Slow Walk in Late Afternoon

It is late afternoon and I walk slowly down the road,
Thinking of the year I’ve left behind,
Never forgotten, though I know I can’t  return….
Realizing that no one can align the present moment
With the past no longer here, though love eternal
May last within the heart, burning tears upon the cheek.
There is much that burns and falls these days,
Much that has been lost of body’s old pride
Diminished in hours and omens of
Endless inglorious days….
Sadness must be acknowledged lest it
Become our own black milk— poison…
Festers underground, emerges in night
Haunting all dreams, walking barefoot
Upon empty streets, the smoky air
Too foul to inhale, yet we must breathe.
Walking past old cemetery, I envy the stones
Weathering through the years, standing strong,
Still testament to what Whitman wrote
After the war was over and Lincoln was dead:
I saw the debris and debris of all the slain soldiers of the war,
But I saw they were not as was thought,
They themselves were fully at rest— they suffer’d not,
And the wife and the child and the musing comrade suffer’d.
Deep within the heart there exists a black hole,
Mass without space that weighs upon the mind
Until all is darkly concentrated into forgiven brightness,
Transformed not for profit, not by calculation….
Rises from some realm where
Grace revives the densest stone… 

Soul casts off the night in celebration as
Morning dawn emerges from last year’s gloom…
Stars wink out, disappearing from sight,
Though invisible presence does not waver—
Brighter shapes revolving, turning toward unseen fate,
Confidently moving in silence as I now do—
Further down the road, further into a new year,
Walking slowly, dog leading the way,
Past dead roses of late summer….
Sniffing out the beauty of the afternoon.


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