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

The Hyacinths

When I see hyacinths

Rooted in vase and flower

A window and a windowsill

To reach beyond

And bring its flower

To bear the only knowledge

That a flower knows

Is light for all of us though we

Imagine that we are not flowers

And yet the hyacinth

Is strangely all of us

Surrounded by the sun

The stars are roots in air

Giving us life in growing things

That link us root and flower

That space we call

The windowsill we call our home

The hyacinth is not a guest

It is the flower we can not be

It is we who are the guests prodding the mystery

 

Ted Goodell

February 2017

In Praise of Sitcoms

The sitcoms are entertaining

And the actors are superb

But sitcoms are not theatre

They are satellites to the theatre

And the TV studio is not a stage

Until the actors assemble to perform

And a glass screen watched by an audience

Can not open like a curtain

Although the magic of the remote

Can make us see a photographic curtain

But try to imagine

Interrupting Act II of Hamlet

Just when Ophelia laments how Hamlet

“Took me by the wrist and held me hard”

In order to sell a box of breakfast cereal

Yet we empathize and laugh

And laughter is the jewel of joy

Assuring us that brevity is often brilliant

For the spectator has entered a kingdom

Where brevity is the beginning of wisdom

 

Ted Goodell

January 2017

The World of Internet

If Shakespeare and his troupe

Came pounding on the door

Singing and swearing

And brandishing their swords

Filling their flagons with mead

And telling us how Kings

Corrupt with jealousy and greed

The Bard would tweet a line

To let his players know

How all the world’s a stage he set

Now connected by the internet

 

Ted Goodell

January 2017