In memoriam MLS

The wheel turns once again to this:
the image of your going
that appalling, horrid yesterday.
Old wounds stir beneath their scars
memories of anguish, fear, and disarray–
the sudden darkness
of your life’s closing parenthesis.

Yet anniversaries are not required
for ourΒ in memoriam
let those who think so
take their yearly flowers to your grave.
They’ll soon forget again. They do not know
the way you visit constantly
as earth, the air, the water, …fire…

as reminding, unseen amulet,
as the in-dwelling, the abruptly
disappearing dream at dawn,
the little pause over a cup at noon,
the lengthening shadow on the lawn—
in the gut-pull of gravity,
split-second, as each sinking sun is set.



51 responses »

      • Hi again Cynthia! Ive just noticed you have a fo,lower called Jane Stansfield. I have just read a book by someone of this name and wondered if it could possibly be the same author. The book is “A Sin for a Son” and I really enjoyed it.

        • Bingo! Maybe you found “A Sin for a Son” after I recommended it a few months ago, when Jane first published it?? She’s a wonderful storyteller, and we’ve been hanging around each other’s blogs for some time now. Jane grew up in the UK, married and raised her family in the USA. She has two adult daughters and several grandchildren and lives in Texas with her husband Dan. She’s a retired architect, and blogs under “jstansfeld” or “literary musings”, I think…just click her name on my site if you want to visit…..Glad you liked her book….I did too!

          • Ah yes! I bet I heard about it from you! I use a kindle now because of these MS hands of mine and I have had several books recommended by different people and forget who has recomnended them! I just use the ” buy with one click” on Amazon and just like magic they apoear! I only realise its not magic after all when Amazon emails the bill! 😊. There is ao much talent around and I like supporting authors who are recommended. This one was great! I will have a look at Jane’s blog xx

  1. Memories, of someone very close, and I know this feeling, at least with my parents ‘goings’. This is quite awesome Cynthia, and your beautiful reading adds a strong sense of real life into the poem!! And nobody knows what another feels, how often they ‘visited’ in one way or another, and reminded them maybe of things not wished to be remembered or of a beautiful time that lasted only a short while. And who needs anniversaries for those kinds of memories?

    I love these lines:

    ‘let those who think so
    take their yearly flowers to your grave.
    They’ll soon forget again. They do not know
    the way you visit constantly
    as earth, the air, the water, …fire…’

    They will forget, because their minds were not intertwined. Their memories are of a very different kind. It’s good to write of these moments, and a pleasure to read the way you write – the inspiring moment of my day! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you very much, Suzy, for sharing your thoughts on this. I’m touched by your openness and kind words. Understanding has to be one of the best gifts—given and received.

      ( I like the new Gravatar…though I liked the former one also….each quite a different “personality” from the other, but, I imagine, both aspects of you!) πŸ™‚

      • Thank you! I thought I’d had a blue face for long enough, time for a change! I like the fact that she looks at least 20 years younger than myself, and if I stare at her long enough I can almost believe she is me! πŸ˜‰

        If you want to see the real me, I’m on my about page, but you might have see that already. I quite like art for a Gravatar, don’t much like staring at my own image too much – I could annoy myself quite easily!! πŸ˜€

        • Yes, I have seen the photo of your “real” lovely self. It’s a puzzlement, isn’t it, how we think one photo moment in time can stand for all the other moments of a person’s being. I hate being photographed, for that very reason…it feels like being stopped, or fixed, or imprisoned, and is especially disconcerting when the photo doesn’t look anywhere near as good as one imagines or hopes one should look. Recently I was asked to provide a photo of myself to accompany a brief bio, and as a joke I sent four of them: one at age five, one at twenty-five, one at forty-five, and one current. I’ve posted them on the “Notes” page of this blog for my latest entry. πŸ™‚

  2. Aaaah! Cynthia….feel the pain of loss, the touch of hearts, the ‘being’ and so the memory in the smallest details, the most perfect and imperfect of things….hauntingly beautiful! … plus the reminder that we are all but one thought away from each other…in the body or not! :)…thank you! Such skill…

  3. Oh, Cynthia.

    We are stardust, reinvented as electrical circuits, and indecorously stuffed into a cranial cavity. And so how implausible is it that the dearly departed linger within those walls? And like an exotic perfume, ghosts leave an identifiable trace. Sometimes we are haunted by this trace and sometimes, on sunny days of dazzling tenderness, we are comforted by a proxy-warmth, bereft of the one we can no longer feel.

