And this poem wiggled its way to the surface on this Dia de los Muertos, appropriately I suppose.
By Seamus HeaneyI sat all morning in the college sick bayCounting bells knelling classes to a close.At two o’clock our neighbours drove me home.
In the porch I met my father crying—He had always taken funerals in his stride—And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.
The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pramWhen I came in, and I was embarrassedBy old men standing up to shake my hand
And tell me they were ‘sorry for my trouble’.Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,Away at school, as my mother held my hand
In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.At ten o’clock the ambulance arrivedWith the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.
<Next morning I went up into the room. SnowdropsAnd candles soothed the bedside; I saw himFor the first time in six weeks. Paler now,
Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,He lay in the four-foot box as in his cot.No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.
A four-foot box, a foot for every year.
© 2015 – 2016, Brian Stumbaugh. All rights reserved.