I just finished Donald Hall's book Essays After Eighty this afternoon. Hall has been keeping me company all week long, so I read the last page with a little sadness. Of course, I could go back and reread my favorite essays, but it wouldn't be the same. It would be like watching a movie I've already seen. (I am not opposed to this practice. However, the second or third or fiftieth viewing of, say, Psycho is just not the same as that first time.)
Hall's book was all about the process of aging. The diminishments. Hall can no longer write poetry. Hence, a book of prose essays. Writing prose is, for some reason, easier for him as he approaches his ninetieth year of life.
But, I do have a Hall poem for you this evening. It's about loss and grief and death. You know, standard poet stuff.
Saint Marty is going to miss his visits with Donald.
by: Donald Hall
when my father had been dead a week
with his voice in my ear
I sat up in bed
and held my breath
and stared at the pale closed door
white apples and the taste of stone
if he called again
I would put on my coat and galoshes