Category: Poetry

Poetry
by Various


I was past 70 when I discovered how it is that some have a gift of thinking in poetic fashion. When I met Clive Haswell when he was just 89 and learned that he lacked much in the way of formal education but still shows an enormous talent or gift for poetry, I knew that I had the right author to introduce to readers of this page.

Of course this manifested itself in his conversation obvious depth of knowledge about the world about him, learned via several long careers involving labor dealing with the land and water. It is not surprising that one of his favorites came to his mind sitting on our deck overlooking Lake Michigan from high on our dune bluff on a clear October afternoon.

His earlier reflection was driven by a hiking trip in Montana.....
and it yields his title of the first work shown on the subject of October


Another follows dealing with a season well known to all!

OCTOBER ON THE TRAIL


I woke in the darkness
But I rose and broke camp.
It had rained yester even,
The trail would be damp.


Though leaves here were green,
The trail climbed up ahead,
And soon i'd be up there
With the gold and the red.


It was just breaking dawn
When i shouldered my pack.
At the valley behind me
I did not look back.


The month was October
And I was on my way
To find Somewhere Else,
Just a Rover astray.


At mid-morn came a cloud,
Rain, sleet and then hail,
But I lowered my head
And kept to the trail.

The sun soon returned
And the day was not cold.
Up ahead there, the aspens
Made hillsides pure gold.

I was high, 'twas quite cold
When i made camp that night
And I knew, any morning,
The peaks might be white.


But i hoped, ere that came,
I'd be on the downhill ---
If a storm closed the pass
I would have to back trail.


But I gave that scant thought,
Rover's luck would prevail ---
The best time and best place
Is, October on the trail!

Clive W. Haswell


A MURPHY CHRISTMAS EVE

Murphy's Law that is.

'Twas the night Before Christmas,
The house was a mess.
Murphy had been around
It was easy to guess.
The children had resisted
When ordered to bed.
When Mama insisted,
The second one fled.
Somehow, in the fracas
He upset the tree
Twas a Murphy's Law Christmas
It was easy to see.
The angel at the top
Was smashed into splinters.
I wondered, will Murphy
Be with us all winter?
We'd a natural tree.
It was not artificial.
Two big limbs broken off,
We were in a pickle.
The kids, quite subdued,
Had gone off to bed.
I'd gave them a look
From which they all fled.
There were ornaments broken,
One light string destroyed
Needless to remark
I was slightly annoyed.
Mama started weeping,
But I said, "Hush up."
We'll manage somehow
To get things straightened up.'
I cut three feet off the tree.
The stand was a wreck,
But we had a small one
From several years back.
We salvaged ornaments for
The, now much smaller , tree,
And the lights that were left
Were enough, I could see.
We'd thought 'twould be early
When we crawled in the sack,
But with Murphy's help,
That time was pushed back.
It was way after midnight
By the time we turned in,
And I figured by five
We'd be rousted again.
But it was after seven
By the time I awoke,
And by not one small sound
Had the silence been broke.
We went downstairs
In the growing daylight
And picked up a few scraps
That we'd missed late last night.
Still, from the kids,
We had not heard a peep.
I wondered if Murphy
Might also be asleep.
I opened the stair door,
'Merry Christmas!' I said,
And I heard some whispers
As they got out of bed.
They came down as softly
As they could arrange
Which , for this bunch of rowdies,
Was surely a change.
We didn't see Murphy
The rest of the day.
We'd a real Merry Christmas.
What more need I say?


But wait just a minute,
There isn't a doubt
That there is something else
That should not be left out.
The tale I have told
You know is quite daft
And maybe someone
Either snickered or laughed.
But we must remember
That this is the day
That a baby was born,
Long ago, faraway,
And because of that birth
Think what has come to pass
After two thousand years
We celebrate Christ Mass.
Amen
Clive





HE CALLED IT FIDDLE-IN 4/21/03



There was a guy I used to know,

Though he crossed over long ago,

Who used to play the violin,

Although he called it fiddling.



Most always he played Country tunes,

'Bout broken hearts and love in June,

But sometimes he just let the bow

Go wandering o'er the strings so low



It wasn't no real tune you see,

At least none ever known to me,

It would go wandering oh so soft

Like autumn leaves by breezes tossed



It talked in words you cannot speak

And told of answers you might seek,

Sometimes it just took on so bad

It made you feel weepy and sad,



But then he might pick up a beat

That made you want to shake your feet,

It made you glad and swept away

All the ill feelings of the day.





Sometimes I seem to hear him still,

Although I know I never will,

Unless we meet beyond the sky,

Where he has gone, and so must I.



UP AT DAWN
by Clive Haswelll

Apologies to Bobbie Burns

It was nice to get up in the morning
When the sun began to shine,
At four or five or sic o'clock.
When you were twenty nine.
But when your age is ninety
And it's murky overhead,
You still get up in the morning
Just to prove that you're not dead.


It's nice to get up in the morning,
When you're in the prime of life,
And wander to the kitchen,
Maybe even kiss your wife.
But when you're old and single
At the starting of the day,
You still get up in the morning,
You're not sleeping anyway.


It was nice to get up in the morning,
When the east was turning red,
Before the alarm clock clattered
You had bounded out of bed.
Now, when the east is rosy
With the rising of the dawn,
You may as well get up in the morning
For sleep has long been gone.


"Grow old," he said, "along with me,
The best is yet to come."

Well, I took him up on that,
Guess that I was rather dumb.

I have done the growing old,
But if there's better days ahead,

It don't look like they'll get here
Till long after I am dead.

Clive

NINETY



Today I am ninety.
"So what?, you say.
Well, I've made it to ninety,
Just how I can't say.
As I sit and look back
On the years that have sped,
There's a dozen and one times
That I should have been dead.
How I have ever managed
To live through life's mess,
Or why I am still here,
I cannot even guess.

How I ever escaped
Being ground in life's mill --
I was saved several times
By my iron pot skull.
Beat, battered and slashed,
Left to die in the sun.
I got up and went on --
Thought I was having fun.
Those years have been many,
Some short and some long.
Sometimes wished I could weep --
Instead I wrote a song.

I've piled up some chips,
Then I lost the whole stack.
But I walked away laughing
And never looked back.
I wonder sometimes
Why I am still here,
When the board is wiped clean
Of those I once held dear.
I am pretty well healed from
This last whack on the head --
How many more times
Can I dodge being dead?

