This I Believe

David - Storrs, Connecticut
Entered on October 7, 2008
Age Group: 65+

Silk Mill in Autumn

Sometimes at season’s change I get the path wrong.

Today, feeling pointless and gray, surrounded by new

autumn, and listening to Troy Chapman rhapsodize

about a scruffy orange cat that shows up in the prison yard,

I drive right past the trailhead mazed in orange leaves.

Still musing over the stray cat and the inmates who pet it

and feed it, the need to care for someone that makes us human,

I explore a new trail — lured by whisper of water, red hackberries,

stone dam where a silk mill once stood, luxury of moss and wild

lavender asters all made vivid by fresh rain and my own need.

If I were lost, would I admit it? Or if I did find myself

on the wrong path, would I disguise it in some scrim of words?

The truth is I don’t know where and whether meaning lies,

the space between meaning and despair so silky thin

the probing blade of intellect cannot get far.

This platinum chartreuse fern glade beyond inky hemlock

shadow, thump of hickory nuts, acid whorl of granite lichen –

this agony of beauty cares nothing for me.

I repair to a diner for eggs over-easy, homefries, marmalade

on toast, a cheerful waitress who calls me “honey.”