Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Happiness, in the Balance

Happiness, in the Balance

By Rowena Tiempo-Torrevillas

Mid-afternoon, my old watch stopped,
Long autumn and the flame maple leaves still
Mostly green; ginkgo gold, that most ancient
Of trees, leaves strewn prodigally.  Ah, golden
Light, mother and daughter and I all in one house,
Reading or writing in leaf-dappled rooms:
Daughter's childhood bedroom turned
Into a study, the shadow of leaves echoing
My childhood—a study that became my bedroom,
Later, my own baby's crib in sunshine.  Circle on,
Shadow of light on leaves: bare boles, blue
Skies of now, yesterday, always, never
The leaf will never leave the branch, the pages
Turn, words on mere paper stir, hold forever.


Rowena Tiempo-Torrevillas writes fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and literary criticism. She received the Gawad Balagtas for lifetime achievement from the Philippine Writers Union, two Philippine National Book Awards, and several Palanca Memorial Awards for poetry and fiction. Her works have been translated into numerous languages. She and her husband, Lem, live in Iowa City where they are proud grandparents of Mikey Seamans.

Return To Table Of Contents