I have no way to know
And I don't really care.
Come to Nancy's on Tuesday
And you'll find me there,
Singing and dancing
And writing some rhyme,
Which I'll put in a book
This autumn some time.
I've lived through the bad times,
I've been on the run,
But I'm still on my feet
And I'm still having fun!

PRINCE

I thought to write a poem
But the poem wouldn't write,
I thought I'd have a bit of lunch --
That didn't work out right.

I couldn't find a thing to snack,
Not a cookie in the house,
So I baked an apple cobbler
And fed it to a mouse.


I hadn't realized the stuff
I cook could be so strong.
The mouse consumed the whole
Thing. It didn't take him long.

As the cobbler wore away,
That mouse began to grow.
Soon he was bigger than the dog,
But the dog had left, you know.

I tied a clothes line to the mouse
Lest he might get away,
And then I took him to the barn,
Where he ate a bale of hay.



I gave him a peck of corn,
He sampled it and said,
"Hey, this is better far than cheese,
Or jam and jelly bread."

I fashioned him a halter
Just as fast as I was able.
By then he was most as big
As the horse that's in the stable.


I got a bridle on him next,
But he didn't like the bit.
Just then the cat came strolling by
And began to snarl and spit.


She asked, "Is that a new model mouse?" And she gave an awful yowl,
And went straight through the screen door.
I can still hear her fearsome howl.

I got a saddle on the mouse,
Though he argued for a spell.
It didn't fit just like it should
But I snugged the cinches well.


When I climbed upon his back
He didn't even try to buck.
He paused for a few seconds
And then he lit a shuck.

He went to full speed from standing
And crossed the paddock at a bound.
He cleared that five foot paddock gate
Like it was level ground.


He took off across the pasture
Like he was due somewhere.
I tried to slow him down a little
But he didn't seem to care.

He left the pasture at full speed,
Where there wasn't any gate.
When he came to the fence, why he
Just seemed to levitate.


When we came to the highway
He jumped right over a semi truck.
I wished he'd stayed in the paddock,
No matter how he'd bucked.

I finally got him slowed a bit,
Fastest mount I ever saw.
I even got the critter
So he would gee and haw.


It was getting dark at evening
When we got back to the barn.
I said, "Mouse, you've give me
A ride to make a lengthy yarn."

I pulled the saddle off him,
Fed him and rubbed him down.
I wished the boys had been here
But they'd all gone to town.


I said, "You'd oughta have a name,
I think i'll call you Prince."
But he took off to the northeast
And i haven't seen him since.


Clive

This one is anonymous, but Clive will like it!

When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was felt that she had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Ireland. The old lady's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North Ireland Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on her simple, but eloquent, poem...And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet. Goes to show that we all leave "SOME footprints in time".....

An Old Woman's Poem:

What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?

A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, "I do wish you'd try!"

Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe...

Who, resisting or not, let you do as you will,
When bathing and feeding, the long day to fill...

Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse; you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of ten..with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a love she'll meet.

A bride soon at twenty -- my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.

At fifty once more, babies play round my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing young of their own,
and I think of the year and the love that I've known.

I'm now an old woman...and nature is cruel;
'Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
and now and again my battered heart swells.

I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living life over again.

I think of the years..all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,
Not a crabby old woman; look closer...see ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an old person
who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within.

After all, we will one day be there, too!


For those who ponder over problems of the church and how man needs to relate to each other and to a Divine Being thought to be our exclusive Lord and keeper of a Heaven available only to Earth people, Clive Haswell presents an interesting view of Space travel- coming in the other direction from some part of the Universe that is much older and more advanced than ours?


WHO'D LIVE THERE ?



This crowded world might be
An interesting place to visit.
On a tour of many planets,
We probably should not miss it.

There may be worlds more developed,
Perhaps in many different ways,
Where it would be fun to wander
For many, many days.

There might be worlds upon the tour,
Developed not one bit,
Where no creature had evolved
Enough to make a mess of it.

Where no ape was found
Who had our opposed thumb,
Where none had learned to speak,
So everyone was dumb.

Then, as the tour continued,
It would arrive here on our earth,
With it's noise and it's pollution,
It's greed and some things worse,

Where the most developed creature
Is his own worst enemy,
Where terrorism stalks the streets
And no man is really free.

Then we'd return to the Tour Ship
And take off into space.
And we might have a discussion
Of the, so called, human race.

And someone would remark,
As opinions were shared,
"'Twas an interesting place to visit,
But who'd want to live there?"


Clive

GROW OLD



"Grow old," he said, "along with me,
The best is yet to come."
I think that he was beating
On, a very hollow drum.

The first time that I read those words
I may have been fifteen
And forty seemed like old to me,
For youth is rather green.

I could not grow old with him,
Although I liked his rhyme,
I was busy being young
And didn't have the time.

But I've been growing older
Now, for more than ninety years.
There have been days of laughter,
Of hard work, and even tears.

I've been looking for the better
Since I was sixty nine.
I had been much too busy
Ere that, to find the time.

If things are getting better,
It does not seem to show,
Or perhaps I'm getting dumber, with age,
And just don't know.

I do not laugh so often
As I did away back when,
But I do not feel the need for tears
I sometimes did back then.

The peaks of joy and canyons
Of woe, I knew when young,
Have worn down to knolls and dales,
Since ten thousand songs I've sung.

"Grow old with me." Who said it?
I can't recall his name.
The quotation's not in Bartlett,
And I think that's a shame.

I wonder, how old did he reach
Ere he came to the end?
And did he somewhere find "the best
Or did it still lurk round the bend?

Grow old with him I couldn't,
He was way before my time,
But if "the best" is still around,
It is somewhere down the line.

The Best, was somewhere in my youth.
At the time I knew it not.
A time when everything was new,
A time, which most folks, seem to have forgot.

Grow old? Of course I have!
But I'm still having fun.
And I plan to keep on doing that
Until my race is run!

Clive

I brought my morning coffee to the living room. I sat down and the cat was immediately on my lap. I keep a pad handy there and, rather to the cat's disgust, i wrote what i thought was a poem. When the coffee was finished I went to the desk to put it in the book, and this is what I found, I wonder if maybe I've been doing a little too much writing the last mont or two?


WAS IT THE NIGHT BEFORE ?


I thought 'twas the night before Christmas
But perhaps it was only a dream.
I find that, as old gets older,
Things seldom turn out as they seem.

The sun comes up late in the winter,
But it always goes down in the west.
I hunted all day for my waistcoat
But all I could find was my vest.

