Swimmer

Swimmer
I had been treading water

for far too long,
when all I wanted to do
was swim
Head and shoulders
above the surface,
scanning the horizon,
 for a life beyond him
Sometimes, just floating,
motionless, on my back
Alone with my thoughts,
staring into the sky
Worrying, wondering,
can I move on? 
Still not quite sure,
but I know I must try

Standing near the edge,
I look for my place
I am in no hurry,
unsure of my needs
It’s natural to hesitate
with the unfamiliar
I search the shallows,
leery of the weeds
I want to get going
away from the past, 
somewhat certain
I am over that hump.
When the time is right
I will find the spot
I will get in for my swim,
but I will not jump

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Sticking one foot in
to test the water,
I am tempted to dive,
but mindful of my haste
Wading into the unknown,
both cautious and curious
Safer to get in slowly,
just up to my waist
The farther I venture,
the deeper I will get
The calmer the current,
the more risks I’ll take
In the waves of my worries
it seems like the ocean
When I rise above it,
I will see it’s a lake

There is so much of life
that I still want to feel
So much about living,
that I still want to know
Strong and steady,
I swim into the distance
The less I look back,
the further I’ll go
Buoyed by my family
and a lifeline of friends,
I am content where I am,
but searching for more
Rough waters behind me,
I look toward my future
If I see love on the horizon,
I will head for that shore

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Past

“So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light…
Just promise me we’ll be alright
But the ghosts that we knew made us black and all blue
But we’ll live a long life
And the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view
And we’ll live a long life”
‘Ghosts That We Knew’
– Mumford & Sons


Past

I took a chance
and let you into my heart.
I let all of my feelings show.
Uprooted my life,
for me and you,
but little did I know.


I discovered your wounds,

written in your own words,
there, for anyone to see.
Cuts and bruises,
vital accumulation,
scars, that you never showed me.

The breadth of your struggles,
so much I didn’t know,
spread across my screen.
Instead of in my mind.
Instead of in my heart,
where they should have been.

I took your determination,
for never again,
as a personal affront.
Your learned defensive posture
as harsh belligerence,
 you just being you, being blunt.

Your fierce independence
was stubborn vulnerability.
Your frustration, was our fate.
The voice of your experience,
sad and specific,
finally heard, but far too late.

I would have tried harder
to let you speak to me,
to let your words get through.
I could have helped you 
confront your demons,
instead of confronting you.

 It became impossible
to live with you
when you wouldn’t let me in.
Hard for us
to start over,
with nowhere to begin.

Had I only known
 the slippery slope
  of dealing with your past.
Known that I would struggle
to wade through
the depths
and dangers of your doubt.

I still would have wanted you.
I still could have loved you.
I would have understood.
I could have pulled you out.


I chose the challenge,

and gave you my heart.
Let all of my feelings show.
Uprooted my life,
to be with you,
but little did I know.


If only I had known,
I could have earned your trust.
I would have opened up my mind.
Instead, I read of our demise,

   determined before we met,
 by those you left behind.

Takers, martyrs, bullies,
sad and hurtful people,
there on my screen.
Instead of in our talks.
Instead of in my thoughts,
where they should have been.

 Until I read it,
I never once heard you 

refer to your mother as
Mom.
In fact, I barely knew
where all of the hurt
and resentment
were from.

Never could I picture, you,
together with your ex.

Made no sense to me at all.
And, until I read the name,
  typed in bold hostility,
I had never heard of Paul.

Bitterness and bravado.
 Broken pieces of the past,
clenched inside your fist.
   Our time, our spirit,
spent fighting with your ghosts.
One more added to the list.

It’s tough to share
with someone
who barely gives.
Hard to live
with someone
who reluctantly lives.

Had I only known
the bleak history
of your emotional pain.
The depths to which
those before me
had sunk inside your mind.
I still would have wanted you.
I still could have loved you.
I would have understood.
I could have been more kind.

I gave you my heart.
Had I only known…

 

 

Dinner

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Dinner

I will raise a glass tonight
and drink to you.
Red wine with dinner
or, perhaps, a cold beer.
I will imagine,
as I sometimes do,
what it would be like
if you could still be here.

The wonderful comfort
of a family gathering.
A backyard barbecue
or, perhaps, a dinner out.
I will remember,
as I often do,
all the little things
that this life is about.

The simple satisfaction
of a table set for many.
Candles on a birthday cake
or, perhaps, an apple pie.
I will look around,
as I usually do,
feel extremely fortunate
and know exactly why.

Tonight, I will say a few words
in honour of you Norm.
Break bread with your granddaughters
and, perhaps, toss a salad in a bowl.
Sit at the head of the table,
as I proudly do,
as a kind and giving father 
content in his role.
—————
You would be eighty-five today,

if you were with us.
There is one less table setting
so, perhaps, you are not.
But we celebrate you today,
as we always will,
because this birthday meal
gives us food for thought.

