'For reward, for revenge, and for rest'

She’d rather be killing birds,

but instead, she settles beside me

                 and purrs.


Walking down the road

with fireflies lighting the way –

Christmas in July.


There must be a god somewhere,

for reward, for revenge,

and for rest.


A sure sign that I’m getting old:

people are polite to me.


Old age:

the age of silence

and the age of talking too much.


I’m very lucky:

the only problems I have

can never be solved.


Growing older –

my real fear

is that I will get

           what I deserve.


Returning to work after retirement,

trespassing on land you used to own.


One day,

people will become worthy

of the works of art they create.


Is that my smile,

or a river of wrinkles

spreading across my face?


Grateful for having,

ashamed of having,

tired of having,

afraid of losing.


After the concert:

we applaud,

not because we won’t forget it,

but because we will.


Youth passes, thank God.

I’d just make the same mistakes

all over again.


The mind lusts after the flesh,

but the flesh is lost in dreams.


About my wife:

yes, she could have done better,

but she could have done worse.


As the future shrinks,

the past expands

and takes revenge on the present.


After the argument,

the boat springs a leak

but doesn’t quite sink.


I can’t believe these hands are mine –

their knuckles and veins

are so ancient and wise.


The thread snapped –

you could barely hear it –

and people went on with their lives.


The ballet of cars

at a busy intersection –

beauty is everywhere.


Listening to Beethoven

            during a thunderstorm –

Beethoven always wins.


The past is an open wound

              that never heals.

I can’t forgive

or be forgiven.


Killing ants in the bathroom –

it doesn’t help,

but at least I feel guilty.


Remembering and forgetting –

the two diseases of old age.


Slowly, finally,

my home becomes a home,

my wife becomes a wife.


A single blade of grass

casts a shadow on the fence.


Frank Robinson