Once she was so pretty—
Now she tries to look not so old.
Can you still see her eyes sparkle
Beneath her hair of store-bought gold?
Have you found your one and only?
Hold on with all you’ve got,
Or like those who end up so lonely,
You may forget the grace you were taught.
He used to know so much—
Now he thinks he’s lost his place.
He still loves his son and family
Even though he’s not sure about my face.
Study as hard as you can
And master the skills you need,
But keep a hard eye on Time
Which flies by at a freight train’s speed.
I still think she’s a beauty,
Even with her store-bought hair.
And despite the wrinkles and the crinkles,
I love her; and the rest? I no longer much care.
Sally Gossamer Wingstep heard a most curious sound,
It came from beyond the wilderness copse, over, about, and around;
When Sally flew around the last tree a wonder she could see
A greying Fablehaven hound softly baying at a prone bumblebee.
Sally risked to go closer to inspect this quite usual sight—
Instantly she flew for Johnny H. Beekeeper in a quite frenzied flight.
Can he find the resolution for a bee brought down so low?
If he lacks the right solution, where then could she ever go?
Johnny was tending keen to the so new garden green—
Petite pois on the trellis, coifed and coiled like you’ve never seen,
Tomates on the vine, carrots long and tall, blueberries arching high;
And Johnny’s prized honeycombs, so grand as to make a master bumble bee sigh,
And cousin-once-removed baby Amber Grace with the prettiest wee fairy face
Was flutter-skurrying in and out of plants and was just all over the place!
“Johnny, O Johnny”, Sally cried to her family friend with sure pride
“Come quick with me to see this poor poor bee, laid low and curled to one side.”
Finding hard-working Katje to attend their baby Amber Grace
Sally and Johnny flew straight off to the far away wooded place
With simple mind and quiet grace, John approached the curled up bee
But twas nothing more could be done, was plain and simple to see.
“Let’s take him home” offered John to Sally’s slow honoring tears,
Nodding, Sally looked for brambles to build a sled as for one’s peers.
A far off buzz grew nearer, the Wild Hive had come to find their brother;
A rippling peace reigned as Bumble Bee and Fairy regarded one another.
John and Sally backed away bowing as the Bumble Bees took up the reins
The bees would long remember how those aloof fairies had taken such pains.
The old Fablehaven hound bayed again as the sled disappeared around the wooded copse;
Sally and John made their long slow way back to home and the fairy-grown crops.
Sally made her thank you’s and kissed wee Amber Grace
Quite a wonder to see how Honor and Love forever bless this place.
He put the car in drive,
Out the driveway towards Albert Lane,
It would be a new 12 days to pass
Before seeing his daughter again.
He left the window open a crack;
Perhaps she’d forget something and would call?
No, he didn’t like dropping her at Fablehaven;
No, not really, not actually much at all.
His role snap-changed to just an aging man
When moments before he was in a family.
So what if it was only a family in two—
It was all he had here so far west of St. Tammany.
The tears dried absent just as expected,
With old long practice at things not being as one wanted.
Some would exalt giddy at this free, single life,
But he didn’t think that this kind of alone was all that vaunted.
Turning back to home on Glencrest Drive
As another Sunday evening purpled into dark,
He allowed a thought that it was perhaps okay—
And put the car in park.
The candle sputtered
Then guttered out
The wick a speck in the wax
The old poet looked
And suffered to stand up
The last present wrapped was Jack’s
A fresh Christmas candle
Striped Santa red and holly green
With its new flame warmed the room
Placing presents about
A tree to shame Charlie Brown
The shards of wrapping left with the broom
The cat’s tail flicked serene
The poet reached for his quill
As words soft filled a new page
A chance Winter memory
Spurred the poet on
Thoughts neither steep nor very sage
She bought him skis for a gift
Though “cross” country would mean something else
Tears of laughter with every tumble and spill
He wondered where she was now
A score of years have long passed
When meeting on Concourse B was such the piquant thrill
Chinese Five Spices
Floated upon the solemn merlot
The poet paused to let the tightness pass
Tomorrow the two-state drive
Back to his beloved Crescent City
Though this year without his own wee lass
Daughter would be skiing
Off out with her Mother and half family
Cross country over in the mountain West
He’d be with swiftly aging brother
And a Christmas with the family Creole
But things always work out for the best
A meow and a sigh
The poet let Jack out the door
A cat in search of secret nocturnal meetings
The candle blew out neat
The cold front had as promised arrived
As the rain pelted out its Season’s Greetings
Waxing and waning here came Christmas Number Sixty-two
But he yet looked ahead brightly through this Yuletide in Blue
We conquered mighty castles
Together, in blanquette or in the sand
Flew great heights on swings
Soared up Austin hills hand-in-hand
We shared in many battles:
Mastery in the great tragedy of Trigonometry,
Consumed Texas History and First Violin,
And developed a healthy skepticism of Allah and Deuteronomy
Some wars were personal:
The treachery of childhood friends;
While learning great truths—
That the means don’t always justify some ends
But today my princess walks ahead
Out of my guidance and out of my reach
No more to cavort on trampoline
Or harry stubborn castles on a beach
Her fresh adventure awaits—
Arm-in arm with her new young prince,
A meeting of Love and Good Sense;
She hasn’t been my princess since
But our regard hasn’t been stronger
Even if she is my princess no longer
Begging your pardon
I’ve not a blessed thing to say
Could you look into these eyes—
I watched my Papa die today
He went pretty easy
He went how he wanted
No extra measures called for
No one’s gonna be haunted
Asking your blessing
But what can I do for you?
You share your smile with the angels
Can you tell me what I’m supposed to do?
Papa died clean
Papa died in his own bed
Hospice got their dnr
But Papa went his own way instead
Families walk over the worst when at their best
Your heroic work is done, son, now take you rest