You Can’t Get There From Here…


Precise coordinates do not exist in space.
The place I seek is sensitive to Time.
And non-compliant with geography.
I want to have you see what’s in my mind.

I’d love to see my grandchild[ren] crouch
Behind the plate or at the midfield X -
I will be giddy with whomever’s slouch.
I won’t make issue with the sport or sex.

No map can guide me past the yellow barn
That used to stand atop the gentle ridge.
Which lent perspective high upon the roof
To see the valley floor at Moyer’s bridge.

The gate that held the cows within the field
Due north of Swamp Pike, nearest Wagner Road,
Has not been swinging open — fifty years
Since traffic volume threatened to explode.

How can I craft a route to take them where
They understand the rural, simple way
Their grandpop wandered through the verdant fields
Of Fagleysville, a town that fades away

Because the hamlet lacked protective sense
To see the danger lurking in the trees
Where time will snatch the villages away
And change their names to ones we never say.

I’ll say to the eldest, Laine, “Here make a left
Where Wagner Road and Fagleysville shake hands.
You’ll see the fieldstone wall that marked the gate
To enter down the lane to Elliot’s lands.

The dairy farm’s a golf course — if you squint
The fairways might betray their secret past
By letting memory conjure up a glimpse
Of grazing heifers ambling through the grass.

Can I say to Olivia, “You know,
We used to sometimes run a campground raid
At Laughing Waters — many years ago,
And borrow boats to coast upon the lake.

The camp is hiding nowadays in growth
Which shields the fence near by the cul-de-sac,
Where we would ditch our bikes behind the brush,
In case the grown-ups launched a sneak attack.

Can I tell Wesley how to navigate
To Great-Great Grammy’s bar on Charlotte Street?
The National Bank of Boyertown is right
Where you turn left — the site of Aston’s Treat:

A soft-cone custard ice cream stand when I
Was just a little shaver. Then stay straight
Until the road runs past the Farmer’s Mart,
On High Street right in town. You’ll see a gate

Where once there was a set of local shops.
The grandkids will be lost in my old haunts.
The towns surrendered all their innocence
As we did mindlessly on country jaunts.

For Ivory, might I make a map that lands
Her near the Mighty Atom truck at Zern’s.
Across the street from Auction City. There’s
A Car Wash near the place, before it burned.

Will anyone be able to embrace
The sense of long ago that marks the trek
That I and Aunts and Uncles got to trace,
Or understand the innocent effect

That Clementine could grasp if she knew how
Or where to launch the mystery ships and steer
A course that brings the past to here and now –
Alas! You simply can’t get there from here.



For Better or Verse — Poetry Month 2023 et al.

Philip J. Repko, Ian C. Repko, and Philip E. Repko have been fiddling with words for more than a few years. Here we shall periodically contribute.