The small maple leaf, deep red with tiny yellow daubs and
a bent stem, floated down before the windshield and slowly,
lazily even, started to curl midair, casting as
it twisted, a spell on time itself: sound stopped and light curved
in a still sheen, highlighting the pale yellows on one side
of the road and the blood reds on the other, with a pair
of puzzled eyes—hazel my mother called them—floating in
between. Suddenly I knew this for what it was: an ache
for all those calm, quiet, forgotten moments, the ones of
absolute lightness that are sweeter than breath itself and
sufficient for being them unto themselves. Gone then
were those agitated moments—
With a whoosh, more imagined then heard, the little maple
leaf flew up and over the car, into the void behind.
– or –
The small red leaf twisted in the wind,
an instance of perfect resignation,
a breath released before I—
and was gone.
Recently, my wife and I spent a week in the Poconos, the name the resort area goes by in Pennsylvania. (In New York the same area is known as the much more prestigious “Catskills,” which just goes to show you that even a mountain range can do with good marketing these days.)
We were both, by the time we got there, exhausted and tired in both body and spirit, so the trip was a welcome respite from our daily clamor.
The incident described in the poems happened exactly as described, but that raises the question, Why two poems under one title?
I wish I had as good an answer as the question. The longer poem was my attempt at a more structured, detailed poem. You will note, for example, the 14 syllable line construction until the break and how much color plays a role in it. But in the end, I wanted to try something even more closely aligned (if not as descriptive) with the spirit of the event, its brevity and intensity.
Like any good parent I will not state a preference of one child over the other. But please, feel free to weigh in on which you think works the best for you.
Thank you for reading One fall drive in the Poconos. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.
© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. These poems and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.