Memorial Service

15 May 2002 Pre-Rimouski 141

Memorial Service

In the funeral home we meet, crack jokes, exchange
greetings and pleasantries, renew friendships,
shake hands, avoid eye contact. Family members

greet us, recall our names, mention us in the same
breath as the dearly departed. Musical chairs:
we shuffle from hand to hand. Discomfort is both

mental and muscular. We tighten our faces
into skeletal smiles, peeling lips from teeth.
We search for washrooms, step inside, recover

breath and balance. Outside, empty chairs await.
We shun reserved seats, drift to the back of the room,
close to the exit. A polished pianist plays

Beethoven, some Bach, music that softens the soul
for the family’s sucker punch of intimate loss.
A sister stands up and speaks: growing up together,

so close. Sibling comforts extract a tear. All sigh.
She breaks down. Packets of Kleenex, strategically
placed, spring into action. Someone sobs. Like the common

cold, it affects us all. Service over, we pay tribute with known
family members. One after another, we offer our last
respects, and leave. Someone says “Follow us home.

We’ll celebrate.” Another discovers a flat tire
and calls the CAA. A man phones a Chinese take-out.
I hobble to the door, locate my car, and drive
the long way home, sitting in the car, all by myself.

Age of Spillage 2

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Age of Spillage 2

Fingers turn to butter, permit cups to slip,
flying saucers to take off, to stall and crash,

their broken bodies resting in peace and pieces
on kitchen floor, waiting to be picked up and buried.

Worse: bottle tops screwed up tight refuse to open.
Plastic wrapping, flagrant in its defiance,

wages its guerrilla war against ageing,
uncoordinated, arthritic fingers.

Tongue-twisters twist tongue, tones, and speech,
filling mouths with glottal stops and threadbare words.

The ribcage is a cupboard barren and bare.
So many slips between palate, teeth, and lips.

So many precious things dropping to the floor.
I cannot always bend and pick them up,
not even with my new mechanical claw.

Commentary:

A slight set of revisions to the earlier version. Any and all comments welcome.

https://rogermoorepoet.com/2018/07/23/age-of-spillage/

 

 

Migrants

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Migrants

Think natural disasters. Think famine,
wars, violence, plague. How our world changes
when refugees arrive, blend, contribute,
offer so much, their languages, cultures.

Yet we still exploit them, stealing subtle
things, their identities, their energy,
their ability to adapt, to give
so much and really to take so little.

Who would want to build a wall,
to reject them, to deny entry?
Maybe a million Indigenous people
can actually claim the right

to belong here. Most are immigrants,
late-comers in one way or another.
To accept, to grow together in peace,
to establish a nation where people

need not fear imminent expulsion
for the color of their skin, their language,
their religion, their political thoughts,
the fact they may not even vote for us.

À Dieu

 

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À Dieu
(1920-33 & 20??)

nowhere have I found peace
save in a glass of wine
perfection in blood red grapes
long plucked from the vine

they say I cannot go again
and drain another glass
I say they speak in vain
their prohibition will not last

I know I will not live
forever but while I do
the wine will flow forgive me
I don’t want to walk out on you

sooner or later I’ll be called
I know one day I’ll have to go
bravely into the dark and cold
meanwhile let the red wine flow

 

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Flickers

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Flickers
(1613 & 2019)

a watch spring
this cuckoo-clock heart
fully wound up
time’s ticker flickering
waiting to strike

black hole its beak
poked the world’s fabric
shredded into ribbons
robin’s nest torn
storm-tossed onto lawn

constant this love
its warm ashes lingering
searing holes in shoe soles
soul-sick with yearning
bright bonfires burning

metaphor and meaning
real and imagined
hammering on chimneys
territorial flickers
spring heartbeats drumming

losers of somethings
winners of others
wings lofting upwards
light above darkness
all creature comforts

a spring need to nest
an old man’s need to rest

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Starry Night

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Starry Night
(1889 & 2019)

last night I saw stars
never thought to see them again
first time in years
a riot of bright lights
no dark spots floating
nor black holes barring
vision’s edge

just layer upon layer
star fields like buttercups
littering the sky
I had forgotten their names
forgotten how many existed
smiling frowning down
immortalized in myth
celebrated in song

daylight broke waves
an ocean of sunshine
untying dreams’ night-knots
sharp black and white memories
shifting to corkscrews of color

two refreshing rain drops
four times a day
a never-to-be-forgotten face
seen once again in close up
Fundy fogs clearing
mist un-threading between salt
laden pine roots gripping
splitting fragile rocks

complicated emotions
woven in simple words
no arm-waving propaganda
nor chanted simplicities
spat out to fool proper geese

Joy & Love

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Joy & Love
(1936 – 1969 AD)

sunbathers sunbathe
swimmers don’t swim
except for one silly fool
in a clear patch of water
swept clean by the current
towed under by the undertow

swimmer fights back
goes against the flow
tires so swiftly
raises his arms
throws up goes under
comes up throws up

a beach ball thrown
misses the target
kicked with more accuracy
a soccer ball heavier
lands by his side
he grasps it hangs on
kicking more slowly

sun-bathers sprint
across sand to the shore
linked hands a life-line
reaching out through the waves
to rescue the swimmer
no longer fighting back

summer-sun kisses
resuscitation
sun-bathers victorious
this great chain of being
restoring humanity
sweet victory of man