Donald Harbour – Three Poems

Grandfather Wisdom

The grandfather and his
grandson, walked a path.
Tripping the grandfather
reached to steady the lad.
“Watch your feet,” he said,
“See what is on the path ahead.”
The child smiled up at
the man not knowing that
a life’s lesson had been given.
They reached the creek bank,
sitting under the branches
of an ancient tolerant oak.
There a young child and
an old bent, aging man
filled with the wisdom of time
leaned against two hundred years.
And he said, ” Be careful
of the water’s edge for it is
there that a snake may hide.”
Wisdom. The hooks were baited
bobber dangling from the cane
pole laid gently in the water.
“Hold steady son,” he said,
“You’ll see the fish take the
bait and the bobber will tell.”
A lesson in life, patience, wait.
Through the day the child listened,
hearing the gentle, affirming
words of age, a monumental benefit.
As the hours passed, a blink of time,
an imprint was made, a memory given,
the child never forgot the fishing
lessons. He never forgot the kindness
in the voice of his grandfather.
He never forgot those precious
moments, they began to cast him
into the image of the man he would
become as had all his men folk before.
The grandfather’s obligation
taking the hand of a small child,
giving him knowledge, character,
heritage, giving him purpose.


Grandma’s Hand Sewn Quilt

one summer on grandma’s
hand sewn quilt we lay on
our backs half naked staring
up at the night sky you and I
strolling along the fence posts
of our minds buried deep in
the rich fertile soil of our past
I wondered if we fell into the sky
would travelers between the stars
pick us up and take us aboard
would we be accepted as we were or
examined as some pinkish specimen
only fit for their galactic zoo
you just giggled asking if I thought
we could take grandma’s hand sewn quilt


Herald of Southern Summer

Tithonus is proclaiming his immortality,
After seventeen years he shouts, sings it,
Shaking his timbales with mighty thunder,
Leaves of the trees quake and rustle,
The world vibrates with tettix joy,
All creation turns to hear the magical song,
He proclaims his many names across every hill,
Yellow Monday, Cherry Nose, Redeye, Whiskey Drinker,
Double drummer, Black Prince, La Cigarra,
Higurashi no Naku doro ni, summer’s jar fly,
A symbol of reincarnation he is the benign molter,
And yet the trickster, the ninja decoy utsusemi,
He represents insouciance singing into the night,
He is the ubiquitous herald of the Southern summer.