A dark abyss opens when death
claims an old friend, makes a vacancy
in the net of acquaintance and the love
that sustains coming and going, a breath
as if a wind whipping trees made a fancy
mess in the woods, a ripping fury from above.
But in our eighties we surely know
it will happen, this death breath
will whip beloved relationships
with merciless inattention to our needs
our friendly pleasure of no consequence.
The dark and light always mix;
each fallen tree makes room for the sun
to brighten fresh new growth, fill in
any vacant space, soften grief
with interest and connections new.
The gaps in our routines will repair,
others will come and go, each filling
the hole in our sadly rended fabric.
Remedies are few, so without regret
rise up, leave sorrow behind, and flow into
to morrow to fresh woods and pleasures new.
Kent Bowker 1/29/13
Last line from Milton’s ‘Lycidas’