HOLDING A MIRROR TO THE SUN

SKULL

HOLDING A MIRROR TO THE SUN

(In memory of William Kenneth Finton)

Is it the ghost of him I see

in the restless dreamscapes of a hollow night?

The ghost of him … or my own flawed impressions?

Twenty years ago my world quaked violently

when he passed so suddenly

from our lives, so quickly there was barely time for tears.

A sudden shock … a stunning loss …

and life moved on without him.

With childhood’s end, the world could never be the same.

Twenty years … so long ago I barely recognize

that younger, wandering self.

Yet, in those silent dreamscapes of the night

he comes to visit still.

A near sighted old neighbor said

he saw him walking through the tall grasses

of the abandoned yard years after we left

the old Ohio homestead.

“Bunk,” I said, not prone to thoughts of spirits,

yet encounters of a kind have occurred

in the darkness of many a restless night since.

I remember those long evenings in the family home,

the easy chair whose arms

held up a crude wood shelf,

flowing over with papers and notes,

my father seated behind this rude table

in his oily green work suit,

lost from the present in the remote past of other peoples lives.

The black and white TV that connected us

with the world blared endlessly,

while mother ironed the clothes

and I shook my head in wonder.

How bored I liked to be on those

hot and muggy summer days when Dad’s idea

of a good time was to walk through silent graveyards,

writing the names from time-worn stones on yellow legal pads.

Yet, caught up in his enthusiasm,

I learned to hold a mirror to the sun,

reflecting shadows upon those faded letters.

Quite often we were rewarded

with a touch of heartfelt sentiment

inscribed upon the crumbling stone.

Often Saturday would find us in

some distant library, digging through

piles of dry old books of facts that smelled of yesteryear,

but all was not studious and dull escape.

All was not the dark, outmoded past,

as I feared in the leafy green and anxious days of youth…

the family trips brought new, inviting places we ran to once a year,

croquet with friends in the evening breezes of the green Ohio grass.

Is it the ghost of him I see

in the restless dreamscapes of a hollow night?

The ghost of him … or my own flawed impressions?

His choice in music bubbles through my mind.

His choice in pastime rumbles

through my mature years like the distant drone of a passing freight.

Through the years I’ve come to know him

more than yesterday, when I was but his child.

And most of all, I learned to hold a mirror to the sun.

© 1993 Kenneth Harper Finton

THE PINNACLED HIGHLIGHTS OF EACH LIVING DAY

 

Pinnacle+Peak+Ocotillo

 

OUR ANNIVERSARY (9/22/17)

 

Only a few in the history of love

stumble upon circumstances

that allows them to live happily ever after.

The prince and princess of fairy tales

lived happily ever after

while the masses were left to endure

hardship, disdain and marital discord.

So we are the fortunate ones, you and I.

Fortunate that we found one another,

fortunate that our paths not only crossed,

but in that we travel this road year after year.

Today, we celebrate an anniversary

that commemorates this epic journey

we have taken together.

Our ups and downs will never cease,

but that which binds us

is so much stronger

than the world outside us.

Let troubles hail down upon us.

Still, our bond will shelter us

from the tempest.

We have always had our share of

life’s problematic quandaries.

If, from time to time,

I fail to show the appreciation

that I feel in the depths of my inner being,

please continue to forgive me as before.

Know this: I love you like no other

and our days together continue to be

the pinnacled highlights of each living day.

TOTAL ECLIPSE

©2017 Kenneth Harper Finton

 

TOTAL ECLIPSE

August 21, 2017, near Casper, Wyoming.

 

We had parked the night before

in a turnabout at the junction

of two lonely Wyoming highways.

By morning, a hamlet of onlookers had been formed.

Behind me, two elderly astronomers spoke

of virtual particles falling into black holes

as the brilliant noonday sun began to look like

Pacman on the prowl through the dark glass.

The proper exclamation at totality

became the subject of discussion.

“Ooooooooh” and “Wow” and “Holy Shit”

were all deemed appropriate reactions.

Slowly, like waiting on water to boil,

the shadow of the moon became the aggressor

as Sol lost its appetite and became

that which was consumed.

The summer air cooled and the colors

of the forced dusk flooded the senses.

There was the sensation of a passing cloud,

a waning of the light, a ghostly chill in the air,

as the smallest sliver of the Sun

was eaten away by the black shadow.

A shocking sky became manifest

in an instant, as the sun became a distant star

All of the agreed upon exclamations and more

rose from the crowd about me.

Everyone was in awe of the power

of that last intense speck of light before totality.

The vision was transformed in an instant into a black hole

with radiant beams of a five-pointed star

with a circular black center illumined

by the huge, vibrating rays of the corona.

Sunrise could be seen in all directions

as Sol slowly re-emerged in a Bronco blue and orange sky

with a circular black center illumined

by the huge, vibrating rays of the corona.

The world was never so lovely,

the Sun was never so welcome,

Venus hung above the horizon,

lost in the love of the blue shadows.

