The genesis and transfiguration of grief


There was the time when I was a child,
A time before my children came.
There was the time when those kids were young
And the painful time for them to leave:

Then came the moment when my youngest—
Eyes so bright with love and humor,
Composing, dozing, reading, dreaming;
Eyes hooded now, behind a cloud,
Buffeted, beleaguered, baffled—

There came the moment when that youngest ceased to breathe
And a world stopped dead,
A world made of 20 years of mornings as that boy
Dawned like the day itself, yawned,
Teased the cat,
Ate his Cheerios, brushed his teeth,
Gazed out the classroom window, pen in hand,
Threw the ball to me,
Caught the one I threw to him,
Played his instrument, his fine long fingers
Dancing on the frets,
Popped a pill to stop the cyclone blowing in his brain.

A world made, too, of all the years of mornings
Of his brothers and his sister
Whose orbits intersected his.
A world made of my 60 years
Preparing unaware for the day
That my youngest boy was born,
And for the moment when he ceased to breathe.


The tears are pouring from my eyes.
They sting.
I want nothing but that the pain should stop.
Nothing more.

Transfiguration (Seer and Seen)

This earth is holy because he walked here.
Here he played; here he slept;
Here and here and here I held him.
His tracks are here to follow,
And in those tracks, to listen
To the whispering all around,
To the rustle and the murmur,
To the flying, swimming things
That live and are his kin.

A glimmer here, around the bend,
Along the trail, a hint,
Reminder, gentle sign,
A flash, a drop, a cry,
A look.

An infant marveling
What a thing it is to see—
The pure fact of seeing is what I mean—
Without concern for who is seeing,
Not knowing what is seen, or the names of either.
Pure art without price or frame
Rushing in, raw art (thou art),
Recorded on that child’s virgin rods and cones,
Transfigured in a frown
A smile; widened, searching eyes.

The art of seeing , of seeing art:
The regenesis of the world.