Whittler’s Lament. A Poem by Ron Olsen

He sat on the stoop
One stick
After another
Whittling away
Until they were gone
Pausing only to spit on the wet stone
To sharpen the blade
Without it
He would be finished
His mind waltzed from one vagary to another
Possessed by some brazen demon of old
Without defined purpose or cause
Knowing only that he had been left behind
Without a partner in the dance
They laughed at his plight
His suffering
His brain turning to rose colored granite
She had so loved the smooth face of the granite
And cool spring nights at the graveyard
Truly alone
At last
He had taken his shot and missed
And now
Sneering at the children in the street
With their catcalls
Their pranks
Tiny cheerful idiots
He was unable to remember
His need that went begging
Before the haze came
And the whittling started
Now there was only the blade
Working its way
Through the pile of twigs
One switch at a time
Until they were gone
His pain dulled
Once again
By a job well done
©2015 Ron Olsen – all rights reserved

Ron Olsen is a Peabody and Emmy award winning journalist based in Southern California. He is recently retired from the Tribune Company, where he was stationed at the Los Angeles Times, working with the newspaper’s writers and editors to adapt newspaper stories for KTLA-TV. He is the author of more than one-thousand essays and an occasional poem. His essays have been published by several local papers in the Los Angeles area. He began writing poetry just recently. He says he loves the craft of saying more with fewer words, with each word playing a significant role in the piece. “I am sometimes struck by my poetry”
he says.”I’ll look at what I’ve written and wonder where it came from-some wellspring that’s beyond my understanding. What a strange and wonderful process.”

A more complete bio can be found here –
or at his blog at
http://workingreporter.com/wordpress or his Facebook page at

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Poetry Life & Times

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