I think I’ll plant a sumac bush along my garden wall
To see its crimson colors out my window every fall.
My father’s yard had sumac many years ago.
I’ll borrow just a root or two from a wilderness I know.
I think I’ll take a long, long walk on a trail in the woods
By a shady creek bed through leafy neighborhoods.
The wood has wild flowers, and the creek has water chutes.
I used to hike it years ago. I’ll have to get new boots.
I’d like to teach a class again with youngsters all in seats
And share with them the glories of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Keats.
Or perhaps the local prison needs a teaching volunteer.
Strange to think I might even find a former student here.
I want to sail with Wifey to a Caribbean isle
And walk upon a sunny beach and see her happy smile,
Where royal palms wave overhead and ocean breezes blow,
An emerald isle, an azure sea, an archipelago.
Sometimes, in crossword puzzles I do in my retirement,
A word appears I never knew, which makes it a requirement
I consult my dictionary. It happened yesterday to me,
And normally I love new words, but this was “velleity.” (vah-LEE-ah-tee)
It brought me up against a truth that’s painful as we age.
We’re extras, not real actors, as we exit from the stage.
So I won’t be lacing up new boots or planting sumac trees.
The bright-eyed boys and girls I loved are mere “velleities.”
Maybe some colored postcards will help make Wifey glad,
Martinique, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad.
Myself? I’m fine here navigating verb, adjective, and comma,
But you wouldn’t pay to see it. It’s not an action drama.
Wishes and happy idylls are a dreamer’s stock in trade,
Velleities the only action in which last scenes are played,
Mere ghosts gliding o’er the stage until the curtain falls.
No audience, no credits. There won’t be curtain calls.
Velleity: a wish or inclination too late or not strong enough to lead to action.