gnarled

it finally had to happen
I should have never answered those questions
they had found me sitting there on that rock
water still dripping from my ragged clothes

it was said that I was giggling like an idiot
I don’t remember much aside from the cold
the cold and that strange hand from nowhere
I can still describe each of those gnarled fingers

fingers with twisty knobby joints like tree roots
that hand supported by such a long thin arm
reaching out through frigid murky water
stopping my senseless plunge into darkness

queries delved far into my deepest thoughts
memories that would not remain suppressed
leaving a chill deeper than that frigid water
a chill that lingers after all these years

they tell me I am all better now at long last
the decision to commit had long been made
nothing much has changed after all this time
shocking brought intense pain but no relief

relief has finally come I am on my way home
my ordeal is almost ended or is it really
nagging doubts assail me from every side
should never have made mention of that crown

that crown is at the root of all that happened
I can longer charge recklessly at windmills
I feel that my days of chasing giants has ended
restraint would have been wiser than wine bags

I could care less what they think of me now
time has come to start on the final chapter
first I must take away of all those old pages
my committal has generated a deep resolve

a deep resolve to revisit that strange event
a convulsive plunge into frigid murky depths
reaching from nowhere that same gnarled hand
this time extended in welcome

Old Dog Old Man

Morning sunlight brings warmth
to joints stiffened with age
muscles wearied by shivering
through yet another frigid night
finally relax allowing sleep to come

Sleep brings dreams of younger days
when no trail had seemed too long
exhaustion was an unknown visitor
hunger was only felt by the very old
but time waits for nothing

Old have been replaced
by by young also turned old
no longer can spirit be found
to look down those distant trails
our journey is almost over

So we sit here together
as the sun begins its westward trek
ready at last to embrace that chill
which always comes with darkness

—–Jerry Marks