Dedicated to my dear friend, Sue, who recently lost her husband of sixty-four years…
Keeping the river always on the left,
I walk with the undulating water near me,
Two hawks flying in slow circles to the west,
Dimmer and dimmer, they soar with motionless wings,
The familiar pattern: approaching, retreating.
Soon I will be traveling home in cold of night,
Through discouraging ice and winter’s diminishing light.
Diaphanous patches of shadows the color of clay
Shelter all sight of the sun, the hour running on….
Running on toward the river, slowly graceful and old.
I am not alone in my aloneness.
The early evening does not fall only upon
My face, my solitary thoughts, my thirsting view of the water.
The remaining hawk ascends, hungrily searches,
Weaves in the tremulous wind, its head davening as if in prayer,
Sailing, floating upon whatever spokes of light remain,
Silent water glistening as it flows against the past.
Taking my time on the journey, I contemplate the setting sun,
Attending to the absence that quickens the heart.
Aware of the closeness of a terrible, sudden loss….
The company of grief floats like driftwood on the river,
Positioned like the heart, just a little to the left.
When parting comes, there is always deep sorrow if there is love.
No one steps in the same river twice.
Though I travel in devotion to the river’s source,
To the wind-swept lake far to the north,
With waves sweeping the unchanging shore,
Whose banks are populated with tall stands of evergreen….
Pinecones littering the ground in hope of spring,
Still my sleepless nights will be spent waiting and praying,
Forever in exile, alone and yet tied by a mystical thread,
Heart burning with enduring and endless love.