Some days are like that...
the helicopters far away,
the friends and family are all OK,
the sun breaks clear on a bluesky day,
and there's nothin' you have to do.
Summer's done and so the heat
in Texas calms and birds retreat
from north to south before the sleet
of winter comes in frigid sheets
of ice that blast the days to gray.
As boys, we fought the wasps in fall,
with BB guns or swating boards,
or lumber carved to resemble swords,
that flashed in air when vast red hoards
flew out to meet our invading fleet.
The risks we took; the adrenalin shook
our hands, the joy was worth the sting
when a redwasp hummed like a plucked bowstring
and stooped to dive on buzzing wings,
as clear and crisp as glass..or fear.
The redwasp is a fearless beast;
the most jolting sound a boy can hear,
is the whizz of wings behind his ear;
he leaps ahead in startled fear
of "flutter-WHAM!"..the wasp's revenge.
We never won the redwasp wars.
The joy of battle was not to win,
but to fight the fight, though now and then,
the pain and fear brought the joy quite thin,
to one who couldn't run as fast as wasps can fly.
But then, the badge was not to cry,
but bear the welt with gritted teeth,
and to carry the sword in its cardboard sheath
to the next nest hanging there beneath
the sky and trees of childhood.