John Wayne passed away
While I was gone
Among New Hampshire lakes
No paper reached me that whole week
No radio, no TV.
The world stopped, time froze
Not one thing ever happened
With me gone
John Wayne is still with us
And do I wonder sometimes
What new picture is his next.
And back where I once grew up
A wide green field across from home
Had sticky bushes everywhere
The city sprawl had not yet reached it
Though it came near. And far beyond it
A hill topped by a lone low pine tree
Stood perched above a view of the great ocean
And underneath that tree, bed of dry needles
One could sit in shade, at times for hours
To watch far ships and clouds above them
I have not been there twenty years now
But sure, all is still standing, still unchanged
Don't tell me it's built up now, no it isn't!
No, no, it still exists! Hear me?
And my history teacher from high school
So cheerful. young, devoted, earnest
Still wears her hair rolled up into a bun.
Oh yes, and I recall a sculpture
By Eskimo craftsmen, of a bear
Of stone, gray and hand-carved,
It reared up lifelike, sniffed the air
Cost thirty dollars in the gift shop
Where we found it on our honeymoon
But we lacked money, and I wouldn't buy it
And now that I have what it takes, if we go through
Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park
(though there is not much chance we will)
I shall buy it. Oh yes, it's still there
On the shelf where we last saw it.
Time does pass. But within our minds
The world remains young.
And old memories stay
Like flowers pressed, long long ago
Inside a book.
And the same Sun keeps shining brightly
Year after year
Year after year.