diumenge, de novembre 18, 2007

These old ghosts cling about my ankles
still I have buried you all
now memory
when I die you will all die with me
there will be no one else to laud or laugh at you
I will tear your collective pasts down into the soil with me

I grew up in a distant land
all that we were is lost now
I watched it all fade and wither
with each coffin lowered into the ground
each death one more nail in the lid
until finally I was left a man beset by shades and sorrow

No matter how I tried
I could not hold on to the past
begrudgingly relinquishing my grasp
as a world that took centuries to build
died in fewer than thirty years

In our world a wasp's nest in the dining room brought luck
and a ham bone in your pocket kept you out of the poor house
the Bellsnickler might come as easily as Santa Claus on Christmas
and Pigbears brought gifts on Easter
we burned a bayberry candle on New Year's Eve

Old ladies hid jewels under their davenports
in Victorian front parlors
Great Grandma Sandt went up in one wheel in her buggy
as she charged to see an ailing sister in another town
old men drove cattle from the creek to the slaughterhouse
right along Sarah Street
in August heat, horses failed while men bricked the streets
in our world there was a good town and bad town
and we came from the good

the winters were cold
and we lived by wood fires
in season we could take elderberries
gooseberries, raspberries, blueberries
cherries, apples, peaches
rhubarb, grapes and Queen Anne's Lace
up from the land and down from the trees and bushes
and make jellies, jams, pies, and wine

and in the season we'd cull the foul
feasting in the cold months on their flesh
little guinea hens and succulent goose
there was no escaping our attachment to the land
nor to the waters where we could fish for trout and bass

And yet soon, no one else will remember all this
and when I die
all that land ever was, and all the stories it ever told
will die with me.