Friday, April 26, 2013

A Poem by Rick Hartwell

When Watchful Gods Watched Me

When runners, trees, and days were young,
You used to pump your way to search the sun-shrunk mists,
For an instant I would lose my sight of you within the trees, as wild-eyed
You’d hesitate, pause, then shake the hands of watchful gods
Be with runners, days, and trees.

First slowly, then with growing speed
You’d swoop again, avoid the ground, rise away from me,
Not clutching either rope, you’d rock, pump and slide from sun to shade,
I below with knotted-throat would anxiously watch you,
Watching gods within the trees.

With ever-lengthened arcs you’d swing,
Not touching me but gods, as I stood by and feared the time
When shadows, days, and legs grew long and set your swinging free,
I would know you’d lose the need for watchful gods,
A swinging tree, and me.

Now in my dreams only the rope swing hangs
And the watchful gods can see
Such a curious admixture
Of runners, trees,
And me.
Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school (remember, the hormonally-challenged?) English teacher living in Moreno Valley, California. 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, Rick would rather still be tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon.

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