John-Ward Leighton

HANGING BY A PRAYER

Photo ©Copyright by John-Ward Leighton
Photo ©Copyright by John-Ward Leighton
Every thing seems normal
and OK
but why the queasy greasy
feeling of unease
that’s upon me this day.
I have errands to run
and they pluck at my sleeves
like a beggar’s plea.
My mental check list
as each task is done
is with no pleasure
that I can see
and surely no fun.
My pant cuffs are coated
with the mud
of a hound looking
for a place to crap
and I reckon that
when this time is gone
it’s never coming back.
I shaved my wrinkled face,
how did my father
get into this place
to look back at me
from the mirror?
He is no more
except in browning photograph
and voices that talk
from behind the cenotaph.
The sound of soldiers
singing on the march
the song drifts through the trees
and tells of derring-do
from mostly forgotten wars
a long way overseas.
The time stamp that is this photograph
and those strange short dated fashions
are enough to make you say,
‘‘What were they thinking?”
and is to laugh.
It seems sometimes like I’m forever,
but surely to be fair
I’m just bumbling along insensitive
and
hanging by a prayer.

Author’s Note: Though I can’t make out what is hanging from the tree branch, I can relate to your wonderful words. The reality of the ordinary; the images in the mirror of memory and uncertainty; the voices of old soldiers whispering within the memorials to their deeds; the photographic instant of reflection; combine to create a powerful word painting of the reality of the unification of past, present, and future. It’s a place in which we all reside to a greater or lesser degree… and it is, often, a sad place.