Monday, September 7, 2015

My Sunday Stroll

Veteran visitors to "Chosen Words" ... those with long memories, at least ... may recall having seen today's poem before.

When it was first posted here, I began with an apology: Sorry I'm late.

And I continued:

It's sometimes hard to tell, precisely, when or how "late" begins.

I think maybe it began Sunday afternoon ... and, mind you, I'm not placing any blame ... oh, no ... I'm just trying to set, in my own mind, when the wheels of progress started slipping. In my case, that may have been years ago ... but that's another story ...

Phyllis and I had planned to arrive early Sunday afternoon in the vicinity of the Dayton Metro Library, where we were going to see a short film, "Miami Valley's Favorite Poems," which features local residents reading and discussing their favorite poems.

Then ... oh, then ... we were going to listen to others reading and sharing ... in person. What an afternoon it promised to be!

We did, in fact, arrive early ... but not early enough. We headed to our favorite parking area, only to find the last ... the very last ... parking place being claimed.

No problem ... we assumed that this meant a large crowd for the poetry program ... and that's always good news. Besides, we knew of other parking spots in the neighborhood.

We simply wheeled out of there and drove on ... and on ... and on.

Four blocks later, we found a spot.

As we walked toward the library, it became increasingly clear that the crowd had not gathered for the poetry program, but for a ball game ... at a magnificent stadium ... which has inadequate parking ... but that's another story, too.

We didn't mind the stroll ... we like walking ... but it did remind me of one of my poems (somewhere below).

I don't know about the ball game, but the poetry program was great. I enjoyed all of the readings in the movie, but I was particularly moved by the reading given to Paul Laurence Dunbar's poem, "We Wear the Mask."

Oh, and I enjoyed the readings afterward, too ... particularly one which was done from memory (I always admire and envy people who can do that). There were some who told us they were reading before an audience for the first time ... but they seemed to have the butterflies under control ... and their readings were great, just great.

Naturally, I jumped at the chance to share a couple of my poems ... I do that whenever I see a light in a window, or a door slightly ajar. I barge right in ... but, never fear, I usually knock ... softly ... before barging in.

I shared a new one, "My Sister, Tonto," and a couple of oldies, "Hollyhocks," and "Chance of Rain" ... that last, careful readers will note, is the title poem (my lucky poem, I call it) of my first collection (Finishing Line Press, 2003).

On the way back to the car, while I was thinking about the music of all that poetry we had heard ... I couldn't help thinking about that baseball crowd, too ... and what they had missed ... really, really missed.

And now, that poem about another stroll:


How brave the dogs
crashing into the fence,
at me on the other side.

Are they afraid I'll jump
the barrier (at my age)
and attack them?
Does the fence make them

brave, as brave as I am?
Only inches from
flashing, pointed teeth,
agitated, syncopated paws,

those raging eyes, rising
hackles, I stroll serenely
past as superior as a cat,
knowing that the fence

will corner abruptly and they
must stop, game over,
while I, clearly the winner,
hear only the cheering
crowd as I quit the field.
© 1998
(originally published in Moose Bound Press)
Today's word: serenely

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