board up the rooms and lock the doors

Autumn sky

Those rooms were never mine,
built especially for her,
they are now larger
and more empty
with her absence filling the space.

I understand the impulse
that would cause someone to board up rooms,
lock doors,
leaving whatever ghosts living there
to rest in peace
with dust and memories.

I can no longer stay in her rooms,
the memories are too thick
and they leave no space
to breathe.

Cotton Field

Feb morning sky
Cotton Field

I walk the gravel path
Along the field ready for harvest
The morning breeze
Catches the flags
In a steady percussion
I hear the pipes
As the tall black percheron horse
Comes into view
Pulling its flag draped wagon.

I think of the old king
On his funeral bier
A country man, a veteran of foreign wars
Whose long reign
Kept the warring factions in an uneasy peace
Knowing that at his death
His kingdom would soon divide itself
Into civil and uncivil war.

I watch as the princes of your house
Bring you to your final resting place
And I know
That for the rest of my life
I will never see a field
In full and glorious cotton
And not think of you.

**** In memory of my dear father in law, William J. Sawrey Sr. We love and miss you.

well and rightly

Oct afternoon 8

Loss becomes more common
place next to years lived,
well and rightly,
left to grass covered hillocks
and gravestones.

I know now that kith and kin
includes the land as well as the relations
that one inherits in blood
and bone and breath
and love

and life,
the last time I thought about it,
includes losing those
both kith and kin
and I will end
with a small hillock of my own
of green grass and
the breath of wind,
well and rightly.

postage paid

Cedar Wax Wing

I am writing to you
from this side of life,
though I know your answer will only be
in birdsong
or the autumn breeze
in the cedar boughs.

Longing for word
in faded ink,
written in your strong hand
or a picture postcard
from the other side-
‘Wish you were here.’

I await your reply

Going thru your desk, I find
the note you wrote
on the day I was born
and I know the longed for missive
has arrived.

postage paid

Autumn Song

Nov Fog

Pale and threaded,
the needles nest in rough patches
releasing the scent, resinous
of pine forests
and her true home.

Tall trees stand
in her dreams, waking
and sleeping. I brush
the leaves from her hair.

Gathering fog,
I nest my heart in clouds,
its hollow sound echoing
with the song of autumn
and loss.

(This is a repost of a poem written last fall)

Storing up the Scents

ozarks-at-their-best.jpg

Wresting the darkness from my thoughts,
I release it to the morning shadows
under the fragrant cedar boughs,
dripping with rain and cloud.

Storing up these scents
of honeysuckle and sweet grass,
that fishy watery smell
when the wind is off the cove,
the resinous incense of cedar-

I catalogue them in my book of memory,
tacked down neatly
with those tiny black triangles
that cascade
from the pages of old photo albums.

So when I grow restless with the sea breeze-
its salted scent of sun on my skin-
I will open my book
and release my memories
of hill and hollow.