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Nothing gold can stay

by Stéphanie Chasseloup

I was maybe thirteen years old, when I took Susan Hinton’s
The Outsiders from my mother’s bookcase.
Leatherwork cover and golden letters. It was something precious to me.
I felt like a magpie.
I read it in one breath one evening. It isn’t the story that has stuck with me, but the poem I found inside.
I read it like a mantra until I learnt it by heart.
“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”
I haven’t forgotten it over the years, it comes to light when
I least expect it.
It happened yesterday, when the golden necklaces slipped away from my neck breaking one after another within a few hours.
They have been hanging there for twenty years.
Never a concession, a flaw.
Stockpiled amulets.
Family alchemies.
To find a meaning? A hidden message?

The Outsiders, Susan E. Hinton, Penguin Random House
Nothing gold can stay, poem by Robert Frost.