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Contemplations During a Sunday Walk...

Dickinson once wrote, 
After great pain, a formal feeling comes--- 
I feel awfully formal this morning, 
bleak and cold. 
The morning developed 
in black and white 
and not by the great developer... 
perhaps by some modernistic infidel 
who left it blurry and grainy, 

The distance from home grows further, 
I more distant within myself with each step, 
memories piling up in a macabre mosaic, 
my mind the epicenter 
of the apocalypse, 
I, the lone survivor, 
having to piece it all back together 
but I have no tools 
and most certainly do not desire 
to work that hard for company... 
not today. 

When I have fears that I may cease to be, 
Keats wrote... 
I walk and think of the footprints I left behind. 
Borges knew, 
He is divested of the diverse world, 
of faces, which still stay as once they were, 
of the adjoining streets, now far away, 
and of the concave sky, once infinite. 
How blind we become to tomorrow and yet, 
how clearly we can see yesterday... 
Dancing ribbons of light 
hovering over a snow covered horizon 
the air wearing a chastity belt 
protecting her from penetration 
by the phallic towers of civilization. 

I was twenty-two 
the Arctic whitish blue 
with cold that chilled 
to the marrow of our bones. 
We were all young then. 
Some of us grew older. 
Some of us never got a chance friends. 
No hired hand can help us to gather this crop. 
The seeds died in the ground. 
Their path was shorter than mine. 
I still wonder why? 

Standing alone 
deep inside the Australian outback painted like a bush. 
The desert illuminated 
with the light of a trillion stars. 
The Earth and space joined 
in an indefinable sphere 
of red, blue, and white speckles 
on a sable background 
floating within the circle 
surrounded by infinity in all directions. 
The Southern Cross pointing at me. 
I could not hide. 

I was thirty-one, alone and wiser. 
A quaint little field 
of Spring violets in the Georgia pines. 
The scent of pine tar and auburn hair, 
laughter and my name spoken 
like I never heard it before, 
as I have never heard it since. 
I wrote her name on a tree. 
The tree died and rotted away. 

I was seventeen and in love... 
I wanted to write her some words 
she would remember. 
I didnít write then. 
She forgot anyway. 
The face of a young woman 
who calls me her hero, 
as if I had ever done anything heroic. 
The greatest thing I ever did 
was father her. 
The wind and chimes, 
my daughter and me. 
Snodgrass wrote and won 
The Prize 
with his words 
about fathers and daughters. 
I canít remember a damn one. 
I remember every word 
she ever wrote to me. 

Sheís twenty now. 
I miss every year of her life. 
Every day of mine. 
My wife will have coffee waiting. 
Perhaps breakfast, if I am lucky. 
How lucky I am. 
How like a winter hath my absence been. 
Wonderful the coffee will be. 
I must hold her face 
in my hands and kiss 
her with a thank you. 
The morning seems clearer 
the air easier to breathe 
the house not as far away. 
Me less distant. 
Iím forty-one. 
At home 
where I belong 
once again. 

Tony Spivey 
Copyright 1999, 2000 

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