poetry

throwback: 1998: reflecting pool

If ever there were a man...

If ever there were a man who, at the age of five,
    Stood-long at the wonder of morning glories
      As they hung-quiet on the garden lattice;
Who charged armies untold into the mean rakes of war
On a red tricycle, screech-and-wince waging its own battle
      With the rust of April rains past;
    Who promptly departed planet Earth each eve
After dinnertime for a richly woven and colorfully
Conjured world of his own tireless toil—
If ever there were such a man, then he and I are the same.

If ever there were a man who, at the age of twelve,
    Slip-tripped into love’s valley vineyard and drank of her
      Wines far too early in life;
Whose eyes opened unto the miracle and lessons to be found
In every second chance far too late;
      Who never knew at all that high and narrow bridge for bracing
    The slow-awkward stumble from boyhood into the
Long-meander of manhood—
If ever there were such a man, then I’ve mirror-wept his name.

If ever there were a man who, at the age of nineteen,
    Wore the tatters of the day that hurt the heart more than it
      Did salve the soul, never rhyming on reason;
Who mistook the pain of aimlessness, loneliness, and
Heaviest responsibility for a wailing wall
      Rather than a revealing window;
    Who came to know the poorly engineered devices
And easy answers of selfish self-depreciation before
He knew the implements and high promise of
Hope, wisdom, and perseverance—
If ever there were such a man, then I’ve hefted the flag for his claim.

If ever there were a man who, as at best an emerging man,
    Endeavored to pay in full the reparations called
      For by his hand-wrung wrongs;
Who saw no reason, nor honor, in chasing recognition
For his star-hung rights;
      Who thanked heaven for every lick-lash of hell
    And the scorch of experience that char-marked each fall;
Who was discerning enough to see in the reflecting pool
The ripples of a tremulous grace in the dynamic of it all—
If ever there were such a man, then I, myself,
Shouldn’t vouch that I am he,
Though he is the man with whom I’d most want to walk, if by he came.


Previous Post:
    Poetry: Passerby
        https://windstrewn.com/2018/03/23/passerby/


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