The Memory of Love's Refrain

The Memory of Love’s Refrain

 

Reading his love poems

To you, written in 1940,

Makes you blush.  We

Have crossed the threshold

Of your privacy.  Outside,

A doe and two fawns

Emerge briefly from the meadow,

Cross the back yard, and vanish.

 

To divert us from love poems,

You bring up the Depression 

And say that your father

Voted against Roosevelt in 1932.

Shocking, but we 

Are not diverted.

 

The poems say that his love

For you will last forever, like stardust,

And if his plane goes down in flames

Over Naples you will be together 

In paradise where roses bloom.

 

He survived for sixty more years

And never wrote another poem.

You said he wouldn’t want

A funeral.  So there was nothing.

 

And now, in purple dusk of twilight time,

We discover the love poems, 

240 of them, on faded paper,

Written before you were married,

Sent from Mobile, Tunis, Sicily,

Saved in a box  

For seventy-two years.

 

We never knew about them

While he was alive.

He just went to the office

Day after day while

We played out our little scenes.

 

He once took a correspondence

Course in painting.  Landscapes,

Meadows, moonlight and gardens.

One year, he tried to learn piano.

 

Why did you keep them hidden?

What else is locked

Away?  You see, in this century

Everything is laid bare. We are all

Infatuated with

Ourselves. You say maybe

We should scatter

His ashes beside the garden wall.

 And maybe you

Could be there, too.

 

        Aug. 17, 2012