the year falls older

The clear air sharpens.
An early darkness opens: a heedless welcome

As the year falls older on our shabby lives,
on shallow thoughts and deeper breaths and one-time dreams
in strictly limited edition: captive moments cradled
to enjoin a restive wanderer, who’d ask:
What may we have lost?  Which guests will leave today?
Are any strangers come?  Did the system know?

It falls?  Mere stumbles on a root-crossed path
traced and lined by windblown crashed propeller seeds
whirling catkins trailing footloose introductions
beech nuts teasing open among blasé topless acorns
all nestling beside shameless, shell-burst chestnuts –
and starfish maple leaves, their dried traceries in vain…

A future lies gestating on the ground
Its seeds as yet unborn, their yields unknown.

They’re crossed? A choice of none but forward steps
(if we may suffice, while jolted by concussive snaps
to hold uncertainty in mind, without suffering unease)
through a carousel of faded taints: a strange parade
to reach a crooked avenue / north-faced by moss
below those silver birches’ yellowed canopies…

Whose steps? In lock-step locked outside the windows
shuttered for protection, guarded against storms,
the freshly loosened seeds of youth
– it seems forever – pass the briefest glance across
our careless woven dreams / that yielded time to them.
We rest.  Our responsibilities passed on.