Tuesday, March 28, 2006

from the past

While digging through the back of the cabinet that stores the words I scribbled long ago, I came across the following poem, written by me at the death of my father some 30+ years ago. The words ring true even now, and evoke the same emotion now as then. I hesitate to analyze or search for deep or hidden meanings in the poem. That is best left to whoever choses to read it. I am curious, though, to hear your response. So I offer this poetic attempt for your perusal.


We cannot much longer sit shivering,
Shrugging at promises.
white frost does not melt into green
and we cannot remember the last crocus
Trees are leafless in misbegotten Junes
Tarnished dark like late December afternoons.
Sheets are draped on all the mirrors,
Eyes of each avoiding the unkempt faces of the others.
The relatives come clucking,
like he last of the chickens after the fox has been through,
And quickly leave.
And more spoons are gone from the last of the silverware.

The lid has slammed
And they fetched you off
to a resting place amid
the granite, grass, and tea roses.
The old trees whisper words of awe,
rustling at the majestic power
that prescibes endings,
Words left unheard,
but still weaving through the leaves,
By ears no longer tuned to earthly murmurings.
If you hear, you don’t let on,
so the consolation is small.

The man in black speaks to the powers
in hushed tones that brown the air,
Invoking streaming tears among the living,
born of inner rumblings appropriate to the occasion.

The tea roses are now wilted
But the trees seem just as old.
All that remains to be seen
is a mounded reminder,
brown, surrounded by green.
A marker that says you once were
but are no longer,
Pushes the memories lingering,
but now fading
in the fog of minutes,
Into obscurity.

Still we plod along,
the loving embodiment
of your presence once so short,
Living proof that tea roses will grow again,
And trees will grow still older.

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