Walking and Warm Happiness
Our wheaten cairn will stir, and turn her face
toward me the instant I begin to feel
a restless foot that seeks a steeplechase.
Blue skies, fresh air and trees exert appeal
that draws my feeling out — beyond this book,
the fire, my ear’s delight with glockenspiel . . . .
Her ears prick up. Her eyes, penetrant, look
at me with such intelligence that I
know she needs action, not gobbledygook.
How does she read what fleets in my mind’s eye?
She X-rays my intent — like a CAT scan —
quicker than I can. She’ll identify
that flame of impulse in my heart-mind’s pan
before its image has flashed out and gone
and I chase after it, catch-as-catch-can.
Her tail, inverted carrot, thereupon
so wags her butt in her anticipation
that I recall the fleet phenomenon
which was, ’til now, not even cogitation,
and it leads both of us, in its warm harness,
outside. Extraordinary, our creation . . . .
A great way off he looked to be my age —
perhaps his gait, that blotting of his nose
with handkerchief in hand — or so I’d wage . . . .
As we drew close we slowed, exchanged Hello’s
and paused to trade remarks upon the sky:
“So blue and cloudless!”
“Brings you to your toes!”
I introduced myself. “You live nearby?”
His name was Joe. Was staying for a while
with one of his two daughters, since July.
“You know, I feel a little infantile.
Six months with her, and then six with my other —
nothing to do. I’m sure I cramp their style.
And so I walk. And walk. Stay close to Mother
Nature. I used to have a garden plot —
a hundred by one-hundred-fifty — brother,
the vegetables I grew! You like store-bought?
I relish fresh-pulled carrots, crisp romaine,
zucchini, kale, fresh peppers sweet and hot.
How old are you?”
“I’m seventy one.”
your health. I’m ninety five.”
“No! You look great!
Your dirt-fresh veggies — walking — they sustain
your vibrance! I’d have thought you in your late
“Age is not so great, I find.”
He paused, and gathered up his thought. “‘Dead weight’
is how the old are viewed, how they’re maligned
by younger folk, and by themselves to boot.
So much has changed. I feel so left behind.
Computers, to cite one thing. No dispute,
they speed up work. But how is it they work?
No clue! With high tech I’m not worth a hoot.”
“Nor I.” My heart went out . . . . I’d be a jerk
to give false comfort, or to fancy talking
would lift this cloud — let sunlight in our murk.
For I was close behind. We both were stalking
what neither was quite ready to embrace . . . .
“My toast: To your fine health! Keep up your walking!”
Leland Jamieson, a performing arts center manager for most of his working life, is retired and lives in East Hampton, Connecticut, USA. His recent and forthcoming work appears in Bellowing Ark, Blue Unicorn, Neovictorian /Cochlea, Raintown Review, and 3rd Muse. He has gathered a number of published formal poems, some with streaming audio, under the title Needles in a Pinewood at www.geocities.com/lelandjamieson. His new collection of poetry 21st Century Bread is now out.
Photo "Friend's X-ray" by Bella Dante.
Poems Copyright © 2007 Leland Jamieson. All rights reserved.
Photo Copyright © 2007 Bella Dante. All rights reserved.