I tried to believe there is no such thing as a muse to incite some kind of art. But now I’m empty and the birds don’t sing, the leaves have all fallen and so’s my heart. I have no words with which a net I’d knit that I might capture your dear heart and soul. And now for two hours I’ve done naught but sit, with a net not made of words, just all hole. But how do I catch what I cannot hold, my hands stuck in these holed pockets so deep? My fingers empty of all but the cold, with no words I can sew, so none shall I reap. Please touch me with a whisper, my muse, old friend. remind my imagination how I’ve been wrong. Together we’ll fill autumn’s trees again, lift my heart, and the birds’ voices in song.
I don’t think the trees care if the leaves they flip come up heads or tails. They just let them fall, like coins into an old toll booth basket, something you must do to get from here to there, from Summer to Winter. Sometimes I feel like one of those leaves, flipped from the branch closest to the sky, where I could sometimes feel as if I was flying, only I’m actually tripping my way down the oaken stairway, ultimately jumping into the void between Up and Down. I know the ground's coming, cold and sad as another broken heart, but for a moment or two, I’m defiant, ignoring gravity upon an October breeze, enjoying a freedom I’ve only felt for so short a time before. It’s not the sky in which I fly, but, soon enough, the bare trees won’t block my view of that blue. Unless… Heads!
Perhaps if I dreamed I’d not find all my nights such lonely walks from light to light, like street lamps pouring down without warmth on this corner through the dark to the next pool of yellow glow ahead. Or like Tuesday to Wednesday. I’ve strolled or rolled my way through each, always wishing I could reach out to touch that warmth light and dark and I denied me, wrapped as I might be in blankets or shadows. But if I dreamed, perhaps I’d dream of you joining me here at the intersection of Yesterday and Tomorrow. Someday some warm Tonight.
From their highest branch perch upon us they’ll spy, in this sylvan church on whose floor they’ll all lie. But some have yet to fall, though look at them sway, like bold paintings on the wall of a windy gallery display. They must know come their ends, colors bright as beacons, as cold North Wind portends and their grip weakens. There goes another I see I’d hoped might be staying. Nature’s iconography at which I’d been praying. But all we can do is sigh as they wave ‘bye and fly, remember, when most leaves fall and die come dark mid-November. And that’s how it goes, as years and we grow old. Winter’s silver snows will plate even autumn’s gold. My prayers cannot stop the passage of time. Like leaves we’ll drop when we drop, with or without silly rhyme. It’s October and I’ve fallen, dear, and I don’t care if you’re an oak or birch. Labels don’t matter to me here, leaf’s a leaf, love’s love in my church. Photo ©2015, Joseph Hesch
I thought that if I were broken enough I would see the light — Robert Creeley, “The Revelation” Today I went blind when the light of revelation poured through the weak places I’d thought I’d made stronger with wishes and forgetfulness. It felt safe here in the dark, not knowing whoever came scratching or pounding on these walls we’ve stretched between me and you. But my best-laid plans most often fail when it comes to affairs of this hollow old space. So the light came through, over there where I’d punched the wall, up there where the prayers stop and stick into the ceiling, down here where my tears eroded the shaky floor upon which I’ve stood alone for way too long. I hobbled over to this one crack and scraped away the wish I’d forgotten I’d made so many times it sounds like an echo in this empty heart of mine. That’s when I closed my eyes for good, because I saw the one trying to bring love’s light to me wasn’t you, but me. I understand, but I’d rather be broken and blind than whole and not see you.
Memories fade in the growing dark, which has increased its pace and one day soon will grasp his shadow, the long cutout of light in the shape of a man as featureless as his life. The sun sits lower on the horizon than he’s ever seen and blinds him to what lies ahead as much as the dark conceals the nothing he’s seen and been. He stops to wonder if it’s even worth taking another step toward a future as featureless as his shadow, one he knows will be more nothing and nothing more than a monotonous shuffle of heartbeat steps. “Let the darkness have me,” he sighs, consigned with becoming part of the forgotten. That’s when the voice comes out of the dark past, growing louder and warmer as its memory approaches him. “Why are you in such a hurry toward a light that only blinds you to all around you? And if life only needs you staying one step ahead of the darkness, why must you always walk the straight line, my friend?” the voice says. “Because…” but he could find no answer. He realized while the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, it can be fully colorful off the lines they give you.