Life With Horace

poetry & essays


heaven’s way

up from quiet stones they ran
bedrolls flapping
dodging early morning rain
from green encrusted may
I knew them both
but not together until then
bright head and dark
laughing as they came
the dash of youth
and all of life ahead

from my window perch I wished them well
wished me in their place, and longing
turned away from fecund spring
too heavy for my shredded heart
leaking messy love
right down my shirt
I crept around the room
certain of impending death
(a Duse to the core)
of course I mended, they dried out

we all moved on to other lives
she left hers first, too soon and young
decades on my mind replays
those grays and greens
wet kissed fizzing temporary love
and wonder if her spirit
comes there too
revisiting a lilac scented
night among the stones
on Heaven’s Way

for gus, and joyce. Heaven’s Way is a cemetery road in Vermont.


the arrival

she didn’t even have to knock.
the gates were open, waiting for her
pearled, radiating starlight,
so she walked right through,
striding, 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 of beauty 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,
and 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 always,
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 so warmly bathed in love,
a strong rare bond, a mother’s job well done.

a musician you say?
ah 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.