A Mile of Weeping Willows

 

In the beginning

is darkness

and silence:

the pre-illuminated darkness

that inherits the light

that shapes the vision

that informs the silence,

the pre-narrative silence

that inherits the words

that honor the sorrows

that are rooted

in a mile of weeping willows.

 

Elegant, drooping fronds

gently dip to the water

of a river

in a place called home.

A river –

still

and deep

and brown –

runs through it,

the open space of town.

 

Cascading willow branches –

long and slender

sad and green –

sway like the pendulum

of a grandfather clock,

rhythmic and unbroken

tick tock tick tock.

 

What is time

but circles of sun and moon

arching up and out and down –

the ever-changing faces in sky,

shining like lanterns

mellow in the leaves

that turn tender green

to dark green

to sage green

to blazing yellow.

 

Silently,

in my own way,

I sweep the withered leaves

that shiver in the breeze

and drop each day

into the crevices of rocks

that endure the rhythms

of far-reaching roots –

matted and shallow

grand and complicated.

 

The whole place is so quiet

like my grandmother was quiet.

I huddle in the clearing

of the weeping willow

under her wide canopy –

round and beautiful

graceful and dreamy.

 

Warm, tender whispers

help me put one foot

in front of the other,

keep a calm sense of hope

of being able to find

what works,

what helps.

 

The curtain of branches,

wavering and wafting,

transforms light and shadow

of this near moonless night

into visions.

Coyote makes a teasing whistle

on the wind.

Crow drops a red bauble at my feet –

a talisman of memory.

 

I hear the muffled thud

of a drum –

Thunder.

 

It soothes to taste the rain.

 

Composed in February 2020 – during a month of anniversaries of the deaths of my beloved friends Bobby, Punkin, Jamie, Pasu, and Miya.