I Cannot Return
I cannot return,
For all my need, for all my want;
The best of all I’ve ever had
I want to give to those I love-
The best cannot return.
The best is gone; the best is strange,
Foreign to those who were not there.
And yet they live within me still,
Memories I want to share.
Running barefoot through the frost,
That barefoot child today is lost.
Blueberry marshes and succulent fruit,
Worth the scratches on leg and foot-
The taste remains.
Thunder storms and hail-sized drops
That bounce on pavement curbs,
Purple Martins peeping from a hole
Neatly carved in a telephone pole,
Starlings nesting under the eves,
Hauling logs behind a team,
Walking the pole line, a day’s full walk-
Night is falling before we get back.
Lazy clouds on a summer day,
And oh! -the smell of new-mown hay,
Sand-pit hills, impulsive slides,
Raking hay and stacking stooks,
Never hurried, but firmly pushed
Through steady work that must be done.
An hour to lay upside down
On top a haystack in the sun,
Wild cucumber vines and columbines;
Strawberry picking one by one-
Mustn’t eat or you’ll never get done.
Butter sloshing in the churn-
Food-of-gods on bread at noon,
A whip-poor-will calling in the gloom;
And through it all time to reflect
Under the stars.
Northern lights and shining drifts,
Icicles forming in our hair,
Leading sheep out through the snow-
Single file on the path we go.
Early morning, lambs are birthing-
A joyous thing to see.
Bitter cold and the dark of night-
All of these are part of me.
Brittle wood in the cold of spring,
The bite of the ax and a hollow ring,
An hour to rest that because it’s there
Seems to stretch into a year.
Scripture reading and singing hymns,
Sunday walks, we know not where,
Dewdrops on a spider’s web,
A breathless moment to stand and stare,
Riding the horse to the county fair,
The river rushing down the sluice,
Hopping booms in secret fear-
Leisurely moments of youth.
Scot’s thistles blooming majestically
In a field nibbled close by lambs.
Daisy chains and trailing wreaths;
Wintergreen berries in melting snows.
Playing marbles in the spring-
Never pout if you didn’t win.
Bouncing balls off a wall:
Ordinary, moving, laughing, talking,
One hand, the other hand,
One foot, the other foot,
Clap front, clap back,
Clap front-and-back, back-and-front,
Turn-about, and under she goes.
Memories I cannot share-
I speak a language no one knows.
Acceptance of each day I lived-
All of these I cannot give.
They can return no more.
Memories of Life in the Far North
Adeline Foster's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (I Cannot Return by Adeline Foster )
- The Fallen Protester's Song, Mohja Kahf
- As Aid To Life....., Michael P. Johnson
- God Chose Israel....., Michael P. Johnson
- Nature Regarding....., Michael P. Johnson
- Wow Suddenly! ! ! ....., Michael P. Johnson
- Wonder World, Sentamu Aziz
- Where Do You Think To Be....., Michael P. Johnson
- Who To Blame, Sentamu Aziz
- The Girl of My Dreams, Bijay Kant Dubey
- Ocean of Dreams, Bill Cantrell
Poem of the Day
- Nettles, Vernon Scannell
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Sonnet 14 - If thou must love me, let it.., Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- HAPPY TEACHER'S DAY, Vivek Tiwari
- Warning, Jenny Joseph
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(16 April 1918 – 27 February 2002)
- Heather Burns
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
Udiah (witness to Yah)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)