Poem: Wild Haired Ideas and Other Teachings

Wild Haired Ideas and Other Teachings

Never mind the address
of the city home I was raised in,
I grew up in the sandy soil of Surry,
my grandfather’s countryside,
full of farms and forests and dark ponds
at the end of swampland. Tiny country stores,
where we all hoed the peanuts together
regardless of race or age,
where silence had value.

I grew up in the mountains,
educated myself there. Learned the value
of work and possibilities,
raised children, lost a marriage,
came to understand the power of brokeness
and that everything, given time and grace,
is repairable. Maybe not just as it was,
but repairable nonetheless.

I grew up in the quarries of Vermont,
found the peace of leaving,
of moving where no one knows you,
no one has expectations, learned
the healing path, the power of spirit.
Learned to raise my kids one last time
and how to release them to their own flight.
I learned love is always waiting
when you are ready.

I grew up wandering. Small villages.
Rugged seaside. Anonymous hotels.
Temples and churches and lodges.
Downtown in New York. Amidst museums
and empty alleyways. Never looking to grow,
but growing, often despite myself, and growing still,
an organic thing, never forced, rarely as intentional
as I would like it to be.

For some reason, it is the wild-haired ideas
that have won in my life. The quirky things.
The things that should not work, made no sense,
but were, are, full of passion when perhaps
passion is not called for. The less practical.
The beautiful things. The things that make those
who love me tilt their heads and wonder
as I careen glibly down the garden path,
happily absorbing the scratch of thorns
to smell the distant roses.

About this poem

Not the poem I intended. It may even be two poems. But it poured out all in a big rush, so like the wild-haired ideas that have defined the best in my life, I just ran with it.



  1. I love this one, Tom. It’s a first-person account of where you have been, who you are and how you will face the future. Through it you reveal an introspective self-acceptance that I find admirable. Thanks for writing and sharing this one!

  2. A few times I have made sudden decisions that caused raised eyebrows and people to gasp “you can’t!” but I did and those were the times it all worked out.

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