Running Out of Time

(revised)

The days grow shorter,

The air is colder.

So is the river.

It’s fall.

Different upstate.

Dark is darker;

cold is colder.

The seasons are not 

muted by lights, traffic,

packed subways and buses.

Running out of time;

I’m pressing, knowing there are 

but a few days left.

I feel it on the river.

Mistakes made,

Lines tangled,

Trees caught,

Light fading.

November 1, 2021

Running Out of Time

The days grow shorter,

The air is colder.

So is the river.

It’s fall.

Different upstate.

Dark is darker;

Cold is colder.

The seasons are not 

Muted by lights, traffic,

packed subways and buses.

Running out of time;

I feel it on the river

I’m pressing, knowing there are 

but a few days left.

Mistakes made,

Lines tangled,

Trees caught.

Light fading;

Running out of time

October 15, 2021

At Plymouth Rock

What does it mean

to celebrate a rock

sitting under a white portico,

1620 engraved on it?

Solid and impervious;

Those white men

who chose this as their monument —

We call them founding fathers.

Generations struggled

to escape

Their rock solid

Assurance that

Their’s was the way.

Millions moved west.

Millions more came.

Some on slave ships,

Others in steerage

to challenge their hegemony.

Women led the way.

I’m proud to be among

the men who followed.

Sexuality, love, laughter

Broke the bonds,

Allowing held hands

to shape a new world

Where their descendants 

were humanized

and the rest of us

Unbound.

October 3, 2021

https://wordpress.com/home/poemsforfriends.blog

BATTLE ON THE BATTENKILL

Up before dawn;

Downstream as day breaks.

I’ll catch one today

Whatever it takes.

Oh no!

It’s rain.

Head for the car

I feel the pain.

Wait!

A ray of sun.

Back in the water.

Lo, I hook one!

Small but lively.

I go by the book,

but as I reel him in

he slips the hook.

Fired up.

I snag a big one.

Strong, stubborn.

How he can run!

Takes yards of line.

So fast and strong.

I know he’s mine;

I can’t be wrong.

A monster trout?

Just a big branch.

I take the hook out.

When’s my next chance?

September 28, 2021

River Report

Day one:

Got a bite

but lost the fish.

Day two:

Mentally focused — 

What to do

When you get a hit?

Avoid panic 

when the sudden, thrilling

tug on the line comes.

Prepared:

Gear set up in advance;

Flies carefully chosen.

Out again:

Not a nibble;

No chance to 

break through.

Is it just dumb luck,

Or must I live with

not being good  

at something I love?

As the fog lifts,

The sunlight on the river

Warms your back

and plays on the water.

Isn’t that enough?

September 15, 2021

HUGGING WANDA

(Here’s a timely one by Alice Rydel)

Sick of the anniversary

But can’t stop watching TV

Where were you? Where was I?

Hugging Wanda.

Nine Eleven

Nurses called back to work

The hospital needs to prepare

I hear her screaming on the phone

And rush out to get her


“My daughter! My daughter!”


When I tell the story

My arms contort

Around her invisible body

Her head is on my shoulder 


We go back to the hospital

In the ER a stretcher holds a solid white statue

Then a dark hole opens

Gasping for air


Chairs ripped out of the auditorium

To make room for beds

Never filled


Waiting for news

About Wanda’s daughter

I hear cheering and laughter

But my colleague looks sick


“Her daughter left a voicemail.

Everyone cheered.

I couldn’t tell her the rest of the message.”


Still hugging Wanda

Oy Vey, A Jewish Fisherman’s Lament

It couldn’t have been more perfect.

6:30 a.m.

A little cloudy;

Warm but not hot or muggy.

The river clear, 

The current strong but not raging.

Outfitted with a new set of flies

and advice from the guy at Orvis,

I picked a sexy, sparkling one

And tied it on. 

Irresistible.

Someone forgot to tell the fish

Is there a God

In this most dystopian time?

Is it too much to ask that he 

encourage a trout to take a nibble?

August 23, 2021

https://wordpress.com/home/poemsforfriends.blog

Ahab on the Battenkill

It was Sunday morning;

Up and ready as the day was dawning,

greeted by light rain;

What’s fun without some pain?

Could go either way;

So I started the day 

with waders, boots, waterproof jacket;

Grabbed the net and staff, rod and reel.

Headed for the Battenkill.

It began to pour, but I pushed on.

The river was swift, a siren song.

The rain was steady;

But I was ready.

Line and leader became a tangle.

No choice really, no good angle

Time to head for home,

I was all alone.


August 11, 2021