thousands of meals,
mended jeans,
darned socks,
scrubbed floors,
cleaned and cleaned,
and cleaned;
turned Scripture pages,
mended my wounds.


Her feet
Cooling now,
But a little warm,
Remind me:
old canvas work shoes,
shuffling walk
pigeon-toed
(I walk like her)

Her hands and feet remind me:
foot rubs,
back rubs,
often with a song...
While we were growing up;
later on, when she was old
she'd ask me to raise my foot
so she could give me
a "reflexology" treatment.
I never refused.

In the stillness of death,
I grasp her feet,
Give them one last squeeze.

"Mom, I owe you thousands."

But she is gone.
First reflections on the loss of my Mother. Love you, Mom.
Nov 2020 · 72
Truth
Don Bouchard Nov 2020
The current rush
Against external, eternal
Truth

produces a plethora of mini “truths”
clamoring for the power
of mass acceptance.

Results?

Chaos,
confusion,
fear,
manipulation.

Welcome to the funhouse.
Thinking
Nov 2020 · 471
Sorrow
Don Bouchard Nov 2020
Come sit with me
On this stone of sorrow;
Weep, lest I weep alone.
We may have laughing again...
Tomorrow;
But today, I'll rest
On this sorrowing stone,
Together with you
Or alone.
Drove all day to say goodbye to my Mother. She left this life four hours before I arrived. I am glad for her peace, and I am mourning her loss.
Nov 2020 · 276
To Where Shall I Look?
Don Bouchard Nov 2020
I lift my eyes to the hills/ From where comes my help?/ My help comes from the Lord, /The Maker of heaven and earth.
(Psalm 121: 1-2)

Look higher than the government.
Look higher than the mountains.
Look higher than the world.
Look beyond the moon.
Fix your gaze beyond the stars.
Look to the One
Who neither sleeps nor slumbers.

Rest.
Meditation in troubling times....
Oct 2020 · 108
Autumn Notes
Don Bouchard Oct 2020
Geese
Full of impatience and sound,
Glide to the evening pond
Just south my house, or
From waters chill to littered fields,
Strident, jar their morning way
Kernels to find in husk-less harvest leavings
Before the imminence of snow.

Trees
My ash leaves safely bagged,
Lawns clean and waiting, bare,
Neighbor in his annual piety
Apologizes for the late leaves
His maples hold, then drop
On new falling snow...
As if a man can understand
Or know what Nature knows.
Even so, I smile:
His apology always the same,
Minnesota nice,
Affable...and lame.

House
Stands chilling in Autumnal wind;
Furnace finds its pace,
Preserving this small portion
Of the human race.
My wife, layered in fleecy white,
Sips coffee by her window...
Small joys in gray morning light.
I drink the vision of my love,
Watching first flakes drifting slow...
As I reflect how all good things must go.
Precious moments, 2020.... And no mention of C-19!
Oct 2020 · 429
Following Gold
Don Bouchard Oct 2020
Whenever I put the phone down
To go walking,
To work the soil,
To garden,

Or ride some river road
Beneath trees,
Feel the breeze...

I realize with Frost
That nothing gold can stay,
That the witching light of screens
Takes fleeting gold away.
Carpe Deim!
Don Bouchard Oct 2020
“Haunted Houses” (1858)
All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the doorway, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table, than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.

The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapors dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.

Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.

These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star,
An undiscovered planet in our sky.

And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,–

So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.
In honor of this "spooky" season, I bring before you one of Longfellow's excellent poems. I am now thinking of writing my own "ghosts" poem about our family home in Montana. Whenever I go there, I can hear and see my long gone family members. Each place on the old farmstead carries memories. Perhaps you, too, have such recollections that haunt you in sweet or for bitter memory.
Aug 2020 · 749
Realization
Don Bouchard Aug 2020
The stalling plane fell,
A toy, yawing back on its tail,
Tilting left and down
And down.

