Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8: A Poem for My Brother

I have to write a poem for my brother's funeral on Monday.  It's a difficult task.  I want to honor his memory and provide some kind of comfort to my family.  I want it to be from my heart.  True and beautiful.

Sharon Olds, one of my favorite poets, wrote the following poem for her father:
Late Poem to My Father

Suddenly I thought of you
as a child in that house, the unlit rooms
and the hot fireplace with the man in front of it,
silent. You moved through the heavy air
in your physical beauty, a boy of seven,
helpless, smart, there were things the man
did near you, and he was your father,
the mold by which you were made. Down in the
cellar, the barrels of sweet apples,
picked at their peak from the tree, rotted and
rotted, and past the cellar door
the creek ran and ran, and something was
not given to you, or something was
taken from you that you were born with, so that
even at 30 and 40 you set the
oily medicine to your lips
every night, the poison to help you
drop down unconscious. I always thought the
point was what you did to us
as a grown man, but then I remembered that
child being formed in front of the fire, the
tiny bones inside his soul
twisted in greenstick fractures, the small
tendons that hold the heart in place
snapped. And what they did to you
you did not do to me. When I love you now,
I like to think I am giving my love
Directly to that boy in the fiery room,

As if it could reach him in time. 

Saint Marty is tired of feeling sad.

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