Sunday, May 26, 2019

Rose-Lipp'd Maidens, Lightfoot Lads*

LaVergne Marr, WWII

Tall, gallant,
he treated his wife
like a princess.
She would take a cigarette
out of the package,
tap it,
and he'd swoop
across the room
to light it.

When it was time to leave:
"Ready to go, Mama Bear?"
he'd smile.
No woman was ever
loved so well.

Twelve, freckled, awkward,
I adored him,
and dreamed of a gallant knight
of my own,
who never did appear.

He never talked about the war,
but his spirit, sensitive, 
and attuned
to higher things,
remembered.

In his last years, 
his wife's love
lessened,
over the disappointments
life inevitably brings.
His eyes took on
a melancholy cast.
His heart, I imagine,
did the same.

He died, still relatively young,
and suddenly,
of a blood clot.
His wife heard his body
hit the floor,
and he was already gone.

My Grandma, strong and stoic,
buried her husband and her oldest child
that year.

He had a poet's heart.
He wrote home from the war
about landing in Sicily,
walking through the vineyards,
grapes hanging on the vines:
"Dusty, but that can be washed off......."

***

For  Kim's prompt at Real Toads: to paint a portrait in a poem.

*from Housman's With Rue my Heart is Laden.

15 comments:

  1. It feels so sad when the passing of time and life’s disappointments lessen love ... why oh why?

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  2. This is a wonderful portrait, Sherry, of a true gentleman and a gallant knight! The final stanzas are touching and I enjoyed the lines about the dusty Italian grapes.

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  3. What a wonderful portrait... the humor and disappointment of life. Being stoic sounds like a virtue back then

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  4. This is such a beautifully woven portrait, Sherry! I loved the image of "grapes hanging on the vines."

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  5. The melancholy is contagious... the hope, too, after washing off the dust.

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  6. A lovely gentleman. It's sad what life can do to a beautiful spirit. I was very hopeful in my youth, in spite of being badly bullied at school. Now I just feel broken and ready to depart this world.

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    1. Take heart,Cie, it will get better. I left you a message on your site.

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  7. His widow told after his death of the higher things. Seem he really liked being in the vineyards of Sicily. By his life, his wife was of higher regard also. Nice tribute, Sherry, I'm not sure I could have written one for him.
    ..

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  8. Jim, he adored her his whole life and was always true to her. Her disappointment was that he moved to be supportive of his mother when his father died, and they fell on hard financial times. She was unhappy their life had changed.

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  9. Attuned to higher things, with a poet's heart. Those ellipses at the end.... I could have read much more of this story.

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  10. He had that hope that dusty things could be washed off. That is something to think about.

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  11. Lovely that you wrote a tribute for him. I can understand how you adored him and wanted one just like him. Everyone does:)

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  12. Absolutely Stunning. There is such an eloquence of disposition. The care felt in the smallest gestures and the absence felt when gone.

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