Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Autumn Days

The windows facing northward let in only muted light,
As autumn days grow shorter and the sun moves towards the south.
With long-dimmed vision the old woman on the couch
Scarcely observes the subtle changes of the shifting light.
The shortened days pass slowly, monotonously, silently,
Interrupted only by the clock punctually chiming the hour
And by three trips to the dining room, equally punctual.
Between rising and retiring the hours must be filled,
And so she fitfully dozes and dreams, wakes and remembers.
Ninety-one years worth of memories flit erratically
Through her mind, like a rare, delicate butterfly, sometimes
Alighting long enough to be studied, savored, embraced,
Sometimes flitting so quickly that they are only a blur.
A short childhood, a Depression, hard work, World War,
College, a marriage that endured for sixty-nine years,
But most of all she remembers the people in her life:
Dear Mother, steadfast husband, beloved sister---all gone---
And the three children to whom she devoted her life.
So many memories that make up the fabric of her life.
She'd like to wrap her children in the warmth of that fabric,
But now it is too late. A cruel stroke of fate has robbed
Her of her voice; her words are jumbled, twisted, fabricated,
Stubbornly refusing to convey the meaning in her mind.
Now she waits, through ever shortening days, to be wrapped
In the warmth of the memories of her children, as they weave
Her history and strength into the vibrant cloth of their lives.