Late In Summer…Quite a While Ago

i was a month away from my first and short marriage. i was not smart enough to realize what a stressful situation i would be putting my bride-to-be through, taking her out of Atlanta debutant equine loving environment to a place she would be alone while i traveled from our apartment in Newport to my ship in overhaul in Boston. Dumb. But i didn’t know it. i was in love (she understandably gave it up after just over four months).

So on that New England late summer morning driving to my ship, the USS Hawkins (DD-873), this poem came into my mind. 

Tonight i walked out to give Billie Holiday, Sarah’s Catahoula mix, a relief break after her evening meal. It was another of those glorious sunsets in San Diego. Being sensitive to giving someone too many sunset photos ever since my father jokingly admonished me for sending them one thousand or so sunset phots in Vietnam, i did not include a photo.

But the scene took me back to that August morning fifty years ago.

Late in Summer

palsied pink fingers: looming autumn clouds
gently tap
the horizon awake;
an infinite gray ribbon of highway
slashes through
green phosphorescent hills

non-think
embraces the drive;
his mind wanders
to pines and someone
far away.

cool solitude,
impervious to the immediate objective
excite brute loneliness:
thoughts of someone
gather as a gray storm
tumbles like a cascading stream
in his mind.

palsied pink fingers
curl to a fist;
enlightening rain
spits on the windshield
while far away
sweltering rays silhouette the pines.

Boston, Massachusetts
August 1968

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