Our reliable mantel clock
ticks away through the early morning hours,
reminding me I am alone.
A week ago, the village priest, in solemn
tones, presided over your
last rites as we said our final goodbyes.
The womenfolk of the
village have come and gone with carefully
chosen words, cakes, and
casseroles. All is still except for Sam,
his tail in motion as I
scratch his floppy ears.
In a pensive moment, I
resolve to take a walk in the early autumn air,
my red checkered shirt
and my deerstalker protecting me from the
morning chill. Sam
bounces out the door toward a cerulean sky that
oversees what appears to
be a bountiful harvest. The landscape,
touched by natures
brush, is painted in pale hues.
For some reason, a tide
of foibles I foisted on you rushes into my mind.
For a moment my eyesight
is impaired. Yet, I also recall a wrinkled
nose, a dimpled grin, and
how carefully you protected
relationship by forgiving missteps I so often made.
My pace hastens. Along
the way a jaunty hare leaps across
our path and startles me.
I pause to wonder about the nature of his hurry,
but Sam does not hesitate
and abandons me for a merry chase. No matter.
Im confident no
harm will come to this wily little creature. Without
my knowledge, a host of
beggars lice have quietly kissed my trousers
and climbed aboard for a
In silence, my memories
conjure up your soft voice and I
pause to gaze around
though I know you cannot be there.
Ahead, across the
savannah, I spot fingers of morning mist lacing
through blushing maples
and caressing meadow sage before dis-
appearing before my eyes
as if this brief performance was long ago
fated to be.
Along the bank of a
stream that crosses our farm, I recall lush days
when the three of us
lingered to watch tadpoles in playful chase,
and butterflies that
filled our eyes with wonder before racing into
I remember now that the
widow Brown has issued a dinner invitation
for this evening.
Id prefer no company now other than Sam, yet
Im wondering how to
decline her offer without offending her. So
many memories return,
times when your steadfast love encircled
me like a warm quilt. And
nuances of our moments together you so
carefully crafted into
Across the horizon, a
collective kaleidoscope of beauty looms: tapestries
of russets and ambers,
burnt sienna, and broomstick hues that overshadow
tiny spires of chimney
smoke rising from the village, reminders of cozy fires
where folks will soon
gather for morning exchanges before the days work begins.
A deep earthy smell fills
my lungs as I make my way toward parched fields
sunflowers weep before an unknown god, one whom they
must believe robbed them
of vitality and luster. Above, I hear feisty squirrels
chirp and tussle for
possession of acorns, the last of the season no doubt. I
muse over whether they
will store them for the coming winter or consume
Taking a breath, I linger
here and marvel over the scene surrounding me.
And I recall how your
poetry captured what I could never put into words.
And how you played with
my affections with wry couplets you penned in
Below I follow a path of
a delicate insect on wing spiraling down, no doubt
in the throes of its
final flight before succumbing to eternal rest. Surely this
creature knows its
hallowed mission has been fulfilled and somewhere nearby
its prodigy lies snug in
a nook awaiting the warmth and renewal of spring.
The screech of a hawk
causes me to pause as my eyes follow its
path, no doubt mourning
the passing of summers rich store of
plenty as his eyes focus
on any movement below. I wonder if he is aware
of what seasonal changes
can do to a soul. Perhaps. Like him, I decide to
accept each day as it
comes and to follow simple routines I can recall.
Sam, none the worse from
his fruitless journey, returns to my side, his coat full
of thistle and
straw. Ahead I see steam rising behind a tractor from fresh cut
hay and I instinctively
want to sneeze.
Across the meadow, a
procession of bawling cows is making its way to a
barn and needed
relief. And in the distance, I can hear the smithys
pounding on an anvil in
perfect rhythms that speak to me in singular ways.
Somewhere near his shop,
there is a mule making circles around a
cane. The liquid trickles down into a pan over a
fire nearby where hot
bubbling molasses is being made, its sweet aroma
easing down the lanes of
Yet little I hear or see
can take my minds eye from your image, your smile,
or your voice, now
absent, but reminders that echo the emptiness of winters
face that is soon to
appear and offer no reassurance of the renewal we so
faithfully treasure. My
head fills with images of meadowlarks and their
cheerful song and
crickets, new to the world, providing evening vespers for
all of nature to behold
and offering a solemn promise of new life to come.
I gaze at plump gourds
and pumpkins askew in rows and smile knowing that
jack-o-lanterns will soon
stir antsy kids in costume to race about in hasty pursuit
of tasty treats. And I
suspect, with a harvest moon to provide a soft luster over the
At the door, I find a pie
on the threshold, Sams nose and tail on high alert.
And a note from the widow
Brown allowing me a bye if I wish to decline
her kind invitation for
Before a crackling fire,
I sit in my rocker keeping time with the clock on the
mantel and my hand on
Sams soft head. I smile as I realize changes Ive
seen are a reminder of
steadfast and expected turns in life and that soon my
heart will be filled with
grand dreams of our times together and the goodness
you so skillfully
sketched with joy across my heart.