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Here you will find the writings of the poet Theodore Waterfield


I want to be plain,
to be still.
I want the rain to be rain,
light to be light.
I want no sound from the wood,
no echoes ringing from the wall.
Be simple, be pure, without ribbons.
I want to be plain.
To be water,
to see only footprints in the sand,
to listen to a lake’s heartache.

I want to be plain,
without adornment.
To say only what needs to be said,
no shadows,
only things in themselves,
and then go on.
I want to look at the past
and leave trouble there.
Look to the future,
and see only the edge of dawn,
where the cliff ends,
where nothing falls or shatters.
Just the simple things.

Look at me, beloved,
and see only my eyes.
Forget the trails and valleys
of my face,
the little frown in my mouth,
the gray dust in my hair
from old ceilings.
See me as I once was,
an open heart to the sky.
I love you that way.

I see only the first time
you opened your door,
a woman who was beginning.
Who had no coat.
Whose eyes were clear as a lake.
Whose voice carried the meaning
of its own sweetness.
I want to be plain.
I want to know you again.
I want you to enter
the door of my life,
like spring following winter.


I have a bologna sandwich.
The water slaps against the boat.
The sun plays truant in the clouds.
Kelley’s Island is a dark line on the lake.
My father, Reuben,
whose name I never used,
baits the line of my mother,
whose name I never used.

My brother,
my half soul,
double star,
nascent moon,
fends for himself,
as I do
in the swell of the bay.
The great stone of time has stopped,
a wide presence.

Reuben, how old is your son?
Ten years? Eleven years?
I’ve forgotten.
The fish bite occasionally.
I am as old now as I was then.
I am in the middle of the milky way.
Between oceans of stars,
the russet orange of peaches
on Catawba,
falling like planets.

what moon rises from the water
for you?
The light is a gray curtain
on your face.
You seem in repose.
I want you to remember me.
Catch a fish.

And Mick,
whose name is as quick on my tongue
as my own.
Who decided our journey?
What remains of this place
60 years ago?
I am catching something on my line.
A perch has taken hold!
see the fish!
A keeper.

Pearl of green beauty,
kimono silk,
shaking on the line,
cold heartbeat in my hand.
You fell back into the deep.
I finish my sandwich.
I want everything to live,
return to places they belong.

The Couch

The couch went out,
not because we abandoned it,
but it was broken,
showing its age,
an embarrassment
among the new and tidy.
Never mind that we slept,
argued, ate and caroused on it.
That Jackie leaned over its back
to see ladybugs,
that coffee blended in its brownness.
That it had the softness and love
of old arms,
their tolerance and forgiveness.
That it was there to be used
and shoved, and wiped up,
and came back to cuddle us,
to quiet our fears,
to invite us to stretch out
and talk,
and give us the wisdom of its silence.

How many years did it live with us?
Could we not put it in some room,
the cellar,
find some use?
And we knew it was not possible.
I pleaded its case
and put it on the porch,
cleaned it,
stroked it,
told it,
I loved it,
I wanted it to go to some home
where it could
invite travelers to rest,
and tell them of its family
whose memory is happiness,
looking for us to return.


I stood,
dark against the sky’s
blue wall.
Jack was digging in the sand
capturing sand fleas.
I was there to be somewhere
with a little boy.
Epiphany was about to happen,
as magical as mermaids.

Soaring above the waves
Jack shouted, whale!
I shouted, dolphins!
First one
followed by two,
then more.
Elements of the ocean.

Gifted children of the depths.
We watched in awe.
The first dolphins we had seen
in the chasm of the wild.
Their brains and hearts
bigger than our own.
Like gods outside altars.
We watched as they merged
into the haze of shoreline.
In the distance
I felt their freedom,
sacred people of the sea


I went back,
and took photographs of the past.
What’s left of grass and old weed.
Houses that remain,
ready to be called to oblivion,
the house of my birth,
the street of my childhood.
Ancient memories.
Granite stones that glitter
with quartz faces.
Looking down the deserted avenue
of Warren Street,
Sandusky as it was,
old ghosts remaining there,
the railroad tracks gone,
the separated street
joined by a boulevard of gravel and weeds.

