Stepping Stones

Clear, cold, blue sky and harsh November sun

glaring white light through stark and leafless trees

and glancing off the water, just begun

to reach with feather crystals and to freeze

the memories of summer on the shore.

Constant, unforgiving, unrelenting

light slices through late autumn just before

Ottawa Valley winds, unrepenting

and icy, sweep the St. Lawrence. But through

November light, time disappears and where

the sharp tang of burning leaves curls into

a drift of woodsmoke carried on the air,

we two are climbing over driftwood while

I wait for your approval and your smile.

Did you, who loved the earth so well, know then

what quickened in the dark and starless night?

What eternal beauty stirred your soul when

life’s sweet pulse was past? Is the air as bright

at heaven’s gate as it was when we talked

of eternity and I thought it meant

that you and I were forever? We walked

together hand in hand, my childhood spent

believing in your power. Will we meet

again or am I, like autumn, too late?

The river stones are cold beneath my feet,

just like they were in 1958,

as love’s philosophies I remember

in the clear, cold air of harsh November.


© 1996 by Alexandra Lucas. All rights reserved

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