Thursday, September 14, 2017
Agudas Achim Cemetery, August 31, 2017
As I take my place
Standing a little back, behind the immediate family
The rabbi says,
“Now at the grave,
we know for sure that we will not see her again.”
I see the open hole – carved from the earth –
roots reaching out across the chasm created by the sheer cut
perhaps from the tree behind me
its underground limbs
circling above all the bodies of the dead
in their concrete tombs
the simple wood coffins encased but not unreachable:
“We are here with you,” they say.
Of course I thought none of this then,
Only – look, there in that hole in the ground is Dotty,
A woman whom I loved, and loved me.
And, we, none of us will see her smile again.
She is gone from us.
The rabbi says prayers and then gives instructions
To help in this task of certainty:
To shovel earth on top of the casket (to bury her)
To fill the hole dug for her
from which she will not leave
And to encourage us to begin the slow process of grieving.
He shows us: take the shovel from the pile of earth,
Turn it first upside down to feel your reluctance
Take a little earth, cast it onto the casket.
He does. The thud resonates.
Second turn it right side up to assist in the work,
perform a final kindness for her,
He does. Another thud.
With a firm slice, he returns the shovel to the pile.
Suddenly, workers appear
in tattered boots and
decidedly not funeral clothes
They move assuredly among the mourners,
over the grass, around the pile of earth,
they lower a concrete slab, then another
to form a solid covering over the casket
while those closest to her throw flowers
to kiss her one last time:
something soft to touch her
before she is gone from them, forever.
Then we take turns as instructed.
I throw my two shovelfuls and
try not to hear the thud nor
see the growing mound below.
Two young men, her grandson and a nephew,
take their time,
place a shovelful tenderly
into each of the four corners,
and along the sides of the grave,
carefully, as she might have
as she filled a baking pan
making a cake for one of them,
smoothing out the batter
so it would lay (rise)
Monday, September 11, 2017
We search and steward this place
With surprising green and blue resources
With feelings of human-animal kin,
Both of us, urban and threatened
A wild place, filled with tiny warblers in spring and fall
Palm, yellow rump, blue black, green, chestnut- sided, parula*,
They bless us against fixation, fleeting and moving
to seasonal habitat far away
This urban respite becomes open business season for deadly intrusion
With warblers and kindred species soon wasted by asphalt soils.
Magnetic relations between 2 talkers
Obsessed with repartee’, mundane or not
Minimize all reality around
Absenting the sweet spirits of other souls
Touting kindness and gentility
between their tiny connecting thread of understanding
With feathered heads bobbing above water
Nature disdains this mindless chatter
I see timidity floating quietly
The animal’s humility submerged
Alternatively, I see stars brighten
And the two drowning chatterers
calling over that deep water for survival.
Female with chestnut belt
During 40 mph into the River
Almost invisible to ragged crested,
Blue as miniature jay,
At home in the dirt mound we dug
for her ease and breeding.
Labored with love the entry and exit doors
That business volunteers created
Little did they sense their shoveling was mere
For this miraculous marathon flyer
Watching feeder-- Comes purple finch,
Red as they come,
Jittery, paranoid as human suspicion
On the alert
Cooperative and fussy amongst peers
Long neck bobber
One by one seed from my feeder
Danger may be anywhere.
Then on to next feeder
Crafty spotted one. She overlooks nothing.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
|Carol Waller Youmans|
Take down the
Emblems of greed and corruption
Degrading the ridges’ calm
By humans so far removed from nature’s touch,
Perspective, alignment, understanding,
They destroy rather than revere.
They think when God gave them dominion
(as the scriptures say)
She meant exploiters not stewards,
Reverence, honor, humility, not slaughter.
But they will not destroy the earth.
Earth will win when our teeming terms shut down.
When the last of the swarming, brawling, quarrelling race
Asphyxiates or starves or drowns,
The earth will go on serene and free of mange.
Barton, August 2017
I’ve written about this before,
But you haven’t heard how poems
Have driven me from bed to pin the words
Down before they pop like bubbles and wetly disappear.
I wrote once that a poem had written
Me one morning:
“the words bubbled up in finished wholes,
clean as though I’d read them.”
Morning moments on just waking are rich for me:
Images shimmer airily behind my sleep-slugged eyes
And if I don’t have a fast pen
On the floor near my bed and something to write on,
They’ll get away – swept out of my head
By the day’s bright start and a cat
That needs feeding.
Barton, August 2017