MH ( / New York)

Book Of Leaves

It was an autumn project every year
when I was still too young to wonder why
I could not understand the reason for
collecting leaves to paste them in a book.

We took a long drive to a country place
where a book of leaves began when you were young.
The desperate colors, amazingly profuse,
graced the ground and limbs where leaves clung.

The air above the branches was ablaze
in daylight. The leafy gloom below was deep.
Callow judgments underneath the trees
would yield the leaves I felt I had to keep.

Before we had arrived, the wind had blown
a million crisping ones into a pile.
You watched me run and eagerly leap in.
And as you watched, I wanted you to smile.

And as your son, I needed you to laugh.
But driving back, your male silence forebode.
The point at which our lives were cut in half
was no more than a few years down the road.

My book of leaves, untouched, continues to grow.
It opens by itself, and then it shuts.
Why do my thoughts always drift towards you
when some new sadness burgeons in my guts?

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Comments (6)

you capture the emotions of a young child yearning for his father's attention with finesse in this haunting piece. Happy to be able to read your poetry again after so many years!
you capture the emotions of a young child yearning for his father's attention with finesse in this haunting piece. Happy to be able to read your poetry again after so many years!
i can feel your pain in some way because i feel all our fathers are in some way very much alike. i've had such experiences many times over and you really capture you emotions eloquently in this poem.
This speaks to the heart and soul. It reminds me of Cat's Cradle. My old dad was as about as distant as Sirus, a mere twinkle in the eye. I too sometimes think about him when the visceral butterflys come in. You sure connected my feelings in this one, thanks.
Such a hollow ring in here. Why couldn't he feel the eyes of that child begging for him to invest more of himself.? Beautifully sad and haunting.
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