the dark side of the hill

i wrote this as i was returning from Korea after a year of taking Republic of Korea troops back and forth from the war. Spending about eleven days at sea, five to six days in Vietnam ports, two days in Pusan, Korea, and about six in Sasebo, Japan in a cycle which had created…well, some creativity in my heart and on paper. Some of it was not so cheery. This was one of those.

the dark side of the hill

I was walking down a small-town street
on a cold, harsh Sunday
when from a corner of an alley
a huddled, gnarled old man
leering from under a soiled and torn fedora
spoke to me:
“I have been to the dark side of the hill,
my boy,
“I can tell by your gait,
you are headed there;
frivolity and adventure
are what you seek,
but it’s not there, son;
it’s not there nor anything you would want to find.”

I paid no heed, passing away
from the old man,
continuing to pass through
the sun-reflected snow
to the zenith of the hill,
and on.

the wind is biting
on the dark side of the hill;
there is no sun
to disperse the cold.

now, on some small-town street
on a cold, harsh any day
in the corner of an alley,
a huddled, muddled, gnarled old man
waits.

i have been to the dark side of the hill;
my gait is altered.

 

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