We, The Living

by Ivan Donn Carswell

We, the living, buried deep in selfish grief
strive to comprehend the passing of your hour,
minds are numbed, aghast and grasping
for some sense of revelation,
seeking analgesic succour in our weeping,
searching for respite from clamoured
conscience shattered in the shriek of desolation;
each bereaved is silenced, trance-like,
choking cries that chorus, welling
out of depths where feelings rise malignant,
immolated in the rhetoric of grief.

There were moments when we rose above despair
borne by strength of spirit in your name,
but tragedy remained in darkened shadow's
gloom beneath your widow's eyes.

The mourners came,
solid men of the land who worked at your side,
dry-eyed and laconic, never ones for public grief,
withdrawn in private homologies and self-spectres,
destroyed for words to dam emotions that jumbled on their stoicism;
but their compassion ranged beyond their gestures,
their awkward presence was an epitaph,
a eulogy more fitting than a tomb.

The chasm that was present as a penance from your past
fast dressed itself in pettiness,
forbearance all but faltered in its face,
but propriety prevailed in place of flagging etiquette
though nothing changed to mark this day in passing,
nothing changed to ease its painful fete.

The hours and tears and sleeplessness
merged in trancelike coffee mugs and cigarettes
and emptied gins and lemonade;
the air of quiet was ominous and agonising
shrill beyond the threshold of our hearing,
penetrating equanimity and baiting
a disgrace of self-indulgent hysteria.
We were waiting for a sign, a power
to free emotions from constraints that grief connives,
we knew your strength survived this fasting
of sedated senses, that you live again
in your son’s world of egocentric passions,
to grow magnificently into our shaded futures.
© I.D. Carswell

Last updated May 02, 2015