My old friend

There is a forgotten point in the past,
when first our paths converged.
We were far too young to know it,
as threads of friendship bound us.
Destiny set us on our separate journey,
stretching those golden fibers.
But, they were always there, unbroken,
tugging at the heart’s memories.
Whenever life becomes contrite and mean,
I often think of you and smile.
Remembering your laughter and joy,
we are sixteen again, singing Doo-wop.
Possessed by Brill Cream and Juicy Fruit,
Rock ‘n Roll knights charging forth.
Shod in Penny Loafers, armored in Old Spice,
we had swallowed the pill of innocence.
A marvelous foundation on which to stand,
God-smacked, age replaced it with reality.
Our dreams the glue to a kismet’s circle,
each step through time has led to today.
Through it you have always been my brother,
eternity can never change nor take that away.
If I find no other fortune, you are a treasure,
unblemished, shining, uncounted and valued.

©2021 Donald C. Harbour

Knees speak

My parts are wearing out,
The joints crackle and creak a bit,
Sounding as rusting door hinges,
Squeaking or aching or both at once.
The knees are the most vociferous,
The two old hounds won’t hunt,
Though, they do incessantly bark,
A constant mellow resonant growl,
Protesting, but not too loudly.
Their desire, not running anymore,
A connoisseur’s preference to sit,
Then constantly grumbling about sitting.
Saggy eared weather prognosticators,
Craving a warm fire in winter,
Then a soothing ice pack in summer.
So, I force them to take a daily walk,
Just so they will not become too lazy,
Lazy and fat and cantankerous.
These old dogs are trusted friends,
They have known my every step,
Every love, pain, disappointment and, vice.
At times I have been unkind to them,
Banging them through life, but
They persist, tagging along.
I am grateful for their attention.
Appreciative of their every scar,
Amused by their journey’s story.
And, when for the last time,
I rest upon satin sheets,
They too will lie down with me,
Trapped in an eternal slumber,
Finally, ignoring a season’s change,
Silenced to their complaints.
Together, three raggedy tramps of time,
Becoming fading fodder for the ages.

©2013, Donald Harbour

A friend lost

I have been watching an old friend,
trying to capture him as memory,
we talked of the good times,
when we were handsome and young,
the girls slowed then and smiled,
we reminisced about triumphs
scoffed at our many failures,
made promises to one another,
knowing we could never keep them,
neither of us is the same,
inside we still yearn,
desire laughter and love,
we have settle for less aches,
for him a precipice awaits,
a shadow has come to fetch him,
he has wasted away before my eyes,
pulling up the past is no help,
a magnificent man, a valued human,
now a skin bag of rattling bones,
he lifted his hand to grasp mine,
the grip still held his strength,
looking down into crystal blue eyes,
he gave a smile of mirth, mischief,
he said: “life has been good.”
I said: “yes it has for both of us.”
then he nodded and died.

Votary of Mother Nature

The bog at Two Rivers Park

an old acquaintance is waiting
offering an unspoken friendship
some say he has counted a century
though he never seems to age
a silent friend with offerings
a gentle cradle for creatures
food for the less fortunate
a place to stop and rest
refuge for any so inclined
never demanding always giving
many pass by him never noticing
never seeing how marvelous he is
I visit with him at every chance
luxuriate in his unwritten wisdom
he meets seasons without complaint
changing his attire to suit need
his face a placid reflection
his past an uncomplicated story
everything in his space grows
protecting him watching over him
finding nurturing in his being
moments in his presence peaceful
tearing away the anxiety of life
there are those who wish him gone
finding no excuse or place for him
yet he is a nonplussed constant
surviving flood, fire, and wind
a protected votary of Mother Nature
this ancient aged bog of Two Rivers.

©2011, Donald Harbour

Love’s fallen tears

One day as the summer approached,
I took a stroll down a dusty road.
A brief morning shower had fallen,
Scattering the scent of fields newly mowed.

A breeze played with the daisies,
A game of catch me if you dare,
It kicked up the red sand of the surface,
Twirling dust dancers in the warm air.

I inhaled the beauty that surrounded me,
It would live only till the season turned.
There was a joy about all nature,
So, I slowed my step as I sojourned.

This lane passed through shadows and light,
Of oak and pine forested wood.
Then along fields of tall tasseled corn,
And pastures where cows chewed their cud.

Absorbed in the world around me,
I continued a mile – maybe more,
Until as time the trickster can do,
I walked through fate’s unseen open door.

Glancing down at the dirt road,
I saw another also walked alone ahead,
Faint as a whisper in the sand,
Though steady and measured the tread.

I was curious as to who it might be,
For none had I seen pass this way,
Nor did I know when they had stepped in the road,
On this marvelous magical day.

I quickened my pace to catch up,
Peering intently ahead to a bend.
I wished only to know who it was,
I did not want to bother nor offend.

