and all around me, life goes on

Autumn Porch Days

Some days, all we can do to see a wider world is lie quietly in the sun, faces curved to sky, watching leaves drop color and die, as clouds paint a bleached collage of our other places. All this radiance and warmth must surely reach something deeper than skin, higher than your mountains and stars, less broken than my in-between lovers. Yet, why does the wind winter swiftly? If I fade to sleep, dreams will pull me to body tired Autumn nights in Boone; Perseus chasing Pegasus across a dingy lens. Do you remember? Somewhere, far to the south of my dreams, you climb toward a circumpolar view, where your lens is robbed of my brightest star. I envision your weary form in these clouds as you drag a trail across that uncertain heaven. If you are seeking peace, come home. Our days apart are beyond the stack of peaks. All that is left is a calming stroke of hands, the sharing of pictures in winter clouds. That is enough for me, if I am with you. If you are seeking redemption, come home. You will discover the best of it here, in my heart. Years become mountains. We both know the trail. When will you remember me?
Shirley Alexander © 2011


Filed under life, love, memories, poetry, spiritual

17 responses to “and all around me, life goes on

  1. This is the first thing I have posted in a long while. Criticism/feedback will be taken to heart and appreciated.

  2. Jerry Bolton

    Oh boy, Shirley, this is a good’n, to say the least. I have read quite a few of your poems, but I don’t believe I have read one with such ingrained depth and . . . wanting.

    Your wordplay is magnificent, the words and phrases all come together with a wonderful welcome home, arms wide open. The past can be circumvented and things can once again be for lovers who remember the bad times and are determined to learn from them.

    • Jerry Bolton

      I wish I had waited to find out if I’ve read this one too, if I have, I’m sorry again. That poem I wanted you to read, maybe later, huh?

  3. This one is new, Jerry. I have been going through some life changes, sort of, and I do think it has alterred my poetic voice a bit–hopefully, for the better.
    I appreciate your wonderful comment. It gives me hope that I will be motivated to write more often. I have had a problem with “mood to write” lately. Not a block, more of a fall.
    Which poem did you want me to read? I didn’t get a nudge, so far as I remember. But, I haven’t been online much lately. I have to apologize for whatever I missed, and hope you understand. Hopefully, time management has been restored somewhat, and, aside from being away on short trips, I should be posting and reading more now.

  4. “altered” duh. Looks like I need to use spell check on comments too. 🙂

  5. Elaine Randall English

    I’m glad you are able to write something…..I know the struggle when “the well gets low”…..this is a nice step back into wonder…..thank you.

    • Thank you, Elaine. It wasn’t so much the well being low. The well has been flooding my mind for a long time now. I simply lost my bucket. *sheepish grin*
      It’s good to hear from you. I enjoyed reading your notes on FB.

  6. Ah Shirley,

    I remember the days when I would feel a frisson of excitement at seeing an email in my inbox telling me you had posted a new poem.
    That frisson is still there. Welcome back 🙂

    This poem has great depth and I truely love the lines –
    “the sharing of pictures in winter clouds.
    That is enough for me, if I am with you.”

    Much Love

    • David,

      How sweet you are. Thank you. It feels good to post something. Often, with my schedule and family, the problem is finding time and energy to read and answer comments. It has been just that for the past month. Lots to worry.

      This poem is a part of a private exercise I do, which I have never shared with anyone until now–too silly a thing to admit. I went back to a short story I had been working on a couple of years ago and needed motivation to get back into the characters. Sometimes, when I need that, I put myself in their (character’s) mind and do what is most natural for me. I let them speak to me through poetry. I know it sounds odd, but it works for me. It gets me into places in the character’s mind and heart that were not thought of before. This helps build the story, and the (most important) the voice of the character. Of course, as with all of fictional characters, there is always something of ourselves in the foundation.

      Maybe I should look through my files for more of these. They might have more to say to readers than I thought.

      Thank you again for your lovely comment.

      Much love,

  7. Hi Shirley,
    I was with much pleasure that I clicked to read this poem. I’m very happy for you that you’ve found a space to write again. I’ve alwas appreciated your work, and have missed it some. 🙂

    This poem is no dispointment. There are so many lines I could pull out that really resonate with me. The biggest impression I’m left with though is the feel and atmosphere in this piece. It’s grand! As love should be. You’ve painted such a clear and visually beautiful picture of the road travelled to desire again the companions path.
    I feel an influence from all your travels, maybe? Your use of landscape really moves me and I can just see you in field somewhere far from home laying quiety in the sun, and walking trails through mountains. If so it has most certainly served you well.