 

Answer

              Answer

When am I the happiest?                     Family25-5x7
When I am with you.
What is the most fun?
The things that we do.
Sports and travel.
Laughter. Games.
Family and friends.
Daughters. Names.
Anna Kate
      and
Erin Elaine.
The answer is always the same.

The source of my contentment?
As clear as can be.
Love and time and us.
Happy Every Day to me.

 

Fíon

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Fíon

Two glasses of red

  A night filled with stars
The sky shimmering
  over the quiet lake
Too long since
we had a night like this
  Moonlight reflecting
  each sip we take

Our lives move along
like the gentle breeze
Our hearts require
more nights like these

Two glasses of red
 The night finally ours
Time spent embracing
the life we share
Too long since
we had a night like this
Moonlight enhancing
our why and where

Our lives move along
like waves to the shore
So raise your glass
and I’ll pour us more

Vivification

     From the ‘blue folder’ archives written during my Queen’s University days – the birth of my nephew Jason in 1985.
     Raised by one loving family, in two loving households, he has become a man to be admired and respected for all of the right reasons…making these words ring true.

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special…

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Incendiary

                    Incendiary 
Resplendent under the night sky
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Her allure, all but inescapable
She summons, then she seduces
You’d resist, but you’re incapable

Helpless, you gravitate to her
Your attention compulsively drawn
Stoked, with sensory anticipation

Eyes cast, over the glistening lawn

The faint moon peers cautiously down
A vague thought in the distance
Her will, demanding your presence

Her passion, breathing insistence

As enticing as she is unpredictable
Her intensity, pushes you away
Her warmth, always pulls you back 
Her intrigue, compels you to stay

Both incendiary and intoxicating  
She has curious hypnotic powers
Getting lost in the possibilities
You could gaze at her for hours

You find nuances to her every hue
The lick of her playful flames
Dancing in different directions
Engaged in spirited games

Provide what she needs, she exhales
Nourished, she swells from inside
Ignore her, or leave her unattended
And her fervor will slowly subside

Reminded of her precarious nature
Her sudden sparks keep you leery
Yet, beside her, you find soothing comfort 
And a warmth that makes you weary

An empty glass resting beside you
You bask, in the waning glow
As difficult as it is to get up
You both just seem to know

You rise, as the last of her falls
It is not the will that you lack
Recovering your balance, your focus
You take one hopeful look back

Spent, you find a flicker of life
Your pleasure, impossible to hide
The smell of the night on your body
You let the stars guide you inside

 

Guiding

                             Guiding10259702_886031944756408_4006322937612843549_n

I have never been a religious person
What I do believe in is the spirit of love
I believe that there are guiding spirits
who are shining down from above

I know that my mother is one of mine
That she has guided me along my way
That she helped me to raise my girls
That she is smiling on this day

You must be proud of your granddaughters, Mom
The one you held, and the one you never knew
They are beautiful and funny and they are genuine
They are both a lot like you

They approach life with respect and emotion
With the same honest heart that you had
With the same love and embrace for family
The same priorities that you taught their Dad

There is much of the best of you to find in them
Every year, more and more that I can see
And because of who they already are
I know that you are proud of me

Happy Mother’s Day
…and thank-you.

 

Wavelength

           Wavelength
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Apart in our own worlds

Regrettable but inevitable
Too much time in between.
Some texts and a phone call
Reflective two hour drive
Back to where we’ve been.

Always able to continue
Exactly where we left off
The bond will always hold.
Seamlessly joined together
Cohesive and carefree
Like yesterdays of old.

Vicarious rock and roll
Symbiotic music appreciation
Smiles and affirmative glances.
Twenty minute trade-offs

Guitars and emphatic drums
Meandering random dances.

Age irrelevant atmosphere
Perpetually young of heart
Suspended in our prime.
Reluctantly grown men
Trading personal tracks
While losing track of time.

Irreplaceable friends
Life long brothers
Taking time to play.
The comfort in knowing
That our yesterdays
Can always be today.

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Embraces and honesty
No subject we can’t broach
Confronting life with laughter.
Best men, best buddies
Beside for ups and downs
Before, during and after.

Team and battery mates

Sharing one wavelength
Signals and tell tale signs.
Uncommon commonalities
References unique to us
Through life and like minds.

Truly rewarding hours
Our innate predictability
That sense of what’s known.
The unspoken understanding
Essential and soothing
Inevitable, and our own.

Miles and hours apart
Responsibilities and reality
We make time for the game.FB_IMG_1454780080387[1]
With the sigh of our certainty
We carry on with who we are
Family, in everything but name.

Irreplaceable friends
Life long brothers
Taking time to play.
The comfort in knowing
That our yesterdays
Can always be today.

 

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