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Oct 2018 · 477
It's All About Me
John Niederbuhl Oct 2018
A gentle breeze
Blew a big leaf towards me
Along the sidewalk

At first
I thought it was a turtle
Then, I realized it was just a leaf
And moved on
Self-centered poetry
Oct 2018 · 205
Dream Girl
John Niederbuhl Oct 2018
It was fall when I fell for you,
Gazing at hillsides of varied hue--
Red-headed girls in saffron dresses
Coming to give me hugs and kisses,
Moving in droves from outcrops and ridges
Crossing the valleys and brooks without bridges.

You, of all, were most fair,
Your hair,
Piled like clouds at sunrise,
Passion and excitement fierce
Burning in gray-blue eyes,
Particles of light aglow
Surrounding you in mist
That totally envelops me
Every time we kiss.

Now, you tease me like a breeze
And hear what I don't say--
I throw my troubles in your fire
They're gone,
And joy remains.
I love the fall colors
Jun 2018 · 224
Our Romance
John Niederbuhl Jun 2018
we'd float like two clouds
through the sky all day
from the rising sun
'til its setting ray

the hours would pass
like minutes at play
and all things but us
would just fade away
Apr 2018 · 155
Life on Venus?
John Niederbuhl Apr 2018
A billion years is
Time, long or short, depending
On your perspective
A lot can happen in billions of years
Apr 2018 · 130
Still Alive
John Niederbuhl Apr 2018
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
Mar 2018 · 177
Memories of Summer
John Niederbuhl Mar 2018
Scattered, gray-white clouds
Bygone summer days recall
Drifting north to south
Jan 2018 · 201
John Niederbuhl Jan 2018
January flash
We hear winter thunder boom
First time in our lives
Just a few minutes ago
Dec 2017 · 123
John Niederbuhl Dec 2017
Huge, white clouds that drift,
Stately, shifting, rounded shapes
Recall younger days
Dec 2017 · 225
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
Oct 2017 · 955
Great White Pines
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
Knowing us better than we know ourselves.
I grew up among these trees--I know them and they know me
Sep 2017 · 180
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....
Sep 2017 · 205
Its Over
John Niederbuhl Sep 2017
Once the lightest snowfall comes
That clings to roofs and lawns
Like the silk slip clung to your hips,
The summer is over, completely gone.
We remember what never happened,
And because the years go in a circle,
We think our lives do,
When what they really do is unwind
Like a twisted thread,
Frequently changing direction.
Thought we yearn for it all winter,
It is a new summer that comes--
Not the old one.
We think when the summer returns
Things will be what they were,
But once its gone, its gone forever.
Sep 2017 · 344
Facing the Winter
John Niederbuhl Sep 2017
The leaves had fallen in the grove,
Red, pale yellow, copper and mauve;
I raked them up in a heaping pile,
Then leaned upon the rake a while
To contemplate my work--
Joy and sorrow, pleasure and strife--
A pile of leaves, the days of my life.

I thought I might not last 'til spring:
If only I could sleep the season
Curled up like a leaf;
When the snow had melted down
I'd come back like a flower,
Bright and joyous, ready to live,
Fresh and new again.  

But now was the time to face the months
That buried things under the snow.
In February just a little ****
Was all you'd see on the floor of the grove:
The leaves would be resting there
While I struggled in the biting air
And snowflakes stung the skin left bare.

But the winter I survived
To find the wild flowers that bloom
Under hardwoods not yet green.
I've had  another spring to roam,
Watched the leaves turn green again
And written down this poem.
That time of year
Sep 2017 · 398
To a Garden Hose
John Niederbuhl Sep 2017
On our summer lawn you lie curved,
Like a snake warming in the sun;
When I turn on the spigot at mid-day
How hot thy water doth run!

Sometimes you're hooked to a sprinkler,
Where the kids ran when they were small;
We wonder: where did the time go?
And just can't remember at all.

To our home by the river you came
And reached where the vegetables grew;
You watered them gently all season,
Out back, where the blue heron flew.

Gashed by the mower's cruel blade
You leaked: we thought you were gone:
But I got the parts to save you--
Thank heaven for Aubuchon.

Shorter, old friend, always there,
We still bring you in from the cold
To your special place under the work bench,
To store you in neat coils rolled.

Stretched out full length on the blacktop,
I raise one end towards the sky
And drain the last water inside you
To put you away, safe and dry.

I pray as I wind you in autumn
The dark winter we will survive;
My heart is already yearning
For springtime to come back alive.  

