July 10th, 2008

On the occasion of a friend’s departure.

In Memoriam Thomas Michael Disch

I
Here we stand then,
at this heath of searing helplessness.
No gift shall shield us here
no wit, no wisdom, faith or doctrine.
Not ours by any means,
so pale and frail, and maybe even tainted,
by prideful motivation.
Nor his, which flowed so freely,
in careless generosity, unsung.
For he has shed all attributes and all else too,
the flesh, the spirit and the bone.

II
So here we stand then,
without aid and bare
must face his cutting nakedness. We can’t
take flight in soft oblivion nor in memory;
We cannot hide from it behind the things
we had in common nor inside the rifts
that ran between us.
For it is but a shape and how could we
hide from a shape that has no substance, less
than sparrows’ footprints on the morning’s snow?
We shan’t.

III
Here will we stand then
time and again.
Even when the throb of grief has passed and it,
we know it even now, will pass,
as we grow numb from habit; Even then
we shall return to dwell upon his absence.
For now we bear a hollow on the surface,
an imprint of that shape just now discerned.
And we cannot be whole again, as little
as a shattered Grecian urn
missing a shard.