Getting Back on My Feet

By on Jan 20, 2019 in Poetry

Two hands reaching for each other in front of the Matterhorn mountain

In our walker strolls, me with an orange safety belt
wrapped around my waist, Paul clutching it tight,
we stop so I can exercise on a staircase,
between the parallel bars, or just to rest in an alcove
across from the elevator lobby, check my vitals,
and talk. About the book he’s reading — his
excitement when Arthur first meets Merlin.
About the way writing my poetry helps me confront
my trauma. About his love of the woods — the beauty
of the moon skimming through winter branches — or
taking his three daughters on a camping trip. About
the time he and his wife drove to Pawling
to spend a couple of hours on the Appalachian Trail.
How they turned back when the thunderclouds rolled in.
How they got to their car just before the downpour.
Watched three or four other hikers not so lucky
dashing for shelter. A real soaker. He thought he should
offer to help them, give them a ride wherever they
might be going. But that upset his wife. No way
to know what kind of people they might be, could be
multiple killers. And that makes him sad, to think
his girls will be going out into a world so full of fear,
where nobody trusts anyone else. What kind of world is it
where you can’t help somebody in trouble. Then: Okay.
Up on your feet, you. We got a staircase to climb.


Tony Howarth has worked as a journalist, a teacher at high school and college level, a playwright, and a theatre director, but retired now, and since a visit to Dove Cottage, and the stream that runs underneath the kitchen, he spends his time writing poetry, often focusing on the pleasures and perils of being old.