To water our plants on the north side,
To feed the cedar hedge row,
To wash winter sand from the driveway,
Left by the last melting snow.  

So sleep well, companion of years
In your circle there on the floor;
My the freezing days pass us by quickly,
May we join you for one season more.
Already getting ready for winter.  Don't' go reading too much into this--sometimes a hose is just a hose...
Sep 2017 · 222
Dream Girl
John Niederbuhl Sep 2017
It was fall when I fell for you
Gazing at hillsides of varied hue,
Red-headed girls in saffron dresses
Coming to give me hugs and kisses,
Moving in droves from outcrops and ridges
Crossing the valleys and brooks without bridges.

You of all were most fair,
Your hair
Piled like clouds at sunrise,
Passion and excitement fierce
Burnt in your gray-blue eyes,
Particles of light aglow
Surrounded you in a mist
That totally enveloped me
Every time we kissed.

Now, you tease me like a breeze
And hear what I don't say
I throw my troubles in your fire:
They're gone
And joy remains.
Fall is the most beautiful season of the year.
Sep 2017 · 203
John Niederbuhl Sep 2017
Don't use their wings
When waves roll in on the strand:
They beat their retreat
On quick, little feet
Back across the
We're at the shore
Aug 2017 · 2.3k
August Up North
John Niederbuhl Aug 2017
Crickets that chirp all day and all night
Looking for love in their season
Overgrown fields rife with golden rod
The same as they are every year
Earlier sunsets we notice at mid-month
(Wonder where the summer went)
Cool mornings with fog
Still air with familiar scents
Bats from behind shutters
Pursue their flights at dusk
(If only we could fly with them)
Apples fall from trees, soft, little thuds,
Remind us of other late summers, and of gravity
Migrating birds eat honeysuckle berries
While a monarch spreads her wings
On white phlox
Aug 2017 · 193
Portrait of a Diner Chef
John Niederbuhl Aug 2017
She comes from the grill
Wearing her blue, happy chef, skull cap
Raising, on palms outstretched,
Two plates stacked with pancakes
Steaming, round and golden,
To set them, dramatically, on "the line"
For one of the wait staff to pick up.
After that, she looks out at the people
And smiles for no obvious reason
With a smile that lights up the whole restaurant.
Then she goes back to the grill, grabs her spatula,
And pushes the home fires around...
A happy chef whose happiness is contagious
Aug 2017 · 174
Rhyming a Name
John Niederbuhl Aug 2017
Every Stan's a "Stan the man",
And every Eddie's a "Steady Eddie",
Every Hanna's a "Hanna banana",
And every Tammy's a "Tammy whammy".

I'm not sure where these names come from
Or why some people make rhymes with them--
It seems to be quite widely done,
Maybe that's because rhyming's fun.
Aug 2017 · 187
He is Gone
John Niederbuhl Aug 2017
He died on Friday
The cars keep rushing on by
Rest in peace my friend
He is sleeping
Aug 2017 · 402
picking blueberries
John Niederbuhl Aug 2017
in cool piney shade
on squat bushes spread
wild blueberries grow
on soft, mossy bed

or under the ferns
among meadowsweet
on berms in the sun
but sheltered from heat

or on a bush rising
almost to my waist
so loaded with berries
it bends down and sways

I'm picking them
plump and cool with the dew
in dappled sun under the pines
morning turns into afternoon
I'm losing all sense of time

cicadas' shrillness,
a chorus of crickets,
the red squirrel's noisy chatter,
a crow's voice somehow reminds me of spring,
but time just doesn't matter...
I pick a lot of them
Aug 2017 · 214
John Niederbuhl Aug 2017
The morning is pushing in
Through a spot where the drapes are parted,
And I'm still lying in bed
With no urge at all to get started.

Meanwhile a spider spins her web
Then steals on silent spider feet
Back to her spot under the eaves
Where she waits for something to eat.

A robin finds a juicy worm
Then flies with it back to her nest
She takes a bite or two for herself
And gives her children the rest.  

A bee is buzzing busily
Gathering nectar for the queen
Back at the hive, he does a dance
Telling the drones where he has been.

