I haven't really been into poetry for years. I went through a stage in my mid-20s when I read it a lot, but then I got into reading other things and it all went out the window. I was reminded about poetry by my Dad's funeral. He wanted no hymns, no prayers of any sort, so it was funeral made up of real words that people spoke as they came to mind. Can you say a great funeral? If funerals can be great, that's what it was.
One poem that did make it into the proceedings was a Robert Frost one called Reluctance. Dad wrote the first verse of this poem on the blackboard in the kitchen on his last day at his job, when he'd been made redundant after 30 years there. Somehow, it also fitted the mood when he died.
Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.
The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question "Whither?"
Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?
I've thought about the last verse a lot. Going with the drift of things, well I try to do that every day. It could sum up my parenting style, I'd like to think. Yielding with a grace to reason? I like to think I do that too. Bowing and accepting the end of a love or a season. That's the hard part when someone dies. It's so very hard.
If my children were to try and come up with a poem that meant something to me, I hate to think what would surface. The only one they've heard me say a lot is "When I walked down the street one day/ My head fell off and rolled away/ But when I saw that it was gone/ I picked it up, and put it on.
That would set the tone for a very funny funeral.