Friday, May 30, 2008


This, bumped up from June 12 of last year. I'm feeling really beat up, but my faithful throng of admirers -- I think of them as my prophettes -- they grow peevish if I don't daily ladle out sweet nectar from the font of my wisdom. I'm very compassionate, regarding all these puny desperate creatures. What do they have in their meaningless lives, but me?

It's that last paragraph. It just makes me smile. Looked it up, and noticed a same theme as something I'd bumped up last week. Well, it's a good theme. Of course it is. I am, after all, Jack H. My only flaw is that I'm too intelligent to be comprehensible.


Something over thirty years ago now, when I was fifteen or so, I wrote my first good poem. Not great. Nothing I would write now. It's a little mannered, a little obvious, a little on the nose. But it's okay. I was young, just struggling to find a voice.

I quote from memory.

All I want is love.
A little love,
to chase away
that specter
of loneliness
forever at my

The seascape surrounds me.
The beach is endless.
The waves lash at my body.
The tide would have me.

Without anyone to love,
I am seawater.

Surprising how like my own voice it is, after all these years. The boy is father to the man. I liked its simplicity. In those days I was much more elaborate.

It is not possible to reach back through the decades and take hold of that lost boy, and with the wisdom that painful lessons have taught, help him to find a solid place to stand, in the uncertain and empty world he perceived around him. There is no reaching back. The arrow of time points forward.

There is a sort of time travel we can do, though. We can't rewrite the past, but we write the future, and we do so with mutterings and glances and nudges, subtle things that we don't even notice, mere puffings, but great winds to children, with which we send them this way or that, like toy ships in a pond. So it is. They unmoor themselves and drift away, and it is on us to stand in a firm place with a rope, to draw them back if they will have it.

For ponds overflow their banks and join the sea, and someone must be vigilant or the wild winds will rise and tear the still waters into chaos. The oceans are thick with the bodies of those who have been swept away by some wayward wave -- lost, unnoticed until too late, and no circling as an afterthought will wrest tragedy back from the implacable black waters.

We show them our love by respecting their loneliness, and listening to them when they've had enough of it. There has to be someone there, to listen. The night needs to have somewhere in it a sheltered dry place with a bright warm fire, where sad and funny stories affirm the bond between past and future, and where silence falls because everything that should be said, has been.

I wish I'd had that. But my son did.

I am a time traveler. I am God's archer. I am the castaway who puts poems in bottles with the assurance that the one for whom they were meant will find them. Right now, that must be you. We walk our separate beaches, washed ashore, or pulled in by a long rope as the case may be, and we are divided by time and some unknown distance, but we share the same sun, the same tides, and the same desire for fellowship, however indirect. This is how we know that we are all children. The sand between our toes reminds us of it. And we are time travelers.

Let us then take pleasure from each other. Let us comfort each other. Let's play and laugh and be foolish until we are giddy with sunlight and birdsong, and the water and the trees are both so full of light that we can't tell one from the other. Then we'll come home, and fall asleep sprawled on blankets on the floor, and if we dream, we will laugh in our sleep.


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