And if it’s so, we’d only pass this way but once
What a perfect waste of time….
– Elbow, “My Sad Captains”
I can imagine my ancestors in a pub
on the foggy north end of the heath
banging pewter cups on oaken tables
as the governor barked last orders
while in the harbor, moorings came loose and frayed
and some of the boats would drift into the river
trying to remember where they had been.
I want to bang my cup for another lager.
I want to float downstream, past castles and canals.
I want to miss the train but catch the next one.
I never want any of this to end.
I want the last sunrise to also be the first.
I want to toast myself when I wander off
and leave only my words to echo me.
I dreamt the guns were melted down
for bridges, cars and monuments
to victims in our bloody town.
I dreamt the guns were melted. Down
the chute they went. “We will not drown
in grief or hate.” This covenant
I dreamt. The guns were melted down
for bridges, cars and monuments.
I dreamt I gave you flowers
but I didn’t know how to pronounce
those little cousins of petunias
a million trailing bells, a riot of
variegated in violet, yellow,
blue, pink and white and
a carnival in a hanging pot
and I bought enough to fill your
and I bought enough to fill your bedroom
and your front and back
and you had so many we decided
to share them all over
and we hung them from lampposts and trees
and a tall man standing on the
and we waltzed down the middle
of the street to the song of
and we said the word over and
until we got it
until it became
until it became
and when I woke I went
straight to the garden shop
bought the biggest, most vibrant
basket of calibrachoa I could
and the man at the counter smiled
at me because when I said it
it sounded like
Bruce W. Niedt is a retired civil servant whose poetry has appeared in many publications, including Rattle, Writer’s Digest, Tiferet, Spitball, Mason Street Review,US 1 Worksheets, Your Daily Poem, and many previous appearances in Chantarelle’s Notebook. His most recent books are his first full-length collection, The Bungalow of Colorful Aging (Kelsay Books), and his eighth chapbook, Knit Our Broken Bones (Maverick Duck Press). He lives with his incredibly patient wife in Cherry Hill, NJ.