My right sock will fit on my left foot,
But it don't work that way with the shoe.
I get so mixed up in the morning
That I can't figure out what to do.

Is it really the night before Christmas?
Or is Christmas done, gone and past?
I am not even sure that it's this year,
It might be year before last.

I wonder if I'm getting senile?
But there's no way I can be sure.
My future is mostly behind me.
I know, cause I been there before!

Can I figure out just when I am?
Is this two thousand and seventy four?
No, I think that's so far in the future
That I can't go back there any more.

Let's see, I was driving a box car,
Or perhaps I was riding a truck.
I think I had paid for my ticket
For all I had left was a buck.

It's a good thing old age is golden.
That's the only gold I'll ever see!
I know that it's almost Christmas,
For last night I put up the tree.

Guess I'll go to bed and forget it.
I'll wake when the night fades away
And if Bing sings Adeste Fideles,
I'll know I have found Christmas Day.

Clive


GROW OLD II

"Grow old along with me,
The best is yet to be." --
If things had gone some different,
That picture I can see.

Unlike some who wed,
And as the years go by,
They slowly grow apart.
Not so, my wife and I.

For as the years behin
Grew longer, one by one,
We grew more and more
To be well and truly one.
A tender look, a wink,
Perhaps a smile,
Could pass a message
Words would but defile.

We planned ahead.
When soon, the "empty nest"
And my retirement years,
We were sure would be the best.

Once more, across the land,
I'd have a chance to roam,
But now it would be two,
In trailer, or in Motor Home.

But alas! Twas not to be.
Death carried her away --
And so, old age is not
The best, there aint no way!

We had but few short years
And I've had many lonely
Ones since then --
Just me, just me, me only.

I grow old - too old
The best of life, as I recall,
Ended, some forty years
Ago, this fall!

Clive

NORTHERN MICHIGAN WINTER


When it's winter in northern Michigan
Which may be almost anytime,
Outside of June, July and August --
(That's the burden of my rhyme.)

When it's winter here in Michigan
And the snow's up to your knees,
Then anything short of a gale
Classifies as just a breeze.

But when it's from the northeast,
It's colder than the hobs of Hell,
Ten thousand years before the fire
Was lit, the lumberjacks would tell.

Put on your Soo Wool underwear
And your Soo Wool outer pants
An extra shirt and a Mackinaw,
You're not going to no dance.

When the Big Lake freezes over
And it's about thirty six below,
You'll need two suits of Soo Wool,
If outside you should have to go.

Be sure the barn is sealed up tight,
So the livestock will not freeze
And the woodshed's full of dry
Hardwood, your good wife to please.

Then sit beside the old box stove,
And be sure to keep it full.
Tell tales about the Good Old Days,
So that, today will not get dull.

Or, if you play the fiddle, then
Just fiddle up a merry tune.
Lo, even this shall pass away,
At latest, by the first of June.

Clive

NOT LIKELY



I went to wash the garden
But I couldn't find a spoon.
They told me it was midnight
But it was only June.



Just then my dog fell off the porch
And landed on the roof,
He claimed he'd missed his supper,
But he didn't offer proof.

The cat was dancing on the drum
And fiddling with the keys,
The dust cloth flipped his tail at her
And skittered down the breeze.


The whistle from the steamboat
Was floating down the road.
The ox was swimming barefoot
And waltzing with the goad.


When it was time for breakfast
I couldn't find my hat.
The football game was postponed
For the pitcher stole the bat.


The ice cubes on the cookstove
Were shaking in their shoes.
The apples climbed the peach tree
And said they did not choose.


Just then the front door opened
Upon the kitchen floor.
I closed the sieve and locked it.
I couldn't stand no more!


Clive

A CCC CHRISTMAS EVE



Twas the night before Christmas,
Nineteen thirty seven,
In a lonely Three C Camp
A long ways from Heaven.

In the barrack, the boys
Were all sitting around.
This night thereís no truck
We can ride into town.

Some were playing at cards,
I was reading a book.
At the weather outside
No one bothered to look.

Weíd a Pony of beer,
Someone wished twas a barrel.
Bing strummed his guitar
For a group singing carols.

When out on the Parade Ground
There arose such a clatter
We rushed to the door
To see what was the matter.

Down from the sky
Swept a big group of sleighs.
We looked on in wonder
And total amaze.

They stopped by the Mess Hall.
We headed that way.
We knew that tomorrow
Would be Christmas Day

When we got there, the tables
Had been carefully stacked
And a big Christmas tree
Was there in the back.

There were Elfin maidens
And girl fairies, Iím sure.
One for each lad
And perhaps a few more

A band, all of Elves
Was just tuning up ---
Everyone was there, from CO
To the Company pup.

There were Christmas cookies
And, though I am no judge,
I am quite sure, at least,
Ninety nine pounds of fudge.

We sang and we danced
And we had lots of fun
Till about two AM
When the Party was done.

For the lights seemed to blink
And the Mess Hall was bare.
The Elves were all gone.
Just we boys were still there.

We woke in the morn
Wondering, was it a dream?
But when we went to breakfast,
Thereís the tree, still agleam.

Thatís a long time ago,
But one thing Iíll bet,
Every boy who was there
Will remember it yet!


But there was one thing
The boys seem to have forgot,
That , at this time of year,
We surely ought not.

It's the Birthday of Christ
Which we should celebrate.
It's been sixty six years,
But it's never too late.

Have a Merry and a Happy!


Clive

NEVER AGAIN



I am forced to an admission that
I had hoped, I'd never have to make,
For I find myself in a position
I hoped I'd never have to take.


I never wanted to get old.
Old age is not any sort of fun!
I had hoped death would overtake me
While I still was on the run.


I ne'er did well in summer heat,
I still do best in winter cold,
But I find, at last, I must admit
That the old man's getting old.


I have said that when it happened,
The summer that I didn't walk,
To Empire Point, from Esch Road,
About being young, I'd cease to talk.


I think I could have made it,
If I had got a chance to try,
But a lack of transportation
To the beach, I guess is why.


Since I have learned I'm breakable,
To go wandering in the snow,
On snowshoe, on the wooded
Hills, I hesitate to go.


I shall still continue dancing,
And I'll keep on splitting wood,
I will tend the horse this winter,
Although some don't think I should.


Oh, I still can do a lot of things,
Given up by younger men,
But, of course, it's plain that
Ninety, I will never see again.

