Ghosts of the past summer
Linger into late fall
Then most of them move on
To a timeless sleep that never ends
But there are some really old ghosts
That come back every spring
Just as the snow melts and
Before things get green
To recall the people they once loved
And the places they once knew
Sensed them on my morning walk
Scattered, gray-white clouds
Bygone summer days recall
Drifting north to south
January flash
We hear winter thunder boom
First time in our lives
Just a few minutes ago
John Niederbuhl Dec 2017
Huge, white clouds that drift,
Stately, shifting, rounded shapes
Recall younger days
John Niederbuhl Dec 2017
Soft shapes touch a child's finger,
Memories of their sweetness linger--
Helping grandma roll the dough
In her kitchen long ago.

I like the shape your cookies take
When they spread out as they bake,
Like the changing shapes of crowds,
Melting snow or summer clouds.

Oven-hot and placed on racks,
Lined up , lying on their backs,
Coming from a single batch,
But none of them a perfect match.

Toll house cookies, soft, convex,
Each perfection, like the next:
Chocolate chips their surface grace--
Freckles on a child's face.

Pecan ball aren't perfect spheres,
But they're gentle little dears:
Bottoms flat, sides dented slightly,
With white sugar sprinkled lightly.

Sugar cookies cold days cheer,
Shaped like angles and reindeer
Glazed with frosting sweet and white,
Decked with sprinkles all delight.  

Santa's Whiskers, coconut rolled,
Long fat logs of sugared dough,
Cut in portions smooth and round,
Pecan bits, cherries abound.  

Molasses crinkles' faces lined
Like old men's--the friendly kind--
With lines like back roads on a map,
Dunked in milk before a nap.

Oatmeal cookies, shapes amorphous
Juicy raisins budge enormous,
Semi-blobs, their texture rough,
Sometimes packed with nuts and stuff.

So many cookies through our life,
Since we became husband and wife,
In their sweet aroma and taste
Years rushed by like cars in a race.

Looking at their shapes diverse
Reminds me of our love at first:
We weren't sure just where we'd go
And all we had was cookie dough.
For my wife, who was born this time of year
John Niederbuhl Oct 2017
Nature's own inkblots,
By time and wind shaped
Each with a story to tell,
Fantasy stirring, recollection as well,
Knowing us better than we know ourselves.  
Some have stooping shoulders,
Like old men after a funeral
Talking quietly on the lawn.
Some have boughs that slant down,
Like eyebrows
On teachers that frown--
Worried and skeptical.
Some stand at varied intervals
Along hilltops above a town
Watching like sentinels.
Some have branches that curve up,
Short, like fancy mustaches,
Or long branches, like eager arms outstretched
To greet a loved one.  
Some stand very close, boughs touching,
Like families saying grace;
On some, the branches intertwine,
Like lovers who embrace,
And on some, the lowest limbs
Fly upwards,
Like a skirt raised by the wind.  
Young ones crowd together,
Some taller than the rest,
Trunks thin,
Like kids choosing sides for baseball.
On some, the branches rise like smoke,
Billowing silently, curling,
Drifting to the sky
Like prayers from a little church
Where all the woman wear hats,
And every man wears a tie.  
Like inkblots spreading they capture the eye--
Each with a story to tell.
Silently standing,
By time and wind shaped:
They know us better than we know ourselves.
I grew up among these trees--I know them and they know me
John Niederbuhl Sep 2017
Warm spring rain on a tin roof
When I'm out after dark alone,

Snow-muffled tires of a car passing by
When I'm little and tucked in at home,

A song sparrow's voice in the morning
From somewhere high in the trees,

A brook's hoarse roar when the snow melts
And wind in the evening leaves,

The crackling coals of a campfire
The smack of a ball on a bat,

A chainsaw deep in the forest
As I drift away on my nap:

Sounds that bring life to life,
From childhood 'til I turn gray:

If I weren't here to hear them
Would they still sound the same way ?
So many great things to hear....
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