UPBEAT SHORT POEMS
Here's three short poems that I consider upbeat and positive, most from my earlier years. Thanks for reading. Tom.
I played with crawdads at Grand-dad's place
a four-year-old fascinated
by long spiny whiskers, gleaming hard shell
and segmented body squirmy
in my tiny fingers
The long summer day hot
and humid beat down on we two,
a boy and his crawdad
playing out front of his Grand-dad's place,
where a white-washed plank
footbridge roofed a watery ditch
Sheer joy unalloyed
is rare for a boy, or even a crawdad
I now know. But way back then
playing with my crawdad friend,
leaning over the footbridge
fishing with my fingers
for my crawdad friend with the fixed grin,
I joyed with him
Since then, he passed away,
I grew up
and only the drainage ditch remains
out front of the place along Panama Street,
visited now just by the ghosts
of Grand-dad and my crawdad friend.
But when I grow young again,
each time then
I remember my crawdad friend
and smile like the hot summer sun eternal.
--T. Jackson King, 1994
NIGHTFALL ON THE TRANS-SIBERIAN EXPRESS
Nineteen years I counted to my name
when first I rode the Trans-Siberian Express
from Moscow east to Vladivostok Port so deep,
a span of eight days riding the rails
across Siberia's land of mountains, plains, rivers,
and a people wondrous in their differences,
each to each as strange
as me to them was strange.
A hundred stops or more we made
at industrial towns small and great,
pausing beside lumber towns cut with a blade
out of raw red clay and hills oblate,
the forests a Persian rug all in green yet snagged up
in tripping ridges that fled to the horizon.
Never saw so many trees.
Never saw so much sky.
Never felt so small.
And still, full twenty and five years later
I never met people more plainly honest,
friendly, and curious of eye.
Strange as a three-humped camel I strode their land
endless, as beyond borders of sea and iron
the play called Vietnam drew sell-out crowds to a foreign land.
But not a cross word was heard
from sea captain, car attendant, student,
workers leaving family behind,
mothers alone with children wide-eyed,
or babushka grandmothers who cared only
that I was not the Hun from the West.
One and all did not call
me enemy that summer of '67.
So I crossed the River Don by nightfall,
ever so peacefully.
The Urals slept a rocky sleep,
Lake Baikal's waves so deep
moved sluggish, as if asleep,
gray waters lap-lapping at my feet,
and the tight passage beside the Amur's trickle
clackety-clacked away into the night,
our dreams ever so sweet.
Out of time we moved, caught in the pause
between two giants breathing deep,
as we so many enjoyed our sleep,
just folks passing nightfall
on the Trans-Siberian Express.
--T. Jackson King, 1996
BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION
A nod, a wink, an upheaval,
a country boy grin.
Is but the surface
of one caught midways
in the journey of survival.
The truth is a distant shore,
like an uncut diamond,
full of hidden facets
yet revealing more.
A ruin is me,
the archaeologist of
my own life's meter, rhythm and rhyme,
full of things done
and wonders yet to be.
--T. Jackson King, 1994
Copyright retained by T. Jackson King 2009