Bio Note: I taught English, Creative Writing, and World of Ideas courses for over 30 years at the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater. A student of Iyengar Yoga, I occasionally substitute as a Zoom yoga instructor for seniors in The Village of Shorewood, Wisconsin. A fifth poetry collection has been accepted by Word Tech Communications due out late this year, or early next.
“…if not now, when?”
Hillel the Elder in Pirkei Avot For Dearest Jacqueline March 1. 1944- July 3, 2021 The night is close by, slowly climbing up our insides And nobody no one wants to do anything but let The storm storm into our bodies, for isn’t that what We all want, something foreign to take us away From all our troubles, but most of us are not miserable, As we just think we are, waiting it out for the event Which we so wanted to attend, but we’re not attending, Are we, as now we’re lying down, quite supine, but Not in an ethereal sense, more in a transitioning from One to another, from active hoo-rahs to active dying, so We’re just going to keep breathing, however shallow That may seem, for after breathing, there’s only ash And that ash, if we can call what we once were, is now What’s left of what we all were so keen on, on loving.
The image of her when she starts to smile breaks out of words, the mind cannot contain it, a miracle too rich and strange to hold. (Vita Nuova XXI) A long time ago, in Florence, away from the Masters, I wandered into a tiny room, a chapel, once reserved For Beatrice, but she’s long gone, isn’t she, and no one Sits with me, and no one came in behind me, and for A moment, I did not ever want to move away from This dark place for I’ve never been so close, even Reading something so divine, than here with Dante, But sensing my wife might be waking in the late Morning light, I started to wander back to our tiny Hotel, but not before stopping for an espresso or two. So some of the days, like now, when I’m sitting Next to her deathbed, I’m wondering just where Can I go in this world, knowing no one is where Someone might be, eyes opening in the morning Light, perhaps like Beatrice might have, right before She told her Dante not to be afraid, to step into the light.
Hang in There
Just where, as I’d really prefer not to hang anywhere, Either by my fingernails on a window ceiling where I’m slowly slipping off the fine window frame that Others probably put their elbows on over the years Just to gaze out at whatever scene or season it might Be, but I’m not exactly looking out I’m looking back In to see if anybody might drop by after hearing my Constant yelling for help, but who wants to break Into a private residence on the hunch that somebody Might need a hand, as I am about to fly away from Here, and though aerial flight is something I’ve always Wondered about, going that way without propellers, Or engine thrustors, or heck, even a parachute or A bungee rope but no, I’ve got nothing above, on, or Nearby that might help in the extremely swift descent Onto a hard landing, but that’s not what you meant, Right, you only were wishing that despite some tragedy In someone else’s life, you shouldn’t have to go that Route as well, so yes, it’s something that means well, But all I can still think about is just where do you propose I throw the rope as we have no banisters on the second Floor that might do well for a single-story descent with A quick snap and bounce that might take away all the Woes we have, but heck, I’ve still got stuff to do, really, And most of it is something I’d better get done as no One really wants to look at a busy, stuffed to the gills House with way too much to get rid of, so no, I’d rather Not even think about option B, and since all our windows Are really only a few feet from the ground up, well, There would be no time to really get the bungee bounce, Or the parachute to even open, or enough time to descend Before the slight noose tightens around the old throat, So no thanks, I’m good, I was up in an upside down hand Stand this morning, like many mornings, but that’s a lot More interesting than just stepping off into the wild Blue yonder, so, much appreciated as some might say, But hold off please with all the hang-in-there pleas, please.
©2021 DeWitt Clinton
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