My heart thins in the paleness of the sky.
In the camera it is a vast emptiness.
A street somewhere in a place of empty wind.
Open as if everything was blowing away.
Nothing brought back.
Houses being deserted.
Windows left open.
Rafters howling above the vacant corners.
I was not lost.
I was not sad.
I felt nothing at all,
or at least nothing that wept,
called out,
huddled from the openness.

The people were gone,
the houses made of cardboard,
sagging from the years.
I was not here
when the last soul deserted.
When someone with tired eyes
gazed at the street and died.
My voice lost its sound.
My lips did not move.
I did not call out
or tremble at my loss.
The photographs will help me see
the curtain of the day
close on the bay.
Remind me of what happened.

I remember the ephemeral dandelions,
violets, pennies smashed on the rails
by the trains.
The rest is the Pillars of Hercules,
the lost country of childhood,
out into a clouded sea,
leaving behind these remains.
Where is my home?
Where are my loved ones?
Where did daytime go?
It is so open,
so barren,
so like an ocean rushing away,
as I look into the shutter,
and catch the last rays of sun,
falling in the water.


Do not say a thousand days
is enough to be born,
or a thousand years.
Life is an infinite appetite.
When my ship leaves
it will be packed with loved ones.
It will take six forevers
to be tired of them,
or a thousand.
A journey around the universe,
every second of which
I am born inside
and that is how it will go on
in my living.
And if it must end,
when it does end,
we will all have become
the salt of life itself,
dissolving in one great embrace
in the sea of forever
leaving the taste of our joys and sorrows
in its tides.

Time and Again

What is this
between me and clocks?
A clock in every room.
Around my wrist,
parceled out in hexagons,
glass faces,
standing in corners like
abandoned children.
All this in homage
to the invisible.
The oscillation of gears,
the rhythm of the heart,
a prophesy of continuance.
As if there is no end
to the traveling of waves,
wings above the earth,
the waltz of chaos
turned to music.

It’s what I sense in trains,
in planes overhead.
That we are always exchanging places,
the continuity of currents
in a river.
The falling of a voice in space
breathing and exchanging vows.
The clocks around me?
My existential soul taking note
of itself.
Life coming and going,
somewhere between now and then.
For whom the bell tolls,
those I love,
for whom is you,
caretaker of me,
love at first sight
in everything I do,
time and again.


The blue chrysalis above
holds our lives.
Beyond is the immense forest
of the heavens.
Below are songs breathing
through our hearts,
and I listen to heartbeats.
To the small, fragile treasure
of a womb.
Baby in the reeds of life’s river.
Coming to us from the headwaters
of conception.
Child, becoming cell by cell
its own singularity.

Boy, from which a world
will become the ancestor
of new worlds.
And I hear his name
whispered secretly
among trees he will climb,
see words from which
his name is spelled,
dream dreams,
where his childhood will run,
and to whom he will come,
when we call his unfinished
and hold him in our arms.

Touching the Wall

Rapping on the wall
I heard an echo
resonating like a bell.
Hail rattled on the roof.
Rain pelted the windows.
Rafters moaned with heartache.
A wave melted in the air.
I felt the heartbeat
of a soul.
Then silence
like the intake of sob,
a wing
and all the atoms of the earth
and I touched the wall
like a wounded child,
going back to sleep.

Bless the Children

Who is stronger?
Or life rising from the sarcophagus
of the universe?
Who called it forth
from the dark atoms?
Who filled the emptiness
with a blessing?
How did the poem
create its words,
and say them in the darkness?
Who dares deny their miracle
puffed up with self importance?

When they are simply beautiful.
Life congealed in a soul.
no such thing could exist.
Roses without color.
Children without parents.
We know better,
to believe
the God gene inside us.
We hear it whisper,
laughing and crying,
bless the children.
Bless the children!