Arched brows lifted above the land’s deep, rich loam,
It is to the land they belong, it is to the land they return.
Vermont granite bluffs displaced to face the south,
Squinting through the sun or the rain or the snow,
Wrinkles of past fancies weathered through years.
These whispering heads have much to say:
Wisdom, wit, adventure, pathos -- years spread out --
All the shallowness of lives now buried deeply
And the listeners thin out to nothing over time.
The erosion of time will mar the new flesh, too.
Grain by grain, flake by flake, liver spots of time
Will age and mellow the aches of memories.
Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school (remember, the hormonially-challenged?) English teacher living in Moreno Valley, California, with his wife of thirty-six years (poor soul, her, not him), their disabled daughter, one of their sons and his ex-wife and their two children, and twelve cats. Yes, twelve! He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity. Given his “druthers,” if he’s not writing poetry, Rick would rather still be tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon.