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Ruins by Jacob’s Ladder

by John Stocks

You lived by Rowan and by water
By limestone walls that sheltered you from storm
With calloused fingers frozen to the bone
As you cracked ice
And felt the wilderness within.

Tough love they called it
Sharp and sour as cloudberries
Ripening on moon-soaked hills.

Alone on the ridge
Absorbed by mists
The love that burned within
Sustained you and sometimes forced a smile.

And you scratched a life together
Culverted the stream and dug a well
Chopped and joined creaking timbers
Created paradise; cold by cold stone.

And here you lived
Here your place and time
A family grew and drifted from the valley.

For ten summers you grew old together
Weaved sweet stories from the autumn flames
With rich memories of past springs to share
And clung together through the winter storms.

And then your lover became your patient.

For five dark years you tried to ease his soul
As seasons faded quickly swooping by
With thick cumulus and alto-stratus
Until you sat and watched the fire alone
To see his face in embers from the coal.

Copyright © 2007 by John Stocks

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