A Ninety-First Fall
In the dreamery of hills
the autumn best returns
from summers’ greens
the readied maple ripe
amongst the citrus hues
soft in the morning mist
as though behind
a breath on glass
that warming sun
by afternoon transforms
as though a sunset settles
on the woods
filling the eye with
©SJW. 10 October 2020. 9:34 a.m.
I cherish skies, the creativity of clouds,
prize the wilderness its emptiness
and bow to noons and afternoons, I
court the night and muse the mysteries
of its moons, praising the slight of
amber on fall leaves and all that glows,
in awe of hanging icicles from eaves, to
the emerging corn in rows that conjure
field’s burnt umber’s turn to ochre
until the summer yields to winter’s
broker and its diamond snows
delighting in a world of silent quiet
that sets a snowfield’s tranquil glaze
antipodal of a summer’s riot as is
September’s evening breeze. I treasure
dawns, the twittering of birds lauding the
remnants of the night, and in the silence
left by words, murmured in a candle’s light,
I crave the ever-coming of the days
tomorrow’s unexpected rain’s surprise
and all the weather’s ways that bring
the winter’s spring again, the fall’s return,
and summers, some as if they were forever
as if the Earth were turning just for me,
as though it shall be over…never
©SJW. 17 August 2008. 11:00 a.m.
Spring Cleaning the Old Manse
Memories are common as cobwebs.
In the corners of the entrance hall
we find residues of well-wishes
left perhaps by guests before leaving.
In the dining room,
festooned about a chandelier,
a gallimaufryof hopes
and yens and longings
which we bag and put out to waste.
The scullery is cheery enough
but for one regret, so large
as to take two of us to carry it out
and in an upstairs bedroom
Esther finds the remnants
of a child’s cry which she could not
bring herself to throw out
but later, treasured in a sandalwood box.
A carpet in the drawing room
is stained and ruined by dried sorrows
where we sweep promises, expectations,
and disappointments into neat piles.
Jeremy re-appears staggering
under the weight of a peal
of dark brown laughter
which he had found in the attic
and in the summerhouse after,
Jennifer discovers a trove of love
and several bushels of kisses
which she trowels into the flower beds.
Excellent, for roses, she says.
©SJW. 14 August 2012. 7:15 a.m.
On Moving to One Small Room
It’s about losing, giving up, letting go;
not the kindness of absolutes,
the finality of tsunami, fire, disaster
but a vacuum of impossible choice:
what to take, so much to leave.
Easy the bed, the table and a chair,
a chest of drawers but what then—
from nothing of monetary value
just bits of irreplaceable gather
caught up in the magnetism
of youth, of middle-age, and growing old,
not much that’s even useful, precious only
for the companionship of its familiarity.
Take a picture or two, some photographs,
a knick-knack perhaps and that’s it.
They are only “things,” they say;
but people are mistaken.
©SJW. 2 January 2013. 4:00p.m.
The duck pond. posted
parking by Permit Only
and inside, the stream ran
down the centre aisle
where at the bottom of an escalator,
under a sign that read
twenty percent off all hats and gloves
—his favourite fishing hole.
in the vacuum cleaner department
he had taken his girl picnicking,
near the Food Court ripe with corn
a chair and two tables high.
On the mezzanine above,
in the Gentleman’s Outfitters
the red-tailed hawk’s nest
he had climbed for one solitary egg.
Across the mezzanine several ladies
were having their hair styled
on the top of Reg Marshall’s silo.
Back down on the ground floor,
opposite the Drugstore grazed by cows,
the Wedding Shop where,
in and among the pristine white gowns,
he had mucked out stalls.
The Florist sold only roses, tulips
and other sophisticates
where once he remembered
daisies, buttercups, cornflowers,
parades of purple loosestrife.
©SJW. 20 August 2013. 2:30 a.m.
British Regiment Defends a Pound of Mild Cheddar Cheese
more strength to words
than its evidence.
though its conversations
with the sun
challenged by shadow,
are no match for night
beholden to moon glow,
©SJW. 11 July 2020. 7:30 a.m.