A Memorial Poem–“To a Friend, On the Death of a Brother”

This is a tribute poem for a friend of mine, who recently lost a brother.

To a Friend, On the Death of a Brother

Pebbles and shells
On the beach
Beneath the feet
Of some boys,
Just some boys,
Chilly, perhaps, the day,
Accounting for their hoverings
Near the rocks
With their toes dug into the sand.
And then one day
Caught in the web of time
One dead, the other two mourning,
Loss of young life even at sixty
Or so.
Time with its merciless strings
Of stuff
First holding us in place
To develop,
Next supporting us
As we grasp purchase
Slow step by slow step,
Finally frustrating our attempts
To fly free and be bold,
Like the spirits we once were
And are soon to be again,
A part of the air,
A grace,
And all we know is that once
It seemed our sempiturnal friend,
The web,
As if having flown into it
By the accident of birth,
We might negotiate our circumstances.
Our minds themselves
Have hovered in the mist
Of coincidence bedewing it,
And how we are,
Who and why we are,
Have all been part of our self-portrait
Starting with ourselves,
A dawn picture,
And then beach and city scenes,
And forests and days and evenings
All shared,
Or sometimes endured alone,
Or perhaps even humming
Along the sticky wire
Which holds us in suspense
AS to what the next step
Must be.
And yet, we knew all along
It must come to this,
But hoped
For more daylight,
One more sunset,
One more moonlit night
To sing for each other
Our song of enchantment
And entrapment,
And being together still.
For you, dear friend,
I wish no narrowing of the way,
Feet held down by inanition,
But a broad stroke
Of the hovering fate
Like to one of the boys
Cutting a swathe impatiently
Through the web
That's in his way,
At your own time
Stepping forth to follow
The one gone before,
In joy and gladness
At some remembered afternoon
In the sand, casting stones,
And yelling blithely at others
To hold up for you,
As you are sure and strong,
And they cannot outrun you,
All being free.

©Victoria Leigh Bennett, 2/3/17

 

 

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Filed under Poetry and its forms and meanings, What is literature for?

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