5 &1/2 YEARS...


As always, when I hear the two of you talking
across an empty room,

a streak of joy jumps me
like a personal shooting star.

Fortunately,. it was a short conversation



Each year, when we had a garden,
Bob would order a well-ventilated box
of ladybugs. They are carnivorous,
and instead of eating the new green shoots,
they eat the tinier creatures who do..

As I held the box, Bob would take
a tiny handful of the pretty little creatures
and let them fall around the new growth.
Suddenly, he was rolling on the unplanted earth,
an expression of silent agony on his face,
his left hand gripping his right wrist.
"Bob! What's the matter? Are you O.K./' i cried.
He sat up, grinning, one El Grecco hand around each calf,
and said
"A ladybug bit me."

I threw dirt in his face.


Trumpet Fanfare

I did not know it,
but he had just said his last word to me
("Yes,"in response to "Would you like
a half-teaspoon of morphine?")
It was very late, 2:30 A.M.
I felt his consciousness there, in the dark.

I sat down by the CD player, and
in its dim light,. I reached out and my fingers found
Mahler's 8th Symphony. I put it on--
the volume was already  high, and I didn;t
turn it down. We both loved Mahler, but I didn't
recognize the beginning, especially.
there was a trumpet fanfare! and I remembered...

We had been sitting in a small section
of seats, in the front of  the lowest balcony,
in the back row.  The trumpet fanfare
was so loud! We turned our heads
to see six uniformed men blowing trumpets, right behind us,
over our heads, into the huge auditorium.
We looked at eachother.
I laughed; he smiled....

It wasn't so long ago.

Life rushes by;
remember its joys and sorrows well.


A young man jumps a hurdle,
caught in mid-air by the camera (low and to his right).,
His left leg is straight and high,
many inches above the bar--his shoe seems
level with his head--
and the right  is still bent, still low, behind him and the hurdle.

His head, with its cap of dark hair, inclines forward
so  we see the front of his face:
His cheekbones stand out,.his mouth is a slighly open,
showing a few teeth; the dark- browed eyes
focus down on that left leg and the hurdle: :it is all intent on his task.

How and what if he misses? The right shoe, if the leg doesn't rise high enough
may catch on the hurdle, plunging him straight down  on his face
in the gravel , or if he gets an arm down in the fall,
he might break the arm.. He cannot afford the time to be afraid.
This is not the last hurdle of the track

And there are
so many more


I bought Bob a late Christmas present--a tiny
Japanese box of bone, with two tightly closing compartments.,
upper and lower.. The smooth outside is delicately decorated
with a few butterflies, and a flowering plant..
The inside, very white, has a rough, bone-like texture.

We couldn't really think of anything to put in it, though.

After he died, rather suddenly, I filled both compartments with
some of his ashes. So they have, at least, a familiar home.
which I hope he would have liked.

   Robert Vognar, April 20, 1939--February 7, 2013

Korean Celadon

It is restorative,
self contained.
Its soft blue-green color
smooth surface
the tiny pools of glaze in its crevices
speak of peace of the heart.

Had someone I loved
grabbed my shoulders 
and with angry words
shoved me clean across the room,
so that I collided with the opposite wall---

I would spend a few moments
with Korean celadon.