Today … Tears

Today … Tears

I didn’t mean to, but

Doggone it, I cried today.

Yep, legions of tears flowed down my cheeks

After assaulting and overrunning my eyelids.

I even broke to the point that

My shoulders shook and my chest heaved

With thoughts about him.


He’s gone now, and

What has been, what could have been, and

Even what is yet to be, in the Master Plan,

Hasn’t been revealed in any detail, at least

Not to me in my questioning.

Why has all the hurt had to … well, … hurt?

Maybe time will tell.


One thing seems sure.

In all this sobbing done, I’ve seen that

Pain is a faithful tutor who makes his point

At the exacting price of a bruise or piece of skin,

Or a wounded heart, or lingering disappointment.

But tomorrow?  Who knows what will spring up

Where the torrent has so soon fled?


Will it be a call of hope?

A symphonic quartet to lift the heart?

An epic verse to tell the story in all its shades?

What seeds have been sown in the rush of waters

That tumbled down the slopes of sadness and despair?

Where, at the bottom, were they laid to rest to

Await the warmth of sun’s rising?


Well, I’m still alive and

Left to live another day as I might — a

Little halt, … but … able to move on with faith

That in the going on, I’ll see a gentler hand

Working to make another’s way a little better,

Perhaps far less fearful and less angry,

Even if the hand is only mine.


Ah! Those tears have

Washed away the grime from my own

Dirty hands, so that I may now have the sense

To spot the tear welling in another’s eyes;

To be timely enough to stop my own selfish dash

Across another’s beautifully laid garden,

Alas, to spare that tear another day.


©  2005 by Michael E. Stubblefield

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“…All ‘at dark ‘n all ‘at cold.”

from the movie “No Country for Old Men,” based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy.  I love these lines — profound consideration.

Final Scene:

Ed Tom Bell, Sheriff of Carroll County, TX [played by Tommy Lee Jones] and Loretta Bell, his wife [played by Tess Harper].

Ed Tom, newly retired, is sitting at the breakfast table with his back to the window.  There is a pinched, pained, misty stare in his eyes as Loretta comes to the table, pours coffee into their cups and sits down. He’s looking past her, way off in the distance somewhere:

Ed Tom: “Maybe I’ll go ridin’, whaddya thank?

Loretta: “Well, I cain’t plan yore day.

ET: “I mean, wouldya care to join me?

L: “Lord no, I’m not retarred [retired].

ET: “Maybe I’ll help out here, then.

L: “Uh … better not.  (long pause)  How’d ya sleep?

ET: “I ‘ont know, had dreams.

L: “Well, ya got time for ‘em now.  Anythang interestin’?

ET: “They always is to the party concerned.

L: (softening her face and tone), “Ed Tom, I’ll be polite [inviting him to talk].

ET: “Awright t’en, two of ‘em, both had my father in ‘em.  It’s peculiar.  I’m older now than he ever wuz by 20 years, so in a sense, he’s a younger man.  Anyways, first one I don’t remember too well, but it uz about meetin’ him in town somewhurs and he gimme some money.  I thank I lost it.  The second one, it wuz like we wuz both back in the older times, and I was a-horseback goin’ through the mountains of a night, goin’ through this pass in the mountains.  It was cold, it was snow on the ground everwhur.  He rode past me and jus kep on goin’.  Never said nothin’, jus rode on past.  And he had his blanket wrapped around him an’ his head wuz down.  When he rode past, I seen he was carryin’ far [fire] in a horn, the way people used to do, and I could see the horn from the light inside uv it, ‘bout the color o’ the moon.  And in the dream I knew that he wuz goin’ on ahead.  And he was fixin’ to make a far somewhur out thur in all ‘at dark and all ‘at cold.  [Ed Tom’s face turns dark, tears well in his eyes.]  And I knew that whenever I got thur, that he’d be thur.  And I woke up.  [Blinking back the tears, he stares at Loretta with a fearful, ominous look on his face.]

The movie ends with them staring at each other – her with unspoken pity on her face, him with dire sadness on his.

Ed Tom Bell

Burial Ground

Burial Ground

Were oceans’ waves measured in time,

How long would it take to build a beach?   DSC_0243

To erode one?

Are the waves more efficient at some times of day than others?

Does the ocean feel “fresh” in the morning, after sleeping at night,

Ready to attack with renewed vigor?

Or is it a plodder that moves at the same rhythmic cadence?


What is the significance of the tides,

Other than the marking of water lines?

The dropping of driftwood and worn out seaweed bundles?

The sprinkling of empty exoskeletons and other detritus?

Is the beach only a burial ground for the dead coughed up by the sea?

The marginal place of repose?

Or is its artistry there to await observation?


DSC_0235Were I as relentless as the waves – day in, day out,

What would I, could I, accomplish with these years?

Could I be as consistent, insistent, persistent —

As resolute at the assignment I’ve received,

Even though I’m not a swirling, pounding liquid?

Or am I merely a grain of sand,

One small speck in the endless tapestry created by the Master?

© Aug. 2009 by Michael Stubblefield