Regret Hangs on Where Opportunity Once Existed

There are lots of sad words we lament with such ease,
But there’s none any sadder and mournful than these:
I regret my decisions, and wish to go back
To that Y in the road where my life went off track.

I was foolhardy, reckless, and to my dismay,
I embarked on a road I regret to this day.
During high school I wish I had not been so bored.
I excelled playing sports, but the books I ignored.

Then in college, I realized I wasn’t prepared.
And in no time at all, you’ve flunked out, they declared.
I reluctantly started to find my own way,
But without any skills, drifted farther astray.

My self-image: a laggard who’s filled with self-blame.
Till a therapist said, with mistakes, there’s no shame.
So I tried to forgive myself—set myself free.
And to focus on being the best I could be. 

It took time and hard work and my progress was slow,
But I stuck to my plan and soon started to grow. 
My esteem soon improved like my therapist said,
I was drifting no more—started winning instead. 

It’s amazing how winning’s transforming my soul.
Gaining confidence now, I can reach any goal.
My regrets still hang on, but they own me no more;
I’m not haunted by what could’ve been, like before.




Vacation from Love

Happily dating for almost two years,
Enjoying our courtship without any tears.
With marriage approaching, I’m bursting with love,
For she is my angel, who’s sent from above.

First months of marriage were blissful and dear.
We cherished each other and had a rich year.
But jobs and the kids seemed to get in the way.
We drifted apart more and more every day.

First we were silent, then started to fight.
Our past expectations grew wings and took flight.
We hired a couns’lor and shared all our wrath.
He talked with us both and then laid out a path.

Love is a choice, he said, work is required.
You must be attentive, and when you’re admired,
You’ll start doing things that she loves and she needs.
Then love will grow back and your marriage succeeds.

You, my sweet lady, you must do the same.
And ask your dear husband what sets him aflame.
You’ll find when you do, he’ll start turning around,
And love will return and will start to abound.

Quality time should be focused and real.
The more time together, the closer you’ll feel.
Then both should begin giving gifts to your mate.
And soon your resentments will start to abate.

You sir, should start doing some of her chores,
Spontaneous acts of your service endures.
And same for the lady, in love as you are. 
Just see what will happen when you wash the car. 

Terms of endearment are love’s little seeds.
Your verbal expressions mean more than good deeds.
So tell her she’s pretty and tell her she’s sweet.
And tell her her cooking just cannot be beat.

Pointers I’ve shared will restore what you’ve lost.
Indeed, when you follow regardless of cost.
With work and some prayer and some help from above,
You’ll end your traumatic vacation from love.



Richard Buchanan retired in Dallas after 37 years in corporate America. Most of the poetry that Richard has written was for the sole purpose of entertaining his fiancé as they sat through her many long chemo treatments. Richard ended up writing about 40 poems, and his fiancé ended up beating double breast cancer.

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17 Responses

  1. Peter Hartley

    A fine pair of anapaestic treats, these poems, and both carrying extremely wise words. With advice like this who needs marriage guidance counsel? And they both really gallop along.
    Well done!

  2. Jeff Eardley

    Richard, these are a great to read and as Peter remarked, they bounce along at a Merry pace. I love the title and subject matter of the first and the second is so true for many young marrieds these days.
    A most enjoyable duet, thank you.

  3. Paul Freeman

    Two from the heart. Thanks for the reads, Richard. The humour, the life asserting advice and the ease at which these poems can be read made my day.

    Perhaps those forty poems you wrote could be collected into a volume.

  4. Sultana Raza

    This title is catchy: ‘Regret Hangs on Where Opportunity Once Existed.’ The poem is well-written. However, am wondering if a character like the one in this poem Could have written this beautiful poem, if he was such a laggard earlier in his life… your talent shines through in this poem. Just it’s hard to believe that the character could have ‘ignored’ books earlier in his life… and then gone on to write such interesting poems…

    • Richard Buchanan

      Thank you for reading my work. And thank you for your kind comments. You bring up a very good point however. One I suppose, I could have explained in some sort of preface or introduction.

      In my research for this fictional poem, I was moved by the overwhelming success of many well known people who had difficult times earlier in their lives.

      Oprah Winfrey ran away from home and had a child at 14 who shortly thereafter died.

      Stephen King’s first novel was rejected 30 times.

      Richard Branson has dyslexia.

      Benjamin Franklin dropped out of school at the age of 10.

      Jim Carrey used to be homeless.

      Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four years old. And throughout elementary school, many of his teachers thought he was lazy and wouldn’t make anything of himself.

      Of course, there are many more of these true life stories. The common thread through all of my reading was that these folks never gave up. And neither did the character in my poem. Some people have been able to reinvent themselves after destructive or unfortunate beginnings.

      • Sultana Raza

        Thanks for your explanations Richard. I appreciate your theme. I don’t mean to be difficult, but most of the examples you’ve given are of other professions, except for Stephen King. And I suppose he didn’t have the sort of problems that the fictional character in your poem has. Lots of writers had problems, and had to keep on persisting. However, it’s very rare for someone who becomes such an accomplished poet such as yourself to not be interested in writing and books in their youth. I’m sure such writers exist as well, but I can’t remember their names at the moment. In any case, this poem really flows, and takes the readers along with it.

      • Sultana Raza

        Hi Richard, I didn’t mean to put you on the spot. And double congratulations, for both overcoming any issues you may have had, and for becoming the excellent poet that you are today. I apologize if I caused you any problems because of my remarks.

  5. john Howell

    I enjoyed both poems, Richard. You have a very pleasing way to describe situations that all of us have faced. Your words flow in such a manner that the reader cannot help but follow them to the end. Well done. I totally enjoyed your collection “Symmetry in Poetry and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys engaging poetic verse.


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