Wednesday, November 15, 2006

after elegies

This has been a year of big changes, in the lives of those I love, and my own. Illness, death, danger, initiation, rites of passage. Some days it's hard to want to be inspiring, be true, keep your chin up, want to go on. Sometimes it's reduced to simple endurance: get through the day, and the night, knowing only that tomorrow it will be different. Not necessarily better or worse: just different. We push at what we have to do, hoping to have enough energy left over to do what we desire.

I can't go on, I must go on, I'll go on. —Samuel Beckett

In the light of recent losses of friends, family members at risk from illness and surgery, and my own uncertainties about who to be next, I re-read through some older poems, and come across one I originally wrote in 1984 or so, which has been given to more than one grieving friend, and otherwise used in times of sorrow or grief. What good is poetry if it's not useful, at least sometimes?



after elegies


we move normally, as though
nothing were changed.
but the lie is made by the hands
that, filling a glass,
slow and become still,
as though remembering.
and we move quietly, just as if
you were sleeping in the
next room. give us time;

"now, it will take some time,"
they said. but i still
pause in moving, as though
you had just spoken a word,
stepping out of the bedroom,
into the light,
into me.

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