Poems – Bill Russell

The Old Man

The old man sits in a booth by day
drinking his whiskey dry

He waits for another chance to say
give me my peace before I die

A face weathered by days spent alone
nights spent waiting by the phone

and all that has happened
and all that has passed

the old man waits
and the old man is gone.


I don’t know

I don’t know if it’s sunny or blue
I don’t know if I’m starting or through
All I know is nothing is true.


Left Alone

Silence creeps like a thief in the night
chasing the darkness from the light
shadows on the arms which held you tight
left untouched

Pictures of people I no longer know
captured moments from a long time ago
frozen memories I dare not show
left forgotten

Tears still stain the sheets on our bed
Old tattered letters I’ve often read
Items in a box from the day we wed
left behind

Now  I sit here out of sight
secluded in the shadows of the night
scotch colored memories dim the light
left alone


Selected Poems 2009

Wonderful Weekends


The weekends seem so long ago

Early morning sun peaked into the Sunday Sky

Cold milk dancing on fresh corn flakes

Cool winds whispering to tall green pines

Telling silent secrets no one could hear

The tiny dog huddled in the corner

dreaming little puppy dog dreams

Fresh cornbread sifted through the air

The red birds gliding effortlessly from tree to tree

Sounds of cars rush down the lost highway

disappearing into a dark country night

Moments watching the needle

Gliding through the fabric of my youth

Stitching moments together

A soft satin quilt of patches in time

Keeps me safe and warms my soul

Selected Poems


I said I would love you till I die,

Right before you said goodbye.

Now I lay here all alone

in our house I can’t call home.


Moments ticking on the clock

Can’t get over all the shock

My hands are trembling, my eyes are red

Sleeping single in our double bed.

You said goodbye and shut the door

like so many times before

But this time I’m afraid you’ve gone away

Leaving me here to hope and pray.


I said I would love you till I die,

Right before you said goodbye.

Now I lay here all alone

in our house I can’t call home.


Our friends all said we’d never work

Then it went so damn bezerk.

I call your name but you’re not there

Your pictures gone, our closets bare.

I keep my love for you each day

For every moment while you’re away

And wait the moment I can say

I’m glad you’re home, I hope you stay.



Selected Poetry – 1984

These poems were written circa 1984.

The Old Woman

The old woman walks the road by day,

picking up cans to earn her pay.

She sits on the porch and watches the cars,

waiting till night to wish by the stars.

She waits while the seconds tick off the clock,

just some touched dame at the end of the block.


The Eyes of the Sparrow

Sitting erect on his wooden perch

wind blowing the tattered torn feathers,

The gaze which pierces your soul

crying out from forgotten yesterdays

his call like the laughter of an old man.


The Button

A marron button

on a jacket no one wears

archaic token.


Aunt Agnes

I remember a summer in my youth,

when my aging aunt came to stay.

Her shining hair pulled tightly in a bun,

a pink flannel robe with butterflies on the pockets.

Aunt Agness would sit on the porch and read her favorite letters

sharing stories from long, long ago.

One night we were alone,

She pulled me closely to her chest

calling me by a name I did not know.

Her hands were soft and smelled of fresh flowers.

She squeezed my small hand in hers

as she pretended I was someone else.

Later from my bedroom window

I watched my dad drive her away.

Mom said she was taking a trip

But deep down I knew

They just didn’t understand.


The Mirror

Grandaddy showed me a house one day

it had been his childhood home

Stiil and vacant

A broken piece of mirror lay on the floor

I picked it up and held the discarded relic

Paint flakes peeling from its ancient frame

The glass tinted from time

Cracks spread like cobwebs

As I stared into the silent glass

I saw a faint image of another time

A little boy looking much like me

Tying for the first time a brand new yellow tie

Captured in this mirror

held tightly in my hands.


The Soldier


Little Willy is a soldier by day

Watching secretly through the curtain

As grandmother sits at her rickety machine.

Tapping messages of enemy formations,

Her soft gaze to the window,

Swiftly moving out of sightgi-joe.

Charging the pasture, he scatters the cows

Grazing in knee high weeds.

Camouflaged behind the shrubs

He stays hidden from a patrol pulling in the drive

Taking notes of the officer as he steps from a car.

He surveys the room spotting the newspaper

Notes written by hand, troop formations no doubt

He swiftly stows them in his pack,

Moving unnoticed through the room

Once again, a hero to his men.

Little Willy who has been wounded so many times

Fights on …

Lieutenant Willy, the bravest man in the regiment

Possibly, the world.