Public Comment

Walking Through Time By MARTHA E. BOSWORTH

Friday December 24, 2004

I walk old trails this morning, bittersweet 

with gathered years, on buckling cracked concrete, 

on pathways paved with asphalt, dirt and shards, 

and stone steps mounting up between backyards 

from street to hilly street. 


Sun barely gleams on topmost window-glass— 

I walk through other lives without trespass, 

or touch, by sculptured hedge and shaggy sprawl 

of berry brambles, honeysuckle wall 

and shiverings of grass. 


Nostalgic as a windbell, fragrance blows 

from freesia, lemon tree, old-fashioned rose. 

I know by changing shapes and shades of green 

that somewhere in the dark of earth, between 

deep roots, a creek still flows. 


From buried channels faintest echoes chime 

of vanished creeks whose banks we used to climb, 

clustered with watercress and jointed fern— 

I walk through my own childhood, and return 

to time before my time. 


Cleaving the center of a city block 

my trail slopes up where shadows interlock; 

gray branches of live oak and pungent bay 

deepen the green above me, chill the day 

shining Mortar Rock. 


The folk who blazed this trail by stone and tree 

are gone, their shellmounds lost in our debris; 

these bowls of emptiness their pestles scored 

in living rock are all the years afford 

to light their memory. 


Thousands of years they stayed, a gentle host 

who knew these hills and trails by touch, this coast 

by tribal legend... Blue jay dives from bough 

to hollowed stone; I wonder—here and now 

am I alive or ghost? 


—Martha E. Bosworth