© 2016 Steve King
All rights reserved
We walked an autumn much in ease,
beneath the careless beeches, kicked their
discard fruits along the narrow hillside path,
and followed ‘til the lake rose up to meet us
through the trees.
And our silence pleased us so.
We passed the ancient fieldstone gate,
imagining some world that once had been;
all shadow and the hiss of falling leaves,
old lilac boughs in twilight nodding slow.
Caring little then for other things—
enough to feel the sunset at our backs,
to circle ‘round along a vanished path,
and brush our hands by happy circumstance.
No, nothing left to wonder of,
a surety to spare;
and we’d return by starlight if we could.
You laughed aloud when,
in a moment that remains
all out of sense and time,
you described the fallen orchard grove
embracing its old earth.
I said you’d writ a poem there.
You fled the instant,
said you needed song instead;
but clamorous spirits gathered to the air,
intoning in another sort,
and only cold winds moved to answer you.
We hurried, but the shades
of every autumn caught us up.
We held ourselves within a shield of vines,
listening for winds to end
as well I knew each moment must.
I strained for every incomplete echo,
the thread of any harmony at all,
a chorus to the gabble of disjoining thoughts
in search of quieter comfort.
I knew that shadows never could complete,
nor ever would the riddling wind,
become that song for you.
I shivered only when I saw your eyes,
still blue in fallen moonlight,
and white as a new snow,
as distant from all wanting
as yesterday’s desire.
You told me any pathway back would do.
Were I to hold a moment long in mind
it would be something like an autumn walk,
the sunlight and the shadow all as one.
Before a thousand sunrises
had shaken us from dreams.
Before the cast of season’s end
could color all we’d seen.
Before the dark ecliptic track
had run to course
and left our days undone.
A new poem for the Poetry Pantry