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Inkydot

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Ratleader
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0 posted 04-13-2003 10:02 AM       View Profile for Ratleader   Email Ratleader   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions   Click to visit Ratleader's Home Page   View IP for Ratleader


Inkydot

Here he comes, Inkydot.
He walks by sometimes even yet,
between the banks of that dirt road
that I can still see, yellow clay all cracked
where storm puddles have turned
to little drymud hexagons that curl
and shimmer in the August sun,
just an old man coming up the road,
steering for each blue isle of shade
beneath the big wide maple trees.

I see him yet, the baggy trousers somebody
gave him, already old when he got them.
Everything about him old then except his eyes,
eyes of no time, peaceful old man face,
hesitating old man step, coming up out of
the woods, along the side of our house, down
to the skinny path across the wheat field,
disappearing toward Linden for groceries
and sometimes a hip flask of Old Crow.
Always walked behind the house,
never in front. I know why now,
like I know a lot of whys now.
But I never knew how important he was.

Didn’t know him at all, really. No one did,
but if you talked to him he’d answer you,
and that was enough for a kid.
And I never saw his cabin in the woods,
though I saw his little crops, bits of corn
in the shallow turns by the creek,
a few pole beans in a clearing.
I never knew a lot of things about him,
never asked him the books he carried
sometimes, one of them a Bible,
the other with no name until I understood,
just knew one day a lot of years later,
when he wasn’t old anymore.

“What’s your real name,” I asked once.
“Jus’ Inkydot,” eyes away, the tiny hermit voice
a whisper I had to lean toward him to hear.
“Inkydot what?” And no answer
for a couple of steps, then he pulled
that other book half out of his hip pocket,
stuck it back. “Clemens.”
There were some things Inkydot
didn’t know either, even if he was old.

That’s how I knew about the book one day,
that it was about a kid named Tom,
who’d helped another…Inkydot.
His last name wasn’t Master, but he
was old enough to remember a man
who had that name to him, and the man
was not his father. Just old enough for that.
A man can be too old, I guess.

He wasn’t there much, weeks would go by
and you didn’t see him. Then weeks went by
and nobody saw him. They went to look,
and found him in the cabin. Buried him
beside it, free of being Inkydot at last.
Someone said they did that,
but I don’t know.  Too young to read
the paper, barely old enough to know him.
But a boy can be old enough, I guess.
© Copyright 2003 Ed Ratledge - All Rights Reserved
Sunshine
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1 posted 04-13-2003 10:07 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine


Martie
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2 posted 04-13-2003 10:34 AM       View Profile for Martie   Email Martie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Martie's Home Page   View IP for Martie

Ed, my friend...This is touching telling, from boy and man, both empathetic and thoughtful.  Lovely, lovely, lovely...and more!!!  
regards2you
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since 10-01-2002
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3 posted 04-13-2003 10:39 AM       View Profile for regards2you   Email regards2you   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for regards2you



Ed,

I am so glad you joined this group. Your knowledge and creativity make reading all you write a joy.

This is wonderful!

Hugs, Pat

..without surrender, be on good terms with all persons..
        "Desiderata"

Ratleader
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4 posted 04-13-2003 11:16 AM       View Profile for Ratleader   Email Ratleader   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ratleader's Home Page   View IP for Ratleader

Ah, but all I had to do was describe him.... He had to live the life of a boy born a slave, and named by people who cared so little about him that they would call him that....hurts to think of it.

....but I can't imagine how he knew the name Clemens, since Mark Twain didn't use it in his writing. That will be a mystery forever to me.

I dedicated Travel At Your Own Risk to him in the book...he lived in those woods.

~~(¸¸¸¸ºº>   ~~(¸¸¸¸ºº>  ~~(¸¸ ¸¸ºº>    ~~~(¸¸ER¸¸ºº>
______________Ratleader______________

Nan
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5 posted 04-13-2003 08:09 PM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

Picturing a lad out whitewashing a fence here... This is wonderful, Ed - I'm very pleased to meet your friend, Inkydot...
VAS
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since 11-16-2000
Posts 7440
Oregon


6 posted 04-14-2003 09:29 AM       View Profile for VAS   Email VAS   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for VAS

fascinating read, vivid images, loved the drymud hexagons, you have a flare for vivid detail and touching the heart of the reader in a powerful, though tender, way!

Whether on the shoal or on the shore,
I'll seek the lighthouse evermore.

Edder
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since 04-02-2003
Posts 676


7 posted 04-14-2003 11:11 AM       View Profile for Edder   Email Edder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Edder

brilliant! you've opened a portal in time with this. more please!
suthern
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on the threshold of a dream


8 posted 04-14-2003 12:00 PM       View Profile for suthern   Email suthern   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for suthern

You've painted such a vivid portrait... I kept picking out favorite parts... and then realized I love the whole incredible write so much that my favorite part is first word to last.

He may be free of Inkydot at last... but no one reading this could ever be... I know he'll haunt my heart.

Wonderful write is as woefully inadequate as it is totally accurate. *S*
passing shadows
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since 08-26-99
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displaced


9 posted 04-14-2003 12:37 PM       View Profile for passing shadows   Email passing shadows   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for passing shadows

you really took me there...great story here...
suthern
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on the threshold of a dream


10 posted 04-15-2003 03:20 PM       View Profile for suthern   Email suthern   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for suthern

Times are few when I truly envy a writing... since this is one of them, I'm sending it up for another round. *S*
Sunshine
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since 06-25-99
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Listening to every heart


11 posted 04-15-2003 05:10 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine


Yep...back again...
serenity blaze
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12 posted 04-15-2003 05:12 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Smiling atchya...

masterful storytelling!

I applaud.
Edder
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since 04-02-2003
Posts 676


13 posted 04-15-2003 11:12 PM       View Profile for Edder   Email Edder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Edder

i just had to come back and read one more time!
Martie
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14 posted 02-25-2006 11:32 AM       View Profile for Martie   Email Martie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Martie's Home Page   View IP for Martie

Just because I wanted to!!  
Marge Tindal
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15 posted 02-25-2006 03:13 PM       View Profile for Marge Tindal   Email Marge Tindal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marge Tindal's Home Page   View IP for Marge Tindal

MartieSis~
And am I ever glad you did !!!!

Ed~
This is just a wonderfully tender penning~
*Huglets*
~*Marge*~

~*The sound of a kiss is not as strong as that of a cannon, but it's echo endures much longer*~
Email -   noles1@totcon.com

wranx
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since 06-07-2002
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Moved from a shack to a barn


16 posted 02-25-2006 11:21 PM       View Profile for wranx   Email wranx   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for wranx

Well I'll be....
Thanks E.R
E.R.
suthern
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on the threshold of a dream


17 posted 02-28-2006 01:21 PM       View Profile for suthern   Email suthern   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for suthern

just an old man coming up the road,
steering for each blue isle of shade
beneath the big wide maple trees.

Just that... and yet... so much more. I'm glad I came back to let this touch my heart again...
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