. On Second Thought When words fail, __perhaps it’s not the words at all, __but hobbled minds that cannot call __a lucid image to avail ____the powers of description. When love fades, __it might not be true love that’s lost, __but rather that endearments tossed __with shoptalk salad-wise evades ____all but precise decryption. When lips lie, __consider that the thoughts behind __the words from out a tangled mind __all logic and good sense defy, ____though they be offered truly. When hearts dim, __do not assume that they’ve grown cold; __they may have foundered acting bold __in waters much too deep to swim, ____in feelings too unruly. When friends go, __the going isn’t what’s so tough, __but knowing when you’ve had enough __and also getting them to know ____as though from introspection. When hopes sink, __it’s not hope’s object that you miss __so much as that expectant bliss, __when for a moment you could think ____your life had new direction. . . Mysteries So many mysteries, so little time. A patient human being might divide them into lists: a long one for the great unanswered questions—many lifetimes strung together insufficient to address the least confounding there; a shorter one for puzzles thoughtful effort well applied can finally unravel and decide. How is it possible for honest men to disagree? Intelligence, good faith and simple facts are all abundantly supplied on either hand, and yet they draw conclusions separated by a land devoid of bridges, daunting in its sprawl. Why is forgiveness often easier to grant than to accept? The grudges held by those who’ve perpetrated injuries will tend to fester, even when the folks they’ve victimized have gotten over them— such brutal judgments yesterday invokes! Since Mother Teresa is surely bound for sainthood, how come the adage that no good deed will go unpunished still retains the ring of truth? Supposedly it’s good Intentions—not good deeds—which are the thing that paves the roads in Satan’s neighborhood. And why, O why do people contemplate such queries long before they ascertain which list they should be on? And even when enigmas have been properly assigned, the follow-through is likely weak—the big mistake that tips an overreaching mind. . . No Greater Love There in the cloudless, chilly western sky Two stars hang low above my sleeping town, One very bright, the other dimmed way down. The classics scholar knows Dioscuri Is still the proper term, and might well frown Should someone speak of them as Gemini. The accidents of birth can sometimes spell A person’s fate, the more so if the child Is issued from a large blue egg. Not styled For modern times, that tale, and just as well: Imagine, mon frère, how we’d be reviled For wanting half of heaven, half of hell. Those brothers—one a mortal, one a god …. Please tell me whether you could possibly Forego unending life for love of me And lay yourself down in the very sod That covered up my poor dead bones. Feel free To think a while before you give your nod. I’m not alleging one of us will live Forever, or that boundaries overrun Are justified by favors left undone. It’s clear that we have different gifts to give, And likewise take. God knows, it’s much more fun To be the sediment than be the sieve. Theology we’ve grown accustomed to Delimits choices: Olympus now is out Of bounds, our sacrifices more about Good form than moral province. Let’s make do With what’s been granted us, and never doubt We’ll forge a pact that passes your review. So while we brood, do you recall the frolics We had when we were younger men? That time I bailed you out when you had done a crime? I hope the memories I raise don’t bollix Our chance to reach some fair accord. For I’m Not Castor here, dear friend, but rather Pollux. . . C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden. Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India. His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press.