Last of the Old World

Great Uncle Junis died
and was buried
on Christmas Eve.

Thirty-one people
came to see him off.
I saw him in a suit

for the first time in my life;
no wife, no children,
no wealth to leave

only the memory of his joy
when he played the French harp
and sang for passers-by.

I think of an Aztec poem,
that says though I perish
the songs I sang will still be sung.

So I make a place
for his music to live
forever in my soul.

Adios, mi tio,
last legacy of my grandfather’s
generation. Adios.

35 thoughts on “Last of the Old World

  1. I love this! It’s so simply put and direct. The line breaks and phrasing really come across as being just right and keep your poem tight while providing a sense of momentum. The nostalgic tone isn’t overdone, and I felt that you used imagery with great effect to convey the emotional depth in this piece. Great work.

    1. xacrest,

      I really appreciate your feedback. It’s specific. I think poet’s need that. I hope to follow your example when I read others’ work. Thanks again, so very much.

  2. A lovely memory. The suit is telling, isn’t it? We had a friend who was buried in his jeans. I was kind of shocked, but then, he always wore jeans. Why do we insist on making death a dress up occasion? He’d spent so long facing it down at the cancer ward, I think death was just another old friend to sit with over the kitchen table. Death didn’t deserve a suit. (Oh. There’s a poem there, too. Thanks for the image!)
    Shawn on the Rally
    http://shawnbird.com/2010/10/17/shes-gone

    1. Thank you ever so much. I love the way you say it is a celebration! He never wrote anything down. He just carried this little harmonica in his shirt pocket and would pull it out at random and play Appalachian folk songs, the kind of stuff you might hear on that movie, The Song Catcher. Then he’d pull it out of his mouth and go to singing. Sometimes, he’d cry while he sang, especially if it were a spiritual song.

    1. Thank you for your kind words.

      I am sorry to hear that you have lost your grandfather.

      I am sure the words will come, mostly, your tribute to him will be in the life you lead. I have no doubt.

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