i.m. Edwin Honig
just like a tree,
standing by the water...
You feel the autumn coming on now, in the slant
of plangent sunlight – the foam of starry clematis
breaking over the old iron fence. The sense
of a closing scene, a dénouement, in the chant
of crickets, lodged in their grass caskets, whirring;
of a turn, now, toward eschatology, at last –
& I’m thinking of you, Edwin, who almost
matched your father’s age (a birthday bell rang
yesterday). Your excellent elephant ear, elegant
master of Lips Monastery : bespeaking a faith
in the embodied word, steadfast. Only a wraith
of willow limbs toward the end, hanging on, gaunt
(haunted) through the fog of Alzheimer’s, you’ve gone
to the light of your old high home, big-hearted boy;
dancing on home, through a rain of hobbledehoy-
providential by-ways, awkward prodigal son...
tenderfoot father-man, magnanimous. The poet
stands for the embattled, earth-bound word : &
for the silent ones (everymen-&-women) whose
halting speech is only the stone (clean, upright)
of their deeds. You lay in their shadow, durable,
year after year – a willow, standing by the river,
with them – shading them too, fleet word-giver.
Now as I arch for the last fluted pillar (a stable-
argument – Jachin, Boaz) I see your grandfather
the carpenter – he of the temple, in Jerusalem...
& the long curved eyelash of an almond limb :
a shade that reaches to embrace – closer, farther...