requiem

Good Friday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tale of nails and wood
is retold on the BBC from Winchester,
with hymns about a balm in Gilead,
a wondrous cross, and the choirboys’ echo
of the Fauré Requiem. Cardinal Newman
sends blessings from the grave,
and the organ grumbles “Amen.”

Oddly enough, the sun has emerged today
after weeks of rain to wrap the world
in its pale shroud. The week
has been hard: a cousin rushed to hospital
with pneumonia, a friend trembling
with Parkinson’s, an old acquaintance
placed “in care,” looking for home
and cursing the staff at the locked front door.

In the pub, Peter and his brothers
joke about Leo’s ashes in the garage.
He was the youngest. Who’s next?
They have finished another Good Friday Walk—
nine miles, seven churches, a pint of bitter.

They talk of their father’s letter, newly resurrected
from a cardboard box, forty-nine crumbling pages
in his own sure hand, a wartime story of troops,
destroyers, German subs. The young man
on the ship knew not where he was going,
just following orders, except for the deception
of the letter smuggled out from the harbor in India
to his wife Mary. He called her his “budgie,”
sent kisses to the children.

Tomorrow will be empty and quiet,
time for a drive to Bakewell
through the ever-winding hills. The road
turns silver, scrolling down the mountain
through meadows dotted with newborn lambs.

Donna Pucciani’s most recent collection of poetry is Hanging Like Hope on the Equinox.

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