The boy’s dad at the stick,
Frozen,
Face immobile,
Almost careless as they fell;
He, his mother, and his father,
And a stranger, next to him,
Tumbling above Montana
Prairie hills surging
Nearer
And nearer.

The stranger clenched the boy;
The tail dragger impacted a rising knoll.
The engine clanged and broke,
Dirt enveloped the shattered cabin.

Silence smothered cacophony.

Conscious of being dragged
Through a **** in the fuselage
Out into open air,
The boy saw little,
Couldn't make out the stranger's face.

His mother came through the side of the plane
A Cesarean section, reversed,
The boy's hope reborn
At the emergence of his mother.

She appeared dazed,
He thought, unruffled,
Dusty with a smearing of bright red lipstick
Stretching up from the corner of her mouth
To the edges of her right ear.

The boy knew it must be blood.

His father lay,
Crumpled oddly,
Head twisted between
Stick and dashboard;
Right arm somehow
Lolling through the fuselage.

Blood smeared the arm, the head.
Everything still,
Motion slow...
Echoes.

The stranger moved on hands and knees,
Inspected the boy
His mother,
Pulled them away
From wreckage,
Surveyed the scene.

Turning then to the man
Twisted and still,
Grotesque within the shell,
The stranger gazed.

Gasping,  the boy jolted.
Saw,
Thought he saw,
His father’s hand ****,
Move up and backward to his face.

The boy heard,
Thought he heard,
His father sigh.

Fear surging
The son,
Caught in a wave,
Realized his first response,
Horror,
A sense of ******* returning,
Having glimpsed,
If only for a few seconds,
Freedom.
3:00 AM dream I had to write. Sigmund, where are you?
Don Bouchard Aug 2020
I sit eyes closed at the top of the wood
Desiring action, but in a dream,
Hooked head and feet immobile:
Near sleep of age, incapable to eat.

Necessity finds the highest trees....
Branches shake in sun-beaten ire;
No advantage find I in the moving air
While earth's face beckons me to fall.

Clenching now, claws deep in bark,
Creation's masterpieces find decay
Of foot and feather, come from dust,
This Creature must return to clay.

Vision strong still seeks resolve
As Earth below me still revolves,
Inward focus, resolute, admits
Tearing heads is now a chore.

Death's wind, inevitable, a chilling fact:
Who kills to live through victims' lives,
Though early arguments remain intact,
At twilight's call, they still must die.

From the West the same Sun sees me;
Only I have changed, and have grown thin,
And though my heart's set upon its path,
I've lost the strength to fly again.
https://allpoetry.com/Hawk-Roosting
Jul 2020 · 84
Will be the poet, I
Don Bouchard Jul 2020
of the grandfathers (sigh)
sitting on benches (nigh),
at rest in a world on the fly
watching people going by,

remembering the scurrying
headlong youthful hurrying;
the doglike head-aching worrying.

content with wistful contrition,
reminded that waiting is a position
all who live must see in fruition.

Will be the poet, I,
unafraid to laugh,
unafraid to cry,
unafraid to live,
unafraid to die.

Will be the poet, I.
meditations
Jul 2020 · 532
AT 92 in COVID Homes
Don Bouchard Jul 2020
The questions exist:
Whether lock down in this space
Preserves the life or just saves face?;
Why quarantine locks healthy up
While hellions riot and disrupt?

She's 92 and all alone
Stuck inside a nursing home
"No visitors," the Guvner said,
And fear became the COVID dread.

"Bring out your bodies!"
"Bring out the dead!"

She walks a bit from bed to door,
Must wear a mask, if nothing more.

Alone, she rests, though it's a chore
To see faceless helpers on her floor.
Her handlers? Gowned, masked, and visored
As if she's the one who's virus scoured.

"How will I speak my 3000 words a day?"
My mother asked on the phone today.
"Speak now to me," I edged words in,
And listened to my Mom, cooped in.

