The road, the path never ends.
We only change the direction
with a distant thought of
a destination, of a purpose,
that changes before we arrive.
With the charged air wavering
between summer and autumn
we walked beneath the canopies
throwing scattered light on
faces thankful for the sun
thankful for the peace within the city.
Thinking only about my feet
and where they land next
I closed my eyes and kept
moving along the path
I opened my eye and I was
cast between here and there.
I awoke that missing day
disconnected and lost
from what I thought I was
and who I wanted to be
so I searched around the room
and climbed out the window
and walked down the only road
into the sun.
I lost my breath in the empty field.
Lost in the blinding snow.
Thrown over the mountain tops.
In the silence I heard winter’s song.
I ran across the iced field in near darkness
my bare feet light and swift as I cast
no shadow and left no trace.
I ran across the iced field until it gave way
to the infinite valley filled with the missing sun
and I fell slowly and forever into the
sun as my body and mind separated.
From across time I sang winter’s song
at every breath.
Emerging from the past
into the present
I continue to pursue the future
always chasing the light
whether day or night.
I now walk into the wild
away from you and
closer to the true
being within, away
from the falsehoods,
and toward the truth.
I now walk into the wild
free of labels and expectations
free of some grand design.
I will remember you
not for any moment
or the almost kiss we shared
but for your innocence
and the beauty you hid.
In the wild I am not lost
as silent beings larger
and older than myself
stand across the river
and witness my transformation
and my ending.
I walk the worn dirt path
circling the overgrown fields
where the winds have abated
and the grass, flowers, and
trees have grown deep
roots while the land has
gone back in time before
the cities of industry.
I am broken and
beneath the evening sun
my pieces melt.
In the moonlight
I am made whole again.
We age from the burden
of each day’s moments,
trials, and tests.
We lose track of time,
people, and who we are
individually and collectively.
We lose where we are in the world
until nature reminds us.
In the woods
we take the worn path
of hard dirt and decaying leaves
following the recent activities
Consistent and plentiful rain
has filled in empty spaces
with the silent guardians
reaching to the morning sun.
Children in the summer
Chasing dogs through
Fields open to the big sun.
Thoughts free of burden
Free of time they explore
Worlds beyond this one.
Always a step ahead
And pushing forward
They become the stars we see.
So what happened?
Where did our dreams go?
The older we become
The more experiences we obtain
It seems our dreams become fantasies
And we become rooted in reality.
Yet we will continue reaching
Back to reach out to those stars
Through reminiscing and visiting
The places of childhood.
We know something is missing
We always know the child was right.
The child was free of outward voices
And able to reach deep within and
Hold close the energy the fuels and
Drives who we truly are.
Never let go of dreams
Never let go of your true being.
The extraordinary patience of things!
This beautiful place defaced with a crop of suburban houses-
How beautiful when we first beheld it,
Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with clean cliffs;
No intrusion but two or three horses pasturing,
Or a few milch cows rubbing their flanks on the outcrop rock-heads-
Now the spoiler has come: does it care?
Not faintly. It has all time. It knows the people are a tide
That swells and in time will ebb, and all
Their works dissolve. Meanwhile the image of the pristine beauty
Lives in the very grain of the granite,
Safe as the endless ocean that climbs our cliff.-As for us:
We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;
We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.
“The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers”
Edited by Tim Hunt
2001, Standford University Press
I typically read and have been influenced by John Haines nature poems and memoirs, but this poem is timeless.
How strange to think of those street
sand vacant lots, the sandhills
where we played and dug our trenches;
the forts we built, the enemies
we conjured to aim our stick-guns at,
and then went home at evening,
to victory, to safety and sleep.
And now the vast acres of rubble,
the pitched and roofless houses,
upended stonework and sunken bridges.
The dog-packs roaming, digging,
for the one still-unclaimed victim;
the stray sniper aiming at dusk,
and in the roadside fields,
flowers that explode when picked.
The children wandering from one
burned suburb to another,
seeking that which no longer exists:
a neighborhood, a playing field,
a wading pool or a standing swing;
for a kite to fly, a ball to throw,
or just one pigeon to stone.
And through all this haunted vacancy,
from cellars and pits of sand,
come and go as on a fitful wind
such whispers, taunts and pleadings:
the scolding voices of dead parents,
the lessons of teachers no longer
standing, whose classrooms
are blown to ash and smoky air.
And far-off, unheard beyond the drone
of a single hovering aircraft –
in Paris, Zurich, Prague, or London,
the murmur of convening statesmen.
For the Century’s End
by John Haines
Seattle and London: University of Washington Press.