Saturday 19 December 2015


(in memory of those who perished 9/11/01)

The first falling leaves are yellow
Orange and red will come later
After the coming chill descends.

My intrepid cat-friend and I
Know these New England woods
Like the backs of our paws by now.

We have walked these rocky trails
Even in the dark of night, though under sun now
The impending doom of green surrounds us.

The earth reveals her ancient bones here
Hard gray granite boulder outcrops
Stark against the leaf dotted soil.

Nothing here has really changed
Seemingly since the rocks were born
Since the birth of my race or my cat’s race.

She still investigates every squirrel
Though any prey are in little danger
Her hunger taken care of by her owner.

But we still seek revenge on our enemies
Even though so very loathe to kill
When death rains upon us, one must stand.

Every year the green turns first to gold
And every year the hatred springs anew
The hunting and the killing go unchanged.

Yet I know of a place in “our” woods
Where a hidden trail leads up a hill
Of massive house-sized boulders.

At one point the almost-path climbs
A wide vein of sun sparkled white quartz
Chiseled by water and ice almost into steps.

I was amazed when we found it
And have never seen anyone else there
The usual litter of cans and bottles missing.

Whenever I ascend those pure white steps
I like to pretend I’m going somewhere better
But at the summit there is little to be found.

Just the same lichen-covered granite
The same yearly rain of yellow from green
The same hard truth about what we are.

Yet as my cat still hopes for her catch
It is my nature, I guess, still to hope
That someday we will climb pure crystal stairs
Out of the muck of this world we have created.

©Steven W. Baker

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