Genesis 3:19

In the beginning

Man is ordered

To exert his strength

And bring sweat to his face

In his effort to make bread

The order has nothing to do

With physical beautification

But in time

Pushing the wheelbarrow

Was replaced with pumping iron

And working the bench press

And driving the stationary bike

And all of this exertion

Brought sweat to his face

But the bread was baked and packaged

Long before the gym doors opened

And the sweat derived by the harvest

Raises the machine to biblical obedience


Ted Goodell

January 2020

The Visit

How abruptly a visit ends
An emptiness we long to understand
A space still waiting with a name
The surprise of seeing someone
Sharing recollections of the past
The space we share committed
To such fragile time
As if the calendar were bare
And all this candor with a friend
Is now a memory an empty room
Where flower follows flower till they bloom

Ted Goodell
November 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


The watchmaker lives

On the wisdom of tradition

Craftsman of the crescent and wheel

Surgically probing the hidden elusive curves

With years of precision planning

The watchmaker sits at his bench like a scribe

Searching the infinitesimal meaning

Of pinions and wheels layered in jewels

Where magnification and the lamp

Align the distal ends of banking pins

Riveting eyes that search for springs

Peering into the ticking heart of time


Ted Goodell

April 2017

To An Athlete


Let us commemorate

The athlete triumphant

The interplay of health and beauty

Forever dependent

On the interplay of mass and motion

The disciplined effort

To disguise

The ravishment of time

To shadow memories

While speed and strength

Still drive the sanctity of hope


Ted Goodell

April 23, 2007

Nothing Back


Whenever someone turns

The covers back

Remember times hidden hand

Turns nothing back

Not even dawn

With its crescent

Spectacle of light

Can steal a single feather

Lost in flight

Release it to the wind

Or give it freedom

For another night


Ted Goodell

April 30, 2007

Australopithecus Afarensis


Your bones laid buried;

Years measured in the millions

Left you hidden, protected you

From vain and repetitious history,

Your secrets guarded silently

Lest digging hands describe you,

And mount you on an iron frame,

And steal you from your ancient kind.

For this your mute deliverance,

Oh creature of an early kind!

Can we be old who only

Hold your bones or do we age

By aging without time?

Oh creature, rout us from our minds,

Who routed you from time.


Ted Goodell


The Birds


How archaic it is to be a bird

The regimentation of pecking

The solidarity of perching


How archaic it is

To pierce the timelessness of time

And see old shadows buried in ancestral skies

And soar above a destiny

Of fleeting images gone by


How archaic it is to know

That one day

All this globe

Will be a nest for other birds

Celestial winged apostles

Of this ancient world


Ted Goodell

July 24, 2015

The Wrecking Ball


Time impales itself

Like a crown of thorns

On a future Savior


He will feel the pain

Of brushing past eternity


He will bend and bleed


He will duck

One last time


As the wrecking ball

Smashes the Cosmos


Ted Goodell

May 2004