To My Father After a Dream
It has been ten years since you finally escaped your pain.
But last night you returned in my sleep, hurting once again.
In your hand was a familiar snapshot of me as a boy.
You held it up so I could see. I was running through the yard,
Carefree in the gentle scene of our old life, in the old time.
I was surprised when my image suddenly began to move.
When I was about to leap from the frame, the picture dimmed.
The happy moment died, went cold in your pale hand,
And we were left with nothing but your pain.
You looked at me, pleading, wounded, apologetic, resolute,
Hoping I understood, and that I would not abandon you.
Now it is a warm spring day, your kind of day filled with sun
And the fragrant hope of nature�s promise, triumphant, rhythmic,
Perfectly suited to the crops you raised and the toil you loved.
No wonder you only visit me at night. You�re too busy now,
Tending to your vines and trees, dog at your side, shovel in hand.
And I would be there with you if my pen were less demanding.
But I cannot rest until my work, the long, strange poem I hear, is done.
That is the law you lived by, and the one I inflict upon myself.
You taught that lesson well, old friend. And though it cripples me,
And sends me headlong to my grave, I still smile at the thought.
It is mad, I know, because you tried to tell me in my sleep.
April 28, 2005
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