Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Geese

The geese said goodbye today. Autumn has swallowed the world, her cool winds signaling another peaceful end to another marker, another milestone, another memory saying goodbye again to my feathered friends.

I don’t know how they manage to find me every year, alone, never within shouting distance of another being. And I – usually basking in the quiet of the season. The trees which had not long ago been so alive, so loudly singing the praises of life in summer breezes, now quietly adorning themselves with the color of sleep. The quiet is indeed overwhelming, the loam of browning grasses seem to soak up any remaining sounds of the year. That’s always when the geese come to say goodbye.

They first found me at the age of twelve, sitting along the bank of a child’s lake, dawbling and bobbling a small fly hook to the interest of a few tiny bluegill. “Goodbye John,” they said to me in voices I clearly understood. “We’ll come again once this pond has frozen and thawed again. Happy times, friend. Happy times.” And their trailing honks left me alone, their final formation a salute to our beginning friendship. I’ve returned to that spot many times during my life with that memory burgeoning from my seams. Not to fish. Just to remember a simpler time. It is truly just a pond.

Some years are more memorable than others – when they have come to say goodbye. The year of my marriage. The years that each of my children were born. The year my mother died. And father too. Those are the markers. I needn’t return to those memories. I live them everyday.

And what shall become of today’s encounter? When they flew low above with recognizable voices and said “Goodbye old friend, til another year new. We shall miss you.”

So shall I.

And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them —
The summer flowers depart —
Sit still — as all transform’d to stone,
Except your musing heart.
The Autumn, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Empty Years

Hi, thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope you won’t mind if I “wax a little melancholy” for just a moment.  I’m certain this date has some significance to me, but I’m afraid I haven’t yet understood it fully.

I have been married for 27 years.  A few moments ago I signed the final decree of our divorce.  And I wonder, “What’s left of these 27 years?”  Besides my children, I can’t think of a single thing that was accomplished during those years.  They are lost, dried up like leaves in the fall, and blown away.

Following is the only emotions I have today……  of course, in rhyme……

P.S.  I apologize again for the lengthy monologue here….  Open Link night is not a good night to stretch the blog but it occurred to me after reading some thoughts left by friends that this poem probably needs a little introduction.  I chose to honor Rupert Brooke in this poem because he is a deeply emotional and lovely poet who died at the age of 27.  And the poem itself – although misleading – is really about what can be accomplished in a 27 year period….  It’s not about divorce, or sadness, or drugs or death.  I know that few readers today will know who Rupert is, however.  I only know of him because I am a staunch history and war buff.  Rupert became famous for his poems depicting WWI as he viewed it from the front lines.  So I thought more people would clue into the 27 year theme by adding Hendricks and Joplin, who more famously also died at the age of 27.  I admire them all greatly.  It is truly sad that artists have personalities that tend to overindulge everything in life, including drugs and alcohol when they travel that path.  But this poem does not celebrate their deaths.  It celebrates their lives and all they have given to the rest of us.    I hope you will please know that all my poems come from deep within my emotions.  What may seem sad to you is actually the color of my life…..  I am not sad.   Please, enjoy my poem for what it is.  It was not intended to be about the writer, but no piece of art is complete without the mark of it’s creator.  Every Picasso painting you ever see will have it’s roots in some of the deepest emotions probably endured by any human…..  The topic or subject of a piece of art is that which is depicted.  The emotions, feelings, visions, and senses of the artist are only what makes it unique….. 

You’re friend, John
Empty Years
How can a thing live and thrive
that such great love would strive
within years of twenty and seven?

That a whole life could pass
and a man’s mark should last
beyond his entrance to Heaven?

Rupert Brooke should know,
as he penned his last or so,
as Death’s angels called his name.

Hendrix died so long ago
and Joplin we are told
relinquished her earthly fame.

What sights those eyes had seen
before death came between
young souls and all the world.

Greater feats had never been
that memories last within
our hearts and souls to share.

And what of my last?
These twenty seven past?
Has my mark been left at all?

A time others could make great
could leave my solemn fate
with nothing but this listless scrawl.

Dried leaves, blown away, in the fall.
by John Allen Richter

These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.

The Dead, by Rupert Brooke

© 2012 John Richter