The Memory Garden

7676

It’s a hard pill to swallow knowing
In two months we’ve lost some of
The best actors
The best writers
The best musicians.
It seems the gravedigger never puts on the forceps
In between shovels of dirt and mud and misery,
But the gardener waters budding flowers for us
To garnish our tables and nurture our kin.
There’s life in those roots that are plucked from the ground
And even more so when they’re put beneath it.

The Old Man’s Anchor

You hope to inhabit Byzantium.
It trumps the stone cottage, the green mossed walls,
Earl grey tea, cold biscuits, the morning news:
Your Scrabble friend just died shovelling snow.
You don’t know who to say goodbye to next.
Family is coupled with Christmas, they’ve
sat you down, had the talk, signed the papers.
“Who gets the cadillac? Who gets it, Dad?”
The soul would sing and clap and dance but the
Hands ache, holding onto the wooden cane
That supports the man ready to be earthed.

But I contest what the old poets taught.
This is a country for old men! They, the
Whiskey drinkers, hardened thinkers, who still
Share the load with Atlas, breaking their backs,
Shredding shoulder muscles, still weak and sore
From when they carried their kin to funfairs.
Pour gasoline onto the dying light!
You’ve got miles to go before you sleep!
There’s weight on those two trunkless legs of stone.
It’s a Darwinian body above,
Hardwired, ripe with age and character
And it breathes and it speaks and it’s writing.