A Hymn to Lost Childhood

The quiet
of a winter evening,
the church bells
tolling somewhere
in the days of my childhood
all around are falling
like white flowers,
the dew of their voices
burning with a question:
where have the days gone?
The faces vanished in the shadow
where are they now?
What poems have become
of their halos?
Is their laughter
still weeping into a mighty river
and converging with everything
in the heart of the great sea?
You friends who have wandered
far and away I miss you
with every note
of my bleeding heart,
I miss you
and I fold the petals of your laughter
between the pages
in the book of my days.
The fragrance of your faces
now rises like incense
in the air of the cold evening,
you burning grains of silence
from a time an eternity away,
between me and you
the gulf is insurmountable
though the field you live in
has my boots covered in mud
from walking it every day.
Tonight I wear my thick coat
and go out into your field again,
the field of childhood,
the field of every beginning and end,
and I smile and a tear hugs my cheek
as under a dry leaf
a star from that bygone time
smiles and peeks.
All is not lost, my friends,
and the laughter we shared
is still carrying us
into the heart of the great sea.
Let the days tear and bend and push away
we will have our day again,
and though our bones may rest
our day will outlast the last burning sun,
a flower in an unknown garden,
a stream in an unknown field.

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