Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A question answered by an older poet

Someone at an Irish bar asked me a few days ago where Marcie's grave was and if I visited. I said, "She visits me!" At her quizzical look, I explained Marcie's cremains were in the house and slowly being spread over the world.

When I see this lass again, which may be far in the future, I will share this poem I found, which itself is Irish:

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there... I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow...
I am the diamond glints on snow...
I am the sunlight on ripened grain...
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you waken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of gentle birds in circling flight...
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry—
I am not there... I did not die...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lessons in The Mansion of my Heart-2

I watched her sway around and put on her jewelry. She was always so simple in her tastes for it. Here, in the opulence of this place, she still wore simple earrings, with little blue stones hanging from hair-thin but brilliant golden threads.

She smiled at me in the mirror as I watched, then said, "You should get up and get ready, we are meeting some friends on the other side of campus."

I got up and seemed to know where I was going. I stepped into a walk-in closet, modest but well filled with clothes. Everything was white and touched by colors, from vivid blues to intricate patterns in small accents.

I reached into the clothes and a light, silky shirt with a small red looping embroidery seemed to just slide into my hand. I slipped it on, and noted the hanger held a pair of pants and even some boxers.

I slipped it all on. It was light but felt somehow strong. It was all loose enough for comfort but did not make me look big. I smiled at her and caught myself in the mirror. As young as she looked, I felt old.

"There's my handsome man," she said, kissing me on the lips and holding my cheeks with that stroking, gentle touch she always had. She tugged my goatee.

I slipped on some sandals as we headed to the door. Garfield accepted my pat on the head but then curled back up in his little velvet bed.

We walked through the mansion and I realized I was asleep in that strange space with her again. That dream space without dominion, where I could not control everything, but also was not forced to play a part I did not control.

It made me happy. I was with her. She squeezed my hand.

We passed doors with names on them and I smiled at them, felt an ache at others. She stopped and said, "Let's go see someone for a minute,"

"Oh, Francis, look at you," the young woman said as we walked in. "I sure have meissed you, son."

We hugged and I did not know her name, but I felt familiar and safe, and she talked for a while about me and my love for the pool as a child. We had never had a pool, but I had loved swimming.

I was about to ask a question but was interrupted as she took out a book. "Well, you two have someplace to be, and I will be right here whenever you want to visit. We don't take turns around here, you know."

I was almost confused but as we walked out I went to close the door and stopped, looking back in. "Bye, Grandmommy," I said.

"Goodbye, Francis," she said, seeming pleased I had figured it out.

We walked past a few rooms and one made me stop. It was someone special, someone I had cared for. I wondered if her room being there meant she had died. I sighed and Marcie touched my hand as I went to open it.

"She is in there, but you can't see her right now, because she can't see you, okay?"

I nodded. I opened the door and looked around. It was like a teenage girl's typical room, stuffed animals and posters, superimposed over the wood and finery of the house itself. The bed was made, and I felt a chill as I looked at the pictures on the wall.

"Let's go, sweetie," Marcie said, stroking my back.

We left the house through a side door. A clean, cement road with stone or tile lines in it stretched off into impossibly steep and beautiful mountains. I gasped at the deep blue and white clouds. I could see for thousands of miles,

"How far?" I asked.

"We should fly. We don't need to, but I know you like that," she said, kissing my cheek.

We were off. I followed her and she wove graceful, arcing swoops and turns through the strange mountains, which soon gave way to green valleys of trees and grass.

I recognized the campus. The University sprawled below in a some strange mix of antebellum and Greek architecture. Advanced modern touches like glass domes and green roofs with pools if shallow water were throughout.

We landed on a small balcony, and she gripped me in a hug as I floated tentatively down.

"I have one little surprise for you," she said. "Someone you always could learn from."

"Hey, Frank! What's hoppin?" a man said.

I looked into the room beyond. It was an impossibly well-appointed auditorium-style classroom. People I did niot recognize filled the seats. But I knew the man in front of the class.

"Professor Melton?" I asked, guessing his name despite his youthfulness,

"You betcha, man!" he said. "Take a seat! I think you'll enjoy our discussion."

I tried but woke before I made it to the chair.