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 Spirit Chimes

Midlife


"The butterfly counts not months but moments,
and has time enough"
                           Rabindranath Tagore


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

First published in Voices: Spirit of Stregnth

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