Eighteen Years Old

Eighteen Years Old



Across the log fire
You gazed at me
I hardly heard
In all that talking
You had no word.
All those girls!
But you gazed at me.


I could only see, glowing,
The curves of your face
And your hands held before you
With peculiar grace
You turned from my gaze –
But looked back again
And I saw your eyes,
And then – and then –


How possible things seem
In firelight!
The pine smell was strong
And hung on the night,
My friend spoke to me,
But I did not hear –
Across the fire
Your eyes seemed so near.


How is this mystery?
Even now
I see you trembling
And feel how
You answered me
Without your voice.
Across the fire
We made our choice.

The Dearest Day

Is as short as all the rest, done
Before we know it, gone
Before we raise our heads to see
And feel the sobbing of the mystery:
“This is the dearest day, and will be gone.”

Later, when the day is past, we find
The ashes in a casket in our mind,
Recognize, with horror, the remains:
Heartache pulses to our brains,
“This – was the dearest day, and it is gone!”


Undulating, muddled mobs of men
flow by me. In my daze
dark this heartache, fading when
I sink down to this twilight phase and
Ah! And then comes you, my friend!
You pierce the flow with your lightning gaze
and all the pain screams in again.
I think to run and lose the blaze,
but could I live the living then?
Devoid of you? All the empty days?


Ice beguiles
The dullest thing
To artistry.
Frozen rusty
Stakes digged in
(sagged wire between)
Capsuled in ice
And pale light
And mystery
Stood before
A glittered field
and pink sky sheen.
The light (before
diffused) rose up,
With golden glance
Across the fence
Between the trees
Stretching over hills
And coupling
with the ice points
For a sparkle-dance.
Ice and light
Were one in glint
Bewildering – till
the sun, rising still,
rose up at last
to kill –

Now is the ice no more
But all things as they were before.


The snow beneath my window is
Not less white
Than the snow in the deepest
Glade, tonight.
There two muffled owls
Glide unknown;
Here it is my eyes that haunts

At The Lord’s Table

Israel sang for joy
expecting your salvation,
little knowing, Lord,
its cost.
You, the God of might
the Lord of all creation,
would save the weak
and find the lost.

The God I know is weaker:
bent, shamed, accepting wrong.
I halt between relief
and sorrow.
Heartily I feel
The joyous Hebrew song –
plus bloody grace
which they did not know.

Ol’ Dan Tucker – the Murg Version

(with help from the Ladies of
The Sororital Order of Behildazord Protectors)

Ol’ Dan Tucker was a Democrat,
Didn’t like the man with the stovepipe hat.
Wondered why the people re-elected Lincoln,
Seemed to him they jes’ warn’t thinkin’.

Get out’ the way fer Ol’ Dan Tucker;
He’s too late to get his supper.
Supper’s over an’ dinner’s cookin’,
Ol’ Dan Tucker’s jes’ a standin’ there lookin’.

Ol’ Dan Tucker was a private schooler.
Deep in his soul he knew he was cooler.
With his clothes in style an’ his hair done right
He sneered at the thinkers from his banal height.

Ol’ Dan Tucker was a King James only,
Wondered why his church had got so lonely.
Insisted on godly tunnel vision,
And now he has come up with his own religion.

Ol’ Dan Tucker was a slick youth pastor
Kept ’em scared longer and got ’em in faster.
Hoped he’d be in charge of the adults when he got big,
And now the devil’s sticking him a brand-new roast pig.


Innocence grows lonely at my age.
She cries in the vast emptiness between
my heart and the encircling of my arms.
If you were tired, with no place to lean,
you could understand the wail of Innocence,
weary for desires she has not seen.

A pool unvisited, my heart is –
and Innocence would gladly draw and say
to passersby, “Come and drink – the pool
is overfull!” But Virtue, every day,
sternly puts her by and lets the undrunk streams
run to nowhere by an unseen way.

Would not Innocence, so harshly used, soon die?
But Faith stands by the pool and smiles –
“Don’t weep – I see what you do not.
Toward this sacred spring, down the miles,
comes one who will posses it!” This is faith –
which loneliness in vain beguiles.

To Nineteen Years Old

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