old man walking across weedy field

Old man out here

To step by deliberate step make your way
across the weedy field, once tended, toward
a thick foundation holding up air, where
once had been the stout milking barn,
enormous then useless,

while half way ’round our oblong sphere
that from far away looks like a
Christmas tree ornament,
they’re cleaning and dressing
each other, inside and out,
heart, body and soul, after
what some say was hatred and others
madness and others
faith but what may simply have been
not enough being noticed,
not enough getting a reaction.
Not enough seeming to matter.

Well, he matters now. And where did he
learn that—that mattering matters most?
Let’s hope not from the truly important,
the ones who decide,
the ones who get closer and closer
to being the one who decides; not, let’s hope,
from the smart, the wealthy,
the proud, the few;
not, let’s keep hoping, from the talented darlings
whose trillions of clicks
float their pedestals
higher and higher.

Let’s hope they, we, haven’t made it
the highest achievement to
teach someone it’s important
to matter—
never mind if you’re acting in or singing to or
running for or stumping across;
never mind what you do, what you say, whom you
As long as you matter.
Because if all that matters is to matter, then
smearing blood over the dance floor places
the wide riveted world in
the cold dead palm of your hand.

And then we’ve lost, all but the old
forgotten of us, our taste for the
noble worth of shambling across
the weedy field.

©2016 J. Christy Wareham
The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

old man walking across weedy field

A deceptively innocent diamond shaped opening
One day in Georgia, land of legendary magnanimity and Kartvelian good heart, someone sitting at a sewing machine, a bolt of white cloth at hand and with nothing of rightness and worth profitably to do, thought:
I propose a deed of mirth and merriment for myself and generations yet to come! I shall create a slip cover and fashion a diamond shaped opening — small and deceiving in size, though of disarming charm — at its center, such an opening as might invite the unsuspecting bed maker to stuff a hateful and resistant comforter into it. The guiltless comforter, only, will seem hateful, while the lovely and delicately adorned cover, purporting guilelessness, will lie spread across the still surface of the mattress, breathlessly waiting with eager hope and longing, to receive with ardor its intended yet recalcitrant contents.
Reach and wrestle as he might, however, the bed maker, though he fit a comforter corner neatly into its proper cover corner, all other corners could not be aligned, could not be straightened, could not be matched to all three remaining corners at once — not without leaving the comforter twisted and distorted in such evil derangement as would have prompted Jesus, He of infinite forbearance, to drive it shrieking into the sea, this vessel for demons with a life of its own.
All this the imaginative seamstress contrived in her heart. Yet even she did not conceive, thus could not have designed, that a bed maker from a foreign land — a sojourner of limited means and barest necessities, a stranger announcing to those of open and trusting hearts his noblest motives and selfless desire for the betterment of humankind — should come upon this predicament artfully designed for the cramping of the mind, the weakening of the heart and despair of the soul. Even so, this precise circumstance obtained.
Still, goodness and truth proved o’erpowering and in righteousness prevailed. Yay and verily, the mind did not fail; the visitor’s heart quailed not. The enemy, its plans and most diabolical purpose undone, has been defeated. The cover and comforter were brought to yield, and now in their repose, perfected in their purpose for the warmth and ease of the somnolent visitor, they will fulfill that very aim which had been meant to be prevented. Not since St. George slew the fearsome dragon has such valor been found on the face of the earth. Let us lift our voices in thanks and praise!
A Georgian comforter and slip cover, mystifying to an American

The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.