    Very beautiful!
    I’m glad to see you around again.

    Much love to you and the family
    (((BIG WARM HUGS)))

    • Tikarma,

      Thank you! I have been reading and enjoying your poetry for around five years(!!!) now, and your encouragement and support mean a lot to me. I feel like I have been away from poetry circles for years, though it has only been a few months. It’s really nice to feel welcomed back by old friends. *smile*

      The poem does get a nudge from some of my personal experiences and interests. (See response to David Agnew’s comment). I suppose there is more of my life in this one than I care to admit, which is probably what prompted me to share it. I wasn’t ready to put it away in my “gone and forgotten” stack yet.

      And, what you said about lying in fields and walking in the mountains is a good description of my life when I get time to do what I like best. I have spent many days and nights lying on the grass in the field sky gazing, both as a child and now as a grandmother. The clouds at day and the stars at night never lose their magic. Mountain trails are some of my favorite haunts, especially in the N.E. Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee areas. I am going back this weekend with Nicole for her fall break from classes. Can’t wait! The color has peaked up there, and a friend who went last week told me it is a really great year for autumn color.

      Hope you are well. Give Jamie my best too. Take care.

      Much love & many (((hugs))),

  8. This is quietly atmospheric and beautiful.
    To be frank, there are things I don’t understand – such as the references to Perseus and Pegasus, and the reference to a circumpolar view – but I can live with that.
    What is very clear is the mood, the sadness, the sense of someone missed and the undimmed hope that they will return – universals. And there are some stunning lines and phrases: “watching leaves drop color and die”, and “all that is left is a calming stroke of hands, for example. Very beautiful.
    I love the title too: fantastic! – it immediately creates a sense of calm reflection and a hint that things might not be all bright and bubbly.
    It’s good to see a poem from you again.

  9. John,

    Thank you so much for coming to read and for your words of encouragement.

    Explanations seem to be order.
    Perseus (son of Jupiter who killed Medusa) and Pegasus (the winged horse) are constellations visible in the Southeastern US during the summer and fall months. I have been something of a star gazer for most of my life and I have always thought of them chasing one another because the optimal timing for viewing them is closely spaced.

    Boone, N.C. is one of my favorite places to go bouldering (free hand rock climbing). It’s something I did a lot of when I was younger and more agile, and I am getting back into it now that I am older and more clumsy. Makes sense, right? LOL Boone, and the Grandfather Mountain area, used to be a really great place to set up camp with a scope–not so much now. Beautiful places attract tourists, and tourists need light. Light interferes with star gazing.

    A circumpolar view describes a view of the sky from a location nearer the polar regions, specifically (for this poem) the southernmost mountains of Chili in South America. I do have a friend who has spent most of the past twenty or so years bumming around (my word for it, not his) down there. It’s sort of like looking at the sky though a really big bowl shaped lens. There is just more sky to see, usually. However my brightest star, Polaris (North Star), is never seen in Chili. Polaris is too far north to be visible anywhere south of the equator. The Southern hemisphere has no bright polar star. No star that bright is visible to the naked eye.

    Okay, I’ll shut up. 🙂

    The title is just another way I love to relax. I’ve got really nice porches and decks, if I say so. It’s a bonus of country living.

    Thanks again. It’s good to “see” you.


  10. Thanks for taking the time to explain those references; it all falls neatly into place now. And I understand your thought process of imaging something through the mind of another character – as you said above to David. That seems natural to me – poems should not be assumed to be speaking the writer’s own thoughts unless that is made clear.
    Living in England, I don’t know the constellations you speak of, but I do know how weird it is when I’m visiting daughters in New Zealand to look up at a totally unfamiliar night sky, especially the thrill at last of finding the Southern Cross.
    Re-reading your poem today confirms my first impressions. It is beautifully atmospheric: yearning and nostalgic I suppose, looking both back and ahead.
    Write some more!

  11. sandra

    So happy to be reading your words once more!! This is beyond, gorgeous!!

  12. Elaine Randall English

    So nice…..lovely thoughts…