Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Poetry Wednesday, Vol. 40

It has been a long week. Last week a family friend on my husband's side lost their 27 year old son. He just simply did not wake up in the morning. Mike and some of his family were able to attend the funeral, and they found it very difficult. It was packed with young men in dark suits and sunglasses, red-eyed and solemn. Twenty Seven. Think of how young you were at that age. Think of how young you are now. Twenty Seven is just too young.

On Friday we learned of the death of our dear friends' father. He was 66, one could argue that he led a full and happy life. But he was still too young. He was a sweet, lovely man with a wicked sense of humor. Looking at the pictures of his life yesterday at the wake, the phrase "naughty leprechaun" kept coming to mind.

The only similarity between these two men are the people they left behind. The young man worked with learning disabled adults and his funeral was full of people who loved and would miss him. In his short life he left behind a legacy of love and hard work.

The father of my friends worked for many years in Gary Public Schools and left behind a legacy of love, good teaching and students who were affected by him. But he also left a beautiful, good and loving family. You can tell who he was by his children and grandchildren. They all have a stubborn Irish ability to change the world if they set their minds to it. They all love each other intensely and with great faithfulness. They have chosen professions with little reward and a lot of hard work. This is the kind of legacy a man should leave. His family should all be able to say they are better, they are good versions of themselves because of who their father was.

In memory:

The Wish to be Generous

Wendell Berry

All that I serve will die, all my delights,
the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field,
the silent lilies standing in the woods,
the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all
will burn in man's evil, or dwindle
in its own age. Let the world bring on me
the sleep of darkness without stars, so I may know
my little light taken from me into the seed
of the beginning and the end, so I may bow
to mystery, and take my stand on the earth
like a tree in a field, passing without haste
or regret toward what will be, my life
a patient willing descent into the grass.


Beth said...

"Passing without haste and without regret." Kris, this is a lovely Wendell Berry poem and one I hope to write out, keep, and memorize. Thank you. I am sorry to hear of these premature deaths. May the Lord God remember these courageous, generous men in His kingdom.

Julia said...

Kris, I am sorry to hear about the loss of these two men you knew. You write about it beautifully. I especially love your description of the legacy of the Irish family who all chose "professions with little reward and a lot of hard work."

Emily Lorelli said...

Kris -- What a difficult and yet eye-opening week you all have had, and what a beautiful post and poem reflecting on it all. Memory Eternal!

Molly Sabourin said...


This is not the first time your poem choice and reflections have addressed some of my personal ponderings on life, faith and motherhood. These lines:

" I may bow
to mystery, and take my stand on the earth
like a tree in a field, passing without haste
or regret toward what will be, my life
a patient willing descent into the grass"

seem to fit, in my mind anyway, so well with my own "Poetry Wednesday" thoughts, and for that I am so grateful (and relieved?).

One never knows what a day...a week, will bring. I, too, am so, so sorry to hear about such loss and sadness. May their memories be eternal!

Jennifer said...

Kris, so sorry to hear of the losses of these two amazing men. I am twenty-six and still live under a general feeling of invincibility. Thank you, thank you for your words.

We can wish little more for each other and ourselves(on this earth) than what Berry describes so beautifully in this poem. May the memories of these gentlemen, these servants be eternal!

Shannon said...

Thank you.