Father Time Goes On

This year
Father Time keeps his distance.

He’s perched Buddha-style,
high atop a volcano,
somewhere far away.

He’s checking his heavy
pocket-watch regularly,
and listening to Big Ben
with his bionic ear.

He has the fear.

Somehow, he’s let it all
spin out of control:
no more, can he hold on
to the wheels
with mechanical implements-
the ones that keep us on
an even keel.
Other forces, are working now
and his grip is slipping.

Up on his precipice
as the world whirls,
he blinks at some midnight sun,
then turns his back …
and runs.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2016

If you like this poem, search my “Father Time” posts from past years at kat5361.wordpress.com


Not To Speak Ill

She lived in the house
on the other side of the young cedars
at the bottom of our yards.
I waited for them to grow and give me my privacy—
I calculated the time it would take
until she could no longer see me.

If I’m honest, I didn’t like her much;
she was a bit too high and mighty
for me.

Once, I spent an evening
in her company, and by the time
I got home, knew in my mind,
I’d never do it again.

Conversations always filled me with anxiety
and a longing to slip away.
(It may have been my own insecurity.)

I did watch out for her—
made sure her blinds came up
the same time every morning,
her lights went off at night,
but Christmas was busy;
we thought she was away, not hurt
and bleeding
on the stone floor.

She died suddenly; it might have been a fall.
(We don’t know the details.)
She wasn’t hateful, or cruel, or any of those things,
but she made me feel small.

She was an old woman on her own
and now I feel guilty for every thing I thought—
all the times I avoided her, not really giving her a shot.

Looking out across the trees covered in snow
I know, she’s never coming out that back door again.

I’m sorry, Diane.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2016



Little do they know
These eskimo-birds that pepper the snow
Outside my sliding door,
I wait for them to come every year.

The hardy tiny ones that dig at the snow
With their delicate feet,
Have nothing to fear from me.

Each morning before they appear on my deck
I throw seed on the snow that has fallen
While we all slept.

I’ve built them a place to buffet the blow
Of those winds that rise up from the deeps of the snow
To ruffle their tail feathers.

I keep them sheltered and fed,
Hoping that each day they’ll come back
And get me through the long days of snow ahead.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2016