Sunset Hill, Father’s Day
Exercise, observation and contemplation are not mutually exclusive
but may be orthogonal to each other, if I understand that word
aright. I’m trying to walk fast and notice everything and slip
into the poet-trance all at once. Sun and breeze after the night’s rain.
I won’t get far today because somehow I’ve become patriarch of the group,
and even slipping off for half an hour seems a betrayal. But it’s all right,
I’m out, it’s warm but not miserable, I can give up a few drops
of blood where blackberry thorns caught a wrist. That might be a tick
on my sock, but my legs seem uninvaded. Traffic and birdsong,
half-burnt embers in the fire ring. Nodding grasses with old words
to say. The valley spreading westward, definite but concealing
almost everything, as happens in these hills, as happens.
None of this is permanent, but some things are durable.
If the rocks remember anything, it won’t be me, passing sudden
as a cloud-shadow, heading back to hug my grandsons
large and small as they pile into their car seats, weary and happy,
sweaty from their play, as my sons and their wives speak softly
to them, take their own seats and back out, crunch the gravel lane
to the blacktop, to the highway that will smooth the boys home
as they grumble a little, as they nod, as they fade into easy dreams.