The first day
my mother did not see
dawned grey and heavy
But still the finch greeted me
with its joy at waking to
The crows auk auk their condolences
The finch assures that life goes on.
My mother is now spirit in the breeze,
(or the stiff head-wind,
’cause she was stubborn like that).
How is this day only half over?
Only six hours since I told the doctor
palliation would be her choice,
a life-time is dragging by.
Each minute means more
than those before it.
An infinite embrace
unfolding, a somnolent
(A cascade poem)
I waited for you
wishing for a miracle
on that long night
so long ago, and yet
I live in that moment still;
I waited for you,
holding your hand,
counting your breaths
wishing for a miracle.
The click of knitting needles,
on that long night.
The form of a cascade is to create a free verse first stanza, and then repeat subsequent lines of that first stanza at the ends of the following stanzas, cascading the lines from the first stanza throughout the poem. This form was created by Udit Bhatia.
FWIW- we did get the miracle, and four more years.
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She is gone
traditions will be different in her absence
I am a poor substitute.
May our Christmas cookies
and your memories
It was a suicide.
Two weeks have passed.
“The funeral is today.
Or. Not a funeral. A celebration of life.”
How many times had intention
shown him this path?
That prescription the only protection
against this road.
“Would you like me to come with you?”
Let me watch you in this crowd.
See if I can read your mind.
“No. I’m going to stand. It’ll be crowded.”
Did he know,
so many people would want to be there?
Did he know,
so many people cared?
Or was he counting on them,
covering for him when
he wasn’t there?
Two paths forking off this road,
wives watching the journey,
or buried by it.
She hasn’t published the obituary, because
what will she say when they approach her
at the mall with their condolences that will
break her into dripping pieces? But if she doesn’t
will they ask how her mother is? Will she have
to break the news and shatter them with awkwardness
instead, then answer questions about why, when it was weeks ago?
Is she keeping death a secret,
to ponder in her heart? Many things are mysteries.
Grief makes some a blanket to hide in.
It makes others a sea to sail on.
She hides at home, and lives the obituary
in silent, private grief.
I was sad to hear the news that brilliant and prolific Canadian poet, Patrick Lane passed away this morning, just shy of his 80th birthday. I was absolutely blessed to have an opportunity to study with Patrick at the Honeymoon Bay Poetry Retreat in 2017. Such powerful mentorship from a man who had astonishing poetic insight. What a loss to the Canadian literary community.
Just yesterday after spotting the first robin of the year, I was telling a student about my time at the retreat, lying on the ground trying to hear the worms the robin heard.
When Liz McNalley, organizer of the retreat, sent word this morning, she included this poem of Patrick’s and so I will share it with you, as well.
This too, the beauty
Of the antelope in snow
Is it enough to say we will
Imagine this and nothing more?
Who understands that, failing
Falters at the song.
But still we sing.
That is beauty.
But it is not an answer
Any more than the antelope
Most slender of beasts
Will tell us why they go
And going there
Perfectly in the snow.
It was a snowy day today. Rest in Peace, Patrick. Much love to Lorna Crozier and all those grieving our nation’s loss today.
PS. If you don’t already have a copy of The Collected Works of Patrick Lane, I highly recommend it. It is full of treasures.
(Note that I’m an Amazon Affiliate, so if you buy from that link, I earn a bit for the referral)