Each one acts as nature designed
And that is what shall ensue:
I'll lie here until the dew dries
And think up a poem or two.
Doing what comes naturally
Aug 2017 · 156
John Niederbuhl Aug 2017
I pass the graveyard,
So many souls resting there,
Death I do not fear.
Jul 2017 · 234
Summer Sound
John Niederbuhl Jul 2017
I thought I heard rain,
But it was wind in the trees,
Just the wind...Listen...
Jul 2017 · 237
Reflections on a Dead Mouse
John Niederbuhl Jul 2017
I sat on the porch
In front of the house
Watching the flies buzz
Around a dead mouse.
He lay on his side
With tongue sticking out;
They walked on his ribs
And lit on his snout.
His four little legs
Stretched sadly in vain,
Never to run
Through the meadows again.  

How did he feel
When he first met the cat?
I wondered...he lay there,
So stiff on the mat.
Was his reaction a
Squeak of surprise?
Did he see his life flash
In the cat's eyes?
When sharp claws and teeth
Held him like a tomb,
Did he think, maybe somehow,
He'd make it back home?  

I was approached by a fly
That flew in my face
And lit near my eye.
He seemed self-assured,
Hungry and bold,
Acting like flies have
Since ice has been cold.
I tossed my head back
And shooed him away:
"Little fly", I said,
"Today's not the day.".
Jul 2017 · 314
A Pine by the Courthouse
John Niederbuhl Jul 2017
Fluffy, white clouds swim overhead,
Dark towards the center, bright at the edge;
Below, a great pine, branches outspread,
Catches the Autumn sun.

"Speak great, billowing pine", I cry,
"And tell us of years gone by!
Standing beside the courthouse,
What have you seen of crime?"

"I've seen the innocent condemned;
I've seen the guilty walking free,
But there's no revelation in that
Why are you questioning me?"

"Wisdom comes with age", I said,
"You've stood in this place so long,
You must know all that we know
And much, much more beyond."

"Law and justice are different species",
The old tree said with a frown,
"But if I tell you how I now that,
Tomorrow they'll cut me down."
Maybe some trees can talk
Jul 2017 · 1.3k
Just Once
John Niederbuhl Jul 2017
Have you ever wanted to do something just once,
Only once and never again, and then have it be as if
You'd never done it at all?

It was summer, like now:
Hot, hazy, sweaty--even in the evening.
The brook ran low, between banks covered with alders,
Overhanging, tall, immense;
The mountains were purple, indefinite through the mist;
The pines looked almost black.
You could smell the summer--scents from the marsh--
Things in their prime--you could hear them,
Tweeting and chirping and buzzing and peeping and croaking,
And barking and hooting:
Dead mid-summer--hot, sticky, buggy.

After the sun set, but before it was dark,
When you can still see, but everything's a different color,
I stood on the old bridge
Where the brook runs under the back road
On its way from the marsh, down through the village,
To the big river and the lake beyond.

I was looking up towards the plateau, trying to lose myself,
When around the bend, banking against the alders,
In formation, like separate missiles shot from different cannons
At the same moment, at the same velocity,
In the same direction
With systems to navigate and turn, elevate and descend, dart,
Follow the stream bed,
And stay exactly the same distance from each other,
Like an entity with an awareness
The no one part could experience,
Came a flight of bats, moving too quickly to count.

They rocketed under the bridge,
Appeared on the other side, raced
Down a straight stretch, veered right
And disappeared with the brook into the meadows
Headed for the dark pines, the rapids and beyond.
You could hear the swish of their wings as they passed
And their high-pitched pings, like the highest notes on a harp.
In a blink they were gone, in their ecstasy flying on,
And I wanted to be them, all of them at once--
Just once.
I think there is a consciousness in a well-coordinated group that no one
member can experience--that's why I wanted to be all of them.
Jul 2017 · 219
Love Clouds
John Niederbuhl Jul 2017
We walked beneath
Mountains of moving clouds
In fields of flowers new
Horizon to horizon
With sunshine breaking through.

When summer came,
The clouds spoke, saying
"Your love will last forever",
Then they drenched us with rain
And laughed as we ran for cover.  

Autumn rode in
On the evening clouds--
It got chilly all of a sudden;
We could see the silver moon
And the red sun setting.

On the day she left
I watched the clouds drift
Through a sad and lonely sky.
I don't know why they didn't cry,
'Cause I was sad as I could be
From the top of my head
To the soles of my feet.
Jul 2017 · 194
A Billion Light Years
John Niederbuhl Jul 2017
The big telescope
That orbits the earth
Above the smoke and dust
Saw in space
A galaxy cluster
One billion light years across...

Light goes five point eight
Trillion miles in a year;
A billion times more
Adds nine zeros to that--
A really, really long way,
Do the math.  

Its the largest object ever seen, they said,
And it looked about as big
As a bright bobby pin
On a pretty girl's head--
But its a billion light years across...
What does that say about
Little old us?

