9/20/08

When you return to the past
While in the present
You access the memories of stories
And the changes of time
You witness oxygen rust and cause trees to broaden
You feel the sea pull through you like an endless sob

How the smells were stronger, almost romantic
Before your nose began to age
Some roads paved and level, others rutted and grassed
The song of the backshore remains the same
Through the trees it calls you, the rumble of a cycle

Getting out of bed, walking wet down the concave path
The spongy moss springs back after each step
The bounce in your step not your own
The rumble becomes wave, again and again
Blow down root maps show you the underside of life
The forest ebbs and closes, the path changes near the end
The ax has not made the last straight or clear or dry

The rock welcomes you and you remember what a skill you need
To bound from ledge to boulder, kelp to slimy stone
Exposed by waning tide, barnacles and periwinkles cluster
Like a gem’s cousin encrusting the shore with decoration
The flotsam tossed and wedged into the landscape
The trash becomes tramp decoration, festooned from mounds and tree limbs
A mason’s day off becomes an unfocused earthwork

In the end nature left to grow creates a thicket of bramble
The areas cleared are surrounded by a rich tangle of things
The graveyard mowed but the stones tilt and fall
The earth has settled along the older plots

He rests in a corner under a low spruce
His flat marker home to a small flowerpot and chosen stones
In all directions outside the fence the low swollen bushes hold sweetness
Blueberries and mosquitoes blanket the ground and the air
We gather the ripe and swat the infringers
We say our words and wipe away the tears
We speak to the lost and the lost hear our words

And I know understand the importance of the marker
That it is for the living to connect with themselves
In this place where the differences are so amplified
Where we all spend the winter somewhere
Where we all are richer and poorer than someone else
Where we all are dreaming of hunting eagles and perfect waves
Where we all wish we knew the score but fear it as well
Where we all return to the past
And are rich with love and promise.