Saturday, May 01, 2010

Funeral Hymn
[For Jane Fitzroy Bethel
14 May 1917
to 22 April 2010]

attached, they know not how
they know not where
they know not why

attached enough to weep
for grief, to grieve for the dead

today to grieve
among the bereaved

one or another might wonder
why I am affected as I am
afflicted as I am

love, my excuse, if I need one
love, my reason

which love, one might ask
which of the four
which of all the loves there are

in love’s embrace, taste life
know where- know they
seamlessly connect
know no divide

this family became my own
met Marion, life changed

a richer prize in this life
I have not known

a better prize for poetry
I cannot win
not even in Stockholm
in Sweden

ii.
I can identify with tears, with rain
let them fall all the same
let what falls from heaven fall

death bursts the dam
not the damned of the earth
of this world

though we might have been
but we have been redeemed

let rain fall, tears fall
flowers grow from these
a petal for each drop

grieve and flowers grow
not a bad exchange

grief and joy on a see-saw
petals falling, rain falling
tears falling
life goes on

iii.
you masons
merciless with your trowels
cementing us apart
doing us this favor

saving us from the smell of death
of dead
dead we love, is us, is our own

cement us apart
seal us separate
our worlds apart
our worlds two worlds

our bones
we used to embrace with
used to be in bed with

bones in a jewelry box
beneath slabs

weight of these
to keep the spirit
rising up - keep a spirit
which might haunt us
from haunting us

no morbid note to sing
just hymns, funeral songs
to rejoice about the dead

is there sufficient cement
each man his duty
a duty to perform

to put the dead down
this to do, that to do
before we wash our hands

flowers in a heap
beneath which
we bury who died
who's dead

who loved
who lived


© Obediah Michael Smith, 2010
Pts. 1 and 2 written
in St. Matthew’s Church, pt. 3
written in Ebenezer Cemetery
on April 30 between 10:45 a.m.
and 1:44 p.m.

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