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.

Old men paint in winter

For my friend Wayne, displaying his painting talents on canvas in far Northwest Canada.

Where Wayne creates and paints.

It is said that old men paint in winter,
Remembering warmer times, years,
Winter is not kind to bones and joints,
But winter does not really know old men,
There lies with in their soul an acceptance,
A reflection upon invested years of age,
The knowledge of journey and time,
Theirs is an awareness of that march,
A travail, a struggle to their goal,
Old men know what those lesser do not,
Life takes more than it gives,
Life watches, waiting for it’s moment,
It is the jester of their childish follies,
A trap door to be sprung without warning,
Their life, words, and painted pictures, leftovers,
The satisfaction of having been at the table,
How will they be remembered, these old men,
Viewed in the springs of their youth,
Interpretation of life on canvas,
Accumulated tablets of poetry,
How will winter remember them,
And, when your cold dark night comes,
What will you paint in your winter.

©2011, Donald Harbour

First crack full of sand

When I was six
my family went to Pensacola.
I loved the ocean,
The crash of the waves,
the seashells, bikinis,
the smell of suntan oil,
the scent of the women.
That’s when I got my first
crack full of sand, and
understood why the girls
were joyfully squealing.
The pleasure of it all,
the compacted joy of sand
scrubbing the erotica
between your legs.
As I grew older I found
more entertaining pleasures.
Slow dancing at the Jaycee Teen Town,
sweaty, butch wax duck-tailed hair,
unforgiving layers of petticoats,
the over use of Chanel number 5,
Clearasil, moon pies with RC Cola,
Pabst Blue Ribbon, copping a feel,
penny loafers, pack of Lucky Strikes, and
desire rubbing hard up against desire.
College years were complicated.
I was a spring buck in heat,
quantum copulation in the backseat,
breathless fondling expression,
whispered promises to break.
Woodstock, bra burners, free love,
girls without innocence,
consequential satisfaction,
that potent release.
But time plays a mirthful game,
pulling away the layered onion
of age, the mark of the years,
making a living, satisfying
the man, the big kahuna.
The shaving of obligation,
the dues collector paid,
screw yourself the common gratification.
The postmortem of Vietnam,
chaos theory imposed by Old Charter.
That leaves only the thought of
what was, the ego of who,
the id of what is, the sensual,
pulsing, erotic, clamor for the whole.
The part hidden to youth by
the discrimination of age.
Driven by the pull of experience,
the itch of sand, slow dances, backseats,
ecstasy in a world of derivative pleasure,
knowing all this is life’s warp and woof.
Founded in the assurance of the past,
there is only one sound left, only one vowel,
the melancholy plenary discomfort of the future,
it is: “Uuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

Copyright: 2009, Donald Harbour

The gateway to lasting peace

As I walked a mountain glen,
The path well trod before me lay,
Cool air whispered to my skin,
Beckoning, “Come in joy, let us play.”
A slope cast up a craggy peak,
Where stood an ancient pine,
The sentinel of solace I did seek,
To stop this march of autumn time.
There the light is where creation lay,
Reclined upon a bed of holy myth,
Guiding souls who lost their way,
Having stumbled into life’s darkened rift.
So I paused beneath the shadow,
Of that wise giant barked tree,
Back pressed against the fertile meadow,
Dreams came to set me free.
In my slumber the glen drew near,
Nature softly whispered my name,
Saying there is nothing here to fear,
In life all creatures are one in the same.
The flowers nodded their petal lips,
Their heady fragrance caught my breath,
I smiled for the happiness of this place,
The gateway to lasting peace in death.

Copyright: 2009, Donald Harbour

A promise kept

A couple, slightly stooped,
is slowly shuffling along
the stone paved park path.

Hand-in-hand, eyes to the
ground, lest they trip.

They have held each others hand,
from the day they first met,
teen years, children, loss,
grandchildren, old age.

There is no loneliness
in their faces, only joy.

A life together, holding hands,
A firm but gentle grasp,
To help when one stumbles.

It has been so through
the springs, summers, autumns,
and now, the chill of winter.

A constant knowledge that there
is that one hold in life,
that will never let go, never tire.

Love is the one single force
that is not taken, only given.
Theirs never forsaken, constant
as the pace of time, always there.

Together, they have become one,
solid as granite beneath their feet,
more enduring than the stars,
theirs a promise kept forever.

They move into the twilight
of evening, hand-in-hand, and then,
the night closes in around them
silently, together, they are gone.

Copyright: 2009, Donald Harbour