All These Gone Years

 

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

tennantwisteria

That long-ago morning at Ruth’s farm
when I hid in the wisteria
and watched hummingbirds. I thought
the ruby or gold that gleamed on their throats
was the honeyed blood of flowers.
They would stick their piercing beaks
into a crown of petals until their heads
disappeared. The blossoms blurred into wings,
and the breathing I heard
was the thin, moving stems of wisteria.
That night, my face pressed against the window,
I looked out into the dark
where the moon drowned in the willows
by the pond. My heart, bloodstone,
turned. That long night, the farm,
those jeweled birds, all these gone years.
The horses standing quiet and huge
in the moon-crossing blackness.
~Joseph Stroud “First Song”

 

sunset92horses4

sunset92horses

Working Life Into Grace

 skeldalehouse2
mooraskrigg2
moors
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world~ Hamlet
 
Take a plane to London.
From King’s Cross take the direct train to York.
Rent a car and drive across the vale to Ripon,
then into the dales toward the valley of the Nidd,
a narrow road with high stone walls on each side,
and soon you’ll be on the moors.  There’s a pub,
The Drovers, where it’s warm inside, a tiny room,
You can stand at the counter and drink a pint of Old Peculiar.
For a moment everything will be all right.  You’re back
at a beginning.  Soon you’ll walk into Yorkshire Country,
into dells, farms, into blackberry and cloud country.
You’ll walk for hours.  You’ll walk the freshness
back into your life.  This is true.  You can do this.
Even now, sitting at your desk, worrying, troubled,
you can gaze across Middlesmoor to Ramsgill,
the copses, the abbeys of slanting light, the fells,
you can look down on that figure walking toward Scar House,
cheeks flushed, curfews rising in front of him, walking,
making his way, working his life, step by step, into grace.
~Joseph Stroud “Directions”
mooraskrigg
finnissouterrain5
finnissouterrain4