There is a voice recording where
you speak of corporal punishment,
which you endured at Eton as
a boy and just a child.
The photos too (many many) of
your childhood and fatherhood—the final days—
but holding them is such a haze, or a kind of craze,
where heart beats fast — I miss those days —
you held me close and read me tales, of Mr. Pickle, gave us a tickle,
and when you smiled your green eyes crinkled —
well, they don’t crinkle anymore.
For, only a moment nevermore,
your hair was like a raven, or —
As if you could be a poet
as well as the ocean.
And if you could, how
you would —
collect not only algae, shells, and
bloated green bodies—
but food for us, and homes which
And, had peace.
And, as if your errant dove flew
and landed on my breast.
from every tree that it had
a windowsill in Greece.
Placed inside, its
I did not then know
what I know.
Nor listen for
when your own dove flew,
and to its call—
Milan, Bellini &…
Perhaps it is my year of research, and in
the privilege of my hibernation—
of laying down roots in my own dry Earth —
in a room of one’s own,
in Spencertown, America.
And perhaps the Fall will come,
and we’ll head indoors where it’s warm.
And the wallpaper inside may yellow and crack,
and a great stone face appear—
But then the meditation and the dream, and the songbird, too.
Or is it—All Melody?
And soon, my father’s grave will grow wildflowers.
Then Spring, when the water drenches the Ark
and the wildflowers drown.
But it is all cycle…
Astonishing, really —
that I sometimes forget he could
craft something from wood
into a sort of conduit; like
the water rushing into power plants.
So time in theory can
be redirected into a small machine and,
sitting on your nightstand,
tick and tock . . .
Telling you stories about age;
how it passes, and we grow and wrinkle.
And how our hands become small, like walnut shells—
Clenching fists that aren’t angry, but,
[Or perhaps shells close to protect what's inside.]
Perhaps, inside the walnut, this
is where the cancer began. Or maybe time.
Asleep, you dreamt of lives which you had saved.
In bed, had you locked the door, and had the cat been fed?
And the nighttime fell on us and we slept,
safe, we wept, but knew it would be
A White Christmas.
And you, who was shot clean through, as well as
the man who protected you!
In bed, yet in the mourning still, you rose —
And, cloaked in every slight,
and Southern word from old
in the morning, you
the smile —
like a phoenix or,
a warrior girl.
For those sparks that…