Monday, January 17, 2011

Arose In Winter

i.m.  Pauline D. (1922-2011)

She had filled every role,
from child to grandmother,
from partner to friend,
from advocate
to the glue,
which holds people together,
if they will allow it to do so.

People mattered most:
the joys of fellowship;
the affirmation,
and meaning, of life—
a gracious and flourishing tree.

Time went on,
slowing movement,
but never dulling sense
in those matters
that meant most.

But, winter had come
and her tree
had long been losing
its precious leaves;
all her friends
were gone.

Home and place
had contracted,
from mansion to house,
to now a compartment,
too small to contain
the grandness or the minutiae
of her experience, much less
the people, places and things
that had been her life
and meaning.

The last leaf on her tree,
she realized.

I don’t know what I’m waiting for,
she said.

Though brought low by illness,
still was she able
to feel her feet
roaming the beaches
that had long memorized
her footfalls and
to hear the voices of those
whom she loved,
and who loved her.

Systems failed, though,
body resistant to the will.

Take me home,
she said.

From a final comfort
in her own bed,
she let herself go;
a well-loved, well-lived leaf,
the very last on her tree,
she let herself go,
to drift downward
to the ground.

Take me home,
her spirit breathed.

She was answered
by a breath of wind
that raised her up,
a small fanfare of fluttering free,
and carried her off to the sea.

© 2011 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

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