Monday, May 31, 2010

Visit to the cemetery

Today, we did something we've never actually done before. We (Merlin, kids, and I) went up to the Dallas cemetery and put flowers at the grave of Merlin's parents and our aunt. I know Memorial Day is established to honor war dead, but we are Mennonites, as were the Brandt elders before us, and so have no war dead of our own. But I remembered that Mom and Dad used to go up to their parents' graves on Memorial Day, and it seemed for once like we ought to honor them the same way. I suddenly wanted anyone who passed by the section where they and their parents lie to know we hadn't forgotten them.

I was surprised how widely decorated the (huge, beautiful) cemetery was, including the section near the road that contains the bones of Dallasites buried over a century ago. Many other headstones of folks we knew already had been visited and remembrances left. One headstone had little glass beads and stars arranged around the flowers. Molly had suggested we leave a few chocolate covered cherries (which, I guess, sounds a little "Dia de los Muertes" to me, although kind of appropriate to her grandparents), but I forgot to get them.

Not sure when we'll do it again. Not sure I know why we do it. But I think however we go about it, it's good to recall with gratitude the great cloud of witnesses who are no longer running the race, but who enabled us to run it, and who I believe still care how we run it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Because it is time to blog again....

I've been on vacation, and back, and the coming back was with a vengeance, as the saying goes, to an office under stress. Well, under more stress than usual. I've stared at the screen for some indeterminate amount of time, trying to think what to tell you. It would be a boring little kvetch, if I talk about work.

So I'll share the few poems that came out of the travels this time. The first two have an obvious connection to the trip, and the last just popped out after I came home. If history is any indicator, it could be a while before any more poems happen.

The Right Coast

I am home from Florida.
Only two margaritas in ten days,
but I got drunk on the ocean,
so different from my Pacific,
recalling which,
I felt the guilt of unfaithfulness.

So drunk on the ocean, I couldn’t drive.
I could only
stare and stare at the green and greens
of the bay, the ocean, the bight.
On the last day, that ocean turned nearly
blue for me.
So I could stand to come home.

May 2010

Old Folks

Wed seventy-three years, they were
Parted by death for only seven months,
and then reunited by it.
They were in love the whole time
(truly, though not always smoothly,
I learned near the end).

Coming past Mt. Hood on a Continental flight,
I wrap their third son’s arm in both of mine,
perfectly content, and aware of it,
to be watching Mt. Hood with this man after a paltry
36 years, knowing at some point, unfathomably,
death will us part.

That son, a man, married a child
who knew what she wanted,
has always known what she has,
and never questioned her choice.
Grateful, as other children-in-law,
to those old folks who lasted

longer than any of us will.

May 2010 (Pete and Sally Brandt’s 77th anniversary)

Aromata: Three Haiku from Runs

Fallen fir needles
smell like wild blackberry pie
baking in the sun.


Someone must have brought
Ariel laundry powder
home from Mexico.


Mimosa’s out there,
but where? Follow the nose out
over a high fence.

May 2010