If we could return from our last long rest
And seek out the ones we loved the best,
Though not in a form to cause them fear,
Just gently to let them feel us near,

Would we come in the scent of the evening flowers
Bringing to mind past happy hours?
Would we come in the song of the mourning dove
Recalling to them our endless love?

Would we come in the sound of the falling rain
Telling them gladly “We shall meet again”?
Would we come in the silently falling snow
With memories of rosy cheeks long ago?

Would we come in the rainbow or sunset’s hue
Repeating to them “Be true, be true”?
Would we speak in some sad sweet song’s refrain
Bidding them wait in gladness, not pain?

These are but fancies, faint and dim;
For dare we question the wisdom of Him
Who gave us through death the victory sweet
To be with our loved ones in joy complete?

Raindrops

Have you heard the raindrops 
     On a field of corn, 
Pattering ov’r the green leaves
      Dusty and forlorn?
Did you ever fancy 
      They were little feet 
Hurrying out with water 
      Thirsty ones to meet? 

Have you seen the raindrops 
       Falling on the lake?
How they flash and sparkle 
      Tiny splashes make. 
Did you ever fancy 
     They were diamonds rare 
Scattered by an aeroplane
      Sailing through the air? 

Related Poems

Grief Work

I have gazed the black flower blooming
her animal eye. Gacela oscura. Negra llorona.

Along the clayen banks I follow her-astonished,
gathering grief’s petals she lets fall like horns.

Why not now go toward the things I love?

Like Jacob’s angel, I touched the garnet of her wrist,
and she knew my name. And I knew hers—
it was Auxocromo, it was Cromóforo, it was Eliza.
It hurtled through me like honeyed-rum.

When the eyes and lips are touched with honey
what is seen and said will never be the same.

Eve took the apple in that ache-opened mouth,
on fire and in pieces, from the knife’s sharp edge.

In the photo her fist presses against the red-gold
geometry of her thigh. Black nylon, black garter,
unsolvable mysterium—I have to close my eyes to see.

Achilles chasing Hektor round the walls of Ilium
three times. How long must I circle
the high gate above her knees?

Again the gods put their large hands in me,
move me, break my heart like a clay jar of wine,
loosen a beast from some darklong depth—

my melancholy is hoofed. I, the terrible beautiful
Lampon, a shining devour-horse tethered
at the bronze manger of her collarbones.

I do my grief work with her body—labor
to make the emerald tigers in her hips leap,
lead them burning green
to drink from the violet jetting her.

We go where there is love, to the river,
on our knees beneath the sweet water.
I pull her under four times
until we are rivered. We are rearranged.

I wash the silk and silt of her from my hands—
now who I come to, I come clean to, I come good to.

It was Snowing on the Monuments

It was snowing on the monuments
My dead father’s name next to my living mothers

You went further back into the cemetery
There where so many lies remain lost to winter

There with the named and the nameless
It was snowing on the monuments

All horizons packed with cloud cover
bodies
Some of us left in the vehicles
We came in

Some became some final gesture
Of departure’s sun borne reflect
behind auto glass
heat blowing feeling back into a face

It was snowing on the monuments
Even in the warmth of an engine turning over
You must forget how we came to this place
How we leave

A procession of memory
an immersion in going away
music

Voices of older songs already
In the broken gone
As some wheel turns us back
Onto a gray road

XI

One morning the spirit of my lover’s uncle returned
there was no fanfare no terror only a blue silhouette

translucent above our bed growing dim
I was the sole witness to this specter quiet

as the rising sun waking overhead I awakened
cold to see an Aegean blue figure hovering bedside

through his gaze and mustachioed grin
on the other side of his face a dazzling tremolo

of morning light streamed into this darkened space
and later that evening as we moved

through the neighborhood streets dead with aging trees
frozen sidewalks led us freely into the moonlight ahead