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Profundity

3 Oct

Profundity

By L. Stewart Marsden

It’s been done before
Said before
Lost and even won before
Read before
Thought before
Sold and even bought before
Nothing you can say or do
Is unique or even new
Nor is this profound remark
For it’s been written down before, too.

 

Ecclesiastes 1:9
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (KJV)

 

 

 

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Either, Or

1 Oct



Either, Or

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

It’s either this, or that;
Black, or white;
My way, or the highway;
Door One, or Door Two;
Day, or night;
Right, or wrong;
God’s way, or Satan’s way;
True, or False;
Left, or Right;

And ne’er the twain shall meet –
Not here, not now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not for Naught

27 Sep

Not for Naught

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

It was not for naught
That we gathered against the storm
And fought the wind and the skin-stinging rain;
Wore on through dirt and mud again and again
In the blindness of night, in the starkness of day
When the light told our hurt and our fear and our pain;
When we stopped and looked back at the forests once there;
Denuded and bare; still we dared to declare
– Whether we should or whether we ought –
It was not for naught.

The Cabinet, or, Better Living Through Chemistry

18 Sep

The Cabinet

or

Better Living Through Chemistry

by L. Stewart Marsden

 

I know I put them in here … somewhere
Underneath the whitening tooth gel;
Crammed beside the fat-burning oil;
Above the No More Wrinkles, My Friend;
Or the Gradual Gray-Away Hair-Coloring Brush;
Between the Sleep Deep Tonight and the Stay-Awake capsules;
Or the Breathe Through the Night Guaranteed nose spray;
And the Psoriasis Cream; or the Pain Go Away hot and cold bags;
Near the Gas-Away tablets, and the Warts-No-More stick-ums;
The Breath-O’-Mint gargle, and the NuHair in the Morning rubbing salve;
The ear-wax drops and the nose-hair plucker;
The Intimate Hair Begone; and the No-Leaks, My Lady underwear pads;
The No Sweat – You Bet underarm roll-on; or the Flab-Away Arm and Leg Lotion.
Where the hell are they?
I know I put them in here … somewhere.

 

 

Alternate Endings

4 Sep

Alternate Endings

By L. Stewart Marsden

Scrolling through my files I stumbled on this pair of poems earlier published and titled similarly. Both were very conscious works, and reflect two every different endings. I’ve often heard it said that where spouses are concerned, the death of one is preferable to divorce. I’m at emotional odds with either, frankly. “Preferable” is a relative term. Neither – it seems to me – should ever be labeled “preferable.”

 

† † † † †

At the Last

At the last,
when the salt-brined smell of urine
soaked the entire room;
when you looked up and saw past me
beyond the darkening doom;
when you touched me with your purple-mottled hand
and gently squeezed;
when the curtains softly billowed
with the cooling evening breeze
and masked the stench of death
with a honey-suckled ease;
I wanted to hold on – and
not to ever let you free
from my selfish one desire:
please do not ever go from me.

† † † † †

At the Last, Again

At the last, when starched-white papers lay open on my desk,
and I saw your signature scribble, and leafed through all the rest
of official proclamations, now registered and done,
of the death of “and now they are one” where nobody won
and all took losses, stride for stride,
and not much was left – nor much to hide –
of what began in earnest and looked out hopefully,
yet ran its course for better,
then ran aground for worse
and now we both are finally free.
Aren’t we?

† † † † †

The Roller Coaster – reposted

23 Aug

The Roller Coaster
by L. Stewart Marsden

Clanking loudly up we climb
Blue sky is all we see
As we ascend I think that I’m
Not ready for the free fall
next to come once we’ve
o’ercome the summit – and leave
the slowness of our pace
to plummet through both time and space
to ten thousand feet below.

As we dive at breakneck speeds
I wonder why I didn’t heed
my inner warnings not to go,
yet despite the things I know
I turned and said, “I do.”
And the ensuing rock-about
which slings me up and nearly out
in spite of how I cry and shout
does not slow or stop.

And you sit laughing, head flung back,
enjoying both the speed and fall,
while I wish I’d re-decideded
my choice to take the ride at all,
as bile and gall build up inside,
I muster all to save my pride
and keep from heaving ho –
I know there’s miles of track to go
before we ever start to slow.

