Company Man

While much of the poetry that I write is deeply personal, this one stems from an experience I had helping a friend and colleague through the collapse and beginnings of reconstructing his marriage.

Twenty years he towed the line,
In the lead or just behind,
Purpose bent to meet his task,
Ever solid, firm, steadfast.

Many nights would find him still,
At his work for hours 'till,
Exhaustion bid him pause a while,
Then homeward trudge without a smile.

Daybreak bids him e'er again,
Drawn as moth to candle's flame,
Weary eyes in a care-worn face,
Search for meaning in this place.

He comfort seeks in a future distant,
When the work will all be done,
Yet each day the tasks insistent,
Bid him stay 'till time is gone.

While in his poor neglected home,
His life's companion sits alone,
Grieving over memories dear,
Of promised changes ever near.

All alone in thought and deed,
Her guard let down, she feels a need,
Then knocking at her lonely door,
Ancient friends entice her more.

Hardening with cold neglect,
Losing e'en her self respect,
She wanders off the beaten path,
a one-way road - no turning back.

One halt step to test the road,
And swiftly others more profound,
'Till shucking off her heavy load,
Faith shatters on unholy ground.

Youth now entangled by the fray,
Their children know not how to pray,
Or whom to ask for lighter loads,
Ne'er taught to seek in His abodes.

The promise made of finer things,
A house of playing cards now seems,
They never wanted more than time,
To share their thoughts and speak their mind.

They see the strain in mothers face,
Her tender heart with ice replaced,
Withdrawn and secret, pained and sore,
She loves their father now no more.

Pulled and yanked at every joint,
they wish for what will never be,
Voices shout and fingers point,
A shattered future now they see.

In days gone by 'midst hope and joy,
He'd scheme for idler times employ,
Speak of happy things he'd do,
When the work was truly through.

Yet every time he'd start anew,
Some labor kind, or service do,
In habits set, he quick returned,
To toil in his profession learned.

Seeking joy where never found,
Dashing hopes on stony ground,
Accolades and praise received,
Clearly had him then deceived.

Now too late begins to dawn,
Through misty eyes and broken heart,
How changes made so early on,
Can stop the pain before its start.

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