Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Hallway

Dust motes swim in a ray of light,
a shaft angled perfectly
from the high window above the pegs
in the hallway where coats once gathered in winter,
wool and buttons finding solace
while Orion ruled the sky.

But time has moved on.
Years, in fact.
It is July,
and this space of cedar and oak,
of legs conquering steps
on the staircase two,
maybe three at a time,
is empty, quiet.
Even the ghosts of my children have left.

I will sweep away the dust
and memories, but not now,
not while I sit in a straight-back chair
waiting for the sun to fall,
for the ray of light
to touch my forehead
in this chapel of grace.
It is good to be here,
for loneliness is precursor
to the perfection of God.

One day, Gabriel’s wing,
merciful and wide,
will sweep me away with the sun.
There is a time and purpose
for everything under heaven.
For now, I sit.


Janice Thomson said...

I so enjoyed the soft haunting melancholy tempered with a quiet peace and acceptance in this piece. This is one I'm sure many will relate to, as do I.
Excellent William.

Thank you for linking.

Charles Gramlich said...

"I will sweep away the memories and the dust. But not now."

very fine.

Lana Gramlich said...

Another lovely poem. :) BTW, tag, you're it!

Sandy Carlson said...

All I can say is yes. This is the great mystery, as you say:

loneliness is precursor
to the perfection of God.

God bless, Billy.

Billy said...

Janice, when I wrote it, this poem was spurred by the "empty nest." People don't think it has as much impact on fathers, but it does. But one reaches resignation :)

Charles, thanks very mych!

Lana, ditto.

And this is the first time I've been tagged. Okay, time for me take another step into the world of blogging. Do I tag someone else when I'm finished ? LOL I'm out to lunch.

Sandy, the lines you quoted are my favorites in the poem--the desert experience, the sacred loneliness as requisite for finding the Divine

Billy said...

Lana, okay, I get it -:) lol

'soulless' said...

Billy, this is so beautiful, on several aspects. How the first stanza sets the backdrop with its strong imagery, how the second 'shows' the sentiment of pathos without merely 'telling' it, how the third speaks of intent and action, and how the fourth relates the individual to the world. ;) Cheers.

Billy said...

soulless, thank you so much for taking time to tell me how the stanzas struck you. Have a great day! -:)

writtenwyrdd said...

Beautiful imagery, Billy. I have always loved the imagery of motes of dust in light beams, or the shafts of light in clouds. They do spark that religious contemplative feeling, don't they?

I'm not qualified as an editor of poems, but I thought the real ending was the second-to-last stanza.

Shameless said...

Very evocative, Billy. Sad, but also uplifting somehow. :-)

Billy said...

Written, I debated over the last stanza. I appreciate your feedback. I added the last few lines recently even though the poem was written last year. Maybe I went too far. Thanks :)

Seamus, exactly--I wanted a somewhat hopeful, philosophical ending to an otherwise melancholy poem.

Lane said...

Poignant, sad, still, but ultimately reflectively grateful and yes - uplifting.

Billy said...

Lane, it was a hard poem to write. The empty nest really stinks.

Sarah Hina said...

The burden of loneliness felt, and accepted. I love the "wing" imagery at the end, Billy. Lovely, as usual.

Billy said...

Thanks, Sarah. People always tend to shy away from pain or loneliness, but sometimes being alone becomes a comfort when one stops trying to escape it.

cargwaps said...

Sad and haunting. Your words move me and keep me transfixed. *sighs* I wish I could write like this. :)

But time has moved on.
Years, in fact.
It is July,
and this space of cedar and oak,
of legs conquering steps
on the staircase two,
maybe three at a time,
is empty, quiet.

Remembering can be so bittersweet.

Billy said...

cargwaps, remembering can very hard. At least, it was for me at certain times in my life.

qualcosa di bello said...

when my children are all out for the day (not all have left home as adults yet) & i am alone, i can feel pulled into a sunbeam such as this. you give this experience a beautiful dimension in these verses.

Billy said...

qualcosa, thank you. I myself have really sat in such an area, thinking about all the events that took place in earlier years.