Scan_20200521 (4)

Moving from boats to boundaries and beyond, it’s hard to choose a sequence that seems to flow.  Night Guitar and Another Door Opens, written at different times, both refer to the edges of the underworld but without the drama that might be appropriate to a younger person. I’d like to develop this more pictorially but for now this little drawing will have to do.

Night Guitar

Some nights I wake
and know that sleep no longer guards me
from the rabble of my undirected dreams.

I wander barefoot to this room,
its view of moonlit trees and sky.
An old guitar waits for me there.

Left hand upon its slender neck,
right upon its curving body,
my fingers feel the tensions of its strings.

Alive to the shadows’ mute suggestions,
I break the silence of this sleeping house
with a first, questioning chord.

And when a tune takes shape, I sometimes sing.
An audience of memories gathers near,
so many that they crowd the room

I play to you,
unnamed woman in the bed across the ward,
who struggled painfully to rise
but sank back again to listen.

I play for you, dear friend,
remembering the distant trees
when oaks still held their russet leaves
that grey November day.

I play until the first grey light appears
and one by one the listeners wander off,
having no place in this prosaic world.

So I will play on other sleepless nights
until I set this bridging instrument aside,
join those who long to be remembered.

(November, 2018)


Another Door Opens

The phantom door stood closed before us all for weeks,
though you kept eyeing it,
fearful at first, then later, as the weightlessness took hold,
you seemed to struggle towards it
We dared not hold you back.
And when at last you crossed the sill
there was no spill of light as the door swung to receive you.
Nothing revealed, the door and you were gone.
The clock by the bed jerked stupidly ahead.

Now as the days pull straight to other doors that wait,
there comes a scrap of music, a melody of chatter:
I think to hear you in some sidewalk’s busy clatter.
until I realize that somewhere, another door has opened,
releasing you like perfumed smoke
to drift in wisps and dreams throughout our days,

(January, 2007)


5 thoughts on “Transitioning

  1. Farrell, I especially enjoyed “The Night Guitar”. It’s almost as if it was written of a musician wanting to ease the loneliness experienced by residents of long term care facilities during this time of Covid.


  2. Hi Farrell,

    I really like your poems and what you have to say about them.

    If and when this thing is finally behind, us, your stuff will one of only a few pleasant memories.



  3. thanks Farrell, I really liked the poem Night Guitar, I try not to get out of bed when I know I’m not going to sleep soon, instead I read a book for half an hour then magically mostly I fall asleep, long may it last!


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