When we were very young, the biblical threescore-and-ten seemed a lifetime away—as, indeed, it has been. But in a few short days, my partner, my lover, my wife, will complete her seventieth year, thus beginning her eighth decade. C’est incroyable!
We met when she was sixteen, courted for five years, then married, a loving relationship that carries on to this day—fifty-four years from high school to septuagenarian sweethearts.
A few years ago, when we lived in a forest home on a lake, I wrote this poem for her, and I include it here to mark my best friend’s seventieth birthday—
Slowly streaming, peering, through tree branches
Seeming reaching up and out to touch it
And be touched.
Dark shade-spots, never-lasting, shift on forest-run
And up the stretching trunks,
To dance ‘cross leaves turned up to see the sun.
Reflecting morning back to bluing sky
Above, from fiery diamond-dance of light
Atop the waves.
The lake awakes as light turns trees of green to gold
And traps their images
In mirrored mere, quicksilver, green and cold.
Wet, wraithlike trails of dew that do not seek
The morn, but rather gather, clutched, and drift,
And look to hide
Until, discovered by the sun’s relentless rays,
Surrender to the light
That thrusts elusive phantoms from its gaze.
Approaching shyly, coming on to shore,
From jigging o’er the watertops and waves
That lap the land.
With sighs they softly rise to stir the trees awake,
Then us, through mesh that screens
The out from in, and stubborn sleep from wake.
And lying on the bed in my repose,
With eyes still closed, I draw a morning breath
Into my soul.
And then, eyes opening to the world dawning anew,
I also turn to see the morning sun…
And it is you.
It is you, indeed!