Larry A. Walker



We were here, you and I, then

††††† In this God-ordained place

Down the oak-laden lanes of Shandonís wood,

††††† Bloom-sprinkled with myrtles, purple and pink,

And white dogwoods.


††††† Looks the same, but itís not the same.


The backyardís a void without you,

††††† A tarnished charm, this Manor on Monroe Street,

Without its queen.


Somehow loveliness died, sometime, then, back there

††††† When we lived on Monroe Street,


††††† You and I.


Oaks fan gentle breezes off the back porch,

††††† Nudging azaleas and impatiens to play.

Fresh spring ivy weaves a clever design

††††† About the old ice-chipped brick.

The regal palm still rules.

††††† Cannas circle it like tombstones

Where memory died.


†††† Itís different now.


The wind still sings to the pecan leaves.

††††† Lace-like, they dance,

Prating the sweet secrets of our story.


††††† The birds, the same - cardinals and orange-breasted robins.

Thrashers peck the ground and the catbird flies

††††† From the fountain full of damp, rotted leaves.


††††† I liked the catbird.


The gardenís still-hewn, grave-quiet, here

††††† Where you raked rusty leaves in the fall

And pulled yellow from the green ivy.


Loveliness died, sometime, then, back there

††††† Where we lived on Monroe Street.


††††† You and I, and the little dog,

††††† We loved this place.


She darts across the yard, but less now.

††††† Her joy damped too, without you.

Itís just me and the dog,

††††† and she is old

And forgets to chase the squirrels.


Once we were here, you and I,

††††† back there, somewhere in time.

When you tended the flowers and clipped the ivy,

††††† And the little dog rolled over to your touch.


††††† Back there is nowhere,

††††† And here is stillborn.


Night air wraps a damp blanket around the porch.

††††† Birds hush.

Emptiness grieves the wind to silence,

††††† And timid night creatures begin their mantras.


††††† I sigh at the listless wind.


Oh, to have this garden thrive again!

††††† Will there be another like it, where the breezes

Tease ivy cascades on stuccoed walls

††††† And spring leaves lattice the moon?