Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Haiku for Margaret & loss

Over at Lutheran Surrealism (see the links list) there's a haiku contest up. Much of the commentary is, fortunately or un-, not haiku. Ah well. I've been taking the opportunity to write some emotionally healing one-offs to deal with the loss of my youngest.

Here they are. I'll update if more get written before Sunday. Enjoy!

A missing daughter
Summer fades into autumn
And silenced laughter

Indefinite In Context

impossible loss

words unravel like a tear

winds abrading me

Not a crook

My wrinkled thumb stumps
air now no weight is there my
arm cradles absence.

Holy Matrimony

We are wound by God
to breed immortal children
even though they die.

A sunken island
wishes to unmoor itself
and drift, forgotten.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Elegy for Margaret by Michael P. Bobbitt

Elegy for Margaret                                                                                                         

“Is her still dead?”
A 3-year old big sister giving voice
To a very grown-up confusion—
Baby Margaret, blameless and perfect in her mother’s embrace,
Swaddled in the arms of death.

Surely there’s been some mistake,
The Reaper with a wrong address
Or a God distracted by beauty elsewhere in creation
To let this happen.

“Why is she so cold, daddy?”
“Because this is just her body, sweetheart. Her spirit lives in our hearts now.”
And yet there are still forms to sign,
Flowers and dinners and details to arrange—
All the things that people do—
Well-meaning friends grasping for something to say
When no poet or minister
Could ever find a single comforting word
That would but wither in the face of this despair.

A family strewn instantly against the rocks, irreparably broken.

Because we’re not starfish or lizards.
When you cut away a part of us
The empty space is there forever,
A phantom chord ringing unresolved in our ear—
A one/three clamoring for a five
Or even the sting of a minor seventh—
Anything but these missing notes.

When already her song
Was the joyful refrain for so many,
The unfinished symphony of a life unlived.

Mother and Father must go on shepherding,
Encouraged by the Christ story
Because Resurrection is yet possible:
That a baby’s light cannot be entombed,
Shining still on a family that refuses to go dark.
On her sisters that must bear this loss together.
In the carefree affection of Genevieve,
In the calculating whimsy of Josephine,
In the grace and poise of Cordelia.

In all of us
Who resolve to carry on in the midst of sorrow.
To sing into the stillness of heartbreak.
To answer the impermanence of life
With the eternal promise of love.
Suffer the little children…
For of such is the kingdom of heaven,
But suffer one another as well, friends—
Because the kingdom of Earth
Holds but small refuge
Beyond each other.

And the hopefully frequent memories
Of this sweet child—
Wide-eyed and laughing—

A peace in the hearts of men.

Friday, August 9, 2013

For Margaret Palmer by A.E. Stallings

For Margaret Palmer
who died suddenly at two months old

Life is brief and grief is long,
Joy is deep and sorrow wide,
Love is heavier than song,
Life is brief and grief is long.
The lullaby is right, is wrong:
Hunger, kisses, milk, and sleep.
Life is brief and grief is long,
Sorrow wide as joy is deep.

     A.E. Stallings

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Interrobang by Jessica Piazza

This is not a review.

I was going to write a review of Jessica Piazza's wonderful book Interrobang but my youngest daughter Margaret died suddenly on Monday, August 5th. Instead I will leave this poem which was my favorite in the book when I first read it two weeks ago and is now far more important to me. Please buy Jess's book. Anyone who can write this deserves your patronage.

Love of dolls

The week her daughter died, the room her girl
had occupied became a home for dolls.
The first an angel: fearsome, glass-gazed gift
to dull a mother's utter grief; the next
a paint and porcelain she numbly bought
from QVC. It looked like her. And now
she sees her small grandchildren grow, and knows
it's good. But they can't guess each small dress
arranged by day comes into disarray
by night. They bring her more, naive. Don't know
she weeps in the overflowing sea of limbs
that manage, year by year, to commandeer
the bed, the floor, and more. An orphanage
of girls. A thousand eyes that cannot shut.