Colin F. Jones

TIME, MY FRIEND

When I was young we had our little tribes,
Our gangs and clans and vibrant little groups.
All our sports required different sides
Dressed for war, like our battle troops.
We wore no uniform but we knew our own;
Not by his face but by the love we shared.
For, like a tree deep in a forest grown,
We had the self same structures when compared.
We went our ways and I went off to war
And there I aged to become another man.
Who used to know me, knew me no more
And I became the bloke from Vietnam.

So round the pubs and bars I sought out mates
But they did not ‘cognise my callous wit,
That below their higher standards I did rate
Though none, to my bare face, would mention it.
So alone and alone I drank and drank
Until at last I faced my foul disgrace;
Acknowledging the depths of shame to where I’d sunk
That only I could shape a better face.
Why would these common folk know of war?
Most have never been across the quiet street.
And all those old blokes like to close their door
Lest younger Veterans share in what they eat.
So I retreated to the wilderness of my youth
To serve out time until I found the truth.

Dawn was a smile upon my wife’s sweet face
Who visited my island, intent to stay.
So two alone in wind the sun did chase
That came, with time, to brighten up our day.
Though this recluse delights in hills and glades
Where people are all absent in their towns,
There comes a time when even this love fades;
That one must go to where the ocean pounds,
Where that salt air sweeps in freshly from the sea.
I’m sure there will be blossoms on the breeze,
Like spirits spraying petals over me,
To flower in my heart just like the trees:
For they will come as love from hearts like ours;
From the lands of snow and rain and yellow flowers.