And Then?

Beside the squat, square tower

of the red-brick church, up which

the ivy cannot commit to climb,

an oak has begun its autumnal rite,

one quadrant turned to gold–

not yet glory, but the promise of it.

 

Truth that, yet a falsehood as well,

for the trooping of the colours precedes

the dead march toward the brown rot

that winter will freeze and try

to mask with dirty snow.

 

Eternal expectation that the compost

will feed new growth in spring,

but still also the persistent doubts–

Who are the elect, who the elector,

what if the plan should fail?

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

 

 

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Separation

Summer, I love you once and doubtless will again;

for sure I’ll miss your warm and humid breath some months from now,

during the short, cold days and frigid nights of February.

But at the moment, on this your last day with me for a while,

I have to say I think some time apart will do us good,

let us cool down from our heated altercations

so we can start afresh next time.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

Trying to Move On

A seasonal ballad of lost love to be accompanied by mournful fiddles, whining steel guitars, and an assortment of empty whisky bottles

 

In the first clear light of springtime,

when warming nature stirred warm feelings,

I met a man I thought I loved;

his kisses sent me reeling.

 

And then as soon, I lost him,

watched him go off to find

someone else or something new,

maybe even a better life.

 

And I, not ready for goodbyes,

wiped the tears out of my eyes

and tried to move on,

tried just to move on.

 

In the blazing sun of summer,

I met I man who seemed so right

that when he seemed to share my love,

I thought I’d finally won the fight.

 

And then as soon, I lost him,

watched him go off to find

someone else or something new,

maybe even a better life.

 

And I, not ready for goodbyes,

wiped the tears out of my eyes

and tried to move on,

tried just to move on.

 

In the yellow light of autumn,

with the leaves starting to turn,

I met the man I’d dreamed of,

the one for whom I’d yearned.

 

And then as soon, I lost him,

watched him go off to find

someone else or something new,

maybe even a better life.

 

And I, not ready for goodbyes,

wiped the tears out of my eyes

and tried to move on,

tried just to move on.

 

In the cold, grey light of winter,

with the trees bereft of leaves,

I met a man I lived for,

whom I wanted so to please.

 

And then as soon, I lost him,

watched him go off to find

someone else or something new,

maybe even a better life.

 

And I, not ready for goodbyes,

wiped the tears out of my eyes

and tried to move on,

tried just to move on.

 

And I, not ready for goodbyes,

wiped the tears out of my eyes

and tried

to move

on.

 

Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper

 

Once a Leaf

Oak leaf in my hand,

plucked from raked-up pile,

spreads wings in my palm,

but in my closed fist

crumbles into dust,

sapless residue

of forgotten life:

tender springtime youth,

prime in summer sun,

colour-change of age—

green to red to brown;

then the fall from grace,

now reduced to this.

I open my hand.

A chilling wind gust

scatters the pieces.

Death’s diaspora.

 

Copyright 2014

T. Allen Culpepper