The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

Category : Poems

When Time was Still a Thing

Back when time was still a thing
When morning rose, and evening fell
And in between we laughed,
and played,
and jabbered,
and thought,
and nodded Deep Understandings to each other with the time we had,

And sometimes we did – with every fiber of our beings – precisely nothing.


Back when time was still a thing,
We spent it.
sometimes frivolously
Sometimes we made somber investments.
We spent it – and now, time is no longer the coin of the realm. There is no time left between us to barter for another day of nothing in particular. No time for feeling the vibrant hum of human companionship.

That was back when time was a Thing

But Time has lost its relevance. This God from whom we ebb and flow has no beginning or end to His tides. Space and Time, it seems, have been a tool and a medium to practice and mold ourselves in the image of Love.

You occupy neither Space nor Time. But Love, that binding dimension we call Love! you have perfectly mirrored it. It has folded around you and given our feeble perception a glimpse into a greater existence.

And now we are left with this transcendent thing, and memories to hold it in our minds until our own time is over. Until we see a Day without beginning, and a Sanctuary without an end.

Love Conquers all.

Thank you, Sean.

My heart hurts

For two weeks now, my heart has sat idle, numb, stunned, boggling without comprehension at the swirling maelstrom of tears that flowed out of the hole your life‘s departure left in me.  How can it be that you‘ve gone?

You always were such a happy, mischievous wanderer.  

But how is it now, that you can find a place to wander, where I cannot search and find you?

Your whole life was spent finding places I‘d never been, physically and metaphorically.  Your laughter at each new trick, each new hiding spot, every road you‘d disappear down, waiting to be found, still rings in my ears.  Even when your body failed you, you found a way to stretch my horizons in search of you, to fix what you could not, to understand the language you didn‘t know yourself, to bring you in again in a safe place.

How can it be that you‘ve wandered too far for me to find you?

My heart has been stopped now, for nearly two weeks.  But today, it hurts.  

It has healed some from the shock, and re-awakened with an awful hurt.  And the tears that flow through the wound drip down my face, down this cliff with the rain, and into the Sea below.

And so, as I have in the past, I look beyond where they flow into the Sea for an answer.

It was in the Sea, and under the Sea, that I learned to search for the unfathomable.  Here on the shore, where the sand turns to foam and the foam to green waves and spray, and where beyond lies dark, brooding storm-swells, I am awakened from my languish by the sting of the wind-driven rain, and by that peculiar combined scent of life and death that a sailor knows best.

I know this Sea.  

I know that beneath it, wind and rain don‘t matter much.  And so maybe I‘ll stand here all day, letting the wind and rain wash my wounds, watching them return quietly to their own Father, looking and listening for signs of your passing.

I know you.  

I know that when I find you, you‘ll dash off with your arms swept back, with a squeal of laughter trying to make one last escape.  We‘ll laugh together as I snatch you up and we tumble in a heap, at yet another great game.  And you will be safe again in my arms, my son.

But I don‘t know the Sea into which you‘ve gone.  Not yet.  It is not for we with bodies to know it yet.  

And so today, and until that time comes for me to slip away from this body and enter that Sea, my heart hurts.  

Until I know you‘re safe, it will hurt.

Sean‘s Mom

“Hi, I’m Sean’s mom”

The words carried the kind of lilt that only a mother can give them. A precisely indeterminate kind of lilt that sweetly invokes your middle name and implies unspecified doom if you don’t pay careful attention to whatever comes next, all at the same time.

The doctor smiled back, knowing already two things before he had finished closing the exam room door: first, that Sean, whoever he might turn out to be, was someone special and second, that the wee lad had a special mom.

“Hi, I’m Sean’s mom”

In the next weeks, and months, again and again through a maze of specialists, technicians, and departments, she spoke in that space where Sean’s voice should have been, but could not be. There were no text books for Sean, and he had no words of his own to tell them.  And so, she simply became his voice.

“Hi, I’m Sean’s Mom”

The words pushed back against a wave of busy educators, who mistook Sean for a child without a Voice.  The determined invitation of her voice caught each one, so they listened again, and looked again, and what they discovered in that second look at Sean changed them – that beautiful Being that had almost been overlooked, simply because he couldn’t speak for himself.

“Hi, I’m Sean’s Mom”

Over the years, Sean met the grocer, the baker, the teachers at school.  He met folks at the local pizza joint, bowling alley, the Church and the pool.  And each person, when they heard her voice, saw Sean afresh, as a person.  They learned to converse with him with other senses than their lips and ears.

“Hi, I’m Sean’s Mom”

it was a plea, a demand, a push – sometimes gentle but always firm – that drew people in to experience for a moment a kind of person they’d never witnessed before. They learned how to skip over the choreographed lies of social interaction and just be together with someone.  People experienced Sean only because of her.

