It Had Been

his energy waned
he was fearful
he didn’t mind being alone
except that he was lonely now
it hadn’t always been this way

he had lived a life of adventure
his face had known many smiles
he had myriad loves
he could play music and jokes
it had been that way for a long time

he had wandered
and been lost
had looked for signs in headlines
and slept on concrete
it had been that way for too long

he regretted leaving the church
he remembered the circle of love there
he hoped the philosophy he’d cobbled together
would hold him in his final days

it had been his way
he just hoped it was the right one

/ / /

This poem was written in response to Wordle 24 a la Leo at The Sunday Whirl and Wither Goest Thou Kevin Bacon? – Prompt #23 at Poetic Bloomings.

I’m raising funds for The Office of Letters and Light, the nonprofit organization that sponsors National Novel Writing Month in November. Please check out my Night of Writing Dangerously post.

And, in case you missed it, there is my interview with Sherry Blue Sky at Poets United.

8 thoughts on “It Had Been

  1. Richard, I read this yesterday, and came back to it today. I like the repetition and change over time of the last line, and “his” thoughts about it in the final stanza. Thoughtful write. We all cobble together something to believe in. John Trudell says when we believe we stop thinking. He’s the person who pointed me to the lie in the middle of believe. While it’s not common thinking, he does have a point. If we believe we lose the need to question, it stops our thinking process. I could be wrong, surely I believe that. 😉


    • Brenda, thank you for your thoughtful reply to my poem – and for sharing your thoughts on belief. I’ve certainly met people whose beliefs stopped their thinking. That thought/belief divide is something I struggle with. I don’t want to stop thinking,but I want something to believe in as well.

      And a huge “thank you” for your donation to The Office of Letters and Light. I appreciate it.



    • I don’t think there is any way to know for sure, whether it’s an accepted belief or a personal philosophy. But I think that whatever you have, a belief or a philosophy, it should give you hope and sustenance at the end.



  2. 12 + 6 = 18 words well-woven into the fabric of wonderfully-written poem!

    I found myself feeling quite sad as I pictured someone old, and alone……I pictured him in a scene probably nothing like you had when you wrote it, but your words definitely drew me in to SEEING this man.



    • Paula, thank you. I liked that contrast between “alone” and “lonely” that came out of the two prompts. That was my starting place, and it did lead to a sad character, but I also wanted to reflect on his past – and that it had been different. I’m glad you could see him so clearly.



  3. You build a very strong description of a man who lived life on his terms, and though there is a tinge of regret, now that he’s near the end, he wouldn’t change anything. A marvelous poem.

    Again, I’m seeing the superb use of anaphora. I think of my early poetry, where I actively avoided reusing words, and wonder what they could have been.


    • Mike, thank you. I like the way you see him. I don’t think he would change anything. There may be regret, but who doesn’t have regrets, but they’re not regrets about things he didn’t do.

      And thank you for comments about anaphora. It is something that has been occurring/recurring in my poems lately.



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