Halfway out of the dark

The opposite of summer,
That forever twilight of my youth,
The sky just a darker blue
Long past midnight.

Solstice balances Solstice,
A line connecting each pole.
The year strung out, summed up in sunsets
And reckoned in rises.

Every sunset is a defeat,
Every sunrise a victory.
The ticktock of days
Rushing by ever faster.

The worst days,
Like broken glass
Crunching and cutting
Under your feet.

The best days,
Brief moments of bright
Gone too soon,
Never forgotten.

It’s not the days in your life,
But the life in your days,
Lick your fingers clean,
Reach in and take another.


He was a good cat
Though unspeakable vile
To the not-us and un-we.

He was the third of his name
A tradition of my family
Now thirty six years in the making.

He was my sidekick
In my first months in America
My feline shadow in the Canton apartment.

He always smelled a bit like curry
A pleasant and exotic scent
As if he wasn’t just a common tabby.

He loved my feet
Would sleep by and over them.
Say howdy with a nibble and a flop.

He loved straws
Would pull them from cups
Drag them up and down stairs.

He would say hello
With a nod and a short meow
As if copying the human gesture.

He liked being scooped
PIcked up and cuddled
But only by us.

He would come when called
Chirping and curious
Wondering where the turkey was.

He played fetch
Would bring you something
And wait for you to throw it.

He was generous
Leaving loose change in my shoes
Turning every pair into penny loafers.

He missed us
Would be at the door when we got home
Endless nose-rubs after vacations.

We miss him
Eleven years old, almost exactly
A wedding gift to ourselves.

He was a good cat
A gift that never stopped giving
And never will.

Samuel Jay Herron
April 2000 – April 2011
He was a good cat

Closer Apart

Spring Promise
Summers Golden Wish
Open Eyes, Heart Unfurled
Waiting with patience tested
Dangerous tender words

Autumn change
Winters dark sorrow
Deny hope so gently
Biding time, waiting for the moment
Tonight the truth aches

Spring Hope
Summer lies before us
Shadows fade, we remain
Closer apart

(Lyrics written in 1997)


The late afternoon sun
Lays upon the leaves just right,
Evoking green from long ago,
Light from faraway.

The cooling days of autumn,
The end of endless summer,
Staring at the sun-painted green world
From a different classroom window.

After school,
We’d make the most of the deep blue evenings
Watching the sun set behind Cave Hill.
We’re suddenly in shadow
(the warm into cold of the air),
The new and old scent of peat fires relit
For the first time in ages.

We trade sunlight for streetlight.
Growing up in the dull orange glow
Of sodium vapor.
Sullenly railing against the end of the day,
Before my mum calls me home.

Soon there will be more night, less light.
Frosty dark mornings.
Up far too early,
Walking to the bus stop on the Antrim Road.
The streets are icy, but the passing gritter
Assaults both road and boy.
Just an insult added to injury.

September was the start of our year, back then.


Two months to go.
A big milestone, so they say,
Life begins at forty.

A sad thing,
That it should only begin
When it’s halfway done.