Birth of a Poem

“A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.”
~Robert Frost

We left the interstate behind
discovering back roads
yielding intimacy
of hidden farms
and small towns,
seeing nameless neighbors
who wave as
we drive by.

Some don’t wave,
their memories stamped
on roadside crosses
marking the spot where
last they drew breath
after a turn taken too fast
or one drink too many.

The impact is far beyond
a friendly wave
when one stretch of road
reaches two dozen crosses,
some clustered together
in a fatal meeting
lasting forever.

These somber reminders
of fragile existence
swiftly ended in
bad weather,
poor judgment
or ill fate.
Cement cemeteries
winding over miles
lead us home.

Please God,
we pray.
Guide us safely
back to our country home
to wave at strangers
driving by.

2 thoughts on “Birth of a Poem

  1. So true. I’ve wondered whether crosses by the side of the road marking sudden, untimely deaths might work better than speed limit signs.


  2. Thank you for putting into words what I always feel when I see a cross by the side of the road. And crosses strewn with flower bouquets truly make me weep. Nothing reminds me more of the value and transience of life.


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