If COVID doesn't **** her, empty hallways might;
She tries to speak to anyone who passes nigh,
But they are in a hurry to cancel someone's light,
And so the nights and days go crawling by.

"Bring out your bodies!"
"Bring out the dead!"
Trying times. I am 1000 miles away from my mother who is experiencing COVID quarantine, though she is healthy. We couldn't visit her if we were there, and we try to speak with her every day. She is one of the rare ones who has a Chromebook and who writes every day, so she has it better than others who are isolated and suffering. God help us all.
Jul 2020 · 200
Hair
Don Bouchard Jul 2020
HI

JUST
came from hair shop.
Toe man is to come tomorrow.
Diane has an appt  for 1:30 tomorrow
so hopefully we can meet outside.
Happy Birthday Sue and Anniversary , etc,
Your card will be late.

Beautiful day today after the rain,  
Did you get enough rain?

Lunch  is here,
Hope you are all well.

McGee is on.

love Mom
Found Poetry
Email from my 92 year old mother
Jun 2020 · 115
Angst
Don Bouchard Jun 2020
Four months
Memory of unfettered times slipping

COVID-19
Plot or wet market accident, world plague

George Floyd
The fuse that lit the yearnings... and burnings

Protests
The righteous and unrighteous, weeping and burning

Rioting
Usurpation of the call to justice for terrorists

ANTIFA
The irony of the name is not misunderstood

Masks
Those damnable masks....

FaceBook
Blue Book for civil incivility

Statuary
Easy targets for cowardly mobs

News Media
Pick your poison; take your sides; everybody lies

Citizens
To fly the flag or to burn it?

Police
To protect and to serve; to spit upon and to abuse

Politicians
Demagogues gone wild

Jesus
"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33, NIV)
When I take my eyes from looking down, I gain perspective and lose my frown.
May 2020 · 260
First Poems
Don Bouchard May 2020
"Write two poems," I said.

My students left the room.

Some frittered the week away,
No idea how to start,
What to say....

Others found a way to play,
Rolling phrases
Making hay,
Coding words in lines
Testing assonance,
Alliteration,
Anthropomorphization:
A door, a pen, and clouds...
Always clouds.

"Write one that rhymes," I'd said,
And so the rhymers vied,
Stretched morphemes until dead,
Finding words I thought had died,
Bruised themselves with rhythm,
Metered anapests and dactyls,
Resorted to trochees and iambs
And smiled as if inventing fractals,
My little lambs.

"Write free verse; break all rules!" I said,
And though they tried,
No ee cummings Jesus resurrected,
No William Carlos Williams rose
To eat plums beside white chickens,
And no apologies.

Still, when all was finished,
Notes came in,
A treasured, precious few
Wrote to say they'd found
Appreciation for words
Arranged intentionally,
For power of images,
For realization of the value
Found in working words.
Concluding 16 years' teaching Writing & Literature & College Composition. Finals, last papers, and student comments....
May 2020 · 777
Roundabout Roustabout
Don Bouchard May 2020
Who is he,
The man in the sweaty tee-shirt,
Standing in the center
While cars **** round
The roundabout?

He holds a digging tool,
Remains of weeds clinging.
He waves at a city parks truck
Rounding on its way
To the main building.

I know him.
We taught together once.
His doctorate in ministry:
Servant lives and how to lead them;
Mine in words and letters,
And how to read them.

I wonder as I drive away:
The tenuous lives we lead;
No predicting whether next year
I'll be learning with students
Or pulling weeds on a highway.

Vicissitudes of Life...
May 2020 · 169
Gloves and Socks
Don Bouchard May 2020
A week or so
After the funeral,
The interment of ashes,
The settling of accounts,
The realization of continuing sighs,
We helped Mom empty
Things you left behind.

Shirts and pants,
Jackets, shoes,
The quiet, worn things
Left by a man who
Said little,
Worked hard,
Saved earnings,
Lived generously.

