I sometimes think the Jim he is becoming
may be the Jim who was. Buddy
swinging on a fence
around a New England clapboard
with a wide porch, where
his grandfather rocked rain or shine.
Summers in Still River away from parents–
Buddy’s happiest hours. When not
sitting with the man in the rocker,
retired by alcohol long before his time,
he was practicing his swing
with a found golf club
on the course behind the property,
scrounging balls to earn pocket change.
Always easiest on his own, Buddy thrived
in this odd company that included Emerson and Thoreau,
favorites of his wellborn grandfather,
a 19th century gentleman, who left him
an abiding affection for men of few words—
memories undiminished through eight decades.
More boy at the gate
eager for adventure,
than the grandfather he now is,
Jim’s reservoir of resilience is Buddy,
whose arrival incites the onset of summer,
lazy days lengthening, lure of tall grass,
leaves turned inside out looking for rain.
Unfailingly courteous, grateful
for love that surrounds without confining,
the solitary boy reclaims the man,
makes us comfortable on the porch,
while he makes for the fence
across an invisible lawn.