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