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Remembrance of Things Past To Come

 

I saw a photo of autumn today

Loose leaves fallen to ground

And given up. No longer connected

But still filled with fire.

Like the colours of receding embers

Still throbbing with the red, orange and carbonic black

Flicker of the fierce will to live.

On this sunned day of early Spring

My blooming heart sank

and my breath went to shallow for a second –

Memories I hadn’t even had yet

Deflated and the long stare

Of death and decay risked invasion.

I was glad for the momentary calls

Of passing migratory birds

Come back to birth,

Glad for the wafting breeze

That conditions the air for the young,

Glad for the arching sun

In plain ascent that at this point

Is so radiant

That the threat of its setting

Is improbable, unreasonable

Impossible.

But I will never un-see that photo:

Cautionary and beautiful

Seeping with memories

Of summer vacations chased out,

The summer love

Meant only for that time

And never more,

The deep exhale

And aching limbs strained from swim

The toughened soles

Of barefoot hikers

Feet grated in risible chases

Over pebbles, stones, sea-smoothed rocks

And sand too soon for glass

In the curves of secret coves.

Exhaustion setting in

The falling back to lay down

On a bed of beach

Together with table wine

In plastic cups, crusts of bread

And the mirroring brine

Of tart green olives

Unpitied in mid-chew and seeds spat

On the crests of waves.

And as night falls

And the wind dies down

The bonfire’s fire is extinguished,

The embers spread and separated

To greet a rising tide

That slipped our mind

And the flaps of the small shack

Boarded up and sealed,

The car loaded up

And the long drive back into traffic

Filled with silences

And a strange guilt without cause

Past trees with turning leaves

Stems bulging to breaking point with breaths

Held too long and who can’t take it

Anymore.

And how could you know

That those thrills of life

And its residual heat

Of fun just passed

Is what singes the leaves

And scorches in sympathy.

For being of this world

We are known by this world:

When it breathes

So we breathe

And when it sleeps

So we shall sleep.

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