Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I've become the old guy

the present of both past and future

while I wasn’t quite noticing,
I have endured, at least for now,
and I’ve become the old guy,
the one with all the stories
no one much wants to hear,
almost as if it’ll take my death
to make an absence
so that belatedly they’ll want my presence,
that’s how it’s happened for me with older relatives,
by the time I want to learn from them
they aren’t there to teach me,

when you endure
there are a lot of goodbyes to also endure,

I love to remember,
to hear the history that the present remembers
if we but look with the right eye,
listen with the right ear,
I am drawn to the lines of rock walls
where need and art wrote in stone,

to streams whose light chuckle
calls up the sculptor’s deep-throated laugh
at the heart of falling water,

I am drawn to great trees
whose roots and trunk remember much:

a pine tree pioneers upon the land
and follows broom sedge and blackberry
when cornfields are left to fallow,
deciduous trees come next
as oak and maple and poplar crowd out most of the pine,
along the creek this pine endures with buckeye and a beech,
the wind of a winter storm breaks it down,
and its fall forces other trees and us to notice,

pine cones crowd its upper branches
as one last gift to the future,

as winter lurches slowly to spring
flowers will almost leap from the ground,
and in their evanescent freshness thrill whoever finds them,

for me, I cannot understand how one cannot be drawn
to both the past that stretches before us
and to the future that will stretch into the indefinite after us,
and, for me, I will marvel at every flower I find
and at every young person with whom I have the honor to work.

by Henry Walker
February 28, ’13

1 comment:

JoEllen said...

I love hearing your stories! :-)