Time and old dogs

In the yard under a majestic poplar tree is an old hound,
The  tree has known him since he was a pup,
Its roots having grown around his favorite spot.
He slumbers, a reposed puddle of black and tan,
Ears marked with nicks, pieces missing,
His gray muzzle a scarred testament to his years.
He does not know time as we do, he knows seasons.
When the fall air turns crisp he acknowledges it,
Rheumy eyes peering at the woods around the house.
There is movement, scent in the air calling him.
Though instincts overcome his painful indolence,
He is no longer able to break brush on the hunt.
Once his strong voice told game he was on their trail,
Now, only a whispered rasp announces his wakefulness.
He believes he is still that force of nature and he speaks to it.
When the stars are spread like diamonds on black velvet,
On clear full moon nights, golden light fills his soul.
With nose pointed skyward he stands before heavens altar,
Howling a mournful comment for times lost, memories regained,
The lament a tribute to his cascading dreams of the past.
He is close to his time for his forever long last hunt.
He doesn’t know that he will be missed, hearts broken,
Those that know him will be burdened with that sadness,
Remembrance of a life well lived, the passing of time and old dogs.

©2019, Donald Harbour

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Ozarks

There my loves lay,
Those breasts swelling,
Challenging their limits,
I dream of them, I inhale their scent,
This loamy contact with them,
I love this moment, this communion,
They are surrounded with mystery,
An archaic moaning of ages,
Loved, challenged, dismissed,
They survive, triumphant, waiting,
These Arkansas Ozarks,
Mother Earth’s children.

©2018, Donald Harbour

Resilience

In the glade an old Red Oak stands naked,
except for a single fluttering leaf,
still cast with the color of fall.
I have watched it for hours, and
I wonder if is proclaiming a message.
An axiom of life in its resilience,
its tenacity to purpose, to refusal,
a dogged determination to hang in there.
Though the winter wind tugs at its grip,
still it stays convinced that it must,
if not for purpose, then for the tree.

©2015, Donald Harbour

The wheel of the year

There is sleep in the air,
rustling leaves begin to fall,
the sagging eyelids of the season.
Each day a crispness awakens,
it heralds other subtle changes,
rest for the land, flowers, lakes.
The cleansing purgatory of snow
gathers its chemistry in the north.
The gentle breeze whispers: “Quiet now,”
the hush is Mother Nature’s cool touch
upon the frantic fevered cheek of summer.
Human hearts yearn for this time,
they cling to past ancient old ways,
a quickening yearning for the hearth,
harvested fields, ducks on the fly.
Goddesses lurk in the shadows,
Modron and Olwen lean into their work,
shouldering, turning the wheel of the year.
Sages know only spring and autumn hold love,
the dawn and twilight of seasons,
the spiritual recharging of all life.
Smoke rises from a distant chimney,
it has comfort in its languid message,
a temple incense carrying prayers.
In the living is the solitary knowledge
that with the ending of the year awaits
creation’s glorious beginnings,
the only promise winter gives up.

©2015, Donald Harbour

This old house

Forever, an old house has stood in a field,
A grey silent sentinel ghost of the past,
It stands consumed by the morning fog,
Leaning imperceptibly, it is unperturbed,
The house knows its value, its purpose remains,
People may forget history, the house will not,
Lives passed through  its doors and rooms,
Children once scampered and played on its porch,
Lazy hounds escaped the summer heat there,
How many meals were cooked in its kitchen,
What joy gathered there in its dining room,
It has seen men go off to war, never returning,
It has heard the moan of birthing pain,
Then, swelling with the cries of a newborn,
Silenced, Sunday hymns once sang its song,
Where old men whittled, a possum or two live,
A tree is growing up  though the porch floor,
Now forlorn, passed by, it is indistinguishable,
Time is swallowing it year upon year,
That boundless cavern has eaten its heart,
Its eyes to the outside world hollow, glass-less,
The house will slowly collapse into the earth,
While it stands, it holds the vault of memories,
But, just as the house, memories die with time too,
When they are gone, only the debris of life remains.

©2015, Donald Harbour

Morning in the South

I arose this morning –
the dawn silently tip toeing,
across the sleeping dark horizon.

Bare stark branches of trees,
gatekeepers of the coming day,
beseech the horns of Luna to stay.

Night has left behind diamonds
glittering, strung across the ground,
a gift for the coming spring.

Tendrils of fireplace smoke waft
with the musky clear, crisp air,
a ritual offering to the hearth.

Fluffy feathered birds chirp awake,
shaking the cold from drowsy beaks,
tenors tuning up for their work.

A distant hound speaks its mind,
announcing another glorious
morning in the American South.

This magical moment of wakening,
carries the heritage of time,
of past and present, of tomorrows.

It touches the soul, the heart,
with things that are gentle reminders
of what it means to be a Southerner.

 ©2015, Donald Harbour

So mote it be

Today, spoke I to a man old in the woods,
spoke of stones in the dark forest,
stones that knew of humankind and time,
spoke of ancient age before now.
before what we have written,
spoke of before what we call known,
these stones mottled with aeons,
weathered by the earth and its work,
these stones remembered and watched,
remembered and spoke of past before,
these scribes of the giant cataclysms,
watching the ancients descend to earth,
eyes of granite open to the past,
watching the unfolding of the future,
knowing what passed would again be,
watching the sons of soil in greedy toil,
brethren to the manna of Mother Earth,
descendent of the distant stars,
brethren to the woodland creatures,
now unknowing of who or what they were,
brethren of the stones, woods, water,
I am you, you are I, we are eternity,
spoke these watching brethren,
and thus the Gods said so mote it be.

©2014, Donald Harbour