Le retour du printemps

… Then they were in their spring, their bright emergent hope. Girls. Boys. Budding into sex and fumbling, tender belief. On the crest of hormones and heartache. Theirs was the eternity of boundless tomorrow. The widescreen romance of aching desire and the blizzard lust of newly invented love.

Here the peaks of exception; vaulting the valley of ordinary cataclysm. Even their tears, falling as jewels, the precious rain of lovely suffering, the fast blooming roses of reinvigorated blood. The drum of the heart, beat mixed, sweating in the night, dancing in primal tandem. Who at the dawn remains? Who sees the sun arise in their eyes?

… Soon the morning of stilled attention. Men. Women. The grown-up territory of coupled domain. Faith and its object, part known, half blind. The latch key and the lounge, evenings in the furnitured halls of co-habited copulation, weekends in the window shop of committed relation.

Bring forth the rings and the mortgaged adventure of life-making risk, the adult summer of companionly reproduction, its high sun burning dry, as though preserving the once fleeting fruits of orchard bounty. That it may last. So they might make it through the busy season of unglamorous restraint. The familiar uncontemptable. Stars still fit for the navigation of time.

… Now comes the autumn of mizzled longing. Slack-bellied, ugg-booted, shopping trolleys. Soccer moms. Dorkish dads. The roaming eyes and wistful recollections of cellared reality. Unexceptional domesticity. Cinematic romance driving home to TV news. Buy the lottery ticket. Imagine improbable escape.

Here they lurch, clumsy, to the trance of nostalgia. Hear them sing, tipsy, the out of tune classic rock of photo albums and spring-loaded invulnerability. Kids laugh. Parents warn. Just you wait. For next the nest will empty to wrinkled mirrors and re-configured pair bonds. Beautiful boys and gorgeous girls in grey refrain. Circumspected, still indebted, quietly regretted repetition.

… Next the muted acceptance of arthritic fate. Warmed by the recollection of fires. The unangry mists of overdue exhalation. Like the settling of snow. Soft padding on deep rutted earth. A cup of tea. Some company.

The distance of decades and the nearness of bones. Watery sunlight, pastel coloured love. Long soft shadows on the brow of erstwhile rapture. We carry the spring on crooked spines. Desiccated flowers, making way for flowers. Years gone, leaving days. Our vanities expended, leaving us. Now we dream of well-worn hands. Carry me to the cusp of abundant ground. Stay with me till spring returns.              

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