Ben

Standing slightly behind the protective false

wood of the podium, I speak the lines of the grieving

father contemplating his dead son, the words slowly

telling each grief: his initial hope, his loss, the making

again of that child in each of his lines even as

the child is unmade in those same lines, born of a grief

borne in a poem—simple, short, sounding the depths

that cannot be sounded.

 

I sound out the words

remembering a teacher, long ago, in a classroom

of white plaster and wood, listening as he spoke

those lines in a voice that told its own tale of grief

without saying a word save those words: that child,

his child, a child of all our making.

 

And I can’t help

touching the soft feelers of those feelings, reaching

back through time—decades, centuries—tearing

up: one well of grief, one sounding, one plummet to

the deep of what is found and lost in one cascade

of words down a line, lines down a stanza, the words

from poet to teacher to another teacher

to the students, who may teach and learn

this grief in these words or in others

for themselves.

 

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