Friday, October 26, 2018

Seasons: Limbs and Branches

September found our leaves light green,
like the early leaves of balmy spring,
but the nip in the air mixed the colours
into gold and rust, an autumnal dream
that shone three months on us

January came with blustery wind
and the letters flew between us, friend;
like flakes of snow on our branches bare
were those white word-pages we would send
for weeks and months on end

December blew you into my home,
like a leaf adrift, liked a half-read poem,
full of moods: mirth and sadness;
full of restless blood that made you roam,
flowing from your broken heart

May in two years more brought word,
a banishment of sorts had occurred
for us both, mine short, yours long—
Alas! You became a flightless bird
Giving your wings away to me

November dawned in glittering gold,
in a gift and a letter, for lo and behold!
I was to fly to our beloved England,
to drink it in, gain knowledge to hold
in my hand like a gift. . .from you

April saw my return from abroad,
changed, humbled, full, and awed
my leaves flourishing, blossoming,
but yours, I soon saw, were flawed,
as if frost or hail had visited

February two years down the road
had seen hard times for us both
again, while my roots were strong,
you seemed to be withering slow
and steady from within

July brought news of ill health
for your mind, once a wealth
of jolly poems, songs, and dreams,
now afraid. Your confused self
sought safe home-hermitage

January many a year I strove
to send word that you were loved,
but your blighted tree withdrew
into your world of books and stove,
while mine flourished and grew

September dawned on one black day,
your tree hewn, you went away
and left me all alone to grieve,
my flourishing seemed to decay
your once vibrant tree


Choice is the only thing we're given

For one to live, another dies
One road says hello, the other says goodbye. . .
Tonight, [friend], I'm gonna break your heart
Mine was broken from the start, broken from the start
— Jon Foreman, Broken from the Start

Photo: "Lonely Tree", taken at the Cliff Walk; Newport, Rhode Island (2018)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

When it Burns Like Third Degree

Grief is simply love with nowhere to go.

Nowhere to go. . .That feeling when you come home from work and can't decide if you are hungry or not. When you can't settle. When you feel all of the loose ends unravelling. I have wandered aimlessly through the house, feeling both lost and as if I had lost something too dear to name. 

One moment I will laugh over a line in a letter, the next I will break my heart over the ache of the emptiness. Over the loss with no chance to reconcile this side of the veil. It is love wanting to reach the one loved, but that one resides in a place I've never known. . .A place I've longed for all of my life. But how does love cross the chasm of death? 

Death can't stop how life works; not truly. But it sure as Hell seems like death is winning; like death has the upper hand over life. Death stepped in and stopped the end goal of my love: my friend himself. And now that love wants to run on, over Sunset Hill, across the water, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, up to the top of the golden mallorn tree, where my elven-friend must dwell under the stars. But though I've seen many glorious golden trees with milk-white stems, and though I've stood beneath a silver shower of starlight, my love seems to whirl away on the crisp breeze, as lost as I am.

In the lostness comes the haunting fear. The fear that I will forget. That I will go on with life and not remember the reason why my life took a turn for the better. I am afraid that I will forget to say 'thank you' through my life itself. I want my friend, quiet though he was much of the time, not to be overlooked or forgotten. And I am so afraid to let go of the ache, of the tears. I am afraid of this gaping wound healing over. . .

When your fear is currency
And you feel that urgency
You want peace but there's war in your head
Maybe that's where life is born
When our fa├žades are torn
Pain gives birth to the promise ahead

Out of this pain has been birthed the most urgent desire to reach the Kingdom. The promise of what lies ahead. Reuniting in an unfallen, unbroken place, where the bell of doom has been unrung and the deplorable word—mine!—has never been uttered. I long for that place. So. Much. But I love this life, too. Today I asserted that wondrous line, "Dear old world, you are beautiful, and I am glad to be alive in you." And I am. Glad for the Beauty and the grandeur, for the friendships and the love spilling over. . .And I am desolate, too. Both together, rolled up in this dichotomy I don't even understand. I ache when I am alone and let myself remember. Yet, oh, I want to remember!

If you could only let your guard down
If you could learn to trust me somehow
I swear, that I won't let you go
If you could only let go your doubts
If you could just believe in me now
I swear, that I won't let you go

When I first let these words run over me, I cried. Oh friend, I wish you could have let your guard down with me, with your family, with some other friends. . .And I wish I had been worthy of that, and of your trust and friendship, too. I will always carry you in the fabric of who I am. So in a way, I can't forget. I can't love anyone else with the kind of love I have for you, my fair elven-friend. And I can only pray that this love that has nowhere to go in this life will be poured forth, refined and purified, into the man I will one day meet again in the realised Kingdom. 

There ain't no darkness strong enough 
that could tear you out from my heart

There ain't no strength that's strong enough 
that could tear this love apart

Never gonna let you go


"I Won't Let You Go" by Switchfoot
Songwriters: Jonathan Mark Foreman / Timothy David Foreman