Clive

IN MY COFFEE CHAIR 1/21/04



I sit down in my easy chair,
Where I plan to meditate,
Perhaps about the things that are,
Or maybe some that ain't.


The cat, of course, is on my lap,
Meditation she despises,
For meditation turns to dreams,
Which come in all shapes and sizes.


Of course I have my coffee,
Which I may manage to drink up,
Before I slip off into sleep
And maybe drop the cup.


I have done a lot of things,
Leaned back in this old chair.
Here's where I found the MacNeel Drive,
Which I've mentioned otherwhere.


I've found myself in a truck cab,
With a load of steel behind,
I've straddled a motorcycle
And watched the road unwind.


I've found myself upon the bridge
Of a Spaceship in full flight,
With Sol so far behind us
'Twas but a dim spark in the night.


The trouble with those dreams is
That they neither start nor end.
I seem to enter in the middle, and
The cat wakes me ere the end.


But they've spawned a lot of poems
And not a little prose,
Even though, a time or two,
I've had coffee stained clothes.


The cat knocked it onto the floor.
That dream ended right then!
It might have made a poem, but
I couldn't get it back again.


She mostly gets disgusted
And is gone when I come to.
She's been in some of the dreams,
As herself and others, too.


One time she was black cougar,
That I had for a pet.
She got rid of stray dogs --
I wish I had her yet!


I got lost in a blizzard,
Sitting in my easy chair,
Spent the night in a cedar swamp,
I have no idea where.


For I woke up in my easy chair,
Right here where I belong.
With the room still warm and cozy,
So I'd not been gone for long.


This easy chair has been,
A dog sled in the Arctic,
The cockpit of an airplane,
And a nineteenth century attic.


I don't know where we'll go tomorrow.
I just might let you know,
If I find it interesting,
But I don't always go.


Sometimes there's things to do
And the dreams I must pass by.
Adventures in an easy chair --
Sometime you'd ought to try.

Clive


BESIDE AN OPEN FIRE

To sit beside an open fire and dream
Or talk of things that matter ---
A heritage of man
From back there in time's twilight,
Shortly after our first ancestors
Had stood erect
And learned,
That fire was not a foe
But a warm friend,

Once they had learned to tend
It carefully.
As all friendships must be.
So I have sat in evening dusk
With partner, who is so long gone
I scarce recall his face.

And I made rhymes
And he told tales,
And we dreamed dreams
And we made plans
For things we knew quite well
Could never happen.
And once or twice, or maybe thrice,
Since he is gone,
I have sat by open fire
Upon a hearth,
With another.

I with my pipe and he his cigar
And dreamed
And settled all the problems of the world
To our own satisfaction ---
Well knowing such could never happen.

There is a song,
"When I grow too old to dream."
But me? I shall not grow that old.
Are we dreamers now a dying breed?
It seems to me
That no one wants to sit beside an open fire
Among the flickering shadows,
And dream --

They all want to turn on the lights
And the computer
And surf the net ---
And cannot understand why I
Would rather dream beside an open fire.

Clive tfR

DRINK DEEP OF LIFE

Drink deep of life, the poet said,
Drink deep.
Nor waste your wakeful hours
In idle sleep
For though the eye be wide
And busy be the hand,
Still, you may be asleep,
Which some
Will never understand.


I dipped my cup in life
And deep I drank,
And raised my eyes to
Look and thank
Whatever Gods may be
For life.


I filled my cup with life
And flavored it with
Wanderlust.
May it be never said of me
My legs
For want of use
Did rust.


I dipped my cup in life
With Love I spiced it then
And I drank deep -
And life was suddenly
As it had never been.
I scarcely could believe
That life, by love enhanced,
Could be quite this much more
Than life, with Wanderlust
And chance.


I dipped my cup in Life
And Love
But Love escaped from me.
But still I am of love aware
The memory gives life a flavor still,
And there are friends who care.
I dipped my cup in Life
And Love,
And I drank deep.


But now the cup nears empty
And it is too late
To fill it up again.
And Wanderlust is out of date,
But Love
And memory of Love
Will go with me
And stay with me
Through all Eternity.
An yet
E'en though for me
Eternity shall end
When dies my last sunset.
It is enough
For I've drunk deep, of Life
And Love

Clive


SLEEP II


Everybody needs some sleep,
Though some need more than others.
I used to feel the time was wasted
And sleeping just a lot of bother.

I got quite a few responses
To that rather silly verse.
Some offered "sage" advice,
Some thought their problems worse.

One seemed to have the notion
I stumble round with bleary eyes.
Since that is not the case,
It came as some surprise.

One thought the poem needed work.
To tell the truth, it hadn't much.
It was scribbled on the back of a letter
And did not get a retouch.

The only change I made,
When I copied to the book,
Was to add the four indented lines,
You'll see them if you look.

I know I split a rhyming group,
I cut it right in half.
But there is where what they said went.
I thought someone might laugh.

I had no trouble sleeping
Till I had that crazy flu.
That left me several hours short
And nothing I could do.

Then when I had the busted arm
I lost some hours more.
That I will never get it back
By now, seems very sure.

But, it says here in a book,
When you are sleep deprived,
You cannot just forget it
But, to get it back must strive.

And I have tried to do that
But, for me, it doesn't work.
There's something in my corkscrew mind
That thinks I'm trying to shirk.

It lets me get the sleep I need,
As I go from day to day.
To reclaim what I lost back there,
There just ain't going to be no way!

When I wake up in the morning,
This morning 'twas at five,
I roll out, ready for the day,
And glad to be alive.

That book says you keep moving,
The while you are asleep.
Well, I have news for that guy!
His slumber is not deep!

I have slept upon a ledge,
Some twenty inches wide
And forty feet below me -
If I had moved, I'd died!

You don't go making racket
When you sleep out in the wood,
Or it's likely you'll be sleeping
Deeper than you thought you would!

The cat does not approve,
When she is on my lap,
If my head begins to sag
And I seem about to nap.

When I arise and take the cup
Back to the kitchen table
I am alert and ready
And to face the day quite able.


Dick, do not give up hope,
And this is just for you,
Just wait till you pass eighty,
And then see how you do.

Clive

SECOND DAY OF SPRING



Yesterday was first of spring
But today cold winter's back.
I've got forty seven chickadees
All hustling to get a snack.


Yesterday, it felt like spring,
The temperature rose to fifty.
This morning it was twenty.
That 'twill rise at all looks iffy.


