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Poetry Magnum Opus

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On a hill overlooking a quaint, bustling village stands a large white house surrounded by massive Maple trees. Autumn rains, and blustery winds are removing the last of golden leaves from their precarious perch. In the attic of a three-story Victorian house, Laura is busy tidying the spacious room, and pondering about its many contents. While examining a trunk of family heirlooms, our young friend is soon to discover she reminisced farther than she intended.
 
The Attic
 
Wet leaves carpet the ground, in glistening, golden arrays.
Giving notice of impending Winter, and end of Autumn days.
Starlings on barren branches, huddled against the chill,
Ashen clouds hasten, above the mansion on the hill.
 
Busy in the attic, among heirlooms from years gone by,
Laura arranged this trove, then rewards herself with a sigh.
Time passed quickly; her watch showed nearly three;
She dropped her cloth upon a table, beside dusty cups for tea.
 
Pausing before an empty trunk, she eased to an oval-braid rug.
A book thereon, held an envelope; curiously she gave it a tug.
Carefully she opened it; no post date could she see.
Laura gasped... “ It’s from Grandmother, and it’s meant for me!”
 
“Dearest Laura;” immediately she felt Grandmother presence.
Reading more of the letter, the attic filled of her essence.
In the lack-luster light of her sanctuary, Laura read each word.
Her eyes tired, she nodded... then her name she softly heard.
 
“Laura,“ she called, then sipped her tea so aromatic;
Grandmother sat before her, amidst treasures in the attic.
The trunk was open, a fine was gown draped o’er her knee.
She stroked its lace remembering, thoughts only she could see.
 
“John was so handsome, in his uniform he looked so tall.
We danced forever it seemed, the night of The Cinderella Ball.”
Placing the gown on a hobby-horse, she lingered... stroking its mane,
Then turned once more to the trunk...... outside it started to rain.
 
Reaching down into its depths, Grandmother lifted from a shallow tray
“... and this was your Grandpa’s pocket watch, when he retired, he put it away.”
It was heavy and ornately engraved, its crown worn smooth with time.
“Upon the hour or half past, it plays the most beautiful chime.”
 
Grandmother wound it and set it, then placed it upon the table.
They continued searching the trunk.... “it will chime if it’s still able.”
In an album with pages loose, many pictures damaged or missing,
A photo of younger Grandparents; standing by a wedding cake, kissing.
 
Other pictures of usual kind, like Uncle Charlie and his favorite car,
Laura didn’t recognize him, he was photographed from afar.
“This was our first house on 9th street, it was taken in our back yard,
Here’s Grandpa in his work clothes; my he worked so hard.”
 
A collection of stamps; a porcelain doll and worn teddy bear;
A pinafore dress of faded blue, and ribbons for a little girl’s hair.
 
Through the dusty windows of the attic, lightning flashed and thunder roared;
A tiny box Grandmother held, fell from her grasp to a barren floor board.
It’s cover came off¾an object spilled out¾a ring so exquisitely made;
In the colorless light Laura noted, its brilliance would never fade.
 
“‘Twas a gift to my Grandmother in Scotland; part of her dowry in 1882;
Its been in my possession a number of years; I want to give it to you.”
Laura protested... Grandmother pressed cool fingers to her lips.
Certain Laura would remain passive, she lifted her cup and took another sip.
 
They stood, and walked slowly... past a wooden toboggan and skis.
Pointing to a double-barreled shotgun, she chuckled and slapped at her knees.
“A hawk had been in the chicken coop, Pa was going to shoot it dead.
He pulled a trigger... both barrels went off; the hawk flew over his head.
 
I don’t recollect he hit the bird, but his shoulder got a terrible bruising;
We kids dared not laugh at him, ‘cause he never thought it amusing.”
“This green wicker-buggy was mine; the hobby horse, a gift to my son.
He passed away at the age of ten, in the winter of ‘31.
 
“‘Twas a bad year for influenza... back then we called it the “grippe”;
Toby was a slight boy; he never recovered... ”Grandmother took another sip.
There were many items in the attic, so many it was hard to recall;
Books, magazines; sculptures and glass; outside rain continued to fall.
 
Reality faded from Laura’s mind, as she entered into a deepening spell.
Names and places she recognized... was she dreaming? She could not tell.
They never left the attic realm; yet drifted back through many years,
Laura was introduced to kinfolk, amid laughter and happy tears.
 
They rode in a Whippet sedan, on seats covered with fine Mohair.
Its tires threw stones against the fenders, dust from the road riled the air.
They passed a burly iceman, delivering ice to an opened door,
An ICE sign in the window, meant it was time for more.
 
Children were playing hop-scotch... Laura could hear their laughter,
A friendly woman cleaning windows, waved as they drove past her.
They picnicked on the bank of the Maple River,
A team of horses and buggy near by.
 
Spread out on an oilcloth from their basket,
Was sandwiches, sun-tea, and cherry pie..
They browsed in a store wearing buckskin; a stagecoach passed outside,
Followed by large wooden wagons, loaded with buffalo hide.
 
There were ruffled-neck blouses and high-buttoned shoes;
Padded bustles and bolts of cloth, of many colors to choose.
In a more familiar surroundings, someone called her name.
Scenes faded from her vision and back to the attic she came.
 
In her hand was wordless paper, she felt a tingling chill,
Her name called again; it was the voice of her husband Bill.
“I’m here in the attic Darling, I’ve been very busy toda-”
A wisp of steam arose from a teacup; she stopped what she wanted to say.
 
Moving quickly to greet him, knowing she dared not linger,
She reached out as lightning flashed; a glow was upon her finger.
She was eager to tell him, everything that happened today.
But suddenly she became dizzy; her body began to sway.
 
She stumbled forward, Bill caught her just in time.
... somewhere in the attic, he heard a musical chime.
Much we don’t know about life, or our presence here on earth.
Where does time really go, starting from the day of our birth?
 
We know we were here yesterday, and we know we are here today,
But what of tomorrow... is there anyone who can say.
Laura transverses a barrier, without knowledge of how or why.
Physical existence had no connection; it happened in a blink of an eye.
 
She chanced upon a paradox, that logical reason can not bring,
An answer to explain her Grandmother, or her gift of the diamond ring.
 
YarnSpinner
 
 

 

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