A Violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics

A collection by Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall


A Rosary of Childhood Summers
“And summer’s lease hath all too short a date”
-Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

Between infancy and adolescence
Ten summers form a crown of memories
An Eden of bare feet and ice cream bars
That inform the dreams of our after-years

Each day is its own rosary of life
Those works and books and thoughts and ordinary chores
That with their attendant offerings and prayers
Give meaning to the mysteries of life

But we tell best those holy beads of youth
Whose innocent joys began our search for Truth


Getting the Cows Up for the Evening Milking

My brother and I, barefootin’ down the lane
With an apple each, and a stick the cows ignore
A hot dry evening; sure wish there was some rain
I bonked Ol’ Bessie with an apple core

And if Dad saw that I’d sure get a switchin’
He taught us to treat animals fair and right
The late-summer grass gets my legs to itchin’
The milking follows, well into the August night

I’d give up my adventures, the places I’ve been
If I could get the cows up once again


A Violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics

A day so hot that ordinary tasks
Exhaust the body and the soul; to grasp
The handle of a water tap wearies the mind
To grasp a simple thought eludes one’s will

The day is in violation of childhood summers
When little bare feet scampered across the grass
Those days have in adulthood have been stolen
The victims lie abandoned in the dust

Who will lay these charges, and against whom?
And in what court should this strange case be placed?


Undocumented Gardening

Last week I planted my autumn garden
No permits were required
This evening I dragged hoses in this drought
No reports were assigned

This morning I freshened the water for the bees
There was no sign-in sheet
And then I used a machine for cutting weeds
No evaluations

And then while resting in the leafy shade
I inventoried the grasses, blade by blade


April Is Not The Cruelest Month – July Is

Across the oily gravel the scrabbling of weary feet
As if life itself were burning in the heat


Summer on the Lake

Children slosh noisily about on a catamaran
While lovers in the shade sit with crosswords and drinks
Or barefoot stroll along the lakeside sand
Each wondering what the other thinks

Minnows hover in the amber shallows
Dragonflies search among bright waving flowers
Sheltered beneath wind-trembling Chinese tallows
Throughout the drowsy, dreamy summer hours

This is early July, soft winds in the dales –
Which means it’s time for back-to-school sales


Man vs. the Awful Majesty of the Hummingbird

In the sun-soured heat of dusk I stood
Harvesting a few midsummer sunflower seeds
Tough prairie stock that the First Nations knew
A little sack of them to share with others

Under the half-moon a god appeared
A green-necked hummingbird of august mien
A tiny little god, but a god indeed
For it judged me a trespasser, and glared at me

And I withdrew respectfully

I wished I had a picture of the moment
But the moment was, and the moment is

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