The nuthatch isn't hatching nuts,
He's downing sunflower seed.
And there's a Plymouth Woodpecker
Who, for fodder, feels a need.


Snow is swirling in the air,
The ground is turning white.
If it keeps on I will be wading
To get to the barn, ere night.


An icy wind is whistling,
Which will keep me in the shack.
I think it's coming here direct
From Baffin Bay's ice pavk.


The nuthatch seems to have a
Notion that the seed is all his own,
He chases off the chickadees.
There back, quick as he's gone.


I'd hoped, perhaps my wood heap
Would soon be cleared of snow,
So back to swinging of the sledge
I, quite happily could go.


But it's still a ways to April.
Winter hasn't lost its sting.
Who can guess what blizzards
The last weeks of March may bring?



Clive

I'VE BEEN TOLD


I've been told where I came from,
But no one told me why I'm here,
In any way that made much sense,
So, I guess, it never will be clear.


I have been told where to go to,
In language that seemed to be plain,
But for where the place they named is,
I have searched, and searched in vain.


But after much study and meditation
To me, at least, it is quite clear,
I don't need to search for destination,
I'm already there, for Hell is here.


I am but one link in a long chain
That reaches clear back to somewhere
And, as I have forged some new links,
It will continue on to elsewhere.


I know not where the first link
Is anchored, back in primeval slime
And, can only guess, the final link,
Will mark the final end of time.


I can't prove where 'twas I came from,
For all the witnesses are long gone,
And my last link may well be forged
While other chains will continue on.


Looked at from here inside it,
Life oft looks meaningless and dry.
Could I but get outside and check,
Could I then, perhaps, find out why?


Clive

THE PAST
by Clive

I went back to where I came from
To have a look around.
My heart was chilled and saddened
By the changes that I found.


The Old Home Place is vacant,
The buildings all torn down.
Weeds and brush are growing
In the fields and pasture round.


The kids I went to school with
Are scattered far and wide,
Though some,beneath the tombstones,
In the cemetery hide.


The hill we dared with bobsleds
Is cloaked with brush and vines.
The bluff,where we went skiing
Has been planted out to pines.


The old road where I used to park
With my girl,at eventime,
Has been closed for many years.
I scarce could trace it's line.


The girl who parked there with me
Now sleeps beneath the sod.
The secrets that we whispered
Known but to me and God.


I wish I hadn't gone there.
I should have stayed away.
When one goes digging in his past
The hurt is in today.



Clive

PILLS


My wife bore me six babies
And morning sickness never had.
Now, past ninety, I am morning sick.
Well, ain't that just too bad!

I have a clogged up artery
And take a pill to get it free,
But the pill I take to clear the clog
Brings morning sick to me.


So now I take another pill,
To cure what that pill done,
The one I took to clear the clog.
Oh gosh, oh gee, what fun!


Tomorrow I'm supposed to go
Out dancing, at the Gather,
But will I be so sleepy that
I can't, although I'd rather.


Tomorrow will I have to go
And get pill number three,
To cure the drowsy feeling
Number two pill gives to me


If I must get pill number four
To correct for number three,
I think I'll quit pill number one,
Though it mean the death of me!

Clive

BABY

I've been having morning sickness.
Does that mean I'll have a baby?
I'd like my baby female,
Between eighteen and the eighties.


I think sixty five or upward,
Would probably be better.
Is there one out there for me?
Do you suppose I've met her?


I'm not so hard to please.
She can be thin or plumper,
But since I'm afraid of women,
I can't go out and hunt her.


She had ought to be a dancer.
She need not be good at itt.
That she'd be worse than I am
Would be difficult, you bet it.


If she can teach me more dance
Steps, I wont ask for romance
At ninety, what I'm needing
Is a partner for the dance.


We started out with morning sick,
How did we get to dancing?
I'll bet at first you thought
I was looking for romancing.


Clive

I WANT TO GO


I want to go a-roving,
Where no Rover's ever been,
Out beyond the sands of Mars,
To Hell and gone, and then?


Beyond the Asteroids and Jupiter
And Saturn, with it's rings,
Out beyond Uranus
And past where Pluto swings.


Beyond Comets and the Oort Cloud,
It's not so very far,
Out there into the Empty
And heading for the Stars.


I want to go a-roving ---
There's nothing left down here,
But traffic lights and diesel fumes
And noise that kills the ears.


I want to go a-roving,
Out there beyond the sky.
A Rover is a Rover
So do not ask me why.


I want to go a-roving,
Just to see what I can find
On the other side of Never,
And with not one look behind.


The first Star Ship, we all know,
The trip may be one way ---
Give us a Ship, we'll crew it
With Rover's, in thirty days!


Clive

GO FOR IT !

When the waiting is done
And the time is right,
When the Star Ship is loaded
And sealed up tight,

Then I warn my kids,
Though generations have passed,
At least one of you had better
Be on that ship at last!

I have wanted to go
Since I can first recall,
Though I'd have
Never a chance at all.

But if my kids aren't ready,
When the time draws near,
I'll come back and haunt you,
If it's ten thousand years!


Go for it !!!! Damn You!!!!
Clive
I HAVE SAT


I have sat on a log
By a dying campfire,
In the evening and dreamed,
With my old pipe of briar.


I have sat in the saddle
Of a bronco who bucked,
And I've sat in the cab
Of an eighteen wheel truck.

I have sat in a swing
On an old front porch,
And there traded kisses
So hot they near scorched.

I have sat on the flight deck
Of a Douglas D Eleven,
Up there about as near
As I'll ever get to heaven.


I have sat on the cushions
Of a fancy Pullman car,
I've played penny ante poker
Sittin' in a rattly old boxcar.

I have sat in a Motel,
Way down there in Alabam,
And sat in a folding chair,
Down at the Wellston Jam.


I have sat at a table,
At what used to be Nancy's,
And a lot of other spots
That wasn't near as fancy.

I have sat in third pew
Of a Methodist Church,
And I have sat on the sod
Of God's Good Earth.


I've sat in a buckboard
Behind a span of horses,
And I've sat in golf carts
On several golf courses.

I have sat in a canoe
On a white water river.
I learned to drive, sitting
In a Model T flivver.

I have sat in lots of places
And I'll sit in many more,
But you'll never catch me sitting
In a rocking chair, I'm sure!


Clive

JUNE 2004


This is the busy season.
There is garden to be hoeing,
But there is still the Gather
And the Wellston Jam for going.


