Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crossing to another shore


For Kim. 


When a Friend Dies

When a friend dies
the salmon run no fatter.
The wheat harvest will feed no more bellies.
Nothing is won by endurance
but endurance.
A hunger sucks at the mind
for gone color after the last bronze 
chrysanthemum is withered by frost.
A hunger drains the day,
a homely sore gap
after a tooth is pulled,
a red giant gone nova,
an empty place in the sky
sliding down the arch
after Orion in night as wide
as a sleepless staring eye.
When pain and fatigue wrestle
fatigue wins.  The eye shuts.
Then the pain rises again at dawn.
At first you can stare at it.
Then it blinds you.

--Marge Piercy, from The Moon is Always Female


You Know Who You Are: This is for You, My Friend

You went west to where the mountains stop,
and did not stop, but built a home
a whole new life that was not new
to you but real as Kansas loam.

Always in you mind was that far 
place whence you came and that far place
where you  were.  Distance you would bridge
--root trunk limb--all the ways

you could say Friend and mean it such
a way no stream could be denied.
The door stands open in that home,
the special chair for us reserved.

Friend, take this small token, if you
will, as tribute from all of us 
who have too long remained silent
about your heart and human trust.

--Jim Barnes, from The Sawdust War


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4 comments:

La Belette Rouge said...

I am so sorry. The poetic tribute to a beloved friend is extremely touching. I am so very sorry for your loss. The Marge Piercy one is a powerful one. "Nothing is won by endurance but endurance...When pain and fatigue wrestle fatigue wins. The eye shuts.Then the pain rises again at dawn.At first you can stare at it.Then it blinds you." Heartbreaking. Hugs to you and lots of love.xoxo

Paula said...

What a beautiful post. I am so sorry.

Irene Latham said...

So sorry -- not even poetry can get it quite right, although it comes pretty close. Try In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver. Thinking of you...

The Storialist said...

These are very touching, poignant, powerful poems. Thanks for sharing them. I'm so sorry for your loss.

 
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