My dear friend Jonathan David Jackson posted a comment to my previous post. "Another poem please" was his request. Just this once, I'll do as he asks in this regard. But before I do, I think I'll take the opportunity to say a little bit about the poems I've been posting on occasion, here at HungryBlues.
As I detailed here, the first writing I did about my father was in poems. The poems began very shortly after his death. Their emotions and their understandings of history are dense and idiosyncratic. What I'm doing now is, in a certain sense, the aftermath of having written poems. HungryBlues is a kind of prolonged act of investigation and close reading to try to gain more understanding of those first moments of looking back, those first complicated perceptions of a life seen differently because it has just ended. (I was going to write "seen whole," but I don't think that's accurate.)
For the most part, I'm posting poems when it seems to me that some of my prose has entered into conversation with an existing poem. I don't particularly wish to explain what I see as the content of these conversations, at least not directly. However, I do wish to honor Jonathan. For one thing he is such an able and generous reader of my poems. For another thing, Jonathan has been a great inspiration to me and a great encourager of my various pursuits, ever since we first became friends in 1993. Jonathan is truly, the greater, harder working, more dedicated poet, and so, just this once, for him, I'll post a poem before my prose has invited that poem to appear. Though, in fact, this prose that I'm writing now, in answer to Jonathan, does invite a poem.
Writing about my intentions in poetry is, for me, an embarrassing form of writing and is probably the final reason why I usually post poems without comment. But since I'm commenting now, I'll say a couple of things about the poem I'm about to post. The first thing is that I wrote one version of it 5 years before my father's death, in anticipation of a moment after his death. The second thing is that I was not able to finish revising the poem to my satisfaction until a year or two after he died. In the background of these thoughts, I'm thinking of an old elementary school friend of mine, whose mother is currently in hospice and I'm thinking about the Leah at Jerusalem Wanderings who just buried her father.