Three Poems at 72


We are Samuri
Ancient warriors, our time is short.
We are outnumbered by the many with electronic swords, the armor of youth, the energy of desire.
We claim as wisdom the accumulation of our failures
But only victory is a currency today.
It is not the night before us in the future that assails us
But the night to which we awake each morning.
Our bodies complain
And warn us, we are failing, we are falling
And the battle gives us no rest.
There is no balm in Gilead
Nor respite in where we stand.
Our pride holds our heads up
While our honesty, hard won at great cost
Bends our shoulders to the truth:
We are Samuri and we are going we are going we are gone…..

I read a poem by a child

I read a poem by a child
My child.
The words were not precise,
There was a grandiose undertow
But the sensibility was all one could seek in another human being.
And I asked, why do our children not become us,
Why do they become something better,
More sensitive and better than we are?
Perhaps they are us indeed, perhaps we have the same grandiose desires
And the same delicate sensitivity, but it has been
Beaten down within us by—
Will our children have their clarity beaten down?
What do we call adults who cling to the simplest and best truth?
Prophets? Seers? Obsessives? Fools?
I have that poem in a frame
Near my desk, in hopes
Others will come, glance at it, and say
How beautiful, he must be quite a kid.
But that poem may be just a brief moment of beauty
That the world will beat out of him, as it did out of us.
Ten lines the apogee of his arc?
He does not know.
I shall not tell him so.


There came a time when I started to eat soup
Almost every day,
Then at times twice every day
And I liked the taste, the texture and the warmth.
There is in soup a comfort beyond comfort food,
A mixture of home and rest, a lack of challenge, a gentler pace.
Is soup the food of age, I wonder?
Do we have a data set on soup?
I recall my father, older than one could think
Bent over a bowl, spoon rhythmic in its scooping
Imparting soup between yellowed teeth, into the jowled interior of the man
A slight hum in his breath, of satisfaction
I think
Or perhaps of relief; perhaps….
As I eat my soup I wonder, is this the mother’s milk of time,
The kettle the breast of decline?
Is it all that simple,
That predictable,
That sad?
Tonight, I shall eat a large steak and hold back the sweep hand
At least a bit.