Holidays

Anything is good material for poetry. Anything.  ~William Carlos Williams

Holidays have always been hard for me, since they involve seeing family. I remember a number of years when it was the end of February before I felt fully recovered from the experience of visiting family at Christmas. Ram Dass (with tongue in cheek) invites anyone who thinks they’re enlightened to spend time with family. At any rate, holidays remind me of family, and family reminds me of this poem.

Elegy For One Aggrieved

Yours was the sin of age.
Sedated in your easy chair
you had the eyes of the wild raccoon
on the screened-in porch
when the children blocked her escape.

Taken for a walk on forgiving ground
you suddenly knew what to do.
I tightened on your forearm to keep you
from lying down in each leafy depression
to die.

Later, in an unholy place,
people scurried to preserve your pulse
while you stared, leaden,
at the silly tins of peppermints
and would not eat.

Mine was the impotence of youth.
Now, on fall afternoons,
I lie in those leafy places
and cradle your grandmother bones
and softly, to your spirit, sing.

(originally published in Habersham Review, Autumn 1991)

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