Poetry Thursday

Habitual Conversation

In the habit of long years I turn to him and say More coffee? Remember your medication Wear a warm coat I love you

In the habit of long years He replies Yes, please I will Allright Love you, too

In the habit of long years Familiar words Set each day in motion Quiet whispers Like the gentle tick Of ancient clocks Mark life With simple phrases Of unstated devotion Nourished In the habit of long years

There is a definite shorthand in the conversations between people in long standing relationships, a pattern of speaking and response that devlops over days and years of repetition. The other morning, it struck me that Jim and I repeat a certain dialogue on a daily basis. At first, I felt dismayed at the banality of this revelation. However, I then realized that beneath the trite question-response, there was an unspoken dialogue of caring and concern based on deep understanding of the other's needs, both practically and emotionally, an understanding that develops quite remarkably "in the habit of long years."

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