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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

Always recur.

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.

Old clocks

And narrow lanes;

Stately rooms

And candelabras.

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 . . .

Knowing now

For perhaps the first time in your life

That there is nothing to fear.

You trusted in Mother’s Providence

And now

You trust in God’s.

Best part of the day it was—

The morning hymn.

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