In the scheme of it all
We're smaller than small,
But our race we've reason to flatter:
We're intelligent life in a universe
Where size just doesn't matter.
One perspective
Jul 2017 · 262
John Niederbuhl Jul 2017
Her ponytail comes arcing out
Like water spurting from a spout.
When her head turns to the left,
On her shoulder right it rests;
When she turns back to mid-line,
It gently touches on her spine.
She walks away, her footstep fades,
It swishes twixt her shoulder blades.
Narrow focus
Jun 2017 · 185
John Niederbuhl Jun 2017
Orange poppies' faces
Now lie sadly on the ground
Time to deadhead them
The poppies are so beautiful in their season, but so short lived--sad to see them go
Jun 2017 · 185
Like a Rock
John Niederbuhl Jun 2017
I slept like a rock on
The floor of the ocean,
Drowned in darkness--
Not needing to breathe,
Not needing to see,
Or hear, or smell or taste
Or feel anything.

I slept lie a rock on the
Floor of the ocean,
No flavor of mint,
No arms around me,
No sight of mountains,
No sound of bird songs,
No aroma of freshly baked bread--
It felt like being dead.
Jun 2017 · 186
Sans Coffee Blahs
John Niederbuhl Jun 2017
Well lock me in a closet and call me "Captain Jack",
I won't be myself until I get my coffee back

They say it riles up the nerves and makes a person tense
Feeling like you're being pressed while balanced on the fence

But without it life seems dull, everything moves slow,
Things I used to strive for, they interest me no more

I'm mired in inertia, lacking impetus,
Reaching out for nothing, I'm settled like the dust

I'd better brew me up a *** and make it nice and strong
I really need a cuppa joe to help me get along

To send those blahs a-packing and get back once again
To that busy, bustling world, where coffee is my friend...
I tried to give up coffee once
Jun 2017 · 294
The Ancient One
John Niederbuhl Jun 2017
The ancient one stood on a bank remote
Overlooking a stream,
Where dark at noon the water flowed
In the shade at his feet.
In springtime, when the mayflies rose
To dance their hour of love,
He basked in the joy of new growth
And held the spring in his arms.

When thousands fell at Gettysburg dead
And Custer the hatchet felt on his head,
He felt the sun of summer days
And dreamed of his heaven
In the long, warm evening haze.
His needles were brown
When Kennedy went down;
His boughs bent with snow
Through the winter sleeping
When Russia saw Napoleon retreating,
Men starving, freezing,
Their horses eating.    

In time,
His branches lower swung,
His face bowed to his own reflection,
Unseen, unsung.
One night in winter,
Boughs loaded with snow,
He toppled silently, slow,
Roots tearing frozen soil,
Long branches crushing ice,
Penetrating the stream's muddy bed--
Sprawled, face flattened,
Feeling freezing water,
Finding his end.

Spring's flood rocks the carcass,
Lifts, tugs at limbs submerged,
Sways his trunk so it groans;
Moving water, irresistible force,
Rotates the corpse into a bend,
Shoves it against the bank;
Some limbs splinter, some extend.

In summer he rests on wet sand exposed;
On the bank above, tall marsh grass grows
As one day comes and another one goes.  
Needles fall;
Over years bugs crawl,
Bark disappears, decay advances
Until curved, white branches
Rise like dinosaur bones,
From black water that flows slow,
While mayflies dance their dances,
Silently like snow.
An enormous, very old white pine I remember
Jun 2017 · 253
My Hoodie
John Niederbuhl Jun 2017
My hoodie is red
I pull it over my head
When I'm cold in bed
Jun 2017 · 478
A Gentle Spirit
John Niederbuhl Jun 2017
My mind is empty
Like an abandoned barn.
I go from room to room
In silence, like a ghost,
Lighter than cobwebs and dust,
Afloat like a small cloud
In the summer sky,
Just drifting, like autumn leaves
On a still pond
Or like a dandelion seed
On almost still air.
My feelings have left me
Like people leaving church,
My memories have faded away,
And no thoughts intrude.
There is nothing but silence.
I am alone with myself,
Like an empty bottle
Or a picture covered with dust.
I am not sure if I heard
That this house was haunted,
I'm not sure if I ever heard that,
But maybe it is.
Jun 2017 · 200
A Moment Remembered
John Niederbuhl Jun 2017
On the first day of summer
I am a boy on a bicycle
At the top of a long, gradual hill
Looking down the road into the valley,
At the bridge over the creek
And at the gradual hill
Rising up from there.
I wish that the summer
Would last for ever,
And I think that
Maybe it will.
Then, I push off on my bicycle
And begin coasting down the hill,
As happy as I have ever been.
A pleasant memory
Jun 2017 · 320
Good Waitress
John Niederbuhl Jun 2017
Horizontal ellipses gold
Descend in increasing dimension
Bright red dress
Wide belt of black
Commanding visual attention
Blondness natural
Held in a clip
Bundled at the crown
Of her head
Others drift somewhere
Around the room,
But I focus on her

