Friday, March 5, 2010

What Might

I sit and listen with my imperfect ears
The music recalls all the imperfect years.
The mountains of sound rise in their majesty
To waterfall back in to obscurity.

Dreams dreamed through the many years of frustration
Fear that the talents endowed at formation
Went unused or abused as the path opened
And allowed to slip away unheralded.

Thoughts and emotions evoked from the dim past,
Beauty and good developed, but not to last.
Fleeting insights, intellect too seldom tested
Moments of near brilliance soon arrested.

The strains evolved by some long dead composer
Able to stir the depths quiescent, dormant.
Words written by some bygone obscure author
Striking an intoxicant chord, resplendent.

If only the beckoning gesture had been
Recognized, what worlds might have been sounded.
If only the unseeing eyes could have seen
What epiphanies, what thought been propounded.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Brother

We were born six years apart. Too many to allow for ordinary companionship. There might have been hero worship on his part. I never really knew. I was given to athletic pursuits, he was to a far lesser degree. It never occurred to me that that situation might have bothered him. We cared about each other but were never really close. That was far more my doing than his although the situation was not consciously developed. He simply was too young to be an ongoing part of my daily plans.

My father seemed to fear that I had a latent desire, perhaps due to sibling rivalry, to do some bodily harm to my brother. It was not true, though rough play may have led to the suspicion on my father's part. The only result of his concern was that it led me to believe that he cared for my brother far more than he cared for me.

I became philosophical in that regard and never really developed a relationship with my father. I was very wary of anything i said or did where my brother was concerned. I became a loner, relying very little on both of my parents. I was somewhat closer to my mother.

Life passed, our relationship grew no closer. He attained some considerable recognition in his field. His success pleased me greatly but I did not lavish praise on him. I never have been able to express deep feelings without becoming maudlin, and embarrassed. I discovered, after many years had passed, that he craved my adulation far more than I could have imagined. His need and my inability to satisfy it led to a gulf that developed between us.

Almost a lifetime has elapsed without either of us bridging the gap. But recent events and the wisdom of years has led to each of us reaching for the other. The reaching has led to a better understanding and an acceptance of our individuality. At long last, I believe that we have become friends and not just brothers.

We have a way to travel before all the barriers are removed but the wall has been breached. Whether we will be granted the years to remove all constraints is questionable, but it really is not a matter of great importance. We live many miles apart. That may change, but the physical proximity is not of prime importance thanks to the telephone.

It was always true, but now I can call my brother and say, "I love you."

Ghosts, Apparitions, Manifestations and Such

I am uncertain as to my acceptance of phantasmagorical subjects. Happenstance, chance optical illusions may be all the explanation necessary - and yet --!!

It was a beautiful old farmhouse in a remote section of western New Jersey. It had been completely remodeled inside and greeted one with a charming blend of the old and new. My wife and I bought it after one inspection.

We moved in and paid little heed to the frequent but annoying small accidents that kept occurring. A stubbed toe, a cut finger, a piece of china dropped and broken; it was all very normal.

There was a feed mill two miles away where I purchased items for our animals. I visited it every two weeks or so. About six months after our taking up residence in the farmhouse, I was making my routine visit to the mill when the lady behind the counter stopped me.

"Have you been bothered by the ghost yet?"

"What ghost?" I replied, puzzled.

"Don't you know what happened in your house?"

"No. What?"

She then proceeded to inform me that one of the former owners had done away with himself because of some unspecified woe in a particularly messy manner that involved a shotgun.

I returned home and imparted the pleasant tale to my wife. We both speculated that all the small mishaps and annoyances that had been plaguing us might be the manifestations of an unwanted spirit.

The little annoyances continued until one day, after tripped over a bucket in the bar, I grew exasperated and yelled.

"Look, we're here to stay. Your little tricks will not drive us away. You might as well learn to live with us. We are happy people and this is, and will be, a happy place."

I felt a little foolish and was pleased that no one had witnessed my outburst.

My wife loves music. It was not unusual for a radio or stereo to be playing most of the time. However, I noticed that a radio was left playing, softly, even when we had retired for the night. I mentioned it to my spouse and she told me that she had informed the house that pleasant music and laughter were to be a part of every day, and it might as well accept that fact and join us in our approach to life each day.

Strangely, my outburst and her ultimatum had occurred on the same day. Even more strangely, the little accidents stopped. The easily explainable but annoying troubles ceased. Coincidence? Very likely. Yet food for thought.

We lived in and enjoyed our home for four years. Then fate stepped in and decreed that we had to move once more. We had grown to love our home and were truly upset at the necessity for uprooting ourselves.

The day we listed our house for sale and the brokers' sign was erected on our front lawn, the little accidents began, once more, to occur.

There's so much more to this story than Dad told. A beloved antique, cast iron woodstove was broken in half by the movers when they moved in. A sudden burst pipe caused the ceiling in the living room to collapse right on top of Mom's most prized possession, her antique baby grand piano. And then peace was established as Dad recounts here. And my mother told me that once the house was for sale, the sense of a fog lifted that they'd enjoyed once that peace was made descended again. She felt guilty; they'd made a friend with an unquiet spirit, then had had to say goodbye, leaving it to its restless and unhappy tenancy.