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Image: "Memory of Trees" By Ruth Calder Murphy (Arciemme)

Memory Lane

- By Ruth Calder Murphy -

I tie the rope behind me

and step to Memory Lane

where the ghosts smile, sweet and sad

and love me again.

I know the first, by his white-and-ginger tail

that shows up in the twilight gloom

like the promise of a sail full of ocean breeze…

and then, the rest of him emerges from beneath the trees,

purring like a Harley Davidson.

He sticks to me, the way he used to stick,

somewhere below my knees,

and keeps my heart warm.

There are ghosts here who I don’t quite know,

but know me now,

courting connections and piggy-backing memories.

Around the angle of the track,

where the trees momentarily meet themselves coming back,

I hear the mournful melody of the ghost with the flugel horn,

playing melancholy beautifully and making me weep painful joy

like diamonds onto the rough ground.

It is the sound of Requiescat in Pace -

the myth of death made into music,

drifting dusky towards night.

Now, by the letterbox - bright red on a black post, as they used to be -

I see, first, her shoes and then her smile and then, between them both,

pockets full of things that were, before the hospital,

before the potatoes-full-of-maggots in her pantry when we cleaned up afterwards…

She waves her smile towards me, with love.

A comet, magical as science, bears my madman back to earth

and I love his re-birth, here, with me again,

here in Memory Lane...

He’s not really mad; just crazy-happy and too lively to be dead.

A light ahead and tea is brewing.

We sit and drink and the purring is louder now, in my lap.

There’s no poison here, in this galaxy of memory

- no catastrophe -

just the softness of moss on sleeping stones,

the sighing of years

and the warm swimming in familiar tears.

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