This beautiful collage was created for me
by my friend Steve, The Unknown Gnome,
one of our early Poets United poets,
who sadly left this world too soon this week.
I am referring to Pup in the following poem,
whose spirit I hope still accompanies me
along the beach.
We were traveling together
when you took the turning
where the Disappeared go,
and were seen no more.
I could not follow. The way was barred.
Still, I continued walking,
carrying your soul with me
in a small wooden box,
hidden under my cape,
held close to my heart.
When I tire, and falter,
am tempted to turn back,
I can hear you thumping inside your box.
You will not let me abandon the journey.
(Asleep, she found herself
crossing a barren desert.
There was a river ahead,
and she could hear voices, singing,
coming around the bend.
They were coming to get her,
but then she came back into her body.
Not time yet.)
Death is a river, turbulent, roaring,
through time-worn rock-walled chasms
green with weeping.
It dashes our brains out on the rocks
so the eagles may feed,
then settles us, lighter and relieved
of our earthly burden,
in rippled ponds along the shore,
where beaver and wolves may find us.
I will meet you there
on the last day.
At midnight, a ghostly spectre
glides mistily along the shore.
She is beckoning,
but I pretend that I am blind.
She is calling. I pantomime
that I am deaf and cannot hear.
Not time, yet.
These words are a pathway
between the time when you were here
They are as full of your absence
as my heart.
I am still traveling.
You always did go
before me on the path.
I am getting just
a little closer.
Not time yet. Not yet.
This poem was written in 2014. I borrowed some lines for a collaboration with Paul Scribbles last year. But this is the original. I am feeling my mortality these days, and decided to share it with the Poetry Pantry at Poets United this weekend.