Honor

Vincent Van Gogh, Hay Stacks
Vincent Van Gogh, Hay Stacks

Morning Flight to a Funeral

Rising in the air so fully bright
Magnetized by the Earth below
We ride
The square patches of clover, beige fields
Purple heather and evergreen
On the mountains running down the world
To a frozen sea

And don't we cling
To what we left below
Long minutes out the window gazing
While Karma comes to chat
Coming at a thousand-fold speed
As the air darkens to illuminated smoke
Silver wings shuddering
In a breath so unconcerned
Flung up to no limit
Down--far and to the side
Jet is nothing to the wind
Six miles down is nothing to a cloud
And don't we deal our cards
To be let one more touch
Of what's been unfinished and wasted
All this time

Just a carnival ride I say
To the gasping woman twice as rich as me
And our dark-suited inspector
Holds his soft-thudding head by the side
In the thin ocean, the living knowledge
We could look like waterbugs soon
The large burnt kind, crooked black arms
Legs stabilized to eternal kneeling
I have to smile and cry
This is our peace of mind my brothers
Six miles closer to the moon
Or smoking on the ground
Because life is the destroyer
And death the awful maker
You knew Rabbi you knew
You never would say
As you rode the distant silver bed
Asking the light under the curtain
Is this the next waking or the same day

The days pass like little arrows
Life is a day of the arrows
We've promised to receive if only
To see the whole day
They tinker with length
By pills and clean knives
And the cost is a lonely cleansing
Of every belief you thought was true
Yes doesn't it barb you
The life you left in Pisces
The laws say a thousand years
New life
As the winter thaws
And my fate to be another Pisces just then
Final lives for us both
As women in an unknown land
To meet with no remembering
Of the hundred sentences of beauty and love
Years of duty in a humble glove
You just let go, and rise, and God will catch you

—Suddenly the calm of
A sunlit morning, populated and neat
And that low cloud tranquil
On its invisible table of air
Casting a shadow East to San Bernardino
We fly over the cloud now
And I'll go into the shadow too
Later yes,
Yes later in the day

Norman F. Feldheym
in memoriam
2/21/85


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