Posted by: Peadar Ban | October 31, 2009

Gaudeamus Omnes


Before The Dance Begins

It is the day after the last day in October.
All but few oak leaves from height have fallen.
Scattered. Gathered in groups and companies;
As children may among gardens and lawns.
I will sit and sift among my memories
While wind’s twist whips dead leaves into blur.
But that October’s thirty one days are gone
I cannot think why I should begin.

I close my eyes to prevent the outside’s
Presence, its insinuous intrusion,
Should dancing leaves seduce with windy
Intricacies and cause me to hide
From some shuddering memory.

Is this the reason for rising from my bed?
To sort my mind’s blue moments dressed
Already, rounded, wrapped in haze like hills
Passed yesterday, seen again with regret?
The reason, yes, to have risen-
And moved into another room?

To find the door unopened was no surprise.
To know if it was the way in or out
I could not say with certainty.

A cold breeze, a brief rain breaks
Across meadow and woods beyond
Besieging day and bringing doubt.

Where do the secrets lay among
The blue heaps of memory
All of them laid about
And all of them mine?

I see the saint’s and sinner’s eye within
Reflected, clear as virtue cold as sin,
Regarding me regarding them more or less
And all is I.  The things that I have done,
The people whom I have done with pass
In truth, seen reluctantly or full of joy
While rain beats incessantly outside.

Still, the naked trees weep leaves no more.
Their bright tears litter lawns and woodland’s floor.
I sigh in recollection now and clearly see
The high sun awake and full inside me.

The sun, original of my early days
No storm could darken long,
Spreading light like syrup
Over old blue hills now leafed in gold
Has returned, is strong.

I wished some to stay and so thought I’d choose
Which were worth affection and which respect
Which to keep within and which to cut loose.
I found something different. Now think no less
Of one than of them all, nor more of all
Than one.  They are each forever mine
Who in light’s bright truth knows he should not try
To keep particular quantities of time
In reverence aside for pleasant recall
But own what is my own
And love what love has shown.

This is a day then of recognition
Not of regret nor any part of it.
I will get up from my recollection
And join the throng who sing,
Whose voices in truth eternally ring
Before the throne where both love and truth sit,
Praising Him from whom all mercy flows:
“Gaudeamus omnes in Domino!”


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