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Innocence, Winter, Enough, Footsteps and Reflections on "The Late Great Planet Earth" by Howard Owen are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This is a song lyric. It's intended as a prelude for Turn Again.

I started out believing
hearts and minds could change
that Love and Peace would finally hold sway
but bullets kept on flying
the good ones kept on dying
and hatred nearly tore my heart away
I grieve for my youth
for my unvarnished truth
for clarity of innocence I pray
free of complications
simple explanations
childlike loving hearts again someday
ooh someday

Here's a sketch of the song.

My wife died on Christmas day in 1999. I wrote this the following February.

Obdurate as a diamond
Breast like a stone
Drunk with Spring
The sun will soften
My bitter breath

Matter. Sex, love, loneliness

When the winking night is nodding on the party that we started
in the belly of the bottom of the sacrificial cell.
When we feel ourselves go slipping out from under all the padding
in a dull diminuendo of a fleshly thudding bell.
How much is enough?
When sensation hosts a halo of a lover's aspiration,
where breath calls out the tenderness arising in your mind
When a dream awakens slowly from a reverie to knowing
that another's heart is carrying the message of the kind
How much is enough?
When the loneliness gets going with the silence overflowing
and fantasy fulfillment doesn't soothe your starving heart.
When the drinking isn't working and faith is far from feeling
and the knowledge of uniqueness is just tearing you apart.
How much is enough?
I'm still struggling with this, but it's getting a lot better.

footsteps in my bedroom, presence unseen
fear starts rising, what does it mean?
the end's been coming, it's here at last
fear of the future, ghost of the past
I've got a bit of healing to do
eyes off my toenails rising to you
give me the courage to stand up and live
show me I still have some loving to give
imagination running ahead
soon I'm dying, soon I'm dead
that sharp boomerang has cut me too deep
mind is racing, banishing sleep
to hold my heart open though I'm afraid
a work of faith and courage and grace
can't do it alone, I need you at last
my hands off the future, my eyes off the past
I wrote this after watching "The Late Great Planet Earth," Hal Lindsay's 1979 fantasy movie about the Christian apocalypse. For years I thought that authoritarian crap like this was aimed at me, personally. This was mostly an unconscious belief because a little reflection would have immediately shown how absurd the idea was. Nevertheless, I didn't like being told what to do. That comes out in this poem.

Reflections on "The Late Great Planet Earth"
After it was all over, and they were rolling up the sky in sections
and stowing it neatly in moving vans on a cosmic scale, I reflected
That it had all happened just the way the book had said it would
And I could see that soon, an army of clerks would come and collect us
and lead us off to little cubicles where we would see the whole tired thing replayed
For our edification.
And yes, that's a ten percent credit for your peace corps work
But it's pretty well wiped out by that time behind the barn
When you were twelve.
Then they'd figure the angles. The books would be balanced
And we'd all get thrown into a lake of fire
Or some such medieval horror.
And the pious few, 144,000, would stand around, self congratulatory
Waiting to board the celestial elevator
And maybe one of them would look, back at the bottomless pit, and say
"But what about them? They've got nothing to look forward to."
And he'd be wrestled to the ground, by the security squad archangels
In riot gear
Handcuffed and hustled down the back stairs.