31 July 2008

We, The Living (rev)


We, the living, buried deep in selfish grief
strive to comprehend the passing of your
hour, minds are numbed, aghast and
grasping for some sense of revelation,
seeking analgesic succour in the weeping,
searching for respite from clamoured
conscience shattered in the shriek of
desolation; each bereaved is silenced,
trance-like, choking cries that chorus,
welling out of depths where feelings
rise malignant, immolated in a
rhetoric of grief.

There were moments when we rose
above despair – borne by strength of
spirit in your name, but tragedy
remained in darkened shadow's gloom
beneath your widow's eyes.

The mourners came, solid men of the
land who worked at your side, dry-eyed
and laconic, never ones for public grief,
withdrawn in private homologies and
self-spectres, destroyed for words to
dam emotions that jumbled on their
stoicism; but their compassion ranged
beyond their gestures, their awkward
presence was an epitaph, a eulogy
more fitting than a song.

A chasm that was present as a penance
from your past fast dressed itself in
pettiness, forbearance all but faltered in
its face, but propriety prevailed in place
of flagging etiquette though nothing
changed to mark this day in passing,
nothing changed to ease its painful fete.

The hours and tears and sleeplessness
merged in trancelike coffee mugs and
cigarettes and gins & lemonade; the
air of quiet was ominous and agonising
shrill beyond the threshold of our hearing,
penetrating equanimity and baiting
a disgrace of hysteric indulgence.

We were waiting for a sign, a power
to free emotions from constraints that
grief connives, we knew your strength
survived this fasting of sedated senses,
that you live again in the world of your
baby son’s egocentric passions, to grow
magnificently in our shaded futures.
© 19 March 1976, I.D. Carswell