How could he not understand my poem?
Listen, I explained: the black is for certainty,
the green is for uncertainty,
the red is for passion –
and the yellow – well,
everyone knows about yellow.
The purple is for all the strength I could muster-
and there – near the bottom –
the gray streaked with orange,
that’s the ending
as well as I could write it,
the denouement, if you will.
The couplet is, I admit, a bit obscure-
but as for the rest, well, now you know!
Men at Sixty
(After “Men at Forty” by Donald Justice)
Men at sixty,
looking into private mirrors,
study the old warrior bones for signs of wear-
a breaking down of the possible.
They no longer seek that young lifeguard,
find instead the determined swimmer,
champion of small victories.
Men at sixty
remember the ardent father
and those before him-
that long hallway of fathers,
images now running to gray.
They sense the iron vessel of mortality
moving now beneath them,
observe the weather,
look to the North Star-
move forward into the night.
John Setliffe Bourne lives in New Jersey with his wife, Adele, also a poet. His poetry has appeared in the Asheville Poetry Review, Mad Poets Review, Mississippi Review, Paterson Literary Review, Southern Poetry Review , and U. S. 1 Worksheets. He received the Atlanta Review Certificate of Merit for their International Poetry Competitions 2004 and 2005, and honorable mentions from Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, Mississippi Review, and Nimrod.