    • Oh Prospero, I always enjoy your gorgeous and inimitable dance with the English language, and this comment is no exception…except…today as I lingered over “sunny days of dazzling tenderness” I wept. Maybe it was the potency of that image, and maybe from “proxy warmth.” At any rate, a good thing. Thank you.

  4. Marvelous! This poem is very easily understood (but, of course, the making of it might not have been so easy). There is a certain music in your words. Surly, love’s not time’s fool; love is an ever lasting phenomena. In our heart what is dear to us will always be loved and alive.

  5. Your words sometimes Cynthia bring tears to the surface so easily for the strength of emotion lies open, not to be shut. This is an incredible journey of love and loss ~

  6. This is heart-deep and Beautiful–I so enjoyed it, even with the ache and lump in my throat. By the way, it’s “me”–returned and renewed–you’re welcome to visit my new blog, but don’t feel obligated, as there may not be as much poetry as before at “Madwoman” (more Christian testimony posts).

    • You think you’ve managed well, “gotten over it” (everyone else thinks you SHOULD), but then it hits you suddenly, a ton of bricks, even years later, via some small ordinary thing….ah well, on a gladder note, I am pleased as punch that you are back, and will be sure to pop over now and then…Christian testimony doesn’t frighten me, :-). (And neither do you, dearie! ❀ )

      • I understand the grief you speak of, which sneaks up on you long years later…the ordinary things. It doesn’t matter what everyone thinks–it’s your love, your loss, your memories. I woke up this morning from a dream where I’d gone back to visit a place–and was so sad on arrival, remembering that my love was no longer there, long passed–so why had I even made the trip?
        As for the testimony posts, I didn’t think they’d frighten you–they’re meant to be encouraging–but we’d chatted months ago about how we just have different beliefs. Anywhoo, wishing you a peaceful day in your heart.

    • Thank you, Sweetie. I love the sounds and rhythm of ordinary English speech, and since most of my poems begin in language itself, I enjoy saying them aloud. I’m very glad you like hearing them too! πŸ™‚

  7. Hello Cynthia…I’ve read this over and over (I know this loss and this absence/presence, too). But, can you tell me a little about how you yourself see this poem in relation to Sonnet 116? I love to read your thoughts.

    • To tell you the truth, Anna, I don’t see my poem in relation to Sonnet 116 except to acknowledge that I stole what is called the “volta” for my title.(where the poem “turns” from octet to sestet–line 9). I’m aware that there are many silly theories surrounding the sonnet–about Shakespeare’s love life–for those who like to gossip about poets and dissect poems. My own preference is to enjoy a poem as an experience and respond to it as such. Sonnet 116 is one of my favorite poems about love. I read it to encounter the beautiful use of language, the imagery, the music, and the mind-voice that made it. To say more is to get clinical, pedantic,and, to me, a kind of eating the menu instead of enjoying the meal. Thank you for giving me the opening to say all that!

  8. “Eating the menu instead of enjoying the meal,” I will remember that analogy. I think I read poetry the same way as you do, at least that is my primary approach, but I can also recall times when the “meal” was spicier or more something when permeated with history, too, or knowledge about the author. And this conversation makes me wonder about other texts, too, that perhaps benefit from historical or authorial knowledge, like scripture, perhaps, or other religious texts. Timeless but also bound to it. Thank you, too. Cheerio.

    • I agree, Anna. History can definitely enhance one’s appreciation. I have just finished reading the complete correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell (yikes!800 pages!) and now I go back to read their poetry with new eyes. What does bother me is “the middleman”….the academics, critics and others who conjecture about things and arrogantly assume to tell us how to read a poet….they want to control your experience by superimposing theirs…pitiful.And often they favor obscure writing because it makes us feel stupid because we can’t figure it out and they can! Bah, humbug! Now you’ve got me started, I’ll stop, mercifully. πŸ™‚

  9. I have neglected to read your blog for a while, and have been catching up today – and was really struck by this and the last one in particular. There are some beautiful lines here, and it stands up to rereading too. I could praise the technical aspects, but that would be missing the point, I think – it is a beautiful poem.

    • I can see that you’ve been catching up….South Korea looms large on my stats this morning!
      Your praise of this poem means a great deal….as you are a favorite reader and
      writer-about poems ….Thank you for taking the time to read, and for this lovely comment.

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