Monday, June 29, 2009

Late Song


It’s a still morning, quiet and cloudy
the kind of grey day I like best;
they’ll be here soon, the little kids first,
creeping up to try and frighten me,
then the tall young men, the slim boy
with the marvellous smile, the dark girl,
subtle and secret; and the others,
the parents, my children, friends –

and I think: these truly are my weather
my grey mornings and my rain at night,
my sparkling afternoons and my birdcall at daylight;
they are my game of hide and seek, my song
that flies from the high window. They are
my dragonflies dancing on silver water.

Without them I cannot move forward, I am
a broken signpost, a train fetched up on
a small siding, a dry voice buzzing in the ears;
for they are also my blunders
and my forgiveness for blundering,
my road to the stars and my seagrass chair
in the sun. They fly where I cannot follow

and I – I am their branch, their tree.
My song is of the generations, it echoes
the old dialogue of the years, it is the tribal
chorus that no one may sing alone.

Lauris Edmond

As I age I increasingly have a sense of continuity – of language, of society, of generations and dare I say, love, as well as the fixtures of earth and sea.

Literature is one vehicle of continuity. When an obscure Asia Minor chieftain named Hector lost his life defending his small citadel in a trivial skirmish, little did his mourning subjects realise that a poet would immortalise him and their town.

There are many lovely poems in Edmond’s later volumes. This is one of the best. Not only the message, but the tone, a celebration of life. Our genes reflect our ancestors. And our descendants. We are but links in a chain.

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