Learning Late – a poem by Russell Rowland

Learning Late

Why, love is easy, you discover
after a lifetime blocking that route
with boulders and trunks of trees:
simply remove debris you put there
yourself, and the road is level,
straight to the horizon.

Bless us, it is better to learn
just before the sun sets what day it is,
than not at all.  Impious old
Uncle Charles took Jesus as Savior
mere minutes before he died.
Pastor was very happy.

Knowledge of what a sparrow means
by singing earns you no interest,
so acquire it only when you’re ready.
Something the young don’t realize:
late learnings lack years to harden
into dogma, the way arteries harden.

Mistakes make good students—
and that school is always in session.
It isn’t necessary that you graduate:
even the teachers are still learning.

Some say the greatest lessons await 
after Pastor throws dirt on the coffin.
How about that for learning late.

Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions. Recent work appears in Poem, The Main Street Rag, and U.S. 1 Worksheets.  His latest poetry book, Wooden Nutmegs, is available from Encircle Publications.

2 Comments

  1. ‘Mistakes make good students’ is a lesson as a Buddhist I have taken on board. It is never too late to acknowledge our mistakes and vow not to make the same mistakes over again. Im taking this poem as didactic and make no apology!

    Liked by 1 person

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