Last Promise: A New Poem

Promise me, that when the leaves turn in the wind

or in the falling, you’ll remember. And smile

at the day we spent under the green ocean dome

that welled above us, all ebb and flurry, each leaf-shake

a flutter held, a quark of forest time shifting

and regrouping, but yet the whole — the copse within

the wood that was the whole of it to us — set slow. Slower,

the further out we looked, until our eyes could see 

no further than an army-band of trunks upholding calm.

The wood protects us. I could not bear for you to see it all. We are too small.

So when the coming time is here

and you see a leaf is turning green to brown

and beginning its intention to descend, anticipating

the day of its great fall, twisting, pirouetting even,

high above the floor that’s calling: come. Come. When

you see it twist this way and that, testing the stick of its stalk,

the heft of its trust, look. Look closer, past the colour of its sap,

the flow of its line in space, in time, and know it has practiced

what it needs, all summer long dancing with the wind. And think of

me and how I loved the leaves and brought you there to see you smile.

And smile. Now, promise me.


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