Sunday, November 2, 2014

Visiting My Great Grandmother's Grave

Lord, may nothing distance us from you on this earth, 
may everything and everyone support us in our ardent hope 
to serenely and eternally rest in You.
                                            Holy Father's Angelus

                                               I want to press my ear into the dirt
                                               over what's left of you here,
                                               as if listening for the plush of blood 
                                               through the dark cages of the heart.
                                               Instead, I sprinkle the small congregations 

                                               of flowers with water 
                                               from the graveyard faucet,
                                               over the same ground
                                               you buckled into death,
                                               in your garden with crooked rows,

                                               where, once your broken English fluttered 
                                               in a delicate, tiffany of wings
                                               over our brief-green arrangements,
                                               where, once you coaxed fruit from foreign 
                                               furrows onto the table of thanksgiving.

                                               A difficult spading of love 
                                               in the lonely, long-bending laboring
                                               as your shadow grew like night 
                                               over the fires of your old hands
                                               crackling in the loam,

                                               sheltering the child I once was,
                                               following behind, sprinkling water 
                                               from a dented can 
                                               and light from the battered  
                                               pails of hope.


  1. "I want to press my ear into the dirt...."

    It makes me recall wanting to press my whole self into the ground, wanting my tears to trickle down, down.. once when grief for a loved one was very new.

    1. Yes, yes it is deeper than my initial inclination at her grave. I am in the process of editing this and your comment spoke to me so deeply I had to change the first line. Thank you for sharing your loss and the raw emotion. It is as you say....especially when "grief for a loved one was very new." I am sorry for your loss and your grief. Prayers for healing and peace for you, Nancy, and all who grieve.

    2. Yes - my soul! That captures perfectly how I felt, and still feel if I let myself think about it, although it has been a number of years. Thank you for your empathy. You have mine as well.

    3. I still like better your "my whole self" though.

  2. Cynthia, this poem is so solid. I love its cinquains. The initial action of visiting invites the human emotion of longing. It is from here that the memory, the remembering, the imagery, the story, the tribute burst forth like the water sprinking and the implied water quenching that garden. We don't just read or listen to the feelings of the speaker -- we see and learn and understand. Beautiful. And well done. This is an accomplished piece.

  3. Amy, you read so well it astonishes me. Your comments are insightful and bring the meanings out so succinctly. Your comments intrigue me and I always am enlightened by them. Thank you for taking time out of your busy, busy days to visit here and leave something of your meditated reading and understanding. Love and light your way friend!!