Sunday, March 31, 2013

I Am an Eagle

I am an eagle
  Touching the mountain tops
      On wings of morning
         Chasing dreams.

* By Tom King - January 1980, Clovis, NM

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Quiet Town

By Tom King

It’s just a quiet town, my town;
               One church and a flock of schools,
And the three-nights-a-week softball tournament,
               When the local warriors trot out their stuff
                              …on a summer’s evening.

Last week the college had a film – Disney flick;
               Dalmatians or Lippizaners or such as that.
Three reels and a break for popcorn in the middle
               And the young men of good report walk their ladies home talking
                              …in whispers intently.

Tonight the neighbor kid beat up a cop – our cop!
               Something about a license plate,
And Mrs. Peavy, who is 60, carries a stick on her early morning walk
               To fend off the ragged refugees our town once welcomed
                              …with open arms.

Next week when all the gossip runs its troubled course,
               And all the misfits we’ve taken in are suitably castigated and arrayed
Before us all for our collective misjudgment,
               It will wound the gentler hearts, the ones who’ve left their doors unlocked
                              …for so many years.

It is they, who will feel the loss most keenly.

© 1986, Keene, TX

Friday, March 22, 2013

Red Sky

By Tom King

Red sky; red sea,
    When the sun came up today.
Sailor take warning,
    The wind is high,
        And red is the sky,
            And crimson the sea.

Along the sullen streets
    An old man plods his way,
Hobnails clicking against the worn cobbles;
    The watching walls echoing more shaply than usual
         The purposed stride
             Of something pent up inside the graying head.

Overhead framed in a soot-stained window
    An elbow resting on the sill,
A small boy – an early riser
    Intently flips a handful of tiny stones into space
        One by one from a secret store
            He’d stashed the night before beneath his bed.

A cold-eyed hulking great bear lumbers in the street
    Hiding everywhere
Wearing crude disguises.
    Everyone knows it.
        No one’s seen it yet. but dull angger
            Has stretched its steamy canopy over the brooding breaking day.

Grim-faced women, weary-eyed,
    Peer from kitchen windows
After sturdy men drifting away,
    To factories and fields and shops.
        No one stops to say “Good morning.”
            For it is not.  Indeed it is not.

Red sky, red sea,
    Gray-green towns.
Work-stained faces grim and proper.
    A steel trap underneath that springs without warning
        And set this red sky morning…………for bear.

© April 1984 

Written in Keene, Texas after reading stories about Lech Walesa’s solidarity movement and the Russian crackdown on the Poles. In the news, I saw in these events, the seeds of the end of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I Stand for a Moment

by Tom King

I stand for a moment
     On the edge of a dream,
Wondering what has brought me here.

Was it cold, hard facts
     Or the insistent whisper
Of tomorrow in my ear?

(c) 2002 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

When the Summer Came

By Tom King

When the summer came
Oh, I had fine resolutions.
               I’ll bring her daisies every day,
                              And we will walk for hours in the sun

…And I did once or twice bring her daisies,
               But we never found the time
                              To walk in the sun

And now when summer’s gone
And God has touched the forests red and gold
               “I shall sing her songs by twilight,
                              And we shall hold hands in the gathering dusk.
…And I have writ the songs,
               But cannot sing them half so well
                              As my heart wants.

Never mind my darling
Never mind at all
               For dusk will surely gather and daisies bloom
                              And we have always
                                             Each others’ hands to hold.

*  Copyright 1986

Composed on a Commodore computer at Odyssey Harbor - June, 1986

Monday, March 18, 2013

In the Wide World

(c) Glenn Sackett photograyphy - used by permission

By Tom King

In the wide world I have heard
               God’s voice singing with other tongues.
Far and away in places unexpected and hard sometimes
               To hear, but there all the same.

And I knew then, that I had been made
               To live forever; forever turning corners just like that
And finding bits of sweetness, bits of delight
               Like tiny shards of the glory that was Eden.

In the wide vault above me I have traced
               The paths where men have struggled to be near
The tingling heights where it seems by rights we should belong
               But never can quite reach.

And I know now, that I have been made
               To tread the skies with angels for companions
And put out my hand and touch His face
               Like a child would touch his Father’s cheek.

In the wide depths I have seen and I have felt
               The splendor of his workmanship and not alone
For even there some men still fight to save the evidence
               That we are only children in this vast creation.

And each man knows yet that he has been made
               To keep the gardens of the Earth; the skies, the seas
And in his inmost self, he knows the reason he was made
               And who it was that made him.

(c) April 1989 
Written during nap time at Lil’ Britches Day Care
*Photo by my friend and incredible photographer, Glenn Sackett

Friday, March 15, 2013

Old Friends

Attribution Some rights reserved by asithappens /jc

© 2011 by Tom King

Old friends I knew once long ago
Faces dim, their names forgotten now
Helped make me who I am today
I wish that I could tell them how.

Old friends who still remember me
Once in a while I stumble into them
And some remember me by name
While I only know that I once knew them.

We talk a while, tell funny stories
I watch their faces for a clue
Old synapses fire in my back brain
Dusty memories shared between us two.

And in a breath we're back in time
Reliving stories we both know
As though they'd happened yesterday
Instead of twenty years ago.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

On Brevity and Loquacity...

Calvin Coolidge - Famous terse person
Ode to the Soul of Wit*
by Sheila King

I like my verse terse
Long sentences a curse
For minds that tend to wander

Redacting words is fun
Just say it and be done
Time is not to squander

Verbosity I do not toast.
It seems a bit to boast.
Leaving less to ponder.

*  I got the idea for this from a story I heard about Calvin Coolidge. Coolidge had a reputation as a man of few words. When he was president, a lady approached him at a dinner party once and said, "I bet my friend that I could get you to say more than two words to me." She smiled seductively and winked at him. Coolidge studied her for a moment and answered, "You lose!"

On the other hand.....

William Jennings Bryan - Famous big mouth

Ode to Verbosity
By Tom King

In the making of rhythms poetical
Too much brevity is for me antithetical
I find cuts editorial
Far too dictatorial
I find verses laconic heretical!