Persistence

The first days are the easiest,
it doesn’t matter the task.
There is the flush of excitement,
the hopes, the uncertainty.

Will I be able to complete the task?
Will I encounter something new?

Yet as the days progress, the routine sets in.
Will today be like yesterday?
Will I have enough energy?

I push myself to get out and walk,
to pick up paper and write.

The obligatory references to Sisyphus arise,
as do the self-doubts.

I try to convince myself that the slog
is making some sort of a difference,
even though I can see it.

Hopes vanish and all that is left is the discipline,
perhaps with a residua of dreams.

Doubts increase, with a recognition that it
wasn’t the best effort.

But there is always tomorrow.

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Persistence

The first days are the easiest,
it doesn’t matter the task.
There is the flush of excitement,
the hopes, the uncertainty.

Will I be able to complete the task?
Will I encounter something new?

Yet as the days progress, the routine sets in.
Will today be like yesterday?
Will I have enough energy?

I push myself to get out and walk,
to pick up paper and write.

The obligatory references to Sisyphus arise,
as do the self-doubts.

I try to convince myself that the slog
is making some sort of a difference,
even though I can see it.

Hopes vanish and all that is left is the discipline,
perhaps with a residua of dreams.

Doubts increase, with a recognition that it
wasn’t the best effort.

But there is always tomorrow.

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Nap Time

I remember nap time as a little boy,
lying on my mother’s bed
my mind not ready to sleep.

I would look out through the hallway
across the living room floor
and out through the
living room window.

The glass was uneven
and as I tossed and turned
I would see ripples of the world outside.

Elsewhere in the living room
was the small tea kettle
we used for playing games.
Who would be the first to find
the hidden tea kettle?

There was also the prism
which would turn plain light
into a rainbow
that danced across the floor.

When sleep finally came
It would be filled
with these magical objects.

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Snow

“No two snowflakes are alike,” they say,
but I don’t know who “they” are,
or why they say that.
They certainly haven’t been helping me
shovel my driveway this winter.

Scientists estimate that ten to the twenty-fourth
snowflakes fall each year,
Scientists estimate the earth is
four billion years old.
That’s a lot of snowflakes
and we haven’t even considered
man-made snow yet.

Heraclitus says,
“you can’t step in the same river twice”.
That river may be made
of the spring run off
of billions of melting snowflakes.

So perhaps, no two snowflakes are alike.
They exist at different times
In different places
made of different atoms.

Structurally, a snowflake I shovel off my driveway
might be the same as a snowflake
I sledded over when I was young,
or the snowflake that broke the camel’s back
as another roof collapsed.

The first snowflakes of the season,
met with much joy and excitement,
are now long gone,
though the high banks of dirty snow
pushed aside by snowplows
will last for several more weeks.

So, I’ll pause to wonder at snow falling on cedars
as Robert Frost wonders whose woods he’s in
and a cartoon character wants to build a snowman.

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Palimpsest

“What word sums up your entire life?”
the online quiz asked.

And I thought to myself,
“None, yet. I hope”,
as I started clicking on a series
of mostly inapplicable pictures.

In the end
I got “influencer”
which isn’t too bad
but seems horribly incomplete.

Whom do I influence?
Myself? Others?
What sort of influence is it?
Is it positive, negative, or just is?
What sort of topics?
Politics? Arts? Sciences? Life?
Mundane? Profane? Profound?

So I told my friends
“palimpsest”,
a word I got from
Judge Woolsey
in his opinion about
James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Parchment, from which one text was scraped away
and another text added,
perhaps, also, to be scraped away.

I think of the palimpsest as a tapestry
where you can still see parts of old stories
mingled with the new.
and how old stories of my life
weave into new stories
providing context and contrast.

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