Smoke Through the Keyhole



Time gets away from us.

We hear people talking about their children, "Oh, it seems like only yesterday she was toothless in pig-tails, and now she is picking out a wedding dress." Or they say, "Where did the time go?"

Some wise old wag once said that time is God's way of keeping everything from happening at once, but even if that is true, things happen all the time, and we either do not see it, or we see it and we do not pay attention to it.

I love watching my kids grow, and change, I am very conscious of it, and I look for subtle changes all the time, but even so, I look through old photos and I am astounded at the difference a few years has made in their young lives.

The poem I selected today is about that, the ephemeral nature of our lives, and how it all escapes us, a little bit at a time, like smoke through a keyhole.

Like smoke through a keyhole. That's how the last couple of weeks have passed. Of course, I didn't make up that simile. That honor goes to Jack Nicholson in "The Bucket List". I've read that he made it up on the spot. Origin aside, I intend to use the phrase as often as I can because I have deemed it to be both mellifluous and accurate (and fairly badass in an understated way).

SMOKE THROUGH A KEYHOLE

Life is an attic room
packed with memories,
old and new, shiny and sharp,
broken or patched together.
They are piled where they fell,
one atop the other,
hiding older ones
beneath the new.
 A trunk full of this,
and a case of those,
a few of these spilled across the space.
The bits of ephemera
collected through a lifetime
that define not only
where we have been,
but what we have brought back.
Each time we draw in
we pull another memory
into the attic of our soul,
disturb the dust,
refresh the contact
with what we were,
to build
what we are.
Some moments we waste,
and others we carve
our initials on,
tying them to our soul,
chaining them
to ourselves,
making them ours.
And as we move through
Time’s pathways
to the next beginning,
we leave the room
empty, a bit at a time,
smoke through a keyhole.

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