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

Related Poems

Father replays the funeral in Dream #28

Shame             forces                        what we denied         into luminosity.
In dream       my father     tells me               my mother’s grieving      
prevents          momentum.

He’s projecting thoughts to a screen          for me to read.      
I’m at his private film      of captivity.

He’s watching us.    We’re hunched over          heaving the sorrow vomit.

Father stands before me
time without fear    suspended    and apart
unafraid of anything   one way or another.

“When did they cut it?”                                                       he wants to know 
pushing the thought into space                   between my eyes.

Raising his pant leg    where the mortician

smoothed and stretched the salvage skin     Father used    for padding 
his below-knee amputation                         
hovering   inches above the ground                                   glints in his eyes.

He doesn’t remember the amputation                                     
in the bending.

Father shows me his whole leg.                    Scars

mended and smooth.
He is an uncut body again.  Like before the bending place.
Only the graft scars on his thighs remain.

He projects: “I feel my leg here Margo  my foot still itches here” Father
points: “in this empty space”     he twirls his fingers       a    slow    spiral.

I nod to him:               “I see.  I’ll remember this for you.”

Urning

* bring us to dark knots the black
eyes along white aspen skin to scrape
with a rock on surface where I press
I carve the initials of all and **
*** bring us to a returning no
an urning a vessel of corpse
ash in the active state of being
held by two hands positioned
gripping the sides to tip
and scatter my night dream
of an acquaintance who
presented me a ledger opened
to a page handwritten in pencil
dates names and meetings ****
***** I said I don’t want to
see it I don’t want to know
if my father betrayed me
as the words left
my dream mouth I woke I shook
to the bone a hot line notched
from heart to elbow throbbing
vein-ache in my body how
I’d replaced another man’s name
-a man I once loved I mean to say-
with the word father in a flash
the sleeping eye ripped me
from denial I’m not so complex
see my mind unclothed
is a crying newborn
predictable
aspen leaves in untimed
wind-filled rhythm my mother
turned eighty what at that age is left
to surprise though
                                        suddenly

the tone here shifts to listen
she said I don’t know if I ever said
when I was pregnant with you
I found out he’d cheated
I threw ****** into the yard
I locked him out
pregnant with you I cried
and I cried so long and hard
I thought I was going to
die yes she said it a heavy bass line
beneath aspen music and timbre
I sit on the patio to smoke I think
at night always at night maybe
cause I was born / at night or
my name means night God bless
my mother she believed
my name meant pure
spirit so it may be the darkest
hours are when I’m purest
when I am I          I am fluid
a clear stream over rock or
*******
as poetry goes ********
I think about a baby in utero I can’t help
but wonder what the baby knows
a study says babies and toddlers
remember
through impression not specifics
I rummage the syllables and stress
of each line in *********
impression is a mark
on the surface
caused by pressure or
a quick undetailed sketch or
the imitation
of someone / I
carried her nine months
beneath my own skin her small toes
relaxed her eyes shut
within me her fingertips
pressed into palms she made
                                                                    a fist
                                                                    or was it

a symbol
for the Sun what rising
what of battle my child knows
scares me to the pure
the one I           I burn in question

 

*            may all the grief
**          may all
***        the loss
****                  all your misdeeds
*****                love of my soul
******              all his things
******* spit in a cup
********          night is a womb
*********        the definition

Song of the Storm-Swept Plain

The wind shrills forth 
From the white cold North 
Where the gates of the Storm-god are; 
And ragged clouds, 
Like mantling shrouds,
Engulf the last, dim star. 

Through naked trees, 
In low coulees, 
The night-voice moans and sighs; 
And sings of deep, 
Warm cradled sleep, 
With wind-crooned lullabies. 

He stands alone 
Where the storm’s weird tone
In mocking swells; 
And the snow-sharp breath 
Of cruel Death 
The tales of its coming tells. 

The frightened plaint
Of his sheep sound faint
Then the choking wall of white—
Then is heard no more, 
In the deep-toned roar, 
Of the blinding, pathless night. 

No light nor guide,
Save a mighty tide
Of mad fear drives him on;
‘Till his cold-numbed form 
Grows strangely warm;
And the strength of his limbs is gone. 

Through the storm and night
A strange, soft light 
O’er the sleeping shepherd gleams;
And he hears the word 
Of the Shepherd Lord 
Called out from the bourne of dreams. 

Come, leave the strife 
Of your weary life;
Come unto Me and rest 
From the night and cold, 
To the sheltered fold,
By the hand of love caressed. 

The storm shrieks on,
But its work is done—
A soul to its God has fled;
And the wild refrain 
Of the wind-swept plain, 
Sings requiem for the dead.