Thursday, September 6, 2018

"Away to College" by Howard Stein

Away to College
Howard Stein
                                 Away to college--
                                we were so close,
                                now you are gone....
                               I  instead of we,
                               was instead of is--
                              a new language
                              for this new life.

"Missing" Ink on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
The house reeks of ghosts;
remembering haunts the place,
absences I can almost touch.
Then there is all you left behind,
parts of stories I still can touch --
now you are gone from them.
Every place turns up a memory
like an ambush.

Wherever I turn, I lose you again.
I wander the Oklahoma prairie
the way Lord Byron's Manfred
wandered the Alps.
I search for you in farmsteads,
in wheat fields, in grain silos,
in sunsets, in storms,
on every horizon.
I encounter you
in the most unlikely places,
then you vanish.

I keep losing you to the wind.

Poet's Notes: I wrote this poem in 2012 when my son went away to college.  We had shared so much -- Marx Brothers' movies, Bruckner and Mahler symphonies, a weekly "boys' night out" at a local restaurant, and ribald Jewish humor.  And then he left for college--as of course, he should. My wife and I had prepared for this for over a year. Everything was set. Then came the void, which the cliché "empty nest" couldn't begin to describe.  Even though we visited him and took him to a local restaurant at least once a month and knew that in reality, he was only forty-five miles away, the distance felt like light years. This poem virtually wrote itself during that upheaval.

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