Sunday, March 09, 2008

Riding the tiger

Jack on tiger
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
It's been quite some time since my grandson was this age. But his sweet spirit is just the same. It still shows through his eyes. Time's a flyin'. Things that happened only yesterday can easily be documented as occurring ten or fifteen years ago. And each little photo is a treasure, but there really are too many of them. . .
Then there are tapes, videotapes, vinyl records, and books, books, books. If you make notebooks or scrapbooks, there are those also.
Here's my poem about it. It is slightly revised from the way it appeared in the Laurel Review fourteen or fifteen years ago. I was so proud that there was a poem by Walter Pavlich on the facing page!

Not Like The Red Paint Peoples' Burials

Cause of death unknown, and, like my father,
too natural to autopsy, a Brewer's blackbird

drops from phone wires above us,
she leaves no books, no photograph albums, no polyester raiment.

No mourners now assemble; although soon,
ants will string a line across the pavement.

How could we honor from this sidewalk
her flexed claw lifting upward

if she had fallen ten feet from us in the weeds,
or witness the regard of her still unclouded eye?

Not like the Red Paint Peoples' burials:
his face down, head to the west, auk beaks in whorls

over his body's red ochre covering. Not armed
with a bone dagger, patterned with aligned dots.

Nor ornamented like her young body
with a necklace of teeth—nor supplied

with a waterbird engraved on an ivory comb.
But dressed only in brown feathers,

cooling on cement, still so warm
the tiny lice in the neck feathers suspect no change.

June Hopper Hymas

1 comment:

  1. a truly lovely poem, so glad to have read it early this morning before I begin my day--it will give me a place to travel back to in my mind.