I Wish

(Two days ago my beloved mother breathed her last, surrounded by her family. These words are for her.)
I wish I had told her 
How much I loved her
More often than I did

I wish I had hugged her
When I knew she needed a hug
More often than I did

I wish I had expressed
My gratitude for all she gave
More often than I did

I wish I had said I knew
What she was going through
More often than I did

I wish I had held her hand
And just said “I understand”
More often than I did

I wish I had tried to feel
The pain in her ruin of a body
More often than I did

I wish I had prayed
That I suffered it instead
More often than I did

I wish I’d shown my admiration
Of her indomitable spirit
More often than I did

I wish I’d shown my appreciation 
Of her incredible tenacity
More often than I did

All alone, now that she is gone
All alone, I wander around
Feeling like a lonely old beggar

With all these worthless wishes
Like a bunch of dud coins
Jangling in my coat pocket

Surrender

These are the terms of my surrender
In the battle I lost many years ago
When I fell in love with all that is you
It’s taken so long for you to know

These are the terms of my surrender
Give me refuge in your arms
Forgive my many transgressions
Give me shelter from the storms

These are the terms of my surrender
Be my soulmate, confidant, friend
Share my joys, my sorrows too
Stay with me until our lives end

These are the terms of my surrender
Make me laugh, make me cry
Question me every step of the way
Never cease to ask me - Why?

These are the terms of my surrender
For I know I’m nothing without you
I owe you my very existence
Your love is what will see me through

These are the terms of my surrender
I am your prisoner now, for life
I volunteered for this confinement
The day I took you for my wife

Just Me*

(“As your writing gets more personal, eventually there will be a line that makes it universal” - Robert Hunter, Grateful Dead lyricist and one of my favorite poets)
Is it just me
Or does the rising sun fill you too
With the hope of a new day
That will be like no other

Is it just me
Or do the million bright stars 
Of a clear night’s sky make you too
Want to leap over the parsecs

Is it just me
Or does the sight of dewdrops on a bloom
Make you too want to shed
Your own tears of joy

Is it just me
Or does the view of a snow-clad mountain
Make you too want to take wing
And croon like a passerine

Is it just me
Or does the giggle of a babbling brook
Take you too back to your childhood when
You floated your frail paper boat down a stream

Is it just me
Or does it remind you too of the touch
Of your grandmother’s work-worn hands
When you stroke the gnarly bark of a dying tree

Is it just me
Or do these myriad quotidian moments
Awaken your emotional self too
And make you realize what a gift
Life is

Paper and Ink

(I often wonder what my obituary will say. Do you?)
Will they say he was a poet
Of happiness and of sorrow
Will they say he was a poet
Of yesterday, today and tomorrow

Will they say he was a poet
With shallowness and vanity
Will they say his fantasies
Reflected only his insanity

Will they say he was a poet
Who dreamed of mountains and streams
Will they say his work laid bare
The anguish of unfulfilled dreams

Will they say he turned a phrase
With uncommon panache and verve
Will they say his honesty
Somewhere touched a nerve

Will they say that as he aged
His work betrayed his senescence
Will they say he was a poet
Whose words were of some consequence

Will they say his poetry
Sometimes made them stop and think
Will they say he needn’t have bothered
He wasted so much paper and ink