For Gerri

When living rippled quietly and clear,
You and I set out without a plan,
To see what joy might suddenly appear
As life flowed on around our rolling van.

On the Journey


Drifting, stopping as we wished to stop,
In towns and cities all along the way
We searched out the local fabric shop
To purchase cloth that you would use one day.

Years later as you unfold those rippling hues,
I still see a loveliness that you deny,
Your skillful fingers, guided by some quiet muse, 
Piece muted shades of forest, land, and sky.

You sit content while stitching at the quilt,
As we are stitched in life that love has built.

My father once hiked high and rugged miles
To catch fat trout from clear mountain lakes.
He hobbles now hunched and thin—still smiles
But sighs at each step and every breath he takes.

Sonnet for My Father


Today my shoulders ache and I think of him-
No doubt sitting in his favorite chair
Dealing out the cards far away and dim.
He rocks, playing endless rounds of solitaire.

My wife says we look more and more alike,
And when I gaze into those cloudy eyes
I see it too—in this fast falling light
It is clear and steep as timberline skies.

Then a dread creeps in that grasps and pinches—
It’s not the fear of death, but death by inches.

I lie awake all through this winter night
Reviewing weakness lived so often
That old and wretched ill turns stale and trite
Though barbs and jagged edges do not soften.

Sonnet for the Hours


The body writhes and twists from side to side
While shadows flow and shift across the room,
And hopelessness surges in a murky tide
As inner darkness feeds on outer gloom.

Now all thought is self-absorbed and empty,
Caught in stagnant pools of shallow habit
At the arid shore of some long dead sea
Ebbing nothing into nothing bit by bit.

Oh, how I ache to lay me down to sleep,
Surrender this beached soul to boundless deep.

Today the pallid sun is farther, colder.
All the others have gone long since, but here
You are searching the skeletal garden fearless
And far too bright for pale October.
Are you the same one my son found long ago—
That crooked one, stumbling, unable to fly
Though he held you, offered flowers, the sky—
Come back to dance this light thin as old marigolds?

The Last Butterfly


For a moment you pierce the wanting and strife,
Hanging there—brilliant upon the cold blue.
But it is seedtime. There is nothing I can do
As you try on again this awkward life.

Today we share the failing light, a brittle wind—
You will freeze tonight, but I am pinned.

More Jeager Poems