ALL HALLOWS – A Poem by Gareth Jones
For my grandson
No leaf fell today. I saw not one.
The air so still with mist and smoke
The ash would float and rise again
And raise the very cinders in its wake.
You knew the path, untought you found the pyre
That last year burned before your new-born eyes,
Now twelve-month on, scarce eighteen from the womb
You knew the place, the time, the coming flame.
Memory so young, so fiery, carrying skyward,
With the sparklers and the Chinese Fountain,
One year gone, the trace of those who last year held you,
Whom you surely now recall as shadowy fire.
Your father’s father’s mam, the ailing dam
Who squeezed her hundred autumns twixt the branch and bough
To watch the spiral leaves drift idly from the flames
And take their place again on naked trees.
Her too we burned this year. The air is thick with her.
With her we all move up one bough
And one or more may not be here to drink the wine
And chew the bread next Hallows.
You, though, son of my son, are the one who knows
The place, the fire, the face of those
Who age ahead of you and always will be yours,
While any of us live to raise a glass and praise All Souls.
© Gareth Jones November 2017