atever Happens poetry by Doug Stanfield at

Saying Goodbye

Part XII

Whatever Happens

written by: Doug Stanfield (Hemmingplay)



We always
knew how it would end.
But it has been one hell of a trip.
Whatever happens, it has been that.

We’ve traveled ten thousand
highways, arguing about the directions,
for nearly 50 years.
And mostly finding our way.
But also getting lost.
Remember that little diner
in Wyoming where all the
locals came for breakfast,
dusty pickups nosed into
the curb outside?
(I had steak and eggs.)
The place we camped
just outside of town
in a little stand of cottonwoods?

We’ve shared twenty thousand dawns and dusks,
long nights of fevers
and pain and loneliness;
the sounds of surf and
the howl of blizzard winds,
The brilliant deep snows in June
high in the Cascades,
the cobalt and green depths of
mountain lakes
6,000 feet above the distant sea.
We’ve stood on the sandy shores
of several oceans, countless lakes,
a Gulf, and rivers, never
quite realizing how much
water meant to us.
We always returned to the water.
And again, now,
with salty tears reminding us
of our origins,
we return to water.

You know the usual clichés
‘Whatever happens, happens.’
‘It is what it is.’
‘Life sucks and then you die.’
‘No one gets out of this life alive.’
And the all-purpose:
“You never know.”

You’re the one
challenged now.
But it could have been me.
It’s not fair.
(As if fairness were possible.)

There were always
the promises to keep…
For better or worse.
For richer or poorer.
In sickness…
Whatever happens, we always knew
how this story would end.
Just not when.

But everything ends.
All is temporary.
We clutch our illusions
But it makes no difference.
I’m just not ready.
I never will be ready.
That could be my life’s motto.

Whatever happens, my love,
there mustn’t be regrets.
Such a waste of precious time, now.
We have walked a long path together.

We have a few more steps to go.
Hold my hand.
Let’s see what’s around the corner,
One more time.


Re-publication as part of the series (originally published 3/12/18)
Doug Stanfield (Hemmingplay)

Doug Stanfield (Hemmingplay)

“Hemmingplay,” is the pen name of Doug Stanfield, who grew up on a family farm in western Ohio, went with his parents for two years in Karachi, Pakistan, in high school and had lived, until recently, in Bellefonte, PA with his late wife, Wilda and their two sons, Ben and John. Doug was a writer, editor and director of internet communications at Penn State for 26 years. He has had a few disreputable occupations, including newspaper reporter and editor, and public relations flak, but is trying to make amends for his sins by writing poetry and fiction.
When his sons were safely off making their own mistakes, he turned on the computer one day, stared at the screen for what seemed a long time, and began to learn the craft anew at age 67.
Doug has published three books so far: "Mermaid Sisters: First Dive", a children's book on iTunes/iBook; "I Came From A Place of Fireflies" published as a paperback and Kindle on Amazon, and a new book of poetry, "Snowflakes & Ashes: Meditations on the Temporary”, available as both an ebook and as a paperback. (Gatekeeper Press) on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Ingram and Baker & Taylor, and a few others.)
Doug Stanfield (Hemmingplay)

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This publication is part 12 of 20 in the series Saying Goodbye