Friday, September 04, 2015

A Blanket of Pink Roses

In the foreground, my Aunt Marita Butler Brimhall, 
who was the baby in yesterday's post.
We are at the 1977 funeral of her mother, Susie Redd Butler,
who was the young mother in white,
who had been a widow for 47 years.

Marita's younger sister & my mother, Olga Butler Hopper, is behind her, 
wearing one of her signature bright ethnic outfits.
Each of them has scored a keepsake rose 
from the blanket of soft pink roses atop the coffin,
just a bit of which is visible at the extreme left,
under a sunshade.

It is an Arizona Sunlight day, over-contrasty for photographs,
as you can see by the sunblast on the group of relatives at the right.


Hooves of heavy snow stamp the pasture
fierce wind     the horseman exactly

history has no verbs
verbs are those
trying to push life ahead
toward even darker

a violin induces us
to turn to the past
to hear the crying in mankind's early years
the honor
and misfortune of lost prophets

let misfortune fall
on the level of our understanding
each family unfolds its banner
bedsheets, kitchen smoke, dusk

Bei Dao
Translated by Eliot Weinberger and Iona Man-Cheong

Unlock; poems by Bei Dao, New Directions, 2000, page 47.

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