After spinning upside down
and turning circles all around
I’m fairly certain I am bound,
when this ride’s through,
to kiss the ground.
And finally, finally, FINALLY
we start to finally slow,
and I can’t wait to stand and go
on wobbly legs with woozy head,
you grab my arm and say instead,
“You wanna ride again?”
I look, and while my vision spins,
and stomach churns with breakfast stuff,
I answer, with a sickly grin,
“I think six times is quite enough.”

 

Reblogging on the occasion of reading another’s use of the roller coaster metaphor, only related to adolescence. If you would like to read that poem, click below to be hyperlinked.

Woes of Adolescence

Nonsense.

15 Aug

Nonsense.

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

How’s it going?

Same old same old, with a sigh.

Ah. That good, huh?

The adages wear thin.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Well, the ball’s in your court, you know.

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

What you’ve got, is what you’ve got.

The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Why do it today, when you can always do it tomorrow?

If you don’t do it now, you’ll never do it.

It ain’t over till it’s over.

You can’t bale water with a butterfly net.

Huh?

I made that up.

‘Bout as useless as a screen door on a submarine†.

Waste not, want not.

A penny saved is a penny earned.

If it can be imagined, it can be done.

Not on my watch.

Timex: takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.

I can’t believe this isn’t butter.

See the USA, in a Chevrolet!

Wait!

What?

We’re off topic.

Which is?

Lessons in life.

I thought we were bantering in adages. We switched to ads somehow?

Some lessons in life are hard to learn.

Life can be hard. It’s easier to banter.

It is what it is.

What it is?

What it shall be.

What it possibly could have been?

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

The early bird catches the worm.

Goodnight everybody.*

Goodnight Momma.*

Goodnight Ben.*

Goodnight everyone.*

Goodnight Momma. Goodnight Daddy.*

Goodnight children.*

Goodnight Daddy. Goodnight Elizabeth.*

Goodnight John Boy. Goodnight Jim Bob. Goodnight Jim Bob!*

GOODNIGHT JIM BOB!*

What’s goin’ on? I was asleep. What’s everybody doin’?*

GOODNIGHT JIM BOB!*

Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?**

† “Screen Door,” Rich Mullins.
*ABC television series, The Waltons, 1972 – 1981
** “Big Yellow Taxi,” Joni Mitchell.

 

Good Intentions

22 Jul

Good Intentions

by L. Stewart Marsden

 

He bought a used acoustic
And a Washburn mandolin
With thoughts of playing sixties tunes
On sidewalks of a mountain town
Where snow geese flocked from all around
To shop the shops for pottery
And other artsy craft;

His will to see it through
Was like his previous grandiose plans
And he hung his instruments on the wall
To either side of the pendulum clock
Which had tocked its last years before
And though the clockman swore by his skills
The pendulum remained quite still
As did the used acoustic
And the Washburn mandolin.

 

The Drink

23 May

The Drink

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

He dipped deeply into her fantasy
Drawing the ladle of golden liquid to his lips
His nostrils flared, awakened by its effervescence
And drank as she watched
Smiling at him
Tenuously patience till the draught was finally drained
Yet remained cool with expectation
Even haughty in her look
“Cheers!” said he
“Cheers!” said she

I used to yearn for coming Spring

2 Mar

I used to yearn for coming Spring

(A remembrance of Columbine, Blacksburg and Boston)

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

I used to yearn for coming Spring
Its all-things fresh, and fragrant, and full;
Erupting through thawed earth,
Newly fertilized by cold and frozen things,
The ring of bell-like blooms
Of blue and red and yellow and white
Creating day from darkest night
The New out of the Old.

Yet, as thawed mountain snows
Rush through down-curling arteries
To quench the warmth-starved lands below
They seem to re-deem the time from things that grow
To things that know no bounds;
That do not hesitate to loose their rounds
Of hate and monstrous deeds
Upon young and old alike
They strike — juxtaposed against sweet renewal days —

I pause, while breathing in the newness once again
Renewing, yet knowing, once again why
I used to yearn for coming Spring
Yet remember why I hesitate to bring
Myself to full embrace of that time I used to hold so dear.

 

2 Samuel 11:1
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war …