Sunday, September 18, 2016

Autumn Reflections

Long hot days of summer bleed
into the overcast, breezy Autumn
and a little bit of my heart breaks
as if the world is dying.

At first there is a bold show
golden leaves triumphant everywhere
mixed with the green of their sisters and brothers
quiet hints of what lies ahead.

The breathtaking array
of fuchsia, orange, and red
makes me want to pull over and stare,
heart full of longing for something,
tight in my chest.

With each falling leaf
a landscape emerges
dark, tangles vines
and gnarled branches ahead.

I remember those moments,
now distant memories,
with Papa,
and its breathtaking that you could loose someone
who belonged so much to you,
even if you didn't know it at the time.

Legs propped on the recliner,
arms crossed on your chest.
tooth-less gums, set grim,
hair combed straight
the kahki shirts and white undershirt
The 30 bibles on your bookshelf,
making biscuits in your tiny, clean kitchen
the quiet confidence of man, standing where he was planted.

What I will never forget
"watch out for credit card companies"
dressing up as Dolly Parton when I was ten, stuffing all socks I owned
into a DD bra, to make you laugh
wanting to please you
not feeling like I belonged to your world

Why must the leaves turn?
Why must they fall?
Why must we loose the seranade of crickets,
the mad orchestra of cicadas,
to the silence of November?

And it feels so lonely
to know that all the beauty is slowly dying out.

just as surely as the oaks stand firm
and wait for the first warm hints of spring
to send out the fresh green leaves
I know that there is really no death, no end

And just as surely
as the cicadas dig themselves
out of the dark, winter beds
to sing again in spring

I know that the leaves will reflect
the intense, graceful design of Allah
turning from bud to leaf to blaze to dust...
to feed the tree to send forth once more
for the billionth time
for the billion and one time
until the Divine Hand gives a signal...

That we will meet again.


At Granny's

When Papa lived
love set a peppy beat
and though no one wore fancy clothes
everyone seemed to be dancing

And everything smelled better
The smell of mayo in a sandwich
I could smell from across the room
as someone enjoyed an afternoon snack

And the air was right, not too cold
and the sheets sang out their fragrance
of someone who was happy to be living
and making home
under this tiny, neat roof

And history was alive
and all gave their ear
whether it was grace being said, or a history lesson
at that small, round rickety table

there was reverence
and quiet, teasing adoration
for this
once-upon-a-time wise-ass kid
always a true gentleman,
always a true family man
always a man of God

and the markers and papers
to draw a little picture
and the milk with the chocolate syrup
in a clean, plastic cup from 1975

long drives out into the country
on old cadillacs
the relatives living on farms
in hidden hills

there was a soft veil over it all
a mysterious world
and i glided through it without much worry
knowing that Papa and Granny were the center
of this universe
and their children, my mom and uncle and aunt, the planets in orbit


Now the sheets smell like old, unwashed memories
and the air is too cold
and the mayo is made from hydrogenated soy bean oil
the chocolate syrup is long gone
there is no more baking.

I see time
slowly erasing
the ground beneath me
like a wave washing away the beach

Bit by bit
my reality is reshuffled
so that I can taste all flavors of life
comfort and protection
a numbing loss, a deep heartache
only to rediscover
the joy of life! the joy of the moment! the gift of all that is.

I cherish the old.
I welcome the new.
Sing to me of what has passed
So that I know what to treasure,
a measure of tremendous blessings
I just now learned to count.