Each morning when I open
my eyes, there they are.
Four people standing watch
over me, an attractive blond
woman and dark haired,
handsome man and two
small boys, all smiling a
sincere new day welcomes.

They are the last people I see
at night and the first to greet
me in the haunting dawn light.

I know them and yet I don't.
They are often on my mind
but my age and memories
of them have turned from
refulgent colors to fading
black and white.

Sweet and gentle parents,
long passed away and my
brother now a 76 year old
man of age.

Where all those years went
I can not say, too soon all the
people frozen in that photo
will permanently fade away.
The photo on the other side of my
bed is of the next two generations,
that photo impowers my hope for
future, continuance, love and pride.
The old man sat staring
into the retrospective flames
of the fire, warmed within
memories of a long life
fondly productively lived.

Accepting, all too soon the
fading flames to embers go,
Cold ashes forever lost in time.
All living things have a season
and so it goes in but a blink of
time. Losing old friends lately
to age and time.
Calcutta streets, years ago
throngs of people moving,
ever moving in all directions,
motor traffic in the streets
at a stand still in the heat.

Crossing the Howrah Bridge
on foot, curious stares from
passing faces, we two interlopers
from another world caught in a
wave of impressive human endeavor.

Two wheeled rickshaws never seen
before, hitched to thin men with
seemingly spindly legs, trotting pulling
their loads of human and trade cargoes,
moving when other vehicles couldn't.

At first glance my western eyes
beheld only the indignity of toil,
I could not imagine having another
person exert such sweat and energy
for my benefit just because I could
afford it, a ***** to a rich man's
needs, like a horse or mule misused.

In time I came to admire and understand
these were free men, earning their living
perhaps the only way they could,
through noble toil, with the pride of
independent hard work and their
cherished two wheeled rickshaws
all necessary tools for living.
This poem inspired by my friend Pradip
Chattopadhyay.
I rode on two occasions in a rickshaw,
impressed by the effort of a man doing
something that I could possibly never do,
smiling, independent men, filling their
food bowls with the sweat and endurance
of their efforts. This kind of human striving
on display everywhere in India. Humbling
for a pampered westerner to behold.
Walked five miles to the sea today,
light snow falling on my shoulders,
only my footprints in white followed.
The old truck refused to start,
no choice but to walk, so strong
was my resolve, griped by grief.

I reached the shore, crossed the
***** low tide beach to the
waters edge.

No sounds but gulls and the
eternal roar of waves rolling in,
gently lapping around my feet.

It was here I intended an ending,
in the cold deep embrace of the
sea, waiting just steps away.

The sea, the sky, huge shape
shifting clouds, back lit by
a yellow ascending sun,
enduring and compelling,
beauty impossible to ignore.

How long I stood staring
I can not say, before at last
I turned my back on a
premature ending and
slowly walked away.
Depression and grief can cloud common
sense and reason, leading us to the edge
of even our own destruction,. This parable
an example to ponder. Grief can break us
if we let it. The darkness of the mind
overshadowed by the beauty of living.
Visiting a friend on his Quarter
Horse farm, the day sunny and warm.
We walked out to his brood mare
pasture, the ladies were running,
awaiting and sunning, anticipation
in the air and their nervous behavior.

Noble his name, consistency his game,
a reliable aging stallion, sire to many
fine sons and daughters, years of proven
pairings, came halter led and prancing.


He had their scent and his spirit awakened,
the three ladies believed to be in season began
to snigger and whinny, their excitement growing
as the stallion entered their grassy domain,
the dance was about to commence.

The handler led the big fella' forward,
both sides began their quizzical inspections.
one young felly more aggressively willing
than the others. Noble excitedly returned
her heightened interest.

Within a few minutes Noble began to rear up,
he knew his job, his august appendage extended,
trying several times to mount his mate intended,
adrenaline pumping his back legs began to shake,
on his fourth failed attempt the eager proven
suitor fell to the ground, rolled over, paused for
a moment and struggled to stand on unsteady legs.
Appearing somewhat embarrassed.

The mare moved aside and kicked her hind legs in
the stallion's direction, she whinnied loudly and
ran away. Rejected the old stallion stood looking
perplexed, failure was something unknown to him.
His spirit was willing but his aging body was weak.
The old stud slowly returned to the barn, his head
hung low, no longer prancing.

For every time and being there is a season, aging
is part of the cycle, like this stallion, we all reach
this moment of understanding. Sometimes gracefully,
most times with stunned disbelief.

From Noble to nothing in one afternoon.
The allegorical parable here is impossible
to ignore. Unless your are twenty four.
Power is indeed a corruptive force,
Through all of mankind’s history
This has always been true.
Emperors, Kings, Potentates,
Popes, Presidents and Despots too.

Gathering near the Throne are the
Eager Courtier leeches reaching to
touch the anointed one’s robe.
Declaring their undying loyalty,
In the process selling their souls.
Their rewards, a speck of personal power,
Castles and new riches of gold.

Like their Master, the entitled ones
will lie and cheat, while ignoring
The principals of right and good.
Believing “Decency” is but a
poor man’s word, Never uttered
within the hearing of the Ruler.
Never a considered artifact of
absolute power.

The slaves, serfs, the common people
Matter not, but to serve the needs of the Ruler.
The power elite will start needless wars,
or offer up sacrificial lambs, all to distract
the unrest of the common man.
They will suppress human rights,
free speech and defame, banish
or imprison their detractors.

All merely smoke and mirrors to conceal,
Controlling agendas of personal greed.
From ancient times down to today
This cycle repeats. Now we are living
our own Textbooks history of tomorrow.

Kingdoms and Nations have perished
From this kind of poisonous corruption,
Needless to say, it will happen again.
Perhaps it already is.
Unless this write is too obtuse, We all
need to change our history to come.
Stand up and speak out and vote.
The older we grow
the faster life goes,
priorities change
quality of living
and loving takes
precedent, over
self-indulgence
and material things.
Nothing as important
as family and friends.

It is racing now,
these fleeting days
and years, reflected
most in my grandsons
growing too soon from
children to young men.

Along with Steller parents
our little farm provides
a learning ground for the
kids, teaching life lessons
that inspire character and
self discipline, with Cows
and pigs to show at fairs,
pride earned with accomplishments
and Blue Ribbons to share.

I am so lucky having a ringside
seat, watching yet another
family generation ascend.
Football and basket ball
games to attend, Christmas
morns of excited children
clamoring down the stairs,  
many birthday celebrations
with ever more candles aglow.
Memories all, retained and shared.

Perhaps the best part is,
these grandsons of mine,
still are up for hugs and
good night kisses, genuine
affection received and given.

Families are a true blessing
and a privilege, the only
real reason we are here.

All these things, remain the
sweet frosting on my aging
Grandfather's cake of life.
I sometimes wonder where
I would be without all these,  
my reasons for being?
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