Friday, May 1, 2015

The First of May

The First of May
The first of May.  The city streets at dusk.
A bench to sit on in the cobbled park.
The workweek ended—time to sit and breathe—
and yet a tension, still, that will not leave—
a strange foreboding in this worker’s heart.

A calm, a pause, between the day and night,
between the workweek and the weekend and
between the seasons. Yet—above—a storm.

The trees, with all their springtime twigs out-thrust
towards the storm-clouds swirling in the sky.
An eerie light on high—and in the streets
the traffic moves in strangely silent streams.

A chill that’s more like March than early May.
The muted voices of the passersby.
And as I sit, a question comes to mind.
Is this the time for me to exit right?
I mull upon this question for a while.
The answer comes—  
a student’s father’s dead.

It isn't time for me to leave—not yet.

I’ll grade my papers and, when Monday’s here,
I’ll go to work and speak to him a bit
and then decide if I should quit my job
and try to start on all I've left undone—
or linger still and do the other things
I still must do before I have to leave.

But then—I know such tidiness is rare.
We each must bear the mess that life can be,
with times like this to quietly reflect—
and then be grateful for that precious gift.


The sky has cleared.  There’s Jupiter above.
The south is darkened still with clouds.
The storm has come and gone—but left no rain,
as sometimes happens in a warmer zone.

It’s Friday evening.  Weekend—filled with work.
But that’s a blessing.  Opalescent sky—
the trees in silhouette.  The traffic lights,
whose silent signals are the city's pulse.

A bit of peace.  And yet, across the world
and even here—the madness and the wars.
The madness in the job is part of this.
Who knows what harsher horrors May and June
will bring?

Let morbid thoughts subside.  Of seasons, sing.
For life will pass and death will come in time.
Till then, we live and do what needs be done.
A bit of laughter and a bit of fun—
and that’s enough.

My student—fatherless
and far from where he came from—alien,
within a city where he walks alone,
will face yet more of sorrow and of grief.

The mortal lot.

A gesture or a look, a word or two—
a little notice—might give some relief.

It’s time to rise and tote my papers home.


The first of May.
A day for workers—yet a day for work.
2015 May 1st Fri 8:30 pm
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

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