POEMS ON HOLDING BACK
I STILL HAVE TIME)
1. The Pasture
Olden days as a pasture---an expanse
of growth and green alive to laughter
and song---that’s where I am going.
Where windswept bramble rustles
with grass, you will find me there.
I can’t be rushed to skip off beyond.
I have time to paint a collage of
I have known in the deep mosaic
of a past now graffitied on these
Isn’t this why we hoard our memories?
We carry them like playing marbles
in pockets over our hearts, an easy
when the game is called, a quick toss
into holes dug on dirt we crawl on
the kids we were, rolling them to
Olden days are there to sieve through
to find markers along obscured paths
once brightly lit now lost or
3. Will Keep in my Knapsack
A smile after a first kiss would help
remember there are caresses there
as indelible, as urgent, as when first
given or surrendered by the one lover
whose courage saw me through times
when absconding was an easy way out.
A rollicking hug from the boisterous
son, a lonely issue, my only boy,
a hesitant embrace for my dying father
who whispered from his rocking chair
my schoolboy snivelling was poor form,
he needed a man’s goodbye. Goodbye.
awake again: I do not want to go.
litter of olden days strewn like dry
leaves along my walk home holds me
5. Show me the Way to Go Home
What is it about gloom and an overcast sky
that calls back from buried remembrances
shadows of a discarded past folded like linen
tacked neatly into closets, camphorated, and
forgotten in dark attics until the next funeral?
Small consolation that these leaves transform
into a bravura of rainbow colours before fall
claims them from their trembling branches.
Blown off with the winds to places unknown,
would anyone recall how they sheltered birds,
worms, held nests in the fork of twigs, even
wayward kites? A fanfare of cricket songs,
however cacophonic, forms part of a memory
when even the bark of a whimpering mongrel
or the monotone of a midnight owl remind
us of walks in the dark trying to get home on a
drunken tune whistled and yelled to the moon:
“I got a little drink, it went to my head. Show
me the way to go home!” I did not get there.
I won’t go yet, I still have time. Time is still.
Revised, July 21, 2014, Mississauga