Old Friend, In Our Younger Days
Old friend, in our younger days we could
by Mary Jane Miller
Race down this path, through these woods
Heels flung high, muscles astrain
To the redbud tree and back again.
We'd run even through the misty rain,
Through sputtering snow, wind tossed,
Through autumn leaves crisp with frost.
And then we'd sit upon the log to rest
Where the wild rabbit had her nest.
And then, not on any given day,
We just did not care to race,
But ambled along at a leisurely pace.
Paused to listen to the cat birds song,
The scolding of the blue jays
And watched the feisty squirrels at play.
Sometimes we would walk in bright moonglow
Where lacy shadows cast strange forms.
The gurgle of the creeks swift flow
Blended with the scurring of little feet
Of some wild creature we chanced to meet.
Oft times you'd sit, your head upon my knee
Your warm brown eyes aplead with me
For one short romp. but I could not go
For rheum-age had a grip of me.
Age dimmed your eyes with a cloudy haze,
And you no longer heard me call your name.
White crept into your all black hair
And your legs became stiff and lame
And we only walked on sunshine days.
For sixteen years we walked this lane
Down to the redbud tree and back again.
The redbud tree is gone. Felled by an icy storm
And now you are gone. Old age took you today.
This morning I found your cold, still form.
Sometime in the night you just slept away.
Old friend, my heart is heavy with sorrow
For I shall walk alone, come tomorrow.
But I can remember how we used to run
On strong young legs, just for fun
Down to and around the redbud tree
A very young dog and a younger me.