A Visit to Grant’s Cottage

Ulysses S. Grant

has long been

one of my heroes.

General Lee was more glamorous,

perhaps more brilliant.

But Grant knew how to 

play the hand he was dealt.

The north held the advantage

in troops and resources.

Grant understood this,

as did Lincoln.

And Lincoln understood what Grant

brought to the table.

“He will fight.”

I was drawn to Grant’s modesty,

His lack of pretense.

The visit to his cottage 

Reinforced my love for him.

Located on a hillside

In Wilton, New York..

The cottage is

as modest as the man himself.

Grant lived and worked

In a room on the first floor.

Unable to lie prone

Because of throat cancer,

He slept between two

Large chairs facing each other.

Down the hill from the cottage

is an overlook

with mountains and countryside beyond.

Grant walked down to it when he could.

His friend Mark Twain

Visited him at the cottage

And urged him to finish

Writing his memoirs.

Grant wrote until he died

while Twain sold subscriptions

to the book, making sure

Grant’s family was provided for.

I’ve read the memoirs.

They are riveting;

Revealing a humanism

and a literary skill

surprising in a fighting general

August 29, 2022

Pushes and Pulls

Our dystopian world;

Leaders hell bent on blowing us up.

Talk with colleagues

On the failure of communism.

A world lost,

never to be recovered.

Room for love;

Nothing is easy.

August 23, 2022

After Insight

Something hits you

and you realize.

it’s an insight,

right before your eyes.

It becomes a poem;

or a conversation.

Something to bring home.

What then?

An insight completed

can change our lives.

That it takes courage

and love is no surprise.

August 21, 2022

Take the High Ground

When you feel most low;

When those who matter disappoint.

When the pull to

strike back is strongest.

That’s the time

to take a deep breath

and speak from history.

From what we’ve built together;

From where we want to go.

Don’t let hurt destroy

not just the past,

but the future.     

August 14, 2022

Flying with One Wing

Right hand recovering from surgery.

Can’t bathe, can’t eat,

can’t button my shirt

without help from my friends.

We so value “self-sufficiency”

until we’re not self-sufficient.

Embrace the humiliation.

Be thankful, but not too much.

After all it’s what

we humans can do

and do do

for each other.

August 9, 2022

August 9, 2022