I would I could

I would
I could stay
in those days
of skinned knees,
firefly-lit trees,
and the cool stretch
of evenings
the moon tipped all
her sweetness into
and in the far fields
chase the years
yet to come
up the grass-wrapped rise
where the stars
that held my eyes
touch and hold still
that spray of youth
when green, green
spread unending
and the honeysuckle hung
beneath the sour apple tree,
bare feet dangling
down below the boughs
without a care
for things like thistles,
or neighbors, or propriety
dear me,
I would
I could stay
in those days
where we played
evenings along the creek
so cold it crushed
the breath from our
fledgling frames,
thin as new foals
but spry as goats,
we plucked berries
as fresh as you can get
and as wild as the orphans
our mother called us
then grass was meant
for rolling down
and words like winter
and worry
were still
so very far away
I would
I could stay

© Sarah Whiteley

a winter life

I have not
dusted them away
those days
like daffodils in December
they lie quietly
below snowy crusts
nestled deep down
in the dormant dark
beneath sparrows’
flittering feet
whose beaks seek out
the forgotten seeds
of some summer
come the day
when I am old
and remembering perhaps
what spring once was
recalling
with a clarity of mind
only long years
can provide
I will brush aside
the snow
sweep away
the layers of leaves
and dried-up weeds
time has piled
upon us
and coax the days
into greening
once more

© Sarah Whiteley

young and cold

open windows
to the cold
why do we
wrap ourselves
in layers
bundling ourselves
away
for what
better days?
as children
we were unafraid
to sink pink toes
into snow
to fling ourselves
wide-armed
into winds
that now
make us shiver
just to think
of them
we did not think
in sneezes
or sniffles
but ran
runny-nosed
with the rest
of the red-cheeked
snow-suited troops
open windows
to winter
and thrill
to the chill tickles
of the delight
we once held
in ten-foot forts
and endless piles
of white-balled
ammunition
the sweaters
layered socks
and stupor
of space heaters
will wait
at the back
of the closet
for when we are old
and truly
weary of cold

© Sarah Whiteley