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A Few Poems
by WFH

Old Freighter

Once she roamed the open ocean
Sailing to all seven seas,
Working ports from Spain to China,
In tough times the Celebes.

Steamer from the middle Forties
Living life a grim outcast,
Finds no sentimental feelings
For a relic of the past.

Riding high on troubled waters,
Lacking freight and able hands,
And too tired for nimble service
Or responding to commands,

Hawsers hold her firm at mooring
While the skipper seals her fate.
Once proud cargo ship now rusting,
Soon will be just scrap yard bait.


The Children's Song

There never were the faintest doubts
A day would come when minor keys
Would overwhelm the joyful shouts
Of those who parted by degrees
And ended up as absentees.

And if sometimes we cast a smile
On thinking what might reappear,
The heart can scarcely reconcile
That fond remembrance of a year
When youthful sounds beguiled us here.

Now broken tones from fickle throats
Perplex the harmonies along,
While absence and bewildered notes
Reverberate to spell what's wrong:
The scene, the spirit, and the song.


The Shy Scholar

The curse of his precociousness
Tormented him throughout the years
As friendships ready to profess
Would often melt in bashful tears,
And some who met him, without proof
Would come to view him as aloof.

And so, ignored by college mates,
A size too small and years too young,
He watches from the rear and waits,
And hopes some day to be among
The honored names of those who bring
Essential truths to harvesting.

As he pursues his cherished goal,
Books, his truly steadfast friends,
Become for him the aureole
That lights the way; and he ascends
The mountain that he chose to climb,
That colleagues now see as sublime.


The Unanointed

Admired by colleagues watching him extend
The meaning of raw talent and travail,
He was appointed one who could not fail,
And worthy of his own fair dividend. --
Until the day a calculating friend
Discovered something missing on the trail
Of claimed credentials, no one did assail
Accomplishments which none will now defend.

He built his church without a cornerstone
When priests had found him less than qualified
And for that sin unfit to be inside,
Although it holds as firm as any throne,
While they who scorn the unanointed, pride
Themselves as trustees of the great unknown.


Like foam that runs before a wave
And vanishes into the sand,
The memories we long to save
Are phantoms in a fairyland.

And if we listen to a shell,
It offers back a muffled word
Of solace, though it can't dispel
The hunger for a vow unheard.

The eagle, wounded in mid-flight,
May climb a spiral to a crest
Before it disappears from sight
On winging homeward to its nest.

As far as vanity permits
We play a game of make believe
And struggle with our modest wits
To win a place we can't achieve.

For love that flowers in our youth
May fade or flourish with the years,
But seldom can we hide the truth
About the meaning of old tears.


Requiem for a Rose

From its stem, an emerging bud is torn:
A passing event, yet sorrow is born.
We weep for the beauty never achieved,
Lament for a life so rudely thieved.
A doleful end for a fledgling bloom,
No record, not even a proper tomb.

An aging blossom declines and falls:
No tragedy now, the mourner recalls
Its days of fragrance and beauty instead,
And tears of a different kind are shed;
The natural end for a lovely flower,
And now we salute its final hour.

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