A Benediction for Times to Come

A Benediction for Times
To Come

So the journey ends at a
Place that we must call:
The beginning. A

Start to things we must not
Finish or find in hidden, far-
Away places that we thought to
Go to when once we played
Drums and trombones in
Quiet coffee bars in
Rainy Denver days. It

Must be a winding path that comes
Out at us as we think
Of sunshine and men on
Cliff-sides and days we whistle
And whisper of times and places we

Knew little of except the thought
That the beginning is an
End, as well…

Thoughts on Lost Lines

I could not find the
Best lines to write to
The lone man high
Up on trails I
Cannot find…

Giving them to the wind
Or the mailboxes with
A flag always up but
Never put down. I owe
It to a quiet stream or a

Night-time terror that half
Wakes you up and in dream
States I reach out and think of
Songs of hills and lines I threw
To the wind and now…

Cannot find.

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.

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.

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…

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.

Songs of the Road, Lost Somewhere

I wonder how it sounds after
Darkness falls, and
There is nothing left by
Pale whimpers across
Steep mountain hills. The

Pools puddling
Over beaten rocks. The
Wind whipping over
Narrow ridges. I

Think that we must
Take all of this with
Us somehow. To

The songs on silent
Nights. The sparse words
Spoken at sunset in
Red desert lands. The
Image of shadows. Wind.
Such quiet late at
Night. The rain

That falls and falls outside
Starbucks by harbors with
Great white wings spread
Wide. This must

Become our song, our
Memories of life lived
Out on blue horizons. The

Streams that just go on,
And on…

The Return of J. Humbert Riddle

Editor’s Note: After a
Long period of absence and
Forgetfulness, I found the
Courage to dig deep into the
Pile of moldy Riddle poems. This
Is what I found…

Excerpt 7

… Long ago on mountain cliffs I
Threw unfinished, broken
Poems to the dry wind. These

Bits of a lost self. These pages
Slowly dissolving in
Cool mountain lakes.

Excerpt 19

So it happened that wild stares
Greet me in towns as
The wild hawk soars as
The beer spills over battered
Muddy boots as
Songs can no longer be heard from
An unplugged juke box as

I push through fog towards
The windy, wild shore.

Excerpt 2

I did find it once, this
Patient, quiet longing for
Higher things. The touch
In the stormy night. The

Smell of clean mornings beside
Crisp alpine streams. The
View like a carpet rolling on and
On. I

On cliff-sides and thinking
About green vases with
Pink buds picked from unknown
Gardens behind thick, waving
Aspen trees. Once…

The hint of madness,
The hint of lov