Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Wooden Cross--By James Rasmusson--United States

A Wooden Cross

South of Lafayette on interstate 65
I saw a wooden cross.

The roadside monument,
weathered and grey,
was a tribute to a loved one
who lost his life in a car crash.

At 70 mph I only saw it for an instant,
yet it was time enough to see
the cowboy hat that proudly perched
on the weathered wooden cross.

I didn’t know the cowboy nor his wife.
I didn’t attend the funeral.
But for just an instant I felt
both the sorrow and the love that poured

from the weathered wooden cross
with cowboy hat on interstate 65.

James began writing in the 1960’s and immediately showed a love for seasonal, humorous, and philosophical poetry. In the late 70’s, he became an ardent photographer and soon found that the two artistic mediums cross pollinated each other. West Michigan is an art Mecca with over 100 galleries and art camps with Jim residing in the lovely coastal town of Holland, Michigan. A practitioner of Surat Shabd Yoga since 1972, his art is an expression of his lifetime love affair with nature and his quest for truth. James is the winner of many awards in both photography and poetry including the 2005 Shadow Poetry 5th biannual chapbook competition. The artist says he likes to underscore the abstract and tease the mind and be ever alert for juxtapositions that express irony, absurdity, and poignancy, desiring for people to feel both tension and resolution in his compositions.


  1. James, thank you for sharing your well expressed feelings, I too have had when I have seen a cross on the side of the road and for a fleeting moment my heart felt sadness for and understanding of those who were left behind. Your poem was poignant and I appreciate your words and talent. It brought me in touch with myself and reminds me that instead of becoming an emotional zombie and not caring, at the very least I can pray for the loved ones of the person lost to them in a tragic accident.
    Love, Charlene

  2. When I see a cross or flowers at an intersection or somewhere on the road, it saddens me as I know somebody has lost someone. Beautiful thoughts with your poetry - the cowboy hat brings such a personal touch to your words. My own Father was a cowboy in CA and NV. Your words brings back my own memories of that time period in my life when I was a 'Cowboys Daughter'...

    Rhoda Galgiani

  3. Dear Jim -

    Chills. I guess the cowboy hat sent me over the edge. I have those same feelings passing the highway crosses or crossing bridges dedicated to such misfortunes. But for the grace of God go me.


  4. Nice one, James. Very well written and descriptive. I too feel a jolt of sadness when I see these types of road memorials. Sad truth highlighted in a wonderful poem. Thanks for sharing. Continued blessings!

    -Maurice J. Reynolds, Owner / Editor
    TGBTG! Publications / Creative Inspirations

  5. Hello James,
    I too am saddened when I see a road side monument. Especially a wooden cross.
    It just states that life is short and we need to make each day count.
    Beautiful poem, and well written.

    Shirley Smothers

  6. Thank you, Connie Marcum Wong, for the following comment--

    James, Funny how just a glimpse of something or someone will be captured in memory for all time. You honored that glimpse brilliantly in this lovely poem!

    Blessings, Connie