Sunday, February 17, 2013

Great Things Have Happened (with Apologies to Alden Nowlan)

Mr. Nowlan wrote a poem with this title.  I was quite struck by it and here offer my own version inspired by his poem.

We were talking about the greatest things
that have happened in our lifetimes;
and I said, "Oh, I suppose the explosion of technology
has been the greatest thing to happen in my conscious days."
Of course, I was lying because all the gadgetry in the world
doesn't mean one tenth as much to me
as a night in 1987 when we were nomads
winding down the California coast
with a bicycle and a car
carrying only a few changes of clothes, a tent,
sleeping bags, and a camp stove.
We had run out of money
but were given some loaves of bread,
which we ate by the roadside under tall trees.
That night the three of us, you, Gus, and me
fell asleep at cliff's edge on a bed of pine needles,
listening to the sound of the ocean.

"Is there any bread left?" I heard someone ask as the sun rose.

I was sleep drunk after the first
good night's rest in days.
At the bottom of the cliff seals cavorted in the waves
crashing against the rocks.
Everything was strange without being threatening,
even the air and grass smelled differently;
we were in a place we'd only seen in pictures
and even waking was a small adventure.
There was no one there but the three of us,
half-tipsy with the wonder of being alive,
trusting where the road would lead us.

9 comments:

Leave It To Davis said...

I feel as if I'm there with you....what a wonderful adventure...and what a gift you have to put it into words like this....just like Moannie. Wonderful!

Dave said...

Another nice story Michelle. I wonder what happened next? - Dave

Beach Bum said...

Good stuff!

Bijoux said...

Oh to be young and free again!

Daryl said...

what a wonderful adventure .. still sharp as it was then, a perfect memory makes an excellent read

Suldog said...

I don't know the original (although, of course, I could hit the link you provided, and I suppose I will after finishing this comment) but your poem is quite lovely.

Of course, that is to be expected, since you have never given me reason to believe you are anything other than lovely, in both word and deed, my dear.

(My, that sounds Victorian! Truth, though...)

~Tim said...

What lovely poems, yours and Nolan's. Thanks for sharing.

Stephen Hayes said...

Beautifully written, and filled with the joy of youth and possibility.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Those are the moments that make a life worth it.