Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Edward Hirsch, Gabriel

Excerpts from a book-length elegy Edward Hirsch wrote for his son:

I will not forgive you
Sun of emptiness
Sky of blank clouds
I will not forgive you
Indifferent God
Until you give me back my son.

     .    .   .

The evening with its lamps burning
The night with its head in its hands
The early morning
I look back at the worried parents
Wandering through the house
What are we going to do
The evening of the clinical
The night of the psychological
The morning facedown in the pillow
The experts can handle him
The experts have no idea
How to handle him
There are enigmas in darkness
There are mysteries
Sent out without searchlights
The stars are hiding tonight
The moon is cold and stony
Behind the clouds
Nights without seeing
Mornings of the long view
It’s not a sprint but a marathon
Whatever we can do
We must do
Every morning’s resolve
But sometimes we suspected
He was being punished
For something obscure we had done
I would never abandon the puzzle
Sleeping in the next room
But I could not solve it.

     .   .   .

I did not know the work of mourning
Is like carrying a bag of cement
Up a mountain at night
The mountaintop is not in sight
Because there is no mountaintop
Poor Sisyphus grief
I did not know I would struggle
Through a ragged underbrush
Without an upward path

     .    .   .

Look closely and you will see
Almost everyone carrying bags
Of cement on their shoulders
That’s why it takes courage
To get out of bed in the morning
And climb into the day.

More on Edward Hirsch and this story in the New Yorker.

No comments: