A Poem Found On the Side of a Road

A Poem Found
On the Side of a Road

Badly damaged and hard to
Read in places…

Somewhere out West where
We know of canyons and
A pale, translucent moon I

See hillsides by hills and
Far off a lone figure up
Far off passes we squint

At in the sun. It
Just like this place. This
Feeling by fires and smells

Of streams by woods near
Trees we can only see
Waving at us from roads

We just can’t reach…

The rest cannot be read.

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Once, In November

In a room somewhere I see
A silent image of people who
Cry but do not talk and it

Seems to be all in
A great, white and frozen snow
Globe… a stage, a

Lone woman and nothing
But silence and hands and
People hanging perilously close

To the edge of
A railing. All,

All like a dream on a long night
Of numbers and colors and
Soft footsteps in a locked room

Where we only hear the rattling
Of ice and the purr of taxis
Waiting far below… Such a

Quiet night in a room,
Somewhere.

A Poem Found Beneath a Tree

I like to think of it as
A king in a bed who
Never wakes up. A kiss
Good-night and then that is
All… slipping away in

The dead of night. A
King, once. Or

The lone splash of lines falling
Into cold mountain water that
Came from a frozen pond by
A mill that ground stone from

An old mine with loose, lean
Floor boards. So much

Time and memories of trains
On tracks that creep across
Mountain-sides that we cannot
Take anymore. Just the sound

Of birds in bushes and the
Soft rustling off of little pale
Forms that whisper of

Time in bottles that we float
Silently downstream.

Boxes and Batteries

Matthew Henningsen's The Literary Doc

On a bus in a deep Asian jungle,
Full of rain and wet,
I thought of a time when I
Held my memories in my hand,
Squeezing them and squeezing them…
So alive.

I thought of a box with a lid
Cracked open, a gap where we see
Time walked in parks, hands held in
The fading light of a distant day. Hollow
Trees on campus greens, places where
Gold was hidden. Moments so
Fragile, like plates thrown into
The air, suspended.

People I wave at, smiling.
I knew them once.

Yes – a kiss hurled by the hand,
Like a football toss in a game. Looks
Before lights dim, glimpses and
Memories trapped, sealed in a box I
Hold under my arms on days when views
From cars mingle with my mind, and
I’m taken from jungles to dry moments when
People waved, and I waved back.

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Six Stanzas Found in Old Books

Once you came out of the far
Off mountains and no one
Recognized you. You who

Once came away with the
Sunlight on early morning lakes.
The sweet smell of grasses

And songs lost beneath pillows
We found in the very back of
Dark closet walls. Autumn or

Winter for us on hills and the
Way the mountain felt like a
Way of knowing that was lost

Long ago. The hills and sweet
Rain on broken panes and the
Endless calls of smallness and

The way we walked off as I
Called through trees with wind
That muffled all the sound.

In Search of it, Still

Out there in the far-
Away fields there is:
A pond by a lake that
Has a trail that climbs
Up to the highest peak.

I have seen it. I
Have been there, once.

Near to a half-
Tall tree that rests by:
A boulder with mossy
Growth that covers
Nearly all of it it
Sits and waits. This
Small, sleek, and frail,
Little thing.

You have seen it. You
Who were once so close
To finding it, once.

By a place by a field that
Has so much strength and
Great little things that sit
And call out to the night-
Time skies so full of cold,
And stars. We

Search out for it and know that
It once was here and yet we
Call out to it, again.

Sights from Speeding Trains

On distant days in quiet towns
While I sat with a café while
It rained outside. The sound of
A radio playing somewhere
In the distance. Writing and

Seeing songs of the street and
Deep puddles where rain
Pools. I on trains and walking with
Violent bursts of lightning
Overhead. The smell of it –
Rain in windows and feelings of

Cool and calmness in an attic
Room in Prague. Wood creaking and
Hearing the tick of time on cobble-stone
Streets that trip me up to the
Stairs in museums so hard to
Climb and the limp of feet sinking

In memories of backstreets and rivers
And such cold that I should have worn
Shoes not sandals but still the hurry
Off to new places and the throwing of
Rocks out of windows of speeding
Trains and seeing them land on

Sides of hills I know I have been
Up once but now it is gone
Away and the ripples of
Lost rocks in deep ponds and speeding on,
And on…

Autumn Drives Once, Out East

Frail leaves of memory I see
As hikes up mountains in
The crisp of
A New England day. Left

To a song on a road. The
Smell of decay and
Beauty that quakes on passes that
We take as light falls on
Wild dreams.

Mountain Rambles on August Days

Often on steep sloping sides I
See shadows by shadows and
Songs of birds in trees
I cannot find. Where

Are we going? The path leads
Up and on. The

Sign-post is broken and
Points off to ruined homes high
Up hills. Nothing but
Old stones still held up

By time and the thought
That us and we can fight
Through storms to summits where
There is nothing left except

Lightning strikes and huge
Pieces of rough-hewn marble with
Dates and names of people long

Since settled back into
The earth. It holds us out
And brings us back once
Again… these views and

Vistas of trails hiked once
And seen now from the distance –

The long view taken from
The trail we never took.

Poem-Hunting in Far-Away Lands

In search of a poem, a line to
Form those more-perfect words that
I can just barely find on
Hillsides in the sun and
A tall, lone tree that stands there
By itself, glimmering…

Like those words I come back to on
Distant days in far
Flung lands where I walk under a
Bridge and smell sweet
Roasting chestnuts in a July
Christmas market. Toys and gifts.

That perfect metaphor, or
A quiet line that spills through to
Bright days in a desert. Such red
Soil, like the blood of
Ancients. Seeping and becoming one
With a pale blue sky that I

Reach and reach off to but
Cannot grasp. It is

Too far away so I
Stay here and think of
That little cryptic word
Wriggling around in

The sinews of a time
In winter gardens and the
Bright blue of deep songs
In dark distant and still
Summer skies.