Monday, April 6, 2009

Old Hiking Stick

Old Hiking Stick

You were not straight
with knots and canker
scarred skin like open wounds
Perfect was not your lot

It was lack of symmetry
Like you were set apart from
Rank and File
An outcast from mother’s xylem and phloem

And, yet, on that day
Your separateness claimed my eye in
Olive-hued, sun dappled wood
Where you rested alone

How could I have known
In my wanderin’ time
That you would stay with me
Through sleet and snow?

Or, that you would support me
Atop hills and then hollers
where creek meets slough
or across parched hell earth?

We shared shady coves
And pine scented passageways
Cathedral forests while far off
A Thrush played her flute

Through misty glades and then
perched in rock houses
We watched silent snow
Before my boots turned home

We slid down clay slopes
Made safe by your steady brace
So that by twilight in autumn chill
We could watch dying campfire and moonrise

And at first light of rosy hued dawn
You stood ready to be at my side
And carry me in all moments
Of weak sinew or heart

And, so, my friend, we’ll go on
As your gnarly shaft fills the hollow
Of my calloused hand
As we pause over view and vista

Until, at last, our trails come to a place
Perhaps a soft, well lit meadow
Unknown to us
But, somehow, strangely familiar

In that time we will lie down
Sharing the soft breeze
Where we will become separate once again
As we know we must

And, as autumn leaves tumble around us
With Winter’s frost and dark closing in
I’ll close my eyes and smile slightly
And think of Springs to come


Susan R said...

Such wonderful images! They resonate with me b/c I have similar feelings abt my own walking stick. I'm so glad you posted this poem and that I am reading it on a day that's calling me outdoors for a hike! It brings a smile to my face and my heart.-Susan R

Sue Glasco said...

Very nice.