She brings a certain
A side of elegance
That changes everything
To gold,
And creates an ambiance
That makes me want to
Jump and dance
But I stay calmly in my seat
To order coffee and pancakes,
A steamy stack
Of three
Jun 2017 · 453
Changing Perspectives
John Niederbuhl Jun 2017
A very, very long time ago
(But not that long by some lights)
Earth was the center of the universe,
The sky was an inverted bowl
And the stars were little gaps
Where the light from heaven shined through.
If you took the world's strongest bow
And shot an arrow up as high as it would go
You might almost reach the heaven
That started just beyond the bowl.
But things are different today
(So learned scientists say):
The stars are not glimpses of celestial light,
But massive ***** of flaming gas;
And if the universe has a center,
It probably is not our little planet;
Even the fastest rocket we ever launched
Moving through space a billion years after this world ends,
Will be no nearer that heaven of yore
Than it was the day it blasted off.
Something to think about
Jun 2017 · 376
Soul Mates
John Niederbuhl Jun 2017
I like the way the sun feels
When it shines on high,
And I like the way it feels
When you feel it shine.
You and I together
Walking in the sun--
Really not like just we two
More like just us one.

I like to hear a bird song
When the spring is new--
A song that's even sweeter
When you hear it too.
When you're happy, I feel glad;
When you're sad, I'm sad:
I feel the same things you feel
And think the thoughts you've had.

I like to watch the flowers
Nodding on their stems,
And I like the way they look
When you look at them.
I'm in your mind, and you're in mine
Our thoughts and feelings blend:
Seems like we're all swirled up
Like a warm, south wind.
Jun 2017 · 360
To Catch a Butterfly
John Niederbuhl Jun 2017
A flitting, spotted butterfly was spotted by a netter
Who grabbed his trusty, fine-meshed net and set about to get her.
She lit upon a lupine new and opened her wings slowly,
He stole up very stealthily, focused upon her solely.
When he came within her reach, he swished out with his net,
But she took off to the sky and filled him with regret.
She flew behind the lilac bush, where he could not see,
And when he spotted her again, she headed for a tree.
She fluttered high above the lawn with him in hot pursuit,
Waving his net wildly, efforts not bearing fruit.
He kept his eyes fixed on her flight as he chased his quarry.
Then something happened suddenly that left him rather sorry:
For on the grass early that morn, the dog had left a pile,
And when I think what happened next, well, I just have to smile.
May 2017 · 3.4k
Their Hair
John Niederbuhl May 2017
Each day I watch the ocean swell
Sometimes with hope, sometimes despair;
The ocean's faces ever change
Like the fashions of their hair:


Like a waterfall of brown
Through golden culverts flowing--
Sweeps me far away downstream,
Without her ever knowing.


Rippled clouds at sunrise,
Supple, damp and red,
Combed out, twisted in a braid,
Or just left loose instead.


Of her black hair a single strand
Sweeter than Midnight's darkest land;
When it lightens up again,
Its sunrise on a beach of sand.


Like golden floss on top of corn,
Silky, curly, fine,
Rising from a thick, black band
Above blue eyes that shine.


Whipped up like a hot souffle,
Luxurious, soft, held loose
With ribbons, combs and perfume,
Tempting like a mousse.


Her pony tail we follow,
Like the Christmas star;
Maybe we're not wise men,
But then, maybe we are.


Her hair flew up out the vent
Like a flame,
When we hit an unmarked bump
(Not big).

