It's just poetry, it won't bite

The Pond: a cautionary tale

07.04.19 Posted in today's words by

Tom Gnagey lives and writes in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

The Pond: a cautionary tale
By Tom Gnagey
The breeze has mostly calmed. The surface mostly stilled.
My gently rolling reflection confirms it is I sitting there studying my pond; of some surprise it is an old, worn, tired mien that rises to meet me.
The water, the tire swing, the cane pole and coffee can – once proudly teeming with the finest night crawlers – help me access faint glimpses – surely distorted – of my boyhood, past.

It has been a place of smiles and laughter.

It has been a place of chest heaving sobs and despair.

It has been a place of retreat from my greatest fears,

and a place of seclusion that encouraged and allowed my greatest revelations.

Unmet dreams, recalled, confirm what might have been, what should have been, perhaps.
My life was always long on ‘wanted to-dos’ and often short on ‘got around to-dos’.
My days were consumed by mending the holes in others’ lives – the one thing I did well, I believe.
So, here I sit, nursing what was and what was not, attesting to the reality of my path – the fleeting, fading, unremarkable portrait of the final sum of what I will have been.
My days have been full, reflecting, I now see, an unordered rush to quantity rather than a thoughtful quest for quality.
Surprise, surprise! When ‘unfulfilled dreams’ and the capacity for ‘driven acts of busy’ wane, it is but darkness and emptiness that remain.

One Response to “The Pond: a cautionary tale”

  1. Frank Adams says:


    i enjoyed your poem very much, very moving and heartfelt. I particularly appreciated the last two lines, ” When unfilled dreams’ and the capacity for driven acts of busy wane, it is but darkness and emptiness that remain.” So beautiful and well said. Best wishes to you.


Latest Podcast Episode
vox poetica archives