“Hi, I’m Sean’s Mom”

Doctors said they didn’t know anymore what to do for the seizures that took from him strength and years, and paid him in pain.  She spoke at once as Sean, and as a dedicated mother.  She told of his symptoms, and interpreted his movements, made him real to the doctors and nurses.  And once they had truly met Sean this way, most would try a little harder to feel, to see more in their patient than flesh, bones, computer blips and beeps.  Each one of them uncovered themselves a little bit, and re-learned what it is to be human.

“Hi, I’m Sean’s Mom”

In the hush of the night a prayer escaped her heart, as it had ten thousand times before, for the relief that Sean could not pray for.  And at the insistent voice of her grief at his failing body, Heaven wept.

“Hi, I’m Sean”

A young man walked innocently into the brilliance of a new Spring Morning.

And the Good Lord smiled back, and said, “Yes, I know.  You’re Dianna’s Boy.  We’ve heard all about you.”

“We’ve been waiting for you.”

The peal of Sean’s laughter radiated with that Morning light across the heavens like through a prism, setting them ablaze with color.

When the wind shifts

When the winds shift

When the winds from the place where the Great Bear steps from the sea
Ceases to call me
And passes on instead to other folk

When begins the the Winds from where the scorpion pinches the Scales of Balance
I sniff at the new scent, and look up to the heavens.

My name had been called
By the Herdsman, the Ox Driver
The Bear Guardian points
Beneath his Staff flows the river of air, and in it is borne the report, warnings, tidings.
And maybe… maybe if I knew that language better, maybe a portent.
Or an Omen.

Tantalizing fancy of wandering mind
To conjure up the unknown language of a mythical messenger
Or does it?

Or does the Wind bear on its wings
The Words of God?
Does the rhythm and timbre
of the quivering pines
sing a chant
joining my thoughts to the Great Melody
A song from the Creator?

I feel emotions that the new scents trouble, Memories that ring
like the keys of the marimba
Struck, and vibrating,
setting the air to a hum
The combination of memory,
and scent set to a rhythm I seem to already know
Fills my senses

Fills my mind
With what may be
With what could be
With what should be
When the Winds shift
I am called to remember
To return
To balance

Kisses So Sweet

You stood in the door of the girls dorm 

Alone in the late summer‘s heat

I sat on the steps on the concrete warm

And quietly offered a seat

Shy you were then, and I too was scared,

‘Twas a wonder we ever did meet

But there on those stairs in a moment we shared

I found that your kisses were ever so sweet 


You walked up the aisle and pulled alongside, 

Together we promised our lives

I promised forever to love and abide

Together as husband and wife 

Together our lips touched and made us complete

Like honey from heaven, your kiss was that sweet.


You laid on a bed in motherhood‘s glow

A child asleep on your breast

I looked at the two of you proud just to know

A feeling too deep to express

A woman whose heart held enough love to meet

The needs of this child, and still kiss me sweet


You stood on the pier in a gray winter coat, 

stretching to catch a first view

I stood on the deck of the barnacled boat,

My memory filled up with you.

Returning from sea, I could feel our lips meet

Better than memory, your kiss was still sweet


Alone in the house, the kids all departed 

And finally space of our own

we boggled at silence, a feeling uncharted 

A quiet road laid in cobblestone

With nothing to interrupt, naught to compete

You filled up the space with kisses so sweet


You in the bed breathe a steady ballet 

of weariness piled in a heap

I came to bed late, and leaned in to say

“I Love you” – I knew you were still fast asleep

And deeper than passion, truer in sleep

Your dream found my lips, and kissed me so sweet 

The Silence of the Dogs

The Silence of the dogs quiets the night.
While the night wind talks with breathless aire
With foreign accent of scents of the mountains
And valleys beyond, where the farmers till up the earth
And more mountains after that, and the beaches, where the sea hurls it‘s essence against the land
And the Sea
All these voices come whispering through The Pines
Tourists, buzzing about the coming storm tomorrow, still out west, and south, turmoil coming
But the silence of the dogs, lying here beside me, listening to the news, somehow stills the gossip, distills it‘s substance. They worry about what‘s important. Which is, right now, nothing.

The silence of dogs amid the forest song
The frogs talk down by the river.A little ways off, I‘d have to walk, but here by the fire is a fine place to hear their chorus. The embers crack and pop, with a casual snap now and then, slowly undoing the years of growth of brush, and trees. The fire burns with a confident slowness, secure in its dying. It is interminably calm, confident in a way only the inevitable can afford to be. The silence of the dogs knows this fire.

it is quieter because of them.