There isn't near enough of me
To do what needs be done,
And take a little time off
To have a little fun.


There's wood there for splitting
And putting in a pile,
Two woodsheds will need
Filling, in just a little while.


There'll be vegetables and fruit,
To freeze or to can.
When winter comes, I like
To make a few pies, if I can.


The poems keep on coming
And I'm working on three books.
I am going to be a busy man,
The way everything looks.


Now its June twenty four,
With temps 'bout like May one.
The garden's waiting out there
With mulching to be done.


When I need to have a fire,
This near the end of June --
Is the next Little Ice Age
Going to get here pretty soon?


When its this bad in Michigan,
I don't know where to go --
Seems colder than the Klondike
Did, some sixty years ago.

Clive

BESIDE AN OPEN FIRE


To sit beside an open fire and dream, or talk of things that matter --
A heritage of man from back there in time's twilight
Shortly after our first ancestors had stood erect
And learned that fire was not a foe, but a warm friend

Once they had learned to tend it carefully, as all friendships must be.
So I have sat in evening dusk, with partner
Who is so long gone I scarce recall his face
And I made rhymes and he told tales

And we dreamed dreams and we made plans
Fo things we knew quite well could never happen.
And once or twice and maybe thrice, since he is gone'
I have sat by open fire upon a hearth, with another,

I with my pipe and he his cigar, and dreamed
And settled all the problems of the world, to our own satisfaction.
Well knowing such could never happen.
There is a song, "When I grow too old to dream.

But me? I shall not grow that old.
Are we dreamers now a dying breed?
It seems to me that no one wants to sit beside an open fire,
Among the flickering shadows, and dream --

They all want to turn on the lights and the computer
And surf the net
And cannot understand why I
Would rather dream beside an open fire.

Clive

TOO OFTEN


I think I may have sat
Too often by a fire
And listened to some lies
And sometimes was the liar.


The tales that people tell
Get altered by the years.
Old sorrows get erased,
Old laughter's turned to tears


I've wandered in the rain
For many a weary mile,
Have missed, by merest chance
The going there in style.


I've sat beside my fire
And dreamed the while I sat.
Then wrote it in a poem
And that, I thought, was that.


I've wandered many a mile
Just to be on the go.
If you have not an itchy foot,
My need you'll never know.


The poem that I wrote,
The night I sat and dreamed,
Got me into more trouble
Than if I had sat and schemed.

My dreams have never led
Me, to riches or to fame,
But I keep right on dreaming,
So maybe I'm to blame.


I dreamed about a woman
Ere I met her face to face
That led me to more trouble
Than a lifetime could erase.

I think I may have sat
Too often by a fire
And dreamed myself a tale,
That dream turned out a liar.

Clive
VACATION


Last time I went to Wonderland
I found nobody there
And since I made them all up,
That did not seem quite fair.


But all the Wonder creatures
Had gone off on vacation.
I found just the clumsy hero
As a watchman at the station.


Old gimby'd gone off checking
Several brands of ale and stout.
He'd likely spend a week or so
Just trying each one out.


The gists all look for someone
Who'll make them wings to fly.
Then they'll fly off to somewhere --
I'm sure I don't know why.


The Chessy kits had gone to visit,
He said, their dear old Cheshire Dad,
The dwarfs had all gone fishing --
I felt just a little sad.


I'd took a short vacation
To Wonderland, for just a day,
And I felt a little lonely
To find my creatures gone away.


The hero said a pony, of gimby's
Beer was left, he thunk --
We opened it and sad to tell
Both got just a little drunk.

Clive

TOO OLD TO SAVE


What is, has been,
What was shall be.
It says so in the Book.
Can't prove it by me.


What goes around comes around --
Whatever that may mean.
Your past may well catch up with you.
I know that from things I've seen.


The past you left behind you,
Is much closer than you know.
Things that I wont tell you
Are the reason that I know.

Some of the things that's back there,
I am glad that's where they are!
But sixty years, in memory,
Is not so very far.

Most of my wasted years
Were wasted far from here,
That they'll come back to haunt me,
I have little need to fear.


Most of the folks I knew then
Are now sleeping in a grave,
Or blown up on a battle field --
And I'm too damned old to save!

Clive
THE BARN


There was an old farm
By a country road,
Where beautiful crops
In the old days showed.


There was a farmhouse
That was solid and true,
Where a family grew up,
Or could it been two?


Or it may have been three,
The records would show,
As I was not there
I really don't know.


There was also a barn
And a granary too,
And some other buildings,
One or maybe a few.


But the years were many
And the years were long,
The farmer and wife
And the sons are gone.


The house has been painted,
Times more than a few,
But the barn just got old
As barns seem to do.


The granary was turned
Into a garage,
Where the farmer's grandson
Parked his new Dodge.


The barn had a roof
Of good cedar wood,
Those shingles shed rain
As a good roof should.


But the shingles got old
As the storms and winds came,
So they were replaced
With more of the same.


They too got old,
Someone said, "Get real."
So they were replaced
With galvanized steel.


As the barn got older
It started to sag,
Till it looked swaybacked
Like some tired old nag.


So they jacked it up,
Made a concrete wall,
Which they lowered it onto --
There ! Now it wont fall!


When they painted the house,
"Hey, the barn needs paint.
You going to get that, too?
"No way, I aint!"
"That barn, like me,
Has got old and gray,
Paint wont make us young,
So we'll just stay that way."

"That barn and me --
Relics of a great past,
I will soon be gone,
But the barn will last!"
Now that great grandson
Has crosses time's bridge,
But the barn still stands,
Back there on the ridge.

Clive

LIGHTS OUT


I always rose to greet the sun,
Until, one morn it did not rise,
No moon or stars were visible,
And darkness covered all the skies.


The alarm clock by my bedside
Since midnight had been dead,
The battery clock upon the wall
Still ran, and six A M it said.


I flipped a switch but got no light,
My computer too, had died.
No dial tone on the telephone -
Of course, you dolt, I tried.


My son, next door, came over
And we both cussed a bit.
We started up the Chevy,
Those lights were working yet.


At nine A M no change had come,
So we headed in to town,
And at the honor Plaza we
Found hundreds gathered round.


Nothing we could do about it,
So we drifted slow, away.
I suspect that in some cities
There were riots on that day.

We don't know who turned it off
But the light has not come back.
It's supposed to be mid summer,
But winter makes attack.


