Was a time
Seeking sweet,
We left tracks
In volcanic ash,
But the years have burned.

So this is the crisis.
This the crux.
We stand in
Overgrown undergrowth
At the edge of the caldera.

Stuck inside this skin,
Six and six selves
Kicking and screaming,
But we keep the lid
Screwed down tight.

And there is no
For these complaints.
We are not unlucky.

So we must return
To the archeology
Of pen and page.
Here, under decades
Of accumulated detritus,
There is still a road —
Cracked and ancient.

You need no map.
These orientations run
Bone and blood deep,
And all it takes
Is a little digging.

The fossilized footprints
Are still there.
And it’s simple enough,
Once you’ve uncovered them,
To pick up a trail
And follow on from
Where you left off.

Shared, a bit late off the mark, with the Pub Poets for OpenLinkNight week 63. Cheers, friend!


About Emily

I may or may not have: A. Dirt B. Ink C. Paint D. Wool under my fingernails.

16 responses to “40”

  1. claudia says :

    i like the images…leaving tracks in volcanic ash and the returning to archeology of pen and page…sometimes not easy to pick things up again that we have left years ago but then…it runs in the veins and orientation is just easy..

  2. kaykuala says :

    It’s easy enough when footprints are seen. No excavations needed! Nicely Emily!


  3. Grandmother Mary says :

    I saw this as a marriage 40 years on. They were “seeking sweet” and needed to rediscover the road under the “accumulated detritus” as sometimes happens. I liked the implied hopefulness of being able to “pick up the trail” that’s there.

  4. Emily says :

    Ooooh, I like your take on this. Very sweet.

  5. Emily says :

    Thanks Hank!

  6. Emily says :

    Thank you, Claudia!

  7. Eric says :

    Self-examination can be both scary and rewarding. Nicely said!


  8. Emily says :

    Thank you!!

  9. ayala says :

    Nicely penned !

  10. brian miller says :

    today is your birthday? if so i hope it is happy….

    i life the premise behind this…the leaving of footprints and the archeology…digging beneath the surface to get back to where you left off….pretty cool verse…smiles.

  11. Emily says :

    Thanks, Brian! Yes, it’s my…gulp…40th.

  12. Emily says :


  13. Dick Jones says :

    There’s a wonderful sense within this piece of the sheer magnitude of time and our flawed capacities in the face of recording it. Powerful and atmospheric. Terrific writing, Emily.

  14. Sasha Jenna Spears says :

    happy belated birthday…

    powerful words.

  15. apshilling says :

    many happy returns . . . ‘follow the yellow brick road’ . . . i found myself thinking of TWoO (any excuse;) . . . 30, 40, 50 . . . it is all the same huh?
    one foot in front of the other . . .

    we’re off to see the Wizard . . .

    great PO Emily

    all the best 🙂

  16. Mama Zen says :

    “But the years have burned.”


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