As the onlookers left, they joined the vast parade

of vehicles jamming the little-traveled roads.

We slowly passed where a motorcycle

ran off the road at a high speed.

A body bag was being lifted into a waiting ambulance

as notes were made into reports.

Of course, we wondered about the victim.

Who was this whose life’s fate was linked

to such a celestial drama?

The bag was full, indications of a large male corpse.

Did he have a heart attack?

Did he lose consciousness

At a vital moment?

We could do nothing.

We could say nothing.

I have learned nothing.

Total eclipses come in many ways.

 

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NEW YEAR’S GREETINGS

 

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You made it through another year. You lionized another birthday and hoped for many more. You dressed your transgressions in purple robes, tolerated the tolerable, and dreamed another dream. That person that you were last year has passed on to become but a memory. The person you are to be this year is being contemplated as we speak.

I hope you made the proper number of mistakes and hope to make a similar number this coming year. Mistakes mean that we are doing something, perhaps something we have not done before. You are known by your blunders, admired for your accuracy and vilified for your honesty, as are we all.

Though time flew by, you persevered. Though you did not do it all. you chipped away at it. Say, “Happy new year.” Welcome to the land of beginning again. Keep those thoughts positive, those acts causative, the mind cognitive.

FAILURE

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FAILURE

I thought we did but we don’t
I thought we would, but we won’t
I thought we could but we can’t
I thought we should but we shan’t

I thought we might but we fight
I thought we sailed, but we railed
I thought we’d bail but we failed
It came to naught and we’re shot

GRANDMA’S HEALTH

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Grandma had a headache, but she treated her brain well by drinking Coca-Cola, and then, as she would tell, she gave some to my father … and he …in turn … to me.  She had her own traditions and she kept them to a tee.

Coke elixir with her liquor. She drank it straight or mixed, ’cause she was the kind of person that liked to see things fixed. She did not total all her tees, she did not shirk her pleasures. She also felt that earthly pain should not become a treasure.

1453664534570-c11When great-grandma had a toothache, Grandma knew just what to do. She bought those cocaine toothache drops and placed them on her tooth. She liked those folky remedies, she liked her living fables that let live her life as clean and right as she was able.

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A LUCKY STRIKE

 

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For me, it was a Lucky Strike. I found Old Gold in Chester’s Field and fell Pall Mall down the stairs in Phillips Morris’ Place in the hills of Marlboro County. That Old Gold got me elected to Parliament where I Scored Mildly with the Duke of Winston.  I was not in Vogue, though, until the Viceroy and the Duke of Kent, Lord Tareyton, became Players in my club in Newport. That did the trick. This Maverick finally got Max exposure in Hollywood under the LA Lights. It is  Basic fact, life begins at Eve. Let the Camel carry you to the Crossroads. Be Smart and forget Salem. Be Kool.

– L&M

BIRD LIMERICKS

by Kenneth Harper Finton

 

COMMORANT

What great black wings has the cormorant.
They even have some out in Oregon.
They used to be rare,
Now they're most everywhere.
They even have some in Cheboygan.


 

 

Consider the hooded merganser
The best-looking bird in the land, sir.
You can tell by his stance
From the very first glance
That he is quite ripe for romance, dear.

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RED WING

 

 

 

A garrulous bird is the redwing.
He sings to you about most everything.
He will send you a tweet
From his sharp pointed beak
No Twitter, no rightwing, no leftwing.

 

 

HERON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consider the black-crowned night heron.
She seems to be so all-aware and
Her glaring red eye,
Has the look of a spy.
At whom is her majesty starin'?

MALLARD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know that the ducks in the barnyard
Most always derive from mallard?
They've a ring 'round the neck,
a bill made to peck
And purple-green heads,
that's what I heard.

 


 

[These verses were inspired by a limerick from 1912 by Dixon Lanier Merritt seen below.]

peliecan

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican,
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week,
But I'm damned if I see how the helican.

LABORS OF LOVE -AMAZON

https://www.amazon.com/Labors-Love-Kenneth-Harper-Finton-ebook/dp/B01B3C4414/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466197864&sr=1-1&keywords=labors+of+love%2C+finton

THE HOMEWRECKERS

 

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“They are tearing down my childhood home today,” he said, wishing instead he were already dead. “I should not watch. It is a sad thing to see,” he said, thinking softly of the past, wishing it could forever last.

images-1“I wish I could have done more to save it,” he mused, feeling the blues as it oozed from the news.

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“I ate watermelon at the kitchen table, sweet as summer’s breath,” he said, tasting the juice that his mind reproduced.

Family-At-Table-1954-001

“We had many a memory in that house,” he understated,

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watching as his reality was castrated.

memory

“I wonder it I was happier back then than now,” he exclaimed, unashamed that he had no fame. “Probably not,” he said to himself, knowing he had not mastered laughter in the face of disaster.

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“Some folk’s homes become museums,” he pondered as his thoughts wandered. “I was never that important,” he concluded, as he brooded.