Two New Poems for Old Acquaintances

At the end of last year, two of my colleagues left. One retired and one was returning home to another state before heading off travelling.

In a sudden moment of ideas, I composed a poem for each. I couldn’t read them aloud myself because I hate farewells and ended up a blubbering mess in the corner while other colleagues read them for me. Wuss that I am.

I will share them with you, even though you don’t have the context of the people I know because I like them as stand alone poems.


Athena’s Owl

The light is extinguished at day’s end
the filament fades from white to orange to yellow to black
                                                              to signal slumber’s rest
          shadows encroach where light once reached

Athena’s owl ruffles her feathers for one last flight
          preens from quill to tip and one soft downy feather
          falls like a summer cloud
          rides the drafts and settles in the corner

In the silent moment before flight
          she takes one final glance
launches on soundless wings
          the warrior of the night.

We wake at morning’s first touch and
                               find the roost empty

Our hearts turn to sorrow and mourning
for wisdom’s presence is no longer amongst us
we run our fingers along the perch, the grooved indentations
of claws leave furrowed rows of knowledge

The wind reaches into the corner
                              lifts the single feather
the movement catches our eye; we reach down
                              hold the quill between thumb and forefinger
                              our extant memory
a reminder of wisdom’s presence,
                              her integrity and compassion
We are made the wiser because of her.


The wind asked,
“How now, spirit? Whither wander you?”
Wherever you may take me
But I will not be driven like the autumn leaves
Aimless, directionless, at your capricious mercy.
I will set my sails and use your strength
To take me to foreign lands.

The wind said,
“You have not moved.”
I have travelled the length and breadth
Of my imagination; my feet are not weary.
I will choose when to tie my laces
shoulder my pack and
Cross the threshold of my volition.

The wind asked,
“When will you find a home?”
I find a home where there is a bed for rest
a cup of tea
a book to read
a pen to write with
a nook for study
a place where my heart is at peace.

And the wind was silent.

2 responses to “Two New Poems for Old Acquaintances

  1. Nice … do I detect a Shelleyan influence?

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