Poem: Ivy on the Shutters in the Late Afternoon

Ivy on the Shutters in Late Afternoon

The sun hits them directly, late in the day.
The colors are in full regalia,
bright and green, even the flaws are bright,
The brown spots of August,
of a growing season on the wane.
The late light brings out the blue
in the shutters, normally faded with age.

This is your sitting place,
A corner of the porch with wicker furniture
and a half rotted Persian rug on the floor,
its hues of blue and ruby red somehow still bright
despite a decade outside.

On day like today, you read, or simply sit
and think, sit and feel.
You allow the day to settle in
and relish your own growing season,
complete with brown spots
of a life lived too often in struggle.

It has not been the most beautiful of lives.
Not the most perfect. For decades
you have listed your flaws in cheap dime store journals,
collections of madnesses and fickleness.
You pour it out like poison on the paper,
bloodletting that leaves you new again each day,
sometimes twice a day. Confession to yourself.

You like feeling empty. Feeling new
It sings of possibilities, that newness.
It sings and your heart listens.
For a time, it believes in color,
in growth, in yourself unsullied;
You remember what you were,
what was lost, and what is becoming,
joyful now in the journey, content
in this moment of sun and stillness,
content to live in the late afternoon,
green with brown spots.

About this poem

I am mostly happy these days. For the past decade and a half that has been a rarity for me, and it is never taken for granted. I still have my battles and demons, but for now, I am stronger than they, and a better dancer.

Too often I write of my depression and battles, but that is because I generally write in the mornings, when the particular battle is fresh and the feelings still linger. But the truth is, once the poems are written and the journal is filled, I am in that rare and strange place – contentment. A little late in life coming, but savored all the same.

Be well,


PS: The picture was taken on my back porch a year ago. It’s Swedish Ivy, not the more common English Ivy.


  1. Another one which speaks to me on many levels. A reminder, gratefully received, that sun and warmth will follow the darkest of storms. Thank you my friend.

  2. Thank you, Tom, for writing and sharing this. We all need to find, at least occasionally, that still and quiet place of late-afternoon contentment. Especially now, in the late afternoon of this life, it seems a treasured prize for which the heart longs.

  3. Your work is complex and hopeful. Doesn’t draw back from difficulty but embraces peace and tranquility. Nature enough now to not fight with effete tools. Wiser.

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