Saturday, April 09, 2016

Poem for Saturday, Future's End Part II, University Honors

The Needs of the Many
By Brendan Constantine

On the days when we wept—
and they were many—we did it
over the sound of a television
or radio, or the many engines
of the sky. It was rarely so quiet
we could hear just our sadness,
the smallness of it
that is merely the sound of wind
and water between the many pages
of the lungs. Many afternoons
we left the house still crying
and drove to a café or the movies,
or back to the hospital where we sat
dumb under the many eyes
of Paul Klee. There were many
umbrellas, days when it refused
to rain, cups of tea ignored. We
washed them all in the sink,
dry eyed. It’s been a while,
we’re cried out. We collect pauses
and have taken to reading actual
books again. We go through them
like yellow lights, like tunnels
or reunions, we forget which;
the older you are the more similes,
the more pangs per hour. Indeed,
this is how we break one hour into
many, how healing wounds time
in return. And though we know
there will always be crying to do,
just as there’s always that song,
always a leaf somewhere in the car,
this may be the only sweetness left,
to have a few griefs we cherish
against the others, which are many.


It's been a very up and down Friday. Happily, we got to go see Adam receive his Honors College citation in College Park -- the culmination of two years in the university honors program, we went with my mother while my father was teaching a seminar, and we sat with Christine, who saved us seats. We all went to Azteca for dinner afterward. (I'd posted my review of "Future's End, Part II" beforehand.)

But the rest of the day was pretty awful. Paul's father had a stroke at the rehab center where he's been recuperating from his broken hip. He was unconscious for several hours and it's not clear how extensive the damage might be, though he was awake this evening and trying to communicate, which is good news. Paul's youngest brother Jon is arriving tomorrow and we'll have a lot to try to figure out.

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