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Gus Barrett


Parksville, BC, CA

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The end of innocence


Gus Barrett

We watched in stunned silence,
On that morning in September.
A day of such destruction,
That the world will long remember.
We saw the vivid pictures,
And we heard the panicked screams,
As that thunderous explosion
Marked the end of many dreams.

We watched the wild inferno,
As the bricks and rubble fell,
And prayed as rescue workers
Walked into that flaming hell.
Then the final tragic moment
A world of smoke and sound.
When those two gigantic towers
Came cascading to the ground.

We watched as smoke and ashes
Formed into an inky shroud,
And we saw the fear and horror
On the faces in the crowd.
Then as we watched policemen strive
To reestablish order.
Our thoughts were with our many friends
Who live across the border.

We’ve always felt apart from strife,
Protected and secure,
But that feeling of security
Is dashed forever more.
The age of peace and innocence,
That marked this land of ours,
Was ended in that moment
When the airplanes hit the towers.

The Old Man at the Beach He sat on a bench with his bag of bread,


Gus Barrett

He sat on a bench with his bag of bread,
Feeding the ravenous gulls and crows.
Sun beating down on his snow-white head,
Enjoying each moment, before he goes.
Youthful joggers pass back and forth,
They bask in the sunshine gratefully.
He smiles to himself at a secret thought,
Then waves and turns back t’wards the sea.

What does he see as he sits and stares,
I search, but nothing appears to me.
Is it a ship, for which he cares,
Or maybe just something that used to be.
I walk on by, but I turn and peek,
There’s something about him that draws me back,
A tear rolls down his wrinkled cheek,
And he brushes it off with his paper sack.

Is he a vet who survived the war,
Recalling the days of his distant youth?
Thinking of friends, who have gone before,
Dying for what they believed was truth.
Or is it a loved one that he sees,
Someone who left him and went ahead?
He savors the smell of the flowers and trees,
Then, just for a moment he bows his head.

The sack is empty; the birds have flown,
There’s just he and I and the empty sea.
The joggers along the walk have gone.
He smiles again and he nods to me.
Then he turns away with his empty sack,
Going back to his home, I know not where.
Shuffling footsteps carry him back.
Will he be alone, or does someone care?



Gus Barrett

Iwalk alone in the beauty
Of the early morning sunlight
But I do not see,
Because of the darkness within me.
Suddenly I hear a footstep and
You are walking beside me again,
My step quickens
And everything is beautiful.