“Oh Hell!” I said to myself the other day
as I was walking past the cemetery gate
kicking leaves up in to the breeze
and thinking of winter and the cold
and how as each year before
I had come with my friends
to make angels in the snow
on all the graves without evergreen blankets . . . 

I didn’t really know where the “Oh, Hell!”, had come from
or how it had jumped out and sat so
in the frosted air peering – 
Asking me what hidden thoughts and troubles
had brought me down this freshly earthed road –
Don’t think I cared either –
It was more of a sign than an expression –
One like the leaves, and the snow, and the granite . . .

Like a Whip-Poor-Will gliding through the night
I wandered about past the forgotten markers –
Past the thoughtless “Oh Hell’s!” and yesterdays
Towards the bridge of  “Oh Well’s!” and tomorrows –
Over the oak planks and the muddied water-
Looking back one more time at the rusted iron gates –
Knowing one day I would return and they would open
And not for me to make angels in the snow . . . . .


Season’s Friend

My old friend Fall dropped by today –
Came knocking at my door early morning –
At first I was startled –
Thought maybe Winter had come early
But then as I opened the door
the brightly colored leaves came blowin’ in –
He whooshed through the door – “Just Me!” –
“A little cool today, but just me . . . “

I invited him in to chat but I wandered –
Couldn’t help thinking of where Summer had gone –
Or as far as that goes, the child called Spring –
Seemed just an hour or so ago it had been raining –
Washing the coldness of winter overstay to the depths –
Cardinals and finches had chattered about my bushes
and I had just watched the first tulip’s head poke through –
Fall is beautiful tho – painted leaves and little whirly-winds . . . 

I turned back to the conversation of ours
and found that Fall had grown old while chatting –
Hoar frost covered his once colorful mane
and his hands were trembling with a deep chill –
I hurried off to fetch the brandy and upon return he was gone –
And there whistling under the door came tiny white flakes
that grew tall as the sun shrank through the crossed panes –
I finished the brandy and opened the door to welcome Winter . . . . . 

Wgmaass 1977

The Final Journey

“Talk to me,” he said.
“Read to me from
The Book of the Dead.
Tell me of His will –
Show me the waters still.”

Horus circling in the night –
Fear keeps the body tight –
The soul wishes to be free –
The body stays close to me . . . 

I hold his hand and stroke his hair –
My love warms the midnight air –
I speak to him of faith and sleep –
While inside I deeply weep . . . 

A rich full life and now the end –
Soon the angels He will send –
In His arms you soon will be –
Fear washed away, soul set free . . . 

I held his hand till it turned to stone,
Knowing in the end we are all alone,
Yet neither cold nor fear to make us shake,
In this the final trip we take . . . . . 

William G. Maass