The trees arched together
They formed a cool cathedral dome.
A sanctuary for those who tarried.
The solace of knowing ones home.

I walked as silently as I could,
Rounding a turn with a high banked hill,
I saw the shadow of a scrap of a man,
Not far ahead in the road standing still.

He leaned on a gnarled walking cane,
His white hair gleamed as if covered with dew.
Then he turned to look at my face,
With eyes of the clearest bright blue.

“I see you are enjoying this fine day as I,”
The voice strong but with the rasp of age.
“Why don’t you come walk with me for a piece,
At least to the other side of this forest glade?”

“Thank you,” I said and I strode to his side,
Where he turned heading on down the lane.
He began to speak as if we were longtime friends,
Without ever asking for my name.

“I was visiting the place of my birth,
Now gone but back in a fern covered glen.
My mother and brother are buried ‘neath a rose bush,
Where a rocky cliff makes the creek take a bend.”

“A tree there was planted by my father,
A red oak now a giant at its girth.
I was six when my little brother and mother,
Died at the moment of his birth.”

“Oh, I know that you probably don’t care,
About this old man’s tales of his past.
I just want to relive some memories with you,
Along with a simple requested task.”

Then he stopped and looked in my face,
Before I could ask what the task could be,
He reached out a farm weathered hand,
Holding the most beautiful rose he offered to me.

“I will leave you at the edge of this road,
I have some other business that I need to attend,
You’ll find a farm house further on with some people,
Stop there and tell them you are John’s friend.”

So I listened as he told me of his days,
Plowing fields behind a pair of loved mules,
About the implements of his work in the soil,
Protesting modern mechanized tools.

He spoke about his wife and his children,
Taken by the fever one and all,
How he once looked over the heads of men,
When he was not bent but young and tall.

I thought I saw a tear in the corner of his eye,
When he mentioned his friend a black and tan hound,
But that soon passed and he livened his step,
As he spoke of farming and growing the ground.

At last we reached the end of the glade,
The forest took up its stand once again.
“When you get to the house and tell them you know John,
Please give this rose only to him.”

Then he patted my hand that held the rose,
And turned down a meadow path of parted grass.
I said, “Goodbye I enjoyed your company,
I truly hope that this meeting is not our last.”

He stopped, paused a moment then looked back at me,
There was a smile on his face that touched my heart,
Saying,”Good friends do not take a life time to make,
Our walk together is a bond that no person can part.”

I watched him disappear in the shadows
Then he was gone leaving silence in this place,
I realized I was holding my breath,
Trying hard to remember his face.

Not too much further up the road
Past fields of weeds and a dilapidated barn,
I came to a driveway filled with cars,
Leading to a once proud old homestead farm.

I did not hesitate for I felt calm, at peace,
Knocking on the paint crackled solid plank door.
I waited as I heard footsteps approach,
Each one creaking a pine wood laid floor.

A man dressed in black stepped out,
I said, “I’m a friend of John who I have come to see.”
“Then you are welcome,” said the man with kindness,
“Please come in, peace be with thee.”

I followed him through a room filled with sadness,
Etched in the faces of those gathered there,
I heard, “Here is John,” and looked in a casket,
Where lay a man with white dew covered hair.

A great knot welled up in my chest,
The shock of the moment caught my surprise.
I heard his words echo in my mind,
As tears filled my now reddened eyes.

I took the rose and placed it beneath his hands,
As its petals fell scattering across his chest.
For a moment I thought his face changed to a smile,
And now I understood his single request.

“That was a kind thing to bring him today,”
The man standing beside me spoke with pride,
“I know that rose, it grows at his mothers grave,
John would have been 100 the day that he died.”

“He has tended that site since he was six,
On his mothers birthday for ninety-four years,
He has picked one rose to honor her,
The rose has a name it’s called “Loves Fallen Tears.”

“Today,” he continued, “is John’s funeral day,
Today would have been his mother’s birthday too.
I think you have helped John fulfill a kept promise,
Since he could not pick that rose brought by you.”

Was fate the chance meeting on that road,
Or something of life’s mystery not to understand?
It now has been forty years since that day,
Still I wake up feeling the rose in my hand.

I found the place where the rose bush grows,
Just where he said it would be.
Cared for by the forest and the creek bend,
‘Neath the branches of a grand red oak tree.

Each year on that memorial of John’s death,
I travel to that place across the glade,
With joy in my heart at being so honored,
I select a rose and place it where John is laid.

I often think what will happen at my passing,
But the answer you have already been told.
Two strangers will meet walking down that dusty lane,
One younger the other white haired, bent and old.

They will walk a distance through magical woods,
A conversation of past memories will begin to ensue.
Then the old man will stop, smile and ask for a favor,
Maybe the promise and the rose will be passed to you.

Copyright: 2009, Donald Harbour