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Monday, January 20, 2014

Another Poem, and The Passage of Time

Today was a grieving day.  Weekends the hardest.  I try not to think forwards or backwards, but I do allow myself to feel the stone of grief that is a weight, and sadness.  CG has many comforting words, which I take in and appreciate, but still, the stone at the center, letting itself be known.  I hold it and wonder what to do with it, but there is nothing to do until the passage of time washes it clean and makes of it a gem.  I think that there are many "jewels" in the heart of the lotus which is this life.  Eventually time makes something better out of the rawest grief.  Grief is an honoring of what has been lost, of what was cherished.  Grief is also over my own behavior, and so much regret over my reactions and my anger also.

So, very little writing today here, but a poem I posted on Facebook today--just had a feeling someone in the ether over there needed this poem; from the comments there, I think someone did.  This is another poem for my father; I don't believe I have published this one anywhere:

                      My Father at Seventy

He hasn’t visited in two years, so it is a shock
when he gets out of his car and I see
how thin he has become, how quiet, this man
who was the Jehovah of my childhood,
his thunder-voice shaking the walls.
Now he is no taller than the stalks of corn I planted
last spring, he speaks softer than the wind
brushing the elegant leaves of green parchment,

and I notice how his thick hair has silvered
as his skin deepens to a rich, seamed copper
like the face of his native great-grandmother,
a woman whose name has vanished like pollen
released in shimmering breaths from the corn tassels,
short puffs that shine for a moment and are gone.
As he stands in my garden, I imagine he might grow
small as a kachina among the pumpkin vines,
each vine in full flower, each blossom
like a raised chalice of sculptured gold.

When the time comes and the earth
seals itself over the body of my father,
I want his eternity to be humid and fertile
as the Mississippi delta where he was born,
rain falling in sudden, steaming drops,
a landscape nourished to such abundance
it nearly melts in the heat and moisture.

I look at my father, aged seventy,
and realize I no longer want him to say he is sorry
for the childhood he gave me, that it is enough
to know the terrible flood of his anger has receded,
leaving memories which glisten like shallow puddles
on the long clay road a few miles from Jackson
where we walked together thirty years ago
past fields of what I thought were stunted rows
of dead, dry shrubs until he plunged his hand
straight between tangled stems like dense barbed wire
and, without cutting himself, pulled out a shred of white cotton
fragile as the love he concealed
   all my life, a softness hidden in a crown of thorns.