East Rock

Last updated 2015-05-09 22:27:58 SGT

Five times this year I went up the Rock.

Once in Summer:
The green grass grew upon the summit slopes
As, getting lost, we made light of the thought
That four of us could ever blame each other:
“The blaming game,” I joked, and we all laughed.
A cloudy sky hung over Yale that day.

Once in Autumn:
Running fast? Run alone.
Running far? Run with friends.
Up the stairs; down the slopes;
Dodging cars crossing roads;
Playground fun with sturdy swings,
Raucous laughter, childish things:
You with me! Run behind;
Let those two have their time
To themselves. Come on, now,
Run with me, I need help!
So we run up and down
Cold wind blows, cold is felt,
Early sunset sends us home
Fast and far — not alone.

Once in Winter:
No songbirds sing, yet song remains; a windy song
Of howling anguish, piercing flesh and chilling bone,
Ignites in us the will to speak of warmer things:
Of homeland haunts; of favourite foods and drinks and fun
Activities; of where to buy those foods that I
Have never learned to cook. Thus warmed we turn around,
Drinks cold in hand, boots filled with snow; we do not mind.

Once in Spring:
We run;
Our weary feet
Finding purchase on
The springy grass that grows up to
The summit-stairs. We climb them slowly, panting
With every step we take on the way up until
We reach the top, flop onto benches, tilt our heads up, stare
Into the sky. “Well, that was nice, but I don't think I'd come again.”

(And then just once more with one other person
But that is not for me to write about.)

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