Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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Heaven’s Way

Up the crumbling road
they ran from
quiet cemetery stones,
bedrolls flapping, dodging
early morning rain in
green encrusted May,
laughing as they came, the
dash of youth, and
all of life ahead.
From my window perch, I
wished me in their place
and longing, turned away,
spring too heavy
for a shredded heart leaking
messy love right down
my shirt, and crept
around the room certain
of impending death, a
Duse to the core. I mended,
they dried out.
We all moved on to older
lives, she left hers first
too soon, and young.
Decades on I return
to lushness, grays and greens,
wet kissed, fizzing temporary
love, and wonder if her spirit
is there too, revisiting
lilac scented nights with him
on Heaven’s Way.

________________________________
Heaven’s Way is a cemetery road in North Bennington, Vermont.

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The Arrival

She didn’t even have to knock.
The gates were open, waiting
for her, pearled, radiating starlight.
So she walked right through,
upright, head high, heart open,
pain and frailty left behind,
sure that she would soon be
with those she loved
already there.

She stopped to listen then, hearing
song and music, and as she did
an angel joined her, passing hand
in hand into a place she could
never have imagined, but
felt she’d always known.
Sunrays and moonlight shining together,
Imagine that, she thought.

On they went, to see Himself, who
stood with open arms for
her arrival, asking her to walk
a while and share the secrets of her heart.
Full of joy she asked if all
were greeted in this way. He said
yes, but those of great old age, valiant
still, filled with love and goodness,
have a special place in my heart.

I know you Dorothy as one such soul,
reaching out in friendship.
Mother, woman, friend, full of
laughter, tears and sorrows too,
for that is human life. Working
hard, caring unstintingly.
You were always meant to come here,
even though you worried at the end.
Oh yes, I saw you with your child,
who bravely let you go warmly
bathed in love. A strong rare
bond, a mother’s job well done.

A musician you say?
Oh yes, I do remember, very gifted,
there are many like her here
joined in common song. And yes,
I know she is a writer too,
part of a group that took you
to themselves, named you heavy D,
delighted by your laughing spirit.

There are many souls waiting
to welcome you with love
in sweet reunion,
but before we part this time,
is there any question left unanswered,
any wish I can fulfill?
When shall you see your child again?
She will always be welcome, but
we need more trumpets at the moment,
so it will be a good long while I think.
A chocolate shake? Dear heart,
you have come to the right place.

__________________________________
for Dorothy Williams, dearest heavy D, who passed through those gates on August 15. with love and abiding admiration from one of her Space People. Photograph by Denise Gainey, copyright © 2014, used with permission.