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

Shoe Shine Moses

The old wooden shoe shine stand is
aged bare, unpainted wood stained
with the rouge of shoe polish.
A dilapidated metal folding chair
in front cradling a cracked vinyl seat.
The foot rests of the stand used,
worn down, the metal beginning to rust.
And still, people come to the site
pausing, staring, reaching out to touch
the foot rest, the stains, inhaling the scent.
A reverence for the sustenance once
gained from this place, this shrine.
No one sits in the metal chair or
The wooden shoe shine stand.
No one mounts the footrests.
It is one of life’s testaments, a lesson
of  hope, of worth, kindness, smiles.
For sixty years thousands of shoes
rested on the metal risers.
Each received philosophy, truth,
wisdom, gentle hands, compassion.
The mind cries to hear the slap of the rag,
the smell of shoe polish, the rhythm.
The humming of an accepting soul
a lullaby to the pains of life, a caring.
The great, the talented, teachers,
doctors, laborers, criminals were here.
Now something is missing, out of sync,
something worthwhile gone from this niche.
When Shoe Shine Moses died tears were shed
and the world shuddered on its axis.
The value of a human cannot be counted
by their position or wealth or education.
For Moses, the value was his humanity,
his quiet dignity, his perseverance to his
craft, sixty years working at others feet.
Daily changing lives with his hands, his heart,
his smile, his soul, a shoulder to cry on.
Encouragement, wisdom from a knowing man,
given to all who came seeking solace, and a shine.

Copyright: 2010, Donald Harbour

A grandfather’s wisdom

The grandfather and his
grandson, walked a path.
Tripping the grandfather
reached to steady the lad.
“Watch your feet,” he said,
“See what is on the path ahead.”
The child smiled up at
the man not knowing that
a life’s lesson had been given.
They reached the creek bank,
sitting under the branches
of an ancient tolerant oak.
There a young child and
an old bent, aging man
filled with the wisdom of time
leaned against two hundred years.
And he said, ” Be careful
of the waters edge for it is
there that a snake may hide.”
Wisdom. The hooks were baited.
bobber dangling from the cane
pole laid gently in the water.
“Hold steady son,” he said,
“You’ll see the fish take the
bait and the bobber will tell.”
A lesson in life, patience, wait.
Through the day the child listened,
hearing the gentle, affirming
words of age, a monumental benefit.
As the hours passed, a blink of time,
an imprint made, a memory given,
the child never forgot the fishing
lesson. He never forgot the kindness
in the voice of his grandfather.
He never forgot those precious
moments that one day cast him
into the image of a man as they had
all the men before. The grandfathers
taking the hand of a small child,
giving him knowledge, character,
heritage, giving him purpose.

Copyright: 2009, Donald Harbour