Ode to the Rotator Cuff

The body is a leaky vessel
When the rotator cuff is torn
It lists to one side
And the oars are powerless
To steer the boat

Its compass hovers with uncertain range
Directionless and unfamiliar with the sea
Its hull dashed against the wild waves
Its yard arm flapping helplessly in the wind

Ted Goodell
November 2017

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A Short Poem On A Long Marriage

Marriage like love
Is always transactional
And sometimes transitional
But the touch of your hand
Was never conditional
And sixty years of marriage
Was never equivocal
Marriage like music
is mathematical
And sometimes paradoxical
But sixty years of marriage
Was never conjectural
And with you Marie
It has always been exceptional

 

Ted Goodell
November 2017

The Missionary

She carries the

Paraphernalia of her faith

Sheltered near her heart

Her judicious smile

Conveys an aptitude

To missionize her faith

In parks or playgrounds

Where her congregation of casual strollers

Politely pause to receive the word

And be blessed by a sun

Heralding a Kingdom yet to come

 

Ted Goodell

August 2017

Cagney

Hissing between his teeth

With a smirk

Hoisting up his slacks

With a little bounce

Off the balls of his feet

A quick adjustment

Of shoulders and jacket and fists

All while drawing back

His lips and giving a slow dark temper

A chance to sneer

Some New York City nerve

Straight to the face

Of his cringing rival

He controls the encounter

By straightening the otherwise

Perfect lapels

With reserved motion and malice

Right to the face

Of his threatened foe

 

Ted Goodell

August 2017

On My Eighty Fourth Birthday

How long does it take

To reach eighty four

Does it all depend

On the calendar

Or is the evidence

Found in the ritual

Of the predictability of time

A sequential pattern in space

Or in a gentle breeze

That carries memories and songs

And the shadowy substance of being born

An epilogue to my family and friends:

Treasure today

Profit from yesterday

Invest wisely in tomorrow

 

Ted Goodell

May 2017

City Boy

The botanical gardens of Ft. Tryon Park

Grace the Northern tip of Manhattan Island

The abundance of flowering plants

Are protected by warning signs

Wisely engraved for the visitor

But giving a New York City boy

His first awakening to poetry

The words tactfully beautiful

Softly suggesting warning and wonder

Which now eighty years later

Are remembered with timeless certainty

The words and the boundaries of the park

Are magnified by the city’s summer

The blending of historical evidence

And medieval European artistry

Sheltered in the reconstructed cloister

Whose ancient walls rise above the Hudson River

History endlessly flowing past

The great city

Seeking the source of its Legacy

In antiquity and the Palisades of New Jersey

The elegance of an old continent

Oceans and miles of voyages away

Sending these sacred words

For generations forever to hear:

“Lest none should say it

And say it to your shame

That all was beauty here

Before you came”

 

Ted Goodell

March 2017