I remember you on hot desert afternoons and
cool dark nights away from the house
away from prying older eyes and ears
when we were young and it all lay before us.
And I remember you on Midwest roads and
on joyful highways away from all the others
away from the past and the future tense
when we were still young and it was still possible.
And I remember you in a different desert and
a dozen other far places away from our friends
away from any sight, away from any harm
when we were not so young and it must end.
And I remember you in a place rediscovered and
a narrow passageway away from the crowd
away from the light, the revealing light
when fading young memory edged toward end.
And, perhaps, sometime at sunset
when shadows bathe the desert floor
or darken the darkened woods,
perhaps you will remember, too.
An Old Church
There used to be an old wood church,
out in the country not so far
from town with peeling paint and
a roof that needed to be replaced.
It had been built at the
turn of the previous century
for the farm folks who lived
nearby and tilled the fields and
tended the cattle and dug the
hills for coal, leaving big holes
along the side of a bare hollow.
There was a huge oak tree
just outside by the cemetery and
across the street was the old
school where all the farm children
had been taught long ago.
The old school was empty now and
the old church was empty and
all that was left of it were memories
of sermons and weddings and funerals and
they were fewer and fewer and
then one quiet afternoon the church
was bulldozed down and loaded onto
dump trucks and taken to the dump and the
oak tree was cut down and
all that was left was the empty school and
the filling cemetery and a few aging
people who seldom thought about the
church or even remembered where it used to be.
Like a Sun Dial
Minimized, abandoned, value-less
in dark and shadowed times,
meaningless in rain, snow, or
Old-fashioned, quaint, antique
in face of intricate timeworks,
useless by comparison, judged
Oh, but on those bright days
with light shining down, how
then you reach your peak, ascend
the summit of happy accuracy, your
unique beauty and exceptional worth,
singular and wondrously rare to see.
J. B. Hogan has published over 280 stories and poems and eleven books, including Bounty Riders, Bar Harbor, Time and Time Again, Mexican Skies, Tin Hollow, Living Behind Time, Losing Cotton, The Rubicon, Fallen, The Apostate, and Angels in the Ozarks (nonfiction, local professional baseball history). He lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.