Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Poetry Wednesday, Vol. 52

This poem makes me happy. The idea of the dead watching us - the communion of saints is not something Billy Collins made up - but his thoughts make me smile.

I think of my Dad in heaven, only he's not in a rowboat, he's in a boat at Xochimilco. Instead of an oar, he is holding a guitar, and maybe a cafecito to go with the ride. When he sees us look up, he stops mid chorus of "O Tu Fidelidad" and waits.

The Dead

Billy Collins

The dead are always looking down on us, they say,
while we are putting on our shoes or making a sandwich,
they are looking down through the glass-bottom boats of heaven
as they row themselves slowly through eternity.

They watch the tops of our heads moving below on the earth,
And when we lie down in a field or on a couch,
drugged perhaps by the hum of a warm afternoon,
they think we are looking back at them,

which makes them lift their oars and fall silent
and wait, like parents for us to close our eyes.


Molly Sabourin said...

Be-a-u-ti-ful! I find this poem to be comforting as well. I really like the image you paint of your father. May his memory be eternal!

Kris Livovich said...

I forgot to mention in the post - O Tu Fidelidad is "Great is Thy Faithfulness". One of Dad's favorite hymns.

(and thank you, Molly)

Beth Hanna said...

You knew Dad pretty well, huh? And my poem is about him too - great minds think along the same lines, right?

Beth said...

Thank you Kris for your kind words on my post and thank you also for this lovely poem. I always try to grasp in my heart that I am truly surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses and now I will think of them in a boat looking down on me.

And in the likely event that I will never get you a proper thank you, know how much I appreciate your kind gifts for my children. Love the homemade books, the blank books, the stuffed animal rattle, the wrapping, and of course the mismatched socks. I hope all my children will be the kind that refuse to conform and stay within the proper lines. Thank you. Next time I am in town, let me buy you a pastry and a cup of coffee. Love to you.

dbecker said...

Love the poem, Kris. My dad died 13 years ago and the memory is so strong some days I can feel his arms hugging me.

I don't know if you remember me...I went to Markoma with Beth. Kim was a school year behind me.

BTW, I am in Ogden Dunes living (well it is our "base" while on Home Assignment (furlough) for 6 months). My sister-in-law lives in Chesterton. Maybe we could get together sometime? My e-mail is: Write me if you would like to meet for coffee or we could meet at the beach, it has been stinkin' hot!

We head south later today, but will be back near the end of the month.