WHAT REMAINS BEHIND

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“…Wither is fled the visionary gleam?/ Where is it now, the glory and the dream?/ Though nothing can bring back the hour/ of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower,/ we will grieve not, rather find/ strength in what remains behind.”—William Wordsworth, “Ode to Intimations of Immortality”

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Here you are asking if something is left behind
from those days and nights of heat and splendor.
The nest under the springhouse eave, the errands
to bring the birdling feed to gaping hungry beaks,
is this all that remains? What will bring back glory
to this arid field of clay? But it has never left you,
not when you still cup your ears to the murmur
of ebbtide, the trill of children running after kites
blown wayward in the hills, or feel the quick flush
on your face when you recall the warmth of nights
we lay on our backs counting our canopy of stars
knowing we could not but dared to recount them
from inconstant starts and lost our count anyway.
But that was once upon a time. It won’t come back.

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