You followed to a stone,
And there the trail was lost. (Yvor Winters)
With morning prayer fulfilled, I kneel beneath
A dampened oak to brush away a wreath
Of moss from lichened stone. Two names appear:
Deceased from Mother’s side. Nervous, I peer
Beyond the lilting rows of buckled tombs
Toward the seminary’s waking rooms
As if communing with the dead will break
My weekend pledge of silence, and for my sake,
The aging priests would have me start again.
My reason soon takes hold and I begin
The normal things I figure people say:
“What were you like?” and “Will we meet someday?”
Then wonder if they know you’re there or do
Such visits count beyond appeasing you?
Is it indeed all bosh? Am I the source
Inventing for myself a fool’s discourse?
The silence deepens. Selfish questions cease
And I decide to leave the dead in peace.