When Winter Is Expected

By Christos Floratos

By the rocking chair,

Birds and wrinkles have brought her.

By the river,

Lilies grow and summer shimmers on top.

 

Her eyes are washed with cerulean;

Of the stream and the moss afloat,

Of hybrids of delphinium, iris and hydrangeas,

Of afore her eyes, the girl’s yellow dress and the sky above.

 

The girl runs through the grassy field ahead.

Unchained she is a madman. The poor insect she tramples.

Yet in excitement she goes and goes, and doesn’t stop, oh no.

Where does the horizon end she ponders?

 

Her smile turns to ploughshares; the girl runs off.

At every glance from the girl, she can’t help but turn aside.

She has a bouquet prepared for the girl, with a card

 “Go and go, before the horizon is met!”

 

Adjacent the girl, was the river.

Her feet drifted to the side, parallels were an expectation.

She got lost in the grass, high as her.

No false mower to cut her down, a maze she’ll burn.

 

When her feet are oiled again,

And her gears tune in motion,

Perhaps she will follow the girl

And maybe the flowers won’t rot in her hands.

 

Up, up, titanic like the Southern Cross.

The girl is fading into the grass, skipping to the rhythm of her soles.

A smile is broken for her, vaguely.

Run into the sun that sets, swallow the light.

Savour the warmth, for winter is expected to come.

 

To that horizon where she presumes the girl wondered,

She places the bundle, arranged full of bulbous colours.

The rivers ran off, cowering from this line.

She lets the weeds catch her, so she can watch.

There as it dried out, she stares just to watch the flowers die.


Author’s Comments:

The poem is dedicated to my late dog, Lily. The drawing was completed by my boyfriend and is just a brief image of her, something that I capture in this poem. I tried to capture the discrepancy between both my dogs ageing and my own ageing. The girl that runs into the sunset is both me and her. The sun that sets could be me and the life ahead of me without her, or it could be Lily’s end of life cycle. Her passing taught me so much about my own life, that life still continues after death and the lived memories still remain.

Yet in excitement she goes and goes, and doesn’t stop, oh no.

Stanza 3

When I refer to ‘her’ as a madman, that is a hidden reference to our times on walks. I would take her to the park, and if I let her go, she would jump into the grass and it was quite an amusing site. This imagery personifies Lily as she was to our family, a real being. ‘The girl’ and the person lagging behind could be identified as me, or could be identified as her. They are both interchangeable with each-other. I was and currently am lost in the adventure of life, while Lily was towards the end of hers. At the same-time, she is heading off into the horizon and I am yet to catch up.

“Go and go, before the horizon is met!”

Stanza 4

Grieving is a continual process. She passed in late 2017. I fight the notion she is just ‘a dog’. This is why I refer to watching the flowers die. The last stanza is about confronting my own grief, that it is ongoing and that is also, in a sense, comforting. The bouquet I’ve been referring to both a representation of what I’ve given her and what I failed to give her. Not to the fault of myself, but to cruel fate of the ‘Autumn’ of time.

“She lets the weeds catch her, so she can watch.
There as it dried out, she stares just to watch the flowers die.

Stanza 8