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.
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.