They Might Have Been Souls


“One Winter Day” By Mary Oliver

 “Today the floes came. They made their stately approach with the incoming tide, in no hurry but as if destined. The tide fell and they were left like dropped clouds along the beach. Little boys clambered onto them, as though they were white ships that could carry them out to sea. The gulls and the eiders also seemed to feel they were here for entertainment, and chose to rest upon this or that shinning pinnacle. Those still in water were no more than islands, but when left on shore they revealed themselves as sculpture, both inspired and fortunate. A blue light glowed from their crevices. They might have been souls“.


“They Might Have Been Souls”

Don’t know you anymore.

The long seasons pass.

Smiles are silent,

The years pour out


I never ask.


Looking through the window,

On frosted glass,

A sparkling glint

Of winter light,

Shifts from blue to white

As the soft freeze river

Moves past.


Would’a, could’a



Our broken tie?


Time-stream floats out’a sight,

We look in darkness you and I,

Separate in the family night.


Stars and moon

In winter bright

Cast no light

Through the closed door

Of our empty room.


Though shadows of memory

Ghostly flows

Over walls and floor

To haunt, once more.


Bitter herbs

And stinging nettle,

Settle into

A moveable feast,

Never satisfying

Our angry beast.


For just a moment

The other day

I saw the way

It used to be.


Photographs of family—-

Fluttered- down- from

the open drawer

And falling,

Flickered images of you.



Her hair tied up,

Hands full of grocery bags

With a velvet nudge

Shutting closed the kitchen door—-


Reached for a peg

To hang the coats of her

Little boys, already moved on

To dayroom toys.


For a moment we were one.

We might have been souls 

And now it’s gone.


The long seasons pass.

Smiles are silent,

I no longer ask.


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