Tag Archives: Memory

Our Union’s Echo

Dust upon the mantle, deep,
as tones of aching somber hold
the lengthened shadows across the room
to rend the wooden floor to gold.

So worn by every footstep lain
two hundred years could keep,
that grain and pitch and nail combine
in melding, fast asleep.

The air in musk of history
traps my thoughts in what I dream,
and there a conjured memory begs
from Civil War, a scene…
where just beyond the garden gate,
men in grey meet men in blue,
on horseback speak in earnest terms,
then off to leave just standing, two.
I hear a somber canon –
I smell the lilacs full in bloom –
I feel the rose of a lover’s blush,
then find me quiet, here in this room.

The window sash is splintered,
through the frame, the garden gone.
The picket fence in broken angles
casts pickup sticks in shadows long.

I move toward the porch to feel
the southern summer’s setting hush,
and o’er the field before me
sense the rolling guns and troops in rush.
The odor is of powder –
The sounds are pain and desperate cries –
I feel the courage and the anguish
that counted gone so many lives.

A blue jay calls my balance back
to lonely porch and battlefield
where ne’er a plow has broken soil
since when its fate by blood was sealed.

Cicadas welcome home the dusk
to sweetly calm the souls here lain,
and I a nod of hope for them,
and one long tear pulled from the pain,
now etched into my fabric –
now carved in stone upon my soul –
that I recall their history,
their sacrifice, their echo to a union whole.

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Filed under History, Memory, Perspective, Poetry, Universal Soul

Eyes

Such soul exposed through smiling eyes,
such depth of love to feel,
draws the heart to knowing that
in God we’re one, we’re real.

Tied to common ether,
bound to common cause,
yet separate paths do guide us,
that through our steps we pause –
grow ego to our selfish state,
refuse to hear the core’s return,
live a life of striving
that not till late we learn
that we are but universal,
spirits in the flesh,
our lives are just transversal
arcs of what we’re meant to learn and catch.

Yet eyes are tied to soulful depths
where truth of what we are is shown,
thus, to us and then from us,
it is our love that’s known.

I see the world around me,
I smile in sweet relief,
that knowing who these souls are
brings my eyes to sparkle deep.

I feel their energy take me,
as I capture fleeting thoughts
of my brother’s eyes and kindest smile
as if by him I’m taught.
I reflect then on my mother
and her loving eyes and caring,
till moved, I feel I must do more,
more I should be sharing
with those who need it most,
with those who long for kindest eyes,
and so reflect from both of them
in smiles to my passersby.

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Summer’s Slow Reprise

Enraptured in this summer’s slow
I walk the neighborhood’s quiet streets,
as all the subtle sights I know
stand poised where sun and dusk do meet.

The work day’s done, yet daylight clings,
but denies a shadow with dusk in sight,
holds time in quiet gratitude
and grants the gift of a summer’s night.

The air is still, the streets lay quiet,
my footsteps slow and measured,
sweet scent of lawns just cut and trimmed
enhance this moment’s treasure.

Children in the park fulfill
their dreams through baseball’s pastime,
while sprinklers on the schoolyard grounds
set the rhythm of this rhyme.

A dog’s bark echoes through this mix
of summer’s fullest ether,
as all these moments conspire to this,
a summer’s slow still sweeter.

As I walk the sidewalk cracks,
my memory carries me to summers past,
where at this moment Mom would call
and I’d run home to plead a last
few minutes time to run and play,
to feel the summer’s dusk roll in,
to laugh with friends until the night
had called us all to home again.

I recall my Uncle’s ancient house
on ancient narrow streets,
where it seemed all time stood still
at this summer’s slow stretched through the heat
and through the call of katydids
on streets named Maple, Elm and Oak –
with Dad and him on the steps I’d sit
while they drew it in through cigar smoke.

This summer’s slow brings gratitude
for days and years and life gone by,
and blesses quiet solitude
in a simple walk and opened eye –

so grants me gifts I can’t deny,
in a magic I give thanks for.

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My Stone Wall

Smooth and mixed, the stones betray
the purpose of each course I laid,
that mortar’s strength to hold them fast
denies my hope to see them last
in square to where each one I stayed.

Mortar cracked and crumbled clings
to stones once plucked from mountain streams,
each in purpose so selected,
that as my work neared done, reflected
the lane to which my heart would sing.

Years that dressed my lane to home
witnessed living thrusts since gone,
captured echoes of a purpose,
pushed from God to here, to surface
what this life and soul has known…

Triumph in a child’s eye.
Approving nod of passersby.
Winter nights in season’s mirth.
Awe and bliss in children’s births.
Fractured heart when stress had won.
Undoing of a wayward son.
Broken stride in parent’s deaths.
Splintered family and such regrets.
Falling from the strength to cope,
when whispers came in certain hope,
as lives careened between the walls
and hands repaired the fists in halls,
when tragedy begged into the room
to paint the road in front with gloom,
as fast this last hand grasped for life,
witnessed strength to break with strife.
Saw the hope that changed this heart.
Saw what fed and fueled the parts
of broken paths and shaken schemes.
Saw such love fold into dreams
and grant a smiling eye …
and all the years gone by…

My lane in stone wall’s soft repose
extends a peace that no one knows, but I.
It’s stoic stance is earned so well,
tho’ cracked and stained, not one stone fell,
that now in quiet solitude
has earned my histories gratitude,
and assuring nods from passersby.

