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Monday, November 28, 2016

"All of the Autumn Leaves" (a poem)

So here's the deal... I keep resurrecting this blog, and then I keep having more kids, which means less and less energy available for reading, blogging, and other personal enrichment activities. In fact, as I write this, my three-year-old is guzzling down a lime green popsicle two feet away (living dangerously) and my two-year-old is trying to roundhouse-kick my laptop. Meanwhile the baby (whom I like to joke is my favorite because she sleeps the most) is upstairs, you guessed it, asleep.

Anyway, here's my attempt to once again restart this blog. This time I'm posting a poem I wrote in October, my first one in months. It's about how fast the time goes and how powerless I feel to make it slow down. Like that song "Do You Realize?" when they say, "Do you realize that life goes fast? It's hard to make the good things last. Do you realize the sun doesn't go down? It's just an illusion caused by the earth spinning round."

So this may be the only blog post I do for the next six months, or maybe this will actually encourage me to blog semi-regularly again. Who knows.

Without further adieu, here's my poem. Rather fitting as we leave autumn behind and enter winter.

All of the Autumn Leaves
(Or, An Ode to Existential Angst)

How can I put this into words
And make it say something you've never heard?
How can I sketch that slippery way
A day rolls into another day?
Midnight comes and midnight goes.
I'm awake. I'm asleep.
I forgot to change clothes,
Again and again,
The clock will strike.
Again and again,
I will turn out the light,
As all of the autumn leaves blow by.

My children are growing,
They're growing too fast.
As everyone tells me,
"Well, babies don't last."
You put them to bed,
Plant their seeds in the earth,
And their bones reach out
Like roots in the dirt.
In the morning you marvel
When shirts no longer fit,
And somewhere your heart flinches: "Not yet. Please not yet."

It's dead exhaustion and pure elation.
It's all the hard work with no standing ovation.
No blue ribbons, no gold medals,
No bouquets of fragrant petals.
It's all the prayers that go unspoken,
All the talismans and tokens,
Moments strung on a rosary,
Pearls of all that's supposed to be,
Perfect and broken,
A dream awoken,
And all of the autumn leaves blow by.

Every morning I make myself
a steaming hot cup of promises,
And every evening I make myself
a frosty bowl of regret.

Photographs, photographs,
Click-click goes the shutter.
Photographs, photographs,
"Good-bye," they all mutter.
Images, ages, and imagination,
A gust of wet words
A howling of trees
Sepia-tinted memories
The crunch-swish-a-crunch
Hush now--do you hear it?
My fingers grow numb,
But ah, not my spirit.
I inhale the burnt sky and swallow the stars,
I rake and I scrape,
Til blisters are scars.
And all of the autumn leaves blow by.

But the ground's never bare,
My hands never still,
Keep raking, collecting,
Don't stop documenting,
Harvest these moments
Before winter's chill.

How can I hold on
To the infinite?
How can I grasp
This pulsing vein?
It tickles my neck
And bleeds down my shoes.
But the tighter I squeeze,
The faster it goes.
Til all of the autumn leaves blow by.

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