An ESME Poetry Showcase Award submission
Nostalgia (For Joanie D’arcy)
Crimson and yellow blur
Against October blue.
Burning leaves and fireplaces
Leaving spirits swirling,
Like incense in the
Tiny old chapel,
Streaming past henna leaves
Stuck to your mother’s windshield
As she drives you to school
On Michaelmas morning.
Sharp fall air
That burns your lungs
And amber afternoons
With daylight fading quickly
After summers chasing butterflies
Through barmy, hilly meadows.
Your garden friendships with
Ghosts of pets
On slate stone walks.
Footsteps that pass you by
Underneath your bedroom door
When you lie awake.
Whispers on the stairs,
Outdoor breezes in the window stars,
Your brown little teakwood desk.
The morning showing gray with dust
On its surfaces.
Sometimes you don’t want to remember,
But these same sounds and images
The narrow corridors.
Shoes outside doors.
Coats hung on hallstand pegs.
The lavatory with the taupe broken window pane
And flaky yellow paint.
Rosemary’s having a bath.
A radio on in the room you pass
(Leonard Bernstein? . . . Glenn Gould?)
Striking single notes and
Listening to their long decay.
As you play the baby grand Steinway
You often swing your torso
In a counterclockwise motion.
Waltzes lit from downstairs parlors.
Music from the gramophone in the hall.
Your Rosemary’s on the terrace playing bridge.
These are the first late-August signs
Of early autumn,
A softness in the fading colors.
A house that was warm and dim,
Spacious and grim.
And narrow lanes;
You’ll know much more about yourself once you’ve had a sleep,
More than you could possibly imagine (or even dream)
There is silence in the room again
Your soft, windy lovemakings by the seaside.
Your morning swims in the seaspray breeze.
You sit smiling by the old summer house,
Still beautiful, on the front porch steps,
Holding a child in your lap.
That lonely, bittersweet murmur on a Sunday afternoon,
Special and only for you.
Solitude is what you now know
And do not fear,
Like petals fallen
From a vase of roses,
Like seasons changed.
You read this with me in mind
Thinking of all the smiles you gave
And tears (of joy) you cried . . .
For perhaps the first time in your life
That there is nothing to fear.
You trusted in Mother’s Providence
You trust in God’s.
Best part of the day it was—
The morning hymn.