Worn Shoes

I dreamed of a night with stars above,
millions of other dreamers stood about me,
each shod with life’s tired worn shoes,
toeing the edge of a decaying precipice,
the shore to crossing the river Styx,
light, darkness – salvation, damnation,
is destiny mapped or do we have a choice,
when will we leave this path, to face
the calamity of our ultimate fate,
how are we ascribed in the book of life,
some say it is not for us to know,
is the scything dark angel  the only choice,
a life snuffed by the world’s insanity,
religious fervor screaming “God is great,”
there, now you have the arbiter,
it is emblazoned on every particle,
“Bless me Father for I have sinned,”
the wafer is stale, the wine is vinegar,
the priest has dirty finger nails,
rivers of blood ooze from the Bible,
from the Quran, from every word,
from every holy book ever written,
from the lifeless lips of children,
from the souls of mothers, fathers,
from the heart of self-righteous nations,
from the bowels of despots and bigots,
every opus a tome of contradiction
from which there is no salvation,
the beast of dogma opens its greedy maw,
all will be consumed by their beliefs,
the only contribution to their shrill voices,
a mountain of unlaced tired worn shoes.

©2017, Donald Harbour

The end reward

there is a stream
silent running over rocks
where moss grows

wading its icy waters
slipping on green slime
is a dilettante adventure

on the other side
lies an ancient orchard
with gnarled giants

arduous is the journey
as all of life’s journeys
the only end is hope

before I reach to pick
the fruit of my desire
the grove’s scent assails me

I can tell the pears
are rotten this year

©2012, Donald Harbour

Skipping stones

Selecting a small smooth flat
river rock, he wrote his name
on one side and threw it
skipping across the water.

Standing silently, watching,
he turned quickly as it
sank beneath the surface
to be collected on the bottom.

To him the rippling mirror
was life momentarily touched.
The stone a soul cast out
on an unknown journey.

It was a truth welling up,
a realization that time
and water could not support
the burdens of a life forever.

It would be so easy giving in
to the gravity of his life.
A momentary lapse would mean
another unknown journey.

There was a comfort in that,
he felt a calm, an inner peace.
For the first time he felt
connected to the moment.

Of all the millions of stones
that lay beneath the water,
this stone was different.
This stone had his name on it.

©2012, Donald Harbour

Reflections are not truth

life is always viewed
through the windows of the mind,
it is transformed, distorted
by the panes of perception,
becoming twisted reflections
filtered through a collage
of dust, streaks, fly specks,
hand prints, spittle, grime,
the imperfection of glass,
the baggage of living is
our collected experiences
that shape our beliefs
form what we become,
that film on the window panes,
there because we learn by it,
learn to be misjudged
tell misconceived lies,
feel anguish of disappointment,
view ourselves as we
believe we are seen,
it is a two-way street,
what we perceive
will also be perceived,
and, that is the danger,
reflections are false images,
beyond their dance is truth,
as surely as we digest them,
what is expelled is not the same,
what it once was, indistinguishable,
our frame of references,
our reflections have become,
the nutrient for another mind’s
fertile view of its reality.

A note about this poem: It is based on ‘one’s frame of reference’ that is taken from the psychological theory of Gestalt. We all have one, the trick is recognizing it and dealing with it.

©2011, Donald Harbour