The top slid shut,
And her hair almost caught,
So I reached up
And pulled it in quick.
Seven different people
May 2017 · 209
John Niederbuhl May 2017
From the topmost twig of the tallest tree
A solitary bird sang his song so sweet:
The meaning (if meanings birds can intend)
Could I , mere human, ever comprehend?
Maybe he sang out the joy of his life,
Or maybe he sang to attract a wife.
His little song drifted out far and wide,
Sweet music of the springtime country side.
It passed by my ears and went far beyond,
Across the meadow and over a pond
In which were reflected clouds from above
That moved through the sky like lovers in love.
Soon, from a thicket, a birdsong came back--
The same kind as his, but a different track.
I heard it on air as it made its way
To the bird in the tree, as if to say:
"I hear your voice calling out to me,
And I'm here with you in the top of my tree,"
The first bird replied in a joyous tone,
Elated (I thought) knowing he was not alone.
You can hear them this time of year
May 2017 · 201
True Confession
John Niederbuhl May 2017
I read Finnegan's Wake,
The cover
And half the first page;
After that,
I got bogged down
And had to disengage.
May 2017 · 821
John Niederbuhl May 2017
Dusk is an old man with a gray cape,
Who walks with a limp and a cane.
Turning on street lights and lights in the windows
Sending the children home from their play.

When they're all safe, he smiles to himself
And hums a soft, little song
That sounds a little like little bugs buzzing
As he hobbles along.

He pauses a while in the trees near the pond,
Waves his cane and stirs up the frogs;
Then he moves on through the outskirts of town,
Along silent gardens and past barking dogs.  

He fixes his gaze upon distant hills,
That fade in a warm, violet mist;
He shakes out his cape--the pine trees turn black,
Dew starts at a flick of his wrist.

He stops by the park to smoke a cigar
That glows as it gets almost dark;
When it goes out, he leaps to the sky
And disappears like a spark.
For my daughter, years ago
May 2017 · 213
Final Answer...
John Niederbuhl May 2017
When we'd figured out
What life here was all about
The asteroid hit
No notes
May 2017 · 772
Love that Song
John Niederbuhl May 2017
Meet in paradise
Paradise on earth
Paradise for sure
Sure hot
Sure lay
Lay I say
Lay a table
Table for two
Table to run
Run the town
Running around
Around the parts
Around she goes
Goes crazy
Goes, gone
Gone I tell you
Gone with the wind
Wind of change
Wind blows wild
Wild and crazy
Wild schemes
Schemes well hatched
Schemes of love
Love that song
Love you too
Too much
Much appreciated
Much more
More wanted
More he said
Said what
Said and done
Done with you
Done deal baby
Baby cakes
Cakes of wrath
Cakes out walking
Walking tall
Walking large
Large fits all
Large in size
Size it up
Plus this
Plus that
That equals
May 2017 · 297
John Niederbuhl May 2017
Those days ran by like the rushing water
Roaring over the dam:
I was tangled in your hair
And tangled still I am
In those twisting strands
Pouring over the brink,
Along your neck,
Beyond your shoulders,
Foaming on your back in a mist.
So helpless I, but so willing,
Swept by the currents away.
Now I see your face again
And hear the rushing water roar
And feel what I've always felt
But feel it even more.

Below the falls,
So far downstream,
Near the whirlpool that calls--
You're all I ever wanted,
All I ever wanted at all.
But all I'll ever have to hold
Is this photograph so old:
Time standing still,
And us standing together,
Young forever:
Songbirds in a distant summer,
Way back on that endless river.
May 2017 · 1.3k
Watching the Wind
John Niederbuhl May 2017
I'm watching the wind
Looking for you
I listen for your voice
In the wind
Day after day
I'm searching and hoping
When will it bring you to me?

I'm watching the wind
On the sidewalks
As it moves along
Past the shops
I'm straining to hear
When it swirls in the street
When will it bring you to me

I'm watching the wind
At sunrise
When the light makes shapes
On the wall
I dream of your face
When a breeze stirs the drapes
When will it bring you to me?  

I'm watching the wind
For you hands and expression
Your shoulders your brow
And your walk
To hear what you'll say
When I first hear you speak
Oh! when will it bring you to me?
May 2017 · 474
John Niederbuhl May 2017
Just outside her window
Dandelions on spring grass
Scattered like yellow stars
Across a green sky:
Three growing close, curved:
A lover's smile, cruel,
Five together: a friend's hand
Reaching for something
Maybe a wisp of her hair
Because she is crying
Over the ring
He threw in the ocean.

A thick cluster: her new lover,
And a long, twisting line:
The road to his castle.
Beyond that each bloom
A night spent loving each other
Between silky, green sheets
In a room lit by golden candles.
See them?

Then, a small patch with
Flowers arrayed like jewels:
The crown a goddess wears
Who gives eternal youth
And unfading beauty.
My she walk with her forever
On winding, moonlit paths,
May she find love always
In that room of countless candles.
They are coming out now and always tell a story
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