November magic

For a brief moment, sunrise alights the buildings – fire against purple clouds.

Then all is grey again; muted November.

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Autumn commute (but also, Ireland II.)

Even at this early hour, the deep, jewel-blue of evening is already fading to night’s darker hues beyond the buildings. Still in the city’s small heart, though, the sky glows and refracts between windows, brightened by the lights from inside, the street-lamps outside.

There is a quickening, an energy as commuters move away from the centre, a flow that pulls us all along for a block or two until the shift to calm that comes with the transition to neighbourhoods.

Then it is dark, night descends quickly, a blanket sprinkled with the twinkling of porch lights. The cold wind refreshes, blows nostalgia at me through a small park; the scent of fallen leaves.

This is home. It is familiar. Canadian.

I love this about where I live – the familiarity, the nostalgia, the ease of moving around here, of knowing what to expect, season after season.

And yet, the other half of my heart continues to tug me, as it always has, toward Ireland.

Rainwalk

I am walking through a steady rain, the steely evening lit by the glowing reds and golds of fall’s colour display.

I feel the magic of this life, a quickening of the heart, an uplifting.

I pass under a bridge’s pale, soaring arches and its lights turn on, one at a time, matching me step-for-step:

Enchanting.

In the midst of a life messy with family and work and responsibility, this moment feels like the perfected scene of a movie.

Unencumbered.

I don’t want it to stop. I feel I could walk for hours. And so I do.

Dreaming, I let fall all expectation, all requirement, all responsibility.

Dreaming, I walk in a twilight that hangs between day and night,

indefinite.

I make turns without thinking, following curiosity, letting whim form my path.

Until, rousing myself, I find myself facing my front door.

Visions of a city

Between all the signs of modernity —

glass-to-sky, scaffolding, sleek lines —

I scour the streets seeking this city’s ghosts 

the old cemeteries are the only places still alive 

there, ghosts breathe among trees and birds and earth-scents

elsewhere, cobbles and ancient stones whisper, but silently

their shadows hidden by larger, darker forms 

and parasols, slogans screaming brightly.

I did what I could to seek them, these ancient figures,

but so much of them is gone, so much of now is blind to the past

I went down to the river, hoping the water would at least be constant

but even it it is barely recognizable, churned now by motors and fumes.

The heart of this city is a-bustle 

everyone moving to their own rhythm

but here and there doors remain slightly ajar, open onto lives past,

hinting at some other world.

Glancing sideways I have seen them in their aloof existence

beyond the  hot, dripping streets.

The secret of fireflies

The sky presses down on me
its clouds glowing white
shift restlessly against the blue
always encroaching
but in this hidden garden you’ve built for us
the sky passes overhead
like a movie thread
distant, it disappears out of sight
here I am free to pause
to consider the black and orange beetles
fluttering between leaves –
ungainly, until I discover they are fireflies
although less magical in daylight
their secret bewitches
and at this I sway, drunk on dark thoughts
and lost in an imaginary wind
that whips down out of some other world
above