The Teacher

The sunlight is not shy today.
It runs across the leaves
blown cold from limbs now dark with knowledge;
dust they are.

A bird hesitated, left to remain,
bathes in summer memory.
One leaf blown cold across the silver sky
on wings still strong with lost dreams.

A second chance at bathing in the summer sunlight:
a warmth of Southernness, a woman waited there,
beneath the branches and above the leaves,
her every glance a hope.

Arms folded, open, folded, open, folded.
Leaning, standing, pacing, tossing pebbles to the stream,
mottled underbrush shifting with cloudy overbrush.
Sighing wind, she breathes, almost cold.

It was not long.
Before the pecan-dropped leaves she stood,
and he, past distant trunks and boughs,
came like visions of sleep to waken her.
He remembered!
His laugh echoed the plush forest floor,
and hers came back — joyous embrace.

The house they shared:
walls painted with promise kept,
doors latched with days of life,
and windows open to the smell of autumn.

Paths to ponds of flowers and dreams
and delights taken by candles.
Flames licking wood,
light of night crisp with anticipation,
or, smiling, rain leaps down the eaves.
Together, with the leaves below,
and birds fly south to warm their hearts.

Sweet joy, Falls!

But it blew over into winter.
The silences intensified the absences,
and crunching snow and crushing glare of iced ponds
are left, arms folded, standing beside.

The tree has no leaves now, not even on the ground.
Darkness is early. It is cold.

Letter, brief, held long in her hands,
and covered over with the blur of tears.
She cannot follow.
She cannot stand waiting by the stream.
The tree has no leaves now.
Darkness is early. It is cold.
It is too cold.

Standing here and there she listened, sought,
to seek the Life to seek.

How, taking, be taught in temerity?
How breathing in death?
How strength in standing streams?
Bitter warmth and laughing cold,
sun that chills and breath of ocean that warms,
Tropic of Cancer and of Capricorn,
from Whom comes your fire?

I, knowledge, acknowledge.
I, winter sophistication, simplify.
I, summer frolic, temper.
Hide my eyes — they cannot see —
I learn.

Viewpoint of endings and beginnings,
earth racked harsh with Autumn’s winds,
searing secret sickness,
leaves, blown cold from limbs now dark with knowledge:

Hope not in these, passing they must be.
Hope not in these leaves blown cold.
Hope in Him from Whom comes truth,
a site of solace, hill of Sacrifice:
Hope in Him from Whom comes Spring.
Composed October 20, 2003 by Mark Feezell /
Edited and Dedicated to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0) 2024

Download as an RTF file.

Image: Bald Cypress Tree (IMG_0328)

poetry, uncollected

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