Tuesday, January 31, 2006

My mom's attic

My mom's attic
When I empitied out my mother's house, I found the closets full.
Dad's clothes, shoes and ties still hung there,
where he had left them 21 years before,
as he dressed for my 25th birthday.
When it was over he shook my hand goodbye and died on the spot,
a massive heart attack claiming his life at 57.

And tears of sorrow streamed at the memory.

I found the attic full of my mom's old clothes,
dresses she had made herself,
bright polka-dot fabric that I remember as a child,
hanging alongside my dad's old Navy uniforms from WWII
and their square dance costumes from happier days.

And tears of grief streamed at the memory.

I found my own childhood closet full.
High school clothes, old sneakers, even a pair of toy guns,
Once a delightful Christmas present from the 1950s.

And tears of memory streamed.

When I returned to the place where I had lived my life for 53 years,
I found my old friends distant and uncaring.
They had all moved on,
my friendship only a distant memory.

And tears of loneliness streamed.

I was a stranger in my own house.

Disappointment and betrayal flooded my soul.
Somehow I expected everything to fit,
Somehow I expected my old friends would always be friends,
Somehow I thought nothing would change.

When I left my job after 29 years,
a few comrades showed up to wish me well,
ate a donut and went back to their phones and deadlines.
Now I realize that all my work,
and all my dedication was in vain.

When my wife left me after 26 years,
no friends offered a hand,
none offered an ear,
none shed a tear.

But now I realize the awful truth
that nothing lasts,
not one thing.

Some memories are painful, and others are joyful,
but memories are only memories.

Today is all we have.
Yesterday is gone forever.
Tomorrow is not yet here,
and it will never arrive.

Today will be tomorrow's memory.
And I will not be able to reach back from tomorrow to relive today,
Just as I cannot reach back into the past from today,
shake my dad's hand one more time,
kiss my mom goodbye,
feel an old love again
or wear my old sneakers.

Today is today
All my ambitions were not in vain,
for they carried me to this place.
My old friends fit
like my old jeans once did.

My old love brought forth into this world
two wonderful people,
who have brought me four grandchildren.
That love gave me many joys
and spread some sunshine into the world for a time.

Those were the tasks of my youth,
which are now finished and done.
Those were the friends of my youth,
who have now moved on like me.

Now I must find a new reason.
Reap the harvest of a life well lived,
Learn the lessons of the past and move on.

For there are only so many more sunrises left for me,
and so many sunsets.

Today I have a loving wife,
a partner who stands by my side,
Teaching me what real love is all about.

Today I have a good job,
challenging and interesting with respect of colleagues.
Today I live in a great city,
full of things to do, see and hear.
Today I live in a cozy house,
surrounded by woods, fields and wild things.

Today is all that matters.


friend said...

reading ur poem, towards the end tears welled up in my eyes... cud imagine the entire thing u say in ur poem in front of my eyes...
very well written.
r u a professional writter by any way? u write so flawless... keep writing.

RunAwayImagination said...

Thanks for you kind words; they are quite encouraging, and I shall indeed keep on writing. I do technical/legal writing for a living, not the kind of writing that you see on my blog. I have a ton of interesting stories that I hope to publish someday.