Three Poems about Ethan

Ethan’s Sadness

From a tiny space
somewhere above his ears
emerges a persistent whisper
You are a failure
always/ nearly always
in the solitude of night.

in everything you have done.
Let me list them.

It would take a long time
the rest of my life.

Ethan has  insights
tons of them.
The world weighs on his head,
but sometimes he feels delight
though you might not know.
There’s an extra pleasure.


Especially in Winter

Ethan is tired of things,
tired of the rains that keep falling
the patter endless
of chatter about this and that.

Even life itself
out and in, this endless breathing
cramming food into our bellies
walking talking sighing,
how long days stretch
all the questions unanswered.

Ethan sometimes wishes he were an innocent
smooth-browed and callow
blind to evil in the world,
but ready for the years ahead.


Ethan Steps Beyond

No one told me
I might grow old.
Already the child
has a tooth missing.

Before you know
what hasn’t sagged has shrunk
Skin and width
brain and length.

I am called to give my address.
I pause, look about me.
The numbers have left.

The very old
have lost chunks of their history
no one left to tell,
pictures flickering
on a computer screen.

At the end we step
hesitantly into our dust.

Robert A. Davies published his first book of poems in 1955; since 1969 he has been writing seriously, but he has written up a storm in the years after his retirement from teaching and volunteer work in the community. Lately he has been focused on writing rather than doing readings or publishing in magazines off-line. He finds as much fun in writing as in walking in the woods. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Robert A..