At the bottom of your dresser drawer,
Lay wool socks, leather gloves
We kids had given you
Father's days, Christmases,
(Never birthdays),
You'd put away for some other day....

I remember your telling me,
"I don't need anything!"
And maybe you didn't....
But we did.
You gave us everything,
Including your life
In the end.

Our feeble gifts
Lie waiting
For feet and hands
That that have gone away.
Thoughts about my Dad, now eight years gone....
May 2020 · 223
North Woods Outhouse
Don Bouchard May 2020
First hunting trip in years
Wondering if I have the stamina,
The fortitude to stay in a cabin,
To hunt in the cold,
To find my way in unknown woods...
To use an outhouse.

I have grown accustomed to amenities:
A steady furnace, heated water,
Television, books, phone,
Internet, WiFi, Cable,
A garage,
You.

For a weekend
I decided to try myself,
To test resolve,
To see if there might still remain
A little hardiness.

The long drive took us out of range
Of television,
Most radio,
Cell coverage,
Running tap water,
Toilets with flush handles,
My bidet.

Gas light, wood fire
Illuminated and warmed
Dimly, slowly.
My bed frosted until midnight.

At 1:00 my bladder sent the signal;
I arose, donned boots and coat,
Forayed to the shack outback.

Wind rushing in the tall trees,
Snow crunching beneath me,
Ice on the door,
Dark of night,
Dread without,
Within.

In minutes, business done.
Outside, breeze soughing,
Sighing in tree tops.

Singing ice stopped me
Beneath the stars:
Siren song of resonating ice,
Ice-glazed lake's expansive song
Filling me with wonder.

Cold, I could not linger,
Walked back
To hunker in blankets,
Old and wool,
As the ice-song lingered.
singing ice, cold, survival, beauty, nature, north woods
Don Bouchard Apr 2020
Some would burn the home
To end the vipers lurking in the walls;
Take no care for ruining their shelter,
Panicking and distraught, destroying helter-skelter.

Some would attempt to live in peace
While the lurker steals their sleep.
Thinking vipers are just natural things,
Allowing them to rule their lives like kings.

Some would study the serpents to know
Where they hide; where they go...
Then **** them when they leave their lair,
And plug the villains' holes.
Trouble shooting a little today. How to rid ourselves of COVID-19?
Apr 2020 · 91
Trying Times
Don Bouchard Apr 2020
These are the days that try our souls.
There have been others similar,
Time out of minds ago.

Take heart.
Lift up your heads.
The One who saved the multitudes is there
To take our dread.

Take courage.
Lift up your arms.
The One is with us through all harm.

Take peace.
Rest in the thought that life
Or death in Him will please.

Take comfort now, for later.
In life, in death,
He is our Savior.
Yea, though I walk through the shadow of death.... Psalm 23
Apr 2020 · 294
Esther
Don Bouchard Apr 2020
David felt the emptiness
Of his bowl,
The House,
His kitchen sink,
Felt the weary settling in.

On the table
After the dish and fork,
His Bible, worn,
Lay open:
"I will never leave you,
Nor forsake you."
The pages, marked and stained,
Seemed dry
In the after-dinner hour.

Echoes in the house tonight:
His bare feet skiffering the floor,
The water running in the sink,
The creaking bed and rustling sheets,
The refrigerator sighing below,
Echoing into the bedroom
Through the empty hall.

Her side,
His side,
The old rules of halves:
Yours/Mine...
Empty now
Either side his.
Yet shuffling to the far side
By the window,
He let himself in,
Slid his tired weight
Between sheets.

Once in,
Let his leg,
His foot reach over
to the emptiness
Of cold sheets
And a flatness
Lonely for her indentation.

Arising sleepless
He wandered out,
First to the toilet and sink,
Then to the kitchen for a drink,
Then to the window,
Then the door,
And out into the yard.

