Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Back porch ponderings

Out on the back porch tonight,
watching the distant heat lightening,
illuminate the dark clouds,
drinking a glass of wine:
I started wondering
if a hundred years from now
anyone will remember that,
for a brief time, I lived upon
this huge, stormy marble
lost in the infinitude
of mostly empty space?

Will anyone remind another
that I actually was, or,
will I be obliterated from
all human memory?

I sometimes speak of people long dead
who I never really knew.

Like great-uncle Hovie,
a bachelor farmer,
who died in his rocking chair
and wasn't found for two days.
How they tied him down
in my great-grandmothers living room
for his wake and
how at two or three in the morning,
everyone sleepy and some
a little drunk,
the rope slipped and Hovie sat up,
ending forever the practice
of wakes
in the Bradley family.

Like my great grandfather
who came over from Ireland
with two brothers
during bad times.
How they got into such a fight
on the boat that 
when they arrived
at Ellis Island
they gave false names
so they could never find each other
in this broad, new land and
how to add insult to injury,
my great-grandfather
changed his name from O'Connor
to "Jones"--a Welsh name--
to prove forever the DNA deep
resentments of the Irish.

Like my uncle Leon,
my mother's brother,
who died at 12
from what must have been
a brain tumor.
How he suffered so greatly
and with such courage and
how every member of my my mother's
family kept a haunting picture
of him in their living rooms,
his face made old by suffering and
how I studied that picture
over and again
pondering what it must be like
to die young
and to be so loved.

A century from now,
will anyone know any stories
about my life?

Will my grandchildren
tell their grandchildren
something of me--
some memory of theirs
that will pass on through
my blood to theirs?
Some little thing would be enough:
like how I let them brush
and put barrettes
in my hair
or I bought them gelato
from the little store
in Baltimore
or just how much I loved them....

Or will, as I fear,
texting replace family stories
and Face Book
be the length of our memories,
while the lore of those who share your genes,
long dead, dies as well?


No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive

About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.