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Teardrop’s Honor

What teardrop’s lines in honor hold
are more than I can bear,
when witnessed in the eyes of mother’s
weeping through such deep despair.

For them my heart is broken,
for them I give my deepest prayer.
No word or act or motion
can begin to mend the rending there
that claws at love innate,
love born in womb and born of soul
of mothers whose sweet loves, now gone,
shudder every moment on
and shake in disbelief,
fall in heaps of deepest grief
when every moment, every sight
denies their hope, denies their right,
befriends an aching heart to cope,
yet only echoes pain –
of last words spoken, last hug and kiss,
last kindest little token
granted from sweet childhood’s bliss.

Such rage confounds my spirit,
no line of thought can bring the “why”.
I seek for resolution, so absurd,
yet still I try –

What blackness fills this world now?
What mantra does such evil chant?
What sickened heart has found this world?
What soulless evil does it incant?

“Fear not!”, I try to cling to,
as in prayer and in action seek
to persuade a better world around me,
influence hope and love to keep –
Defeat the sickened “ick” of hate,
replace it with the kindest words
that echo only caring,
thus give to life what life deserves –
No senseless tears upon a mother’s cheek…

In reflection of the Newtown, Connecticut Tragedy – 14-Dec-2012

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Brooks 23

The day, in somber grey, yet clear and cold, a January gift, forms a shadowed curtain of question, of what’s uncertain around me and those now standing here. Cold winter’s breeze, broken sun and sienna shadows – coats and scarves and dresses blow, flapping black, midst watery eyes and reddened noses. They wait… we wait… to humbly let us in, by our own stiffened procession, past memory cards, photos, guest register and pen.

In the distance beyond the foyer, his image pronounced largely midst flowers, lights and the wall, past the glass curtain set there. So many, so full, yet behind me the line is eternal, of those here to pay their respect, to trade a sorrowful heart for a memory, trade to hope from regret.
I wonder if I’ve grown calloused, my emotions are real and on my sleeve, but this pain is nothing new to me. So many I’ve given back, so many, so close…

Yet in this crowd of caring souls I see the faces of children I know, now grown, now boldly standing in their own paths – young adults bound here, for this moment, this January afternoon, as one. I see Seth and Alex and Gabe and Chris and Matt and so many more… and Ben… I recall them young, unaware, unafraid, children with a safe home calling – warm, quiet, confident home… Yet today – they stand as men… together and yet alone. Each on their path, seeing the world from their own eyes, through their own life’s experiences. Together, facing a reality none ever expected they’d share. Their faces are long and somber – their youth denies them their age, and moments turn to eons before my eyes – they all look so tired, so old. In these expressions I see their pain, only relieved by the stories of memories shared… of the one now gone… laughter, tears, gasps and grappling for strength to pull them forward… they each see this from different eyes – yet all the same – collectively, as something more beautiful than the whole – it’s love I see – for each other, for life, for what they’ve lost, for the trials, the triumphs, the lessons learned from mistakes – but mostly for the hope that they share, a better strength and hope for tomorrow…

… names are called, and answered in roll… standing one by one, … but one … “Benjamin Scott Brooksmith”… again … again … The momentary silence between the calling crushes my will to endure and the tears come – and like a heaven sent thunder, bagpipes begin… “Amazing Grace” pounds like the beat of a heart in despair… The young men stand there, endure their own grief… some wavering, some grasping to stand steady, some with head hung long, and some tall and accepting… The pipes end and I feel weightless, off the cliff and over the edge – it is done…

We gathered to remember, to share our grief, to find consolation for our souls, to seek an understanding…

We found the strong echoes of love!

I found these children grown, baptized by life, confirmed in peace, and set free as a generation.
The cold day hasn’t changed outside… January sun betrayed by her bitter wind. Hugs and whispers… tears toward the door…

The walk back to my truck is empty – carved hollow by the blank echoes of footsteps – retracting to the fabric of life… moving on in time without choice. The moments have come and gone – only memories remain… … as I drive, it seems that all the world is empty and everyone I see grieves with me, and understands – The music playing seems to speak to my aching heart, my vision of those young faces… every lyric seems pointed in meaning – and the voice there dips in and out of the voices of my long passed brothers, father, mother…

.. the day is grey with January sun and cold… I fell tired, I feel old…

God bless them all –

God bless Ben.

