Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Poem by Rick Hartwell

Born in the dark only to die in the dark,
a certain amount of darkness is to be
expected in or in between our lifetimes.

I received an email late last night,
often a harbinger of acceptance or
rejection, only to learn she’d died.

It used to be that telegrams would
suffice for such, letting one weep for
or rejoice a life in peace and quietude.

Then the ubiquitous telephone
brought such news without the
luxury of considering a response.

Modern technology has given
back what had been taken away,
but has removed any spontaneity.

So when I received her sister’s
message and reread the meaning, I
realized I had to carefully respond.

What condolences should be used
when the fragility of emailed words
convey so little of oft-studied memories?

Recollections of dual loves long ago,
flowered in such youthful exuberance.
yet wilted by thoughtless replacement.

Careful words to her sister; but, for whom
am I sorry: the girlfriend who died? - or the
sister, the writer, replaced by her? – or me?

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school (remember, the hormonally-challenged?) English teacher living in Moreno Valley, California. He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity. Given his “druthers,” if he’s not writing, Rick would rather still be tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon.

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