Someone set fire to Traverse City,
We could see the distant glow.
We'd gone outside to watch it
When it began to snow.

Some thought we'd die by H Bomb,
But the bombs never did fall,
And that the light would just go,
No one ever thought at all.


Some thought we'd go with fire,
That the Universe would fill,
But instead, we die in darkness
And a slowly gaining chill.

Clive

EVOLUTION

We started as Amoebas
And then one of us split.
That's what started all the trouble
And we're the end result of it.

The amoeba is a single cell
And when that first one split,
It had started something
That did not know how to quit.


I wasn't there to watch it,
But it grew into a fish.
Then a fish crept out upon the land.
Who knows why he'd such a wish?


Then he grew into a reptile,
Which some, I suspect, still are.
For I have met one, once or twice,
Somewhere, perhaps a bar.


I don't know how it happened
But the first mammal showed,
And still we kept on changing,
Just why nobody knowed.

Till by and by there was an ape
And his brain got big and bigger,
Until an ape got smart enough
That he could learn to figure.


Then one got so he could talk
And decided that he was man,
And that his wife was woman
And that's where the fun began.


For millennia man ruled the roost
But things are no more the same
Women have got the door wedged open
And man is being put to shame.

Now things will never be the same
And when year three thousand nears,
Women may well be running things,
While men are pushed back to the rear..

Clive

Maybe I sent this to some of you before, but so be it.


A PRAYER


Great God,
Whom I can neither know nor understand,
Great Engineer,
Creator of the Universe.
Did you then turn your hand
To the making of the biped who is us

And who has name-ed ourself, Man?
No, I think not.
I think you planted seeds of life
In the primordial slime
And that it grew and prospered
And at length, by my hand, turned to rhyme.

Great Engineer,
When you designed and built,
What was your plan
For this great machine that goes
From left to right, to up and down,
Far as our finest instruments can span?

Great God,
Just who or what you are
I cannot know,
But evidence of your work I see,
Wherever I may go.
How many generations since
My first ancestor knew that he was Man?
No Liberated Woman then
That all inclusive noun to ban.

Great Engineer,
How many times since man
First learned to run,
Has this small ball of matter made
Itís journey round the sun?
How many eons since the first
Crawled up out of the sea,
And found the land so good he stayed
And grew and changed
And changed and grew, and now is me?

Great God, Great Engineer,
How long, how long,
Or will it ever be,
That youíll stoop down to take a look
At such a worm as me?


Great God, Great Engineer,
Can creature such as I,
Whoís born and in a flash must know

His time has come to die Ė
Is there a chance that somewhere,
Sometime,
Ere bleeds away the sky,
Someone of my descendents
Will learn the answer,
Why?

The what and when and how
I do not care.
I know the past is gone,
The present here,
The future still out there.
But that one small question
Iíll be screaming till I die ---
Great God, Great Engineer,
What I need to know is
Why?!

So let it be.

Clive

OCTOBER IN THE RAIN 10/23/04


I had some things to do,
But I woke up to rain.
The temperature is in the forties --
October in the rain.


I sit here at my desk
And I try to pen some lines,
But my mind begins to wander
To a far and distant clime.


I was young, maybe foolish,
And thought the world was mine,
And though I'd made a few,
I hadn't turned to writing rhyme.


I don't know where I was going,
Maybe did, away back then,
And it doesn't really matter,
Though it may have, way back when.


I had found a little shelter
'Neath an overhanging rock
And was roasting of a rabbit
Which, an hour back, I'd shot.

The day was much like this one,
Rain was dripping from the sky
But underneath my hanging rock
I was fairly warm and dry.


I sit here in my swivel chair.
You'll think I am insane --
I wish that I was back there
October in the rain!


NOISE

I grew up in a different world.
The sound of an axe on wood,
The ring of a sledge on a wedge
I thought sounded pretty good.

The far off sound of the mill
Whistle, by which we set our clocks,
The rumble of a farm wagon,
Across a bridge or over rocks.

The whinney of a draft horse,
The bray of a neighbor's mule,
The whistle of a freight train
Away beyond a distant hill.

The shriek of the whirling headsaw,
Down at the local mill,
About the most abrasive sound
That our young ears might fill.

An old pump organ, a fiddle,
Perhaps a dulcimer and a guitar,
Up at the Saturday dance,
Where we walked, it wasn't far.

The sudden crack of thunder over head,
Might be the loudest sound we'd hear,
But that world of smaller noises
Has been gone for many a year.

Now, those quiet noises
Would be music to my ear,
Could they replace the cacophony
That beats upon my ear.

Scream of chainsaws in the woods,
The roar of diesel trucks,
All of the noises that I hear
Are way, way, way, too much.

The roar of a tractor engine,
Replaces the neigh of the horse
And it seems that day, by day, by day,
The noise gets worse and worse.

Is that the reason that the kids,
Turn the amplifier up and up?
To try to drown those raucous sounds,
Or at least, just cover them up?

Clive
DREAM PIE

Sometimes I've had a dream.
In which I die,
And wind up in a place
Where all there is to eat, is pie.

Cherry pie
Of different kinds.
Orange pie,
Without the rinds.

Blue berry
June berry
Huckle berry
Elder berry
Black berry
Straw berry
Raspberry
Red cap
Black cap
Purple cap
Gold cap
Apple pie
Dutch apple pie.
Pear pie
Lemon pie
Peanut butter pie
Custard pie
Mince pie
Quince pie
Plum pie
Raisin pie
Rhubarb pie
Rhubarb with strawberries pie
Peach pie
And lots of other
Kinds of pie
Oh my!

If I could go
To such a place --
I sigh!
Why must I wait
So long to die?
Oh my!
Pass the pie!

Clive

OLD AGE


Old age wouldn't be so bad,
Were it not for the side effects,
When loss of balance makes us fall
And break our stupid necks.


The eyes that cannot focus
To read that finer print
And when we're out in sunlight
Makes us to scowl and squint.


The ears that do not hear the
Things, that we used to hear,
And garbles what we do hear
So the message is not clear.


Old age wouldn't be so bad,
Itís the side effects that spoil it.
If it wasn't for those side effects
We might learn to enjoy it.

Clive

NO MORE

Somewhere out there
In a Far Lonesome,
A Far Lonesome that is gone
Forevermore,
There is a tiny cabin
Beside a tiny lake.
Out there in a Far Lonesome
That once was.