The lowland bog alive:
Spring peepers chorusing,
A nighthawk veering air,
Crickets cheering to stay warm,
Beside, before, and all around,
The night was filled with sound.

"Where have you taken her?"
His eyes searched the stars,
Silent in their astral lofts.
"Where have you gone?"

Chill of night - Mid-eastern spring,
Night air pungent - earth and rain
His woman gone - this lonely man
Hopes for rest - perhaps a dream:
Of them together - balmy weather.
Thinking of long-time family friends, David and Esther Scoville. This is his third night alone. Woke at 2:30 AM thinking about those first nights alone, after the going, before the funeral, and the journey onward....
Apr 2020 · 96
Five Rivers
Don Bouchard Apr 2020
Five rivers, horror-full
Through Hades flow:
Acheron, full of sorrow, endless woe,
Cocytus, howls as lamentation and regret,
Phlegethon - smoke and molten fire, ever hot,
Lethe - black waters of oblivion,
Styx - bitterest of all, flows full of hate.

The boatman Kharon,
Psychopomp, deliverer of souls,
Navigates Acheron and Styx,
Plucking his coins
From passengers' eyes
(No one is alive),
Then lets them find
Their appointed ways
To bliss or dread.

Odysseus alone
Braved Phlegethon
To speak with wise Tiresius;
Tossed his sacrificial goat
Into the flowing fire,
Heard the Ancient's voice,
Then fled in terror.
Greek mythologies still fascinate me.
Apr 2020 · 76
The River Lethe
Don Bouchard Apr 2020
Old men stumbling,
Old women wading,
Descending into waters black.

River's force draws
Once steady Time
Into Lethe's murky flow.

Cares fall away,
Worry holds no more...
All swept from sensate shore.

Ever pulling,
Relentless River Lethe
Drowns even sweet relief.
One river in Hades
Apr 2020 · 293
My Granddaughter's Poem 1
Don Bouchard Apr 2020
Nana tells stories;
Papa reads books;
Mommy cooks me dinner;
Daddy makes me toast,
And we all joy together!

4-22-2020
She made this up while swinging at the park, which is finally open again in our little town.
Apr 2020 · 207
And then
Don Bouchard Apr 2020
We become old men
And old women, and

We look back wistfully, and
We look forward hopefully, and

We wonder....
Thinking
Apr 2020 · 190
External Standard
Don Bouchard Apr 2020
The station master arrived a little after five,
Set about his morning schedule,
Turned on the lights,
Put the coffee on,
Checked the restrooms,
Picked up the paper at the curb,
Waited for the old town clock
To chime six bells
From the tower carillon.
He set his pocket watch with care,
Then stepped outside to check the station clock
Standing on the red brick apron of the station.

The 6:10 arrived a little early,
Offloaded mail and Billy Johnson,
Home from college and heading to the farm.
He looked tired from two days' travel
Coming on the rails.

At 6:14, the train pulled out,
On the station master's wave.

A few seconds early,
But not so much
As to bring concern
Until a man rode up to ask
Where was the train?

"It's come and gone at 6:14,"
The station master said,
"You've arrived too late."

"That cannot be," the stranger said,
"My time piece says it's only 6:11."

The station master scratched his head,
"I set my clock according to the bell
That rings at 6:00 each morning in the town.
It's accuracy is beyond compare."

The traveler's face began to crack
Into a crooked smile.
"I think I have an inkling
Of the problem here," he said.

"My uncle's the town mayor.
Just yesterday he said
He sets the bells by the station's clock.
I set my pocket watch three days ago
Back in the city where I live,
And it's three minutes slow
Compared to yours."

'Tis time for contemplation;
Painful humor in the situation,
The 6:14 in early locomotion,
Three minutes bought for meditation
On the need for calibration.
We need external standards. Our own ideas of right and wrong become localized and erratic. Thinking....
Apr 2020 · 288
Haying Done
Don Bouchard Apr 2020
Have you ever done enjoyable work,
But toward supper time,  
After a long, long day,
A satisfaction sets in,
Almost a fullness,
A readiness to stop for the day...

