Midlife

You hardly know the moment 
when autumn turns to winter,

but one day you look for the sun 
and see only trees, pious and 
pilgrim-gray, preaching 
endlessly of abstinence.

 

I admired them once, 
when they were terminally 
beautiful, when beauty, 
like the sable dreams of youth, 
was never earned, just taken.

When did those green fillies 
grow ribs and scales?

 

Now quiet is the language 
they mumble to each other, 
and the next move the earth makes 
will be snowfall.

 

When did I wake up and find 
I outran my desires? 
When did bouquets of green 
become this tangled nest 
feathered by dreamless sky?

 

When I looked for the sun 
as I remembered it: 
A gilded promise. 
Now the gasping soul is a legend, 
humming, not wailing, toward its end, 
so wise and polished, 
never a victim of the approaching night, 
but a proverb 
rewritten again and again.

Much like forgiveness. 
Much like ripened hearts.

 

The morning was my teacher; 
The afternoon, my master; 
Now the evening--call it profit, 
the harvest, the prize 
or tomorrow--rises.

 

And while gravity conspires 
with flesh to anchor us 
to this fatal dance, 
the soul and mind 
conspire to live,
to bring back spring 
with the turn of a thought,

 

to remember proverbs 
written by prayerlight 
and that forever begins 
where the past ends.

 

Patricia Joan Jones

Author's Notes/Comments: 

First published in Voices: Spirit of Strength. Written some years ago. I'm a little past midlife now. Thank you for reading. 

 
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Starward's picture

This poem, like all your

This poem, like all your others, is so far above what most of us can produce.  It is full of striking imagery and memorable phrase.  But, although soaring like your others, its last two lines move into pure theology, which, as Dante has shown us, is a mighty fine place for a poem to be.  Like his Divine Comedy, your poems soar from earth through the cosmos, and then into the Heavenlies, or the spiritual aspects of existence.  Your individual poems are wonderful as individual poems; but I believe, like Wallace Stevens' poems, the final collection will be an epic vision greater than the sum of its parts.


Starward

patriciajj's picture

I'm deeply humbled by your

I'm deeply humbled by your beautifully expressed appreciation for my work. It inspires me to keep writing, and there are no words to express my gratitude for this gift.