The Passing of the Day... A Poem



The old man's jaunty shorts let Arizona's

fervent sun burn purple scars that curve and bite the length

of both legs; absent veins on vacation in his heart,

some other clogged place. His wife, cacklely old crone,

a filthy-mouthed broad with exceptional talent

for coarseness, lives to tell a dirty joke. They sashay,

in grand display, around the burg in a convertible,

obscenely chrome-plated, gaudier than a Rolls Royce,

absolute king and queen of their world, God's and ours.

He doesn't have a thought, a care, nor she. They will live,

laugh, drive forever despite thread-like, fuchsia clues,

ancient, gutter-croaking silliness. Both are dead.

Where, now, tasteless tales, useless veins and empty heads?


The horned brown beetle drowned overnight in a bowl

meant for morning birds. Merciless. It was entrapped,

the water one slippery inch below the rim.

It careless fell on a night-time prowl for food,

perhaps from palm fronds just above, or splash-landed

after errant flight in unexpected liquid grave.

How long it struggled, what its throes, though not surely known,

are understood. Like all horror's desperation,

the choking swimmer slowly weakens, terrified,

half-way across a lake, knowing, in the sickness

of his heart, he will not live to see the other side.


The old man feeds javelina that come poking through

the neighborhood in packs; houses in the desert,

cacti all around, their habitat. He is quiet,

quite withdrawn, will barely say hello, if at all,

when my black dog and I pass by on gritty walks.

He feeds and putters round his yard, as I will later do,

takes cosmic pleasure in bristled pigs, thorny plants.

Then, one day, he isn't there. He's dead, we hear.

I have no idea what kind of man he was,

his life of self-containment done; quiet, now, forever.


Sweetheart, say goodbye to the poet over there,

that artist (that's right, dear, it's not polite to point).

They have no place in our righteous, proper lives.

God made our way of life, the only life that should be lived.

Run our business, make our money, advertise.

Concentrate on making more money. Concentrate!

Wave bye-bye to the poet on the fringes of the world.

Wave bye-bye to the artist in limbo out there somewhere.

Where are they? What are they doing? Who knows? Who cares?

Why do they bother...bother being poets, bother

being artists, bother bothering the rest of us

with their...bother; bother doing what they always do?

Why bother?


A stranger meets apostles on the road. They dine

with Him, discover He is the risen Lord, He

who guided them; they gave their lives to follow Him.

One doubts this can be Jesus Christ, convinced he saw

Him dying on the cross; inspects the lancer's wound,

yet unhealed, deep in the flesh of luminous Christ.


But, the tomb is empty. No body slackly rots.

Once recumbent behind the heavy stone, now risen, gone.

No one saw Him taken, leave. A golden being

tells those come to mourn that He is no longer there.

Death could not contain Him. The Son of God, forsaken

of humanity, His callous Father, on the cross,

has, in dying, been taken by Him from the lasting night

unto eternal day. His light forever shines,

as ours, we pray, by full reliance, faith in Him.


Copyright by Don Gray


Don Gray Art  •  Poems