Archive for the ‘Free Verse’ Category

John Edwards

I was just the Old Man. Simply that.
It was as if I did not have a name.
“John!”I wanted to shout.
“My name is John Edwards.”
But, I remained the Old Man.

I am not sure of when I lost my identity
But it was back somewhere in the past.
My contributions as the Old Man were small;
Fetching the water, working in the garden,
And keeping the old stove fed with firewood.
I knew they could do well without me,
So most of the time I stayed out of their way,
And no one seemed to miss me.

But, my friend and I, spent many hours together
Sitting in the sun in an old wicker chair.
It was good to have a friend, even though it was
Just a featherless pet chicken who loved to sit on my lap.

They didn’t understand about the chicken.
We talked a lot, he and I.
He was very receptive to my stories of hard farm life.
Of my triumphs and defeats, hopes and dreams.
He listened, and he often answered with faint sounds.

I know we were an unlikely pair but we found comfort
In our mutual need for one another.
And so I spent the summer, dozing in the warm sun,
Chicken on my lap.
At dusk, the chicken crawled inside my shirt for warmth.
In the fall, I made him a felt jacket, but he caught a cold,
And soon died, in spite of my efforts to save him.

It was only I who wept. Wept for the loss of a friend.
Wept for the loss of being needed.
“The Old Man is crying about that fool chicken,”they’d say.
They didn’t understand about the importance of being needed.

In mid-winter, I passed away, feeling alone and useless.
They wept tears I would not see and uttered words I would not hear.

My epitaph reads –
John Edwards – Our friend
We needed him

8/8/96 Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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There they sat, the two of them
A most unlikely pair
Dozing in the afternoon sun
In an old wicker chair
The Old Man knew they laughed at him
But he didn’t seem to mind
For the peace he and Charley had
Is often hard to find
No matter that his new found friend
Was a strange sight to see
The Old Man just told others
It was serendipity
A chicken without his feathers
Is one in dire need
And an old man without a friend
Is a sad man indeed
So the moment that their paths crossed
They both became aware
That they needed one another
So they bonded, as a pair
Wherever one would choose to go
The other trailed behind
They loved the arbor most of all
Where the grapevine twined
And so they spent the summer months
‘Til fall brought on a chill
Charley shivered in nakedness
Then sadly, became ill
The Old Man tried to save his friend
But Charley passed away
And the Old Man wept in sadness
On that sorrowful day
Now he was alone again
And no one needed him
He felt unloved and useless
His future painted grim
And so he lost his will to live
Without someone to tend
And when he died, his last words were
It’s lonely without a friend

5/12/89 Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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A deep Abiding love


He came to me last night
to tell me he was sorry.
As he held me close
he kissed away my tears,
and I could feel his heart
beating in harmony with my own.
He whispered assurances
of undying love,
and I whispered mine.
Then from out of nowhere
came the soft strains
of our favorite song,
and we danced as one,
lost in deep abiding love;
a moment long awaited.

 And then . . . I awakened.

9/2/92        Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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She doesn’t smile anymore,
but she will not discuss her pain,
although assaults are so traumatic,
she will wear the scars forever.
You can see her bruises, visible
without the colors of physical abuse.
I knew her when she smiled a lot.
Sometimes we’d laugh so hard
we cried, but now there is no mirth
behind her tears, and she wears
a wounded look.
Her attacker denies cruelty.
He is quick to tell everyone
that he loves her, yet
the torment continues,
smothering the spark in her soul.
She can tell you that.
She can tell you that battering
doesn’t always mean clenched fists.
She can tell you that a wrathful
tongue and disagreeable nature
leaves bruises and scars.
But she won’t.
She takes her pain in silence,
and wears the bruises inside,
yet, I am aware of her pain.

She doesn’t smile anymore.

8/28/93 Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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Coming down in sheets,

it resembles a silver lame theater curtain.

A gift of nature’s beauty.

Preceding summer hail,

it portends worse to come, as we await the yellowing of the sky.

But sometimes it dances on my window panes,

and makes its own melody on the tin roof of my cabin, as I drift off to sleep, mesmerized by its charm. 

It cleanses my roof, and compacts the dust of the twisted lane to my cabin,

making little puddles  that serve as bird spas … mud baths in the dirt – drinking cups in the gravel.

It fills blossom cups that serve  as chalices for butterflies

And it makes the hot earth send up moist earth aromas.

As a child, I loved to stand or dance on the lawn, as it made my clothes cling to my body, cooling  me on a hot summer day.

Sometimes it fills my rain-barrel, becoming the source of future shampoos.

I love to watch the little spirals each drop makes on the quiet water of my pond.

When driving in the darkness of evening, it makes car lights shine with diamond rays.

Washing the dust of time from everything.

God blesses us with every raindrop.


Phyllis A. DeWitt-VanVleck

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It seemed the wind had little
mercy, and in its bitterness
it howled and moaned like a crazed
banshee; twisting and tearing
at the trees until it ripped limbs
from their sockets, tossing
them to the frozen ground;
Then in a sudden mood change,
from tantrum to passivity,
the wind ceased, replaced
by a heavy silent snowfall.

Dawn’s first thin finger of light
illuminated the night’s destruction,
now mantled with sugar-white
drop-cloths. Tree limbs are bending
their backs under the weight
of their new white coats.
Leaves that had refused
to release their desperate hold,
now shiver as they shove noses
from beneath frosty blankets.
Last night’s fallen limbs
poke antlers through
the drifting mounds that built
around their broken bones.
Ermine beauty is everywhere
I look, and it will remain
so, until the sun, joining
in the game, smiles as it starts
its usual melt-down,
in a warm wet strip-tease.
Nature’s fickle game.

2/8/92 Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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