Then and Now – Ann Carson
THEN AND NOW
Four years since fog and roses.
So much to take in, as I set off on the road,
barely making it to Carina, once the first stop.
Sinking to a bench, still smiling,
greeting old friends, arranging for provisions,
the temporary relief from pain passing for contentment.
Yearning pulls me up and on to the foot of Horn Hill,
bare of all but dew,
translucent drops on grass and Ladies Mantle
glisten in the early morning sun.
And then I see her, striding up the hill,
walking stick to ward off thistles and overhanging branches,
not, as mine is now, wielded to steady and support.
She looks back.
I raise my cane and she smiles, waving,
and disappears, as she had come, into the hill.
A year later, desire calling me back again,
I have accomodated, as they say.
I walk the Underhill Trail through remnants of orchard
to Burnthead, look north, glad to remember
the roar of Squeaker Cove at high tide on a windy day,
the triumph of looking out from Blackhead and Pulpit Rock.
More often I walk the lower shore road,
less demanding, yet nearer to the foam of curling waves.
I practice a closer, more intimate regard
and wonder at the birthing strength
summoned to still that other force.
We meet each other often, my Artemis sister and I,
as she turns to walk a different but no less lonely path.
Sometimes we sit together on a rock
linked timelessly through ancient stone and sea.
“An old woman talking to herself,” they say.