The Thinking Poet


A Child Comes Tapping On My Shoulder


And not a cloud to be seen.

Only penciled vapour trails,

Crisscrossing lines seeded by silver specks,

Each one opening like a lambís-wool scarf.


What lies behind this arching blue?

As a thumb-sucking child I thought they knew,

But now I laugh,

Knowing that beyond the sage-sown stuff

Of Big-Bang, multiple-zero numbers, galaxies flying apart,

The same vast question that scared at night

Sending me diving beneath the sheet

Still beats us with its far-flung awfulness.


Past four oíclock;

Now a deeper blue sieved by yellowing leaves.

Epitaphs of tree-chaff litter grass.

Time to grab my sweater, lain aside.

Time to watch the sunís swift melt-down ride.


Autumn emphasizes contrast:

Those lingering stabs of final light

That yield to gathering mists at night;

And willow tresses green and lithe

Reach for birch leaves drifting down to die.


And the visiting child that once I was, now scarcely known,

Comes tapping on my shoulder,

Jogs memory, reminds me how to see;

Not through crowded numbers or the Big Idea

But with far seeing eyes, as when night mists clear.