cj Sez: Next week, my grandson leaves home to begin his first year of law school, and I am awash with melancholy. The event reminds me how fast time really does fly when you’re having a good time. I moved to Alabama to be near my grandkids and don't you know, they grew up. (sigh) Too soon, I say. Not soon enough, says he. I miss the hugs, giggles and piano concerts already.
Doesn't matter where the future takes him. To me, he will always be the dark-eyed cutie ready to save the world.
Feeling maudlin about the changes in our lives, I found myself thinking of my childhood in Texas and how far away that special time seems. What follows is a poem I wrote years ago that was ePublished by The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature in 2012.
In quiet times when past and present flow into one
Moment and melancholy dulls the senses and time ceases,
Memories steal me away to a place of tiny towns and meager farms
Worked by a few determined immigrants coaxing bounty from a dowry of hope,
A bundle of dreams wrapped in desert tan, banded by ribbons of
White caliche roads and faded asphalt highways,
Dotted with corn stalks,
And monoliths to crude fortunes
That spill upon the land in clear pools
Or spout in unctuous streams.
I roam prairies where The West begins;
Where dust devils haunt wide-open spaces;
Where shimmering heat mirages join in gay dance,
Dodging prickly cactus and gnarly mesquite.
I wander pastures skirting clods of Angus,
Shielding my eyes from the livid sun
Punctuating a sky swept by mares’ tails
And little funnel clouds that spin around
The heavens but never touch down
Like the big ones do.
Awash in twilight stands a child,
Barefoot in the hard-scrabble dirt
At the edge of a cotton field,
Wearing a sun-faded dress
Handstitched from a cotton feedsack.
An ethereal landscape on a sepia canvas;
Where dusk brushes the sunset in smears
Of gold and purple and pink and mauve;
Where color drains into the horizon
With the sinking sun, applauded
By the throaty rumble of thunder
Chasing lightning through distant clouds
That only sometimes rain
But send breezes to winnow the dust
From the cool night air,
Where I shall sleep . . .
Under a canopy of stars.
Grandson will kill me when he sees that picture. That’s all for now. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Comments? Questions? Drop me a line.