Monday, August 17, 2009

A Poem in Memory of Bryan

I sent this poem, by Lowell, one of my favorite poets and social critics, to my ex sister-in-law, Linda. I sent it because, my brother's only child, Bryan, had tragically died of an overdose last June 29th, 2008. In Lowell's time, the heartbreak of losing children was common place back in the 1800's. The heartbreak of losing children to drugs, and not disease, is common place in the 2000's. So very sad.

The First Snowfall

by James Russell Lowell

The snow had begun in the gloaming,
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.
From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
Came Chanticleer's muffled crow,
The stiff rails were softened to swan's-down,
And still fluttered down the snow.
I stood and watched by the window
The noiseless work of the sky,
And the sudden flurries of snow-birds,
Like brown leaves whirling by.
I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently,
As did robins the babes in the wood.

Up spoke our own little Mabel,
Saying, "Father, who makes it snow?"
And I told of the good All-father
Who cares for us here below.

Again I looked at the snow-fall,
And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o'er our first great sorrow,
When that mound was heaped so high.

I remembered the gradual patience
That fell from that cloud-like snow,
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
The scar of our deep-plunged woe.

And again to the child I whispered,
"The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father
Alone can make it fall!"

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
Folded close under deepening snow.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Did I Mention I was Blond?

Because really, only someone very blond would pull something as absent minded as this-
My friend wanted to go, about 10 years ago, to check his father's headstone, see whether or not it had been laid.
After parking and viewing his father's grave; we started innocently wandering from his truck. This particular cemetery was vast and quite expansive in it's beauty and history. I was completely enthralled and wanted to explore and explore and explore...
The sun had begun to set. We kept reading graves and going over bridges with ponds and lovely, royal swans swimming peacefully... I remember those swans; it grew darker. And darker. And dark. We started heading back.
But as we did, millions of fireflies, noiseless and stunning, made their way around the cemetery like little green phantoms. They were everywhere~ breathtakingly beautiful.
But alas, we had stayed too long! The gate was locked. We tried another. Locked. Another... locked! Locked in the cemetery at night with no way out.
I wasn't scared, I would not go that far- but I wasn't comfortable either. You know? Just a leetle unsettling.
Like a couple of dopes, the only thing left to do was knock on the cemetery's funeral home, as one was adjacent to the property, and tell them what a couple of oafs we are and could they let us out please?
They said after over 25 years in the funeral business, they'd never seen anyone locked in the cemetery after dark before.
I did mention my hair color, right?