Sunday 25 June 2023

Six Poems by Nolo Segundo


                                                    Baturin James - Wheel of Time

A Morning’s Walk


My wife and I walk every morning,

a mile or so--

it’s good for us old to walk in the cold,

or in the misty rain, it makes less the pain

that old age is wont to bring to bodies

which once burned bright with youth,

though now I wear braces on ankles,

braces on knees, and I walk slowly

with 2 canes, like an old skier,

sans snow, sans mountain.


We passed a tree whose leaves had

left behind summer’s green and now

fall slowly, carefully one by one

in their autumnal splendour.


My wife stopped me--

listen she said-- but

I heard nothing—hush!,

stand still, she said,

and I tried hard to

hear the mystery….


Finally I asked her, knowing my hearing

less than my wife’s (too many rock concerts

in my heedless youth), what we listen for?


She looked up at my old head, and smiled--

only she could hear the sound each leaf made

as it rippled the air in falling to the ground.



Come and draw strength from me

as I build strength from you.

Pay no attention to the flashes of my mind,

paltry upstarts next to a single heartbeat.


There is death across the land,

dead faces on every street corner

but you and I, if we choose to,

can avoid it and create life, full

and rich like creamed milk.


We are not perfected beings, we sing

not the notes of heaven but of earth.

So my heart gropes in the damp night

for yours, listening to its beats

like raindrops on a windowpane

(life’s beauty lies in love’s sounds).


Ask not why my heart seeks yours--

if I had to guess, it’s an act of God.

One thing I suspect, heartily and with reason:

all life and things of life are born in love,

beauty moulded in wedlock of constant hearts

and all misery is from love denied – so

come and draw strength from me

as I build strength from you….

The Look In Her Eyes           


No, it isn’t what you think

when I say I was enraptured

by the look in her eyes--

the eyes were those of a woman

who was dying and knew she

was dying….


I did not know her well--

she was the wife of someone

my wife worked with in the

prosaic world, the world of time

and schedules and appointments,

the world of taxes and getting

and spending and eating and

sleeping and making love (for

the lucky ones), a world filled

with the nightly news and TV

and a relentless social media,

a world that both commands

and ignores—but not the world

this woman was soon to leave

for an unique voyage she must

take all alone: somehow she knew

this as she lay small and quiet

in her hospice bed--

past speaking any more,

not even to her old husband.


But though quiet as a mouse

or a saint, yet she smiled, at

all in the room it seemed,

though when I went in turn

to say my good-bye to this

near-stranger, I thought,

‘She’s smiling at me!’ and

then I thought, ‘She looks

happy!’---but how can that be

I wondered--- until her eyes

gleamed with a light I have

never seen before in human

eyes—it was her soul I knew

that knew, and her soul had

no fear, death being less than

air, less than nothing to it----

her soul was ready.



Will my soul fly

When I die…

Will my soul soar

O’er the Alps,

The Rockies, the Andes,

And the Himalayas?


Will my soul see

The Aurora Borealis



Will my soul

Dive deep, deep

Into the oceans,

Seeing beauty

And creatures

Unknown to

To those who

Live on dry land?


Will my soul slip

Time’s iron hold,

Then to skip, at will,

Through the Ages,

Back and forth

Like an unruly child,

(the dream of sages)

Knowing the faces

Of Caesar stabbed,

Of Joan of Arc burning,

Of Lincoln laughing,

Seeing too the places

Where the lions fed

On the Christian saints,

Where soldiers died

In battles long over,

Where Hitler lied

And Jesus cried?


And will my soul then

speed through our vast

Universe, far faster

than the speed of light,

faster than even thought

as it takes in billions

of stars and trillions

of other worlds, and

begins, just begins

to feel how really

big God is…?





The other day

as I turned the corner

onto my quiet street


I saw a woman so perfect,

she snatched my breath away

as she waited to cross the road.


It was like seeing a movie star

or a beauty queen close up--

my heart ached a bit, I confess,

when I thought, once, a long time

ago, I might have had a chance….


But now I’m just an old man

driving an old car to an old house.

I drove slowly and could see

her gracefully crossing the street

in my rear-view mirror, much

like a dream fading quickly away …

suddenly, from somewhere far

beyond my mind, I realized

the truth of what I saw: that

it was all just stupid illusion--

she was young and beautiful,

I, old and lame, but those were

just markers on the wheel of time.


The wheel would turn,

my body would die, hers would age,

no longer enrapturing men—in truth

she was already an old woman which

I could not see, nor could I see the

sweet child still playing within her.


When there are no more days left,

our souls will be free of the wheel,

and all the world’s illusions will

seem as distant, fading dreams.

When Sedate Age Remembers Crazy Youth


I’m a child of the’60’s,

not quite a flower child,

never really a hippie

[though my ponytail

drove an uncle nuts],

but still, I ate the ever

crunchy Beatles for

breakfast, lunch, dinner

and roasted the Stones

whenever a lady came.


I was free then, or so

I told myself—free

to travel the world,

free to love and

then, inevitably,

always, leave…

free to dream and

free to fail it seemed.


I owned only myself,

but I owed no one--

both big mistakes,

illusions really--

we own nothing,

save our souls,

we owe everything,

to everyone, most

of all, we owe God,

be we Baptist or

Hindu, Catholic or

Jew, Muslim or

atheist—we owe.


Most young ones

learn in time--

we are not free,

we are not strong,

we are not whole.

We hunger for

more than food,

we thirst for

more than water,

we need more

than money,

we need more

than our minds.


We are the animal

never sated, never

full, never replete.

We are the animal

ever restless, so

easily bored, even

of life sometimes.


Is that why we argue

and fight, commit

pointless crimes

end long marriages,

spurn our friends,

chase youth when

youth has become

less than a dream?


Is that really why

nations go to war?

Because of BOREDOM?

Why do we always

feel we are missing



Now I’m old,

I have no answers.

I thought I would,

by now I had hoped

to understand---

myself, you—well,

everyone! I’d know

why I was so dumb

when I was young,

but I don’t even

know why I am

so foolish old….


Nolo Segundo, pen name of L.J.Carber, became a widely published poet in his mid-70's in over 140 literary journals/anthologies in America, Canada, England, Romania, Scotland, Portugal, Australia, Sweden, India and Turkey. A trade publisher has released 3 book length collections: The Enormity of Existence [2020], Of Ether and Earth [2021], and Soul Songs [2022]. These titles like much of his work reflect the awareness he's had since having an NDE when as a 24 year old agnostic-materialist, believing only matter was real and so death meant extinction, he lept into a Vermont river in an attempt to end the suffering of a major clinical depression. He learned that day the utter reality that poets, Plato, and Jesus have spoken of for millennia: that every sentient human has a consciousness that predates birth and survives death--a soul. A retired teacher [America, Japan, Taiwan, and Cambodia in the mid-70's] he's been married 43 years to a smart and beautiful Taiwanese woman. 


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