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Updated: Feb 24

*photo by Troy Carr Lost in the woods,



Life fading,




Strange and,


But for fleeting glimpses,

of my trusty steed.

Am I really me?

Homeward bound,

Yet at home here too!

This poem is also featured on the Home Page of this website

Author’s Note:

I tweaked it a bit. And will put it in my “Book of Poems.” Read the poem slowly, pausing to listen. Don’t miss the subtle transition. It’s about adventure, about life, about the beauty of being one with nature, about exploring who we are, about solitude, about the journey, about death and life after death. The rider likely had an accident or perhaps a heart attack. Note the angle of the camera is from the rider’s perspective, suspended in fleeting transition. The bike, still there (waiting where he “left it” when it happened), the rider/writer, invisible now, writing (still a part of nature) from the grave? “Am I really (still) me,” the writer asks, transitioning thru that unknown moment of life to death? Puzzled, exasperatingly rubbing his/her hands over her/his face and hair, the rider, “glimpsing” back at the bike (representing life’s passion, life’s journey), thinks aloud, “It, it feels so different - dead but, but still alive?” Where is the rider? Where is home? Do life experiences, memories, exist beyond death? Of course. Does a bear scat in the woods? - Tom Tenbrunsel.

The poem was inspired by Troy Carr, a long time friend on the road and at home. The photo by Troy, on one of his many solo rides deep into the Michigan backwoods, called out for a poem. The angle was perfect for the fleeting spirit I wanted to capture. Troy is one of those inspiring persons who feeds my imagination. I acknowledged him in my book. Thanks.

“Poetry on My Mind,” p 51. If you haven’t got the book, you’re missing out. SHOP

ADDENDUM: Note from John Michael Flynn (Carl Sandburg Resident Writer 3/20/19 and Author of “ How the Quiet Breathes” and seven other books): Nicely done, Tom. Simple yet profound, much in the vein of many short poems from the Chinese masters such as Li Po. The poem is grounded, not sentimental or false at all, and feels lived. You really cannot ask much more of such a form, and from yourself. In many ways, these are the hardest poems to write. You cannot afford to add one adjective or phrase that doesn't fit the whole. I am reminded of the fine American poet, James Wright. His poem 'Autumn Begins In Martins Ferry, Ohio' is something of a classic in this genre. If you haven't read it, you should check it out. Wright, in general, was a master of the compressed poem, the power to be felt in fewer words rather than more of them. He, too, examined death many times over, and why not? This is what poets do. Another poet you may like, who just left us, is W.S. Merwin. Both of these men were fine poets. We can learn from their bodies of work. I encourage you to keep writing your poems, to keep developing your craft, your skill level with language, your use of metaphor. This will have a positive effect on your non-fiction. You will see your language better as you loosen up, so to speak, to write your prose. I shared your poem with some Turkish colleagues. They really liked it.

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Apr 03, 2021

John Flynn, author of “Off To The Next Wherever,” and “Something Grand,” is my mentor. He is an accomplished writer, teacher, father, friend. It was he in the Sandburg Library that spoke no truer words, “There is no such thing as writer’s block, Tom. Write! Write everyday.” And so I do. perhaps so should you.

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