Mennonite Poetry Home | Larry Nightingale




         (for my father, in memory)

Was a good young man, in slow change, rough coal going to diamond.
Not dull — little fellow with a right dark sparkle.
A poor-boy, son of a Gospel-preaching dirt farmer.
And the young woman pedalled her clunky old swoop-bar bicycle
smack into his arms.
Pretty much. (Perhaps that happened.)
The naive girl was a charmer.
So down the years, in their hearts and on their knees praying 'love,
let this come to no harm here — that true lovers not suffer alarms...'

Oh but where was she now?
Him standing tired, and alone. Naked. In God's so tender armour.
This wounded widower. Still in love.
Becoming love's ageless rich-man. Built his hovel shack upon that rock.
Still a poor-man, again the poor-boy.
Never swaggered. Slow to talk.

Those two — did not 'reap the whirlwind'. Blessed, were not among those.
(Though, oft' times enough the ruts turned his tractor).
Come to grief, sure. But too joy and laughter.
Used to lay his dusty head in her lap. Ah, yes...
well, but, that was before. What of hereafter?
For their love was, pockets loaded, one full apron then, spread between
the heat and the chill factor.

Rag, bone, and coal. Pete — going to diamond.
'Just couldn't stay poor, sir. No, sir. Only to rot in a sack, sir.'
It was love, only love, made the rich-man.
Found shelter in the cleft of that rock.
Old Pete — the poor-boy walking with a pebble in his sock.

© Larry Nightingale




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