Monday, June 8, 2009


Across the pond, an owl calls.

Summoned by the piper

We begin to gather on the bank.

The silence is broken

By the thumping of the oarlocks

As his two sons row out

To the center of the still water.

The minister speaks words of comfort

And the wife, too young to be a widow,

Sits with his parents and his brothers

To watch the solemn young men in the boat

Lower onto the silken surface

The small reed vessel in which

The ashes of their father lie.

We hold our lighted candles and our breaths

As they ignite this Viking symbol

To carry his mortal being away from this world

And leave his spirit with us forever.

We watch the little pyre boat

Move slowly across the pond

While the piper plays the song

That so defines our fallen warrior.

The flames go out and the little bundle of reeds

Sinks into the now dark water.

The owl does not call again,

And from us are only the sounds of sighs and sorrow.

Soon, up on the hill

Another fire blooms, and we

Gather there to tell each other stories.

All we favorite aunts, uncles, and cousins

Claim our parts in his life.

(We all insist we are his favorite, as he is ours.)

Old and new friends, colleagues, his beloved fraternity brothers,,

Neighbors, make us laugh with stories of him

That had made them laugh when he was with them.

Their stories are as warm as the bonfire

Which dims now with the

Rising of the brilliant full moon.

One favorite cousin says that

He expects a new star to shoot across the sky tonight.

We embrace each other

And leave this special place, for now.

4 comments:

Nancy said...

So beautifully told; it was like being there.

Strude86 said...

Very nice, and a lovely drawn image of the water on Saturday night.

It's a night I'm not likely to forget anytime soon.

And it was lovely to meet you and all the extended clan, if even in such a sad set of circumstances.

The preacher in the bow tie...

Mimi said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Terry said...

Thank you for that extraordinary telling of the night we said goodbye. It was perfectly told...
Lee Ann (Mrs. Melonthump) xoxo