Forever autumn (a morning prayer)

You don’t have to be religious to draw comfort from this prayer.

As I rise up this morning
I remember the love that I lost.
I remember their laughter and smile,
their quirks and silly moments.
I remember the place they always sat
and the things that they once said.

I remember that old thing they used to wear
that carried their smell,
and I remember burying my head in it and weeping.

I remember with sorrow the words left unspoken,
the plans forever shelved.
And I remember the first birthdays
and the first seasons without them,
the wrongness of them leaving me here,
as the world kept turning.

And now it seems forever autumn,
the vapours and mists,
the brownness of decay,
the intractable darkness of the afternoons.

But though I can no longer touch,
time cannot undo or unravel their mark,
and I weave their love as I wend my way,
plaiting it with new love.

They are never far: in the lash of the wind,
in the birds that keep song,
in the lamp-lit streets at night,
and in the quiet of my prayer this morn,
for though the summer has gone now,
I know that spring will come.

[Tess Ward, adapted, from ‘Pocket Prayers for Troubled Times’]