On Seeing An Old Friend

by David Asia (April 2014)

I saw and old friend yesterday,

A farmer,

Still wrapped

In his family’s stubborn land,

Cleaving to the founding generation,

Solid stock,

Who chewed at timber,

Tore at rock,

And greened their lands

With defiant arteries of water.

As before,

The rains had failed him,

The snows slid too quickly

Down the dry throat

Of the hills,

And the land itself


And dozed.

His children had come of age,

Loosed their grip –

The eldest fleeing to Baltimore,

And the baby

Disappearing over time

Into a heroin overdose –

Leaving him and his weathered wife


Tangled up in the

Tired machinery of farming,

And at war with everything,

From their own exhausted chemistry,

To the government’s grey wolves.


The timekeeper is fickle.

One moment she exalts us

And we look out upon

An ocean of ourselves.

The next,

We are islands

In a shallow sea of other,

Buoyed only by nostalgia,

And betrayed at last even by water,

The dearest of our children,

As it turns away from our fields,

Towards the lawns and gardens

Of those who would

Too easily forget

We were here.




To comment on this poem, please click here.

To help New English Review continue to publish interesting and original poetry such as this, please click here.

If you have enjoyed this poem and would like to read more by David Asia, please click here.