Of Driftwood and Men


Along a forlorn coastal strand

I walk in morning’s fog-dimmed light

And there where arching wave meets sand

Like soldiers fallen in a fight

….lies driftwood


The broken stems of once great trees

From forestlands now under siege

On mighty rivers found the seas

Adrift on oceans to this beach

….came driftwood


These battered, scarred and broken shapes

Half buried by the wind-blown grains

From random currents thus escape

And find the sea’s sandy moraine

….this driftwood


I view each graying weathered trunk

Amidst the ocean’s cast debris

Of cork and bottles – human junk

Yet find within a solemn peace

….how I love driftwood



Down lamplit paths of city streets

I walk by fading evening light

And there where wall and sidewalk meet

Lay broken men of pauper’s plight

….like driftwood


They wait, their minds in untold strife

No laughter, nor a gentle touch,

To perform their final role in life

Alone, green bottles in their clutch

….as driftwood


Repulsed, I hasten past toward home 

To seek the warmth of hearth and bed

And leave those soiled men alone

Slovenly clothed and poorly fed

….life’s driftwood


Though now in bed, I shiver cold

My guilt, its burden overwhelms

As conscience asks one hundredfold

Why can’t I love those tattered men

….as I love driftwood.


          Dean Carrier