Five Easy Pieces

The Way We Wish It Was

We wish for that we cannot have:

Seasons without winter’s torment,

Children who stay forever young

Their skin supple and their hands small,

Grasping at the longings we share.

We wish that we could float with clouds

And see the winding path below

Where we wander along alone

The well worn trail of our dreams,

In search of the rest of our life.

We wish our longings would dissolve,

And we could accept the regrets

And allow forgiveness, mercy

From this, the way we wish it was,

Which is just the way that it is.

Why Things Happen

For J. D. Riso

Why Things HappenI listened to the rain fall for hours

And read a mystery next to my cat,

Both of us dismayed by the dark, wet sky.

I listened and read and accrued the clues

Of how and who as to why things happen.

I heard rainwater scampering across

The roof shingles and into the gutter,

Draining the sky to gravity’s rhythm,

Down the spout and away, under the ground.

I turned a page, the cat stretched, and elsewhere,

Far away, sirens curdled the night air

And soured someone’s life, now, gone awry.

My Beautiful Life

Five Easy Pieces

I walked alone this afternoon.

October’s velvet light slipped through

The shade of a Big Leaf Maple

And tattooed my arms with shadow.

Erratic winds stirred the branches

And a scattering of leaves fell

Like confetti before my eyes.


They danced minuets in rhythm

To the crosscurrent of the breeze

In their tan and yellow dresses.

They twirled in celebration

Of my life, my beautiful life.

And when the wind died, they stopped, as

I walked alone this afternoon.

Perpetual Autumn

“Just remain in the center; watching. And then forget that you are there.” Lao Tzu

Autumn VersesSummer dissolved in autumn’s weakened sun.

Chores came due, and the oak and fir were split

And the roof climbed to clean the soot filled flue

And the tawny wood stacked up high against

The barren rafters of the weathered shed,

Where spiders fed on October’s insects.

Dense clouds of leaves floated over the fence

From the boughs of a neighbor’s noble oak.

They twirled and plummeted to the ground

In the shaggy frost of early morning,

Nesting on stones that surround the laurel

And the mossed trunk of the white bark cherry.

I gathered up the fallen debris and

Arrested disorder with symmetry.

I quarreled against the icy chill and

The bedded stems that resisted the rake,

And the whorl of leaves that escaped its scratch

To scatter free, outside my custody.

Some hid in the skirt of the burning bush:

The clutter of perpetual autumn.

Others fluttered away, dried and brittle,

Propelled by the wealth of west winds that honed

And shaped the land and the silent river

Where great blue heron glide and fish alone.

The Towhee

PoetryNeedles of sleet fell all throughout the night

And the towhee pecks at the hardened crust,

Seeking the moist carpet of leaves below.

But it is too deep. Only the memory

Of his stutter step foraging remains:

Of hopping ahead and jumping backwards,

Of when he tossed aloft the ground cover,

The turning of each leaf, shoving, pulling,

And searching for the mysteries beneath.

He’d been so happy to be that busy

With the bounty of everlasting work,

Patient in the quest for a tiny seed,

The egg of an insect, a spent morsel.

He flies to the white paper birch and joins

With the juncos and the chipping sparrow

Perched in the ribs of the tree’s skeleton

Under the grey breast of the winter sky.

He waits for the promise of tomorrow,

In the biting wind and the falling snow,

Warmed by the forge in his colossal heart.

2 thoughts on “Five Easy Pieces

  1. Hey John. I missed commenting on Five Easy Pieces. Beautiful and profound. I also loved the quote from Lao Tsu. “Just remain in the center; watching. And then forget that you are there.” If only I could.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gary. Yes, this is my “Magnum Opus.” You were among the first privy to my dream of being a poet. 🤓 These must suffice to realizing that dream.

      Meanwhile, I am fascinated and excited about your dreams of success as a movie producer. You have done it and I hope that more accolades are in your future.


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