The silence of the dogs, in the dreaming glow,
Of moonlit clouds, floating lanterns of the waxing moon.
The bowing trees salute the arriving storm in welcome. I am ready for it. The silence of the dogs attends to the order of the night, tasting it, breathing in its petty worries, divining the relevant from bustling portents. The lanterns pass overhead silently, knowing it‘s best to let sleeping dogs lie.

The silence of the dogs, a spoken word in its own right.
I hear their speech with a clarity beyond any human voice. My hands lie still on their necks, to not distort their senses. In that stillness, I am free to attend to matters of the spirit with faith, within this circle of silence.

The Silence of the dogs is deeper than mere quiet. It is more still than a mere slumberous laze. It absorbs everything around into it, a sacred sphere of worship.

The silence of the dogs is a holy place.

Spring Has Sprung

Spring has sprung into the air

my mind now lies, I know not where

If you find it, best beware

And let me go retrieve it there.



Kissing Cups

The kitchen sink burbled in its evening state
A mountain of work at an hour this late.
A halfhearted swish at a half-dirty plate.
Betrayed my wish to be in bed with my Mate.

Alack and alas, but try as I might,
Wishing away this malodorous blight,
Merely prolonged this languorous plight
The woman I loved rested gently tonight,
She shouldn‘t awaken to this grungy sight.

So standing and scrubbing away at these dishes
And meditating on nuzzly kisses
I found in my work a redemption that glistens
In the reflection of thoughts of time with my missus

Thoughtfully pondered and carefully packed,
Our cups went together like a pair of knickknacks.
Side by side in the dishwashing rack
Cuddled together like love maniacs.

And now that you know the story of loving
When housework and chores are continually tugging
When weariness takes all the strength from your hugging
Just make sure your cups are still touching.

Final Forgetting: The Essence of Memorial Day

One face wept

reddened and smeared with tears

tracking their way through a deep network

of wrinkled and spotted cheeks

The drops of grief cascaded

Through the corners of wrinkled lips

Burrowed down through a wrinkled chin with a fractured assortment of irregularities,

Finally trickling down an odd, deep scar that made one jowl not quite the same as the other.

And so the pattern of tears on his shirt was uneven.


Another face lay, composed,

Eyes closed,

Though if they had looked on that irregular scar facing him, he could have told the tale of its origin.

Indeed, his was the only face who knew the scar’s tale, save but for its owner.

But his wrinkled eyes were closed,

and no amount of coaxing,

Or cajoling,

No amount of bluster or force

Would open them now.


He lay there, not recognizing the scar

Nor the face upon which the scar marked the passage of violence healed,

Nor this anguish.

Nor even its owner’s presence.

There was no remorse left in him to weep away the regret for the years it had been since they‘d last spoken.

These two faces set,

against each other across death’s chasm.


They had known each other in a different form for precisely 2 years, thirteen days, and six hours.  Young faces they had been then, at the beginning, unknowing of the dark things of life, thrown together in a strange world,

for reasons neither fully comprehended,

for a time neither could fully remember,

for a fight neither fully understood.

They arrived with a naive lust for the fight.

They left with old men’s wisdom – scarred, twisted, brutal wisdom.

They left with the understanding that a wise violence is a reluctant fight.


For 60 years each face looked out at the other, frozen in memory.




For sixty years, each face was remembered in the dreams of the other, a comrade through the nightmares that only they knew.


Two old men met face to face

looking hardly at all like the last time they‘d spoken.

One bandaged

One splinted,

Separated by transport and medics.

What they had said, without speaking, was “Thank you.  Remember me”.


And then there were only memories.

And intentions.


Now one stood, head bent

tears falling in the silent anguish of loss.

The other lay silently closed in death

Light extinguished.

Memory dissipated.

That spiritual realm none may see was now its home.

Too long.

Too late.


The living stood there, finally forgotten.

Left behind by death.

So he remembered for both of them.

And in remembering, he wept his loss.

Face reddened and smeared with tears.


-2017, Glenn Roesener

The Mighty Viking

For Sale:

I saw a sign, seemed strange to me.

“For sale”, it said, in bold marquee

The sign nailed tight, upon this tree

(For sale, it was, it was not free)


So wild and free, and yet it’s not

A hundred thousand dollars bought.

This sign its sale and purchase sought

(For sale, this tree, upon its lot)


Afraid I am, this tree will die,

Hacked and hewn by some old guy.

The lot, it seems, is all that’s free

(At least, the sign says that to me)


On down the road, I had a thought,

about some trees upon their lot.


When Freedom‘s dream is trapped and caught

When Freedom’s child is sold and bought

When Freedom‘s bloom has been forgot

When Freedom‘s blood has come to nought


A treeless lot is not an awful lot.