R. Harlan Smith

Once upon the good old days on Miller Beach

When school was out with nothing more to learn or teach,

You played along the shore with all your pretty friends

Regardless of a world where space and time descends.

Such seasons fade as night persists to day, although

I still recall your small transistor radio.


Abandoned to the joys sweet summer’s green age brings,

You tanned and talked of boys and other teenage things,

Then blending noisy Rock and Roll commotions

With glistening skin and fragrant tanning lotions,

You freed them to the breeze across the sunny sand

To me, your small transistor radio in your hand.


We lived in worlds of yours and mine too far apart.

At best, you stayed a secret of my dreaming heart,

But as the world of time and space went passing by,

We lived our lives to complicate or simplify.

A million miles from here, a million years ago,

Yet still I hear your faint transistor radio.


I sailed away toward the Mediterranean seas

Where rows of olives grow to scent the morning breeze,

And there a vast and placid azure mirror lies

In calming smooth repose, between Athenian skies,

Afar from frigid Indiana sand and snow,

Away from you and your transistor radio.


Along some cold and jagged weather ragged reach

Of stormy Winslow Homer watercolor beach

The gale blew windward strong to meet my bow with rain,

I beg don’t get me wrong I’m not one to complain,

I wept. Don’t ask me why, it was so long ago,

The memory of you and your transistor radio.


Now, here upon this dry and ancient desert plain

I rock and think of you and watch the monsoon rain.

No way to navigate this old Sonoran sea,

No Miller Beach, no sweetly scented melody,

I have my little cat, my pipe, and coffee near,

Transistor music ever gently haunts my ear.

And even though my table waits with cups for two,

There is no you, my love. Oh, God, there is no you.


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