Home

This was written for the wedding of my oldest son last month. Life…

reception

 

Home

 

the man on the radio

said children first learn

there are three dimensions-

 

height and width and, of course

length, like a shoebox, or a house.

and only later do they learn

 

of the fourth dimension, time

the one that lends meaning

to all the others – standing here today

 

as we watch you prepare

to begin building your life together

I am acutely conscious of time

 

of how the immediacy of youth

can ripen of its own accord

into patience

 

of how we begin by thinking that love

is something that happens to us

like a bee sting, or an unexpected fall

 

and only later do we see that love

is something organic, that if we’re lucky

is something we might grow

 

to inhabit, like an atmosphere

or more, something that might

come to infuse us, like blood.

 

the older I become, the fewer things

I take to be certain. But some few things

I do know. I know that keeping score

 

is never helpful. I know that love

for one another is cultivated

through an appreciation of small things.

 

I know that even amid the uncertain winds

of this life, in this you might find shelter —

that if you are willing to work together

 

with patience, and with love,

and perhaps with some small measure of grace,

you must certainly succeed

 

in constructing of your lives a home.

 

© 2017 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

 

 

 

the stretch (Detroit ’68)

for the world series, and for boys and baseball…

detroit-1962-2

 

 the stretch (Detroit ’68)

 

it’s bottom of the ninth, two men out

two men on, so I’m pitching from the stretch.

 

he’ll be looking for the heater, so take a little off,

go outside, right at the crack in the second

 

porch step. it’s September, and the Tigers are a game up

with three to play – Freehan is flashing the signs

 

Ernie Harwell’s voice is in my head—“how could the skipper

leave the kid in the game at a time like this?”

 

as I start my motion, the runners go — absolutely everything

comes down to this–down to this lonely kid throwing

 

and throwing again, down to hitting that porch step, down

to this ball spinning now toward home

 

down to the twitch of the hitters’ hands, down to this cutter

finally starting to bite

 

detroit-1962

© 2016 jafink/oldbonesnewsnow.com

 

 

maybe it began

Image

 

maybe it began

 

maybe it began as a small room

in a small house, a blue spread

on a bed, a wooden dresser

a window, a rug on a wooden floor.

home, the place of origin, a place

to be from — going out and coming

back and going out again. did

such a place really exist, or did I

need to invent it?  a friend

once told me one sure measure

of happiness is how much of this world

we can willingly accept. I so

want to know the truth, any

truth, to be certain of something

inside this living question of a life.

but it seems there’s no arriving

only leaving, and leaving again

no rising beyond the chaos –

only, if blessed, a rising into. only

an acceptance of this perpetual rain

of phenomenon – falling, then freezing

melting and rising again, and then again

rain, merging into the gathering stream

as it runs headlong down to the sea, rushing

back to the source, rushing

as it always must, toward home.

 

 

 

 

© old bones, new snow/ J.A. Fink 2014

Centennial, Part 3- homeless in america

Image

homeless in america

we imagine we were born

here. if home is where the heart is

then why are we so anxious

to leave? why can we see it only

once we’ve gone?  it’s not about walls

and floors, windows and things. america

is a place of coming to, not from, the land

of the rootless. we roll across this landscape

like dunes stepping along a shore. we

are the forgetting ones, the ones who’ve left

are leaving, will leave- homelessness

the scourge of our age; even the cleanest

among us sleeps under a bridge

of his own imagining.

we are late to this land

if you’re white, you’re not from here

where did you come from, where

will you go? so little time to build anything

of consequence. the land is indifferent

the land can wait us out

the lakes in this valley are shallow and wide

like the valley itself. the swans come here to nest

blowing primordial trumpets. in the fall

the ragged V’s of their white bodies press hard

into high white clouds, their trumpets echoing

across the valley. the young birds need to fly

after months of rest, to rebuild their strength.

the birds remember. soon, they will rise as one

body, will rise white against white clouds

will rise up and over the white snows

of the passes, and be gone. somehow

they have always known precisely

where they belong. and for this

we must surely envy them

©J.A. Fink/Oldbonesnewsnow.com 2013