The fourth of august, two thousand twelve
The heat sears us all
As deeply as our grief.
The dappled sunlight
Provides no respite.
The fife strikes grief;
Each note breaks
The burning, sticky stillness:
My eyes burn, my skin burns, my heart—
And then, out of that stillness
One voice climbs
A ladder of words:
“The meeting of two eternities, the past and future, which is precisely the present moment …”
Different accent, different timbre, different timing:
“The last strain of music which falls on my decaying ear shall make age to be forgotten...”
“Endeavors to live the life which he has imagined…”
“And not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived …”
The final voice,
“Its thin current slides away but eternity remains.”
It seems to echo:
Eternity. Eternity. Eternity.
The silence and the heat
Swallow all again,
As the red, the white, the blue
Unfold and blaze defiantly
In the glory and burning sunlight—
Then, in exact measure,
And utter precision,
To only stars.
A trumpet, heart-rending,
“Day is done”—
As pollen falls like snow,
Sifting down in shifting light.
Cruel, unyielding light—
Which drenches down so blatantly
On tear-streaked faces,
On the small, plain poplar box.
It cannot be forgotten there are ashes in the box.
Kind, unfaltering light—
Which drives away the darkness,
Which proves there is
A tomorrow after this today.
Yet it cannot be forgotten there are ashes in the box.
If love were light,
This is exactly how bright it would be,
Hot and immediate,
So intense that tears are indistinguishable
From pouring sweat.
We reach down,
(Three feet is unexpectedly deep)
And we struggle to lower that box—
And it cannot be forgotten there are ashes in the box—
To a gentle conclusion, Ashes-of-my-blood.
All my arm,
When I raise it from that longest reach,
Is coated with grave-dirt
Mingling with my sweat
That is salt water indistinguishable
From pouring tears.
I can barely bring myself,
Later, to wash it off.
In that pollen-dirt-sweat crust upon me,
He is still with me.
I who am Blood-of-his-blood,
He who now is Ashes-of-my-blood.
In that way he is still with me,
In that way I have not left him there,
In the dappled sunshine and eternity.
LISBET BERYL WEIR is a writer of poetry, fiction, and various nonfiction articles on random subjects. She is also a photographer, also of random subjects. The thing which takes up most of her time is a small ridiculous dog, to whom she is absurdly devoted. Her website is lisbetweir.com