I know this feeling.
I understand Robert Frost's poem,
"After Apple Picking."

I loved haying on the ranch,
But after 14 hours' roaring up and down
Long alfalfa fields,
I was content,
Ready to shut down for the day,
Ready to climb down from the old John Deere,
Ready to walk, dusty, to the old truck
Waiting in growing darkness.

I recall listening for sounds of night coming on:
Crickets rasping against the cooling day,
Nighthawks' screeching, veering for insects,
Soul-mourning cries of coyotes,
All teamed against the ghosts of day:
Tractor's roaring echo in my ears,
Thumping memory of lurching over clods,
Dust clogging my itching eyes and throat....

The old tractor, too, was content
Sitting silently,
Cooling in the twilight.
Contentment, Cooling, Farming
Don Bouchard Mar 2020
Out of paper? Need a trowel?
Use a bidet and dry with a towel.

No way to clean? No toilet paper?
Bidet your stuff into a vapor.

When TP hoarders make you pray,
Answer those prayers with a cool bidet.

My new bidet is a real treat;
I spray the mess right off my seat.

My bidet arrived at the very last hour;
The TP’s gone, but my **** loves to shower.

While friends miss paper and complain,
My bidet cleans me like the rain.

When paper’s gone and you’re a mess,
Think “bidet” for cleanliness.
When water cleans you, life is fine,
So join me on the bidet line.
Thoughts on the recent toilet paper shortage phenomenon....
(In vino, poeticus)

My grandson’s thrilled not to climb a mountain;
He’s drinking now from bidet fountain.
Mar 2020 · 112
This is the way
Don Bouchard Mar 2020
of temptation.
We are enticed,
Seduced, and
Trapped.

The Going In
Is easy,
While Going Out
Is difficult.

The farther  
We slide,
Less likely
Our retreat.
Thoughts on "Where Are You Going; Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates.... Arnold Friend is An Old Fiend.
Feb 2020 · 305
Good to Remember
Don Bouchard Feb 2020
When a thing
Is "Free,"
The product
Is "Thee."
no such thing as a free lunch....
Feb 2020 · 843
Why I write...
Don Bouchard Feb 2020
I
Write
To Remember...
Or
To Forget...
Or
Both.
Feb 2020 · 211
Deaf Benefits
Don Bouchard Feb 2020
"You can't hear me!" she whispered,
And I just turned my head.
Sometimes it's better not to hear....
Depends on what's been said.

I know I irritate her;
(I irritate myself).
Hearing aids are waiting
On some hearing doctor's shelf.

While we go on debating,
Because I'm in no hurry,
I sit here contemplating....
Sometimes it's better not to worry.

At the things I heard that peeved me,
Before I tune the wide world out;
Honey, if you really want to catch me,
You're gonna have to shout.
Aging has its issues. Hearing loss seems to be one of mine.
Feb 2020 · 253
Two Avenues
Don Bouchard Feb 2020
To Death:
Drought
or
Floods.
Feb 2020 · 278
Frost and 3 Below
Don Bouchard Feb 2020
Left the house this morning before six;
Stopped to photograph the hoarfrost
Beneath the street lights glowing thick...
White, silver, black before it all was lost.

The headlights caught a snow-like fall,
Frost slanting north before a southern breeze,
And I was all alone in wonderland to see it all;
I turned inside a splendor-dome of trees.

The camera tried to focus, battling light and dark;
No sun to give some depth against the night.
I felt my fingers growing numb and left the park,
Hoping at least one snapshot would look right.

The morning breeze then stirred, "Enough!"
Revealing golden warmth, arrived the sun;
Shivering trees their silver jackets sloughed,
And I, to work because the day'd begun.
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