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White and withered, his old hands
are cracked from fall’s chill
while he sits and hears the notes turn slowly,
round and round they go,
just as he has always heard them,
the same notes, as clear and crisp
as the November morning,
one more time they seem to say,
one last time,
and as the music rasps and goads
in that familiar haunt,
the mind lags, it is years behind,
once again lashed to yesterday,
burdened and blessed with all the
vigor and hubris of youth,
the heart still willing, daring,
wanting to emerge from the
cresting blue waves with a shock of black hair,
then to find the solitary bench
anchored, worn,
and he tilts creped palms from side to side,
only to find the angled autumn light
no less harsh, no less forgiving.
Philip Lawrence Dec 2018
Brown and brittle and shrunken,
and having slipped through the tines,
or escaped the blower’s roar,
they tumble across the hard earth
carried by the December wind
to settle beneath the boxwoods
and then lay quiet under winter’s blanket
with the hope to see another spring.
Philip Lawrence Dec 2018
The eulogies resound in stentorian tones for the great,
those of prominence, those who have ascended to the pinnacle,
those who have known power, and who have changed worlds,
whose names fall from the lips of every man, who are offered
unencumbered embrace, a deferential half pace backward.
But what of the good man, without position, sans societal perch,
whose wealth is paltry, accomplishment meager,
yet whose effort is no less herculean, no less courageous,
whose heart is no less pure, the good man doomed to failure
through paucity of talent, or missed opportunity,
or plain bad fortune, yet who resolves to continue, plod foot after foot to anonymous end, and whose name will not be voiced in so much as a whisper for all eternity.
Philip Lawrence Jun 2018
old man I see you
blue suit and bow tie
and hat placed neatly aside
cradling your coffee
an absentminded gaze
through the tall windows
and beyond
to the young passersby
in a hurry
as you once were
busily home to love
to soothe the withering day
love that you once had
but has passed
old man I see you
your eyes a fluid blue
still
wistful
locked in memory
bittersweet
vivid
that plays before you
to touch
taste
breathe
a pas de deux of passion
eclipsed by time
old man I see you
and you are not alone
Philip Lawrence May 2018
the people
the tide of people
the swarm hurrying across gargantuan
sun-streamed rooms as
they rush in a glide along golden handrails
before descending through smooth marble stairwells,
the people,
some tense, and cross, and expended,
brows furrowed, forlorn with unrest
while others,
the people
who walk brightly with anticipation,
indefatigable,
their comings and goings
each a new adventure,
life not waiting to be lived
Philip Lawrence May 2018
lantern raised
she yields not
to the untamed hand,
the empty heart,
the preening, the predatory,
that find the pure,
the passionate,
and the tempest that swirls about them,
to mark and groom,
their trust wrought for a singular end,
prevarications
to render truth writhing upon the
calumnies of acolytes,
the hardscrabble earth
where the courage and decency
of the many break and recede  
until wretchedly,
shamelessly,
forsaken
Philip Lawrence May 2018
scales of desire tip,
time now weightier than fortune,
the more precious,
as it always has been,
gone unrecognized,
obscured by hale youth,
invaluable, ephemeral
allowing the echo of song,
the titter-laugh of loved ones,
banter of old friends,
hours with the hound turned gray
who clings to one’s hip,
silver windswept rainstorms,
ice-crested mountains,
frantic hummingbirds
suspended as still life,
the raw tickle of a running finger
along silken skin,
sin, regret, atonement,
recollections savored
of those who have left
as if brought back before one,
if only for the moment,
before recession into an ether world
and the miasma of memory and loss,
a gift for one to inhale the entirety,
and to expel it all with a ferocity
that says to those who will listen,
how I cherish thee
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