Alfie (Alfred, Lord Tennyson) May 2000 – May 2013 Brother of Shakes (William Shakespeare)
Day of Grief
I was forcing a wasp to the top of a window
where there was some sky and there were tiger lilies
outside just to love him or maybe only
simply a kiss for he was hurrying home
to fight a broom and I was trying to open
a door with one hand while the other was swinging
tomatoes, and you could even smell the corn
for corn travels by wind and there was the first
hint of cold and dark though it was nothing
compared to what would come, and someone should mark
the day, I think it was August 20th, and
that should be the day of grief for grief
begins then and the corn man starts to shiver
and crows too and dogs who hate the wind
though grief would come later and it was a relief
to know I wasn’t alone, but be as it may,
since it was cold and dark I found myself singing
the brilliant love songs of my other religion.
~ Gerald Stern
Music by Anderson East, featuring Jill Andrews, “Say Anything”
“These heroes are dead. They died for liberty—they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars—they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead.”
~ Robert G. Ingersoll
Memorial Day is not about sales, bargains, or balloons. It’s not about hot dogs, corn on the cob or cole slaw. It’s not about a long weekend or a three-day beer binge. It is about remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, those who have given up months, years away from family and friends to protect, about those who have been willing to serve.
For my father, my other father-in-law, and my husband—veterans all who gave service to this country.
By some miracle I cannot figure out, it was given to me to hear these voices, and all these examples of a human life were speaking, and when I listened carefully I could hear that they were speaking about speaking, and when I listen carefully to them speaking about speaking I could hear they were singing about listening. And that has been a long journey for me, of listening.
I continue to write because I have not yet heard what I have been listening to.
~ Mary Ruefle, from Madness, Rack, and Honey
[Image: Matthais Heiderich]
Music by The Tallest Man on Earth, “Kids on the Run”