Old man’s sleeve

"Ash on an old man's sleeve
Is all the ash the burnt roses leave. 
Dust in the air suspended
Marks the place where a story ended."

This excerpt from T.S.Eliot’s Little Gidding is part of a three-verse grouping which could stand on its own as a poem, I always thought. It is quite sombre, and perhaps inappropriate to think about when constructing a seedling bed simply out of what is available, given the expectation of new plant life informing such an act.

Except, the old man who lives in the house a little beyond this photo used to dump the ash from the hearth here every morning, when he was less old, and underneath the soil is where this ash is. He and his wife have a gas heater now to warm the thick cold walls of the old house. Of course, it is not the ash of burnt roses beneath the soil, but this spot does mark a place where a story ended – and where some new ones might begin.

©2019 Allison Wright

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