Grief’s Exile

That is the title of a little book I’m reading,
Published in 1939 by my father’s Uncle Archie,
A tragedy in four acts written in classic language
When he was twenty-six. It was not revised,
“To know,” as he confided in a prefatory note,
“The effect of slight labor in its spontaneous form.”

     Thou ministers of hell, away! depart!
     And let me bear this misery alone

So said the Hermit when he was shaken
From sleep by young Jasper walking in the forest,
Who found him in the grip of fearful dreams.
Jasper is the son of Gershom, a wealthy landowner.
He does not know the poor suffering Hermit
Is his father’s brother, the good Lucian,
But he is deeply stirred by the Hermit’s plight.

I will read the rest tonight.

Until then, I will give thanks for this great-uncle,
Who wrote and painted all his life
To express his outrage, anger, and delight,
Eloquent confessions without shame or guilt.
Thus was his example, defiant, proud, and free.
And when I showed him my first poetry,
Written by hand on sheets of lined paper when
I was fifteen, he told me I should type them,
To see the words in a different, better light.
He was right, but the poems have not survived,
Though I remember parts of them now,
As one remembers distant peaks obscured by clouds,
Or a homeless man walking in shadowed gloom
Through the street as if it were an abandoned room,
Alone and in despair, a ghost apart, Grief’s Exile.

June 9, 2005

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Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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