I stayed there for a while,
So long ago,

And I go back there, now and then,
In dreams, or daydreams,
And try to live it over,
The life that I once knew,
Out there, in that Far Lonesome.

The people of today, including me,
Have far too much of stuff.
We have so much
That we don't own it,
It owns us.

And oft, these times,
I wake at night and wish
That I was back there
In that tiny cabin,
Where a tame fox
Had den beneath the floor.

But alas, the distant past
Is rather dead,
As I sometimes wish that I was.
There is no going back
And how can one
Who lived, half wild, back there,
How can I want to go ahead,
Into the coming world
That is already overcrowded.
And there can never be
No more far Lonesome

Clive

CHRISTMAS IS COMING
by Clive Haswel12-4-04


Christmas time is coming
We must not let it pass.
It is now well into Advent,
There is snow upon the grass.

Christmas lights upon the house
And the shrubs out on the lawn.
We'll have to take them down
When Christmas time is gone.

We tried to decorate the cat,
Gave her a wee gold crown.
She shook her head till it fell off,
Then she batted it around.

Do you suppose that she recalls
From one year to the next?
Or is she each year, at Christmas,
More than a bit perplexed?

Some of the neighbors put up lights,
Enough for a small town.
When they get next months power bill
They may wish they'd left them down.

Christmas time is coming,
The goose is getting fat --
Round here we'll be eating ham,
And you can bet on that.

Christmas time is coming,
The presents are all bought
And in the mail or closet,
Just the way they'd ought.

Christmas time is coming,
I've been busy in the kitchen
Making fudge and seafoam --

Get out! And quit your bitchin',
If I let you at it now,
There'd be none left for Christmas
Day, so beat it! here's a cookie.

Now just get out of my way!
Christmas time is coming,
It's getting rather near --
Hey! Its Christmas morning! Merry
Christmas! Have a good New Year!

CANCELLED CHRISTMAS


Twas the night before Christmas.
The house was a mess.
What I had been doing
You never would guess.

I'd been writing and writing,
Could not seem to stop ---
Now, a cramp in my thumb,
Said the pen I must drop.

I'd been writing for days,
Scarcely pausing to eat ---
I couldn't recall
When I'd last dressed my feet.

I had not got the mail
Since I didn't know when.
The mailman must wonder
Where the deuce I had been.

I grabbed a sack
And found the box stuffed
With letters and cards
And junk mail enough.

It filled up the sack, and
As I was lugging it in,
I couldn't help thinking
It was as heavy as sin.

I sorted it out,
Threw the junk mail away.
Guess I'll leave the cards
To read on Christmas day.

I turned to the Computer
To check my Email --
I knew there'd be lots,
That never does fail.

When Windows logged on,
I read, bold and clear,
"Because of misuse, Christmas
Is cancelled this year!"

Then the screen went to black,
As my Radio spoke,
"Christmas is Cancelled!
This is not a joke!"

I felt a bit dizzy,
Things seemed to fade out.
I crawled into bed
With my head full of doubt.

When I awoke,
Things just didn't seem right.
I wondered what happened
During the night.

But my Atomic Clock
Said 12 26 --
I shook my head,
I was sure in a fix.

I looked at the calendar
Over my desk
And got another shock.
Glad my heart's not at risk.

For as sure as the dawn,
Right before my shocked face,
Where had been twenty five,
Was just a blank space!

From the Radio came
Such a blast of dismay --
What ever happened
To this year's Christmas Day?

Gone were the cards,
Not a one could I see,
Gone were the lights
And the green Christmas Tree.

Christmas was over
Before it had begun --
No Christmas Dinner,
No Christmas fun,

No Christmas Football,
No Christmas gifts.
I felt in my heart
A peculiar lift.

Atheists must all
Be filled with dismay,
And I'll bet that most
Are Believers today.

No Power on Earth could
Have done what was did,
The calendars changed
And the presents all rid.


My phone started ringing
With calls from all over,
Kids, grand kids and cousins,
Even an estranged Lover.

Most everyone thought
What had happened was bad,
But I personally thought
The reason for it was sad.

We've celebrated Crissmus,
Not the birth of the Child Who grew up to be, not
Really meek nor mild.

For there's no Peace on Earth,
Little Good Will among men --
We've been a passel of Fools.
You could shout an AMEN!


But when next December
Comes rolling around,
A different Christmas,
I'll bet, will be found.


Yes, I'm preaching again,
Some may not think I should
But it needed to be said,
At least I thought it should
So be it!

Clive

NEVERMORE


I made a dumb mistake,
A couple of months back.
And now I'm rather lonesome
To be back on the railroad tracks.


I bought a couple of books
About the hoboes of today
Their lives are somewhat different.
Some things change but others stay.


Those hoboes of the present
Do not go back to my time,
But they have got my feet to itching,
And the itching turns to rhyme.


I dream of lonesome whistles
When I am asleep at night.
Then I wake up in the darkness
And things just don't seem right.


I think of the days that once were
But that never more can be,
And, half awake, but dreaming,
Think of the guy I used to be.


The young man that I once was,
Who is yearning to be free,
Must be reminded by the present
That what he's asking ne'er can be.


Clive

A WHISTLE IN THE NIGHT


I never should have bought
Those books of Hobo tales --
I dream of frost bit toes, and
Nights when I slept in jails.


In the darkness of the night
I hear a lonesome whistle blow.
You could not hear it --
Its an echo from the long ago.

A whistle out of time
And tuned only to my ear
For others of that ilk,

Who might that whistle hear
Are gone, perhaps to otherwhere,
Where they hear whistles that
Are shut away by time
And whispered only where they're at.


In the darkness of the night
I see a phantom lantern swing,
I hear a sound of steam,
And so a ride begins.

The couplings clatter
As the slack is taken up
The rail joints start to click,
The Brakeman has stepped up.

The boxcar door is wedged
Open just far enough
So I can slip out of there
If things should get to rough.

We thunder through the night
On rails that have been gone
For forty years --
How can it be so long?


Tis but a dream --
I ride again a ride
That most of those who rode
Back then, have long since died.

While I, who was a young man then,
Live on,and cannot seem to die --
I waken in the winter dark
And heave a sigh.

Now snowmobiles
Roar up and down the trail
Where I once rode a boxcar
On the rails.

Alas, this tired old Rover
Lives too long.
Its far too late for me
To sing another travel song.

But I think about those hoboes
That so long ago I knowed
And, one more time, I wish that I
Was twenty and back there on the road.

Clive



 

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