My sister’s farm looks different
again this year. The old elm finally
dropped and the bobolinks
didn’t return to the high meadow.
The apples are poor but she says
next year should be better.

The sky is the same in its usual way
of shifting clouds and colors.
I went wading in the brook
this morning and it felt a little smaller
with the loosestrife closing in like
plaque on the farm’s lone artery.

I walked behind the barn to find
the medicine wheel we built last year.
Its four radial lines of little stones
will stay true for millennia if
they can remain that long
undisturbed.

I threw one of the stones high
and deep into the west woods.
It would have taken months
for a glacier to move it that far.

Out here in the orchard
I look and listen for Eve, for Lilith.
Feed me your fruit.
Give me your lips so I can fully
taste this day, this rapture.
Then push me through
a tear in the veil.

I know how we were shielded
in our Edens–I’ve seen the leaves fall,
the elm tree toppled.
I ask only to live today,
as full of juice as your peaches,
to shout and sing
“Thank you. Thank you!”
fearless and joyful.
Then I could learn
to return to the earth,
satisfied and grateful.

Zetetic separator

—James Hannon was a sociology professor for twenty years before becoming a psychotherapist in Massachusetts where he accompanies adolescents and adults who are learning to move towards light. His poems have appeared in Cold Mountain Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, and in in his collection, The Year I Learned the Backstroke, (Aldrich Press, 2013).

5 Responses

  1. csheapoet
    at · Reply

    Wonderful! Thank you!

  2. Cathy
    Cathy
    at · Reply

    Beautiful, rings true. xo Cathy

    1. James Hannon
      James Hannon
      at · Reply

      Thanks to you both.

  3. brittonswingler
    brittonswingler
    at · Reply

    Visceral. Moving. Exquisite.

    ‘…with the loosestrife closing in like
    plaque on the farm’s lone artery.’ — beautiful predator comes to mind

    I am thinking, too, of the way our tethered memories are triggered sensually: colors, scents, sounds, textures, tastes, etc., and are vulnerable to change (both external and internal), and subject to perspective and the peculiarities of memory recall.

    A return to the past, if we are whole and it was good, for example, nurtures; but if we are fragmented or it was negative, it is salt not salve. What is it about the past that wields such inexplicable power?

    But this, your symphony of words and memories transcends all that, for if I could but read it with my eyes closed, I would do so again and again, just to bask in its poignant warmth.

    And then there is much to ponder: the year, she, Eve and Lilith, the palpable desire…

  4. Jim Hannon
    at · Reply

    Britton: I appreciate your kind words and enjoyed your comments, which add to the poem. I think I like them better than the poem. Thanks.

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