J. Blue – 25-Jan-2010

In loving memory – 3 years later – the young men and women I know, have all risen to the calling of each of their lives, although two more left their midst in that time. I’m proud of them all. Love them all dearly.
J. Blue – 20-Jan-2013

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England 1941 (Veteran’s Day Tribute)

England 1941

By pond’s still quiet,
November found
‘neath blackened trees
and leaves of brown,
that chime through winds,
season’s decay
rustle the drying grasses to say
or whisper their seed tossed song.
Where prayer is heard
in sweetest words,
bless offspring’s journey,
brave, yet long…

Reeds, by pond’s edge, do blush
with naked stalks and seeds that flush
this breeze with passers by.
Where clouds of grey and white on blue
hang low, and brooding up the view
soften this season’s sigh…

Now above my head a thunder rises,
behind a cloud on blue, surprises
peace with a warring sound.
Two birds of war, in roaring chase,
bend wing on wing around the face
of the grey insipidous cloud.
There turn and twist by engine’s roar,
dive and stretch to fight for one more
breath, or one more shroud…

These two alone in November’s sky
bring anxious thoughts that recall why
I’m sitting here
amidst this November’s season.
Where God’s inspired this nature’s reason,
so disturbed by mankind’s cry
to peace and conquest, home and faith,
for loved one’s whose lives we face
this terror from the sky.
Where wisps of clouds become our means
to face the birds of war in seams
where their anger waits and hides.

These two on wooded edge, now slowly
chase, evade, and roar past lowly
dancing o’er the distant shore.
Yellow blasts and glints of sun
as black unfurls and spirals run
above to yonder clouds.
Where now the victor soars to heights
while in defeat and smoke the fight
twists slowly at the horizon,
and ends in forest’s shroud.

Tomorrow, I may be so blessed,
to rise to clouds of height and best
the anger of this season.
My bird and I pray for reason
to see us through.
There seek another autumn’s day,
and in it offer thanks and pray
my soul comes back to you.

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Bells of War

Clouds of war
loom to the east,
reflecting sun’s horizon
of deepest setting’s,
rose and peach.
Be it blood tomorrow,
or garden’s rising?

Surreal, the silence of this dusk,
hangs on the clouds of night’s foreboding,
clings its matter to my mind,
start memories’ work, noting
the tortured gray
of seasons past,
where men lie dead
in fields of grass,
while clouds of cannon smoke hang sighing,
weep to their young spent souls,
and beckon fast their rising.

In clamor, fall the hoof-steps
of wagons hearsed and calling
to stack the flesh, and there return
these bodies, to the bawling
eyes and hearts of loves
whose secret fear’s now summoned,
and in the wake of dead, leave tears
in sorrowed river’s running.

In distant air the sounds are heard
that confound the very reason
of men entrenched, and fighting still
beyond this deathfield’s treason.
The dogs of war, beyond it all,
hounds in chase, instinctual service
draw the hoofs and wagons on,
to serve this warring’s purpose.

In setting sun of future days,
our hearts will cry a humble phrase
that war is waste and serves just death.
And so regret the scornful ways
when tempest reigned our judgment’s tack,
in retrospect we’d like it back
and return our loved ones whole.
When regret is ours, and lessons learned
have etched the living soul,
we’ll know war serves not our purpose,
for life and love’s our role…
Yet today, the bells of war do toll.

















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Old Books


Spines aligned across the wall,
titles pressed as great names call
to mix my mind within…

Some of fiction, some of fact,
some that capture heroic acts,
and some to just dwell in…

The musk of age is held in those
whose dogears came from those who chose
to feel each written line…

That when I read again each page,
the now’s removed and so my age
draws even with the time…

When hands since passed and eyes long dry
embraced the words as now do I,
through written word return to life
and share with me in kind…


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Brick and Mortar

Brick and mortar, matched to fit
the very shape of timeline drawn,
laid in purposed course to sit,
and there life’s perfect line be shown.

The course we lay, this wall in truth,
is built through season’s changing ways.
That it should stay or falter proof
of what our honest souls do play
is incongruous
to a path in life –
thus imperfection therein is rife
with sum based in the “who” of us.

Thoughts of who we are become
the placement for the next block laid.
Yet as each course in mortar is run,
symmetry drifts through moments played,
through love and life and challenge granted –
the keys to days of what’s enchanted
or what might seem for naught.
It’s this mosaic, by grace incanted
that holds our spirit, caught.

Gestalt in temporal waves reflect
pain or pride in each defect –
discolorations highlight tides
where deep, or upon, we took our ride –
Cracks and fissures, the challenge points
by which we broke or fixed a joint
and tried to carry on –
… for years a life was built upon…
Now looking back, it seems near gone.

Yet beauty in what our souls have made
stands in history’s humble glade.
Life in triumph and losses tragic,
each mosaic, each course laid, magic!
that we will reckon lessons
within our final breath,
know the truth of love and loss
and secrets that were kept,
heal our hearts and passions
in knowing that we should
touch this wall of brick and mortar
and see that it is good.

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